City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 1. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.
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NINTH DAY. Wednesday, 14th June 1882.
1600. (Chairman to Sir George Young.)—I understand you have done us the honour of coming here for the purpose of laying before us the claims of University College to assistance from the companies; is not that so?—It is.
1601. I think it would be most convenient if you will state, in such manner as you think best, the ground upon which this claim is put forward?—We start with the recognition which has already been given in principle, and in some important details, by the city livery companies to education, and in particular to university education, as a fit subject for assistance from their resources. Upon this subject, my friend Dr. Wood, will have (among other things) some facts to submit to you. We desire that this Commission should be the means of bringing to the notice of the administrators of those funds, in a more influential way than has hitherto been found possible, the present position and the needs of university education in London. Upon this subject I may refer to the statement of our committee (a committee appointed for the purpose, consisting of members of the council or governing body of University College, and of professors or members of the Senate, a consultative body of the same college), which has been communicated to the secretary of the Commission; and I may further refer to the evidence which I trust will be given by my friends, Professors Williamson and Morley. I may sum up our position in few words, by saying that University College, originally founded as a place of university education for those who were excluded by religious opinions from the benefits of the older universities, must in the altered condition of things at the present time, be looked upon rather in the light of an institution of university rank charged (together with King's College) with the interests of university education for London; and we desire in the first place to call your attention to the waste, and I may even say mischief, arising from the great dissipation of energy in the work of foundation and endowment in regard to university education. That which has been done in this respect, and more especially in London, has been done piece-meal: not of course that we object or that anyone would object to work being done by degrees, brick on brick; but what has been done has been done in the way of a brick here and a brick there; an institution has been founded to meet a special need and for a special purpose, without reference, or without sufficient reference, to institutions already in existence, and to the way in which one institution should co-operate with and work into another. That this is so, is due of course partly to the size of London, and to the conditions in which Londoners live; partly also to defective municipal institutions; but chiefly, perhaps, to the absence of what I may call a common forum for educational purposes, such as the existence of a real University supplies; for in fact we have no University of London. That which is known by the title is, as you are aware, an examining board merely, and as such absorbs the Government aid, that is, the grant which is made for university purposes year by year from public funds, and directs it to the expenses of examination merely, and of prizes: whereby teaching suffers. We have University and King's Colleges, which are not colleges, of course, in the sense of a college at Oxford and Cambridge, or in the sense in which the word is usually accepted by the public, that is to say, they are not boarding houses; they are in fact universities, but universities in a state of arrested development, without the privilege of granting degrees, without the public position which comes from public recognition, and without therefore the claim upon private benevolence and the popularity which attach to a public institution. There are other institutions in London, such as Gresham College for instance, of which, perhaps, it is not necessary to take very much account, for up to the present time they have not had any very great influence upon university education. Now it may be said, perhaps, do we advocate the limitation of private charity in such a matter as this? Of course not, but we desire to influence the minds of those who are the dispensers of public or of corporate funds. We consider that mistakes have been made, more especially during the past generation, in ignoring the agencies already in operation. I may refer, by way of instance merely, perhaps, to the institutions which have been set up by Government for special purposes, such as the Government School of Mines, the Government School of Science and Art, and the Cooper's Hill Engineering College. These are all institutions useful in their way, and likely to have a useful career, but they have all been founded to meet special wants without much consideration of the way in which those special wants are mingled with the other more general needs of an educational kind, which are supplied by an institution for university purposes generally. In the result it has repeatedly happened that institutions of this partial character have found themselves compelled to develope in various directions; sometimes by introducing the more general subjects of education, sometimes by opening their doors, not merely to the class for whom they were originally founded, but to the world at large; and in this way they have come, contrary to the intention of their original founders, to operate with serious consequences upon the position of institutions already in existence which were doing useful work. To come rather nearer to our present subject, I may refer, perhaps, to the School of Law which has recently been founded by the Inns of Court. Here is an institution which no doubt fulfils a useful purpose, and supplies a want, but the School of Law founded by the Inns of Court can hardly be said to supply London with a philosophical or even a scientific school of law.
1603. (Mr. Firth.) There is nothing known as a school of law in existence is there?—I mean the lectureships founded by the Inns of Court for the purposes of legal education; I use the term school of law in a popular sense. They do not, in fact, supply the place of a scientific school of law; they rather tend, indeed to make such a school impossible. The Inns of Court possess the sole key of entrance to the legal profession:—
1604. You mean the upper branches of legal education, do you not?—For the upper branch of the legal profession, exactly, for barristers, I mean; and while legal education is in their hands and they take that interest in it which is represented by their present staff of lecturers, it is found to render it, I believe I may say, hopeless that a school of law such as we wish to see established in London should ever be founded. Recently the city livery companies have taken up, very much to their credit, the subject of technical education, and a college has been founded at South Kensington; not, so far as appears at present, upon lines which will conflict, or in any degree interfere, with the work of a university like this, of which I am speaking; but it would be certainly an evil to university instruction in London, if that school of technical education were to develope in the direction of scientific teaching rather than of what is strictly speaking technical instruction. We do not deprecate competition; our point is that the benefits of competition are only felt where the competing agencies are fairly equipped. It cannot be said that at the present time any of the agencies charged with university instruction in London are fairly equipped for the purpose; therefore we think that the foundation of new institutions for these purposes ought rather to be relegated to the time when the existing agencies, which have already earned public approval, or, if necessary, others in their place, shall have been placed in a position fairly to do their work. If the result of this Commission should be that any funds are found to be available for such purposes as we speak of, it would no doubt be proper that an institution in the receipt of public funds, or of corporate funds of a quasi public character, should admit the principle of public control; and the last remark that I have to offer is, that such control, under such circumstances would not be deprecated but rather welcomed by University College.
1608. Then, in that respect, you now look on matters from a new point of view?—Speaking for myself, I do. I do not wish in this respect to assume the position of speaking for the Corporation or even for the Council of the College, but I am entitled to say that there has been a modification of view within the minds of those who are managing this institution since its foundation.
1610. Then if you could arrange the matter as you think fit, you would desire that each of them, and I presume, therefore, any similar institution, should have the power of granting degrees to their students? —I would not go so far as that; I would not specify, but I would merely point out the present misfortune of university education, which consists in our being [that is to say, University College, King's College, and the University of London] not a university or three universities but the disjecta membra of a university.
1611. You are aware, are you not, that as a matter of fact the principle adopted by the London University has been that of separating itself more and more from connection with any particular college?—Yes, it has been so.
1612. Then do I understand that you wish that the London University should reverse the policy upon which it has gone of late years, and should re-establish a closer connexion between itself and the various disjecta membra, as you call them, of a possible university?—Speaking for myself (you must understand that in a matter of this kind I am not entitled to speak for others) what I look forward to is (without dwelling upon the fact of the name, or on the circumstance that the University of London is called from London) that there should be a local university in London. The University of London is an imperial university, and whatever its name, that is its position; and I cannot doubt that it will always have a most distinct position as such; but in what way the university that I desire to see (a teaching university) in London is to be formed is a matter which I need hardly perhaps enter upon at the present stage.
1615. (Chairman.) Putting it generally. I think I may take it that the assistance you desire to receive from the funds of the city companies, is not so much assistance to University College, as at present constituted, as assistance given for the purpose of turning University College into something different to what it is now?—No, I cannot say that. It is quite true that the receipt of such assistance would in my opinion, and I think in the opinion of those for whom I speak, necessarily entail a readiness on our part not to keep our constitution, as it is at present, in the hands of a private body; but we do not seek that assistance for the purpose of turning ourselves into something else, we seek the assistance because we need it; because, in fact, as matters stand, and with the competition to which we are subjected, we find it impossible to do our duty as the first, or one of the two first, teaching bodies in London.
1616. You do not put forward any special claim on the property of the city companies, but you are considering, as I understand you, the possibility of some part of that property being diverted to other and general uses?—Yes, and also we do not come here to make an attack upon the city companies, and claim that their funds should be diverted to our use, but rather I may say to pursue the path upon which the city livery companies have already entered, and to recommend ourselves to them upon the same grounds as those upon which we have hitherto recommended ourselves to them, only, if possible, in a more authoritative manner, if it should so happen that an institution like this is found worthy of being commended in your report to the managers of those institutions and to the public.
1617. (Mr. Firth.) Do you suggest that there is any claim that can be advanced on behalf of University College, which could not be equally well advanced on behalf of King's College?—Certainly not. I consider that the claim, such as it is, which of course I do not put forward as a claim so much as a recommendation, is rather in favour of University College as an institution holding a certain position in London.
1620. Is the point of your evidence directed to the establishment in London of a university system analogous in its relations between central and subject bodies, to that which exists at Oxford or Cambridge?—No, I do not conceive it possible that a university like Oxford or Cambridge can be founded.
1621. Then the suggestion is, that money of this kind might be rightly applied to teaching bodies in London that do send up students to the London Examining Board of the University of London?—The suggestion is that money of this kind, if it be thought proper to apply any of it systematically to purposes of university education, might be advantageously applied in supporting an institution like University College, which is at present existing and doing good work.
1624. I think your speaking of yourselves as a private body was not correct?—It is private only in this sense (I am using the words, you will understand, in their popular meaning, and, in order to convey my meaning, that term seemed to express it most exactly), the college is governed by a corporation of private persons, collected together in various ways; some are the representatives of the original founders; some are distinguished students who have been added to the body, and others have been added for reasons connected with their services to education or to the college. This body of persons is a public body in the sense that it is incorporated, and they appoint a council, and the council govern the college; but they have no relation with the Government of the country, and they have no relation with the municipality of London, nor has the Government of the country or the municipality of London any right of interference in their proceedings.
1626. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) Do you know what amount of capital you really require?—I may refer to the paper that is before the Commissioners. I will read a sentence from it, "To enable the two London colleges properly to do the work that lies before them as the teaching part of the University of London, the present income would require to be augmented to the extent of half its present amount by endowment. Such increase may be estimated at about 25,000l. annually for each college."
1628. You yourself seemed to think that the city guilds did not quite understand what technical education was. Can you tell me what technical education is, because I do not think anyone really understands it, and I thought I would take the liberty of putting that question to you?—Perhaps you will allow me to refer that to Professor Williamson, who is better qualified to speak upon the subject than I am.
1629. (Chairman to Dr. Wood.). You have heard the statements that have been made by Sir George Young, and we shall be very glad now to hear from you anything which you wish to say in corroboration of what he has stated or any explanation or modification of it?—In the first place, what I was requested to state on behalf of the college was this, that there is no intention on the present occasion to take up a position at all antagonistic to the Corporation of London or to any of the city companies. On the contrary, I hope that, in the facts I shall state, I shall be able to show that the Corporation of the city of London took an active part in the foundation of the University of London, and that the city companies have been its most liberal supporters, and, therefore, all that we come forward on the present occasion to say is this, that if, as the result of the inquiries which you institute, it should appear that there are funds which may properly be devoted to educational purposes and particularly to the advancement of university education, then we think that with perfect consistency with the wishes that have already been displayed by the Corporation and the city companies, and with the benefit of the public, there is no purpose to which those funds could be applied that would be better than to increasing the usefulness of the two existing colleges, University College and King's College. Having said that, I think it will enable some who may not be as well acquainted as those who have been brought up at the University of London necessarily must be, with the whole constitution of it, if I very briefly state how the university was founded. The university was founded in the year 1826. It was then founded in Gower Street, and consisted of the body now called University College. It was founded, as Sir George Young has stated, to meet two great wants, the one to provide for the dissenters who were excluded from the older universities (a want that has passed away by reason of the opening of the older universities), and the other was the general want of the inhabitants of the metropolis of having collegiate education provided at their own doors for their children. That want still exists. That was in the year 1826. In the year 1835 a vote was carried in the House of Commons requesting the Crown to confer a charter upon what was then called the University of London, empowering it to confer degrees. That was carried against the wishes of the Government of the day. It was carried partly with the help of the city of London. They presented a petition to the Crown in favour of this charter being granted. After this vote had been passed, negotiations took place between the Government and University College. I should say that at that time the University of London, now University College, was a mere company. It had shares. They contemplated making profits and dividing those profits amongst the shareholders. Then a correspondence was opened up between the Government and the authorities representing the body of proprietors. The latter consented to give up the sort of claim that they had under the vote of the House of Commons to a charter making them a university and empowering them to grant degrees, and to become instead a college, to be called University College, the Government saying that it would then found a metropolitan university, to which University College, and a body which had been subsequently founded, and called King's College, should be affiliated;—that nobody should be admitted to come up to take a degree except he came from one of those two colleges or from some other college which should afterwards, in virtue of a power contained in the charter, be affiliated to the university. Various colleges were from time to time under that power affiliated to the university, but after a time it was thought that that did not work particularly well; and, at any rate, that the usefulness of the university was impeded. It was then resolved that the university should be thrown open to all, whether they had been at colleges or not, and, therefore, although the names of these affiliated colleges have not been struck out of the list of those that are affiliated, they have, excepting with regard to medical degrees, no special privileges at all. With regard to medical degrees, nobody can come up to take a degree unless he comes from one of the recognised hospitals or large schools. That is the state of things under which University College now exists. It has ceased to be a university; it has ceased to be a proprietary body; it is simply a college in a university,—in the university of London,— confining itself to teaching. It has received help, as I have already stated, from the city and from the different large corporations—the companies. I may mention as proof of this that when the university was first founded in the year 1825, amongst the shares that were taken the Fishmongers' Company took five shares of 100l. each. Of these shares they subsequently ceded three shares for the express purpose of enabling the college to found certain fellowships. They were fellowships without pecuniary emolument; but as it was then necessary, in order that a person should be a member of the Corporation, that he should be the possessor of a share, so these shares were ceded in order that the college might be enabled to confer one of those shares upon a distinguished student for life, thus giving him the right of attending the meetings and taking part in regulating the proceedings of the college. That was done by the Fishmongers' Company at the commencement. Then subsequently there has been,—quite recently,—an extension of the buildings of the college. A very large sum was spent, chiefly with a view to providing for the Slade School of Art (the teaching of art), and amongst the subscriptions that were given during the last year, 1881, I find these sums:—The Clothworkers' Company subscribed 210l.; the Fishmongers' Company subscribed 1,000l.; the Corporation of the city of London itself subscribed 210l.; the Mercers' Company subscribed 105l.; the Merchant Taylors' Company subscribed 31l. Then in addition to that I may mention that the Fishmongers' Company have occasionally given scholarships tenable at University College, and that the Clothworkers' Company have founded two exhibitions for chemistry and physics of 50l. each, tenable for two years. The only difference in position between King's College and University College is simply this, that, as I have stated, University College when it was the University of London had under that vote which was passed in the House of Commons acquired a sort of right to have a charter granted to itself, and that in consequence of the correspondence that took place between it and the Government, there was a sort of contract entered into, that if it would surrender that sort of right that it had to be made a university, it should have certain privileges (these collegiate privileges) secured to it. Therefore King's College was not in the same position as regards the contract; but apart from that we consider that the claims of the two are identical, and we do not wish at all to take up any position claiming more for ourselves than we should ask should also be extended to King's College. The only other matter I would mention is just this, that amongst the different endowments that exist in the city there is one which seems to show that the founder had a special design to promote collegiate education—I mean the Gresham College. If the Commissioners are not aware of the facts with regard to that, I can state them shortly. The will of Sir Thomas Gresham was dated in 1575, and by it he bequeathed the Royal Exchange and some adjoining hereditaments subject to a life interest to his widow in two moieties, one to the corporation of London, and the other to the Mercers' Company, on the condition amongst others that the former body should pay 50l. a year each to four persons to read lectures in divinity, astronomy, music, and geometry, and the latter the same stipend to three lecturers in law, physic, and rhetoric. Then he left his house in Bishopsgate Street for every one of the lecturers there to inhabit, to study and read. Gresham House was sold by authority of an Act of Parliament, and the lecturers were compensated by having their funds increased, and then there was an inquiry in 1857 ordered by the Charity Commission, and their inspector, Mr. Martin, heard evidence and presented a report, but no action was taken upon the report. Amongst the witnesses who were examined, the present Dean of Manchester, then and now the Gresham lecturer in geometry, stated that he "thinks that Sir Thomas Gresham's foundation was intended to be the nucleus of a university, and was so treated by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge." The Rev. J. Pullen, Gresham lecturer in astronomy, stated that if Gresham College was to be restored to its original dimensions and formed into a college affiliated to the London University, it might be made of value for educational purposes in the city. Then in 1876 the Common Council of the city of London approved a resolution which had been passed by the Gresham committee, "that it is desirable that the Gresham lectures and the funds applicable for their support should be placed with the assistance of the Charity Commissioners on a more satisfactory footing," but nothing has been done. Then there is some interesting evidence of a contemporary character as to the views of Sir Thomas Gresham. There are three letters which were written in 1575 by the vice-chancellor and senate of the University of Cambridge, and which are printed in the appendix to Ward's Lives of the Professors of Gresham College. The first is to Sir Thomas Gresham expressing the delight and gratitude of the senate with some reports they had heard of his intention to build at Cambridge a college. They found out their mistake a few days afterwards, and wrote to express their dismay and to urge that it should not be at London, but rather at Oxford, but better still that it should be at Cambridge because Sir Thomas was one of their own men. Then there was a third letter, which was written to Lady Burleigh, thanking her for her efforts, and entreating her to try and get the foundation given to Oxford rather than to London, and to Cambridge rather than to Oxford. Under those circumstances it did seem to us that there at any rate, was a fund which does not seem ever to have been made very useful, which was evidently intended by the founder to promote university education, and therefore we conceived that that might very properly and in accordance with both the wishes of the founder and the views of the city itself be applied in promoting university education, and that that could not be done better than by assisting the college already in existence and in full working. I may say that I do not think that the body of the graduates of the university, or, so far as I know, those in connexion with the college itself, do at all contemplate seeking to have their college again turned into a university. Speaking, certainly for the body of graduates, I should say there is not the slightest doubt that we are perfectly content to go on as a college in connexion with the University of London. All we desire is that we may have better means of giving the education which we give at University College. We consider that we have a very full curriculum. We know that we have a staff of most distinguished professors, second to none in the kingdom. It is lamentable to see the sacrifices that they are compelled to make in order to further the cause of education. With regard to our medical professors, for a long time all the services in connexion with our hospital were performed entirely gratuitously. It is only within a few years (two or three years, I think) that they have accepted any pay for the most invaluable services they have given. I might mention the names of Sir William Jenner, Professor Erichson, and a considerable number of others, who have been the leading men in the medical profession, and really the value of the services they have rendered is perfectly inconceivable. Our only desire is that we should be enabled to go on in the way that we have gone on, and to perfect the work which we have, to the best of the means entrusted to us, hitherto done. We believe fully that, had we anything like the endowments possessed by some of the older universities (take, for instance, Edinburgh), and even some of the newer universities, we should do an immensely greater work than we are doing at present, and we believe that London is almost the only metropolis in the civilised world which is without a great active university and colleges.
1631. You are only contending that if Parliament should think fit to apply any part of that property to educational purposes your claim is one which ought not to be passed over?—Yes, or if the companies should so think fit.
1634. What you are really asking is not so much that a new departure should be taken in this matter, but that in any new disposition that may be made, if any such disposition is made of the property of the companies, you should not suffer by its being placed in hands which might be less friendly?—Yes.
1638. You cannot say whether any sum, either in the way of subscription or donation, was received from the livery companies of the city ten years ago?—There were the two exhibitions of the Cloth-workers' Company; they gave 50l. a year for each; those were in existence then, and we had, as I stated at the commencement, received from the Fishmongers' Company their subscription for the five shares of 100l. each.
1642. Have you ever applied to the Corporation of the city with respect to the re-appropriation of their moiety towards university purposes?—No, I think we have never made any application of that sort.
1643. I of course quite recognise the propriety of that claim, but I should like to ask you this. You are aware that Sir Thomas Gresham, in addition to the provisions he made with respect to students living and studying in his proposed college, provided that there should be lectures read on a certain number of subjects? —Yes.
1645. I mean separately, that is the point of my question?—No, I think not, because the past history proves that that has been a failure. There have been, I know, good lecturers there. I recollect one, Professor Abdy, who was formerly the Regius Professor of Law at Cambridge.
1646. He is a reader there still, is he not?—I am not quite sure whether he is or not. I recollect his speaking to me many years ago, when first appointed; he took great interest in it, and was very anxious indeed that there should be a good class there, but I do not think that it has ever answered. It has never been possible to get a sufficient number to make it really efficient.
—1647. You are aware, probably as a matter of fact, that the readings which are continued in geometry, astronomy, divinity, and music, and so forth, at the Gresham College are practically useless?—Yes, I believe they are.
1648. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) Following up a question put to you by Lord Derby I suppose your object is this, that in the event of the Commission determining to leave the guilds as they are, and to recommend certain institutions to them to be assisted, you would like to be one of that number?—Quite so.
1649. (Chairman) (To Professor Williamson). We will now ask you if you have anything to state in corroboration of what you have heard said, or if you wish in any way to modify the argument we have listened to. I believe that you are prepared rather to speak upon the technical side of education?—The scientific part of our work is more intimately known to me than the rest, so that I may perhaps chiefly refer to that with your permission.
1650. Exactly?—It has seemed to many that in the interests of higher education it is of considerable importance that in London (the real metropolis of the kingdom) there should be some institutions of efficiency commensurate with the importance of the capital. At present I think it is a matter of notoriety that the scale on which the higher academic work is done here is out of proportion smaller for London than what exists in the leading capitals of Europe, and I may say that when foreigners who are cognizant of the state of things in the leading French and German universities come here and learn the conditions under which we work in the two London colleges, and whilst they compare those conditions with what they know of London, and I may be permitted to add what they know of the quality of the work which is done here, they are almost incredulous that things can be on such a footing as that which actually exists. Now I conceive that it would be right to ask that further monies should be given in aid of such work as is being done by these two colleges if it can be shown that they would be of distinct and definite use in a public point of view. In other words, if the colleges have successfully turned to account such opportunities as they have enjoyed, and if there is room for considerably more work of the same kind as that which they have been doing, it might then reasonably be expected that under the conditions which are requisite for doing more of such work they would be able to do it. Perhaps, it would be most to the point if I were to refer more particularly to the higher general education which is now given with considerable care, I believe with no inconsiderable success at University College and also at King's College, to those who are destined for the medical profession, I ought rather to say for the higher class students who are destined for that profession. It has come to be recognised as expedient for the training of young men to the highest efficiency in that branch of applied science that they should devote a certain period of time at the beginning of their university career to the study of pure science. In this preliminary scientific training they are taught to observe accurately, to record observations accurately, to reason accurately, and in a trustworthy way upon facts established by their own observations. They are taught also to use scientific instruments and apparatus of various kinds for the purpose of making observations which are beyond the reach of the unaided senses. In fact, this preliminary scientific training may be described as serving to develope not merely the power of reasoning accurately upon given premises so as to arrive at a conclusion which is consistent with those premises; but also the power of establishing the premises by experiment, and of checking by experiment the truth of conclusions which have been propounded. It serves also to store the mind with a knowledge of some of the simplest and most fundamental truths which have been established by experimental research, truths which underlie the common phenomena of nature, and of which a knowledge is requisite for all technical pursuits, and, indeed, for most pursuits involving more than mere verbal questions.
There has grown up among the students who follow this course of scientific training a spirit of earnest devotion to such work, which could not have been attained if they had not felt it to be not merely interesting in itself and improving to them, but also calculated to qualify them for far more efficient and successful professional studies than would otherwise have been possible. Each of them is encouraged by the sympathy of others around him who are engaged in similar pursuits, and at the same time aided and stimulated by intercourse with earnest and able students, and by the successful results of their studies.
The intercourse between one another of students with such traditions of earnest work is one of the conditions, and probably one of the most important conditions, of the progress which they make in our colleges.
Now, whilst such efficient and good work is being done in those departments of science which are required by the great majority of the students, we are unable to provide adequately for the higher scientific instruction which is required by some of the ablest of them. These most able students are never very numerous in any college, but the importance of pro viding for them the higher intellectual training which which they desire and need can hardly be over-estimated. It is not merely that their usefulness in after life would be greatly increased by a higher training proportioned to their capacity, it is even more important for the sake of developing and maintaining a really earnest enthusiasm for learning, and a habit of efficient and good work among the great body of college students that these best and most earnest students need to be kept among them while pursuing their higher studies.
I have referred to the elementary scientific training as provided for future medical students, but amongst those who attend these classes in the college there is a considerable number who resort to what I may call preliminary scientific training for the purpose of working at some other technical pursuit, some other branch of applied science that medicine; and it appears from the results of experience that the general system which has been worked out, and which is now established for the preliminary scientific training of medical students before they enter on their professional studies, is suitable (with certain modifications and improvements which will doubtless arise in future) as the best preparation for young men who are destined to work at many other pursuits involving a knowledge of scientific principles, pursuits which one may describe as applied science. Now the city companies have begun at what I may call the material end of this work. They have naturally, and perhaps usefully, had in view chiefly the special working details which need to be practised by workmen in their respective trades, and it seems unlikely from what one knows of the results of similar institutions which are founded specially for purposes of technical and special instruction that they would ever develope that system of work in pure science which experience has shown to be the most effective preparation for young men destined for the highest functions in any technical career.
We have begun at the other end by establishing in the first instance a college for the study of pure science, and by developing, as far as possible, the conditions requisite for the best success in that work, and I believe there is ample evidence (an outline of which is given in the memorandum which has been submitted to your Lordship by the college) that University College and King's College have done good and substantial work in scientific instruction with exceptionally limited resources, and that they are only prevented from doing still more such work by the want of such funds as are furnished to similar colleges in every other civilised country.
All more modern colleges which have been founded, Owen's College, and the more recent ones, have acted upon the results of our experience, which have shown that the first thing to do to form a college is to have the means of placing some men who will do the work of the college in a sufficiently independent position to be able to do the work properly, in fact, to endow chairs reasonably and moderately. Up to the present time most of the chairs in our University College are unendowed, yet such is the spirit which prevails there that more than one of our past professors might be named whose reputations were amongst the highest in their respective branches of learning, yet who worked for the greater part of their lives under financial conditions which would hardly be deemed credible. The dispersion of resources is a matter which ought to be regarded purely from a national point of view; it would be unreasonable, and I think undignified, if we were to object to new and independent institutions being founded instead of aid being given to us if the public interest could thus be best promoted; nay we ought to wish that it should be done, and I have no doubt most of us would wish it; but if it be true, as has been often stated by independent observers, that general preliminary scientific work in London is done less effectually, and that the competition between the schools, which is so important for the due development of their efficiency, is less vigorous and less effective with the existing over-dispersion of resources than they would be if there were a smaller number of schools duly provided, as nearly all continental schools are with the resources requisite for their functions, and if in like manner the efficiency of the work in higher education would not be increased but diminished by a further dispersion of resources, then I conceive that such a system of effective preliminary scientific training as is requisite for the due promotion of technical education can be best obtained by developing the existing resources of the chief academic institutions of the metropolis.
1651. The point I understand you to make is this, that you think there is a danger of too great a dispersion of educational funds?—It has occurred in the past certainly, and it is my opinion that that is so.
1652. In the event of any portion of the funds of these companies being applied to educational purposes, you think that the object should be rather to concentrate than to disperse such assistance?—That is so.
1653. (Mr. Firth.) If public money was given to these two colleges, what form of public control would you-suggest over the colleges?—That is a matter which it might be somewhat hazardous for me to venture a precise suggestion upon; but there are various forms which might reasonably be considered for control. I conceive that it might be safest, perhaps, if any one mode of control alone were not adopted, but if several tests were applied more or less simultaneously. The number of students attending classes, I conceive, would naturally be one of the circumstances to be noted in connexion with the measure of the efficiency of the work, but not alone that, certainly. In some of the highest work there might be only very few students. Then the number of students who pass from the college to the higher degrees of the London University, or to other such public examinations which are of acknowledged merit, should be taken into account.
1654. My question rather was this, this being a grant, either in the form of donation or endowment, of public money which you suggest, what control would you vest in the public, and, if any, what form of control over the expenditure of the public money which you are asking for? Have you considered that? At present I understand it is a quasi private corporation, and there is no public control of any kind?—I do not know that I could safely say what form it could best assume; in principle I assume there can be no difference of opinion that some proper means of seeing that it was rightly used, or of checking it within certain limits, ought to be vested in those who give it.
1655. You would scarcely vest that in the livery companies, of course, would you?—I think some gentlemen on those bodies have been made governors of the college The governors of the college are, as Dr. Wood has explained, the body to whom the college, I may say, belongs, and some of them are elected on the council from time to time, and perhaps in that manner a control might be properly arranged.
1656. (Mr. Alderman Cotton.) I want you to answer this question for Mr. Firth, if I may put it for him; in the event of your receiving, say, 25,000l. per annum for the management of your college, what body ought to look after you in the expenditure of that money? Would you consider that your own body would be quite sufficient, after a publication of accounts, to spend that money?—By control you probably mean one or both of two things; namely, deciding to what special purposes the funds should be devoted, and also ascertaining whether they have been so devoted as to produce good results. I should think it might be difficult to get any body of gentlemen who are, in the first place, more thoroughly impartial, and, at the same time, more able and painstaking than the council who govern the college. Their attendance is singularly regular, and really if any suggestions were made for other control I have no doubt it would be considered, but for my own part I could not con ceive anything better than the way in which our council attends to these matters.
1657. (Chairman to Professor Morley.) We shall be happy to hear anything you have to add to what has already been said ?—I would only add to what has been said by Professor Williamson on behalf of the scientific side of the college, a very few words as the result of my experience of the endeavour of the college during the time I have been connected with it, for 17 years, to make itself a centre of university education. The present relation of the college to the university we are entirely content with. We look upon the University of London, as Dr. Wood's history will show, as really our eldest daughter. We are the original institution, and the eldest birth of University College was the University of London. We received our charters on the same day, and then the work of examining was divided from the teaching; then we undertook to teach, and King's College joined us; and I agree with what has been said, that we in no way separate ourselves from King's College in this application. We look upon King's College as a fellow worker with us now, and as representing the general education of London as apart from special colleges that are established for special purposes. Now I find in looking at what University College has been doing in the direction of university teaching during the last 17 years, that in the first place its work has been recognised by the public, by public support in the sending of students. Seventeen years ago the number of students in the faculties of arts and of science (which are making this application) was 226; in the last year it was 834. We have in 17 years very nearly quadrupled the number of students who were in attendance, and the course of work that has had that result has throughout aimed at university teaching. At the beginning of the period, when our numbers were small there was an experiment in holding evening classes; we had had schoolmaster classes in the evening that were not very successful. In 1866, I think, some influential friends of the college were very anxious that we should endeavour to do what King's College had done with great success, that we should have evening classes, and evening classes were tried—a little against the judgment of the professors—for some years. The opinion of the professors was that King's College was doing that work thoroughly; that it was work worth doing, and worth doing by a body with university pretensions; that the teaching of those who came in the evening— of clerks and others—should be thorough; but at the same time we did not think that it was work in which we should share, and our experiment failed, as it deserved to fail. There were 83 students in the evening classes attending in one year, and 107 in the next; but when the evening classes were dropped the general work of the college, which was distinctly university work—higher teaching—had so far advanced that there was no loss of numbers whatever, but a continued increase in the numbers of the college. Then when there was the bequest of Mr. Felix Slade of money for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and for University College for fine art professorships, University College interpreted that as for work that must be done in direct teaching, and there was a fine art school established, and not simply a professorship. That, of course, brought additional students, and that was one cause of the increase of numbers. Then also during the same interval there has been a development of the education of women. We thought that we ought to lead in that, and we have endeavoured, as representing the teaching body, to lead in the course of education. We established, apart from the college, experimentally, classes for women; they were gradually allowed to be held in the college; and we had so entirely prepared the way when the University of London opened its degrees to women that we were ready to open our classes to women without meeting any difficulty. Not only was the way so well prepared that no doubts were expressed, but I find, on comparing the numbers, that the influx of women was accompanied by a considerable addition to the number of men studying at the college. The opening of the college to women caused a leap in the number of students in the arts and science classes from 470 to 731, but that included an increase of 70 or 80 in the number of men; so that meeting the requirements of the public in that respect only made our general work to be more completely recognised. In that way our progress has been made, and so large an increase in the number of students has brought with it a strong sense of the need of material aid to enable us to go on with our work. The work is continuing, and continuing very rapidly. We can hardly follow the work that is leading us, and we feel everywhere the need of space. During the 17 years, two wings have been put out from the college. The north and south wings did not exist 17 years ago. They have both been built chiefly by aid of private friends of education. It was impossible to obtain more than very slight support from the college funds, the fees from students being entirely unable to meet charges of that kind. The evidence of the firmness with which we have maintained at University College our connexion with the University of London, and our position as a body representing university teaching in London, shows that if this College developed it will only develope more and more completely into a teaching university. I will only add a note or two of the number of graduates from University College who have taken their degrees at London. We have on our list 1,152 students of our College who are graduates of the University, or have been graduates of the University of London. We find that they go on to the higher degrees. Taking the numbers as they stood last year, out of 1,720 bachelors of arts at the university, 495 came from University College. That is about a fourth. But when one passes to the masters of arts it is found that out of 281, 135 of them are from University College; the proportion is about one half, a fourth of the bachelors and one half of the masters of arts. This shows that the tendency of our work is to lead men on to the higher degrees, to attach them to us, and not to make ourselves an institution as an intermediate between schools and Oxford and Cambridge. We have aimed at being a teaching university, and we have looked to the University of London as crowning our work with its degrees. We still wish to do so; and at present we have no thought of asking for in any separate right of conferring degrees. We would go on in the old way with power to enlarge our work, as it promises to enlarge if we have the means to enable us to keep pace with it.
1662. Have you not also considered, or has not Lord Kimberley considered, what the nature of the governing body should be, because you expressly omit any reference to that?—There is no reference whatever to it. We did not contemplate any change in the governing body. The college has been sufficient for its work thus far, and is sufficient to continue its work, and there has been no thought of a change.
1663. I do not know whether you are aware that— I will not say one of the accusations, but one of the points which have perhaps given rise to the present inquiry with reference to the city guilds is that they are possessed of very large sums of money, and have the disposal of them, with no adequate control over them by the State; are you not asking to be put in exactly the same position as the city companies ?—The position in which we stand is that we are answerable to our constituency, that is, to our whole corporation; our accounts are minutely published; they are printed every year and audited. There is a statement of accounts of the minutest detail, and it is submitted to the man body of the corporation. We are responsible to our corporation and to the Charity Commissioners.
1664. Then in that respect there is really very little difference between you and a city company ?—I do not know what the position of the city companies is. We do not come here as complainants against the city companies.
1665. Are we to understand that the University College really contemplates the legislature bestowing so large an income as 25,000l. a year upon them, or nearly half a million of money, without making any provision for control and periodical inquiry into the application of that money; has that never occurred to you ?—We leave that to be suggested to us when the grant is made. Any fair condition of inspection and control we should of course not object to.
1666. Does it not seem rather inconsistent to suggest how the money should be applied (which you have done here in print with Lord Kimberley's name attached to it) without at the same time assisting us upon the point of who is to be the governing body ?— The reply to that is that we should look to have the grant with the conditions upon which it would be conceded to us; the conditions should come together with the grant.
(Dr. Wood.) What we really always have felt has been that our history in the past is a guarantee for the future. We have raised this enormous sum of money (for it is an enormous amount that has been raised by the college), and with that we done a great work, and we consider that what we have done in the past is a guarantee for what we shall do in the future, in other words that we have earned a right to be trusted.
(Mr. Pell.) You have earned the right, but have you not failed in earning an adequate income; your students have increased very much in number, I think Professor Morley said, but still he said that that justified your asking for more material assistance from the outside.
(Dr. Wood.) As a lawyer I know, perhaps, more about that, if Professor Morley will allow me to answer. It is only the special funds that are under the control of the Charity Commissioners, not, of course, the general funds.
1669. Would you suggest that those funds if given to you should be under the control of the Charity Commissioners ?—If that were made a condition; if we are not thought worthy of more trust than that, we should not refuse it I have no doubt.
(Sir G. Young.) I would add one remark. I think it would be only proper in this connexion that a special reference should be made to the endowment which we are at present enjoying from the City and Guilds of London Institute to the extent of 200l. a year paid in support of each of two chairs for the purpose of extending our chemical and engineering teaching in the technical direction. Two chairs have been founded, which are called the Chairs of Chemical and Mechanical Technology, which have had considerable success and are very well attended.—With respect to the point which has just been the subject of inquiry I, myself, made a remark upon it. I do not know that it is necessary for me to sever myself from those present here with me; but so far as I am concerned, and I think I speak the general impression on the part of the Council, I may say that where public funds are paid, public control of an effective kind must be contemplated; and that if, as appeared to be Mr. Pell's opinion, our statement is defective in not containing anything as to the express mode in which that control should be exercised, that must rather be ascribed to the uncertainty we at present labour under, from what quarters we are to contemplate any such large increase to our funds. Although we have asked for 25,000l. a year, and although we are at present receiving support from the livery and city guilds, we hope to obtain large sums as we have done in the past from the public generally. It is, moreover, quite possible that we may yet obtain funds from the State. Therefore I conceive that it would be quite premature for us to suggest any plan for the exercise of that control. If we obtained large subsidies from the city and livery companies, then, no doubt, some control should be exercised on their part; if we obtain them from the State there should be State control. If we continue to obtain the funds that we require, as we require them, from the public at large, then some such control as we are at present subject to, namely, the control of public opinion, would probably be sufficient.
1672. (Chairman.) Let me ask you just one question upon that last remark of yours. In the event of your receiving large assistance from the State or from funds that formerly belonged to the companies do you not think that the effect of your being so provided for would be very much to diminish the flow of subscriptions and donations from the general public, would it not be thought that you were well enough off to do without them?—Quite the contrary. I am convinced that the position in which we should then be placed as a public institution,—I am not saying the fact that we were supported by public funds, but the public recognition which would be given to us— would at once enable us to surmount the great difficulty which has beset us since our foundation, namely, that we have to a certain extent the colour of a private institution.