HC Deb 15 July 1822 vol 7 cc1660-1

Lord Binning moved, "That the petition of the contributors to the National Monument in Scotland, for aid towards building a Church to be connected there with, be referred to the Committee of Supply,"

Mr. Hume

would put it to the House if this was the time to encourage by gift of 10,000l. of the public money, the building of a Parthenon upon the Caltonhill at Edinburgh? The 100,000l. out of which this money was proposed to be taken, had been voted, not to build Parthenons but churches.

Sir R. Wilson

thought it most indecent to talk in the present state of Ireland, of giving 10,000l. to build an ornamental temple.

Mr. Hudson Gurney

said, it was with great regret he opposed the motion. So far from thinking under ordinary circumstances, that the erection of monuments of national magnificence was a waste of the opulence of a state, he considered them objects of the highest political importance. But, at the present moment, when we had had discussion, night after night, on the situation of the starving population of Ireland—when we had had complaint upon complaint of the general embarrassment of all classes in England and Scotiandit—it did seem impossible to come to a vote of giving 10,000l. to the decoration of a church Edinburgh as a national monument. The erection of the English monuments voted in a moment of national effervescence at the conclusion of the war had been put off, sine die, wisely: and no man, he believed, would now think of commmencing them. He had likewise another objection to the grant proposed—100,000l. had been voted for the erection of churches in Scotland, in such districts as either by their great extent, or increased population, were, at present, unprovided with places of public worship, and also for endowing ministers to officiate in them when built. Now, the taking 10,000l. from a fund voted for these purposes, for the sake of applying it towards the building of a church of mere ornament in Edinburgh, did appear to him a misapplication of the money totally unjustifiable [Hear, bear!].

Mr. Monck

said, that this magnificent, temple placed as it was on the top of a hill, might be good as an object to the inhabitants of Edinburgh, but was by no means so as a place of worship. He did not dispute the propriety of gentlemen erecting such a monument of their gratitude out of their own pockets; but he must object to wringing the money out of the purses of a people already overburthened by taxation.

Mr. Bennet

said, that when he gave his consent to the grant of 100,000l. for building churches in Scotland, it was not for the purpose of gratifying the taste of the people of Edinburgh in splendid buildings. If they had a fancy to exhibit their taste to the world, he thought it but fair that they should indulge it at their own expense, and not out of the pockets of the people of England.

Mr. C. Grant

was of opinion, that to grant 10,000l. for the erection of a splendid object in the town of Edinburgh, would be a gross misapplication of the public money. He could not help recollecting that there were several parishes in the highlands, full forty miles in extent, without a single church in them. The propriety of this grant ought to be submitted to the general assembly of the church of Scotland.

Lord Binning

said, he should be the last man in the world to make the motion, if it would have the effect of depriving Ireland of any part of the assistance to which she had so strong a claim. But it was only intended to give a particular direction to money already voted by the House. The population of Edinburgh had considerably increased of late, and the increase of churches had not been in proportion. He would, however, withdraw his motion.