HC Deb 12 February 1845 vol 77 cc341-2
Mr. Christopher

wished to put a question to his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, which was suggested by the recent wanton destruction of the Portland Vase, at the British Museum. From the police reports of that morning, it appeared that the magistrates had no power to exact from the destroyer of that precious relic of ancient art a penalty higher than a floe of 5l., or to inflict a greater personal punishment than two months' imprisonment, with or without hard labour. He begged to call the attention of his right hon. Friend to this subject, and he wished his right hon. Friend to inform the House whether it was his intention, by legislation or other- wise, to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such an outrage.

Sir R. Peel

said, the Trustees of the British Museum intended to hold a meeting on Saturday next for the purpose of considering this important subject; the result of that meeting would in all probability, be known to some communication on their part by Her Majesty's Government. He would, therefore, not express any opinion till that communication should be made, further than that the question was one of the deepest importance.