HC Deb 13 July 1857 vol 146 cc1421-2

Order for Committee read.

Clause 1.


said, that the Bill empowered Government to purchase certain properties required for the extension of the Public Offices.

Clause 1 to 39 were agreed to.

On Clause 40,


said, he hoped that the right hon. Baronet would give the House some approximate notion as to the amount of money that would be required. With wars in Persia and China on out hands, he thought the House should know the amount of the demand that was likely to be made on it.


said, that the Government were only proposing to carry out a portion of the recommendations of the Select Committee of last Session on public offices. The amount which the Government intended to ask to enable them to purchase the site of the new offices was £270,000; but the present Bill contained no money clauses, but only such as were requisite to empower the Public Works Commissioners to purchase the land. Should the House of Commons grant the money for that purpose, and the third reading of the Bill should not be taken until after the vote for money which would appear in Class No. 7 of the Civil Service Estimates,

The remaining Clauses were agreed to, and the Bill passed through Committee.

On the Bill being reported, without Amendments,


said, he would give the right hon. Baronet notice that, although this Bill had gone through Committee at a railroad pace, the country would never sanction the enormous scheme of building which it contemplated. Bricks and mortar too often led to bread and water, and he for one would rather see great men in little offices than little men in great offices. He warned the House that unless they kept a sharp eye on this matter of the public offices the country would be involved in an expenditure of £5,000,000 before they knew where they were. The present Parliament were supposed to be more jealous custodians of the public parse than the last, and he certainly should oppose any such extravagant plan as he believed to be in contemplation.


said, that if the House did not agree to the Vote, the Bill would fall to the ground. The Government had no large scheme of building in contemplation; they merely intended to build a new Foreign Office, a new Colonial Office, and a new War Department. Any one who saw the Foriegn Office must admit that a new building was necessary; and with respect to the War Department, its business was now carried on in various buildings, and to remove it to one edifice was a measure not only of metropolitan improvement but of administrative.


observed, that he thought that the best thing Government could do under this Bill would be to adopt the plan he had suggested.


said, he did not think they had done their duty to their constituents by passing such a Bill through Committee at such an hour of the night.

Bill to be read 3o on Friday.