HC Deb 10 June 1852 vol 122 cc388-94

Resolutions brought up.

On the 1st Vote, 10,000l. New Zealand,


said, that he must again object that out of a sum of 10,000l. granted for New Zealand, nearly 1,500l. was appropriated to Church purposes.


said, he considered that he had reason to complain that the sum voted for the Colonies had, within the last few years, increased from 2,000,000l. to 4,000,000l. and there seemed to be no limit to the expense. He thought some course should he adopted to prevent any further increase of the expenditure; and that the Government should state what they intended to do with regard to it. He was ready to afford the Colonists protection in time of war, because it was the duty of the Government to protect the people who had gone out of the country under the protection of its laws; but, looking to the increase of expense, and the preposterous establishments that exist in some instances, he trusted Government would lay down, before next Session, some rules by which that expenditure would be regulated. They should lay down a rule by which the colonists themselves would regulate their affairs, and not demand more of this country than they had a right fairly to expect. When the system of responsible government was adopted more generally in the Colonies, he trusted that having by that means given satisfaction to the Colonists in that particular, they would remove in a great degree from the mother country the burdens that hitherto had so heavily pressed upon it. If the money were properly applied, he would not have so much objection to its being voted, but it had been wasted without producing the desired effect of benefiting the Colonies; on the contrary, it had done great injury by creating discontent. He would also beg to call attention to another point, and to offer a suggestion respecting it to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Treasury had pledged themselves to a large expenditure for the building of a fit and proper edifice for a national museum. He was anxious to see the establishment placed on a fit and proper footing. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a Member of the Committee by whom the subject was considered three years ago; and the opinions expressed by the right hon. Gentleman on that occasion were not very different from those entertained by him (Mr. Hume). They should have such an establishment as would he fit for this country and its civilisation; they should take the lead in the fine arts, instead of following merely the example of the Continent; they should he second to none of the European nations in that respect, and should not think that any fair and proper expense that was incurred for the purpose was a burden upon them. The Committee had recommended the removal of the National Gallery from where it is to the neighbourhood of Kensington Gardens. He would venture to suggest whether Kensington Palace should not be entirely applied to the purpose, so as to form an establishment that would do credit to the country, as Hampton Court did; no establishment in the world could rival Hampton Court in the advantages it afforded to the community. The situation of Kensington Palace was good, and there was only one resident there, he believed, who had any claim on the Royal Family—the Duchess of Inverness. It might he converted into an establishment that would do credit to the country, as a place for the reception of national collections that would prove of advantage to every one. If such a building were provided, it would he an inducement to many persons to send there the collections they had made, and which in some instances could not be preserved by their families. Seeing the great interest that Her Majesty and Prince Albert had taken in every project that would promote the welfare of art in this country, he thought that if the subject were fairly brought under Her Majesty's consideration, She would willingly consent to the appropriation of the Palace to the purpose he had suggested.


said, he was glad to hear from the hon. Gentleman the willingness which exits on his part to support any well-matured scheme for at last preparing some receptacle for the works of art possessed by the country. Any suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman was entitled to respect, because he had always exhibited the greatest liberality where the interests of the arts were concerned. The question of providing a proper receptacle for the reception of works of art, was exciting increased interest in the public mind, and the contributions which had been made by that late eminent artist, Mr. Turner, and other individuals, should alone be sufficient to force the subject upon the attention of the Government, even if the Government were not inclined to give it the attention which it deserved. The House, he thought, would agree with him that it was of the most critical importance that they should make no mistake in the next effort they embarked in of this kind. From the dis- position of the country generally, and from other circumstances, there were reasons that did encourage them to hope that they might at last accomplish something that would he worthy of the country. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the great interest which Her Majesty and Prince Albert took in the subject; and he confessed himself that it was mainly through the great interest that was taken on the subject in that august quarter they were likely to achieve success. If the same taste and judgment that were called forth last year by the remarkable events that had occurred, with respect to the Exhibition of the Arts and Industry of all Nations, could be enlisted on this subject—if they could enlist, as he was sure they would be able to enlist, the same judgment, energy, and resources that were then brought into play, mainly through the influence and personal exertions of His Royal Highness Prince Albert, he felt they would have an additional chance of success in this great undertaking. It very much occupied the attention of Government, and, he believed he might be permitted also to say, of His Royal Highness; and he trusted, when the proper opportunity arrived, they should be able to lay before the House a plan that would meet the approbation of the House, and to which all the sympathies of the country would respond.


as a Member of the Commission appointed to inquire into the best site for the National Gallery, begged to state that the situation pointed out by the hon. Member (Mr. Hume)—the site of Kensington Palace—naturally first suggested itself to the Commission; but it was felt to be so peculiarly a subject for the Royal consideration that before any suggestion could be made with respect to it, the clear and unmistakeable feeling of Her Majesty upon it must be understood. Setting aside that, therefore, as a subject almost eliminated from their consideration, the Commission considered all the situations around, and it was their unanimous opinion that the best site would be to the north of Kensington Gardens, looking to the Uxbridge Road, and enclosing round the building such a portion of Kensington Gardens as might serve the purpose of an ornamental garden; because the Commissioners felt that the ground about a National Gallery should be of such a character as to be illustrative of the arts, and that there should be, as abroad, an ornamental garden with fountains and statues, and so arranged as to be a sort of introduction to the Gallery, and prepare the visitor for the contemplation of the objects there collected. There could not be more competent judges found than were on that Commission — such men as Sir Charles Eastlake, Lord Colborne, Sir Richard Westmacott, Mr. Uwins, and others; and they were unanimous that, supposing Kensington Palace was not within their view or range, the next best place was the north of Kensington Gardens. He (Mr. Ewart) agreed that if a receptacle were provided, contributions like those of Mr. Vernon and Mr. Turner would flow in, and the best pictures would be obtained. He had no doubt the Government would come to a fair conclusion upon the matter.

On the Vote 14,083l., Emigration.


said, he must call attention to the fact that from all parts of the country they had applications from individuals who declared they were anxious to proceed to Australia, where labour is wanting, and to pay for their passage, if Government would make the necessary arrangements. Though no person could be more averse than he was to the application of public money to forward projects of this kind, he would put it to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies whether, after the applications he had received, both from abroad and at home, this case might not be taken as an exception to what was the general rule in political economy. They had men among them who were anxious to be taken off the poor-rate, and who were desirous to maintain themselves and their families by their labour; they were deprived of the means of doing so by causes over which they had no control— the introduction of machinery had interfered with one class, and the introduction of produce from abroad had interfered with the employment of another class, and it was desirable that they should be enabled to emigrate. They might adopt with respect to them an arrangement similar to that which had been formerly adopted with reference to emigrants to North America: let the emigrants engage to refund at a subsequent period a portion of the expenses of their voyage, as had been done when the Government undertook to assist the emigrants to North America; and he might remark that such advances had been very seldom repudiated by the North American emigrants, or lost to the country. It was also a question whether the Government should not co-operate with the in- habitants of the parishes where those persons were resident, and each pay a part of the expense.


said, he wished to call attention to a letter which he had received on this subject from the Chairman of the Board of Guardians in Dublin, who had sent him a return of male and female paupers, all of whom were anxious to go to Australia. It appeared there were 200 young females, from fifteen to twenty-five years of age, who were described as being exceedingly well-conducted, and desirous to work if they had an opportunity of doing so.


said, he also begged leave to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies to the subject. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman had ever referred to the return which had been moved for by the Secretary for Ireland in the year 1850, by which it appeared that there were then in the workhouses of Ireland 18,000 females between the ages of fifteen and forty that had been in the workhouse for more than a year, and who, therefore, might be considered to have made it their permanent home. They were persons who had taken up their lodging there, and had as little idea of leaving it as the right hon. Gentleman had of leaving his own house. The attention of the Government should therefore be directed to the subject, both for the sake of the individuals themselves and of the ratepayers. A statement had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the other day with respect to complaints that had been made respecting the conduct of some of the female emigrants; but he (Mr. Monsell) thought that the right hon. Gentleman would confirm the statement which he (Mr. Monsell) would now make in reference to the general conduct of those emigrants; and he might refer in support of his statement to the letter of the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land. It appeared that the best possible account had been received of those emigrants. He believed, however, that a large number of persons had been sent out from the Union of Belfast that should not have been sent out, and the character acquired by them had been attributed to the rest of those Irish emigrants. He should be much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman to say he could confirm the statement he (Mr. Monsell) now made, that the female emigrants sent from the Irish workhouses generally had given satisfaction.


said, he must express his regret that the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) was not in his place when this subject was under consideration in Committee of Supply, because he thought the House must feel that their object now should be to get, as speedily as they could, into Supply, and he trusted it was the desire of the House to do so. He did not mean to show any disrespect to the hon. Gentleman by not entering at any length into the question before the House. He had stated over and over again the importance of this subject, and he had given repeated assurances that it was engaging the serious consideration of Her Majesty's Government. In reference to what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, he would observe that he had given an answer on this subject not long ago, in which he stated that the Irish proportion of emigrants was largely in advance of the proportion from the other parts of the Kingdom, but that, notwithstanding such was the case, they were still continuing the emigration from that country, and sending out as many as they could. As to the suggestion that had been made by the hon. Member for Montrose, with respect to the Government paying the expense of passage, and recovering subsequently from the emigrant a portion thereof, he begged to assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government would not lose sight of the importance of that subject; but he would remind him that the cost of sending emigrants to Australia would be much greater than the cost that had been incurred for sending emigrants to North America.

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