[ First Oxford University Commission, 1850-1852. ] Various Autograph Drafts of the response of Rev, Dr Richard Harington, Principal of Brasenose College, to the recommendations of the Report of the Commissioners to both Houses of Parliament.

Rev. Richard Harington D.D. (1800-1853), Principal of Brasenose College [ First Oxford University Commission, 1850-1852; Archibald Campbell Tait (1811-1882), Archbishop of Canterbury ]
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[ Brasenose College, University of Oxford. 1852. ]
SKU: 20022

The Law Magazine, in its issue of August-November 1852, praised the report as 'most valuable' and 'meritorious', noting among the obstacles to its completion 'the resolute and dogged refusal of information on the part of many, intimately connected with the University', including Harington's college Brasenose. The Spectator discussed the report on 29 May 1852, and reproduced all 47 recommendations on 5 June 1852. One of the leading lights of the Commission was the future Archbishop of Canterbury Archibald Campbell Tait, and his entry in the Oxford DNB contains a useful account of his involvement: 'in 1850, when Lord John Russell contemplated appointing a commission to tackle the reform of Oxford, he sounded out Tait as a potential commissioner. Tait not only agreed but encouraged Russell to stick to his guns when the ecclesiastical interests of Oxford cried out in alarm at the prospect of reform. Once appointed, Tait threw himself into the work of the commission. He took a special interest in the admission of ‘unattached’ students, who might enjoy the benefits of education at Oxford without the costs associated with membership in its constituent colleges. His German experience fortified the commission's determination to make professors central to the lecturing at the university. Tait also encouraged the commission's efforts to reduce the restriction of teaching positions in the colleges and university to the clergy, believing that this reform would put the clergy in touch with the thinking of the laity and, so far as religious education was concerned, would only intensify commitment to it by making it voluntary.' 75pp., 8vo. On rectos of leaves of Whatman paper with watermarked date 1845, mostly arranged in bundles of bifoliums, some of which are stitched. In good condition, lightly aged and worn. Mostly fair copies, with a couple of earlier drafts. ONE: Section (9pp.) responding to the Commission's fourth conclusion, which is printed on a slip of paper at the head: '4. That the Vice-Chancellor should be appointed absolutely by the Chancellor from the Heads of Colleges and Halls; and that the passage in the Laudian Statutes, which seems to give Convocation a veto on the appointment, should be removed from the Statute Book.' Towards the end Harington gives his view on whether the 'authority of the Vice Chancellor on the Halls has become merely nominal': 'the Aularian Statutes, which are part and parcel of the academical code do unquestionably place the Head of a Hall in a degree of subordination to the Vice Chancellor in which no Head of a College is placed'. He concludes, regarding 'the whole scheme': 'the enlargement of the present cycle would be undesirable upon this ground – The present cycle, comprising (with the omission of Christ Church) eighteen Colleges passes round in 25 or 30 years. At which date the Vice Chancellor is usually appointed between the ages of 50 and 55. If five more Heads are added the cycle the period of revolution would be proportionately increased, and the effect of this would be to raise the average age of the Vice Chancellor by a number of years which might be open to grave objection on the part of the University as well as on his own'. TWO: Four miscellaneous leaves of drafts, carrying 5pp. of text. One leaf, with two pages of text, with emendations suggesting that it is an original composition and not a quotation, beginning: 'Resolved, | That in the opinion of this Committee it is expedient that so much of the Statute Tit. III § I as prohibits the residence of Undergraduate Members of the University in Houses [the words 'or Tenements' deleted here] annexed to Colleges or Halls, unless the sole access to such Houses shall be by the Common Gate, be repealed and amended; and that Undergraduates be permitted to reside in any House in Oxford annexed to their Colleges or Halls respectively'. With a bifolium on which a piece of paper with the printed text of the second resolution of the committee is laid down. THREE: Section of 12pp., headed with a slip of paper carrying printed text headed 'Extract from the Conclusion of the Report of the Oxford University Commission', giving the first recommendation, on the 'State and Discipline of the University'. It quotes heavily from the statutes, and contains a section headed: 'History of the Formation of the three commonly called “Caroline Statutes,” and of the Statute concerning appeals.' Incomplete: ends abruptly. Accompanied by a leaf carrying an earlier draft of one of the section's pages. FOUR: Two incomplete sections (36pp. and 11pp.) containing extracts from the statutes in English and Latin. The longer section contains the heading 'The general Reformation of the Statutes'. From the papers of the Harington baronets of Ridlington.