HC Deb 02 March 1848 vol 97 cc138-53

moved— That a Select Committee be appointed on the present state of the New Palace at Westminster, with a view to the reception and accommodation of this House therein, and the probable expense of its completion; and also to inquire into the present state of Westminster Bridge. The additional expenses incurred in the erection of the New Houses of Parliament, and the delay that had taken place, had been greatly exaggerated in the House. When hon. Gentlemen complained that the buildings were now to cost l,400,000l., and that even after that there would be some yet undiscovered expenses which could not be calculated on until the bills should actually have come in, they should recollect that a large amount of expense had been incurred by the prosecution of works which formed no part of the original estimate. Such were, for instance, the river wall, the expenses of the architect and the surveyor, and others. He was surprised that such an outcry against the expenses incurred by works that gave so much employment should be raised by hon. Gentlemen who prided themselves upon being political economists, and who should remember that not only a vast number of workmen obtained employment, but that about 25 per cent of the outlay was returned to the Exchequer in the shape of duties. As to the blame that had been cast upon Mr. Barry, he had never been a blind idolizer of that eminent gentleman; but he had never for one moment doubted his skill and extraordinary talent as an architect. He only doubted whether there had been a sufficient check upon the alterations in the design, and upon the consequent expenditure. With regard to the names which he proposed to place upon the list of the Committee, he regretted to see that one-half had been objected to, and others substituted, and that those who had been struck out were precisely the persons who, from their present or previous connexion with the office of Woods and Forests, knew most about the business. As to the Amendment of which notice had been given by the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne), to substitute an address, praying Her Majesty to appoint a Commission, he had no objection to such an appointment; but he hoped the House would not agree to it unless it were satisfied that the buildings could not be proceeded with otherwise. He regretted that Her Majesty's Government were about to limit greatly the sums to be expended during the present year upon the new buildings; however, he thought it a very bad system of economy to spread over several years the expenses of erecting a building which might be completed in one.


, in opposing the Motion, remarked that it was not enough to say that Mr. Barry was one of the greatest artists that ever lived. What he wanted to know, and what the country desired to be assured of, was this—who was to be responsible for the expenditure? He referred to the report of the House of Lords in 1844, to show that the complaints he now made were not put forth for the first time. In truth, since 1836, there had been no control over Mr. Barry; and one reason why he should press the Amendment of which he had given notice was, that he never knew of a Committee being appointed, which did not add to the expense of the building. And now what was that building? An Italian composition, with a Gothic dress—a thing that was so frittered away in details, that in the course of a few years it would be nothing more than a metropolitan asylum for birds' nests and soot. There was then 90,000l. expended for warming the two houses, and there was another bill coming in, also for warming the houses. There was, he had been told, a plan for ventilating the houses, by which the smoke of all the chimneys was to be put through one great flue; and there was a quarrel about this and the ventilation going on, which promised to be as lasting as that between the hon. Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey), and the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and likely to go through the Session, that is, unless the noble Lord could assure them that peace had been established, or that Dr. Reid had been discharged. But a Fine Arts Commission had been appointed in the year 1840; and now, there was one thing connected with this Fine Arts Commission, which he could never understand, although he thought the hon. Member for the University of Oxford was to blame for it, and that was the invention of the name of the New Palace at Westminster. Up to that time they had been quite contented with the name of a House of Commons. This might appear to be a slight thing; but there was a meaning in it, for, calling the House of Parliament the New Palace at Westminster, it would appear as if Her Majesty allowing them to be there, it would be highly indecorous for them to interfere with the expenses. Now, he could not understand why they should go back with the hon. Member for Oxford University to the time of Edward the Confessor, when the hon. Member and his fathers before him had always called the building "the House of Commons." Now, as to this Fine Arts Commission, a petition had been presented by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lord Monteagle) from the artists, declaring that the Commission knew nothing at all about art. And what had they done? They had established a Gothic hall, with a fresco gallery; and thus the Fine Arts Commission succeeded in making a most miserable exhibition. Now, when he made a remark upon an artist, the noble Lord would tell him that such a person was a good Christian, and a fine father of a family. Let them, he said, for instance look to "the Order of the Garter." It was nothing more than a gigantic exhibition of legs. And when a complaint was made on this subject to the House of Lords, all they knew about it was, that "the Marquess of Lansdowne said a few words which were inaudible." The House should recollect that the money expended in this way was not its own—that it was their duty to see how it was spent, as well as to prevent an improper expenditure. But they were told the House was nearly finished. They had enough of expe- rience of the past not to rely on such promises for the future. At that moment the New Houses of Parliament—he begged pardon, the New Palace at Westminster—was not half finished. He did not run a-muck against Mr. Barry, but he did run a-muck against the whole system—that system under which their money was spent in building that Gothic gewgaw the House of Lords, and which he defied any one to say was a chamber fitted for consultation. Already 1,016,000l. had been spent, and 567,767l. they were told were required to complete the edifice. The expenditure had already nearly doubled the amount of the original estimate. How long, therefore, would the House be content to listen to the excuses and eulogiums upon Mr. Barry and his works of the noble Lord the Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests? He would take the liberty of stating a circumstance which ought to have considerable weight with the House of Commons Upon this subject. The Finance Committee of Sir Henry Parnell, which sat in 1828, speaking in their report of the Rideau Canal, the original estimate for which was 160,0002., whilst the expenditure incurred was no less than 520,000l., said— The Committee regret that so important a plan should hare been undertaken on an estimate which has proved so defective, and they cannot refrain from remarking how desirable it is that Parliament should never be called upon to vote money for any public undertaking, by any department, without the most perfect estimate that could possibly be procured. Such was the advice of that Committee—advice which it would have been well had the House followed in the present instance. With reference to the appointment of a Committee, he had shown that the effect of every report of a Committee which had hitherto sat had been to augment the confusion and create additional expense. But there was the strongest authority for the appointment of a Commission. Sir Robert Peel was of that opinion in 1836. The right hon. Gentleman asked Lord Sudeley— Has it ever occurred to the Commissioners, whether it would be desirable to make some arrangement with respect to the execution and construction of these buildings?—Yes. Would it not be much better to appoint some person permanently to superintend it, rather than leave it to any particular department of the Government?—I should say so. The Commissioners have given this opinion in their report. I believe the expenses of public buildings have recently been much increased, in consequence of the inefficient control of the Executive over them. Perhaps, however, the noble Lord would say there was no precedent for this. But, in 1824, a Royal Commission was appointed, to superintend the improvements of Windsor Castle. If the expenditure for the New Houses of Parliament continued at the present rate, the structure would cost millions before it was completed. And where was the money to come from? Would they take it out of the "balances in the Exchequer?" Or would they abdicate their functions, and refer their question to a Select Committee upstairs? If they meant really to prove themselves guardians of the public purse, their only course was to vote with him for an— Address praying Her Majesty to appoint Commissioners to superintend the expenditure of the amount voted by this House for the New Houses of Parliament, with a view to make such arrangements as shall complete the building at the earliest period.


seconded the Amendment.


assured his hon. Friend that he did not found his opposition to the Amendment upon any feeling of jealousy with regard to the Board of Woods and Forests as to the construction of the New Houses of Parliament. That department had faithfully endeavoured to discharge all the duties devolved upon it either by Parliament or by the Treasury; and it had not affected to do more. It seemed to be assumed sometimes that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests were expected to fulfil all the duties of what our neighbours called "the Minister of Works;' and he should certainly feel that he required to enter into training for the qualifications necessary for such an office. Indeed, already, he had sometimes to give an opinion upon matters which required the education and acquirements of a land steward, of a practical farmer, of a builder, of an architect, of an inspector of mines, a valuer of timber, and of a practical engineer; and in addition to his own radical deficiencies in these respects, he felt that the department had not a sufficiently organised staff to discharge the duties required from a regularly constituted office of works. At the same time neither the department over which he had the honour to preside, nor the Government, were disposed to shrink from any responsibility which fairly devolved upon them; and when his hon. Friend asked who was responsible for the amount of expenditure annually-proposed to Parliament, he replied that nobody could be responsible but the Go- vernment as represented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must, of course, be responsible for the Estimates he annually laid upon the table; and the Board of Works were willing to take the responsibility of fully inspecting all the accounts, and of forming the best judgment they could upon the points referred to their decision with regard to deviations from the original plan. He certainly thought that no unnecessary expenditure ought to be incurred; but, at the same time, when the ancient house of Parliament had been destroyed by fire, and it had become necessary to erect a new abode for the Legislature, it was fitting to make that abode worthy of the high object to which it was to be dedicated, and to employ upon it the best talent that the country could supply. His hon. Friend had said, that when this subject was last discussed, he (Viscount Morpeth) had no defence but that of praise to the architect. Upon this he must observe, that when a building was attacked, the natural defence was to praise the architect in his professional capacity. To-night his hon. Friend had not attacked the character or the honour of the architect, but he had indulged himself by commenting upon the style and merits of the building. Tastes must differ, and therefore it was not for him to assume any greater justification for praising the building, than his hon. Friend had for condemning it. His hon. Friend said he could back his opinion by that of the most eminent architect of the age. Who that authority was he had not informed the House; but it happened that he had had a letter put into his hand from a gentleman of high standing north of the Tweed—Mr. Playfair, who had erected many public buildings in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood—on this very subject. This gentleman said— I have examined the Houses of Parliament inside and out; time and money could not have been better employed. I think Mr. Barry's genius is beyond the age he lives in; and depend upon it he will be immortal. His hon. Friend had particularly signalled out for his criticism the appearance of the House of Lords, which he denominated a "gewgaw." A simpler and severer taste might be preferred by his hon. Friend; but Mr. Barry felt that as this was the place wherein the Sovereign met the assembled estates of the land, the representatives of foreign Powers, and the beautiful and the fair of our country, it should he worthy of the nation in point of splendour and decoration. A simpler style, with less profusion of decoration, would be followed in other parts of the House. With regard to the differences between Mr. Barry and Dr. Reid on the subject of ventilation, no one could be more sensible of their inconvenience than himself; but as it had been found impossible to bring them to a good understanding, and as it was his duty to prevent Parliament being trifled with, he had insisted upon Dr. Reid making specific drawings of the plans which he required to be carried into effect to complete his system of ventilation. These drawings had been furnished, and Mr. Barry, who professed his readiness to carry them into execution, was now engaged in making the necessary arrangements for giving effect to Dr. Reid's designs. He did not think it necessary to enter upon a discussion of the merits of the frescoes in the House of Lords or of the Fine Arts Commission; but he would say the character given to those frescoes was not shared in by the best judges of art. But it was said to be an anomaly to have decorations in fresco in a Gothic building. On this subject it would only be necessary to remind his hon. Friend that the most admired specimens of architectural decoration were the frescoes of the Campo Santo at Pisa, a Gothic building. [Mr. OSBORNE: The Campo Santo is not a Gothic building.] At all events, it was a building of the middle ages. He did not wish to express any premature censure or condemnation of his hon. Friend's scheme of a Royal Commission to watch over the expenditure and progress of the building; but on all occasions, when the present Parliament had discussed this subject, the general wish and expectation had been that a Committee would be best. Her Majesty's Government, therefore, felt it to be their duty not to accede to the proposal for a Commission in its present shape.


said, the question was, whether an efficient control should be established over the expenditure upon the New Houses, seeing that it had more than doubled the original estimate. No Committee, and certainly none constituted as proposed by the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis), could possibly effect that object; and the Government would screen themselves behind the decision of that Committee because it had been arranged with their concurrence. Objecting then to the Committee, he objected still more to its constitution. The noble Lord (Viscount Morpeth), the noble earl opposite (the Earl of Lincoln), and the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), ought certainly not to be upon it. They ought rather to be called as witnesses. Any Committee should be totally independent both of the past and of the present Governments; and the Under Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. Tufnell) had already enough to do without being placed upon such an inquiry. Mr. Barry had shown vast genius and great talent; but he wanted to know who was responsible for the expense? He was surprised to hear the noble Lord say the Chancellor of the Exchequer was responsible. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the responsible party, why was he not in the House at that moment? He did not believe that that functionary had any idea that he was responsible, and therefore it was that he (Sir B. Hall) should vote for a Commission which should be responsible for the expenditure and the completion of the building. The only point on which he was disposed to blame Mr. Barry was for not having in the first instance furnished a more detailed estimate. He was decidedly of opinion that considerations of economy would be best consulted by completing the building with the greatest despatch. He should vote against the Committee; and if the Committee were appointed, he should vote against many of the names on the Committee.


said, when this subject was last before the House, he had ventured to trouble them with several details of figures to prove that a very erroneous impression had been created with reference to the sum already expended, and the probable expenditure in future; and he thought it unnecessary, upon the present occasion, to trouble the House with a single observation upon that point, or to involve the discussion with the question of the responsibility of Mr. Barry. He must also deprecate the practice of that House resolving itself into a dilettanti society, with the view of discussing matters of taste, of considering how far those frescoes were in consonance with rules of art, and other details of that nature. If they did so he thought that in all probability they would arrive at no proper or satisfactory conclusion upon those points, neither indeed did he think that it formed one of the functions of that House. But there was one function which peculiarly belonged to that House, and that was to take care that the money which the House voted for any purpose whatever should be properly applied; and so far as the appointment of a Committee or a Commission involved that matter, he conceived it to be the bounden duty of the House to devote themselves to it. He should have been prepared to have given his vote for a Committee to investigate this subject, had he not been somewhat alarmed by the statement which fell from the noble Lord opposite in reference to the question of the hon. Member as to the disputes between Mr. Barry and Dr. Reid. He repeated what he had stated upon a former occasion, that his experience of Committees relative to the Houses of Parliament led him to the conclusion that the investigation of each Committee had added to the expense of that building. He had hoped that the Committee about to be appointed would have been precluded from entering into any considerations which could add to the expenditure; but the noble Lord stated that the question now pending between Mr. Barry and Dr. Reid was relative to the height of the central tower, and that that should be referred to the Committee. Now he (Lord Lincoln) was confident that if that course were pursued, the result would be as before—an addition to the estimate. For himself, as an individual Member of that House, he would infinitely prefer trusting the matter to the noble Lord, as one of the responsible advisers of the Crown, however incompetent he might be on scientific grounds to decide, than to a Committee of the House; and he thought it was the bounden duty of the noble Lord to take care that not one farthing of the public money was improperly expended on that building. He must recognise, however, a very great advantage in the proposition of the hon. Member for Middlesex, supposing that a competent authority could be found. He perfectly agreed with the noble Lord, that, irrespectively of individual competence, the duties of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests had become so enormous, that it was quite impossible that they could devote sufficient attention to these matters. He believed it might be desirable, therefore, for some functionary to be appointed who should have the superintendence of the New Houses of Parliament, and of any public buildings of a large character which the State might undertake. What he should suggest, however, as the better course at present was this. He did not see to whom they should delegate that authority. He should not like to see such a Commission as that to which the hon. Member for Middlesex appeared to point, viz., an amateur Commission of noblemen and gentlemen. [Mr. OSBORNE: I don't mean that.] The hon. Gentleman certainly did not say that; but he pointed to a former Commission which was appointed in the case of Windsor Castle, which would lead to that supposition. He was himself a Member of such a Commission, superintending the improvements at Buckingham Palace; but he must say he did not think it a desirable precedent to follow. If, then, they were not prepared to decide who ought to be the superintending power, and if they were agreed that it was desirable to have as efficient a control as possible, would it not be infinitely better, upon the present occasion, to appoint the Committee proposed by the hon. Baronet, only confining their functions to an investigation of the best mode of controlling the expenditure? He thought such an investigation would be extremely useful, not only as applied to the present buildings, but to all other public buildings of any magnitude. If the hon. Baronet persevered with regard to the other matters for the Committee's consideration, he was not prepared to say that there might not be some such objections to its composition as were put forward by the hon. Member for Marylebone; for undoubtedly if the Committee were to investigate charges against men who held or had held official situations, it might be desirable to have those hon. Members as witnesses rather than as judges. If the operations of the Committee, however, were to be confined to what he had suggested, he thought that the present composition of the Committee was desirable, because the official knowledge possessed by those Gentlemen would then be extremely useful.


confessed he could not understand what the duties of the Committee were to be. It seemed the Committee was to inquire into the expenditure and condition of the New Palace at Westminster, and also to inquire into the present state of Westminster-bridge. It was not clear to him why Westminster-bridge and the New Houses of Parliament were to be placed in juxtaposition. The Committee might as well inquire into the navigation of the river Thames, or into the present state of Blackfriars-bridge, which, it appeared, required repairs. It was said that the Houses of Parliament would cost four millions of money; but he thought this was a very exaggerated estimate. If this Committee were to recommend the rebuilding of Westminster-bridge, at a cost, perhaps, of 1,000,000l., was it to be supposed that Parliament would support their recommendation?


said, he took only a financial view of the question, and he feared it would turn out a similar business to the Kaffir war.


considered the appointment of a Committee on this subject would lead to great inconvenience and expense. He was convinced that two millions would not finish the building; but, even supposing that estimate to be exaggerated, the works would cost double the sum originally contemplated. He submitted that it would be far better not to make any further alterations, but to appoint competent persons, whose duty it should be to see that the works were finished in the most expeditious and least expensive manner. He could not see what the Committee, if appointed, would have to do with Westminster-bridge. For his own part, he did not approve of the proposition to substitute a bridge in the Chinese style for the old bridge at Westminster, in order that it might correspond with the florid façade of the New Houses of Parliament. He was satisfied that the Committee, if granted, would only lead to mischief, so he would oppose its appointment.


I merely wish to say, with regard to the central tower, that Mr. Barry thinks, both with reference to appearance and economy, that that tower may be made lower than was calculated in his original design. At the same time I know that Dr. Reid has presented a petition to the House stating, that if the original design be departed from in that particular, it will interfere materially with the application of his invention.


never recollected an instance in which any advantage had arisen from discussing matters of taste in that House. He would ask his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford what it was he sought to obtain by this Committee. His Motion was for a "Select Committee on the present state of the New Palace at Westminster, with a view to the reception and accommodation of this House therein, and the probable expense of its completion; and also to inquire into the present state of Westminster-bridge." Now these objects, which were thus placed in juxtaposition, had really nothing in common. Why would not his hon. Friend at once candidly declare that his object was to have the present Westminister-bridge taken down, and a handsome structure erected in its place? In these days of economy and retrenchment it was not fair to hold this in the back ground, and then when the Committee had sat, to come down to the House with a report that it was necessary to form new approaches to the Palace of Westminster from the Surrey side of the river. If he desired to have a new bridge, he should at once state his intention. What object did he propose to obtain by the appointment of this Committee? A Committee of the House of Commons was the most incompetent body in the world to decide on any matter of taste, or to control the expenditure of money on objects of taste. With regard to these New Houses of Parliament, he would not enter into controversy as to the propriety or impropriety of the site chosen for the erection, but would content himself with reminding them that they had now advanced to a position from which they could not recede. They must advance. There was no important object to be gained by spreading this expenditure over an indefinite number of years. The comfort of the Members of the House should be more attended to than it had been. He would ask if the access to the present House of Commons was what it ought to be for the accommodation of persons having business there? The noble Lord the Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests had told them that he had already enough to do; but certainly it was the duty of some department of Government to appoint proper persons who should be employed in looking after the expenditure of the money appropriated to the building of the Palace of Westminster. He did not consider a Committee of the House of Commons a proper tribunal for this purpose, and he would much rather have an assurance from the noble Lord and the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they would undertake to see to the matter themselves, or to employ proper persons to investigate and report on the subject.


said, the idea of appointing a Committee had been ridiculed by almost every speaker, and he had much rather the house should agree to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex, than to the appointment of any Committee.


had included Westminster-bridge amongst the objects to be inquired into by the Committee, because it formed one of the approaches to the New Houses, and had been affected by their erection. The hon. Member for Marylebone had said that there seemed a suspicion that this Committee had been arranged between the Government and the Member who moved for it. No Committee was ever appointed without a direct communication between the individual who moved for it and Her Majesty's Government; and he was, he apprehended, justified in the course he had taken by having received the direct sanction of Government, not only to the appointment of the Committee, but of every individual name included in the Motion. He would not go into the discussion of the great constitutional principle involved in the name, but he had authorities for it. When the two Houses of Parliament were consumed by fire, and when it was necessary to provide further accommodation, his late Majesty was advised, in the Speech from the Throne, to use the phrase— The ancient Palace of Westminster, which has long been appropriated to the use of the two Houses of Parliament. And the following notice appeared in the Gazette:The chambers in the Palace of Westminster which have been usually appropriated to the meeting of the Houses having been partially destroyed by fire, His Majesty," &c. He had also the concurrent authority of a very distinguished constitutional Member of the House, who in one of the most recent returns to the House, had condescended to use the very phrase which his hon. Friend seemed to consider so unworthy of his adoption. He had the latest return on the subject of the New Houses of Parliament, and it was moved by the hon. Member for Montrose, who also condescended to use the very obnoxious term. It was— Return of the aggregate amount already paid, or agreed to be paid, to contractors and other persons, for the purchase of land and buildings for the erection of the 'Palace of Westminster.' These were his authorities for having introduced the phrase "the Palace of Westminster." He would not enter into the constitutional grounds; it was sufficient for him to use a phrase which had been adopted by the Crown. Having brought forward this Motion with the concurrence of the Government, but not certainly at their bidding—having proposed the names of the Committee with the sanction of the Gentlemen who were named—he should feel that he was not doing justice either to the Government whose concurrence he had received, or to the individual Members whose names he proposed to place on such Committee, if he had abandoned the proposition which he had so deliberately made. He must therefore insist on claiming a division.


observed, that reference had been made to the share which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had in proposing the expenditure. He wished the House distinctly to understand how far he considered himself responsible, and that was to the extent of determining what sum of money in each year should be voted. How the expenditure should be carried on, and whether it should be carried on according to the recommendation of the Committee, it was not for him to say. He had not time to devote to the purpose; and he could not pretend to say whether the building was in conformity with the plan. With respect to Westminster-bridge, he had the honour as well as the Speaker to be one of the Commissioners for the management of Westminster-bridge; and it was, he was afraid, too true that Westminster-bridge was in a state which sooner or later would require considerable expenditure, whether it were determined to adapt it to the architecture of the House or not. The Commissioners had been obliged to stop up the navigation of two arches, and remove some of the superincumbent weight, to render it safe for the passage of carriages. That the danger was obviated by the precautions which they had taken, he believed. He believed the bridge at present to be in a state of perfect safety; but at the same time it was only in a temporary state, and it was impossible that the bridge could permanently be allowed to remain in the state in which it was, with two of the arches blocked up, and the navigation of the river materially impeded. He did not, however, think that it was necessary to mix it up with the present question as to the two Houses of Parliament. He trusted that the debate of that evening might lead to a practical result. He thought that the appointment of a Commission, in the words of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, if it should be a dilettanti Commission, would only lead to expense, and to the appointment of that Commission he should be unwilling to accede. At the same time he was not prepared to say that it was not advisable to devise some means to control the expenditure. This, however, was out of the power of his hon. Friend and himself; and therefore if any body of persons could be constituted, with an adequate knowledge of the subject, who could effectually control the expenditure, he would not make the slightest objection. Probably then a Commission might be appointed with adequate powers to decide what would contribute to the economy and proper construction of the Houses of Parliament. They should not be allowed to recommend an increased expenditure. The amount of expenditure should be left to the Government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who should determine in each year. He was inclined to think that Government had better take on themselves the appointment of such Commission. They should be a purely controlling body, in conformity with the plan sanctioned by the Commission of both Houses. He believed the noble Lord would take on himself the responsibility of recommending the appointment of such a body; and if this proposal met with the concurrence of the House, the better course would be for the hon. Member for the University of Oxford to withdraw his Motion. He believed that the appointment of such a body by the Government would attain the object in view, viz., that the building should be carried on in the most economical manner.


said, that if he was at liberty to conclude that his noble Friend the First Commissioner of the Woods and Forests was prepared to concur in the adoption of the suggestion thus thrown out by his right hon. Colleague—if he would state that he was prepared to pledge himself that the Commission should issue—he (Sir R. Inglis) would, with the leave of the House, withdraw his Motion.


had been anxious to accept the discharge of the duties which he understood appertained to the office he held. When he thought it the wish of the House that the Committee should be appointed, he was willing that the whole proceedings and transactions should be remitted to the investigation of such Committee; but if it was the general feeling of the House that some means of closer and better control should be applied, he should be quite willing if the hon. Members would withdraw their proposition, to consider what advice could be given to Her Majesty respecting the appointment of such a Com- mission, premising only that he thought the Members of it ought to be very few indeed.

Motion and Amendment withdrawn.

House adjourned at a quarter to Ten o'clock.