19 DECEMBER 1885, Page 15



SIR,—Members of Convocation will join in the feeling you express ; and, indeed, it is true that method and order were much to be desired on December 8th. But when a great machinery is undergoing alterations, some hammering may fairly be expected. Those who wish to transform the London University can scarcely hope to exercise such enchantment that all will take place with the noiseless ease of the proper move- ments for which its well-articulated mechanism was designed. And the future will, I fear, still more plainly show that Convo- oation is not exempt from natural consequences, nor will it collide with other great bodies and undergo great change of structure, and preserve at the same time that easy and peaceful play of movement which you remember it once to have enjoyed.

The reason of the friction in Convocation is no mere question of conduct. The fact is, that the smaller and somewhat mixed committee to whose hands Convocation has confided the scheme of Lord Justice Fry's Committee are asking Convocation to take up an obstructive and unjust position with regard to the general movement for larger, wider, and more equitable Univer- sity influence. And this has not yet been sufficiently proved in Convocation,-so that proceedings there are taking incompatible directions, hence internal strain and resistance.

To be brief, Convocation has unanimously declared that the degrees of the London University shall not be lowered, and every evidence is given that the members of Convocation hold to this as their fixed determination. The Senate would prove the same resclntion, if possible, still more firmly.

But, Sir, there is a great outcry in London, and especially in its medical schools and colleges, demanding a degree that shall be distinctly and decidedly lower in its requirements than the present M.D. Loud., which is well known to exceed all others in severity of standard.

I was, as Mr. Magnus did me the honour to mention, present at the informal meeting of his supporters. After a first universal affirmation that the degrees should not be lowered, the next vote was that the rise of any other University in London is not allow- able. In vain I pointed out that these resolutions are incom- patible, or only compatible if the University is going to oppose the giving of fair degrees in London by others at the same time that it refuses to give fair degrees itself. Such a dog-in-the- manger policy is not reasonable, nor does it deserve to succeed. Opposition to it will not diminish but increase; and the question will have to be defined with increasing clearness in Convocation until graduates fully understand that they must now choose between sacrificing the value of their proofs of unusual attain- ment on the one hand, and allowing the rise of another Uni- versity on the other.

At present there are outside the University two distinct movements, the object of which is extension of University influence in the Metropolis. One of these movements is that known as the Teaching University scheme. The other is the movement of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, who are coming forward to claim the right of giving degrees.

What Convocation is doing amounts to this :—It declares it will not satisfy the demand for extension of graduation in London in the one direction in which that extension is needed. It will not give " fair " or " equitable " degrees ; by "fair " and " equitable " I mean degrees awarded for attainments equal to those required for M.D. at Edinburgh or at Aberdeen. Mean- time it is elaborating extensive schemes aimed at drawing such bodies as the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and the Medical Schools into a quiescent union with itself on these obstructive terms, such terms being utterly destructive of the great aim and determination of the Royal Colleges.--I am, Sir, &c., Finsbury Circus, December 15th. WALTER MOXON.