HC Deb 28 July 1832 vol 14 cc896-8
Mr. Spring Rice

said, that it must be obvious to every one how beneficial it would be to have a free interchange of literary information between this country and France. In this idea the French government fully concurred, and there was already an interchange of public and parliamentary documents. It was, however, desirable to go a step further, and exchange literary works, so that a few copies of all the French works might be deposited in some of the public places in this country, and a few of all English works deposited in some public place in France, Marischal College in the University of Aberdeen, possessed a right to a certain number of copies of English works, which right they were willing to dispose of for 460l. a-year. The Bill which he would move to bring in would enable the Crown to purchase that right, and apply a sum to effect this arrangement. As it would be necessary to have a Committee appointed, he gave notice, that on Monday he would move for that Committee.

Mr. Dixon

was of opinion, that the literature of this country should be relieved from the obligation of placing so many copies in the learned universities. It was a great tax upon literature. He wished to know, what was to become of this 460l. a-year? If it were not to be laid out on books for the College library, the students would have reason to complain.

Lord Althorp

had not heard how the money was to be disposed of, but he had little doubt it would be laid out in books, or some other way which would benefit the literary institutions of the College of Aberdeen. He must add, that he was of opinion, that a small number of all works should be deposited in some public place. The only objection was to so large a number. As far as literature was concerned, it would be greatly benefited by the interchange between the two countries.

Mr. Warburton

hoped the account would be so worded, as that the other universities would not be deprived of their right to receive their copies. He supposed the 500l. a-year was to be deducted from the allowance to the British Museum; but he hoped that it would be continued to the University of Aberdeen only so long as the other Universities were permitted to retain their present privilege of receiving copies of all works published.

Sir Robert Inglis

entirely concurred with the general principles and object of the Bill, but felt bound to urge upon the noble Lord the necessity of not withdrawing any funds from the British Museum, the allowance to which was small enough already.

Mr. Andrew Johnstone

thought the right should be taken from one of the large universities of Scotland, in preference to Aberdeen, as it might be possibly said, with respect to that University, that its "poverty, but not its will, consented." The present attempt only showed the necessity of the Scotch Universities having a Representative to watch over their interests. He hoped time would be given to the people in that part of the country to express their feeling on the subject.

Mr. Courtenay

considered the appropriation of this money to be a matter of pure bargain—that was, that a certain sum was to be given to the University in lieu of a certain right now enjoyed by it. He would merely wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite whether; these books were worth the money.

Lord Althorp

hoped, that no delay would be thrown in the way of an arrangement, to which the government of France had consented, and which would be so highly beneficial to all parties.

The King's recommendation having been signified, the Committee was appointed for Monday.

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