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The proposal for King's College

drawing of Hugh James RoseReverend Hugh James Rose, second principal 1836-1838 Despite many areas of agreement, the reformers were divided over the question of religion, between philosophical radicals who wanted to exclude the subject from the syllabus, and a sizeable body of Anglicans who wished to provide religious education in accordance with the principles of the established church.

Supporters of the secular model sponsored the foundation of the London University in Gower Street in 1826, which later became known as University College.

The Anglican establishment responded with proposals of their own. Preaching in Cambridge in October 1826, Hugh James Rose, later to be the second Principal of King's College, and a founding figure in the Oxford Movement, lamented this trend towards secularism and asserted the importance of a religious education in shaping the moral identity of the nation's youth.

Many Anglican clergy and laymen shared such sentiments, but it was not until February 1828 that they were made concrete by the publication of an open letter to the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel. Its author was the Rector of Lambeth, Dr George D'Oyly, a close friend of Rose and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Manners Sutton.

In the letter, D'Oyly advocated the opening of a second university in London offering a practical and modern course of instruction with a strong moral and religious basis.

The letter proved decisive in shaping opinion and securing the backing for the new college of the then Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington. More detailed planning could now get under way.

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