Facts, Figures, and Fancies
FACTS, FIGURES, AND FANCIES,
THE ELECTIONS TO THE HEBDOMADAL COUNCIL,
THE OFFER OF THE CLARENDON TRUSTEES,
THE PROPOSAL TO THE CONVERT THE PARKS INTO CRICKET-GROUNDS.
"THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEWED.
FIRST PRINTED IN 1866–1868.
JAMES PARKER AND CO.
E. PICKARD HALL AND J. H. STACY,
PRINTERS TO THE UNIVERSITY.
In the year 1866, a Letter with the above title was published in Oxford, addressed to the Senior Censor of Christ Church, with the twofold object of revealing to the University a vast political misfortune which it had unwittingly encountered, and of suggesting a remedy which should at once alleviate the bitterness of the calamity and secure the sufferers from its recurrence. The misfortune thus revealed was no less than the fact that, at a recent election of Members to the Hebdomadal Council, two Conservatives had been chosen, thus giving a Conservative majority in the Council; and the remedy suggested was a sufficiently sweeping one, embracing, as it did, the following details:—
1. "The exclusion" (from Congregation) "of the non-academical elements which form a main part of the strength of this party domination." These "elements" are afterwards enumerated as "the parish clergy and the professional men of the city, and chaplains who are without any academical occupation."
2. The abolition of the Hebdomadal Council.
3. The abolition of the legislative functions of Convocation.
These are all the main features of this remarkable scheme of Reform, unless it be necessary to add
4. "To preside over a Congregation with full legislative powers, the Vice-Chancellor ought no doubt to be a man of real capacity."
But it would be invidious to suppose that there was any intention of suggesting this as a novelty.
The following rhythmical version of the Letter developes its principles to an extent which possibly the writer had never contemplated.
Letter from Mr. Gladstone to the Vice-Chancellor.
Dear Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
The Clarendon Trustees...... are ready, in concert with the University, to consider of the best mode of applying the funds belonging to them for "adding to the New Museum Physical Laboratories and other accommodation requisite for the department of Experimental Philosophy."
I have the honour to remain,
Dear Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
Very faithfully yours.
May 3, 1867.W. E. Gladstone.
The following passages are quoted from a paper which appeared on the subject.
"As Members of Convocation are called upon to consider the offer of the Clarendon Trustees, to employ the funds at their disposal in the erection of additional buildings to facilitate the study of Physics, they may perhaps find it useful to have a short statement of the circumstances which render additional buildings necessary, and of the nature of the accommodation required."
"Again, it is often impossible to carry on accurate Physical experiments in close contiguity to one another, owing to their mutual interference; and consequently different processes need different rooms, in which these delicate instruments, which are always required in a particular branch of science, have to be carefully and permanently fixed."
"It may be sufficient, in order to give an idea of the number of rooms required, to enumerate the chief branches of Physics which require special accommodation, owing to their mutual interference.
- (1) Weighing and measuring.
- (2) Heat.
- (3) Radiant Heat.
- (4) Dispersion of Light. Spectrum Analysis, &c.
- (5) General optics.
- (6) Statical electricity.
- (7) Dynamical electricity.
- (8) Magnetism.
- (9) Acoustics.
Of these, (5) requires one large room or three smaller rooms, and these, together with those devoted to (3) and (4), should have a south aspect. Besides the fixed instruments, there is a large quantity of moveable apparatus, which is either used with them or employed in illustrating lectures; and this must be carefully preserved from causes of deterioration when not in use; for this purpose a large room fitted with glass cases is required. A store-room for chemicals and other materials used is also necessary."
"As Photography is now very much employed in multiplying results of observation, in constructing diagrams for lectures, &c., and as it is in fact a branch of Physics, a small Photographic room is necessary, both for general use and for studying the subject itself."
Notice from the Vice-Chancellor.
"A form of Decree to the following effect will be proposed:—
1. That the Curators of the Parks be authorised to receive applications from Members of the University for Cricket-grounds in the Parks, and that public notice be issued to that effect, a time being fixed within which applications are to be sent in.
2. That at the expiration of such time the Curators be authorised to make Cricket-grounds, and allot them to Cricket-clubs or Colleges from which applications have been received, according to priority of application.
F. K. Leighton,
April 29, 1867.