HC Deb 29 April 1852 vol 120 cc1348-83

said, he regretted that he had not been able to bring forward this subject at an earlier period of the Session. At the commencement of the Session he had waited on the noble Lord the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour), then First Commissioner of Woods and Works, to inform him of his intention to move for a Select Committee. That noble Lord expressed a wish that the Committee might be delayed. Subsequent to that the Whig Government left office, and another delay arose in consequence. He had also seen the noble Lord at present at the head of the Woods and Works, and learnt that at that time the Board of Commissioners were considering the Report of the Commission. He had also delayed his Motion on account of the important public meeting which took place a day or two ago at Exeter-hall. That meeting—a very large assemblage of the inhabitants of the metropolis—had decided in favour of the retention of the Crystal Palace. That opinion was shared, to a great extent, by the people in the country, and he appealed to it as a fair reflection of the views of the middle classes. The middle classes were unanimous in favour of its retention. ["No, no!"] The total want of opposition at the meeting in Exeter-hall was a complete proof of the truth of his statement. At the time when the subject was formerly discussed, it was understood that an inquiry should follow the Address to the Crown, and he thought indeed that that was partly the object of the Address. They were under considerable obligations to the Government for the appointments of Lord Seymour, Sir William Cubitt, and Dr. Lindley, to the Commission of Inquiry which had investigated this subject; and he must say, although he differed from certain parts of their Report, there was one point in which he cordially concurred, and that was, the most economical plan would be for the Government to purchase the Crystal Palace as it stands. The price was only 45,000l., which was very much below the value of the materials of that immense pile of glass and iron. The Commission had examined Sir Joseph Paxton, Sir Charles Fox, and others, with regard to the present state of the building. He (Mr. Heywood) could assure the House that the foundations were firm, the building excellent, and that any repair which might be necessary could be effected at a very trifling cost. Since the Report of the Commission, a number of gentlemen had given attention to the subject, and a new plan had been drawn up by them, by which the building might be supported. It was to place the Crystal Palace in the form of a trust; the trustees being certain independent noblemen and gentlemen possessing the confidence of the public, and some of the Members of the Government for the time being, and holding high offices. The Royal Commissioners felt themselves under the pledge given at an early period that the building should come down; and by many Members of that House great importance was attached to that pledge. It was stipulated that the building should come down by the 1st of June, 1852, and the surface of the park be restored to its previous state, and grass seeds sown there; and that if that was not done, the Commissioners of Woods and Works might come in and remove and dispose of the materials, and apply the produce in reimbursement of the expenses of the removal and of restoring the surface of the park. In fact, the deed of covenant was drawn up with great stringency. But the building was a new invention in architecture; it was one of the greatest inventions ever made in this country for the advancement of science. One great object of the friends of education was to promote the knowledge of science, by the exhibition of scientific specimens. Since the building was erected, public opinion had undergone a great change; and he should wish, if the House would allow the Committee to be appointed, that it should have the fullest power to investigate every branch of the subject. He did not wish to limit the Committee to the question whether the building should remain in Hyde-park, or whether its size should be altered. It was said by many that the building was too long, and that if reduced in size its beauty would be increased, without its efficiency for any purpose being impaired, Were the building reduced, the objection taken to it by Lord Campbell, Mr. Justice Cresswell, and other residents in the neighbourhood, would in all probability be removed. There was a class of Members in the House who objected to the retention of the Crystal Palace, because it interfered with the ride in Rotten-row; but the Committee might arrange for some further accommodation for those who wished to ride in the Park. The building had admirably answered its original purpose; during the Exhibition it was the great attraction of the metropolis, and it now remained a monument of architectural skill and great power of design. There were those who objected to it as a monument of the Great Exhibition. That was the very reason why it ought to be retained. The Exhibition was one of the most interesting events in British history—it was an era in the history of the world, and the beginning of those intimate commercial relations with different countries which he hoped to see greatly extended. With regard to the objects to which the building might be adapted, there was the plan of Sir Joseph Paxton for a winter garden. London was the only great metropolis of Europe without a winter garden. The climate of this country was so uncertain, so damp, so foggy, that the luxury of a winter garden would not fail to be highly acceptable. He hoped that the building would be preserved, and that it would be placed under Government control and careful management. Many advantages would result from it. He had no wish to limit the objects to which the building, if preserved, might be applied. He did not wish to limit it to a winter garden; there were other more beneficial purposes for which it might be used. He thought our means of giving instruction in science were extremely limited. The collections of geology and natural history in the British Museum were little known at the west end, because so far off. The inhabitants of the west end had no opportunity of deriving instruction from them. He did not know any place so well adapted to the exhibition of scientific specimens as the Crystal Palace. Objections were taken that the building was too large; but that was a point on which great improvement might be made. If the building were kept up, he did not expect there would be a very large concourse of people except at particular times. There was one kind of exhibition for which it was peculiarly adopted—that was botanical exhibitions. Hon. Members who had frequently visited Chiswick and the Regent's-park during the floral exhibitions, must remember how often their pleasure had been interfered with by the rain. There was, in fact, no plan which could be better carried out under the roof of the Crystal Palace than a botanical exhibition. He should wish the Committee to be appointed in order to have a thorough investigation of it the subject. They ought also to examine into the point of honour which had been raised. He believed it was usual formerly to refer points of ho- nour in that House to Viscount Hardinge, then Sir Henry Hardinge, and his decision was final; but there was no Member now in the House, who possessed similar influence, and the subject now in dispute might be referred to a Committee. An important principle was involved in this question: it was that of class divisions. The middle classes were in favour of, and the aristocratic classes were against, the retention of the Crystal Palace; and he considered it one of the most dangerous and serious divisions that could agitate this country. He should be very much surprised if the noble Lord (Lord J. Manners) opposed the Motion. When he (Mr. Heywood) was on a visit at Haddon Hall, one of the seats of his Grace the Duke of Rutland, he had met a French nobleman, with whom he engaged in conversation on the subject of the English aristocracy. That French nobleman stated as a reason why the English aristocracy retained their privileges and position, and the French lost theirs, that the English aristocracy knew when to make just concessions. Now, this was a time for the aristocracy of England to make a small concession to the opinions and wishes of the middle classes. It might be said that the poorer classes would not be benefited, if they were deprived of so much grass which they might have ranged over, and if an admission fee, though small, should be exacted. But the poorer and the poorest classes have signed numerous petitions praying earnestly for the retention of the Crystal Palace. The change that had taken place in public opinion since its erection was manifested at the meeting at Exeter Hall. At that meeting a deputation was appointed to wait on the noble Earl the First Minister of the Crown; but unfortunately that nobleman had been unable from press of other business to receive the deputation, and the subject was therefore brought before the House without having been submitted to the head of the Government. But the noble Lord (Lord J. Manners) had paid a great deal of attention to it, and he (Mr. Heywood) hoped that the noble Lord would allow the Committee he asked for to be appointed.


, in seconding the Motion; said, he differed in many respects from the opinions expressed on this important question by parties who had interested themselves in discussion as to the permanence of the building in question. For his part he considered that the mass of the people of England until late years had not been treated in a manner which would have tended to their better education, or with that kind of sympathy and fellow feeling which ought to exist among all classes of the community. He wished to see a state of things in this country in which the rich should enjoy their riches without envy or jealousy on the part of the poor, and in which the poor should be fully remunerated for their labour and for the important services they rendered to the other members of the community. But he considered there was a duty owing by the higher classes towards the lower which had scarcely ever been fairly or properly recognised. It was on that ground that he entreated the Government to consider what the object was which was now sought to be attained. That object was to afford instruction and recreation to the people, The population of this large metropolis now exceeded 2,000,000, the greater part of whom were caged up every week of their lives from Monday morning till Saturday night in the pursuit of their various avocations, and scarcely enjoyed more leisure than the time which they devoted to their necessary and ordinary refreshment. Here, if in any part of the world, recreation and instruction and means of health should be provided. He held, that a healthy, moral, and well-instructed community was more valuable to every individual having property than that property itself, because property could not protect itself, nor could it alone give that happiness which ought to be the object of all government. He considered it to be the duty of every Government to promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number, and he would say, let no opportunity be lost of furthering that excellent and important object. In 1841 he submitted to that House a Motion for a Select Committee to inquire into the then state of the national monuments in Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, and other places; and why did he do so? It was not for any gratification of his own, nor to promote the pecuniary interest of any man breathing; but to afford facilities to the public for inspecting works of art located in those various edifices, with a view to their moral and intellectual improvement. The interests of bishops and trustees of various kinds had, however, stood much in the way of the end at which he aimed in moving for that Committee. It was true that up to that period this was an exclusive country. Often had they heard the remark made, that the people of England were excluded from participating in those enjoyments and recreations which tended so much to refine and elevate the minds of the people of Continental countries; and it was said we could not trust the people of England as the people on the Continent were trusted in reference to the exhibition of works of art. His answer was, "Try them." Until the persons who raised that objection trusted and tried the people in matters of that kind, they were not in a position to offer an opinion on such a subject. The Committee to which he had adverted recommended that the British Museum, the National Gallery, and some other places, should be opened as speedily as possible for the gratuitous admission of the public. It was honourable to the character of the people that the aristocracy now appeared to be desirous of forwarding the happiness and welfare of the less fortunate classes under them. In the arrangements made for improved dwellings, and in education even to the class of ragged children, it was found that efforts were now made to give the people habits of application and industry. It was not reading and writing alone that constituted true education, but the moral training with which intellectual instruction ought always to be accompanied. He appealed to the benefits which had resulted from those improvements; and, without entering into statistical details, he had no hesitation in saying, that the British Museum, which once was comparatively a sealed place, and to which not more than seventy or seventy-five parties were admitted in a week, afforded a favourable illustration of the advantages that attended the opening of such institutions to the public. The officers expressed their fears lest injury should ensue; every precaution was taken, a person was placed in every room. Prom the first hour when the Museum was thrown open up to the present, not an article of that immense and valuable collection had been touched. During the last year he understood that upwards of 2,000,000 of people had passed through the Museum. He would call attention to the fact that the numbers who visited the Tower of London in a year had risen from 10,000 to 100,000 since the charge for admission had been reduced from 3s. to 6d. In his opinion justice would not be done to the public until they were admitted free of all charge to a place like the Tower. No accident whatever had happened to the valuable collection of paintings in the National Gallery (with one exception) since the public had been admitted there gratuitously, nor at Hampton Court; and the conduct of the people, while visiting those interesting places, had been most exemplary. What was the result of opening those public institutions to the public? The working classes, instead of forming parties among themselves to go to public-houses as before, to spend a leisure day in drinking, now formed little parties to go in waggons on pleasure trips to Hampton Court, and places of that kind. In that way thousands of them participated in the advantages which had been so liberally afforded to them, and which tended to improve and humanise the whole fabric of society. He therefore held that the House was bound, if it could, to avail itself of the opportunity of retaining the Crystal Palace as a means towards the important ends to which he had adverted. He asked the House to bear in mind what occurred last year, when men high in rank, who had not learned to trust the people, would have had the metropolis surrounded by troops, and yet 80,000 people were sometimes collected in the Crystal Palace, and as many assembled out of doors, without any necessity arising for calling in the police to maintain order. Colonel Rowan attributed the facility of maintaining order to the good conduct of the people. He was examined by a Committee upstairs, when he said, that since he had come to be connected with the police force, he had found that one policeman could now maintain peace in any portion of the metropolis, where five, six, or seven would have been required only a short time before. He would remind the House that they were not asked to make an advance of public money. The parks were public property, to be maintained by Her Majesty for the benefit of the community. The House was asked to allow inquiry. That inquiry would show that the wants of the nation were increasing, that the population of the metropolis was increasing. The Exhibition showed that foreigners in the fine arts had a superiority over our own workmen; and it was desirable to give the community here an opportunity of benefiting from the collections which would be exhibited in the Crystal Palace. For that purpose there were noblemen and gentlemen associated together who asked permission, to do for the public, but on a more liberal scale, what other parties had been allowed to do in regard to the Zoological Gardens and the Botanical Gardens. Great objection was made to making those gardens in the Regent's Park; and very properly the Woods and Forests retained the power of removal. The rent of the inner circle of the Regent's Park was 248l., a moderate rent, he confessed. What the body to which he referred asked was for a lease of the eighteen acres of land on which the Crystal Palace stood. They asked for leave to apply the building to purposes favourable to the education of the people, including among them the exhibition of collections of art and machinery. Instead of making a charge for admission every day, they proposed to give, admission two days a week on payment of 3d., and they proposed to give admission one day a week free. He was told a pledge was given that the Crystal Palace should be removed; but fears were at first entertained which had proved chimerical. In justice he would call the attention of the House to what a sub-committee of those gentlemen who desired the retention of the Crystal Palace proposed to do. A more liberal and important proposition had not been put before the House for many a day. They said— Three modes of appropriating the Crystal Palace may be at present specified with sufficient distinctness to show how it is intended to combine the instruction and recreation of the people with the advancement of the arts, sciences, and manufactures. In the first place, a portion of the space may be allotted to a winter garden, avoiding extremes of temperature, embellished with fountains, statuary, geological specimens, and a great variety of other interesting objects. Hon. Gentlemen might say that was a fairyland, but the project was one which he understood could be realised. Another portion might be appropriated for the reception of new inventions, and of a collection in illustration of the commerce of the world. Lastly, the building might contain a gallery of design, for the promotion of taste among manufacturers and the public, and lecture-rooms and museums, which would relieve the already over-crowded state of many of our greatest scientific institutions. If collections existed where the progress of improvement could be seen, how much labour might be saved by persons desirous of carrying out such improvements in machinery! He hoped that those who opposed the Motion were not to be put down as enemies of the objects to which he had referred, as adverse to the recreation of the public and to the progress of improve- ment. The time might come when this country might find itself falling back as a commercial and manufacturing country. The sub-committee said— No more is asked for, in carrying out this plan for the preservation of the Crystal Palace, than has already been conceded to the Zoological and Botanical Societies in the Regent's Park. The self-supporting principle upon which it is proposed to effect the preservation of the palace, is the same as that upon which the Great Exhibition was so successfully carried out. No better proof can be given of the confidence felt in the soundness of that principle than by mentioning the fact, that some of the first capitalists in the country are prepared to guarantee the funds required upon the basis of this statement, and to submit their guarantee to Her Majesty's Government. When the receipts had been applied to the preservation of the building, the residue would not be devoted to other purposes, but would be appropriated to such purposes as should promote the efficiency of the institution. The offer was made by gentlemen of property and science, who were willing to enter on the undertaking; and he submitted that in every point of view the House was entitled to resolve on placing them in the same situation as the supporters of the Zoological Gardens. On that subject he referred to the evidence of Mr. Briton, Mr. Allan Cunningham, and Others. It was for the Government when they made the lease to impose what restrictions they pleased. In the meantime he hoped the House would allow a Committee to be appointed. They would not be thereby precluded from permitting the removal of the building afterwards. He trusted, however, that by the evidence which might be adduced, and by the startling facts which would be laid before such a Committee, the House would be induced to arrive at a different conclusion.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That a Select Committee be appointed, to consider the preservation of the Crystal Palace, or the central portion thereof, with a view to its applicability to purposes of public instruction and recreation.


said, he had formerly on several occasions expressed his opinion upon this so-called Crystal Palace, and he believed his conduct had been in strict conformity with those declarations. He had never entered it. If anybody offered him a thousand guineas—and even in those times of Californian gold a thousand guineas was no small sum—he would not enter the place. No; upon principle, he would not, he dared not enter it; he considered it a duty to his fellow-creatures not to go into the place. The very sight of it almost sickened him. He had not desired to see any act of violence resorted to, or the law transgressed, in order to demolish it; but he owned that nothing could have given him greater pleasure than if, by some superior power to that of man, it was annihilated at one fell swoop, and no trace left of the gross delusion. He believed that its institution was most prejudicial to the working classes, and to our nations} industry. They pretended to cherish the principle of encouragement to native industry, and yet, by this Crystal Palace and the introduction of foreigners, they did all they could to subvert it. Who benefited by it? Not one. Our poor people? Not a bit of it. Foreigners and contractors were the gainers. The poor people were drawn from their distant homes, and from their honest occupations, to see this big bauble. They were trepanned, seduced, ensnared, and humbugged out of their hard earnings. Oh, but they said, the place would afford recreation. Recreation for whom, and for what purpose? Was the labourer to leave his work to go to the Crystal Palace to take recreation and be duped out of his money? By their tricks, manœuvres, and gullibility, he would add by their fraudulent insinuations and promises, they had wrung the shillings out of the hands of the poor, who could ill afford it, and sent them back to their families penniless. But what a farce was the pretence upon which the Crystal Palace was erected! A noble Lord in another place had spoken of an harmonious and amicable confederation which it would produce between the people of this country and those of foreign nations, and especially between this country and France. But where was now that harmonious and amicable confederation? What was the present state of feeling between the two countries? By all sorts of unworthy modes they had asked their friends and neighbours to their table, and then turned round upon them and told them that they were not worthy to sit there. What was the result of this much-talked of meeting? Why, that two Governments had declared it was necessary to organise our militia, and to get up our national defences against these same friendly foreigners whom they invited with open arms. They had their Exhibition, he believed—for of course he never saw it—stuffed with foreign fancy rubbish. Show and tinsel were now-a-days preferred—cheap and nasty—whilst our solid durable English manufacture was neglected. He had been told by provincial tradesmen that two years of the Crystal Palace would ruin them. The Crystal Palace was a transparent humbug. As to the maintenance of that building, he could not suppose for a single instant the House would listen to such a proposal. They had had enough of the humbug. He agreed with Lord Campbell and Lord Brougham that they had no right to keep it there. They had no more right to rob so much ground from the Park than any Member of that House had to carry away the mace from the table. As for the appointment of a Committee, he scouted the idea. He knew what Committees generally ended in, and this Committee would be only a side-wind to maintain the building. The sooner the thing was swept away the better; and as for the public, he believed those who did not view it with indifference, regarded it in the same light he did—as a common nuisance. He was in favour of affording recreation to his fellow-creatures of all classes, but he would never subscribe to perpetuate such an unmitigated humbug as this. He would not be any party to a gross and wilful breach of faith; and, as he valued the cause of native industry, and preferred the interests of his own countrymen to those of foreigners, he would give his decided opposition to the Motion.


said, that, although the hon. and gallant Member who had just sat down had passed some severe strictures as to the utility of what had taken place in the Crystal Palace, the fate of which was then under consideration, yet he must decline upon the present occasion to enter upon the question of the merits of that great Exhibition. Neither did he think that the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) ought to be offended by his (Lord J. Manners) declining to refer to the earlier acts of the life of that hon. Member, in which he endeavoured to call the attention of the House to measures calculated to promote the education as well as the innocent recreations of the people. The House well knew the services which the hon. Member had rendered in that respect, and those services he (Lord J. Manners) was quite convinced were duly appreciated by every one. But his present object was to state, as shortly as he could, the reasons which induced Her Majesty's Government to think that those engagements under which the Exhibition was established, and the building was erected, namely, that when it had served its purpose, the building should be removed, ought now to be adhered to. As the first and foremost of these reasons, he placed the notorious fact, that, had it not been for the strong and solemn nature of those engagements, there was at any rate a great probability that the building never would have been erected at all. Hon. Gentlemen naturally enough had been carried away by the great and almost unexampled, and, he believed he was not wrong in saying, unexpected success of the enterprise, and they were apt to forget the obstacles and difficulties which, in the first place, interposed themselves in the way of those who wished to originate the palace. He was now speaking in the presence of many of the Royal Commissioners, and he believed they would admit that he did not exaggerate when he said that, had it not been for the solemn and positive engagement which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hey-wood) now called upon the House to disregard for the sake of a pecuniary compensation to be guaranteed to a body of respectable individuals, those difficulties and those obstructions would have been especially, he believed he might say, perhaps, fatally, increased. Now, let him ask what were the terms of those engagements? By the Royal Warrant, dated the 11th July, authorising the Royal Commissioners to enter upon a piece of ground in Hyde Park, for erecting a building for the Exhibition, the following engagement was imposed:— That the said buildings and erections which may be erected on the said site or piece of ground hereinbefore described as aforesaid, and all the materials and contents thereof, shall be completely removed and carried away by and at the sole expense of the said Commissioners on or before the 1st day of June, 1852; and that on or before the said 1st day of June, 1852, the said Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 shall, to the satisfaction of the Commissioners for the tune being of our Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works, and Buildings, restore the soil and surface of the park to its form before any part thereof was enclosed by the said Commissioners, ready for sowing with grass seeds, and to sow the same. In the deed of covenant for carrying out that undertaking, the parties engaged to observe and perform— All and every the directions in respect of the premises which shall from time to time be given to them by the said Commissioners for the time being of Her Majesty's Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works, and Buildings; and especially will, on or before the 1st day of June, 1852, take down and remove, or cause to be taken down and removed, all and every the buildings and erections, building and erection, which shall be built or erected upon, or within the said site or piece of ground mentioned and described in the said Royal Warrant of even date herewith, and delineated in the plan drawn in the margin thereof, and the materials thereof, and the implements employed in erecting the same, and all and every the articles or article, of whatever nature or kind, which shall or may be brought to or upon the said site or piece of ground for the purposes of the said Exhibition; and will, at their own expense, in all respects restore the soil and surface of the said park to the form in which it was previously to the said Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 enclosing any part thereof, ready for sowing the tame with grass seeds, and to sow the same. Nor was this all. In the preliminary discussions and arrangements which took place between the Royal Commissioners on the one hand, and the Commissioners of Woods and Forests on the other, he found this condition:— That the Exhibition shall be closed on or before the 1st day of November, 1851, immediately after which all possible despatch will be used in clearing out the contents of the buildings, taking them down, and removing the materials and reinstating the ground, &c., within seven months from the time of closing the Exhibition; and, in the event of failure in the fulfilment of this engagement, that it shall be competent for the Commissioners of Woods, &c., to remove the same, to dispose of the materials, and to apply the produce in reimbursement of the expenses incurred in such removal. But so strong was the understanding at the time that the building was to be removed after the temporary purposes for which it was intended should have been accomplished, that he found the Secretary of the Royal Commissioners writing in their name on the 27th of June, 1850, the strong objection which the Commissioners entertained to the insertion of such a condition, on the very ground that the intention of the parties to act in the spirit of the condition was so notorious that it was surplusage and absurd to put it in any more stringent manner than it had already been agreed upon. The words of the Secretary were— With regard to the condition that the Exhibition shall be closed on or before the 1st of November, 1851, and that the whole building shall be removed and the ground reinstated within seven months afterwards, the commissioners cannot but express their regret that it should have been thought necessary to require a stipulation of so minute a character after the public assurances which they have already given, that the building should be of a strictly temporary character, and should be removed immediately after the close of the Exhibition. They have now only to add, that they hope to close the Exhibition and to remove the building long before the period assigned in the condition, and that their reason for naming so comparatively distant a day has simply been to prevent the possibility of a misunderstanding, should any unforeseen circumstances prevent their closing at the time now contemplated. Having now called the attention of the House to these admitted and notorious facts, he did not know whether it was worth while for him to refer to the language used in the various debates which had occurred in that House on the subject by the noble Lord the late Commissioner of Woods and Forests, and by certain hon. Members who were more particularly interested in this great and important undertaking. Both the noble Lord, then at the head of the Government, and the late hon. and learned Attorney General, most emphatically and distinctly declared that the public faith and pledge given to the House and the country with respect to the removal of the building, would indisputably be maintained. Even admitting that the retention of the Crystal Palace on its present site might be as advantageous as the hon. Mover of the present proposition stated it would be for the objects he had in view, still he (Lord J. Manners) contended that that would be greatly outweighed and overbalanced by the evil which would result from so manifest and flagrant a violation of public faith and public engagements. Occasions might again arise when, for some great temporary purpose, it might be advisable to alienate for a certain time some other portion of the Royal or public domains, or some great public building or institution; but would the objection to such temporary alienation be strengthened or diminished if the House should now take the course which the hon. Member opposite invited it to pursue? He was not prepared to admit that by retaining the Crystal Palace in its present position, we should secure to their full extent the advantages described by the hon. Gentleman. He was not prepared to do so for two reasons, the first of which was based on the nature and character of the building, and the second on the site which it now occupied. It was admitted on all hands, and by no one more freely and cordially than by himself, that the building was admirably adapted for the purpose it was intended to serve. The hon. Gentleman who made the present Motion had laid some little stress on that fact; but he (Lord J. Manners) should say, that the circumstance of the building having been so veil adapted for purposes of a purely temporary nature, constituted a strong a priori argument against its retention for a permanent purpose. If a lady of fashion gave a great entertainment and erected a tent leading from her drawing-room window for the purpose of a ball, she did not, after it had answered its purpose, propose to convert that tent into a nursery, cowhouse, or stable; but, if she wished for any of those, she had a suitable building erected. The most shortsighted and most extravagant course of proceeding in the long run was to endeavour, if they had a building for a temporary purpose, by tinkering and altering it to pucker it up, and make it serve some permanent object, different from that for which it was originally destined. He believed that it had been admitted by all the witnesses examined favourable to the retention of the Crystal Palace on its present site, that great and essential alterations would be necessary before it could be adapted to any permanent purpose. Sir Charles Fox caused it clearly to be understood that, in his opinion, a new roof and a new floor would be requisite if the building were converted into a permanent building. And he proceeded to say— Then, supposing the building could be purchased at an expense of 45,000l., I believe if it were intended to make it a permanent structure it would require some alterations, would it not?—I should advise some alterations in the roof of it, certainly. The glazing was done under such extreme pressure for time, that I should be disposed to reglaze it; and if it were determined to reglaze it, I think in all probability the main gutters of the building ought to be lined with lead or galvanized iron, whichever was considered the best mode; but I have not very carefully considered it. Then, if it were converted into a winter garden, there would be large alterations in the floors and galleries, and the timber that would come out of those floorings might be sold for a considerable sum, for a credit against other expenses. Mr. Dilke, who also was favourable to the retention of the Crystal Palace, thought that there must be a new roof; and said— A further sum of 20,000l. or 30,000l. would, I believe, defray the expense of a new roof, substituting iron for the present main wooden gutter, and make it wind and water tight. He now came to the intelligent and most successful designer of the fairy fabric, Sir Joseph Paxton. That gentleman did not disguise his opinion, that if he were asked to erect a building suitable to the purpose which the Mover of the present proposition bad in view, he should prefer to erect a new and, in some respects, a different building. Sir Joseph Paxton said— If I understand your Lordship to ask whether I could make a better building, if I had to make another for the purpose, I tell you distinctly I could—very much. Sir Joseph Paxton was also for a new roof, as appeared from the following evidence:— Suppose you were asked by the Government to give them a plan for a covered garden for the parks on a large scale, you would make it with a wooden roof?—Oh, most undoubtedly; not exactly like the Great Exhibition building, because my notion of the stability of one of these great buildings is this, and what I intended for the Great Exhibition building is this, namely, that all the sinews and everything connected with strength, should be iron or metal; that, in fact, the outline of the building should be like this table, and the covering of glass and wood like the table cloth spread upon it, so that you could renew it at any time and in any manner you liked, and go that when anything happened to it, you could repeat and constantly keep it up; that is my notion of it. Now, in the Great Exhibition building they did not carry that out to the extent of my wishes; there is wood in some places where there should be iron. There is a great deal in the building that might have been better done otherwise, but there is nothing there but what was done to get it completed in the time?—In my plan I made metal gutters underneath to parry the wafer a way from the other gutters. That is essentially carrying out the principle of making the whole stability of the building and the connexion of it of metal; and then the other wooden gutters were to carry the water into these; and that is the way I should execute a building of this extent if I had to do it to-morrow morning. You would have the skeleton of iron?—Yes. The skeleton of the roof should be of metal? —Yes, that part that carries off the water. Sir Joseph Paxton also said— I think for 25,000l. in addition to that 126,000l. I could put you up a much finer, a more magnificent, and more appropriate thing than the Exhibition building. Mr. Hawkins was examined as to the probability of the building becoming a depository for certain articles which had been mentioned in the course of the present debate as being likely to be placed in the building, and he gave his decided opinion that the building was not suited to such a purpose. Mr. Hawkins' evidence was as follows:— Upon the whole, you think the Exhibition building could not be adapted, without a total alteration of its character, for the purpose of receiving antiquities?—I cannot myself believe it would save one single sixpence in expense in the adaptation; in fact, it would be as costly as an entirely new building. Mr. Cole was of opinion that, for a temporary purpose, the building might be made great use of for the stowing away various objects of art, for which there was not sufficient space elsewhere; but he stated, in answer to the question— Assuming it were advisable to have a depository in which there should be collections of machinery, collections of mineral products, and collections of articles which are matters of trade and commerce between one country and another, do you not suppose that wherever these are collected there must be rooms for attendants to stay with them, and give information to persons who came there for the purpose?—Unquestionably; and I would not have it supposed that I think the present building is by any means the most suitable place; but you have got the present building, and the sympathy of the people with the subject; you have got the covered space; and temporarily I would take all the advantage I could of those circumstances. Mr. Cole further gave an opinion which seemed to imply this meaning, that the very unfitness of the building was a reason why he thought it might be used for the purpose advocated, in order that the feeling of the people might be raised against the bad accommodation afforded to the valuable articles stowed in the building, and that a great and permanent structure might be raised elsewhere. This appeared from the following evidence of Mr. Cole:— Then, if I understand, you would establish it in the present Exhibition building, with such a consciousness that it is unfitted for it, and that the outcry of the public would lead to a better?—That is a little stronger than I put the case; but I am prepared to say that the present building is a great deal better than none; and the more its imperfections were seen, and the public interested in the subject, the more eager they would be to support the preparation of a better building. Well, then, he might fairly assume that the character of the building itself was such as to render most essential alterations necessary before it could be converted into a building suitable to the purposes which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Heywood) had in view. When he (Lord J. Manners) came to consider what those multifarious proposals were, and what were the purposes which had been put forth at public meetings, in order to stimulate this popular agitation on the subject, he was overwhelmed by their extravagant and contradictory nature. It had been proposed to convert the Exhibition building into a ball room. ["No, no!"] Having taken considerable interest in this subject, and read the speeches of hon. Gentlemen out of doors, and the evidence before the Commission, he must be allowed to make that assertion; and Sir Joseph Paxton himself was more delighted in contemplating the balls to be given in the building, than perhaps almost any other person. Sir Joseph Paxton gave way to a rapturous exclamation of delight on the subject of the balls that might be given in the building, and stated— If well lit up, it would be an enchanting place at night; all the statuary and plants would show off extremely well; it would be most perfect; it would become an illusion almost. I only wish you would let me have the building to give a ball or two in it for the charities of London; you would see how I would light it up. Consequently the lighting would have to be provided for as well as the new roof. Among the various purposes to which it had been proposed to apply the Exhibition building, it had been recommended to convert it into a ball-room, into a covered ride, into a lecture-room, into a statue gallery, a garden, a forest, a casino, and last, not least, it was, on the only day on which the working classes of the metropolis really could have access to it, to be turned into a congeries of preaching houses, for the different religious communities into which the country was divided. This brought him to the second reason why he thought the retention of the building on its present site would not be advantageous to the working classes. At one of these late public meetings an able speech in favour of the retention of the building was delivered a few days ago; but the speaker evidently felt that if the building were retained on its present site, and free access allowed to the working classes, it must necessarily be open on the Sunday, and, therefore, to meet the objection against its being open on that day, he proposed that the liturgy of the Church of England should be repeated in one corner, and that every class of dissent in the metropolis should have appointed preaching rooms in other corners of the building. Now, this was an important view of the question, and he begged hon. Gentlemen to make up their minds whether they would consent to open the building on Sundays or not, for if it were intended to close the building on Sunday, then he maintained, that as that was the only day when Hyde Park was accessible to the working classes, they would virtually close some twenty acres of that park which had been from time immemorial in the enjoyment of the working classes against those classes. If, on the other hand, they proposed to throw open the building on Sunday, then they took the first step, and it might be described as a stride, to introduce into this country the Continental method of observing the Sabbath. Let the House not overlook the magnitude of this portion of the question—Sunday was the only day on which the masses of the people flocked to Hyde Park. The hon. Gentleman had truly said they were toiling all the week from Monday to Saturday, but he would ask the hon. Gentleman was it his opinion that those hard-worked people would toil through the many streets leading to the building on any day but Sunday? Ladies living in Belgravia or Mayfair might think the present site a very good one; but he would say that far above the wishes of the upper or the middling classes, he ranked the feelings and the wants of the lower classes—of the masses of the toiling population. The hon. Mover of the present proposition said that the feeling of the middle classes was unanimous on this question; but he (Lord J. Manners) believed that assertion to be most unfounded. Just before he came down to the House, two petitions were placed in his hand, both from tradesmen in Oxford-street, one in favour, and the other against the retention of the Crystal Palace; and, as far as he could judge, the numbers were within five of each other. With the exception of the Exeter-hall meeting, there had hardly been a meeting called in which respectable inhabitants and tradesmen of the district had not risen and opposed the retention of the Crystal Palace. Though remarkable efforts had been made to induce the people of the metropolis to believe that between the retention of the Crystal Palace on its present objectionable site, and its positive and permanent demolition, there was no middle course, he asserted that to be a most material variation and departure from the truth. In considering this question, he was most anxious to find out what site would afford to the great mass of the working people the freest access on a half holiday or summer evening. The first element which came into the consideration was that old highway which in former days was the favourite resort and chief means of communication for the nobility, and which now afforded the cheapest and readiest and most popular method of transit to the working people—namely, the River Thames. What facility, in respect to conveyance, did the site in Hyde Park afford to the mass of working people toiling in the remote nighbourhoods which constituted the hives of industry? None of any consequence. On reading a paper prepared for a different purpose, and which, therefore, could not be suspected of being made out to subserve the purpose for which he was now using it, he was struck at finding that the distance from Lambeth-stairs to Battersea Park was traversed by steamboats in sixteen minutes, from Blackfriars Bridge in thirty-four minutes, from South-wark Bridge, in thirty-eight minutes, from London Bridge in forty minutes, and from the Thames Tunnel in fifty minutes. Now the districts he had named were points surrounded by a large population of working people; and, if the Docks, Limehouse, Deptford, Greenwich, and Woolwich were also considered, he asked if a site immediately contiguous to the river was not more available to the working classes of this metropolis than Hyde Park? The paper to which he referred most truly said, with respect to the site at Battersea— As an indication of the number which the park would benefit, it may be stated that the passengers carried by one steamboat company only, between London Bridge and Kew, amounted last year to 6,000,000, of which about 500,000 were passengers to and from Kew, and the rest were passengers to and from the several piers between London Bridge and Battersea Bridge. Under these cirumstances, he believed, if arrangements could be made to place the Exhibition building with a river front in Battersea Park, such an arrangement would be more advantageous to the working classes, than to retain it where it then stood. It must be borne in mind, that unless they afforded to the new parks they were creating, some attractions to induce the people to frequent them, they would be merely throwing money away. He rejoiced to say that in Victoria Park the cricket-ground and bathing-place had attracted large numbers of persons; and he hoped to be able to provide for the bathing-place by the next bathing season, a still ampler and purer supply of water than they had hitherto enjoyed. He was also happy to hear that some benevolent individuals in the same locality were getting up a building for the reception of works of art, and curiosities, which would prove highly attractive and instructive. And he thought that they would do well if they would place in Battersea-park a great and attractive building. He had not heard any dissatisfaction expressed at the removal of the building; but all he could say was, that should it be deemed unreasonable to compel its instant removal, any facilities which could be afforded to the contractors or the purchasers should not be withheld by the Government. He had already indicated that he did not meet this Motion in a hostile spirit, and he would state that any facility for erecting the building on a site such as was more suitable, would be cheerfully accorded by Her Majesty's Ministers. He had been informed by a first-rate authority that the building had been already purchased—that the purchase-money had been lodged in the Bank—and that the purchasers were anxious to communicate with Her Majesty's Government on the subject of a site, and the purposes to which the building should be applied. He could only say he would give his co-operation and sanction to any mode that could be suggested in accordance with the views he had expressed; and he trusted the building would be erected on a happier site, where, untarnished by the recollection of broken public faith and violated public honour, it would conduce to the recreation of the working and toiling classes of this great metropolis. As to the charges which had been so unscrupulously levelled against the Commissioners, he could only express his regret that such charges had been made against Gentlemen who had acted with every desire to come to a just resolution. In conclusion, he must ask the House to reject the Motion as unnecessary, inasmuch as the subject sought to be referred to a Committee had been fully and fairly investigated by a Commission—inasmuch as the object sought to be attained could only be granted by a flagrant violation of public faith—and inasmuch as every good object to be gained would meet with the cordial sympathy of the new possessors of the building and of Her Majesty's Government.


said, he could not avoid saying that he felt considerable surprise in listening to the speech of the noble Lord in reply to the stringent arguments advanced by the lion. Gentleman who had brought forward this Motion. The noble Lord having stated that he did not meet the Motion in a hostile spirit, expressed every objection, not only of his own, but of others, against the continuance of the building on its present site, alleging, amongst other things, that it would be injurious to public morals. Yet, nevertheless, the noble Lord was in favour of placing this building in another part of the metropolis, where the poor would herd by themselves, and not have the advantage of meeting the upper classes, in order to be benefited and refined by intercourse with them. Now he looked upon it as one very great advantage of an establishment of this kind that it did produce a sympathy and communication between all classes of the people. During the continuance of the Great Exhibition, when there was more than 1,000,000 congregated every month within the walls of the building, there was not a single instance of anything like a breach of good manners; and the instances of crime were so slight as to be scarcely noticed. Of disorders there were none. There was no complaint of personal indignity—none had been offered; and he put it to the House whether they did not think there was great advantage, upon every ground, from bringing the masses of the people into communication with the higher orders. But what did the noble Lord propose? Why, to carry the building to Battersea. Now the noble Lord might think when he made the proposition, that it would be very acceptable to his (Mr. D'Eyncourt's) constituents, as it would much favour their interests if this plan were adopted. But he begged to tell the noble Lord that his constituents had too much public spirit to desire this monopoly. They would much rather the building was continued in its present position, in order that it might be of advantage to the whole of the community. The noble Lord said he thought that the late Government were pledged that the building should be removed, and of course if that were so, the present Government were also bound by that pledge. He waited with great curiosity to hear what documents the noble Lord could produce to prove his assertion. What were they? Why, the documents referred to were papers and agreements between the Royal Commissioners and the Government contractors. But there was no pledge to the public and the House; and the public would expect from the noble Lord a statement as to when and where the pledge was given. The right hon. Gentleman below him (Mr. Labouchere) seemed to intimate that some such pledge was given. No other pledge was given than some statement in that and the other House of Parliament; but what was the opinion now of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carlisle) who was referred to as having so given such a pledge? That statement was made when it was contemplated to make the building of bricks and mortar, and of an unsightly character; but in the Times of yesterday the noble Earl, in a recent letter, was stated to have said— The destruction of the Crystal Palace would be as perverse and senseless an act of Vandalism as could be perpetrated; when it was capable of affording enjoyment to such large masses of the people it would be a very wise and ungracious act on the part of the Government and the aristocracy to insist upon it. That was the statement of the noble Earl who was at the head of the department of the Woods and Forests when the arrangements were made between the Government and the contractors. Could they have a higher authority as to what were the views of the late Government, and as to the propriety of retaining this beautiful building? The noble Lord then proceeded to tell them that the building would require great alterations s that it would require a new roof; that the glass would require continual repair. Now, with all that they had nothing whatever to do: that would be the duty of the new contractors. If the noble Lord had to mend the glass out of Government funds, he could understand and see some force in the objection; but as it was to be placed in private hands he did not see that it was applicable in the least degree. It was proposed to take the building out of the hands of the Government altogether. Then the noble Earl said he was supported in his views by the evidence of Sir Joseph Paxton. But Sir Joseph Paxton stated in the paper which he held in his hand that his evidence had been misunderstood, and that if it were not, the supposed inferences could not be fairly drawn from it. Sir Joseph Paxton also brought the very grave charge against the Commissioners of withholding from him alone, of all the witnesses, an Opportunity of revising his evidence, although he applied for it personally upon two occasions, and once sent for it. With respect to the uses to which the building would be applied, he thought the names of the proposed trustees a sufficient guarantee. He would read them. There was the Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Earl of Carlisle, Lord de Mauley, Viscount Palmerston, Lord Londesborough, Baron Meyer de Rothschild, and Mr. Peto. There had been evinced on the part of the public out of doors an anxious desire to continue this building. The noble Lord said that there were propositions made at the meetings to which he had alluded for adapting the building to objectionable purposes. It was, however, his (Mr. D'Eyncourt's) impression that no such propositions were made. The noble Lord also said that at all these meetings there were many persons found to dissent from the policy of maintaining the building. But at these meetings the number of dissentients had been counted. They were altogether only fifteen in number: eight in Westminster, and seven in some other place. The people of this country, and of this metropolis, required some means for moral recreation. The working man required some place where, after the toil of the day, he could take his wife and children, where they might be amused as well as instructed. Deprive him of this opportunity, and they drove him to licentiousness; to accomplish, then, an object so desirable, he thought the present building was well adapted, and he would therefore vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. Heywood).


said, that he did not wish to detain the House from coming to that division which they seemed so anxiously to desire; but he felt, from the position which he formerly held, he ought not to give a completely silent vote upon this subject. It was said that the Government were incurring a certain degree of unpopularity by the course they were pursuing upon this subject. Now, he wished to gay that he was willing to take his share in that unpopularity. The question presented itself to his mind as one of good faith. His right hon. Friend (Mr. D'Eyncourt) had asked when and where the pledge had been given to remove the building. His (Mr. Labouchere's) reply was, that the pledge was given to the public when permission to erect the building was sought, that it was only for a temporary object, and that when that temporary object was accomplished it should be pulled down and the Park restored to its original condition. That pledge was given at a time when there was much unwillingness upon the part of the House to allow the appropriation of the Park to the purpose. It was upon the strength of that most solemn pledge that leave was ultimately granted. He was one of the Members of the Government who gave at that time the assurance to the House, and he felt that he was only redeeming that pledge by resisting the present Motion. Now he did not mean to say that the pledge thus given to the public might, should the public so desire it, be held as never given. Nor did he pretend to the absurdity that any Government or any Parliament would be bound to abide by such a pledge should the feeling of the country be opposed to it; but he must confess that having watched with great interest the expression of public opinion upon this subject, although he was not prepared to deny that many respectable persons were in favour of the retention of the building, yet he did not consider the sentiment was so general and so universal as to release them from the engagement which they had made. He well remembered that at the time the building was proposed, many persons who thought their property jeopardised by the scheme said to him, "Depend upon it, that the building once up, some pretext or other will be found for keeping it." And he well remembered, too, that his answer was, "You have the pledged faith of the Government and of Parliament that the building, when the precise purpose is accomplished, shall be removed;" and he felt bound to these persons, among others, to take care, so far as in him lay, that the compact so made should be fulfilled. He protested against the question being twisted into a question of public relaxation. It was, therefore, incumbent on him to remind the House that it was upon the strength of the compact that was entered into that the building had been erected, and that the means of instruction and recreation had been placed within their reach. And if, when occasion requires, something of the same kind was desired, there might be danger that the breach of faith of which they would now be guilty would be remembered against them. The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) adverted to his efforts for the promotion of the intellectual improvements and the rational enjoyments of the people. He, like the noble Lord (Lord J. Manners) paid a willing tribute to those exertions. The hon. Gentleman was the advocate of such institutions when it was not so fashionable to be so as it was now; and some of the most honourable parts of the career of the hon. Gentleman were associated with these exertions. If there was a unanimity in favour of the retention of the building, he did not believe there was a Member in that House who would not be prepared to record his vote in its behalf. As to the good conduct of the people, no one who witnessed the Great Exhibition could doubt that the British public were beyond the public of any country in the world in the manner of knowing how to conduct them- selves. He thought it the most gratifying scene in his whole life, even beyond that wonderful display which was the admiration of all nations; and as an Englishman, he felt proud to see the orderly demeanour of his countrymen upon that memorable occasion, when they were collected by thousands. He thought their bearing and behaviour was a much finer sight to foreign nations than those marvels of art which were contained within the walls of that wonderful palace. He did not think any further inquiry was requisite. The late Government had done all in its power on the subject; it had issued a Commission to inquire into the whole matter, and he was prepared to express his conviction that the Commission was in every respect a most competent and fitting Commission. Various attempts had been made to throw discredit on that Commission; but he was perfectly satisfied that its inquiries had been conducted in the fullest and fairest, and most impartial manner. His noble Friend the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour), the official guardian of the people's parks, might have his prejudices, but there were other members on the Commission—Sir William Cubitt and Professor Lindley, who assuredly were not men very likely to be partial against the continuance of the building. He should, for these reasons, vote against the Motion; and he trusted the House would, for the sake of all parties, effectually decide the question without further delay. There was no sort of occasion for further inquiry. The question had been thoroughly investigated already. The removal of the structure from its present site was imperatively demanded for the sake of the public faith; but its removal need in no degree render it barren of future results. There were no doubt ready the capital, ingenuity, and skill to re-erect this marvellous edifice on some eligible site, where its retention would involve no imputation on the good faith of the Government and Parliament of this country.


said, that the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Manners) had very much misrepresented Sir Joseph Paxton. It was never the intention of that gentleman that the Crystal Palace should be applied to one-half the purposes which he had so glibly enumerated. Sir Joseph Paxton's view was, that it should be converted into a winter garden; and if he had the opportunity granted to him he would lay it out in such a manner that it should be a satisfaction to even those who were opposed to him. Any pledge which had been given, the public were ready to absolve. The opposition to the Crystal Palace arose from a learned Judge, and a few builders who had erected houses in the neighbourhood, and who thought that their property would be deteriorated; but he believed that they had no more claim to the consideration of the House than any gentleman who opposed a railway running near his house.


said, that the unanimous feeling of the public was that the Crystal Palace should not be pulled down. The pledge to dostroy the building was given under circumstances which were quite different from the present, and the feeling of the country absolved them from any necessity in adhering to it. To construct the building in the Park without the consent of the people was a trespass upon their rights; to pull it down without their consent was also a trespass. He implored the House not to act in open hostility to the wishes of the people, who would consider it an act of social exclusion were they to destroy this beautiful building. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] They might cry "Oh!" but the people out of doors would not sympathise with their ohs. Let them pull down the Crystal Palace, and they would commit an act of barbaric Vandalism which the country would not soon forget. The public feeling upon this subject was strong out of doors, and the Government could not do anything more unpopular, more dangerous, and more prejudicial to the aristocracy of the country than to persevere.


said, he wished in a few words to state the reason why he should vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend. He thought that no man who went to see the Great Exhibition of last year could have failed to be struck with the reflection that, however wonderful and worthy of admiration were the multitude of productions in industry and art which were contained in that Exhibition, there was nothing within the building to compare with the building itself as an object of admiration to all who saw it, or help regretting that a building so extraordinary in itself, of which it might be truly said that there was nothing like it in the whole world, or to compare with it, should be pulled down when the temporary purpose for which it had been erected should be accomplished. He thought this same sentiment must also have inspired every man who, since the closing of the Exhibition, had from time to time passed by that wonderful fabric; every such man must have felt a wish that some purpose could be devised to which its permanent enduring could be safely applied. In thinking over the purposes to which it might be so applied, many of those purposes which had been stated by hon. Gentlemen in that evening's debate had occurred to him as reasons why the building might be continued for the use and benefit of the people of this metropolis, and of the country at large. Hundreds and thousands of his countrymen had enjoyed during the period of the Exhibition amusement and instruction from an inspection of the things which were exhibited in that crystal building; and he could not see that it would not be possible so to arrange the interior as to make it the scene of a future exhibition, not perhaps so extensive in its range, but still materially contributing to the amusement, enjoyment, and instruction of the various classes of society, not confining his contemplation to the humbler classes, but to all classes, high and low. There might be difficulties in the matter, no doubt. There was one, which had been alluded to in the course of the debate—a difficulty arising from a pledge, or understanding, that it should be pulled down; but his right hon. Friend (Mr. D'Eyncourt) seemed to admit that were there a demand on the part of the public sufficiently strong—were the utility of retaining the building sufficiently demonstrated, that, in this case, the pledge, such as it was, need not be a bar to the retention of the structure. There seemed, also, to be some objection to the present site, and an opinion that some other locality about this city would he better adapted to the purpose. He might differ from these views, but there was matter for inquiry. It certainly appeared to him that not only the speeches which had been made in favour of the Motion, but those made against it, tended to the conclusion that it was a subject of sufficient interest and sufficient difficulty to justify inquiry. He hoped, therefore, that the House would not reject the Motion, but consent to inquiry, in order that the House might, on some future occasion, have fuller and more ample grounds on which to come to a decision as to the advice to be tendered to the Government, with a view either to the demolition or to the retention of this most extraordinary and most admirable structure.


said, that he was reluctant to trespass on the House, but having been repeatedly alluded to in the course of the debate, he felt bound to say a few words on the subject. He could assure the House that he had had no other feeling upon this matter than a desire fairly and honourably to fulfil that engagement into which, as a Member of the late Government, he had entered. He need not refer to the speeches that were made in the year 1850; but he could assure the House that if he were to do so they would clearly perceive that unless the promise had been distinctly given that the building would be honestly and fairly removed, it would never have been allowed to be erected at all. The position that he had had the honour to occupy at that time, necessarily implicated his good faith on this subject more than that of any other man; for he received an application from gentlemen who had invested a large amount of money in the houses opposite this part of the Park, and when they told him that their great fear was that if the building was erected an excitement would be got up, and petitions would be easily manufactured, and that the very means that were used to make the Exhibition known to the country might be used again to retain the building: what was his answer to them? He told them that they had the highest pledge—they had the honour of the Prince, and the character of the first nobility of the country—that he (Lord Seymour) considered the honour of the Commission was pledged to the removal, and could not for a moment doubt but that it would be removed. What was the case of these parties when they came to him, for it had not been fairly stated to the House? Some years ago, it might be remembered, there was a low range of dirty old buildings, with a public-house near, where the Prince of Wales's gate now stood. The Government of the day were anxious to remove these buildings, and communicated with the parties owning the land opposite for the purpose of inducing them to join them in purchasing them. These parties entertained the proposition, and subscribed a large sum of money in order to have a full view of the Park from their property. That being so, he asked whether, having accepted their contributions towards a public improvement, and allowed these persons to invest their money, and to spend nearly 200,000l. in building houses there, it would now do to turn round and block up the view of the Park from their pro- perty by a permanent obstruction like this huge building? That he thought would be a dishonest transaction, and one to which no individual Member of that House would consent in regard to his own property: why, then, should they sanction a proceeding on behalf of the public which every Member would reject in the case of his own land? He confessed it was with surprise that he had heard a letter from the Earl of Carlisle referred to in that debate; for the noble Earl was a party to the engagement to have the building removed, as he himself fairly and honestly acknowledged in the opening of his letter—that opening which the right hon. Member for Lambeth, although he read the latter part, had omitted to quote to the House. But, although the noble Lord might say for himself that he could not appear to take a part in the proceedings for retaining the building, he yet did not mind writing in their favour. For his (Lord Seymour's) part he did not understand the casuistry which could allow the noble Earl to take an indirect mode of doing that which he could not openly do. If he was under the engagement, he ought not to have written the letter; if he was not so bound, he might have attended the meeting, and taken a part in the proceedings. Although he (Lord Seymour) thought the Commissioners who were bound to remove the building, had acted with perfect good faith in this matter, yet their conduct and character were somewhat compromised by the proceedings of their architect; for Sir Joseph Paxton, having been the architect and agent of the Commission, had sent round the whole of the country to try and defeat the obligation of the Commissioners. A Commission of Inquiry was appointed last December, on which were the names of Sir William Cubitt and Dr. Lindley, and no one was better qualified to speak on the capacities of the building than Sir William Cubitt; and certainly no one could better judge of the botanical question than Dr. Lindley. Sir Joseph Paxton had complained, it appeared, that he had not been allowed to correct his evidence. As soon as he knew of that complaint, he (Lord Seymour) asked of the secretary at the office what was the real fact of the case, and the secretary told him that a copy of Sir Joseph Paxtou's evidence had been sent to him at Chats-worth for correction, in the same manner as the evidence of all other witnesses had been sent to them, and not only so, but as soon as it was known that the copy of the evidence had not been received, or had been mislaid, the secretary offered to send him another copy, and after that nothing more was heard about the matter. But, as regarded Sir Joseph Paxton's evidence, the material facts of his evidence did not turn upon figures. The figures he would sooner take from the contractor, who was better able to tell what the value of the building was, and what would be the cost of keeping it in repair, than Sir Joseph Paxton, because he had superintended all the work of its construction. And what had Sir Joseph Paxton stated, not in evidence, but in writing? Why, that the permanent maintenance of the Exhibition building, instead of costing 12,000l. a year, would cost 20,000l. But that would not perhaps be of much consequence, because the building was to be rendered self-supporting. On that point he had made some inquiry of the best witness upon this part of the subject, namely, Mr. Cole, and he said that if it was to be self-supporting, it was indispensable that it should be opened at night as a place of recreation. Then, again, the building was to be under the management of certain trustees. The former Commission was appointed under a Royal Charter with the Royal Sign Manual; but this Commission was appointed at Exeter-hall by Sir Joseph Paxton, who declared that they were to be trustees for the people—interfering with the Royal Parks, and taking permanent possession of some twenty acres. It was impossible that the Royal Parks could be dealt with in that way; they could not be touched but by an Act of Parliament; all the resolutions of that House would be powerless; and unless an Act of Parliament was passed to the contrary, the ground must be given back to the public. But they were told it was most desirable to maintain the building for the education of the people. Now, last year he obtained, with the unanimous consent of all parties, a Vote of that House for the purposes of establishing lectures on practical geology at the Geological Museum in Jermyn-street, and that project had succeeded admirably; lectures were also given, at a mere nominal charge, for working men, and these lectures were well attended; therefore it could not be said that he was opposed to the education of the people. But then they were told the building was admirably adapted for a "trade collection." Now, these trade collections were very apt to degenerate into bazaars; and al- though the goods sent there would not be sold, yet the owners would tell those who wished to purchase that they would send other specimens just like them to their order. But he would ask them to contribute to that trade collection one article, a sample of which, he would answer for it, would compare with anything they could obtain from any firm to adorn it—he meant a sample of the good faith of this country—which had always been the basis of our national greatness and our commercial prosperity. The building would not answer for lectures without extensive alterations: lectures had been tried and found to fail even at the Exhibition. But then it was proposed to convert it into a general warehouse until some fitter repository for a trade collection should have been provided. They were asked to apply twenty acres of a public park to the purposes of a warehouse. For his part, he trusted the House would now at once reject this Motion, and so settle the question for ever.


said, the noble Lord who had just spoken appeared to be influenced by a very strong feeling. He (Mr. Wakley) had also a very strong feeling, but he had made no pledges; and if the noble Lord had made a pledge which he could not maintain, in consequence of the power of Parliament, morally he would commit no sin. ["Oh, oh!"] This was a pledge for destruction; but suppose it had been a pledge for protection, would the article "good faith" then be so worthy of admiration? The noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works stated that the edifice would be the scene of much immorality if it were retained in Hyde Park, but that it might be removed to Battersea. Was morality a matter of geography? What kind of animal did the noble Lord suppose existed at Battersea? Some extraordinary monstrosity, he supposed, because the noble Lord said Government would give them their countenance. If it were a zoological collection, he admitted that the Government might supply them with some countenances curious enough. But, if it were to be an immoral thing in Hyde Park, and a moral thing at Battersea, that was a circumstance for the noble Lord to explain. What harm could such a structure as the Crystal Palace do anywhere? He assured the aristocracy that they had risen wonderfully in the estimation of the people since they had mingled with them at the Crystal Palace, and they deemed the place to be sacred almost in consequence of the associations with which it had been connected. Persons of all nations, all habits, all religions had assembled in that temple of universal peace, and had there forgotten all their national prejudices. They had witnessed such scenes as they had never seen before, and as the noble Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) had well said, of all that they had seen there was no feature that had been so deeply—so indelibly impressed upon their minds, as the structure itself. Much as the aristocracy had gained by what had transpired, he warned them that they would lose more in public estimation if they now demolished that building.


said, he should support the Motion, and repudiated, on the part of the promoters of the movement for retaining the building, any desire to usurp powers not legally and fairly conferred upon them.


could assure the House that the unmitigated nonsense which the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley) had been obliging enough to put into his mouth, with regard to "geographical immorality" had never entered into his mind. [The noble Lord, in explanation, then quoted a document, stating that the Exhibition building was about to be sold, and that an offer had been made for its purchase.]


said, that was perfectly correct, but the bargain was made contingent on that House not sanctioning its continuance in Hyde Park.


said, that he must maintain that it would be no violation of good faith to vote for the present Motion. The contract was made by the Royal Commissioners on behalf of the public, and if the public declared that the contract should not be carried out, it would be no breach of faith to follow its wishes. He must say he was surprised to hear the noble Lord the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour) speak of this Motion being tantamount to a breach of faith, seeing the noble Lord was at the head of a Commission the very object of which was to see whether the building should be retained or not.


said, when he undertook that inquiry the question of good faith was not at all included. It was entirely at the wish of the House that he undertook that inquiry.


, seeing that the present and the late Government were both opposed to the retention of the Crystal Palace in its present site, but were not adverse to its removal to another site, such as Battersea Park, thought an adjournment of the debate was desirable.


said, that the impressions which he originally entertained as, the advisability of retaining the Crystal Palace had been entirely changed. A short time ago he desired to see the Crystal Palace abolished, on the ground that the perishable material of which it was constructed might not be adequate to its preservation in this changeable climate, and that it might not ensure the permanency and durability of a public edifice. He should also dislike to see a building which had answered, and successfully answered, the magnificent purposes to which it was originally dedicated, desecrated to the ordinary purposes of gain, or given over to the hazardous intentions of speculators. He thought that, having fulfilled its mission, it might be abolished, and that it would be no act of Vandalism so to do; that, on the contrary, the fame and the reputation of the men who were engaged in it would not be affected by its removal. True, it would not exist in Hyde-park, recalling by association the splendours of the past, but it would exist in all their recollections as an imperishable monument, and these distinguished men might say— Exegi monumentum ære perennius Regalique situ pyramidum altiun. He now admitted, however, that he had overcome all these objections, and he was now as strenuously determined to support its maintenance as he was before an advocate for its destruction. As much had been said about the good faith of Parliament, he would only say that that ought not to be a serious obstacle. Let hon. Members recall the history of Parliamentary pledges, and they would find that they were as ductile clay formed and fashioned by their own caprices. Only a few nights ago they had an instance of this. They had seen the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell) show an extraordinary facility and a perfect grace in changing his opinion, by opposing a Militia Bill, in Opposition, which in office he had proposed. He would merely say further, that he would support the Motion now before the House, as he thought that by maintaining the building they would be promoting the interest and the welfare of the people, by affording them opportunities of moral, social, and physical improvement.


said, he believed no one could deny that it was desirable that there should exist hi this metropolis a large edifice devoted to the reception of objects of art and of models of our mechanical skill. He hoped that, if even that Motion were rejected, the erection of such an edifice would not be lost sight of.


, in reply, said, he would adopt the words of the Earl of Carlisle as expressive of the true state of the case, and say that nothing could be more unwise than for the aristocracy to insist upon the removal of the Crystal Palace. With respect to any injury that might be inflicted on private property by the retention of the Crystal Palace, he had no doubt that ample compensation would be given for it, if necessary; for there was nothing which Members of that House were more jealous of than injury to private property. The noble Lord the Member for Totness (Lord Seymour) had spoken of Sir Joseph Paxton as having nominated trustees to take charge of the building. The fact was, that all that he had done was to call upon certain eminent individuals who, at his request, had consented to act as trustees, if Parliament should choose to appoint them. Under all the circumstances, he (Mr. Heywood) must persist in dividing the House upon his Motion.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 103; Noes 221: Majority 118.

List of the AYES.
Adair, R. A. S. Ewart, W.
Aglionby, H. A. Fergus, J.
Alcock, T. Foley, J. H. H.
Anderson, A. Forster, M.
Armstrong, Sir A. Fox, W. J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Freestun, Col.
Barrow, W. H. Geach, C.
Bass, M. T. Glyn, G. C.
Bell, J. Granger, T. C.
Brotherton, J. Greenall, G.
Brown, W. Greene, J.
Bunbury, E. H. Hall, Sir B.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Harris, R.
Carter, J. B. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hayes, Sir E.
Charteris, hon. F. Headlam, T. E.
Clay, J. Hervey, Lord A.
Cocks, T. S. Heyworth, L.
Collins, W. Hindley, C.
Conolly, T. Hughes, W. B.
Craig, Sir W. G. Jackson, W.
Crowder, R. B. Keating, R.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Keogh, W.
Duncan, G. King, hon. P. J. L.
Ellia, J. Knight, F. W.
Evans, J. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Evans, W. M'Cullagh, W. T.
M'Gregor, J. Scobell, Capt.
Marshall, J. G. Scrope, G. P.
Matheson, Col. Scully, V.
Miles, P. W. S. Smith, J. A.
Milligan, R. Somers, J. P.
Milnes, R. M. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Moffatt, G. Stanford, J. F.
Morris, D. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Mundy, W. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Stewart, Adm.
O'Flaherty, A. Stuart, Lord D.
Paget, Lord A. Thompson, Col.
Palmerston, Visct. Thompson, G.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Thornely, T.
Peel, Sir R. Wakley, T.
Perfect, R. Walmsley, Sir J.
Peto, S. M. Walter, J.
Pilkington, J. West, F. R.
Price, Sir R. Westhead, J. P. B.
Rawdon, Col. Wilcox, B. M.
Reynolds, J. Williams, J.
Rice, E. R. Williams, W.
Sadleir, J. Wyld, J.
Salwey, Col. TELLERS.
Sandars, G. Heywood, J.
Scholefield, W. Hume, J.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Cholmeley, Sir M.
Adair, H. E. Christopher, rt. hon. R. A.
Anson, Visct. Christy, S.
Anstey, T. C. Clive, hon. R. H.
Archdall, Capt. M. Cobden, R.
Arkwright, G. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Armstrong, R. B. Collins, T.
Bailey, C. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Bailey, J. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Baillie, H. J. Currie, H.
Baldock, E. H. Davies, D. A. S.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Baring, H. B. Deedes, W.
Beckett, AV. Denison, J. E.
Bennet, P. Dick, Q.
Blair, S. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Blandford, Marq. of Divett, E.
Booker, T. W. Dod, J. W.
Bowles, Adm. Drummond, H.
Boyle, hon. Col. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Bramston, T. W. Duff, G. S.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Duff, J.
Bright, J. Duncombe, hon. A.
Brisco, M. Duncombe, hon. O.
Brocklehurst, J. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Bentinck, Lord H. Dunne, Col.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Du Pre, C. G.
Bernard, Visct. East, Sir J. B.
Best, J. Edwards, H.
Bruce, Lord E. Egerton, Sir P.
Bruce, C. L. C. Emlyn, Visct.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Bunbury, W. M. Euston, Earl of
Burghley, Lord Evelyn, W. J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Farrer, J.
Cabbell, B. B. Fellowes, E.
Campbell, hon. W. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Filmer, Sir E.
Carew, W. H. P. Floyer, J.
Cayley, E. S. Forbes, W.
Chandos, Marq. of Fordyce, A. D.
Chaplin, W. J. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Fox, S. W. L.
Childers, J. W. Galway, Visct.
Gaskell, J. M. Moody, C. A.
Gilpin, Col. Morgan, O.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Naas, Lord
Goddard, A. L. Napier, J.
Gooch, Sir E. S. Neeld, J.
Goold, W. Newport, Visct.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Noel, hon. G. J.
Granby, Marq. of O'Brien, Sir L.
Greene, T. Ossulston, Lord
Grey, R. W. Packe, C. W.
Grogan, E. Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Palmer, R.
Gwyn, H. Palmer, R.
Hale, R. B. Patten, J. W.
Halford, Sir H. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hamilton, G. A. Portal, M.
Hamilton, Lord C. Powlett, Lord W.
Hardinge, hon. C. S. Prime, R.
Hastie, A. Pugh, D.
Heathcote, Sir G. J. Reid, Gen.
Heneage, G. H. W. Repton, G. W. J.
Heneage, E. Richards, R.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Romilly, Sir J.
Herbert, H. A. Russell, F. C. H.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Seymour, Lord
Hildyard, R. C. Shelburne, Earl of
Hildyard, T. B. T. Sibthorp, Col.
Hill, Lord E. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Hodgson, W. N. Smith, M. T.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Somerton, Visct.
Hope, Sir J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Hope, H. T. Spooner, R.
Hotham, Lord Stafford, A.
Howard, hon. J. K. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Hudson, G. Stanton, W. H.
Hutt, W. Strickland, Sir G.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Stuart, H.
Jocelyn, Visct. Stuart, J.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Sturt, H. G.
Jones, Capt. Talbot, C. R. M.
Knox, hon. W. S. Taylor, Col.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Thesiger, Sir F.
Langton, W. H. P. G. Thicknesse, R. A.
Lascelles, hon. E. Thompson, Ald.
Lawley, hon. B. R. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Legh, G. C. Tyler, Sir G.
Lennard, T. B. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Lennox, Lord A. G. Vane, Lord H.
Leslie, C. P. Vesey, hon. T.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Villiers, Visct.
Locke, J. Vivian, J. E.
Lockhart, W. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Long, W. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Loveden, P. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Lowther, hon. Col. Watkins, Col. L.
Lowther, H. Wellesley, Lord C.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Whiteside, J.
Mahon, Visct. Wigram, L. T.
Manners, Lord C. S. Willoughby, Sir H.
Manners, Lord J. Worcester, Marq. of
Marshall, W. Wynn, H. W. W.
Martin, J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Masterman, J.
Maunsell, T. P. TELLERS.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Bateson, T.
Molesworth, Sir W. Lennox, Lord H.