HC Deb 12 June 1857 vol 145 cc1673-89

SIR FRANCIS BARING rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the House to the expenditure in St. James's Park. He did not intend on this occasion to discuss the propriety of any Vote contained in the Estimates. Such a course, indeed, would be irregular; it would have been his duty to do this, if at all, when they were proposed in Committee. His object was to bring before the House a question which appeared to him of more importance than the actual money spent; he meant that relating to the privileges of the House, and the course pursued by the Government. About a month ago, finding that some expenditure was going on in the parks not depending on any Vote of Parliament, he moved for certain papers on the subject. He did not at all complain of their not being forthcoming before, but they had only been presented within a few days, and he was forced to bring the matter before the House now, because the Vote itself would be considered early in Committee to-night. With regard to the facts of the case, he apprehended there would be no great difficulty. Everybody knew that certain works had been going on in St. James's Park; that the lake, as it was called, had been cleaned out, that the bed had been cemented, and that considerable expense had been incurred, which must be paid. There was no doubt of this; and it was equally undoubted that no money had been voted by Parliament on account of these works. Here he might refer to the Estimates, not with a view to discuss whether the expenditure was proper or not, but merely to show the amount demanded. The Estimates, then, stated that about £11,000 had been expended, and the House would by-and-bye be asked to vote that money on account of it. Now, he apprehended that there never was a clearer case of expenditure incurred without the sanction of Parliament, and he thought this was not a question of trifling importance, to be dealt in Committee as a mere Estimate open to criticism and objection. He did not intend to discuss whether the expenditure was a proper or an improper one—whether too much or too little had been spent. That was quite foreign to the more important point involved, which was this:—Admitting that Parliament ought to have voted the money, and that not a sixpence had been unnecessarily expended, how came it that public money had been expended at all without the sanction of Parliament? Every schoolboy knew how important a privilege it was, and not only a privilege but a duty, for Parliament to preserve intact this check upon the public expenditure. Perhaps, however, as this was a new Parliament, he might show from his own recollection how other Houses of Commons had dealt with cases of this kind. In 1841, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, the First Lord of the Admiralty, in consequence of the disturbances in Syria, thought it necessary for the public service to exceed his Estimates, and incur certain expenses which had not been brought before the House of Commons. The subject came before the House. No one expressed a doubt as to the propriety of the increased expenditure; everybody seemed to admit that the Government had exercised a wise discretion under the circumstances in taking further precautions than were thought necessary when the Estimates were voted. But still the course taken was objected to; and the Government were called upon not only to explain, but to give satisfaction for having exceeded the Estimates. Upon that occasion, Ministers admitted that extreme necessity, and the fact that Parliament was not sitting at the time, formed their only justification; but such was the view entertained that a Bill of indemnity being suggested, be himself brought in a separate Appropriation Act with the view of marking that the transaction was an irregular one, not lightly to be passed over. The predecessor of the present Speaker thought that objections existed to the passing of such a Bill, and it was accordingly withdrawn; but in the Appropriation Act the Session a special clause was introduced which stated the necessity, and granted the money only on that ground. Again, it happened that in Lord Auckland's time the Estimates upon the item of the dockyard battalion had been exceeded. The justification then was, that at that moment there were reasons why additional measures should be taken for the protection of the country. Parliament, however, was so far from admitting such an excuse that Mr. Hume moved a Resolution, which was pretty nearly equivalent to a vote of censure, declaring it to be the duty of the Government not to exceed the Estimates, and this Resolution was agreed to without a dissentient voice. That instance was a still more remarkable one than the one he had first mentioned, for the Treasury had given the Admiralty a very strong "jobation" for what it had done. The House would see that these were cases of a much lighter character than that upon which he was remarking, because there Parliament had admitted the principle of the expenditure, and had actually voted a certain sum; and it was always considered that a mere excess of expenditure upon a sum granted was a more venial irregularity than to spend money upon a work which Parliament had never sanctioned, as in the present instance. On looking at the last Report of the Audit Office which had been presented, he found that the Auditors referred to a correspondence with the Treasury, in which they pointed out that in twenty-five instances works had been undertaken and paid for by the Board of Works before the sanction of Parliament had been obtained and that that sanction had not been obtained, until after the completion of the works. Some of those works were trifling in amount, but there was an item of £1,000 for wood pavement, and another of £1,600 for the great clock. He perceived that his right hon. Friend stated in explanation that all these were cases of emergency, and that he could not wait for a Vote of Parliament. He (Sir F. Baring) did not know whether that great clock was connected with the great bell which was to carry down his right hon. Friend's name to posterity, but he did not exactly see any emergency in the case which rendered it impossible to wait for a Vote of Parliament. As he had said, these sums were small in amount, but bad practices were always introduced by small irregularities at first, and when the House found that two years ago there were twenty five small peccadilloes, and that now we had arrived at about £11,000 so expended, it was time for Parliament just to show that it had not forgotten that which he apprehended to be one of its principal duties, namely, the control of the public expenditure. Hon. Gentlemen who had read the evidence before the Public Monies Committee would observe that a very strong impression prevailed that the principal check which there ought to be on the public expenditure should consist in the audit. That might be a right or a wrong view—he would not stop to discuss it; but if it were right, and if all other checks were insufficient, he begged his right hon. Friend to look for a moment to the return which had been presented last year upon the state of the accounts in the Audit Department. He found from that return that the accounts of the "Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods, Forests, Lands, Revenues, Works, and Buildings," had been received up to 1851, and that they had been audited up to 1848; so that the audit of that department was nearly nine years in arrear. In 1851, a double audit took place, one called the audit of the expenditure, and the other, the appropriation audit; and to this latter, which was brought forward from year to year, great value was very properly attached. The Reports of the Auditors were full of complaints of the way in which the accounts were brought before them, and the auditors stated that they were not able to present them to Parliament in a satisfactory manner, owing to the way in which the balances of one year were carried on to the succeeding year. Under these circumstance, he (Sir F. Baring) thought that, instead of waiting for another year or two to find out how the money had been expended in St. James's Park, it would be better to bring the subject before the House at once, in order to obtain some explanation from his right hon. Friend. Whether that explanation should be verbally satisfactory or not, he thought that the House should not agree to a Vote including the money already spent without having the whole of the papers before them, and he should be glad if his right hon. Friend would give a pledge not to proceed with the Vote until the full papers were presented to Parliament. He did not wish to interfere with the business of the House, and he should not follow up the subject, therefore, with any Resolution.


said, that his right hon. Friend who had just sat down had moved upon the 20th of May for papers in relation to the works which had been proceeded with in St. James's Park; that on the 5th of the present month those papers had been presented to Parliament, that they were now being printed, and that they would very shortly be laid before the House in a printed form. He concurred most fully in all that his right hon. Friend had said as to its being the duty of Parliament to watch with jealous care any expenditure of public money which had not been sanctioned by a Vote of the Legislature; and he thought that whoever called upon the Treasury for any expenditure of public money which had not been so sanctioned ought to hold himself responsible for his conduct, and ought to be prepared to give a good and sufficient explanation to the House of Commons with respect to it. He proposed, therefore, to state to the House every circumstance in connection with the expenditure upon the lake in St. James's Park. At the end of July, 1855, he was appointed to his present office, having previously held the appointment of President of the Board of Health. He was at the Board of Health during the time that the cholera was raging in the Metropolis, and he was then brought into frequent contact with the principal medical practitioners in London; and almost every one of them to whom he had spoken had pointed out the defective state of the lakes in the parks, and had urged the necessity of having them put into a proper condition. On the 12th of October he wrote to the Treasury, stating that fact, and recommending the propriety of some steps being taken in order to improve the state of the lakes in the parks of the Metropolis. He stated also that before any works of that kind could be carried out, it would be necessary to make an outfall drain from the lake in St. James's Park, because it happened, owing to circumstances which had occurred many years ago, that the outfall was about five feet higher than the bed of the lake. He received the sanction of the Treasury to the making of that outfall drain, and hon. Members must be aware that it was a very heavy work. It went from the Victoria sewer near the Thames under the archway of the Horse Guards, and it was finished during last summer. The House would recollect that last Session a Select Committee was appointed to consider the communication from Pall Mall to Pimlico, and other communications through St. James's Park, and one of the resolutions arrived at was that there should be a footbridge made across the ornamental water. On the 6th of June he proposed to the House a Vote of £2,800 for the erection of such a bridge, but his proposition was rejected. The bridge was to have been very similar to the one which was now being erected there, only instead of being a suspension bridge it was to have been supported by light cast-iron pillars, and it would have been much cheaper than the present bridge, and it would not have been necessary in order to build it that the water should have been let out of the lake. That Vote was rejected, however, and the House determined that there should be a suspension bridge. That was resolved upon towards the close of last Session, Parliament breaking up in the third week in July. He then found that it was essential that deep foundations should be executed for the new bridge, that it would be absolutely necessary to let the water out of the lake, and that it must be out for a considerable time during the progress of the works. Taking that into consideration, knowing also the desirability of cleansing the lake, and that about 40,000 or 50,000 cubic yards of stuff would be required to fill up the holes and inequalities in the lake in order to render it safer for skaters and sliders; and finding, moreover, owing to the many buildings which were going on in the neighbourhood, that he could obtain that material for nothing, whereas in another year it might cost him 2s. or 2s. 6d. a yard (which would make a difference of £4,000 or £5,000 in the cost of the works), he had thought it better to urge upon the Treasury the necessity of proceeding with the works at once, instead of waiting for another year, when the cost of the material to which he had alluded might have added nearly fifty per cent to the original estimate. Under these circumstances, he thought the House would be of opinion that he was justified in urging on the Treasury the expediency of commencing a work which he believed to be necessary for the comfort and well-being of the inhabitants of the Metropolis. He wrote to the Treasury requesting power to proceed with the work, and on the 27th of August received their sanction. It had been his intention to ask for a Vote this year for the purpose of beginning the work, but under the circumstances he had stated he thought no time was to be lost, because it was impossible to say whether he might not be obliged, if he delayed, to ask for a very much larger sum. He therefore thought it best, as it was necessary to let out the water of the lake, to proceed with the work. That was the full explanation he had to give. He was ready to admit that neither he nor any one connected with a public department ought to spend the public money without the sanction of Parliament, yet circumstances might arise making it absolutely necessary and expedient that money should be spent without waiting for that sanction. His right hon. Friend had said that it was the practice for the Office of Works to spend sums of public money without a Vote of the House; and, having done so and executed the works, that then the First Commissioner came down to Parliament, and asked that money might be voted for the purpose of paying the expense of the works carried on by his authority under the sanction of the Treasury. He could assure his right hon. Friend that, whatever might have been the practice in former years, such was not the practice at present. In looking through the Estimates for the present year be found very few cases, and those of a very pressing nature, of works for which charges were made without the authority of Parliament. His right hon. Friend had called attention to two sums especially, one of which was on account of the construction of the clock, which he would allude to at once. He found that there was an agreement made with Mr. Dent, the maker of the clock, to the effect that as soon as the gentlemen to whom the matter was referred gave a certificate that the clock was in a proper state and went well and ought to be purchased, a sum should be paid on account. He therefore was bound, as soon as he was called on by Mr. Dent, to ask the referees whether they would give a certificate, and on receiving it he was also bound to write to the Treasury asking for the amount which he thought Mr. Dent fairly entitled to under the circumstances. Another item was occasioned by the distribution of the Crimean medals. That was a matter which could not be foreseen, and £1,600 were paid on account of it. There was a charge for ventilation, but that matter, he believed, was determined by a Committee of that House before he was in the office he now held. His right hon. Friend had called the attention of the House to the state of the accounts of the office. He was not aware that that question would have been brought forward, otherwise he would have been better prepared to give explanation respecting it. He was bound to say that, from circumstances over which he had no control, he found, when he first went to the Office of Works, the accounts in a most unsatisfactory state. This was owing to circumstances which the House would admit rendered it to some extent excusable. He found that the gentleman who was the principal secretary in the office had not, in consequence of severe illness, attended the office for eleven months, and the assistant-secretary very shortly after he (Sir B. Hall) entered the office was seized with a malady which affected his head. This gentleman in consequence left the office very soon, and was now in a very unfortunate state. Other matters connected with the office, which it was not necessary for him now to enter upon, also contributed to occasion the bad state of the accounts; he might state that no less than four hundred and forty-four queries had been sent from the Audit Office to be answered by the Office of Works, and of them he believed there were not thirty in allusion to the accounts passed during the time he had the honour to fill his present office. All those four hundred and forty-four queries had been answered during the time he had been in the office to the satisfaction of the Audit Office, and he believed that the accounts of the office were now in a most satisfactory state. He had only to repeat, with respect to the expenditure on St. James's Park, a large sum of money would hereafter be saved in consequence of the course which had been adopted.


did not wish at any time to obstruct any Vote that might be required for the service of the country; but the House had a right to object to wasteful expenditure and he thought, when they compared the Votes they would be asked to agree to that night with those to which they had assented on a former night, it would be clear that while there was, on the part of the Government, a disinclination to bring forward Votes for sums necessary for the defence of the country, they were quite ready to propose Votes for works which were quite dispensable on the score of utility. On a recent occasion they were told by the First Lord of the Admiralty, that although it was impossible to coal Her Majesty's ships in Plymouth Sound on an emergency, yet that the Government did not propose to take a Vote for remedying this defect during the present year; and, on a subsequent night, they voted the magnificent sum of £13,000 for the defence of the mercantile ports of Great Britain. They might have just as well voted 13,000 pence; and this was the time when the Government had expended £11,000 for the alteration of fish-ponds, and the placing of flower-pots. This showed that it was requisite that there should be some general head to decide what money Parliament should be asked for, and to secure its appropriation to the legitimate wants and proper defence of the country, and not to the trifling objects to which it was now diverted. It was all very well for the right hon. Baronet opposite to obtain Votes for the purpose of adorning the metropolis, and gratifying his constituents.


said, it was his duty to remind the hon. Member that the specific details of the Votes would be better discussed in Committee. The right hon. Baronet had confined himself to a question, which he considered was superior to details, and that was whether certain sums should be expended without the authority of Parliament. That was practically the point to which the attention of the House was directed.


said, nothing was further from his intention than to violate the rules of the House, and he was sorry that he should have conveyed to the House the idea that he was discussing details, for he had wished to confine himself to principles. He was contending that our existing financial system was defective, inasmuch as it did not provide for any effective supervision of the Votes of that House, and of the public expenditure. It might be quite right to beautify the metropolis, but this should be done by a local rate, not by the public purse. What would be said if it were proposed to vote a sum of money to beautify a distant place? How many thousands of those who would have to contribute to this Vote would never visit the metropolis, and would never enjoy what they were obliged to pay for? He wished to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, while there was an increase of £24,000 in the sum voted for parks, pleasure gardens, &c., there was a decrease of £100,000 in that voted for harbours of refuge. To that he objected. He would have money expended upon national objects, and not upon those the enjoyment of which was confined to the people of London.


understood that the steps taken by Sir B. Hall, in St. James's Park, were for the sake of saving a larger expenditure which would have been necessary had delay taken place. If that were so, it would be a justification; but he thought that the right hon. Gentleman should give full information upon this point before he asked them to agree to the Vote. His advice to the House was, to give confidence to the right hon. Baronet, but to watch him well.

MR. BERESFORD HOPE rose to protest against the principle which had been laid down by the hon. Member for West Norfolk, that the decoration of the metropolis, which was the seat of Government, was not a legitimate expense to the country generally. The parks of London contributed not only to the health and happiness of the millions who resided in London; but they also contributed to the pleasures of all those who from time to time visited London from every part of the country. Again, if the principle were admitted that no money could be expended on any work which it could not be proved would be enjoyed by every taxpayer, society would soon be reduced to a state of disorganization and barbarism. According to the views enunciated by the hon. Member, no taxation was to be thrown upon the country for any purpose from which all the community did not benefit. Now, the hon. Gentleman had referred to harbours of refuge. He did not wish to interfere with the construction of harbours of refuge; but, taking the hon. Gentleman upon his own hypothesis, he would beg to ask him what advantage harbours of refuge were to the inhabitants of the midland counties? On what ground, too, could the Votes for the Professors at the Universities be supported? Such a view appeared to him to be an absurdity. The proper principle was the principle of counterpoise—to agree to grants which benefited one place, and then to grants which benefited another. If that principle were not carried into effect, and if improvements like the one under consideration were refused, England would be regarded by the other Powers of Europe as a nation which, with greater means at her command, had disgraced herself by showing herself more niggardly than any other people in the world.


said that, as far as he had gathered from what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet, he understood that the works in St. James's Park had been undertaken in consequence of a representation which had been made to him in the autumn of 1855 by certain medical gentlemen. Now, if that were the case, he was astonished that the right hon. Gentleman had not during the last Session informed the House of his intentions. The course he had adopted created grave alarm for the future, for as far as he could make out, the complaints of those medical gentlemen applied not only to the water in St. James's Park, but to that in the Serpentine also. It was no new thing, however, for a President of the Board of Works to have similar statements addressed to him. When he had the honour of holding that office a very important medical deputation had waited upon him upon the same subject. He had then looked into the matter, and found that the opinions upon the subject were very often very various. As regarded the opinion which had been expressed to the right hon. Baronet by the medical gentlemen to whom he had referred, there could be no doubt that it applied to the water in the Serpentine as well as to that in St. James's Park, and, for his own part, he was alarmed lest, when Parliament was prorogued, a pressing deputation might persuade the right hon. Baronet to take up the question of the Serpentine, and, without any control of Parliament, to make urgent representations to the Treasury to induce them to enter upon expensive works. He trusted that the present discussion would not terminate without some assurance on the part of the Government that any such request would not be complied with until Parliament should have some opportunity of expressing an opinion upon the subject.


begged to assure the House that he had not intended to convey the impression that he would make any application to the Treasury for grants for Public Works without the sanction of Parliament.


complained that the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had not intimated it to be his intention to comply with the request of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth to abstain from proceeding with the Vote until the House had the entire of the papers connected with the subject before it. The question under their notice was one of considerable importance. It involved the question of whether that House was to exercise any control over the expenditure of the public money. For his own part, he had always thought that it exercised very little. Indeed, he might say that he regarded the control of the House of Commons over the public expenditure as something very much in the nature of moonshine. The Secretary for the Treasury might, in fact, do as he pleased with the Civil Service Estimates. The public had no security that these estimates were subjected to audit, and there was at that moment no means of knowing whether money which had been granted by the House of Commons last year had or not been spent. If a gentleman connected with the Treasury could now spend £14,000 at his pleasure, what security was there that next year he might not lay out £40,000 of his own mere motion? As to the expenditure of £3,721 for the sewer, he would wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman (Sir B. Hall) whether the House had not voted £8,000 for that same sewer last year, and if so, why there had not been a proper estimate of the expenditure laid before the House? If the amount had been expended under a Treasury letter, would the right hon. Gentleman explain to him what the meaning of a Treasury letter was? He now came to the expenditure of £11,000 for sending the ducks and drakes out of the lake, and cleaning the bottom of it. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that although Parliament had been sitting in July, and though the House of Commons had rejected by a very large majority the proposed Vote of £24,000 for making a connection from side to side of the Park, thereby intimating their determination not to sanction any vast expenditure on the Park, the Treasury, so soon after as the 27th of August, 1856—a few days after Parliament was prorogued—issued a letter authorising the expenditure now the subject of discussion? Was it by a Treasury letter of the 27th of August, 1856, or by one of the 14th of April, 1857, that this was accomplished? Or, it might be, that the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works had spent the money without any authority whatsoever. If so, he would ask hon. Members whether they were prepared to sanction such expenditure. If they were, then were the discussions in that House on matters of finance useless; but he trusted they would not lend to it their sanction, and that a Resolution would be carried declaring the laying out in that manner of the public money to be a violation of the privileges of the House of Commons.


said, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring) had, in introducing to their notice the subject under discussion, very courteously addressed himself to hon. Members sitting in that part of the House (the benches below the gangway on the Ministerial side) from which he (Mr. Ayrton) had the honour to speak. The right hon. Baronet had done so, probably, under the impression that those hon. Members took considerable interest in the question of the public expenditure, and because they embraced within their number all the metropolitan representatives, with, perhaps, the exception of the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works. He felt bound to tender his thanks to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth for the manner in which he had introduced the subject, but he must say that when the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works rose to give his explanation he had spoken in so low a tone that neither he (Mr. Ayrton) nor his hon. Friends near him had heard a single word of his speech. It was not improbable that the right hon. Baronet was of opinion that they ought to know nothing about it, because he had addressed himself altogether to the opposite side of the House, and judging from what had taken place, his explanation did not seem to be much appreciated in that quarter. The inhabitants of Marylebone would, no doubt, know the next day what the right hon. Baronet had really said; but he could not sit down without the expression of a hope that when the right hon. Baronet happened to rise in that House on a future occasion to offer an explanation upon a matter so important as that under discussion, he would at all events speak in a tone which would make his statement intelligible to the House. For his own part, he could only say that he would not accept for the metropolis the expenditure within it of the public money if to do so would be to act in violation of a great principle, as some hon. Gentlemen had suggested.


said, he thought that the House was greatly indebted to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth, who had brought forward this matter, as the case of St. James's Park was not the only instance in which the public money had been expended without the previous sanction of Parliament. Several thousands of pounds had last year been expended upon fireworks at the peace rejoicings, for the laying out of which the House of Commons had been unable to ascertain what department of Government was responsible. All Estimates in connexion with the matter had been refused, and they had been told that it would be defrayed out of the sum set apart to make provision for civil contingencies. Be that as it might, however, the House of Commons was to this day not in a position to ascertain whether a sum of £8,000 or £15,000 had been expended. He had only to add, that he could not subscribe to the doctrine which had been propounded by the hon. Member for Maidstone, to the effect that any sum of money which might be laid out in the decoration of the metropolis was necessarily well employed. Every one, of course, must be desirous of seeing the metropolis beautified, but he must confess he did not think that such works as those which were being carrried on in St. James's Park were, in point of utility, to be compared with such great national works as had been alluded to by the hon. Member for Norfolk—namely, harbours of refuge, by which life and valuable property might be saved.


said, it would be in the recollection of those hon. Gentlemen who were Members of the House at the time, that when the subject of the fireworks had been under their consideration last year, a question had been put to him with respect to the fund from which the sum proposed to be expended was to be defrayed. His answer to that question had been, that it was proposed to defray them out of the sum set apart for civil contingencies, which was not prepared by Estimate, but which was simply a sum placed at the disposal of the Government to meet the occasional requirements of the public service. In answer to the observations of the hon. Member for Evesham (Sir H. Willoughby), he might state that the Vote for the works in connexion with the lake in St. James's Park would not be brought on that evening. The total amount of the first Vote would be diminished by that amount.


said, that the explanation which had been given to the House by the right hon. Baronet the First Commissioner of Works was not a satisfactory answer to the charge that the Government had, without sufficient cause, and without the sanction of Parliament, expended a large amount of the public money. The right hon. Gentleman the chancellor of the Exchequer intimated that the expenditure for the fireworks last year had been defrayed out of the sum set apart for civil contingencies; but that statement, he apprehended, applied to the fireworks in St. James's and Hyde Parks alone, and not to those which had taken place at Woolwich, the cost of which would have to be defrayed out of the Votes for the Ordnance and military departments. The explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman certainly did not afford much guarantee that in future a very strict hand would be held over the amount of public expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman the Commissioner of Public Works had told them that, in consequence of the Vote of the House respecting the suspension bridge in St. James's Park, towards the close of the Session of last year, he found it necessary, in the month of August—one month after the prorogation of Parliament—to apply to the Treasury for authority to do certain other things in the park. Certainly that was rather quick after the close of the Session. But that was not all. The House had rejected the plan of the right hon. Baronet, the First Commissioner of Works, to erect a bridge upon iron standards, because, in consequence of the way in which those standards were sunk in the water, the effect of the construction of a bridge upon them would be to spoil the appearance of the lake, by cutting it up, as it were, into two small fish-ponds. So far, however, as he could form an opinion, the works now in progress were, by an ingenious contrivance, calculated to have precisely the same effect, for the present bridge hung down in such a way that it in reality seemed very little higher than if it were placed upon posts, as had originally been intended. If he were correct in that opinion, the result would be that the right hon. Baronet would have the satisfaction of carrying out—so far as appearance, at all events, was concerned—his first design, although in a different mode from that which he had proposed. The fact was, the right hon. Baronet had become so strongly inoculated, while at the Board of Health, with sanitary views, that one's pockets were in considerable danger under his administration. He was, therefore, very glad that the right hon. Baronet had not remained a longer time at the head of that department; for if so, he would, in all probability, be found more dangerous still than he was at present, and he cordially hoped that the successors of the right hon. Baronet in the office which he now held would not get the same training which he had received. He quite concurred with his hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck), as to the injustice of taxing the country at large for an expenditure incurred in the metropolis. If London required beautifying, then let Londoners do the work. But, while he entertained that opinion, he must admit that he did not regard the works in question as coming within that principle, inasmuch as the parks were the estate of the Crown, and therefore stood upon a different footing from other descriptions of property.

Motion agreed to.