§ House in Committee; Mr. FitzRoy in the chair.
§ (1.) £40,000, Cape of Good Hope.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that last year a scheme had been submitted by Sir George Grey, the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, for the civilisation of the native tribes and the maintenance of tranquillity, a part of which consisted in providing means for employing them in the construction of public roads, the establishment of schools, and other works of improvement, which he considered would be more effectual in preserving peace and insuring the safety of the colony than any amount of force that could be sent out. That scheme involved an annual grant for ten years—to the extent of £40,000 for the first three years, to be diminished gradually in the succeeding years until it ceased altogether. He proposed to lay upon the table that night the accounts which had been received from the colony since last year, when the first grant was made, in which Governor Grey stated that the plan of employing the Kafirs upon public works had been most successful; that the cost was comparatively small; that it was opening up the resources of the country, implanting habits of industry in the native population, and preserving peace and tranquillity throughout that vast district. As a matter of economy he believed that this money was well spent, inasmuch as it afforded the most effectual means of preventing those outbreaks on the frontier which occurred some time ago, and which were not only calamitous in their results, but occasioned a heavy charge upon the finances of the country.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £12,634, Loss on Treasury Commissariat Chest Transactions—Freight of Specie.
SIR FRANCIS BARING
said, he could not understand the Vote, and must beg for some explanation respecting it.
§ MR. WILSON
said, that the Vote was composed of two items—£2,634, to make good loss on chest transactions in 1854–5, 1109 and £10,000 for freight of specie, including expenses of shipment in 1856.7. the change in the form of the Vote arose from the change in the form in which the account was kept. At one time the Commissariat Chest account and the Commissariat Vote were managed by the Treasury. About two years ago the Commissariat was bodily removed from the Treasury to the War Department, but after a year's experience the cash fund was removed to the Treasury, leaving the Commissariat Vote to the War Department.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £6,600, Agricultural Statistics.
§ MR. H. HERBERT
said, he wished to call attention to this Vote, for the statistics were collected in Ireland by the constabulary, who, from their habit of life, must necessarily want the knowledge which would enable them to give the returns with that care and accuracy that were required. They were generally unacquainted with agricultural matters, could not survey an acre of land if told to do so, and were utterly incompetent to give a sound opinion with regard to the produce per acre. Under those circumstances he felt it to be his duty to state that the result was just what might have been expected—that those statistics were not to be relied upon, and peremptorily required that the attention of the Government should be directed to the subject.
§ MR. PALK
said, he regretted that more Members were not present to hear the observations of the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. H. Herbert). It would have been a lesson to them how they dealt with a measure on agricultural statistics for England which would shortly come before them from the other House. Nothing, in his opinion, could be more mischievous to the country generally, and the agricultural interest in particular, than a bad system of statistics; indeed, so far as agricultural statistics were concerned, he doubted the justice and propriety of collecting them under any circumstances. He was altogether at a loss to imagine how it was that those who had so strenuously promoted freedom of trade could, consistently with their own principles, ask Parliament to enact a measure for prying into a branch of industry the management of which they had no more right to inquire into than that of any other interest in the State. At all events, one thing would be admitted, that information gathered in the manner described by the hon. Member for 1110 Kerry must, of necessity, be very detrimental to the country, and to those speculators in corn, to whose offices, in time of scarcity, we were so much indebted for lowering the price of food to the people; and he contended that it was discreditable to that House to vote even small sums of money to be applied to so bad and injudicious a purpose. There was one point with regard to the question in respect to which some explanation was certainly necessary. He observed that the sum of £4,000 was voted last year for the collection of statistics in England, but that it was not expended. He should be glad to know, therefore, the reason for its remaining unexpended, and also if the Vote of £6,600 now proposed was in addition to that £4,000, or whether the £4,000 was to be deducted from it?
§ MR. WILSON
said, that, in consequence of the recommendations of a Committee of the House of Lords, a Bill had been introduced into Parliament in the course of the present Session for the purpose of establishing a system of agricultural statistics in this country, as well as in Scotland and Ireland, where the machinery for collection already existed. But the Government had determined not to do anything with a view to the collection of these statistics in England until that Bill had passed into a law; consequently the £4,000 voted for the collection of agricultural statistics in England last year was not expended, whilst the Vote now proposed to be taken was for the cost of collecting statistics in Scotland and Ireland. The Government did not think it necessary to ask for a large sum for England in anticipation of the passing of the measure to which he referred, but resolved that as the £4,000 remained unexpended they would be satisfied with that sum for the present year. It was not proposed, therefore, to take a Vote for England this year at all. With regard to the observations of his hon. Friend the Member for Kerry (Mr. H. Herbert), he was compelled to admit, that when last year he compared the results of the Scotch inquiry with those which were sent from Ireland, he thought there were discrepancies between them which were not to be accounted for either by the soil or climate. In consequence, he referred the Returns back to the authorities in Ireland, and called their attention to those discrepancies; and they, after considerable investigation, admitted that the Returns were inaccurate in some 1111 respects, and, as far as they could, corrected them. True, those statistics were not of such a nature as to furnish a perfect criterion of the value of an estate; but they certainly did form a very fair index as to the general changes which took place from year to year in the description of cultivation that went on in Ireland. He could assure hon. Members that much more attention had been paid to making those statistics in Ireland reliable this year than last.
§ SIR JOHN TYRELL
said, that in this country agriculturists did not object to a just system of statistics; but they did object to a measure which was most vexatious alike in its schedules and in the pains and penalties it proposed to inflict.
MR. LLOYD DAVIES
said, he quite agreed that a small outlay like that now proposed would be attended with beneficial results, provided the Returns were accurate, and the information they contained could be relied upon—not else.
§ LORD NAAS
said, he was fully sensible of the great value of agricultural statistics, and bad as those statistics were in Ireland, he believed they were highly valued even in their imperfect state by a large class of persons there. Two of the heads of inquiry—there were three altogether—were very useful. For instance, they got a very fair return of the number of acres under the various descriptions of crops; and also of the quantity and sort of stock in the possession of the owners and occupiers. But with regard to the third head of inquiry—namely, the average acreable produce throughout the country, he believed the Returns were totally and entirely fallacious, and did not supply even an approximate idea of the actual truth. It, however, could scarcely be otherwise; for how was the information collected? Some weeks or months after the Returns had been sent in, circulars were written to different persons in the employ of Government, and also to a few country gentlemen, requesting them to state what, in their opinion, was the average quantity of produce per acre in that particular district. But those inquiries were for the most part answered by the inspectors of constabulary, men who could not have the least idea on the matters they were required to report upon, and whose opinions could only be gained from casual conversations with persons they met at the different fairs and markets. The Returns as to the average acreable produce were based upon those inquiries alone, 1112 and, in his (Lord Naas's) opinion, they were not worth the paper upon which they were written. He would recommend to the Government, therefore, that in future the Returns should be confined to those two heads—the description of produce and the quantity and description of stock, and not include the average produce per acre. The only mode of getting an approximate idea of the quantity of corn throughout the country would be by getting Returns of the produce brought to market.
SIR ROBERT FERGUSON
said, that the acreage Returns were very well done by the constabulary, who were generally the sons of farmers, and very intelligent men; and they were afterwards submitted to the correction of proprietors of land. But when the constabulary came to collect the returns of the quantity or produce, it was very different, and by no means satisfactory.
said, the Committee had reason to be indebted to the hon. Member for Kerry for having brought this subject under their notice. He believed that the police in Ireland did not perform the duty of collecting these statistics con amore; that they were rather disposed to look upon it as an extraneous labour forced upon them; and that even if they did the work willingly they were not competent either to measure the size of a field or calculate the produce of an acre of land accurately. As to the value of these statistics, the best proof of that would be found in the number of copies of the Returns which were purchased by the present proprietors in Ireland. He believed, however, that they generally governed their proceedings, not by the Blue-books containing those Returns, but by the reports which appeared in the newspapers, and by the conduct of those by whom they were surrounded. At the same time, he did not mean to say that the statistics were without value; but the merit of them in Ireland was, that no compulsion was used in their collection.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, the Secretary to the Treasury had admitted that those statistics were not sufficient to guide, direct, or control the buying or selling of land; in other words, that they did not give any information as to the effects which the growing crops were likely to exercise upon the prices in the market; and he added, also—and he (Mr. Spooner) agreed with him, that a Return of the quantity of acres under the different sorts of corn— 1113 namely, wheat, barley, oats, &c., in every year, ought to be as accurate as possible. Now, to making such a Return as that, he believed no objection whatever was entertained by the agriculturists of this country. The information would be of a most practical and useful character, and tend to check that extra cultivation which high prices sometimes encouraged, and regulate the number of acres in cultivation; but as far as Returns of the quantity of live stock on a farm were concerned, it would be impossible to come to any accurate conclusion from such Returns.
§ MR. SERJEANT SHEE
said, he quite agreed as to the value of agricultural statistics, though the peasants did not read them. But he should like to know what number of the labouring population of Ireland was receiving wages, and for how many months in the year. That was a branch of statistics he should wish to see attended to. He should also like to have Returns as regarded the improvements of estates in Ireland—the building of cottages for the labourers. Numbers of mud houses had been swept away, but he had not heard that they were replaced by other and better ones. He also wished to know what progress had been made in providing good farm buildings by landlords and tenants in that country. Until some improvement took place in the relation of landlord and tenant in Ireland, these agricultural statistics would be of no use to the people of Ireland or the Government. He would suggest, therefore, that the statistics, which cost such a large sum, should include these particulars in future as regarded agricultural statistics in Ireland.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £2,000 British Historical Portrait Gallery.
§ LORD WILLIAM GRAHAM
said, he should like to have some information about the mode in which this sum was to be expended, as it was the first time a Vote of this kind had been proposed. He would beg to ask whether Government intended to purchase pictures when they came into the market, or whether they intended to employ artists to copy portraits; because, unless they adopted the latter course, there were many portraits in the possession of families as heir looms, which might never be brought into the market at all, but copies of which it might be desirable to obtain for the gallery.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
1114 said, that this was the first occasion in which such a Vote as this had come before the Committee; and it had been proposed, in consequence of the answer which Her Majesty had been pleased to give to an Address agreed to by the other House of Parliament, praying her to take measures for the formation of a gallery of historical portraits. It had not been decided that there should be any necessary connection between this collection and the National Gallery of pictures, although such a connection might be convenient; but it was intended that this gallery should, in the first instance, lay the foundation for the acquisition of portraits, the chief value of which should consist rather in the accuracy of the likeness and the interest attaching to the person represented than to the celebrity of the painting. Owing to our happy exemption from intestine disturbances, civil wars, and other causes by which the houses of distinguished families in other countries had been destroyed and their collections of works of art dispersed, there existed, he believed, in the Inns of Court, the colleges, the bishops' palaces, the public institutions, and the large country houses of this country, a greater number of valuable historical portraits than any other nation of Europe would be found to possess. It was not to be supposed that any large number of these portraits would find their way into the market, family portraits being cherished beyond any other class of pictures. It might, however, be expected that, in some instances, if a gallery of this sort was established, persons would be disposed to make presents to the nation of historical portraits, and no doubt means would be found, as the noble Lord had stated, in cases where the original portraits could not be obtained, to employ artists who would make correct copies of them, which would form a chain in a chronological series which it might be desirous to establish. He could not say that before this Vote was obtained, Government had thought it desirable to lay down any principle on which the Vote should be administered, but so far as they had formed views on the subject, their desire would be in the first instance to begin with a collection of pictures, which might be contributed voluntarily, merely to form a temporary exhibition, of which the large building which would shortly be completed, at Kensington Gore, and which was the subject of the next Vote, would be a convenient receptacle. 1115 But he could assure the noble Lord and the Committee, that it was a subject which would engage the attention of the Government. It was their desire to administer the Vote in such a manner as to lay the foundation of a collection of historical portraits, which would prove interesting to those who desired to study the history of the country, and would form a supplement to those documentary treasures which we possessed, illustrative of our national history.
§ MR. SPOONER
said that, in his opinion, this was not a legitimate object for the expenditure of public money. The taxes levied upon the malt, the tea, and other articles consumed by the labouring man, ought not to be expended upon the formation of galleries of historical portraits for the gratification of the taste of the higher classes. Although the question might be considered a very trifling one, it was the beginning of a new system, and was laying the foundation of an establishment of a National Portrait Gallery. It was likewise laying the foundation of a great expense. He could not give his silent acquiescence to any such proposition. He did not consider that it was a legitimate way of expending the public money. It was not pretended that the object was to promote the art of painting. It was merely to establish an historical gallery of men eminent in science, and who had rendered good service to their country whether in a military or naval capacity. He did not dispute that this was a very fit and proper thing to be done, but the poor people of this country ought not to be called upon to pay for it. Let it be put upon any system that would pay itself. If money were advanced for a time to promote the object, there might be no objection; but he could not give his consent to a proposition that the people of this country should be called upon to contribute towards an historical picture gallery that could be of no use to them, and which it would not be possible for them to enjoy. If such a gallery were to be established, let it be done either at the expense of those who enjoyed it, or, as he had before said, let it be self-remunerative. When he looked around him and beheld the empty benches while they were voting such large sums of the public money away, he could hardly expect any support in any effort he might make to prevent the Vote from being adopted. Nay, he could not help observing the absence of those who were the 1116 leaders of his own (the Opposition) side of the House, and he really felt that they were all neglecting their duty to the country in not evincing a greater watchfulness over the expenditure of the public money. Were he to oppose the Vote, Members who were then in the purlieus of the House would immediately come in and vote against him without having heard a single word upon the subject.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he was very glad the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) had taken up this subject in so spirited a manner. The country already possessed statues of the most eminent men, in Westminster Abbey and in St. Paul's; they had portraits of the most distinguished naval commanders at Greenwich and elsewhere, and they were now forming a gallery of statues in the Houses of Parliament. Some had already been produced at a very large cost, and they were considered to be the statues of the most eminent men in the history of this country. [Laughter.] He was quite aware that there was great difference of opinion on that point with regard to some of them. But what he wanted to know was, who were the men who were to apply this Vote?—who were to select the portraits that were to be placed in the gallery? He would venture to say that if the portraits selected by those on whom the duty would devolve were submitted to the House, three out of four would be rejected. He hoped, therefore, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire would divide the Committee against the Vote. He really began to look to the Opposition side of the House for measures of economical reform. On several divisions upon questions of expenditure which he considered to be unjustifiable, he had found hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House more friendly to economy than those sitting on that (the Ministerial) side; and he had latterly received from them more cordial support in his endeavours to promote economy. He, therefore, hoped the hon. Gentleman would divide the Committee on this question.
MR. LLOYD DAVIES
said, that, although the sum now proposed to be voted for a portrait gallery was comparatively small, yet they might expect that it would become greater every year; and that by and bye they would be told that after so much money had been invested in the collection of a portrait gallery it would be impolitic to refuse a further grant to sustain 1117 it. He, however, thought that such an outlay on the part of the country at large, for the enjoyment of the population of the metropolis only, could not be justified. It could not be said that whenever any man distinguished himself in this country—whether in the army, in the navy, or in any other capacity—Parliament was niggardly in rewarding him, both by conferring honours upon him and by granting to him money.
§ MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE
said, if he had entire reliance on the taste and judgment of those whose duty it would be to select the historical portraits, he might be disposed to stretch a point and not offer any opposition to this Vote; but the statue of the Duke of Wellington ought to operate as a great warning, both to the Committee and the public, against confiding the collection of a gallery of historical portraits to any particular body of men. It was impossible that there should be an entire agreement as to the proper persons who should be appointed to make the selection; and there would be a still greater difference of opinion, he apprehended, as to the selection of the portraits to be placed in the gallery. With respect to the statues of the great men which had been put in the Houses of Parliament, he must confess that he should have proposed to place there the statues of men very different from those which had been selected. On this subject strong feelings and associations must necessarily exist. For instance, he should have proposed that statues of Pym and of Cromwell should be erected there. He thought that any man who could object to a statue of Cromwell must be imbued with bigotry and party spirit in the highest degree. Many, however, would, no doubt, think the contrary. Again, he should certainly be inclined to recommend Clarendon and Falkland, while others would be for excluding them altogether. This diversity of opinion and of taste must necessarily be, from the very nature of the work to be performed, and from the inadequate resources of those to whom such work would be confided. He, therefore, did not think it was right or proper to sanction a principle which must end in failure. Nobody could undervalue the benefit to the people of having the images of great men placed before them; and no one would attempt to depreciate the magnificent associations which the contemplation of those images was calculated to excite. Every man not utterly 1118 callous to all impressions must appreciate the feelings thus inspired; but the Committee must recollect that they were not legislating for the metropolis alone, but for an over-burdened and a patient people who had borne with great forbearance and in an uncomplaining spirit the weighty pressure which the exigencies of war had created, and that they were therefore not justified in giving away the public money to gratify a sentimental feeling.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he could not agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that the humbler classes would not appreciate portraits of an historical character.
§ MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE
said, he must beg to explain that he had not used the words attributed to him by the right hon. Baronet. He had said that such portraits would not be accessible to those classes.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he was rejoiced to find that he had misunderstood the hon. and learned Gentleman. At the same time he could not concur with the hon. Members for North Warwickshire and Lambeth, who considered the proposed Vote as an objectionable one. On the contrary, he was glad to see a beginning made towards the establishment of such a gallery as that which had been so gracefully suggested by a noble Friend of his in another place (Earl Stanhope) who had himself achieved great fame as an historian.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, the arguments which have been used against this Vote apply equally to every collection connected with the arts or the history of the country. Upon the same principle we should have no statues, no paintings, and must confine the expenditure of the country to what is absolutely necessary for the administration of affairs. That has not been the practice of any country which had a pride in itself or a sense of its own dignity, and was desirous of elevating the minds of its people by the exhibition of objects which excited admiration. It does surprise me, Sir, to hear it said that the people of this country will have no opportunity of seeing these things; but surely those who say so forget what happened a week or ten days since, when this city was filled by tens of thousands who came from all parts of the country to take part in the rejoicings for peace. They must also forget the multitudes who thronged our streets month after month during the Great Exhibition of 1851. I really must say it 1119 argues a forgetfulness of a fundamental principle of human nature to declare that a collection of portraits of men distinguished in the history of the country is not an object worthy the expenditure of the small sum asked for in this Vote. Does any man say, who will only examine his own mind, that it is not a great gratification to see the likeness of men whose actions have excited our admiration? It has been said that when we read history it is merely a record of abstract names. You read that a man named Cæsar beat a man named Pompey, but you have no notion of what Cæsar was like, nor what Pompey. But if you see a picture which accurately represents what Cæsar was, or gives you an image of Pompey, what a much greater interest does it excite. In the same way I am sure it will afford to the people of this country the greatest satisfaction to see the features, to become acquainted with the countenances, of men whose actions had excited their interest when reading the history of former times. Then, again, it is said, such a collection will contain portraits of those whom some may consider unworthy of such honour and not deserving of public approbation. Why, Sir, in a free country like this, where there will always be contending parties, those men who are pre-eminent in history must belong to some party, and they will be regarded of course with different feeling, according to the views of each individual who considers them. Some will approve them, and others will condemn them. Now, this, Sir, is a very small Vote. It must not be supposed that we are going to ransack countryhouses to collect pictures of gentlemen's uncles and aunts. That is not the object, nor is it, as the hon. and learned Member for Leominster (Mr. J. Gr. Phillimore) seems to think, to form a collection of pictures valuable on account of their merit as works of art. The object is to get the best portraits of men distinguished in the history of the country. Of course there must be some judgment in the selection, but I trust that not only by the present Government, but by any that may succeed them, the small sum to be annually voted for this purpose will be judiciously expended, and that the collection will only contain the portraits of those who by general assent have played parts in life which qualified them for the honour of being represented in a national gallery. Other countries do the same thing. Every 1120 one must remember at Versailles the great collection of portraits of men distinguished in the history of France. Why should we feel less pride in a collection of images of those who have gone before us, and who, I will venture to say, are not less worthy than the historical characters of other nations to live in the memories of their descendants? There cannot, I feel convinced, be a greater incentive to mental exertion, to noble actions, to good conduct on the part of the living, than for them to see before them the features of those who have done things which are worthy of our admiration, and whose example we are more induced to imitate when they are brought before us in the visible and tangible shape of portraits.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he quite agreed with the noble Lord about the great advantage of a gallery of this sort. The inscription over the Pantheon at Paris, "Aux grands hommes la patrie est reconnaissante," always appeared to him most touching. But he had another doubt, and that was, as to the persons appointed for the selection; for he had heard it said that from their hall was excluded Cromwell, who was proposed to be there set forth in his image as a great man belonging to this country. He certainly was one of the rulers of our country, and one of the greatest rulers; and he, he was told, was excluded from that hall because he was not what was called a king. Now, if the Vote under consideration was to be used to shut out those who were really the honour and the pride of this country, though they might not be legitimate kings or legitimate inheritors of honours, then he should not agree to the Vote; but he believed that public opinion would guide those who selected the portraits, and he should therefore support it.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, the noble Lord had, with his usual skill, met objections which he (Mr. Spooner) had not raised, and, at the same time, had answered those which he had not made. His objection to the proposition was, that they had no right to tax the labouring classes of this country to provide a gallery of portraits, which would be of no use to those people, and in which they could take no pleasure. The present Vote was but the beginning; and, small as the sum was, it might, and probably would, if granted, lead to very great expense in future years.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, my hon. and learned Friend 1121 the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) first asks whether it is intended that any political distinction should be made in the choice of portraits for the intended gallery, and then inquires who the persons are in whom the power of making the selection will be vested. Before the Vote has received the sanction of Parliament it would not be competent for the Government to nominate any persons by whom the grant should be administered; but I have no objection to explain to my hon. and learned Friend the principles on which it is designed that the institution shall be conducted. The object is to form a collection of historical portraits. Any one will understand by that, not sovereigns or statesmen pleasing to any particular party—not leaders of religious sects acceptable only to their own followers, but all men, of whatever opinions, who are illustrious in the records of history. Surely that view of the case will prevent any illiberal exclusion of sect or party, and open the gallery to men of all sects and parties who are celebrated in the annals of their country. That is my idea of a national portrait gallery, a place to which the portraits of all men shall be admissible, who, whether connected in their lifetime with Church or State, with arts or arms, occupy a distinguished position in the annals of the past. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) objects to this proposal that we are voting the money of the poorer classes of taxpayers to an object from which they cannot derive any benefit, and this objection he urges on the ground of economy. [Mr. SPOONER: Of justice.] Well, then, of justice based on considerations of economy. I confess, Sir, that this criticism does appear to me to be founded on views of a very narrow description, and I have the strongest conviction that if that hon. Member whom we were so long accustomed to regard as the representative of economy in this House—the late Mr. Hume—were now present, he would not join with the hon. Member for North Warwickshire in proscribing a collection proposed to be conducted on such principles as I have described. I would ask the Committee whether it be true that the working classes obtain no advantage from institutions of this kind, which are calculated to diffuse a taste for national history, and to kindle feelings of patriotism; and whether they have not an interest in everything that promotes the 1122 education and enlightenment of the country? Doos the hon. Member suppose that he can draw distinctions in these respects between the working and the other classes of the community? If his doctrine were adopted we should at once have to shut up the British Museum. That institution is, I consider, doubly open to his objections. In the first place, it is an institution from which, according to his view, the working classes derive no benefit, for they can neither read the books in the learned languages nor study the antiquities, nor examine the collection of natural history with which its rooms are filled. In the second place, it is in London, and for that reason it is impossible that persons in different parts of the country should derive personal or immediate good from it. Adopt the hon. Member's view of the question, and not only must we close the British Museum and the National Gallery, but I should like to know upon what principle you will justify the keeping of a Record Office? The State Paper Office must also be abolished. It is maintained by an annual Vote of this House. Does the hon. Member suppose that the working classes examine the records of our ancient history? Really, if we commit ourselves to the hon. Member's narrow notions of economy, I know not where we are to stop. We all remember to have read that in former times the Romans, a nation eminently addicted to the cultivation of the patriotic feeling, adorned the vestibules of their mansions with the portraits of their illustrious ancestors—not as exhibiting a collection of works of art, but as an incentive to noble deeds, and as a means to excite the existing generation to emulate the bright example of the great men who had gone before them. That principle which the Romans followed with regard to their private families we now propose to adopt with reference to the whole community; and I cannot believe that an English House of Commons will lay it down, at the bidding of the hon. Member, that any class of the community—whether the working class or that which is devoted to intellectual pursuits—has no interest in a collection of portraits which will be a splendid record of the great deeds of their ancestors.
§ MR. RICE
said, he thought that an injustice was done to the operative classes by the suggestion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, that they were unable 1123 able to derive pleasure from pictures. He could state to the hon. Member that he had himself presented a working man's society in Dover—a self-supporting institution—with a portrait of the late Mr. Hume, and the gift was highly prized.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he must disclaim having ever asserted that the working people of this country were unable to enjoy pictures. He had objected to their being taxed for that which they would have no opportunity of enjoying. He would willingly sanction any plan having for object the establishment of a portrait gallery on a self-supporting principle.
§ VISCOUNT GODERICH
said, he thought the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was very inconsistent in complaining that the working classes had no opportunity of enjoying pictures, after he had himself voted for the closing of the National Gallery on the only day of the week available to them for such a purpose.
§ MR. JAMES MACGREGOR
said, he rose to support the Vote before the Committee, and to appeal to his hon. Friend (Mr. Spooner) to withdraw his opposition. None, he felt assured, would appreciate such a collection more than the people. Such portraits as that of Watt and other men who had risen from their own class by their ingenuity would give them the highest pleasure, and produce a wholesome effect. He had been that day at the British Museum, and had refreshed his memory with regard to the rules of that establishment, when he found that it was available to the public only on three days in the week, and he did not see why it should not be open every day in the week, except Sunday. While visiting that institution it had been gratifying to him to meet, in the sculpture gallery, the accomplished librarian of the establishment, and to express to him his concurrence in the elegant and classical compliment which Mr. Speaker had paid him a short time since; and as he there looked round on the busts of the Roman Emperors, he felt that the public money could not be better expended than in making the people better acquainted with the illustrious characters of history.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, he would remind the Committee that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, in his Budget speech, that if they did not reduce expenditure he could not reduce the taxation of the country. Now this year they had done nothing 1124 to diminish the annual charge, except in the naval and military departments. When the Income Tax was first imposed, the Civil Contingencies amounted only to £3,500,000; this year they were £6,700,000. Besides, he should like to know what they intended the gallery ultimately to be? Did they mean to have another Versailles? He would take the liberty of reminding the Committee that the French attained to great excellence in that respect at the time they were verging fast upon bankruptcy and revolution. He protested against the lavish expenditure which had prevailed of late years.
Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding £2,000, be granted to Her Majesty, towards carrying out measures for the formation of a Gallery of the Portraits of the Most Eminent Persons in British History, in the year ending the 31st day of March, 1857.
§ The Committee divided:— Ayes 97; Noes 28: Majority 69.
§ (5.) £10,000, Science and Art Department, Marlborough House Removal.
§ LORD ROBERT GROSVENOR
said, there was appended to the Vote, by way of explanation, a letter, the second paragraph of which stated that the German Chapel would be taken down to make a public road from Pall Mall to St. James's Park, and that public accommodation would have the effect of causing the removal of the principal class-rooms of the training-school. The Estimate for the new road was the next Vote, and until that was decided he thought the present Vote ought to be postponed.
§ MR. WILSON
said, the new road was one of the minor grounds for the proposed removal, the principal ground being that the Department of Art and Science occupied Marlborough House only for a limited period, and must of necessity move to enable the building to be prepared by the time the Prince of Wales came of age. There could be no objection to the postponement of the Vote if the Committee thought proper, but he really could see no reason why they should postpone it.
§ MR. PELLATT
said, he thought the postponement of the Vote ought to take place, in order that the Government might consider the whole question. When the proposed removal had been effected, at a cost of £10,000, what did the Government intend to do with the Schools of Design at Somerset House, the Geological School in Jermyn-Street, and other places? 1125 He believed a saving of money and increased efficiency would be secured by having those establishments brought under one roof, instead of being scattered over different parts of the metropolis.
§ SIR JOSEPH PAXTON
said, he should support the Vote, believing the intended removal from Marlborough House to be absolutely necessary, in consequence of the insecure state of the temporary buildings there.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he was of opinion that, before the Committee went on voting money for filling up the large vacant piece of ground at Kensington Gore, they ought to have some programme before them as to what was intended to be done with the ground, and what was the probable outlay which would take place. He had heard it stated, on very good authority, that there would be an expenditure of some millions of money, and that he knew was the prevalent impression in the public mind. As regarded the removal, for which the present Vote was to provide, the Committee should remember that it would be a day's journey for poor scholars to go to Kensington Gore and back again in all sorts of weather. He could not help thinking that a great error had been committed in the purchase of the ground for such objects. It was said that the gallery proposed to be erected there would be out of the smoke of London; but the fact was that the smoke of London was blown over that locality during the greater part of the year, and the smoke would damage the pictures quite as much at Kensington Gore as in any other part of London. The whole subject and the scheme proposed ought, he considered, to be referred to a Select Committee.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, the observations of the hon. Gentleman did not apply in the least to the Vote before the Committee, which was asked for on this ground:—At present the Science and Art Branch of the Education Department was located at Marlborough House, which belonged to the Prince of Wales, and was required, or would soon be required, for the use of the Prince. The question, then, arose, what was to be done with this department? The Prince of Wales was not going to live at Somerset House; the Prince of Wales was probably not going to live in Jermyn-Street; but would, at the proper time, require Marlborough House, his own befitting habitation. The Committee were not called upon, now to 1126 inquire into a subject of great magnitude and interest, which had been alluded to by the hon. Gentleman, but which had nothing whatever to do with the present Vote; they were called upon to provide the means by which this department could be removed and placed in a position compatible with the public convenience and accommodation, and he thought they ought to be very glad that they possessed at Kensington Gore a site to which it could be conveniently removed.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he must confess that he found ample justification for what he had previously said on the question of this site at Kensington Gore in the contents of the third Report of the Commissioners of 1851, which he now held in his hand. The Vote of £150,000 on account of this site was passed at the instance of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli), and it was declared in the Report that the House of Commons had unanimously agreed to the Vote. Now, he certainly did not divide the Committee against the Vote when it was proposed, because he found that the general feeling was against him, but henceforth he should learn on such occasions not to be deterred from going to a division, even though by gentlemen opposite he should again be called a narrow-minded man, and by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Disraeli) "an old-fashioned man." In a Treasury Minute contained in this Report, he found the following passage:—Under these circumstances, it is necessary to revert to the Vote of the year 1852, and the expectations with which it was given. Parliament appears to have been under the impression at the period of that Vote, that so far as regarded the purchase of land it was final. Had the Government of that day possessed information leading to a contrary conclusion, it would have been their duty to make it known to the House of Commons, and to give the best conjectural estimate in their power of the amount of any ulterior demand likely to arise. It is now obvious that more money will be, at least temporarily, and perhaps permanently, required, and this to an extent even exceeding the first Vote of Parliament, if the entire square defined by the main roads is to be made available for public purposes.That square was now to be made available for public purposes, and the House of Commons would soon be asked for a larger sum than they had yet voted. They ought, therefore, to be cautious how they gave their sanction to a small sum which might be but the beginning of a series of large Votes. Another question was, to whom 1127 this land belonged? It appeared that the estate itself was vested in the Commissioners, and that the Government and the State had no power or control over it. He should have liked to ask the law officers of the Crown, if they had been present, what power the Government would have over this land, supposing at some future time there should be a dispute, as was not improbable, between the Exhibition Commissioners and the Government? He found in the Report a Treasury Minute, dated February 15th, 1853, relative to the control over this property:—Mr. Gladstone informs their Lordships that he has been in personal communication with the Royal Commissioners on the subject, and he suggests that an arrangement of the following nature should be submitted to them for their consideration. If the Royal Commissioners shall concur therein, and shall express to this Board their readiness to adopt and act thereon, then Mr. Gladstone is of opinion that such sums might properly be issued from time to time, not exceeding on the whole £150,000, as may be necessary to enable the Royal Commissioners to pay for such lands as shall be purchased to carry out the plan and arrangements contemplated in their second Report. It appears to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, in order to secure that unity of action which it is highly desirable to maintain over property purchased from various different parties, but intended to be applied to kindred objects, the legal title to the whole should be vested in the Commissioners to whom the lands already purchased have been conveyed; but he suggests at the same time that, for the purpose of securing to the Crown the right of general superintendence, it should be distinctly understood that the Commissioners should hold the whole of such purchases, as well those already made as those to be made hereafter, subject to such directions of appropriation as shall from time to time be issued by this Board in respect to such part, not exceeding one moiety, as shall by agreement between this Board and the Royal Commissioners, be set apart for such institutions connected with science and art as are more immediately dependent upon and supported by the Government from funds voted by Parliament; and subject also, with respect to the other part thereof, to such general superintendence by the Lords of the Treasury as may be necessary to secure that the appropriation proposed to be made, and all the arrangements in relation thereto as regards buildings to be erected thereon, shall be in conformity with some general plan which shall be adopted as applicable to all parts of the property, whether such buildings shall be erected from public moneys or by private subscription. On the other hand, Mr. Gladstone thinks it should be understood that no buildings shall be erected at the public expense on any portion of the property, the whole of which will have been acquired for the public by the joint contribution, in equal moieties, of Parliament on the one hand, and of the Royal Commissioners on the other, without first giving to the Royal Commissioners opportunity of submitting to this 1128 Board their objections, if any should occur to them, to what may be proposed in respect to such buildings, whereby a joint superintendence of a beneficial character would be secured for the public over the whole.Thus the title appeared to be in the Commissioners, while the control of the Government was based upon an understanding. The question for the Committee to decide was whether an irresponsible Board of Commissioners ought to be entrusted with the property in this estate, on which so much had been already laid out, and upon which, without doubt, the House of Commons would be asked to expend so much more. If such a proposal had been made in what used to be styled the corrupt Tory Parliaments of his younger days, no Minister would have dared to adopt it, and no House of Commons would have sanctioned it. It was left for a reformed House of Commons to trust a body of irresponsible Commissioners with a large property, bought, in great part, with the funds of the State, but over which the Government were to exercise no control except, as he had just said, upon an understanding. He had opposed all these grants successively, and he should recommend the property to be disposed of and the partnership to be dissolved between the Government and the Commissioners. He might not live to see it, but, depend upon it, the purchase of this property would involve the country in an expenditure which very few now contemplated.
§ MR. WILSON
said, he hoped the Committee would allow him to make a few observations in reply to those made by the hon. Member who had last addressed them. The Vote had nothing whatever to do with the purchase of the estate. The hon. Gentleman was right in stating that the fee simple of the estate was in the hands of the Exhibition Commissioners of 1851, but it was held by them so subject to equitable rights that the House of Commons and the public could control its appropriation. In the first instance, the sum of £150,000, belonging to the Commissioners, had been invested in the purchase of the property. Parliament then consented to give £150,000 more to complete the purchase. When it became a question into whose hands the property was to be conveyed, it appeared to the Government of the day that the Royal Commissioners, having had actually conveyed to them a portion of the property 1129 in the first instance, it would be better that the whole of the property should be conveyed to them, but the Government insisted upon a clear and distinct understanding as to the conditions which should give to the public the proper control over this estate. The understanding expressed in the Minute was afterwards converted into an obligation, which was accepted by the Royal Commissioners. The Government took a legal opinion as to the legality of that equitable claim, and as to the control which the Government would have over this property. That claim was recognised in the Bill introduced by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer relative to the site of the New National Gallery. The Vote of £10,000 was for the erection of an iron building in an outlying portion of the property, for the purpose of receiving the contents of the sheds and other buildings now at Marlborough House, and which it would be necessary to remove from there.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he wished to ask whether there had been any understanding not to build upon this land except by the assent of the Treasury? He should like to know whether a deed of trust had been executed?
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he thought that every one would admit the necessity of finding some place of reception for the contents of the temporary buildings which it would be necessary in a short time to remove from Marlborough House. The only doubt which he entertained upon the subject was, that he believed that these educational establishments, from the admirable manner in which they were working, would become permanent, and if so he thought that it was bad economy to put up these temporary buildings. As regarded the buildings in Marlborough House, the Committee had been told they were of that nature that they ought hardly to be permitted in the metropolis, and it was a question whether it was expedient to incur any expense in the removal of a quantity of wretched wooden sheds.
§ SIR JOSEPH PAXTON
said, his hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth (Mr. W. Williams) had stated that he thought it would be a hardship to take the students so far as Kensington, but when he (Sir J. Paxton) said that the students who received their instruction were brought from all parts of the country, it would appear that Kensington would be a far better place for them to reside in than anywhere else.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, he would like to hear whether this £10,000 was merely for removing the wretched buildings alluded to by the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), or whether it was for erecting a permanent building.
§ MR. WILSON
said, that the chief part of the sum was required for the purpose of erecting an iron building, connected with an iron building now existing, which had been voted last year, and the removal of the sheds at Marlborough House would take a very small portion of the amount.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) had, with a constancy and perseverance which all must admire, made the same statement which he had been in the habit of making on previous occasions. He had invariably stated, whenever these Votes had been brought before the Committee, that it was only an instance of the general practice of beginning by asking for a small sum, which would in the course of time lead to an expenditure never originally anticipated. Now, that was an erroneous view of his hon. Friend, notwithstanding the sedulousness with which he had read the Report of the Commissioners. At the commencement of these operations no small Vote was asked for. The Vote originally proposed was £150,000, the expenditure contemplated being £300,000, and the other moiety of that sum was to be supplied by the surplus shillings of the multitude who visited the Great Exhibition in 1851 in the hands of the Commissioners. That sum had been increased by a Vote of £25,000, for the purpose of purchasing a plot of ground which, from its particular position, it became absolutely necessary to possess in order to carry out the original idea; and, as a proof that the purchase was not an improvident one, the whole of the ground could now be sold at a great increase upon the sum which had been paid for it. His hon. Friend had also complained of the manner in which the property had been invested; but he maintained that it was necessary that the property should be vested in the Royal Commissioners. Now, that had not been done at the instance of the Commissioners, but at the instance of the Treasury, which had made it one of the conditions upon which that department would assist the Royal Commissioners, that the estate should be vested in them. Now, what had 1131 been the result? Why, on the very first; instance in which the Commissioners had been applied to—and that was with regard to the contemplated project of erecting a National Gallery upon that land—and when the question arose as to how the different interests might be defined, they had come forward at once, and said, "From the commencement we have only looked upon ourselves as trustees for the interest of the public; say what quantity of land you require, and we will at once exercise the authority we possess, and convey it to you without condition." The taunts, therefore, of his hon. Friend were not at all justified. His hon. Friend complained very much of the erection of buildings at Kensington Gore, and said the Commissioners were only empowered to purchase land, and not to build. But his hon. Friend must be quite aware of the circumstances of the case. The temporary building, for which £15,000 was voted, was not raised by or at the desire of the Royal Commissioners. At that moment collections of great value and interest were offered to the country on condition that they should be placed in Rome public gallery, collections which, to the shame of the country, the Government could not receive. The rare and valuable collection of Mr. Turner had been left to the country, on condition that within ten years some receptacle should be provided for it; five years of that period had elapsed, and yet it was not in the power of the Government to fulfil the condition on which alone it could accept the magnificent offering. Under those circumstances the Government determined to raise a temporary building, not of wood, not of decaying timber, but of iron and glass, according to the type originally erected by the genius of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir J. Paxton)—the Crystal Palace—the materials of which might be brought into use when the purpose for which it had been erected had been accomplished. But the Government had no site upon which to raise such a building, and they applied to the Royal Commissioners, who, after consideration, gave them that site. He would beg to remind his hon. Friend (Mr. Spooner) that it was the Government that went to the Commissioners, not the Commissioners to the Government. It was no device or scheme of the Commissioners that the country was indebted for a museum which would, he believed, afford the greatest instruction and delight to the people of this country when it was completed. The Commissioners 1132 came forward to assist the Government, and on account of the service so rendered by the Commissioners his hon. Friend felt bound, it appeared, to oppose the progress of this plan. He could not believe that the Committee would sympathise with his hon. Friend in his attempt to oppose this plan, any more than it had sympathised with him in his opposition to the creation of a gallery of British worthies. He believed they would look upon this project as an attempt to refine the taste of the community—a community which was distinguished for great energy and enterprise, and which ought not to be deficient in that refinement and culture so eminently necessary to a country depending, as England depended, upon its manufacturing skill. He was confident that the Committee would take a large view of the question, and look on this as one of the most successful of the efforts which had been made to meet the genius of the age in which we lived—having for its object to advance and refine the taste of the community—founded not upon an idea that it was necessary to establish museums of mere curiosities and works of art, but upon the conviction that it was of the first necessity to a country like England that it should cultivate the taste of its people, and bring to bear upon the productions of its manufacturing skill all the inspirations and refinements of art.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that the estate which had been purchased at Kensington Gore was so extremely valuable, and being so, he thought that the best thing they could do would be to sell it. Kensington Gore was too remote from the metropolis for the erection of a National Gallery. Perhaps, as a site for a training institution, the land in question might not be objectionable. He thought it was a strange scheme for the Government to get back, as it were, from the Royal Commissioners a portion of land which had been purchased by them. He wished to know what was intended to be done with Burlington House?
§ MR. WILSON
said, there was at present no plan under consideration for building upon the site of Burlington House, but the Government thought it desirable to turn Burlington House to some use, and an arrangement with that object had just been concluded. By that arrangement the Senate of the London University would occupy the right wing for the purpose 1133 of holding their ordinary examinations. The centre of the building would be occupied by the Royal Society, in connection with the Linnean Society and the Chemical Society, on condition that the Royal Society and the Chemical Society gave up the important premises they now-occupied in Somerset House, which would then be available for the increasing demands of the Inland Revenue Office. Those societies had also consented to unite their three magnificent libraries, and the one library thereby formed would be open to any of the public upon the introduction of one fellow of either society. The other wing would be converted into a large hall, which would be used by the London University for their annual examinations, and would also be at the service of the three societies during the season for holding their usual meetings. The Royal Society had consented to place their magnificent collection of portraits in that building, and to allow the public free admission to it. He therefore trusted that that arrangement would be satisfactory to the Committee.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he begged to express his approval of the Vote, as he considered that it would tend to bring the whole of the business of the department together, and in a situation more convenient than the present one.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, that, notwithstanding the observations that had been made in the course of the discussion, he would once more declare it as his conviction that they would yet see this sum of £150,000 grow to £1,000,000. It should be a warning to them how they commenced an undertaking before they had made up their minds what they were really going to do.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, he trusted that he might be allowed to remind the Committee that the site which they were now disposing of would have been very appropriate for the purposes of barracks. They would shortly be in want of ground for barracks in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, for Lord Portman was calling out for the surrender of the barracks in Portman Street, and he knew no position better adapted for the purpose than that now under consideration.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £24,700, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of constructing a Road through Saint James's
Park from Pall Mall to Buckingham Gate, and a Foot Bridge over the Ornamental Water, in the year ending the 31st day of March, 1857.
§ LORD ROBERT GROSVENOR
said, he desired to call attention to this Vote, as some important considerations were involved in it, and he thought he should not have much difficulty in showing the Committee that the proposition of the Vote was premature. It was his intention to move that the Vote be postponed for six months, with a view to the reconsideration of the subject of improvements in St. James's Park by a Select Committee of the House, before any expenditure was incurred for that purpose. He feared that if the Committee consented to give so large a sum for the purpose stated in the Vote, they would be not unlikely to add another to that long list of unfortunate failures which had resulted from the attempts to carry out what were called metropolitan improvements. Thousands of persons flocked to Paris from all parts of the world to see the magnificent embellishments which had recently been effected in that beautiful capital. He was aware that it was impossible, in consequence of English institutions, to emulate here what was done in the neighbouring country, but at the same time matters need not be managed so ill as they were at present. The people in this country were singularly unfortunate, for they did not know, on account of the number of Boards in the metropolis, who proposed the improvements, who were responsible for carrying them out, or who were to pay for them. Since he had had the honour of being connected with the representation of the metropolis, he had passed a good deal of his time in endeavouring to discover who were really responsible for the so-called metropolitan improvements. Last year it was thought they had devised an authority that would be a responsible body, hut it was found eventually that it was of no avail. The House had passed a Bill creating the Metropolitan Board of Works, and that Board had declared that they would not undertake those improvements at all, not believing that they had legal authority for the purpose. The country had got a magnificent palace in which the legislative business of the nation was transacted, but they all had the mortification of reflecting that some £400,000 or £500,000 had been spent, not in beautifying it, but positively in disfiguring it, by overloading it with useless ornaments. The present Vote, he 1135 presumed, was founded on the Report of the Committee appointed at the beginning of the Session, but nothing could be more discordant than the recommendations contained in that Report. The Committee agreed to Resolutions which totally contradicted each other. The only point on which the Committee divided and which they carried by rather a large majority, was a Resolution to the effect "that to any considerable increase of traffic in the Royal Parks there were grave objections," but afterwards the Committee resolved that the Duke of York's Column should be removed, and that a line of communication should be made from Waterloo Place to Storey's Gate; and, not satisfied with that, the Committee also proposed to make an opening into St. James's Park from Trafalgar Square by Spring Gardens. Charing Cross might be taken as the type of the struggle and bustle of a crowded city, and yet within a hundred yards of the spot you found yourself midst lowing herds and rural sights and sounds, which had existed there since the time of the Merry Monarch. All this would ruthlessly be swept away. Another Resolution was that on which the present Vote was founded. He thought that no one was better qualified than himself to speak with respect to the Parks, for he was born and bred within a few hundred yards of the place where he was now standing, had been for thirty-four years a Member of that House, and had probably traversed St. James's Park more frequently than any one he was addressing. He had paid a great deal of attention to sanitary matters connected with the metropolis, and he declared that nothing ever done to promote the health of the metropolis was comparable to the benefit derived from the parks now in existence, and of all those parks St. James's was, in his opinion, from its situation, the most valuable. He considered, therefore, that it would be desirable to interfere as little as possible with the parks; but if they stretched along an extended line of country the time must naturally arrive when the exigencies of the traffic would require that there should be some sacrifice made of the privacy of the parks. The two principles, however, which should guide the authorities when that time arrived, should clearly be, the interference with the smallest possible portion of the park, and the affording of the greatest amount of accommodation to the greatest number of people. The portions of the town which required now to be accommodated were those which 1136 lay to the north-west and south-west of the metropolis—all that part between Regent Street and Westbourne Terrace and Netting Hill on the one side, and the Thames and Belgravia on the other. Now, how was this to be effected? By a road through Pall Mall, with various turnings right and left, at acute angles, through the park. How could that answer the object? It would not secure the object, and it would entail great inconveniences and disadvantages. In his opinion, if there was to be a sacrifice of space, in the park, for the sake of an entrance and accommodation, let it be done well and handsomely. Go straight through St. James's Palace. Let that be the point of departure—from the bottom of St. James's Street. The consent of the Crown could be obtained to pass through the precincts of the palace. For that purpose, therefore, let the Vote be postponed. Then let the road go straight out to the other side of the park. ["Oh, oh!"] Let those who cried "Oh, oh !" point out any better mode of communication. He would take that opportunity of pleading, on behalf of those ladies who attended Her Majesty's Drawing Rooms, for better accommodation and a relief from inconveniences which were wholly unbefitting the place and the occasion, and to which they would not be exposed at a common theatre. Lord Ravensworth had well stated those inconveniences in a speech in the other House. He now came to the proposal with regard to the enclosure, and he would remind the Committee that the place where the gamins of London exercised their muscles and strengthened their limbs was not inside that enclosure, but in the Green Park, on the mall, and on the esplanade between the Duke of York's column and the entrance to the Treasury—those were the places where they played their games and "poked their fun." Therefore his proposal would in no way interfere with their amusement. With regard to the bridge across the ornamental water, he did not see that it would be any disfigurement to the park, and if it were deemed necessary, he saw no objection to it. The hon. Member for Coventry (Sir J. Paxton) could no doubt tell them of places where bridges were put up not because they were required, but in order to improve the view; many hon. Members must recollect the bridge at Blenheim which had been erected by Sir John Vanbrugh, no mean authority, evidently 1137 for the purpose of improving the scenic effect. The plan which he proposed would afford greater accommodation than any other to those portions of the metropolis which required better communication than what they now enjoyed, and, when closely examined, he believed it would not be found to be liable to the objections which had originally been urged against it. His object was, as he had previously stated, to have the subject re-investigated by a Select Committee, and to give an opportunity in the meantime for the Government to reconsider the matter, and he should conclude, therefore, by moving that this Vote be disallowed.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
said, he was very much surprised at the course which his noble Friend had taken. The point which was strongly urged upon the Government was the construction of a road from the north side of the park to Belgravia, and, in consequence of the constant demands made on the Government to that effect, a Select Committee was appointed to consider the best means of carrying out the desired object. Before that Committee several plans were laid. One was to make a road across the ornamental water, but that plan did not meet with the approbation of the Committee. Another plan was to make a road through Cleveland Row, taking down the north side of it, through Lord Sydney's House, and through the Green Park to the north angle of the Mall immediately in front of Buckingham Palace. The expense of that plan, owing to the great value of the property which it was proposed to take, was estimated at £163,000; and it was also rejected by the Committee. The Committee came to a Resolution condemnatory of any great increase of traffic in the park, and then came the question how a road could be made from Pall Mall to Belgravia, which would cut up the park to the least possible extent. The proposition embodied in that question was considered by the Committee, and it was carried by a majority of eight to four. The noble Lord himself was one of those who concurred in that vote. [Lord R. GROSVENOR: No, no !] At any rate, the noble Lord's name was down among those who voted in favour of the proposition, and he could not understand how the noble Lord could now express his dissent from it. He supported now that which he had rejected in Committee, and opposed that which he had voted for in Committee. The noble Lord 1138 said he would do anything rather than sacrifice the park; but that plan certainly involved no sacrifice of the park. It opened no new road, and it travelled upon a road which was already travelled upon. It would meet the wishes of the public, as expressed in that House; and it would afford a great amount of accommodation to the surrounding districts.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he wished to ask the Government how they reconciled the plan which was in prospect of fitting up Marlborough House for the Prince of Wales with the proposition now before the Committee to drive a road right through the courtyard of Marlborough House?
§ MR. TITE
said, that all that was wanted, in the first instance, by the public, was a communication between Belgravia and Pall Mall, through the Stable Yard; and he could not see why that could not be granted, while these plans were under discussion. If a road by Marlborough House were desired, all that was necessary was to take in a portion of the garden of St. James's Palace, forty feet wide, and 210 feet in length. If they did this they would have a road forty feet wide, removed seventy feet from Marlborough House, and the cost, instead of being £21,900, would only be about the odd £900. There would then be no necessity to pull down the German Chapel, which internally was one of the best specimens of architecture, as applied to a private chapel, in the kingdom. It was built by Inigo Jones, for Catharine of Braganza, the Queen of Charles II., and was associated with many historical recollections; there was no necessity for interfering with this chapel, in reference to which he had received letters from many distinguished architects, all deprecating the pulling it down. Let the entrance to Marlborough House be as it ought to be, from Pall Mall, and all the advantages he proposed would be obtained. Nothing could be more tasteless and ugly than the bridge which it was proposed to throw over the ornamental water, supported upon sixteen poles, and he thought it would be much better to act upon the suggestion made by Mr. Sydney Smirke, in a book published in the year 1834, and to substitute for it a suspension bridge of wire like that which was to be seen at Geneva, and in many cases on the Seine. His proposition was—"That the road from Pall Mall into St. James's Park be so placed that the necessity for pulling down and re-building 1139 the German Chapel be avoided, and that the £10,000 provided for doing so be omitted in the estimate." He believed that by the adoption of this suggestion they would be doing justice to the public and saving the country from a large and unnecessary expense.
§ SIR JOSEPH PAXTON
said, that the road past Marlborough House which had been recommended by the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Tite) would interfere with the holding of Drawing Rooms and Levees. It was not proposed that the German Chapel should be destroyed, but only that it should be removed. For his own part, he should not be sorry that the matter should stand over for a little while; and that an experiment should be made by opening to the public the existing road. He decidedly objected to the proposed foot-bridge across the ornamental water in St. James's Park. It would cut the lake into two, and materially interfere with the prospect. A much more desirable improvement would be the opening of fresh entrances to the park. There was at present no carriage entrance behind the Duke of York's column, and at two or three other places openings might be made with great advantage to the public. Moreover, the detestable, unsightly hurdles which now disfigured the park would be a disgrace to Donnybrook Fair, and the sooner they were removed the better.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, he could not avoid expressing his surprise that hon. Gentlemen who had served upon the Committee, and had taken part in its deliberations, should deem it their duty now to repudiate the conclusions at which it arrived. He wished to know, in the first place, what restrictions were to be put upon the admission to the park—whether carts and omnibuses were to be excluded—because that would make an alteration in the original proposals? It appeared to him, in the next place, that it would not be necessary to expend a large sum in pulling down the German Chapel, because by removing the two gates, as had been suggested, space enough, he considered, would be provided for all useful purposes. The House had decided not to take down the Duke of York's Column, and the President of the Board of Works had stated that the Government had no power to make a road there at all. He wished to know whether that question had been submitted to the Law Officers of the Crown, and, if so, what was their opinion upon it? 1140 That part of the plan which related to the footbridge across the ornamental water in the park was carried by the casting vote of the Chairman, and he did not believe it would be successful. Its construction was bad, and it would be a great detriment to the park. He could not, however, support the Motion for the rejection of the whole Vote, because he thought the recommendations of the Committee with one or two exceptions, should be carried into effect.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY
said, that as one of the minority in the Committee who voted against the plan now under consideration, he was anxious to state his objections to it. In the first place, it seemed to him that it combined great expense with the minimum of public accommodation. The best plan, in his opinion, was that which carried a road across the park. The question was not so much how to accommodate Belgravia as how to place the north of London in connection with Westminster and the south. For that purpose the road recommended by the Committee would be of no use whatever, while one carried straight across the park, with a bridge over the ornamental water, would meet every possible requirement. The noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord R. Grosvenor) had proposed a very good plan, and one which they might contemplate for the future. One main objection, indeed, to the scheme suggested by the Committee was, that it would prevent the possibility of the adoption of that plan or anything like it. Other objections were that it would afford no accommodation except to Westminster and Belgravia, and that it would very much interfere with the enjoyment of the park. Rather than adopt such a plan, he would infinitely prefer to see the Board of Works confining its attention to the improvement of the present entrances to the park. The opening of the gates between St. James' Palace and Marlborough House would afford a vast increase of accommodation to the public, and he was sure that Her Majesty would not object to any measure which promoted the comfort and convenience of her subjects, even though it might interfere, to some slight extent, with the absolute privacy of some portions of the Palace.
§ MR. MICHELL
said, he did not understand why the taxes paid by the people of this country generally should be applied to improvements in London, or what interest 1141 the lower classes had in the construction of a road from Belgravia to the north of the metropolis. The civil Estimates had, within the last fifteen years, been increased from £3,000,000 to £6,000,000, and if the people learnt that such improvements as these caused them to pay a double price for their sugar and their tea, he apprehended that they would begin to inquire what was the difference between President and Prince. Improvements of this description raised the value of property in London, but they conferred no benefit upon people in other districts of the country. He thought it most objectionable that the Chief Commissioner of Works should be the representative of a metropolitan constituency. That was the great evil. Last year a sum of £5,800 had been voted for establishing a communication between Pall Mall and the Green Park, but they had never heard in what manner the money had been applied. If such an opening were made the road might be carried along in front of the Palace, and that probably might meet the public convenience; but if a road, to be traversed by cabs and other vehicles, was to be established through the park, the safety of pedestrians, and especially of children who resorted to the park in great numbers for recreation, would be seriously endangered. Under these circumstances, therefore, he should feel it his duty to oppose the Vote.
§ LORD ROBERT GROSVENOR
said, he wished to explain how it happened that he had voted in favour of the proposition of the Government. He was unable to attend the Select Committee on the first day of its sitting, and on that day the Committee determined that they would not entertain the plan for crossing the enclosure. He could not, therefore, vote in favour of that plan after the Committee had decided upon it, and he gave his vote for the present plan because he thought it preferable to any of the others which were proposed. He hoped the decision of the Committee upon this question might be deferred, in order to afford an opportunity for the expression of public opinion on the subject.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 192: Majority 122.
§ The next Vote (6.) £2,570, for the formation of a new road through Holyrood Park to Duddingstone, was agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding £6,184, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay, in the year ending the 31st day of March, 1857, compensation to Mr.
Patrick Boyle, on the surrender of his Patent Office of Clerk of Justiciary in Scotland.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
, in reply to a question from Mr. W. WILLIAMS, explained that the office of the Principal Clerk of Justiciary was a patent office, which at the death of the present holder, Mr. Boyle, would be abolished. Under the provisions of the 2 & 3 Vict. c. 36, Mr. Boyle's rights had been purchased, among which was the power of appointing his deputies, who really did the work of the office, and whose selection would henceforth be vested in the Crown.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he wished to know what was the annual value of Mr. Boyle's situation? Without knowing that it would be impossible for the Committee to judge whether the amount of his compensation was reasonable.
§ MR. WILSON
replied, that before the money was paid, he would take care that all the papers relating to the office should be laid before the House. This was the last patent office in that Court, and by its abolition the officer in question was greatly injured.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, Mr. Boyle, the officer in question, had the power of appointing deputies, one of whom was of very advanced age, and therefore it was desirable that the arrangement to abolish fees should be made before a vacancy occurred. He (the Lord Advocate) had not a statement of the fees received by the officer; but the compensation had been estimated by an actuary.
§ MR. VANSITTART
said, he did not see how this could have been an unforeseen contingency, if it had been under consideration since 1853.
§ MR. PEACOCKE
said, he believed a Motion to postpone the Vote could not be put. He would, therefore, move, that the Chairman report progress, unless the Government withdrew the Vote for the present.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question, by leave, withdrawn. House resumed.