Trttrro t>i tO thitor.
THE OXFORD CHANCELLORSHIP.
28th September 1852.
Bin—Allow me to thank you for your admirable article on the above sub- ject, and to suggest two additional arguments—the latter perhaps rather an amplification of one of your own—against Lord Derby's pretensions to the headship of our University.
1st. The party of which that nobleman is the head has just been putting itself in a posture of declared opposition to learning and talent in general, and to distinguished Oxford men in particular. Four eminent members of the House of Commons, all Oxford men who have crowned academical by political distinction, have been made the objects of their attacks, and in three cases they have succeeded. Derbyite intrigue, backed in at least one case by direct Government influence, has substituted some obscure reactionaries for Mr. Roundel' Palmer, Mr. :artlwell, and Mr. Cornewall Lewis ; the same. party also notoriously promoted the still more scandalous attack upon Mr. Gladstone. If for all this the University rewards the head of that faction -with her Chancellorship, is it not equivalent to an expression of approval of Inch treatment of her own worthy alumni,—I may add, of penitence for not choosing Dr. Bullock Mareham as her spokesman in the House of Commons? 2d. It can hardly be doubted that one motive of the Hebdomadal pro- ceeding is the hope that a Protectionist Premier-Chancellor may burke, or at least stave off, any proceedings grounded on the late Commission. Now, I am as opposed to the Commission and its proceedings as Dr. Gaisford or Dr. denkyns can be ; but I hold that such a report, coming at such a time and in such a form, ought not to be burked, but answered. Its statements are often inaccurate, its suggestions are mostly dangerous; still it has a prima facie weight about it which entitles it to a thorough refutation. No- Thing can be more shortsighted than this Amyclasan policy of holding one's peace and ignoring all existing circumstances. By electing a Liberal Con- servative statesman like the Duke of Newcastle, we should pledge ourselves neither to obscurantism nor to reckless innovation, but to progressive reform on sound English principles ; by choosing the head of the retrograde faction, we simply indorse every existing abuse, including the grand abuse of all, the Hebdomadal Board.
I trust it is not too late even now to choose a more worthy head. If all those who have said that they wished for the Duke of Newcastle, but that Earl Derby was inevitable, and so by folding their hands have made him inevit- able, had acted the moment the Hebdomadal dodge oozed out, things would have been very different. At all events, it is not too late for a protest, so that no one may be able to call the choice unanimous. My own first thought when I received the Derbyite manifesto was, " I &ave a plumper for Gladstone ; I don't repent of it, and I won't stultify it." This seems to me to contain the whole gist of the matter.