[ Royal Commission on Cathedrals, 1853 ] Signed Copy of long Autograph Letter from Rev. Dr Richard Harington, Principal of Brasenose College, responding to circular letter signed by Richard Jones, Secretary. With printed 'copy of the Commission'.

Rev. Richard Harington D.D. (1800-1853), Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford; Rev. Richard Jones, Secretary of the Royal Commission on Cathedrals in Whitehall
Publication details: 
All three items from 1853. Harington's letter from Brasenose College, Oxford. Jones's circular letter from Cathedral Commission, 1 Parliament Street, Whitehall, London.
SKU: 19993

Three items in fair condition, lightly aged and worn. Harington's 28-page letter is a significant assessment, by a senior member of the university, of the situation in the period immediately preceding the Oxford University Act of 1854. ONE: Signed Autograph Copy of Letter from 'Richd Harington' to 'The Rev. R. Jones'. Brasenose College, Oxford. 28pp., foolscap 8vo. On seven bifoliums of grey paper. Deletions and emendations throughout. Writing in response to Item Two below, Harington offers his own 'observations', '[u]nder the impression that the Commissioners desire to collect the individual opinions of Members of this University'. He begins: 'Besides the instruction supplied to all the Undergraduates by the Tutors of their respective Colleges, the special provision for Theological teaching in the University comprises the Regius and Margaret Professorships of Divinity, and the recently founded Professorships of Pastoral Theology, of Ecclesiastical History and of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, to which may be added the Regius Professorship of Hebrew. | These Institutions would, I apprehend, be considered by most persons as sufficient to supply to those who are in a condition to avail themselves of the means of instruction which they afford, all that is wanted for the preparation of Candidates for Holy Orders, and if full advantage be taken of them, nothing more would seem to be required for the assistance of Theological Students in the University.' (Later he refers to '[t]he extensive and powerful Machinery for the training of Students in Theology which is in actual operation in this University'.) He proceeds to discuss what he sees as the failure of the 'Voluntary Examination in Theology' introduced by the University in 1842, concluding that 'the paucity of the candidates who have presented themselves for the examination proves nothing but that in general they have been indifferent to the personal distinction of passing such an ordeal'. He considers the question whether 'the recent and growing extension of Theological Study in this University may be ascribed (as its voluntary character would seem to indicate) to an increased and increasing desire on the part of candidates for Holy Orders to qualify themselves for the more efficient discharge of their sacred function'. Another question dealt with by Harington is whether 'Bishops have been disinclined to enforce attendance on the course of Theological Study indicated by the Statute of 1842 on account of the additional residence at Oxford which such attendance would require'. Other topics include 'the systematic training of Theological Students in the University'; 'University Professorships' and 'the Theological ability and learning of the Church of England'; whether 'the Universities are in a condition to furnish a guarantee for uniformity in religious teaching which probably could not be obtained from an aggregate of Cathedral Colleges'; the 'Constitution of the Universities'; whether the universities are 'too exclusively exponents of the principle of Stability'; the views of the Rev. C. Herbert, Rector of Burslem, on 'clerical education'; 'the standard of public opinion among he Students' in 'a great University'; the 'value and importance of an Academical degree'; 'those whose circumstances have hitherto excluded them from participation in the benefits of an education at the University'; whether 'the institution of Theological Colleges in Cathedral Churches would be the best means of improving the training and education of the future Clergy'; and the possibility of requiring 'each Chapter […] to provide, in proportion to the magnitude of its resources, a certain number of Theological Scholarships or Exhibitions, to be held at any College in either University by Students of a certain standing'. TWO: Printed circular letter, signed by 'Rd. Jones', Secretary, Cathedral Commission, Whitehall. 29 June 1853. 1p., foolscap 8vo. On forwarding 'a copy of the Commission' (i.e. Item Three below), Jones has been instructed by the commissioners to request 'the opinion and advice of your University on the following subject. | Two of the Canonries of Christ Church having been annexed in the reign of King Charles 1st. to Professorships devoted to the promotion of Theological learning to which three more have been added recently, one of them with especial reference to the duties of the Pastoral Office; - The Commissioners are desirous of ascertaining the opinion of the University and of the Professors as to whether the Theological lectures in the University may be considered as supplying all that is wanted for the preparation of Candidates for Holy Orders, or whether it will be desirable to institute Theological Colleges in connexion with some of the Cathedral Churches.' THREE: Printed copy of the 'Commission for Inquiring into the State of the Cathedral and Collegiate Churches in England and Wales, and matters connected therewith.' Signed in type by 'S. H. Walpole.' 3pp., foolscap 8vo. Bifolium on grey paper. In small pseudo-copperplate type, headed with the name 'Victoria R.' beneath the royal coat of arms. Enquiring after ways in which 'Cathedral and Collegiate Churches may be rendered more available for promoting the high and holy purposes for which they were founded, and for further extending the efficiency and usefulness of the Established Church'. Note: No other copies of the prinetd items have yet been traced (COPAC etc).