HC Deb 22 May 1851 vol 116 cc1307-10

MR. HUME moved for a copy of the Order in Council, or Letter from the Treasury, sanctioning the alterations lately made in Kensington Gardens by the First Commissioner of the Woods and Forests.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That an humble address he presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there he laid before this House, a Copy of the Order in Council, or Letter from the Treasury, sanctioning the alterations lately made in Kensington Gardens by the First Commissioner of the Woods and Forests: And, Copy or Extract of any Memorial or application made to the Lords of the Treasury, or to the Commissioners of the Woods and Forests, for permission for horsemen to ride in Kensington Gardens.


said, that he was unable to comply with the Motion of the hon. Member. No order in Council or letter from the Treasury had been issued on the subject. The pleasure of Her Majesty had been made known, and the object had been carried into effect by an order from the Commissioners of Woods and Forests.


said, he was informed that the alterations and arrangements which been made, ought not to have been carried out without, at all events, an order from the Treasury.


My hon. Friend behind me is quite mistaken on that point.


said, that he believed the proceedings that had been adopted were, then, illegal. However, if there were no documents to produce, it would not be of any use that he should press his Motion. He would, therefore, withdraw it.


said, that the equestrians had been admitted into Kensington Gardens under a misapprehension of the inconvenience which the Exhibition would occasion in Rotten-row. If, when the matter was first talked of, it had been known that there would be no more interruption to the equestrians in the Park than there was now, Kensington Gardens, in all probability, would not have been conceded to them. At all events, he hoped that it would only be considered as a temporary concession. The Exhibition had now realised the expectations of every one, and everybody would feel a pleasure in submitting to some inconvenience to promote such an object; but after this year he hoped that Kensigton Gardens would he given up to their original object.


denied that the Exhibition had realised any such expectations as the hon. Member for the West Riding had referred to. He was justified in making that denial, and every day produced some fresh conviction on his mind that his own impressions were right on this subject. He considered that the tradesmen of this metropolis had been grossly insulted in this matter—that which he felt much disposed to term a gross fraud had been practised upon them. In these days—these days of novelties—people seemed to have no hesitation in making every possible inroad upon the rights, properties, and liberties of Her Majesty's subjects; and they were deprived, without the hope of redress, of the rational enjoyment of these parks and gardens to which they had been so long accustomed. The Government, in order to get a little dirty and fleeting popularity, had made this innovation in Kensington Gardens. As for the building in Hyde Park, he never looked at it, except from a distance; but he always considered it a disgrace to a free country, and he regretted to find the foreigner patronised, to the injury of the heavily-taxed people of this country. People walked heedlessly in and out of that building without ever appearing to think of the money which it would be the means of tearing from the pockets of Englishmen, and all for the mere purpose of bringing together so much trumpery and trash. The ceremony on its opening he considered a desecration of religion. He must say he had much regretted to see the justly-venerated head of the Protestant Church of this country in the position in which he was placed at the inauguration of this affair. Crowds went to admire it, but they might collect crowds in any square to look at a dead cat, for, according to the old saying, one fool made many. The day would arrive—let them depend upon it—when the trade of this country, which ought to be supported in preference to that of the foreigner, would feel a stagnation for, perhaps, several years as the result of this Exhibition. He regretted the encouragement that had been given to such a measure; but it was a source of no little satisfaction to himself that he had done everything in his power to check it—to check that which he solemnly believed would he a great curse, morally, socially, and religiously, to this country.


rejoiced in the success which had attended the magnificent experiment of the Great Exhibition; but the main object they all had in view still remained to be carried out, namely, the providing free and unrestrained access for the great multitudes of persons who had hitherto been kept back from visiting the Exhibition from the high prices. It would also he desirable to consider whether the present number of admission doors would in future be sufficient.


said, the circumstance adverted to by the noble Lord had not escaped the attention of the Commissioners; for that morning, in conjunction with the representatives of the railways, they took into consideration the most convenient mode, in reference to the parties themselves and the preservation of the public peace, of accommodating the vast multitudes whom the diminished price of admission might be expected to attract to the Exhibition. Without entering into a controversy with the hon. and gallant Colonel (Colonel Sibthorp), he must express the great satisfaction with which he saw the magnificent spectacle now exhibited in Hyde Park, which, besides being a source of rational pleasure, would tend, he believed, to very permanent benefit to the people of this and other countries.


begged to express on the part of many of his constituents, and many of the inhabitants of Kensington, Bayswater, and Notting Hill, the great dissatisfaction with which they viewed the manner in which they had been deprived of the enjoyment of the quiet retirement of Kensington Gardens. The noble Lord (Lord Seymour) had taken occasion on a former evening to sneer at what he was pleased to term "the aristocracy of Bays-water." Now, he (Mr. Lushington) did not profess to stand there as the representative of their aristocracy—he, rather, represented their democracy; this, however, he would say, that the inhabitants of the district in which the gardens were situated, were thoroughly disgusted with the proceedings which had taken place under the sanction of the noble Lord.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

The House adjourned at half-after One o'clock.

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