Ittttro to th (Eitnr.
UNIVERSITY REFORM: TEE DISSENTERS.
Canzbeitcta, 31st Jaattary 1854. Sun—As a Dissenter, it was with great 'satisfaction that I observed the liberal tone of "A Resident Fellow's' letter in the last Spectator, and idso the fact that there is a class of Liberal Churchmen at present willing to throw open the Universities-even to Dissenters. It is not unreasonable, therefore, that this class should look to Dissenters for aid in obtaining the largest possible amount of University reform, and should regard its absence as inconsistent with their general profession of desire to reform 'recognised abuses in Church and State. To the eye of " A Resident Fellow," no doubt, the want of cooperation appears very much like an exhibition of a " dog in the manger" spirit : on examination, however, this may not be so. It the Dissenters hesitate giving active assistance to the preseat movement for University Reform, their hesitation arises net so much from a want of zeal, as from the fear that, in aiding a movement which offers only a small reform as compared with what ought to -be obtained, they become a party to an in- definite postponement of an acknowledgment of their own claims. Indeed, it is not sure that, by assisting the class of Churchmen now desiring reform, that when realized in so far as Churchmen are especially interested, Dis- senters would not be adding another obstacle to that further reform which would be necessary in order to obtain justice for themselves. Dissenters would give active and zealous aid to liberal and reforming Churchmen in their present struggle, if, when over, they could be assured the Churchmen would continue liberal and reforming, actively and zealously assisting the Dissenters in obtaining their due. Experience teaches that no reliance could be implicitly placed on such cooperation. The Dissenters, single- handed, would not be a match against Churchmen generally ; but so long as the liberal class of Churchmen and Dissenters make common cause, the two united are powerful, and by persevering efforts a full measure of reform might be gut which would render justice to all,' instead of an instalment which would benefit a portion only. By waiting, the smaller reform can- not be jeopardized ; whereas by the acceptance of an instalment the larger measure may be indefinitely postponed. It is not, therefore, unreasonable or unduly selfish in the Dissenters to ask the liberal class of Churchmen to wait " a little longer." Admirable as your correspondent's letter is in the main, it has, I regret to say, the taint of obstructiveness in it. He will not have any education but what contains his religious element. He does not say so in express terms, but he means it. He says, " unseetarianize our education, and you purify it" ; and so I think : but he adds, " unchristianize it, and you destroy it." Destroy what? not a secular education certainly, nor even a religious or theological one. " A Resident Fellow" is somewhat obscure in his phrase- ology ; but no doubt he intends to convey what I have stated. The Universities are national institutions, and as such should be open to all sects alike. So long as religious tests for admission are required, they will be exclusive, and a considerable portion of the community will be un- justly deprived of their advantages. I trust, however, that we are ou the eve of a better understanding in regard to matters of education, not only as referring to the Universities but to the education of the people generally, from the highest grades to the lowest.