HC Deb 20 June 1823 vol 9 cc1112-27

The House having resolved itself into a committee of supply,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer,

in submitting to the committee a vote for the erection of a new building, for the reception of his late majesty's Library, at the British Museum, observed, that he supposed the gentlemen whom he then addressed had read the report relative to the magnificent donation of his majesty. That report fully stated the reasons why his late majesty's library should be placed in the custody of those who presided over the British Museum. Though he had not, in consequence of the pressure of public business, been able constantly to attend the meetings of the committee from, whom that report had emanated, he was yet satisfied, from the discussions which had taken place there, and from the concurrent feeling of all those whom he had consulted on the subject, that the most convenient situation, in every respect, for the disposition of that library, was under the roof, of the British Museum. But the committee was, perhaps, aware, that the state of the British Museum was such as rendered it perfectly incapable of containing the treasure winch the bounty of the sovereign had bestowed upon his people. If, there fore, the library were attached to the British Museum, it would be necessary that means should be found to provide a suitable building for its reception. The committee appeared very desirous, that the library should be deposited in the British Museum, and that it should be separated from every other part of the collections contained in the building, although the rooms in which it was placed should form a part of the general structure. The idea which prevailed in the committee was, that the new building for this library should be erected in such a manner as to form a part of a large building; it being evident to every one who looked at the British Museum, that no great time could elapse before it would be found necessary to rebuild the whole of that structure. It would, therefore, be unwise to adapt the new building to the existing architecture of the British Museum. It was intended, in consequence, that the contemplated building should be formed as part of a new plan; without aiming, on the one hand, at any ostentatious display of architectural grandeur; but taking care, on the other, that the principles of sound taste, and of simple elegance, should not be over-looked. It was proposed to erect such a building as would do honour to the rich and powerful metropolis which was the possessor of those inestimable treasures. Every lover of literature must be anxious that they should be placed in a building commensurate with their great worth and value. He was now about to call on the committee for the first vote of money for that object. He should propose a resolution for a grant of 40,000l. Whether that would be sufficient for the completion of the building it was impossible to say, but that was all which it was necessary to call for in the way of advance at the present moment. The right hon. gentleman then moved, "That 40,000l. be granted to his majesty, towards defraying the expense of buildings at the British Museum, for the reception of the Royal Library, and for providing for the officers of the establishment of the said Library, for the year 1823."

Mr. Hobhouse

said, that in objecting to the motion, he did so with considerable diffidence, considering the superior information on this subject which Was possessed by those gentlemen who formed the committee, and who had drawn up the report. Still, however, he had many and great objections to the proposition of the right hon. gentleman, which he felt himself bound to state to the committee. In the first place he wished it to be understood, that he made no objection what- ever on the score of economy. For the honour of the nation, and of those who represented it, he should be extremely glad, not only that every thing which was necessary should be granted, but he would even go to a point of superfluity, for the purpose of preserving this magnificent collection as it ought to be preserved; for it was perhaps the most splendid collection of books, on subjects of the greatest interest, that ever graced this or any other country. The report to which the right hon. gentleman had alluded was, he admitted, drawn up with considerable ability; still, however, he must observe, that it gave, comparatively, but very little information as to the value, in a mental point of view, of this copious and excellent collection. This library was designed for statesmen and politicians; and more particularly for those who wished to inform themselves on the history and constitution of this country. It abounded in geographical and topographical works; The Survey of Scotland, the Ordnance Surveys (at least so he understood), and many other maps and plans of a similar nature, were comprised in this grand collection. Generally speaking, it would be in vain to look to any other place for the mass of information, interesting to the statesman, the politician, and the scholar. They were informed by the report that his late majesty had expended nearly 120,000l. or about 2,000l. a year out of his privy purse during a period of sixty years, in the purchase of this library; But he understood that 200,000l. would not now be sufficient to purchase a similar collection. It was to the immortal honour of his late majesty that he had formed this collection without calling for any aid from government and sorry should he be if this great country, renowned for its devotion to the arts and the liberal sciences, should be the only one in Europe where a royal library was not attached to a royal palace. Those who had seen the palace where this library was originally deposited, must admit that it was a receptacle every way worthy of such precious treasures. The octagon-room, the great room, and the remaining apartments, for there were six of them, were all of them fitted up in a style worthy of the purpose to which, they were appropriated. No person could wander about those rooms, and view, even cursorily, the treasures they contained, without seeing the propriety, if possible, of retain- ing them in a royal residence. If those rooms were to be stripped of the treasures which they had so long contained (and he was grieved to hear that such was the intention), was there no other royal palace to which they could be removed? He did not deny that the gift to the people by his majesty was a noble one but he must say, if he could keep that royal library where it at present was, he, as one of the people, would willingly forego his share of that gift. But if it should happen, as the rumour went, that this octagon-room was to be appropriated to a strange, and a very different purpose, with what melancholy feelings would Englishmen in future times, when showing the palace, confess that the founder, George III, designed it, first for a chapel, and secondly for a scarcely less holy purpose, the reception of this library; while, now, alas! the only books which were received of were some stray pamphlets used for the purpose of heating a stove or warming a bath. Scarcely had the Alexandrian library shared a more lamentable, fate. It was, he assured the House, rather for information than with any other intention that he asked whether his majesty had any right to give away these books? Would he have any right to sell? He would not; and therefore he had a right to infer that he could not dispose of them in any manner. He was not certain that the library was in the nature of an heir-loom; but he thought it was. To refer to that authority so commonly quoted in the House—that of Mr. Justice Blackstone—he looked upon the library in the same light as the crown jewels, which that learned judge had said were Unalienable from the person of the king; because they were necessary to support the dignity of the sovereign for the time being. If the crown, and the sceptre, and the jewels, were thus thought necessary for the maintenance of the kingly state, he considered that this noble collection of books was no less necessary, and would much more contribute to that purpose. By the provisions of the king's Private-property act, it was provided, that in case no actual disposition should be made by will, all other methods of distributing, the property should be void. Now, his late majesty had made no will, and therefore, if the former part of his argument had been correct, the books could not have been disposed of. The manifest intention of his late majesty was, that the library should be forever attached to one of the royal palaces. That he had never intended to send this portion of his books to the British Museum, was evident from the magnificent donation which he made to that institution in his life-time, of pamphlets and manuscripts. If, therefore, the House was desirous to effectuate the late king's wishes, they never would sanction the removal of his books from a royal palace; and the more particularly when there was not the shadow of evidence, that his late majesty wished his books to go to the British Museum. It appeared to him, that one way of satisfying the intentions of his late majesty presented itself. If it were not asking too much of his present majesty, he thought Buckingham-house might be left open to those who chose to consult the books in that place, where they were situated to the utmost advantage. His majesty holding, as he did, only a few courts in the year at this palace, might spare some days in every week for the public to refer to those books. But, if this were too much, still the objections to the British Museum remained as strong and as numerous as before. The first intimation of this building being the intended receptacle for the books came from lord Liverpool. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his announcement of the subject, had never hinted at this. It was very natural that the trustees of the British Museum should see at once that their house was of all others the best adapted to preserve the library; and without supposing they were actuated by any unworthy motives, he (Mr. H.) could easily conceive that they were earnest in their recommendations. But it should be recollected, before any disposition was made of the books, that a numerous and very valuable part of them consisted of the donations of individuals, who, when they made them, thought they were adding to a royal library, always to be preserved in a royal palace. Among others he would mention one, whom he had known, arid the reputation of whose learning had spread his fame far beyond this country—Mr. Jacob Bryant. This disposition of the library to which he had been a contributor would at least defeat his intentions. What, he must be allowed to ask, had Westminster done, that, when the question of a place wherein to deposit the late king's library was agitated, it was not remembered? There was, within that important part of the metropolis, no library; or none which could be properly so called. An example had been afforded by the trustees of the British Museum, of their unfitness to be intrusted with the present collection, from the use which they had made of that complete collection from the reign of Henry II. to that of George II. which had been presented to them. This collection had been mixed up with the books which they already possessed. The admirable order in which it was arranged had been confused; and by losing its identity, the whole of the collection had lost its interest. There was no security that the same confusion would not take place in the present instance, or that the books would not lie in boxes (as many other valuable parts of the treasures of the British Museum still did) until the building intended to receive them should be completed. He could not account for the strange attachment which seemed to be shown for having these collections all under the same roof.—He now came to an objection which he considered a vital one. It was the number of duplicates, already great, and which must be necessarily increased by the addition of the king's library to that of the British Museum. It appeared that, of the 65,000 volumes, of which the latter consisted, 21,000, or one third of the whole number, would be duplicates. He had been informed that the number of duplicates would even extend to 29,000; but taking it at the dower amount, he asked, could any thing be more preposterous than this? This objection could not be got rid of by the sapient excuse suggested by the committee, that the same book might be in requisition by different gentlemen at the same time. He had never heard of such a pretence being urged; and, it was quite absurd to apply it to literature of a character; so recherchá as that which composed the library of the British Museum. It was said that this union of the two libraries would make that of the British Museum one of the most complete in Christendom; but it was well known, that in topography and geography the collection of the British Museum was not by any means complete. Would the House then, for the mere purpose of completing this collection, condemn 12,000 valuable books, so carefully collected, to the hammer? There could be no difficulty in finding a place fit for the reception of the late king's library. Banqueting hall, at Whitehall, as to its dimensions, admirably adapted for this purpose. He understood, that for sum of 5,000l. this building might bet completely fitted up. But, even if required a much larger sum, he thought this was not an occasion upon which the? House ought to hesitate to incur the expense. Upon the convenience of the situation of the Banqueting-house, he felt it was unnecessary to enlarge; and to make the internal decorations agree with the beauty of the architecture, nothing could conduce more than the filling it with the rare volumes which his majesty's bounty had presented to the public. It might be said, that this building was devoted to the celebration of divine service at which the soldiers attended, and that it was not proper to desecrate so holy an edifice. To this his reply would be simply, that it never was consecrated; but if it had been he could not help thinking that there would be nothing very impious in placing the royal library within those walls, in which the soldiers went to assist at the divine service once a week. If, however, these objections should prevail he would mention the King's Mews, as a very fit and convenient place for the royal library. He was sure that this would be devoting that building to a much more constitutional purpose, than continuing it, as it was now, a barrack for soldiers. The reason why he wished to retain the collection at that end of the town, was that at the same time a place might be provided for keeping the records of the kingdom. They were at present scattered, in twelve different places; and were exposed to casualties, from which those precious deposits ought to be guarded. He hoped, upon the present occasion, to engage the votes of gentlemen of all parties, in securing to the public the benefit of the munificence of the present, and of the good taste of the late king, and to prevent the library front being placed in a situation where not ten persons would consult it in ten years. He should conclude by moving as an Amendment, "That no portion of the public money be granted to provide building for the reception of the late king's library, until the House be in formed, whether the Royal Library could not be so placed as to be more immediately adjacent to royal palaces; the two Houses of Parliament, and public offices."

Sir C. Long

said, that although he gave the hon. gentleman credit for the motives which had prompted the appeal he had just made, he must differ from him with respect to the intention of his majesty, which, he belived, was, to render a service to the public, and which it was the duty of the House to make as conformable as possible to the public convenience. The on gentleman, in calling the library of the British Museum, one of the most complete in Christendom, had greatly over-rated it. It was, in fact, only the fifth or sixth public library in Europe. It consisted of only 125,000 volumes, and must therefore be called almost insignificant, when compared with that of Paris, which appeared by the catalogue published last year, to contain 450,000 volumes. He would not be understood to depreciate the British Museum library, which was highly curious and interesting, but which was incomplete as a general collection. It was necessarily so; having been formed from the private collections of persons, whose object in making them had been to illustrate some favourite branch of science. Whereas, the library of his late majesty was, on the contrary, perhaps the most complete, for its extent, that had ever been formed. It was obvious, therefore, that this must be in every respect, a valuable acquisition; and he believed he was authorized in saying, that his majesty would prefer its being added to that of the British Museum. The quietest place was assuredly the best for purposes of study; but the hon. gentleman would choose the noisiest spot perhaps in London. He had never met with any one who thought that Whitehall Chapel would be a convenient place for a national library. It had, besides, been used upwards of a century for the celebration of divine service; and if it were now converted into a library, a considerable sum must in consequence be expended, in building a church for the use of the guards.

Sir J. Mackintosh

said, there were two questions put in issue, in the vote before the House, which his hon. friend, the mover of the amendment, had not sufficiently distinguished, The first was, the union of the two libraries, and the other, the proper site of the building in which they were to be contained. The House must recollect, that the British Museum, whether the king's library should be united to that which it already contained or not, must be rebuilt; and the expense necessarily attendant upon this formed no mean point of the objections to the proposed measure. Hereally thought that his majesty, in the disposition of this library, was entitled to the highest credit, for removing it from a place where it must be necessarily surrounded by the pomp and glare of a palace—attractions, indeed, of a different kind from those which were calculated to invite the unpresuming student to literary investigation. Besides, to use a homely proverb, it was rather ungracious to look "a gift-horse in the mouth," and he was persuaded it was the royal wish that this fine collection should be placed in the situation best adapted for rendering it most generally advantageous. The union of this library with that at the British Museum was, for all purposes of general reference, so desirable an object, that all who knew the value of facilities for literary research, must at once concur in its obvious propriety. The advantage of one great library for general purposes was, independently of its utility, so essential for the honour and dignity of literature, that he had never before heard any doubt cast upon the value of such an accumulation. He was perfectly aware that from the nature of the British Museum, strong objections arose in consequence of its being so combustible; but all were agreed, that, there must be a new building, which surely might be rendered incombustible. It was due to the greatness of this country, that it should have a national library. The one at the British Museum, did not deserve the name, and even with the addition of the king's magnificent gift, it would be rather the basis of a suitable library, than a complete collection of which they could have reason to be proud; with this great addition it would not be half the value of the royal library at Paris, the most useful and most accessible library in Europe, though, certainly, in some of its departments, legs curious than the imperial collection at Vienna, and the library at the Vatican. When he looked at the state of the library at the British Museum, he must complain of the manner in which that collection had been stinted and starved by parliament: a library if curtailed of its adequate sources of supply, by a diminished endowment was deprived of the great principle of its utility; and such was the case at the British Museum. For the last five years, in consequence of the purchase of Dr. Burney's library, the grant for establishment was only 300l. a year for printed books, and 50l. for manuscripts. Now, he had the authority of an hon. friend, one of the members for the university of Oxford (Mr. Heber), for saying, that in the department of foreign classical literature alone, 500l. a-year would be necessary for suitably keeping up even a private gentleman's library upon an extensive scale. The Bodleian library, which enjoyed, under the copy-right act, the same ad vantages as the British Museum, for the gratuitous acquirement of new English publications, had, during the last five years, expended for foreign and old books 1,600l. a year; and yet the national library of England was allowed only 300l. a year for the same purpose. The Advocates' library at Edinburgh, a private collection of a very distinguished body, although it had the same copy-right privileges, expended from 800l. to 1,000l. a year in the purchase of foreign works; and the royal French library, which had also a copy-right presentation, purchased 1,500l. worth of books annually. He hoped that these examples, and the knowledge that every petty state in Europe had its national library, would stimulate this country to mend her ways and to place her literature upon a footing befitting so great a nation. He lamented the determination to rebuild the great national depository upon the site of the present Museum. He knew that two great objects were to be considered upon the subject of the site of the building namely, public accommodation, and public ornament. With respect to the first, he did not think a walk of an additional half mile would be of any marerial consequence; but something had been said of the necessity of a place of seclusion, for purposes of study. How this was consistent with the union of the arts and sciences in the same building, it was for others to determine. There was a wide difference between what was proper for a museum, and what was essential for a library. The latter should be protected from intrusion, otherwise the student must be exposed to interruption. Far different was the case with a museum, for that, to be really useful, must be made an alluring lounge to entice, as it were, spectators to acquire in the easiest way a taste for the arts. Great Russel street was rather out of the way for such a purpose. They who wished to see the Museum must go there ex- pressly for the purpose; it did not stand, in any public situation, inviting; by its architectural beauties, the passengers to enter. He entirely concurred in the propriety of making such an edifice externally, as well as internally, attractive. London, although the greatest, was the least ornamented, metropolis in Europe. For nearly a century this city had been without any ornamental architectural additions. The late efforts at improvement (of which he wished to speak without any disparagement) partook more of the neatness of individual taste, than of general grandeur. This was, perhaps, owing to inadequate encouragement; and upon that subject he begged to deny that the fine arts flourished under private patronage. The history of ancient Greece and modern Italy showed, that public patronage alone could secure the triumph of art. That which was calculated to excite universal attention must spring from enlarged patronage, and must consist of works interesting, not alone to individual taste but to the general feeling of mankind. Thus it was, that in the absence of national patronage, painting had been comparatively degraded in England, arid the genius of a Reynolds and a Lawrence, in a great degree, circumscribed by the prevailing demand for portrait painting. As to the improvement of architecture in the capital, there were three great causes to retard it: the first was, the distance of materials; the second, the taste of the higher classes for country life; the third, that of the middling classes for comfort, rather than display. The first was unavoidable; the second difficult to be surmounted; and the third not to be removed. With respect to the site of the building, he merely wished to say one word: the king's mews, he confessed, did not appear to him a suitable site for a public library, notwithstanding it came recommended by his hon. friend. Although it might be considered a fanciful suggestion, he (sir. J. M.) thought, that if his majesty could he prevailed on to grant a portion of the ground between Hyde-park-corner, and Buckingham-house for the erection of a national library, in establishing which the country were so much indebted to his majesty's munificence, all the ends at present in view might be obtained. For the reasons he had stated, he should object to any part of a public library being built on the site of the British Museum would rather prefer some delay in commencing such an establishment, if that could ensure the erection of a building worthy of the noble purpose to which it was to be applied, and the great nation to which it was to belong.

Mr. Lennard

entirely concurred in the propriety of uniting the two libraries.

Mr. R. Colburne

was decidedly in favour of a union of the two libraries. He rejoiced to hear that they were about to lay the foundation stone of a national gallery of paintings. It was rather singular that this was the only country in Europe which did not possess such an establishment, although by far the richest in the world in that branch of the arts.

Mr. Croker

regretted that he should be obliged to differ however slightly from his right hon. friend (sir G. Long), whose speech upon the present occasion was such as was to be expected from the elegant acquirements and refined taste of his right hon. friend. He (Mr. Croker) was anxious so to shape their proceedings as if possible to obviate certain objections which had been started on the other side. With this view, he suggested the propriety of omitting the words which directed that the new building should be erected in that disgraceful place known by the name of the British Museum. He was most desirous that there should be erected a building worthy of the magnificent bequest of his majesty: but he could not enter into that huckster-like feeling which recommended that a part of the library should be disposed of; and the less so when he found that the trustees were at the same time applying for a grant of 40,000l. for the same purpose. It had been stated, that in the library of the king, containing 65,000 volumes, there were 21,000 duplicates, and therefore that that number of volumes at least might be disposed of. It was for the committee to understand what they meant by the word duplicate; for if there happened to be one edition of Virgil in one place, and another in another, surely no man could call the one a duplicate of the other. He was most anxious, not that the king's library should be sent to the British Museum, but that both libraries should be joined in some convenient and eligible building erected for the purpose. Why in the name of God, select Montague-house as the most proper place in which to deposit so valuable a collection? There was not to be found in London (with the exception of the old wooden-house at the corner of Chancery-lane; once inhabited by the celebrated Isaac Walton),a house composed of more combustible matter than Montague-house. It was, in fact, with the exception already made, the least fire-proof of any building in London. And, in the event of a fire, what would be the result? The marble statues might be dug out of the ruins, but how were they to replace those invaluable manuscripts which were there deposited, and which it would be totally impossible to replace? The whole of the building, in side and outside, was insecure. Indeed, the appearance of the stairs brought to his recollection a circumstance which occurred during the attack on Copenhagen by lord Nelson. That noble lord, during the attack, landed for the purpose of effecting an armistice. He was ushered up a magnificent staircase, curiously carved, to the royal palace. The gallant admiral paused for a moment to consider the rich panelling of wood; then, turning to sir Edward Berry, who accompanied him, observed, "Berry, this is extremely handsome, but it will burn." Now, it was hardly possible for any one to ascend the staircase of the British Museum, the beauty of which was also much insisted upon, without making precisely the same reflection. Not to do any injustice to the trustees of the Museum, however he should mention, that one place it was at length considered expedient to render fire-proof; and accordingly a new sort of outhouse, of an incombustible fabric was erected adjoining the Museum. In that incombustible place, for better safety, were placed—what? The manuscripts? No; but the marbles [a laugh]. The first thing they did was to place there the Townley Venus, in a circular sort of closet—a closet so small, that the Venus could hardly have found room to bathe in it, though she was being represented as about to bathe. But then they had a Piping Fawn; and this Piping Fawn, they felt themselves bound to accommodate with another closet of a square figure, about the size of the table. Then they went on to accommodate other figures in an additional parallelogram, till at last this Townley gallery was completed in the line of the British Museum. This was the taste of the trustees, and the House had heard a great deal about taste But it was on that very score that he (Mr. c.) entreated them to pause was on that this splendid donation might be placed in a situation that should reflect credit upon them. He considered that their tastes individually were at stake. The money might be easily raised, and as easily disposed of; but at least let them recollect what was due to themselves and to the character of the nation, in the selection they made of a depository. Let them not subject themselves to the same sort of ridicule for an abortive attempt to rival their neighbours in such a selection, which the poet who had satirized the taste of England as it prevailed in his day, seemed to imply in these lines— So when some cit his weak invention racks To dine, like peers, at Boodle's or Almack's; Three roasted geese salute th' astonished eyes, Three legs of mutton, and three butter'd pies. To return, however, to the trustees. They, at length, imported taste from a country, which was said indeed to have been once the land of arts and sciences; they bought and imported from Egypt a head of Memnon; and, having got it safely home, they discovered that it stood rather higher than their ceiling. Then they wanted a place to hold the heady and two other huge Egyptian relics of a singular shape; so they built a double cube, which was the continuation of the aforesaid parallelogram. Unfortunately, it turned out that this head of Memnon was a dev'lish long, head; insomuch that they were obliged to raise the ceiling of his closet somewhat higher; so that the roof of the closet which held the Townley Venus was of one elevation and the roof of the closet which, enclosed the Memnon's head of another. In all that he had said, he would wish the House to observe, that no doubt could exist as to the purity and disinterestedness with which the affairs of the British Museum were administered. No person could in reason doubt of the earnestness or zeal of the trustees: all that he complained of was, that that zeal had hitherto taken a rather tortuous and unsightly direction. He would submit to the House, that in regard to any proposed new building for these books, a wholesome doubt ought to be entertained about their selection of the architecture. It had been said, that this was a new era of taste in England; and he hoped the truth of the assertion would be testified in that selection. In conclusion, he would suggest that it would be better by way of amendment, to leave out of the motion all the words which had relation to the British Museum, and make the grant of money to the king merely, to be disposed of by and with the advice of parliament.

Mr. Bankes,

as an individual connected with the important trusts of which the management of the British Museum was the principal object, felt that a very per-sonal attack had been made upon him—

Mr. Croker

disclaimed any intention of making a personal attack.

Mr. Bankes

said, that however that might be, the hon. gentleman had not been very scrupulous to adhere to facts as they now stood; and, from the total error under which he appeared to labour as to the internal arrangement of the Museum, he was apt to suppose that the hon. gentleman had not very lately visited that establishment. He had described the forms of the rooms in a manner totally at variance with the fact. First, with respect to the Townley Venus, it was placed in a kind of rotunda, which had no more resemblance to the form of their table than a circle had to a square. A second mistake of the hon. gentleman was, his description of the building said to be fitted up for the reception of Memnon's head, but which had in reality been fitted up for the reception of two curiosities, one of which was an extraordinary sarcophagus, which had been given by his majesty. Again, with respect to the staircase, which had afforded the hon. member an opportunity of lugging in the battle of Copenhagen and lord Nelson head and should he had only to say, that the joke, however apparently good, was lost; inasmuch as the staircase of the British Museum was not of wood but of stone, and was considered the handsomest thing in the metropolis, being curiously supported upon the principle of a half arch. The hon. gentleman then entered into a general defence of the conduct of the trustees, and declared his intention of opposing the amendment.

Sir C. Long

defended the conduct; of the trustees, and said that the hon. secretary of the Admiralty was completely misinformed as to what had passed in the committee.

Mr. Bennet

complained of the want of convenience which was felt in the British Museum, and said that much money had been expended on that building to very little purpose.

Mr. Hudson Gurney

said be should vote with the chancellor of the exchequer. There was immediate end pressing necessity to provide a fire-proof building for the manuscripts and documents of all sorts preserved in the Museum; and if we were to wait till the magnificent plans proposed by gentlemen could be realized, the end might be, that we should see nothing would be done. At the same time (the hon. member said), he rejoiced at so strong and universal an expression of a feeling, that the establishment should be more adequately supported; and adverted to the late negotiation with Mr. Salt for his Egyptian antiquities, in which he considered Mr. Salt had not been met by the trustees on the part of the public, with the liberality, which, in common fairness, he merited.

Mr. Maberly

thought, that the disposition of the money which was to be expended in a new building should be placed in the hands of a committee.

Mr. Hobhouse

rose to withdraw his motion. He would take that opportunity of observing, that his hon. and learned friend had attacked, not anything, certainly, which he (Mr. H.) had stated, but something which he had himself advanced. Like Tom Thumb, "he made the giants first, and then he killed them." His hon. and learned friend had broached a plan which was as liable to objection as any that had been proposed from any other quarter [a laugh].

Mr. Croker moved as an amendment, that the words "British Museum," in the original motion, be omitted.

The committee divided; the numbers were, for the original motion 54, against it 30.