HC Deb 06 August 1855 vol 139 cc1874-5

said, he wished to make a statement in reference to some remarks that had been made in another place as to the appropriation of a sum of money from the Special Service Fund to the purposes of the Royal Society. It had, he understood, been alleged that such an application of any portion of the fund in question was a misappropriation of a fund specially intended for charitable purposes. He could only state what was his own impression upon the subject, and that impression was that the fund was intended to be devoted to special services and the Royal Bounty, and the proposal he made was, that if sums of money were applied through the Royal Society to discoveries, inventions, and scientific purposes of that nature, it might fairly be considered as an appropriation for special services. Of course, after such application had gone on for three or four years it might be right for the House no longer to consider it in the light of an appropriation for special service, but then, as it appeared to him, it was still a special purpose for which the Government might propose, and Parliament very properly might vote a sum of money in the Estimates. What he wished to observe, therefore, was, that it was not a misappropriation of money intended for charitable purposes, but an appropriation for a special and useful purpose to which the fund might properly be applied, for it must not be forgotten that though science had an eye that never closed and a wing that never flagged, it had not a purse that was never empty. He did not consider the appropriation an improper one, and he hoped a sum of money, not exceeding the amount which had been granted, would continue to be allowed from that or some other source for the promotion of scientific objects.


said, that next Session he would move for a Select Committee to consider what public measures might be adopted for the advancement of science. The Royal Society did not consider the sum in question a charitable grant, but money given in aid and for the promotion of science. He thought it right to say that the grant was a spontaneous act of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London.


said, it was impossible to continue the grant out of the fund from which it had been hitherto de- rived; but he was sensible that the purposes to which the money had been applied were deserving of public encouragement, and he believed that the grant had been economically and judiciously expended. What he proposed to do was, for the present year, to issue the sum of l,000l. out of the amount voted for unforeseen services, and next Session to include in the Miscellaneous Estimates a like sum for the Royal Society.