WITH the number of their undergraduates reduced by some 66 per
cent., the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are suffering from
severe financial embarrassment. It has, in consequence, become
necessary for them to invoke the aid of Parliament in relieving
them of some of their statutory obligations, and enabling them to
take special measures in regard to the abnormal state of things
created by the war. Last week the Universities and Colleges
(Emergency Powers) Bill was introduced by Mr Attorney-General, but
on Tuesday the Prime Minister himself moved the Second Reading. In
supporting the motion, Mr Walter Long felicitously expressed the
pleasure that all University men would feel in Mr Asquith's
chivalrous support of his own and the sister University.
Oxford and Cambridge between them are represented in the Army by
6,000 members or thereabouts. That is to say, most of the men who
are physically fit have been accepted for service. It appears that
out of eighty-nine Oxford Blues of 1913-14, eighty are with His
Majesty's forces. That this patriotic spirit prevails at these
ancient seats of learning, at which it is rather the fashion to
sneer, is due, in no small degree, to the tradition of the public
schools, at which, again, glib talkers delight to sneer.
Whatever else they may teach, or neglect to teach, at least they
instil into their sons the sense of public duty, even if they
convey that teaching in the form of the precept to "play the
archive is available free to postal subscribers.