§ House in Committee.
§ The following three Votes were agreed to without discussion:—
- (1.) £605, Education Commissioners, (Ireland).
- (2.) £3,879, University of London.
- (3.) £7,510, Scottish Universities.
- (4.) £2,415, Queen's University, (Ireland).
§ MR. M'MAHON
took occasion to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that the examiner in the Celtic languages, embracing as those languages did the ancient Irish, was allowed a salary of only £12 a year. The circumstance was the more remarkable when it was taken into account that the examiners in the more modern languages in the Queen's University received a salary of £100 per annum. If the forms of the House permitted he should move that the salary of the first mentioned examiner be raised to that sum.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
lamented the expenditure of a very large sum of money upon the university in question with results so inconsiderable. He found that in that establishment there were twenty-two examiners, and that they had only forty-two persons to examine. He also perceived that £325 were laid out annually in the shape of exhibitions given to the pupils; that fifteen gold medals were yearly supplied; and he was sorry to say that the inducements thus held out were productive of no important consequences so far as the number of students was concerned. He might, for the consolation of the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken, observe, that although the examiner in Greek at the Queen's University was paid, in the shape of salary, £100 per annum, an examiner holding a precisely similar position in the University of Edinburgh received only £30.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, he wished to state in answer to the hon. and learned Member for Wexford (Mr. M'Mahon) who had complained that the examiner in the Celtic language was considerably underpaid, that the Government did not arrange the amount of salary to the examiners. A certain sum was given to the University, and the senate (which was composed almost exclusively of Irishmen) apportioned the salaries according to the work the examiners had to do; and the labour imposed upon this examiner, in their opinion, did not require a larger salary than had been apportioned to him. The hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Williams) complained that during the last year there were twenty-two examiners for forty-two persons to be examined, and contended that the examiners were overpaid; but he would sec, by reference to the Estimates, that the examiners at the London University were paid more highly. They received on an average upwards of £100 a year, while 591 the examiners in the Queen's University in Ireland received only about £70. With reference to the circumstance of there being only forty-two persons examined, it should be recollected that these colleges had been in existence only for a limited period and had not attained the dimensions which it might reasonably be supposed the institution would hereafter reach; moreover, the opposition which had been offered to the opening of them had prevented in some degree the youth of Ireland from flocking to them. He had further to observe that the number of students to be examined had been unusually small last year in consequence of a new and higher standard of examination having been adopted in the preceding year. In that year more than one-third of the students for examination were "plucked;" but in the present year, although the number was much smaller, there was not a single student who presented himself for examination but passed.
§ MR. M'MAHON
was still of opinion, notwithstanding the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman, that there could not be a stronger indication of the real indisposition of the Government to promote education in Ireland than the grant of this trifling salary to the Professor of the native language of the country.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that no fair comparison could be drawn, in respect merely to the salary given, between the London examiners and the Irish examiners, as the labour of the former was considerably greater.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also the three following Votes:—
§ (5.) £4,800, Queen's Colleges, (Ireland).
§ (6.) £533, Royal Irish Academy.
§ (7.) £300, Royal Hibernian Academy.
(8.) Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,975, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and Retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ MR. HEYWORTH moved that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £1,500 and that compensation be made on reasonable terms. He objected to the grant, whether made on religious or political grounds. If it was intended to maintain n spirit of attachment to the British Government he could call it little else than bribery; and 592 the right way to foster a feeling of loyalty was to unfetter the industry of the people, so that they might become independent. If the grant were given for religious reasons it was extraordinary that it should be extended not only to Presbyterians, but also to Unitarians, whose doctrines were antagonistic. It could not be said that this was a grant made to persons who were poor, for the Presbyterians were extremely liberal with their money when the voluntary principle was concerned. The result of this policy of grants was, that the Presbyterians paid as little as they could, and much less than they were able to pay, towards the support of their own ministers.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum not, exceeding £1,475, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and Retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ MR. KIRK
said, the observations of the hon. Member, however applicable to the Regium Donum, had no sort of reference to the Vote before the House. That Vote was for the Theological Professors of Belfast, who were all Presbyterians. A similar grant was made for the Scotch Universities. He denied that the money was given by Englishmen; Ireland paid the same taxes now as England, and it was but just that they should participate in its advantages. He claimed this Vote as a right. There was no begging in the case. The Professors of Belfast were most able find deserving men, and had done much for the promotion of education.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, that if the people of Ireland paid their share of this tax, the Roman Catholics, of Ireland—three-fourths of the population—were most unjustly taxed for the support of these Protestant Professors; for the Irish Protestants, the very men who sought this money from the State, violently objected to the grant to the College of Maynooth, on the ground that people ought not to be taxed for the maintenance of a religion of which they disapproved. He denied that six Professors were required at Belfast; three would be ample, and even one would be sufficient. In the Lancashire Independent College one Professor performed the duty of three of the Professors of this college at Belfast, and was, he ventured to say, a superior man to any of the three. If he turned to the time these Professors devoted to their labours, 593 he found that Dr. Killen was occupied five hours in the week for six months in the year. Dr. Edgar made no return. Dr. Wilson was occupied five hours in the week, Dr. Murphy six hours, Dr. Gibson five hours, and Dr. Cooke thirteen hours as tutor, and two as dean. Let it not he supposed that these Professors were giving a free education to the students, for they charged heavy fees. One Professor received in fees £42 10s., another £71, another £52, and another £65. Dr. Cooke, in addition to his other allowances, received £320 as distributor of the charity—for doing that which any banker's clerk would do for the usual banker's commission. Dr. Cooke received £250 as a Professor, £40 in fees from students, and £320 as distributor of the fund, in addition to which he preached to a large congregation in a handsome chapel, so that his income probably amounted in all to £1,000 a year. There was the less reason for continuing the grant as the body in whose favour it was made was perhaps the richest body of Dissenters in the empire. During the last year they had raised upwards of £30,000 for manses for their ministers, and they had raised £10,000 for their missions. Let them be just before they were generous. Let them take their hands out of the public Exchequer. For his part, he was ashamed to see any body of Dissenters coming to that House with such a demand; no single body of Dissenters in this country condescended to do so; and he found that in Ireland itself there were other denominations whose members refused to imitate their example. It appeared that a portion of the money was given to the Unitarians. Now, he admitted that if such grants were to be made in favour of the members of one creed, it was only fair that they should be extended to the members of every other; and Unitarians were, therefore, as much entitled to them as Trinitarians; but it was a serious consideration for that House; how far it was consistent on their part with reason and common sense to grant a sum of money for the teaching of doctrines of the most solemn and of eternal importance held by a particular sect, and another Sum for the teaching of the doctrines of another sect who regarded the tenets of those who thus shared with them the public money as impious and idolatrous. He intended to test the feeling of the Committee on this question, whether they would make a grant to the teachers of one set of doctrines, and to those also who utterly denied their 594 truth. He held in his hand a paper of great ability by a Presbyterian in Scotland, containing sentiments of reproach, shame, obloquy, and grief at the conduct of those accepting this grant. The excellent gentleman referred to stated that it would not do to plead the poverty of Ireland in justification of the grant, because the north of Ireland was not a poor district, possessing, as it did, many thriving factories; in no way could they account for the little progress of Presbyterianism there other than by their acceptance of the base bribes which effectually closed their months against Maynooth. He believed, in truth, that this grant had a most pernicious effect upon the people of Ireland, because it prevented the promulgation of divine truth and moral culture to a very considerable extent. He proposed that a retiring compensation or allowance should be made to these Professors, for he was sure that if all grants of this kind were discontinued, the whole amount would be made up next year by voluntary subscriptions. Ministers had not a fair chance, all voluntary generosity being put an end to, and they had nothing to look to but Parliamentary grants doled out in this way, always much opposed, and the acceptance of which raised a blush of shame on the cheeks of the recipients. Were they prepared to vote salaries to Professors of Calvinistic doctrines, and in the next Vote would they sanction a grant for Professors of Unitarian doctrines, which were diametrically opposite? The Roman Catholics of Ireland were closely watching them, and if there was any circumstance which begot in this land a distate for the very name of religion it was the doling out of these annual grants. It was a scandal and a reproach to the country to continue the system. The liberty of conscience consisted in absolute religions liberty to all men; therefore all ought to be treated equally, and by doing away with such grants as this the House would get rid of the anomaly of supporting conflicting systems of religion to the scandal of the nation. Could anything, indeed, he more calculated to destroy religion and to encourage scepticism than this mode of supporting religion? He intended, after the Committee had voted on the present Motion, to take the sense of the Committee on the next Vote also.
§ MR. CAIRNS
said, the speech of the hon. Member was a tissue of contradictions, and confessed his inability to reconcile its antagonistic principles. Which part of his 595 address did the hon. Gentleman desire to hear answered—that in which he bewailed the tendency of State grants to paralyse voluntary efforts, or that in which he described as something little less than marvellous the spontaneous exertions of the Presbyterian recipients of such bounties? The case of the Belfast Professors was short and simple. When the Queen's Colleges were established in Ireland, the grant, until then enjoyed by the old Presbyterian foundation, known as the Academical Institution, was withdrawn; but the General Assembly were induced to found a theological seminary at Belfast by the promise made to them by the Government of the day, that, in the event of their doing so, the salaries of the Professors should be provided by a Vote of Parliament. Such in a single sentence was the claim of the Belfast Professors, and it was irresistible. No charge of incompetence or negligence had been proved against those gentlemen. It had been objected, indeed, that they did not give more than one hour a day to the duties of their respective professorships; but that was the time usually devoted to any particular branch of learning in all educational establishments, and neither did the students require, nor could eminent Professors afford, a longer period. Nor was the system that prevailed at Belfast extravagant either as regarded the number of Professors or the salaries awarded to them. There were more Professors in the college of Glasgow than in that of Belfast, and whereas the average expense to each student in the former institution was £26 a year, it was £70 in the latter. Session after Session, when this Vote was under discussion, it had been customary to single out Dr. Cooke as a remarkable instance of an overpaid Professor. Nothing could be more untrue than such a representation. Dr. Cooke, a man eminent for ability and attainments as any in the empire, had been in receipt from his church of an annual income of £400 a year. Not only did he give it up for a professorship worth £250 per annum, but with rare zeal, and disinterestedness almost unexampled, he continued to perform the ministrations of his church without salary. Unmindful of his own inconsistency, so flagrantly exemplified by his speech, the hon. Member could not brook the idea that Parliament should endow antagonistic doctrines. Yet here, too, he had shown how superficial was the attention he had paid to this subject; for, in point of fact, there was here no strife 596 of creeds, each of the six Professors being an orthodox Presbyterian. With regard, however, to the portion of the grant designed for Unitarians, the hon. Member would have acted more frankly if he had had the courage to object to the Vote on the ground that he was opposed to the endowment of what he regarded as error. But he had not done so. He resisted it simply on the plea that it was "unnecessary and extravagant." It was to be hoped that the Committee would not be misled by arguments so false and unsubstantial, but would continue their support to an institution in every respect worthy of it. If the ground of opposition taken by the hon. Gentleman was that some part of these grants went to the support of doctrines that he regarded as infidel, the hon. Gentleman should have moved the rejection of the grants altogether, and not their diminution.
§ MR. HEYWORTH
said, that he would withdraw his Motion, and propose instead that the Vote be reduced by £600, leaving £900 as a compensation or pension to the Professors.
§ MR. CAIRNS
said, it was not the practice of the Committee to vote retiring allowances to persons until they actually retired, and in this case the Professors had no wish to do so.
§ MR. W. J. FOX
expessed his determination to support the Amendment. A great deal of irrelevant matter had been imported into that discussion. Properly speaking it had nothing whatever to do with the amount of the emoluments received by Dr. Cooke and the other Professors; the real question at issue being, whether or not it was consistent with the policy which Parliament should pursue to set up a quasi establishment of Scotch Presbyterianism in Ireland? There were two reasons that might induce a Legislature to endow a particular form of religion. The first was, a conviction on the part of the State that the creed in question was true, and ought to be supported at the expense of all other denominations; and the second, that the great majority of the population belonged to its communion. Presbyterianism in Ireland, however, was wanting in either of these characteristics—it was neither the national religion, nor was it the religion of the majority of the people of Ireland. A parallel had been drawn between this Vote and the endowment of the Scottish Universities. Yet there was no analogy between them. Presbyterianism was the 597 established religion of Scotland, and was therefore entitled to grants from those who approved of State patronage for religion; but in Ireland that form of faith was not the creed of the bulk of the population, but an alien creed and a foreign mission. No public benefit accrued from such payments at all counterbalancing the ill feeling they engendered, Presbyterianism being fully as obnoxious to the people of Ireland as Protestant episcopacy, without having an equal claim to their veneration and respect. How, therefore, the members of that unpopular persuasion could come to that House and demand, as a right, an annual grant for its theological Professors, it was impossible to understand. The question was not whether their tenets were right or wrong, but whether a small minority should be allowed to tax the majority for the support of a Church the principles of which were wholly repugnant to them. It was, like all other grants of the same kind, an attempt to support the doctrines of a few by the money of the many—the religion of a sect by the money of a nation. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner), and those who concurred with him in his opposition to the endowment of Maynooth, ought, in consistency, to resist this Vote for Belfast College, an institution which—excepting that it received far less countenance from the people of Ireland—might fairly be regarded as "the Maynooth of Presbyterianism"
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he did not want to be instructed in his duty by the hon. Member for Oldham. He should support the vote for Belfast College, because it taught sound doctrine. His opposition to Maynooth was based on the fact that that institution inculcated principles, in his opinion, not only erroneous and dangerous in themselves, but which the Sovereign of England was bound to condemn as such, and which, moreover, the Articles of the Established Church declared to be "idolatrous fables and dangerous deceits."
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
said, that the present proposition was a grant to the College of Belfast. Now, Presbyterianism was the predominant faith in the north of Ireland; so then, on his own showing, the hon. Member for Oldham ought to vote for it. He appealed to the Irish Members whether a great reason of the prosperity of that part of Ireland was not due to the introduction of that religion into the country? Taking it, therefore, on the narrow principle of supporting the religion of the 598 locality, he thought the House would be perfectly justified in granting the Vote.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
thought that a vote of this description could not be fairly objected to as long as the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth was maintained from the funds of the State. As to the item of £300 for the Unitarian Professors of the Non-Subscribing Association, when the hon. Member for Sheffield moved the disallowance of that sum he should have his (Mr. Mowbray's) vote in his favour.
§ Original Question again proposed.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,375, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the Salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and Retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ The Committee divided:— Ayes 31, Noes 85: Majority 54.
§ MR. CROSSLEY
said, he did not think the House was suited to judge of who were orthodox and who were not. They were assembled for a very different purpose than to decide which religion was right and which was wrong. He thought it would be much better if less time were taken up in discussing theological questions. It was well known that the majority of the population of Ireland were Roman Catholics; if, therefore, any religion was to be made the established religion, it should be that which had the largest number of believers. He found in the Estimate for Theological Professors at Belfast a Vote of £325 for six and a half years' mistakes in the retired allowance of Mr. Young, one of the professors. He thought it strange that Mr. Young hod not discovered the mistake until after the lapse of so many years, and he moved the disallowance of the item.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,650, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the Salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ MR. WILSON
said, the hon. Member, in wishing to strike off the sum of £325 from the grant for retiring allowances, did not apper to be aware of the circumstances of the case. Prior to 1850 each Professor had a salary of £350 a year, bssides receiving various sums from their Pupils. 599 It was then proposed by the Irish Government that the four Professors should have a retiring allowance of £150 a year; losing also the fees from the students. When the Treasury considered the matter first, they consented to the first three Professors having the retired allowance; but they suggested that Mr. Young might be appointed a Professor in Queen's College. The Irish Government replied that the appointments were all filled up, and suggested that Mr. Young should be treated in the same manner as the others, and be allowed to retire on the same allowance. In drawing up the minute giving Mr. Young his allowance, he was sorry to say, there had been a mistake, making his allowance £100 instead of £150. On receiving a memorial on the subject—not the first, he was sorry to say—he had been compelled to confess there had been an error. The object of the present grant was to repair that error.
§ MR. SPOONER
wished to know if he could move to reduce the Vote by a prior item for the salaries of two Unitarian Professors?
§ MR. SPOONER
then gave notice that he should do so after the present Amendment was disposed of. This was a Christian country, and should not give any aid in the propagation of anti Christian doctrines. The Unitarians, denying the Divinity of our Lord, could not be considered as holding the Christian religion. He entertained, therefore, an insuperable objection to this item in the Estimate, and he should certainly move to strike it out.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. SPOONER
then moved the Amendment which he had just mentioned, for the reasons he had stated. The Amendment was to strike out the sum of £300, the salaries of two Unitarian Professors.
Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,675, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the Salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and Retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ MR. HADFIELD
supported the Amendment, although for a reason irrespective of the religious opinions of the Professors. He objected on principle to religious endowments or allowances from the State. These two Professors had, it appeared, 600 only three pupils between them. One of the divines had £150 a year for the professorship, and £230 for distributing the Regium Donum among forty of his brethren. Besides that, the rev. divine had £95 from the Regium Donum, and £130 from his congregation. The other of these Professors was similarly provided for.
, though not approving of the opinions of those professors, thought that it would be great injustice to deprive them of the remuneration which the Committee had just voted for others.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 42, Noes 88: Majority 46.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CHEETHAM
had no quarrel with the sum itself, nor any dispute with the theological opinions taught in the College; but he did not think it was within the province of the House, consisting of Gentlemen who represented all denominations, to vote public money for the propagation of any religious doctrines whatever. Besides, the Presbyterians of Ulster were a very wealthy body, and quite as able to maintain their own college as the Free Kirk of Scotland or the various Dissenting sects of England. He therefore moved the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £250, proposed to be paid for incidental expenses of the General Assembly College at Belfast.
Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,725, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay the Salaries of the Theological Professors and the Incidental Expenses of the General Assembly's College at Belfast, and Retired Allowances to Professors of the Belfast Academical Institution, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ MR. WILSON
said that this sum of £250 was not a new charge. It had formerly been voted for a professorship which had fallen vacant, and it was now thought desirable to apply the money to the incidental expenses of the College.
§ The Committee divided:—Aves 36, Noes 108: Majority 72.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) £25,643, New Buildings—British Museum.
§ MR. A. PELLATT
complained that the trustees of the British Museum had not placed before the public a comparative statement of the sums which had been received 601 on the score of improvements. The managers of the National Gallery made such a statement. He did not doubt that the money had been properly appropriated, but should like to see the details. In 1854 there had been a grant of £100,000 for building purposes, and in 1855, £27,000. He highly approved of such institutions as the British Museum, and was glad to see that considerable improvements were making for the accommodation of the public. There was one matter, however, which he had to find fault with, and that was the number of days in the week that the Museum was closed to the public. He thought the public ought not to be excluded from daily admission, on any plea connected with the convenience of the pupils who studied in the Museum.
§ MR. JAMES MACGREGOR
thought an arrangement might be made by which some part, though not the whole, of the Museum might be open to the public on every day in the week.
§ MR. GLADSTONE rose to point out an omission in the printing of the Vote. The item £12,500 in the department of printed books ought to have been stated to be a vote on account, for that vote did not represent the entire expense which would be incurred in providing the additional accommodation which was contemplated in that department, and the trustees would have to come again for another Vote on the same account. A plan had been adopted which would provide an immense amount of accommodation for books at a very small expense, and which combined the advantage of occupying a space hitherto wasted, and of concentrating all the arrangements of the library.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
thought that, considering the immense sums which had been spent on this institution, greater facilities ought to be given to the public for visiting it.
§ Vote agreed to.
(10.) Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £17,639, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expenses of the National Gallery, including the purchase of Pictures, to the 31st day of March 1857.
MR. OTWAY rose to move that the
Vote be reduced by £650—the sum put down in the Estimate for travelling expenses. The reasons which induced him, to do so were, because he believed—first, that the appointments to the post of director and travelling agent were bad; and, secondly, that the sum of money was not only not necessary, but positively mischievous. As regarded the two gentlemen—Sir Charles Eastlake and Mr. Otto Mündler, who held those appointments, he had no personal acquaintance with them. His only knowledge of them was founded upon the manner in which they had discharged their duties, and his only motive in opposing the present Vote was, that he firmly believed that their appointment to the positions which they occupied was prejudicial to the public service. In the year 1853 the administration of the affairs of the National Gallery had given rise to much discussion, and a Committee of that House was appointed to inquire into the whole subject. In consequence of the Report of that Committee the constitution of the National Gallery was altered, and in a Treasury Minute, dated March 27, 1855, the following passage occurred—
My Lords propose to appoint a Director of the National Gallery, with a salary of £1,000 per annum, such appointment to be for a term of five years, but the director to be eligible for reappointment, which appointment, however, may be at any time revoked by the Treasury. My Lords consider it a fortunate circumstance that they are able to select for the first appointment to this important office a gentleman of such high attainments as Sir C. Eastlake, who is President of the Royal Academy, and has shown qualifications of the highest order for the office.
Now, to that statement he took exception, and he could show to the Committee that the entire press of the country, and not only the newspaper press, but periodicals to which Gentlemen on the Treasury bench had been contributors, entirely disagreed as to the justice of it, and the opinion of the press was confirmed by that of persons holding high positions in the profession, and by distinguished amateurs; and, indeed, he should be able to condemn Sir C. Eastlake out of his own mouth. In the Daily News of February 6, 1856, it was stated—
In spite of the many unpleasant matters which have occurred in connection with the National Gallery, we know of no incident of the kind of so painful a nature as that which the selection of the 'Adoration of the Magi' presents. If Sir C. Eastlake be so dull as to suppose this to be a fit picture to place in our national collection, let him hasten to the Gallery, and learn in the countenances, gestures, and
remarks of the visitors to the Gallery the lesson he so much stands in need of.
The Times, in a leading article of January the 7th, 1855, stated—
Mr. (Sir C.) Eastlake is, we think, rather unfortunately selected as a representative of pictorial art.
The Sun stated—
The Adoration of the Magi' is a huge canvas filled with as little regard as possible to colour, or drawing, or composition. And for this, for this thing, we are coolly informed that £2,000 in round numbers has been paid out of the public purse, in obedience to the advice of Sir C. Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy—a truly wretched evidence of evil taste, a blunder that ought to preclude him henceforth from the possibility of squandering again the public money.
Similar articles had appeared in The Advertiser, The Morning Post, The Globe, The Atlas, Bell's Weekly Messenger, The Athenœum, The Britannia, The Civil Service Gazette, The Examiner, The Empire, The Era, The Illustrated Times, John Hull, The Leader, The Lancet, The Observer, Punch, The Sunday Times, in which he was called the worst man in the best place; The Weekly Dispatch, Blackwood's Magazine, the Church of England Quarterly, the Edinburgh Review, Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, and the Westminster Review. That was the opinion of the press, and no man could, he thought, go to the National Gallery without perceiving that the arrangements carried out there, since Sir Charles Eastlake's appointment as director, were not advantageous to the public service. Not only had the good pictures been much damaged by the "cleaning" process, but the addition made to the Gallery had been injudiciously selected. "The Adoration of the Magi," by Paul Veronese, would not be appraised by a picture appraiser at above £200, and yet it had cost the country about £1,977, besides some other expenses. Why, Sir C. Eastlake stood condemned out of his own mouth. With regard to a picture, falsely attributed to Holbein, Sir C. Eastlake said, "I wish to state as plainly as possible that, with due care, I might have prevented the purchase of that picture, and my not having done so implied a want of knowledge of the master;" and, in a subsequent part of his evidence, he said, referring to the purchase of the same picture, "In the first place, I can hardly assume that such a director as I think fit for the National Gallery would make such a mistake; and, in the
next place, I would say, as some excuse for my share of the mistake, that I was fortified by the opinion of a person whom I considered a competent judge." And yet, my Lords of the Treasury congratulated the country upon having the opportunity of selecting such a man for the office of director. Notwithstanding that exposé Sir C. Eastlake, who had previously performed almost the same office for £200 a year, was raised to a more responsible office, and his salary was increased to £1,000 a year. After such an exposé as that, he would ask, Was it right that Sir Charles should have been promoted to such an office—after he had admitted that he had mistaken an inferior picture for an Holbein, and had offered to buy it back from the public, as he (Mr. Otway) believed had actually been done in the case of another purchase? and the fact disclosed a great irregularity in the proceedings of the trustees and director, for it was not to be in the power of any individual to purchase, a picture which had become the property of the nation, unless a Bill were passed enabling the trustees and director to sell such pictures. Then, again, the evidence of Sir C. Eastlake on the subject of cleaning proved that he was by no means qualified for such a position as that of director of the National Gallery. The notions expressed by Sir Charles Eastlake were really so absurd that any person having the slightest knowledge of art must have seen that they were entirely false. What was required was to get the colours and the style of the master; but Sir Charles Eastlake seemed to think that the restorer's art was to glaze over the picture, instead of restoring it to what it had been before. Everybody knew that such a process was only interfering with and spoiling a great work of art. If the opinions of gentlemen of high taste—if the opinions of all the eminent men connected with the National Gallery—nay, even if the opinion of Sir Charles Eastlake himself was not sufficient to convince Government of the badness of this appointment, he thought they would be convinced when they heard the evidence of Mr. Hurlestone and Mr. Stevens—the former the President of the Incorporated Society of British Artists, and the latter who, having been professionally educated in Italy, had since been employed as a teacher in the School of Design. These gentlemen, and particularly the latter, had written in the newspapers in terms of
strong condemnation of the pictures purchased for the National Gallery. There was Mr. Conningham, too, a gentleman well known in connection with art, he had equally condemned the pictures purchased by Sir Charles Eastlake. The whole current of evidence was condemnatory of the management of that gentleman. He now came to the case of Mr. Otto Mündler and his appointment. He had, on a former occasion, objected to the salary of Mr. Otto Mündler as travelling agent, not on the discussion of the Estimates but on the bringing up of the Report. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Wilson) defended the appointment, and said that Mr. Otto Mündler was the very best person that could be appointed for the performance of the duty required, because he was well known in connection with art and his knowledge of pictures in every city in Europe. He (Mr. Otway) would now state what he did not state then, that Mr. Otto Mündler was anything but favourably known in this country. By an effort of imagination that gentleman had persuaded himself to believe that he had discovered a Correggio, and he tried to induce the trustees of the National Gallery to purchase it. The transaction, he must say, appeared to him to he enough to raise some suspicion as to the propriety of the appointment. The hon. Gentleman had never shown any reasons to prove that Mr. Otto Mündler was well qualified for his office. He had no objection to the selection of an Italian or German artist, if it were shown that he was the fittest man for the appointment, but this had not been done, and considering the state of English art and of English artists, he thought they would do well to inquire whether they could not find some English artist who might travel on the Continent, inspect the galleries there, and become a purchaser of pictures for the National Gallery, with quite as much judgment and taste as any foreigner. He contended that it was a positive disadvantage to the country that these two Gentlemen—Sir Charles Eastlake and Mr. Otto Mündler—should be travelling about the Continent to purchase pictures. What would be the effect of its being known that there were two persons travelling abroad for the purpose of purchasing a certain picture for the National Gallery? The arrival of those gentlemen in an Italian or a German town would create a sensation; and the first effect would be to excite the attention of the vendors of the picture, and its price
would be raised; while, in the second place, the suspicion of the Government of the country would also be excited, and the exit of the picture prevented. He believed that by the system pursued this country had already been prevented from obtaining many good pictures. That was in itself a reason for contending not only that the appointment of a travelling agent was unnecessary, but that it positively was mischievous. He was prepared to show that, so far from its having been the means of procuring for us any great work of art, the only thing it had procured was that miserable Paul Veronese. He was aware that if he were to propose the reduction of the salaries this year he might be met with an argument similar to that which was urged against the reduction of the Vote for agricultural schools in Ireland—namely, that the gentlemen had been already engaged, and that they could not be dismissed this year. He did not, therefore, now propose to touch the salaries; but the travelling expenses were perfectly clear of any such objection. He would therefore move that the present Vote be reduced by the sum of £650, which was the amount proposed for the travelling expenses.
MR. HARCOURT VERNON
said, that while seconding the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman he should feel himself compelled, in many respects, to express different opinions from him. In common with the hon. Gentleman, he felt that the Committee ought to be satisfied why they should be called upon to pay £650 for travelling expenses. Having taken a very active part on the Committee appointed to confer on the management of the National Gallery, he certainly had been surprised to find that a secretary had been appointed at a salary of £750 a year, in addition to a director at £1,000 a year and a travelling agent at £300 a year, exclusive of travelling expenses. He was at a loss to understand what was the object for appointing a "Secretary and Keeper." He certainly considered the appointment, to wear something of the appearance of a job. The only duty he would have to perform, not of a merely mechanical nature, was simply that of drawing up a Catalogue Raisonnée; and it certainly was the opinion and intention of the Committee, in proposing a liberal and fixed salary to the director that he should be willing himself to undertake any duties of this description. He was against the employment of a traveling 607 agent, as he believed that pictures might be purchased in a better manner. He thought there were plenty of persons in the various towns abroad who, from their local knowledge, would be able to procure good pictures; and though, of course, these persons would charge a sufficient percentage for their trouble, which would raise the nominal price of each acquisition, he was convinced that this would prove at least an equally efficient, and a much more economical system than to employ an agent at a salary, with large travelling expenses. He felt bound, by a sense of duty, to make these remarks. He was in a position different from that of the hon. Gentleman, for he had the pleasure of the personal acquaintance of Sir Charles Eastlake, therefore he had no wish to say anything that could be annoying or personally offensive to him. But it was impossible, after having beard the evidence of Sir Charles Eastlake himself, that he (Mr. H. Vernon) could feel altogether satisfied by the appointment of that gentleman as the director of our National Gallery. At the same time, it was fair to state that it would be difficult to point out any other person who possessed better qualifications. In Sir Charles Eastlake the Government had found a gentleman, and a man above all sordid considerations; he was possessed of a very refined taste and of considerable pictorial knowledge. Whether in all respects be had displayed a sound judgment was a matter he would not then enter upon. In some remarks on the subject of the spurious "Holbein," Sir Charles Eastlake himself candidly acknowledged that he had not an accurate and critical knowledge of other schools of art than the Italian. And here be (Mr. Vernon) might be permitted to take notice of a curious statement that bad been made to the Committee. Sir Charles Eastlake informed the Committee, that a well known artist, Mr. Lance, could give some information with respect to the restoration of the "Boar Hunt" of Velasquez, which, is now in the National Gallery. The artist was summoned before the Committee, and he then stated that many years ago, when the picture was in Lord Cowley's possession, it had been placed in the hands of a picture restorer (Mr. Thane); that in the process of lining the picture, a piece of the painting had flaked off; that he (Mr. Lance) had been employed to restore the picture, and that in the damaged portion of it he had painted in, out of his own imagination, a 608 whole group of figures and animals occupying a space as large as a sheet of foolscap paper! He (Mr. Vernon) was so astonished at this statement, that he went, the next day, with the artist, and requested him to point out the exact spot of the restoration in question. Mr. Lance, after a careful examination of the picture, declared that every figure in it was evidently the work of Velasquez's own hand, that he must have been quite mistaken as to the amount of the repairs which he had executed, and that the only work of his own, in the place in question, which he could trace, was part of the back of one mule and the head of another. Another strange statement made by the same artist was, that he had been employed on a picture by Rembrandt, which had been equally damaged, under Mr. Thane's direction, and that he had painted in the gap a black man out of his own imagination. The picture was said to have belonged to his (Mr. Vernon's) grandfather, the late Archbishop of York, and his uncle the Member for Oxfordshire was stated, by Mr. Lance, to have highly approved of the restoration. Now, though it is true, that some of the Nuneham pictures were placed in Mr. Thane's hands, no such picture as that referred to existed in the collection—nor was there a "black man" in any one of the pictures. Moreover, his hon. Relative entirely denied that he ever said anything of the sort attributed to him. Nevertheless he believed that the gentleman stated what he believed to be true; and he merely mentioned the circumstance to show how inaccurate some statements in reference to matters of fact were. He had seen the story in the newspapers, but he had not taken notice of it before, as he was not in the habit of writing to newspapers. With respect to Mr. Mündler, he had been very much startled to hear the story about the Correggio. He had seen Mr. Mündler in some of the towns of Italy, and that gentleman appeared to be an extremely painstaking and laborious person, and he had heard his opinion with reference to pictures very favourably spoken of by competent persons. He also—though his opinion might be worth very little—was favourably impressed with what he saw of Mr. Mündler. He could not help lamenting that the director should have gone abroad in company with Mr. Mündler for a considerable time, for he did not think that that was the most likely way to buy pictures cheaply. A travelling agent, if 609 there wore to be one, should keep himself as quiet as possible. In his opinion, Sir Charles Eastlake, if allowed a fair trial, would prove himself more worthy of public confidence than the recent unfortunate purchase, which had justly caused so much sensation, might have made him appear to be. Having said thus much in justice to Mr. Mündler and Sir Charles Eastlake, he must express his opinion that this sum for travelling expenses was a most wasteful expenditure of money, and he trusted that some explanation would be given of the precise nature of the duties of Mr. Wornum, who received £750 a year in his capacity of secretary or keeper. With these observations, and considering that the expenses of the staff of the National Gallery were larger than he thought necessary at present, and that they went beyond the recommendations of the Committee, he should support the Motion of the Member for Stafford.
Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding £16,989, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expenses of the National Gallery, including the purchase of Pictures, to the 31st day of March 1857.
§ MR. BOWYER
concurred in everything that had fallen from his hon. Friend who had just sat down. He was inclined, however, to go still further, and to declare that £1,000 a year was too much for the duties devolving upon the director. The principal part of that officer's duty would be advising the Government regarding the purchase of pictures. Now, Sir C. Eastlake was President of the Royal Academy, who enjoyed apartments in a public building, and other privileges, and he really thought that that body should consider it an honour to be consulted about the purchase of pictures, and to give their services to the State gratuitously. Probably there might be twelve pictures purchased in the course of a year, and Sir Charles Eastlake would have to give an opinion as to the value of each of them. Let him remind the House that the First Commissioner for the Consolidation of the Statutes was paid £1,000 a year, while each of the sub-commissioners, upon whom the greater portion of the labour was cast, received only £600 a year. Now, he wanted to know whether the duties which Sir Charles Eastlake had to perform could be considered to bear any comparison with the arduous duties of the Statute law Commissioners? There ought to be a juster proportion established between salaries and the duties 610 performed for them. With reference to the Paolo Veronese purchased by Sir Charles Eastlake, he was assured upon the best testimony, that some time ago the picture was offered for sale for £50. Nevertheless for that picture the country had paid £1,975, though in the condition in which it now is £50 represented its proper value. A director at £1,000 a year, a secretary at £750, and a travelling agent at £300, besides his expenses, was a costly establishment. He was very much opposed to the plan of a travelling agent. Being well acquainted with Italy, he knew the sensation that would be caused in an Italian town among the artists by the arrival of an agent of the English Government amongst them. Such an event would raise the price of every picture in the town 100 per cent. We had diplomatists all over Europe, and he could not help thinking that they might find trustworthy persons in the cities in which they lived to give opinions and information about pictures. He was sorry that his hon. and learned Friend had not proposed a reduction in the salaries of the officers, for he thought that £500 a year would be an ample allowance for the director.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he could not concur with the hon. and learned Gentleman in the statement that £1,000 a year for the director was too large a salary. The Committee of 1853, of which he was a Member, were unanimously of opinion that the principal officer of the National Gallery had been up to that time underpaid; and as they felt that where there was not sufficient pay there was seldom good work, they came to the conclusion that, if a well-educated and superior man could be obtained as director to devote his whole time and professional talents to the management of the Gallery, he would be worth a salary of £1,000. But, strange to say, the Treasury had greatly exceeded the wishes and expectations of the Committee, for they had not only granted the salary of £1,000 to the director, but they had also appointed a secretary with a salary of nearly £800. Now there was not even any motion made in the Committee for the appointment of any secretary with a salary at all. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Treasury had likewise appointed a travelling agent with a salary of £300 a year, and permission to draw for travelling expenses to an unlimited amount. Now the question of appointing a travelling agent had never been even mooted before 611 the Committee; and to him (Lord Elcho) it did appear that those two appointments were superfluous and unnecessary. He had, indeed, expressed his opinion that £1,000 a year was not more than a, sufficient salary for the director, and that there was abundant for the director to do. But every gentleman was well aware that there was a period of the year in which, so far as regarded the purchase of pictures, there was nothing to be done in England. The time when the sales of pictures took place at the auction-rooms of Messrs. Christie and other well-known auctioneers was during the London season, in the summer; but there was nothing of that kind to be done in the winter, and that should have been the time for the director to be his own travelling agent, and to go abroad, and to do himself what he appeared to have done this winter with the assistance of this Mr. Mündler. He was now obliged, unwillingly, to allude to the personal part of this question. He had the pleasure of Sir Charles Eastlake's acquaintance, and he knew that he was possessed of most estimable and amiable qualities and of high literary abilities, and was a thorough gentleman. But it was his duty to the public to state that he thought the Government, in giving to Sir Charles the appointment he now held, had been guilty of a mistake. For many years Sir Charles, as Keeper of the National Gallery, at a salary of £200 a year, had exercised control over the purchase of pictures. He retired from that office in consequence of the purchase of the Holbein, to which reference had been made; but soon afterwards he became President of the Royal Academy, and, ex officio, a trustee of the National Gallery; and he continued to act as a trustee until he was appointed director. For the last ten years he had exercised a great influence over the management of the National Gallery, and virtually it was he, and not the trustees, who were responsible for what had been done. Now there could be no doubt that the appointment of the Committee had taken place in consequence of the general mismanagement which had taken place during that period, with regard not only to the keeping, but also to the purchase of pictures. It was clearly proved before the Committee that, whereas some beautiful specimens of Italian art might have been obtained for comparatively small sums, very large sums had been expended upon pictures of an inferior kind. Sir Charles himself admitted that 612 the concerns of the National Gallery had been mismanaged, and that mistakes had been made in the purchase of pictures which ought not to have been made by the person who should be at the head of the National Gallery. About this time last year he put a question to the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the Treasury Minute appointing Sir Charles Eastlake, and establishing a new Constitution for the institution, as he wished it to be laid on the table before the Estimates wore voted; but months passed away, and it was not delivered until most hon. Members had left town—he received it at a German watering-place—and there was no opportunity of discussing it. The new constitution, although it gave the director more influence than he before possessed, also enabled the trustees, if they chose, to make themselves disagreeable, and to interfere with and hamper him; and thus did not get rid of the evil of the old constitution—divided responsibility. The director alone should have been made responsible if anything went wrong in the management as to the cleaning, the hanging, or the purchasing of pictures, and the trustees should have been merely a visiting and inspecting body. He would, in conclusion, offer a suggestion with regard to the purchase of pictures. It was, that purchases to a small amount should annually be made at foreign exhibitions, in order that English artists might instruct themselves in the schools of other countries without being put to the expense of travelling.
§ MR. WILSON
said, that by the Minute of the 27th of March, 1855, to which the noble Lord had referred, Sir Charles Eastlake, as director, was made solely responsible for every act done in the management of the National Gallery, though he might still confer with the trustees; yet it was difficult by any minute, doubtless, to define the duties of the person who was to be thus solely responsible. With regard to the Motion to reduce this Vote by the amount of the travelling expenses, he would say that, although Sir Charles Eastlake did travel last year, it was no part of his duty to travel, and that he could not incur any travelling expenses without the express consent of the trustees, and an application to the Treasury for that purpose. If this amount of £622 were now granted by the House, it was not therefore certain that it would be expended; but the functions of the travelling agent who had been appointed would be at 613 an end if the House did not furnish the travelling expenses. It had been considered that Mr. Mündler was better qualified for that office than another, because as a foreigner his presence anywhere abroad would excite less curiosity and attention, than if he were an English artist of reputation. As for the purchase of this picture, which had been spoken of so much, an hon. Gentleman had said it was once valued at £50. Now he (Mr. Wilson) could only say that he saw himself a letter from Paris, which offered 60,000f., or £2,400, for that picture, at the very moment when it was purchased for the National Gallery. However, Sir Charles Eastlake would take the entire responsibility of the purchase, and none belonged to Mr. Mündler. If the value of that picture were to be tested by what those who wished to purchase it would give for it, it had been got below the market price. With regard to the office of secretary, it had been thought best to join that with the office of Keeper, and that the salary should be sufficiently high to command the services of a competent person. The duties were important, including the preparation of a catalogue, which, when completed, would comprise a most interesting history of art. These appointments were made after Lord Aberdeen himself had devoted as much attention to the subject as a Minister could spare; and although much party feeling prevailed upon matters of art, and any appointment which could be made was sure to he objected to by some, he believed they were the best that could have been made.
§ MR. W. EWART
agreed in much that had been said by the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) with regard to the trustees. He (Mr. Ewart) had also been a Member of the Select Committee, and proposed that there should be no ex officio trustees. The Committee agreed to this Motion. He had also great doubts whether the honorary trustees ought to have been continued. The director was held to be solely responsible, and these honorary trustees impeded, instead of assisting him—they bore down his judgment, and destroyed his sense of his individual responsibility. The Secretary of the Treasury admitted that this was an anomalous appointment, and he hoped that the Government would, in time, dispense with the honorary trustees. If the director wished for advice and counsel, let him consult two men of equal knowledge and taste. He thought it a wise suggestion of the noble Lord, 614 that we should buy specimens of the contemporaneous art of foreign countries, and thereby enable our artists to widen their ideas mid impart to them an European character. He (Mr. Ewart) would readily bear testimony to the qualities of Sir Charles Eastlake; but Sir Charles, himself, acknowledged that he had devoted himself mainly to the study of Italian art, and it might, therefore, be doubted whether he had so extended a knowledge of the various schools of painting as was desirable in the director of a National Gallery. But Sir C. Eastlake had adopted some very good suggestions, among which might be mentioned the affixing of the name of the painter and the subject of the picture upon the different works of art. The historical catalogue would also be of great use.
§ MR. T. BARING
, as one of the trustees of the National Gallery, wished to inform the hon. Member (Mr. Ewart) that the trustees under the new Minute were only a counselling body, and not an executive body. They could not interfere with the responsibility of the director or hamper his proceedings, but they would, where they saw reason, support by their opinion his representations to the Treasury, either about a purchase or any other money. It had been the unanimous wish of the trustees to resign, if it were thought that their retirement would tend to the better management of the Gallery, and it was only on the representation of the director that he wished to have the advantage of their counsel and advice that they consented to remain in office. The trustees were unanimous in thinking that the management of Sir Charles Eastlake had been most satisfactory up to the present time, and they were happy to see in the National Gallery a director of knowledge, taste, and discretion, and upon whom perfect reliance might be placed. The travelling agent was a man whose knowledge of pictures had been confirmed by the opinion of others. A foreigner was, he thought, better qualified to fill the office of travelling agent than an Englishman, since he was less likely to belong to a party. In the fine arts, a difference of opinion displayed itself which often took the shape of party feeling.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that the Secretary of the Treasury appeared to be under the impression that the trustees had no power to control the director; but he would read the portion of the Minute relating to the appointment of the Board of Trustees. It was as follows:—In the event of a director proposing the purchase 615 of any picture, the trustees may either sanction such purchase on the grounds submitted, or, if they object to sanction it, and the director should still propose to act on his own opinion, they may cause their dissent, together with their reasons, to be entered in the minutes, and the whole proceedings shall be submitted to Parliament along with the annual report on the Gallery, which will in future accompany the Estimate.He must be a bold man who, in the face of such a protest, should persist in pressing the purchase of a picture. The Secretary to the Treasury said that Mr. Wornum was engaged in a most important work; but the public would rather be in the possession of paintings than the history of paintings, and would prefer to spend the salary of this unnecessary officer upon pictures. If he bad a seat in the House next year, he should move that the salary of the Keeper be reduced from £750 to £300, and that the travelling agent be knocked off altogether.
§ VISCOUNT GODERICH
said, he thought that no satisfactory reason had been given why the travelling expenses of the travelling agent should be paid. It would be better that the director of the National Gallery himself should go abroad and get all the requisite information from trustworthy persons residing in the several towns on the Continent. He thought there was ample ground for taking the course recommended by the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Otway), unless the Government could give some better explanation, and he trusted he would persevere until something satisfactory was elicited.
said, he was not able to support the Motion for the reduction of this grant: at the same time, he did not think that the establishment provided for the National Gallery stood in a position altogether satisfactory. He understood the Secretary for the Treasury to say, that the appointment of Sir Charles Eastlake, on which other appointments depended, was made in conformity with the judgment of the Earl of Aberdeen. His hon. Friend knew well that the appointment was not made by the Earl of Aberdeen. The appointment stood over at the time the noble Earl quitted office, and was not made until afterwards. He was not prepared to question the propriety of that appointment. He did not presume to form an opinion upon it, and he was quite aware that the name of Sir Charles Eastlake did not require any testimony which he could render. Nor was he of opinion that the Committee were not warranted in recommending a salary of £1,000 a year to a 616 gentleman of great reputation, experience, and skill in art; always, of course, acting under the supposition, that if not his whole time, the greater portion of his time, would be bestowed on the duties connected with the National Gallery. He saw no reason why he should not say there what he had said elsewhere, that whatever were the duties connected with the transition state of the National Gallery, and the formation of the catalogue, which no one could doubt was an important work, yet that the total expense of £3,000 a year for mere salaries in connection with a gallery of the extent of our gallery was somewhat heavy, and that it deserved the consideration of the Government with a view to some more economical arrangement. When in office, he certainly felt it his duty to make some inquiry as to the expense at which other great foreign galleries were conducted and maintained. All would admit that nothing could be more satisfactory than the condition in which the pictures were maintained in many of the great galleries abroad; no one would impeach the skill and competency of those who were charged with the custody of those galleries; and he was bound to say that, so far as he could learn the particulars, the cost at which those galleries were managed in foreign capitals was not such as quite to justify the scale of salaries which had been adopted in this country. He did not speak of the single salaries given to a director of such experience and character as Sir Charles Eastlake. He merely spoke of the aggregate expenditure of £3,000 a year in connection with the management of the National Gallery. He ventured to hope that further consideration would be given to that question, because he could not help thinking that prudent arrangements on the part of the Government would spare the nation some part of the charge; and, although he was certain the House of Commons would not begrudge the expenditure of any money necessary for the extension of the National Gallery to make it worthy the great objects they had in view, yet they would not pledge themselves to needless and unnecessary expenditure either in that or any other department of the State.
§ MR. THOMAS BARING
reminded the right hon. Gentleman that most of the galleries abroad were already formed. It seemed to be the feeling of the House and country that great additions should be made to our gallery, and, if that were so, additional expense must be incurred.
§ MR. STIRLING
said, he was under the impression that the salary of the chief director of the Louvre was 40,000f., and any one who had attended the parties given by that gentleman would be inclined to suppose that his pay was on a scale of great liberality. As to the sum of £13,000 to which some hon. Members objected, the French Government had given £25,000 for a single picture at Marshal Soult's sale. Sir Charles Eastlake had never ventured to emulate, and, he hoped, never would emulate, that style of expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) said no one would impeach the skill with which foreign galleries were conducted. But he (Mr. Stirling) possessed a thick octavo volume wholly composed of pamphlets written against the present directors of the Louvre, and he had no doubt they might fill a large library with productions of the same kind. Sir Charles Eastlake had been sufficiently defended, but, with regard to Mr. Otto Mündler, terms had been used by the hon. Member for Stafford which were unfair towards any gentleman who was not present to defend himself. When the hon. Member came to explain the imputation against Mr. Mündler, it appeared to be simply that Mr. Mündler had been led by his imagination to conceive a picture to be an original which was only a copy. That was an accident which might happen to any picture-buyer, and he had known persons transported by these imaginations to believe in the possession of a Raphael. Two or three years before Mr. Mündler received his present appointment he heard him mentioned by several artists in Paris as a person remarkable for his honesty and integrity. He wished to ask the Secretary for the Treasury how it was that only one of the thirteen pictures mentioned in the Estimate, and which it was generally understood were purchased last autumn, had yet appeared in the gallery, and that one a picture on which the criticism had not been generally very favourable.
§ MR. WILSON
said, the picture now placed in the National Gallery was purchased in London. It was brought from Vienna, almost entirely at the expense of the seller, and, being in London, there was no difficulty in placing it for exhibition. The other pictures were bought abroad. Some had not yet arrived in this country, and those which had arrived were not yet unpacked and framed.
said, it would be expedient to have information laid on the table of the House as to the scale of salaries for the management of foreign galleries. These, he thought, could he procured through the agency of the Foreign Office.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that when the present Government was formed he was told that Lord Aberdeen's Government had nearly arranged what they thought was best to be done with regard to this establishment; and it appeared to him that on the whole those arrangements were the best which could be adopted. With respect to the salary of the director, he concurred with his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) in thinking it not too great for the duties required. It certainly seemed to him that advantages might arise from having a travelling agent competent to form a preliminary judgment on pictures, who should travel for the purpose of ascertaining where there were pictures, the purchase of which it was desirable to negotiate. They could not know what pictures deserving of purchase were in the market unless some person of judgment went to see them. That person could not go to a town without its being known on behalf of whom he appeared and what his duties were, and, therefore, any objection that his appearance tended to raise the price of pictures, was inherent to his engagement. With regard to Sir Charles Eastlake, he had no hesitation in concurring in the previous determination that he should be director, because his high character, his great knowledge of art, and his professional ability as an artist pointed him out as undoubtedly fit to hold the office intrusted to him. The hon. Gentleman had read a great number of newspaper attacks on Sir Charles Eastlake. He defied any one to point out any artist, who could have been appointed to the situation, who would not have been immediately a butt for the anonymous attacks of every disappointed competitor. Whatever the general merits of professions might be, it was a fact, which unfortunately did not admit of controversy, that in every profession there were individuals with whom personal resentments had greater influence than the interests of truth or the welfare of the community. Nobody who enjoyed the friendship of Sir Charles Eastlake and knew what his merits and attainments were, would allow his judgment to be warped to the prejudice 619 of that gentleman by such censure as the Committee had been doomed to listen to that evening; and, as for Sir Charles Eastlake himself, he had far too much good sense to allow his serenity to be disturbed either by the anonymous communications which appeared in newspapers, or by the additional publicity which the hon. Member (Mr. Otway) had given to such unworthy attacks.
MR. HARCOURT VERNON
, having observed that the information to which the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for the University of Oxford had alluded was contained in documents already presented to Parliament, remarked that he believed the hon. Member for Perthshire (Mr. Stirling) to be mistaken as to the salary of the director of the Louvre, which was, in fact, about £800 a year. He must also, in justice to the trustees of our National Gallery, state that there was no foreign gallery in which the pictures did not suffer more than in ours. No evidence had been shown to the Committee of any serious injury having been inflicted upon our pictures, whereas there was no foreign gallery in which the practice not only of scrubbing but of repainting did not prevail.
§ MR. OTWAY
replied, observing that the Committee had not been dealing with anonymous slanders, but rather with the criticisms of all the most eminent journals in the empire, as also with those of reviews and periodicals, to some of which Members of the present Government had at one time contributed. Every magazine of character, every newspaper worth anything—nay, more, the very Gentlemen who had been appointed by the Government to high office—Mr. Hnrlstone, President of the Incorporated Society of British Artist, and Mr. A. Stevens, the gold medallist—had commented with severity on the proceedings and purchases of Sir Charles Eastlake. Nothing had fallen from him (Mr. Otway) in disparagement of Sir Charles Eastlake's character. He knew that gentleman to be an honourable man and an excellent artist. He only dealt with his acts as connected with the National Gallery, which were obvious to every one who visited that establishment—and which, indeed, were condemned by his own evidence before the Committee of 1853. With respect to the item for travelling expenses, he (Mr. Otway) still adhered to the opinion that it was indefensible, and, even though the result should be to forfeit the services of Mr. 620 Otto Mündler, he should divide against it.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 72, Noes 152: Majority 80.
§ Vote agreed to; as were also the two next Votes.
§ (11.) £4,609, Magnetic Observations.
§ (12.) £500, Royal Geographical Society.
(13.) Motion made and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,000, be granted to Her Majesty, in the year ending the 31st day of March, 1857, to enable the Royal Society to carry on certain experiments for Public Objects.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
observed that the Government, after inquiry, withdrew this Vote last year on the very proper ground that the Royal Society was quite able to conduct its experiments at its own cost; but for some unaccountable reason they subsequently made the grant out of the fund applicable to Civil Contingencies, and one-half of the present Vote was intended to repay that advance. The grant, however, was wholly unnecessary; and if the Committee were sincerely in favour of economy here was an excellent item with which to begin. He begged, therefore, to move the reduction of the Vote by £1,000, in order that it might be entirely discontinued in future.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £1,000, be granted to Her Majesty, in the year ending the 31st day of March, 1857, to enable the Royal Society to carry on certain experiments for Public Objects.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
explained that this annual grant of £1,000 originated in an application made to the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, when at the head of the Government, by the Royal Society, for pecuniary assistance to enable it to conduct scientific experiments for public objects. The grant was made for several years from a certain charitable fund under the control of the Treasury, and without being brought under the notice of the House. Last Session, however, the attention of his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) having been called to the fact that the payment was not strictly regular in respect of the source from which it was taken, the grant was suspended until it could be further considered. This step gave rise to a strong remonstrance on the part of the Royal Society, which, backed 621 by many eminent scientific authorities, represented to the Government the serious prejudice that would be done to its valuable researches by the withdrawal of a contribution on which they had depended for a series of years. This induced him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) to make the usual payment for last year, but he did so out of a different fund, and one subject to the review of Parliament—namely, the Civil Contingencies. Believing the grant to be really usefully applied by the Royal Society, he hoped the Committee would agree to its continuance, and also allow the sum advanced for last year, under the circumstances he had described, to be now replaced.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
could not precisely state, but an account of them was contained in a letter to the Treasury, which would be produced if the hon. Gentleman chose to move for it.
§ MR. TITE
supported the grant, which, he said, was expended under the supervision of a Committee of forty eminent scientific and professional men, upon experiments for testing the strength of materials, for experiments in anatomical science, and other objects calculated to be of the greatest advantage to the community generally.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
thought the Vote ought to be postponed until the Committee had further information as to its necessity and its application. It was somewhat remarkable to find the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Tite), a prominent advocate of the Administrative Reform Association, so ready to defend this questionable expenditure.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
believed that no man could seriously doubt the importance to the community at large of the prosecution and extension of scientific investigation. It was impossible, moreover, for any one to tell beforehand how far the resources of the country might be improved by the results of scientific discovery. But experiments conductive to the advancement of science frequently required the expenditure of sums which the persons most competent to carry them on were unable to defray from their own means. Representations had been made to the Government by the most eminent men connected with science, that not only the 622 Royal Society itself, but the cause and the interests of science generally, would suffer if the small assistance which Parliament was now called upon to afford for scientific experiments were withdrawn. He thought that an equal sum of money could not be applied to purposes of greater public utility than the Vote which was then under consideration, and the Committee had on this question the high authority of the hon. Member for Bath, who fully appreciated the importance of the objects to which the grant was applied.
§ MR. JOHN MACGREGOR
thought that science had been discouraged in this country rather than assisted. It was impossible to look to what had been done for science in France, Austria, Prussia, and that country which we were pleased to call barbarous, Russia, without feeling that no class of persons was so much discouraged in England as scientific men. He entirely concurred with the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), and thought that much more ought to be done for scientific objects.
§ MR. HEYWOOD
said, Parliament had already been presented with the details of this grant. There was a paper presented last year which contained the details of the expenditure of £5,000. He was only sorry there was not a similar one given this year, because there was no secret about it; it was a perfectly open vote. There was no gain to men of science personally from this grant; it went into no individual's pocket, but was expended in experiments. Out of it there was a sum of £150 given for the verification of meteorological instruments in navigation used on Her Majesty's ships, and there was a great gain to the mercantile interest, and also to the navy, in having these instruments of the most perfect kind. The British Association for the Advancement of Science also gave money for the same object.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
observed that, after the explanations which had been given he would not press his Amendment, and
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn. Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.