HC Deb 29 June 1857 vol 146 cc564-601

House in Committee. Mr. FITZROY in the Chair. (1.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £48,855, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expenses of the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connection with the Department, and the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., to the 31st day of March 1858.


said, he wished to express his satisfaction at the separation of the Department of Science and Art from the control of the Board of Trade, which was not qualified to superintend it, and at its being placed under the Education Board. He did not see why the British Museum Estimates should not likewise be brought under the head of the Department of Science and Art, and he also thought that a statement should every year be submitted to the House, of all the acquisitions made in every branch of that excellent establishment. Among the items of expense, he observed one for the circulation of casts and examples of art to local museums. Some good, no doubt, was effected by that course of proceeding, but he thought it would be better to construct permanent galleries, in which those specimens of art might be constantly viewed by the people. He observed with satisfaction that a plan of circulating books to provincial schools of art, recommended by a Committee twenty years ago, had been adopted. There were certain books which the Government alone could publish, and it was wise to give the people the means of studying them. He trusted to see the jurisdiction of the Board of Education extended, and other departments connected with science and art brought under its control.


said, he did not mean to object to the support given to scientific institutions, but to point out the small amount of the sum awarded for this purpose to Scotland, compared with the amounts appropriated to England and Ireland. The Vote for England was £52,450, for Ireland £8,627, and for Scotland £7,510. In addition to this, the education Vote for England was £541,233, and for Ireland £213,000, whilst that for Scotland had not averaged £10,000 a year for the last twenty-two years; and, yet if the Scotch Members asked for one or two thousands for any scientific purpose in Scotland, there would be an immediate outcry that it was a Scotch job. He did not think Scotland, as compared with other parts of the United Kingdom, had fair play.


said, that he would be willing to remedy the inequality of which the hon. Member complained, not by increasing the grant to Scotland, but by reducing that for England and Ireland. It appeared from the Estimates, that all the schools of design in the empire were so mixed up with the department at Kensington, that it was impossible to separate the items. They might be very useful, but they seemed to be very expensive, and the same remark he applied to the department at Kensington. It would seem that seventy five schools cost £277,500, or an average of £375 each, whilst the expenditure at Kensington was £15,000. Against the item of £6,198 for the Geological Museum in Jermyn-street, he had not a word to say, for he believed the museum was advantageous to the country. The next item was £5,172 for the geological survey in Great Britain and Ireland. Now, the other night the House decided, in the case of the Ordnance survey for Scotland, that the parties wanting the survey should pay for it; and if that rule were just, it ought to be acted upon in England and Ireland as well as in Scotland. The sum proposed to be voted for the Industrial Museum and Natural History Museum in Scotland was £1,888, The Natural History Museum was visited by 90,000 persons last year, to whom it was a source of amusement and instruction. The next items referred to the Royal Dublin Society, including Botanical and Zoological Gardens, the Museum of Irish Industry, and the Irish Normal Lace School, and for them about £11,000 were demanded, though last year the number of persons visiting the museum and exhibitions of the Royal Dublin Society was only 11,000. He thought the total Vote excessively high, and he should have no objection to see it struck out of the Estimates altogether, as the tendency of all these Government grants was, that the public money was jobbed without art being promoted. It was easy to get up and make a speech in favour of encouraging science and art, but he should like to know how far these schools had been successful in so doing, for he was not aware that any great engineer or painter had ever been created by Government grants of money.


said, he should be happy to give an explanation of the Vote to the Committee which would, he trusted, convince them that it was a desirable one to be continued. The hon. Member who last spoke said that the Votes for the schools of science and art were mixed up with that for the establishment at South Kensington. The reason was, that the establishment at South Kensington had in purpose and in action a close connection with local schools. He would state shortly the exact manner in which this Vote of money, amounting, in the whole, to £73,855, would be expended. There were in the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland, sixty-five schools of art. In 1856 those schools were attended by 12,337 students. At South Kensington there was a normal training school in which persons received instruction for the purpose of enabling them to become masters in schools of art, or to teach drawing in the elementary and parochial schools. In that establishment 106 teachers and 405 students had been trained, and of those students twenty-one had received appointments as masters. It was required that each local school of art should have in connection with it at least five parochial or other elementary schools in which drawing should be taught. At present elementary instruction of this description was received by 22,746 children of the working classes, and the benefits of this expenditure were therefore very widely diffused. The schools were, for the most part, self-supporting; they were established locally, and not by the Government, in towns where the inhabitants were desirous that art instruction should be afforded to the labouring classes; they were managed by local committees, and aid was only given in proportion to their efficiency and the success of their pupils in obtaining prizes by public competition. An hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Blackburn) had asked of what use these schools of art were, and had observed that no expenditure of public money had ever produced an artist. In reply to that observation he (Mr. Cowper) begged to say that this grant was not applied to education in the higher branches of art, but to elementary instruction in ornamental art. It was to lead the working classes to appreciate symmetry of form and harmony of colour, and to acquire some facility of drawing and modelling. It was to impart to workmen skill and good taste, and a knowledge of science and art in their application to productive industry. The hon. Gentleman was very probably aware that this Vote was mainly a consequence of the experience the country had gained during the Exhibition of 1851. Previously to that period, as was well known to those who had inquired into the matter, the workmen of Great Britain, whatever might be their skill, their industry, and their powers of labour, were greatly deficient in point of taste as compared with the artizans of other countries. The Exhibition of 1851 brought out so clearly and palpably the fact of the inferiority of British productions in beauty of design, harmony of colour, and grace of outline, as to lead to the trial of a remedy. Another fact which the Exhibition of 1851 tended to bring directly under public notice was that the country which furnished the most elegant and tasteful designs was that in which there had been the greatest interference on the part of the State with regard to art instruction. It was seen that in France the various measures which had been taken by the Government to promote art education had been attended with signal success. It was not in vain that the great Colbert, in the reign of Louis XIV., established the Royal manufactory of Gobelin tapestry, or that the Royal carpet factory at Tournay, and the national porcelain manufactory at Sevres had been fostered. The result of the care taken by successive Monarchs and Ministers for the cultivation and improvement of working people was, that France had become the supreme arbiter in artistic manufacture, and had set an example which all other nations endeavoured to follow. There was no innate inferiority on the part of the English workmen as compared with the French, but their inferiority was attributable to the want of art training, and of opportunities of studying good models. It was in order to remedy this defect that soon after the Exhibition of 1851 the Department of Science and Art was founded, and if he were asked for proof of its having been of use, he would point to the Exhibition at Paris in 1855, where the progress that had been made in English productions during the previous four years was most strikingly apparent. The Parisians excelled the artizans of perhaps all other towns in the manufacture of ornamental furniture, but some of the productions from London in that department of manufacture might even vie with those of Paris, and it was admitted that the cabinets sent by Messrs. Jackson and Graham were in execution and design equal to that of the French. It was also evident that considerable progress had been made in Sheffield ware, but the greatest triumph, perhaps, had been achieved in the manufacture of porcelain and earthenware. It was curious to contrast the present condition of that manufacture with the statements made respecting it in the evidence given before the Committee of 1836, over which the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart) presided. Complaints were then made that the art of painting on porcelain was at the lowest state, in consequence of a want of knowledge of drawing among the working people; and the neglect of design was such that at Worcester young men were employed in copying models so out of drawing that the more faithfully they adhered to the originals the worse it would be for the manufacturers, and the less would be the chance of finding a market for their productions. At this moment, however, the English porcelain manufacture was preeminent in Europe, and he had had the opportunity of asking one of the most eminent manufacturers, Mr. Minton, whether any benefit had resulted to that branch of industry from the establishment of schools of art. Mr. Minton stated that all his best workmen, both modellers and painters, had been educated in schools of art, and that some of those who had originally been educated in France had been improved by the opportunities they had had of attending the schools of art established in the potteries. He (Mr. Cowper) believed it would be found on inquiry that similar advantages had been derived in all the chief branches of manufacture to which any considerable amount of art could be applied. He had no doubt it would be found that the best modellers employed in the iron trade at Sheffield, and the best designs of carpets at Kidderminster and Paisley, had acquired in the schools of art the skill and taste which they displayed. These institutions were now fairly launched, and he hoped the workmen of this country would no longer be behind those of other nations in the expression of taste. He knew that very eminent persons in France, who occupied positions which enabled them to form an accurate judgment on the subject, had declared that the extraordinary improvements in the manufacture of silk in this country gave them great alarm as to the effect of the competition of the English silk trade with that of France. With regard to the Museum at Kensington, which the hon. Gentleman seemed to think was too costly, it must be remembered that that institution not only contained within its walls numerous objects of art which were to remain there permanently, but that it was also the receptacle for objects of art which were intended to be circulated throughout the country, and exhibited for a time in the various towns in which local museums might be established. Specimens of porcelain and earthenware would be sent to towns where those branches of manufacture existed; specimens of metal work would be sent to Sheffield and Birmingham; and objects of ancient and modern art, from which the working classes were likely to derive instruction and advantage, and which were calculated to stimulate inventive genius, would be sent in turn to various places throughout the country. A general interest in the arts of colouring and design would be thus created, and he believed the revival of the manufacture of majolica was mainly owing to the fact, that Mr. Minton was asked to make some specimens of coloured pottery in order that the students in the central school of science and art might copy them in painting. For this purpose Mr. Minton made experiments which led to the manufacture of those beautiful objects which had done him so much credit and added so considerably to his reputation. One advance led to another, and to foresee the results which might follow from the extension of a taste for science and art. The library which was to form part of the Museum would contain all the best works upon art which were likely to be useful to designers and manufacturers, and those books would be lent to the local schools and museums. A certain number of books would also be given as prizes to the local schools. He thought that so far from the Estimates being excessive, there was rather reason for surprise that such extensive advantages were obtained for the country at so small an outlay. Some complaint had been made of the amount required for the Museum in Scotland. In Scotland there was only one industrial museum, which included a museum of natural history, which was included in the present estimate; but it had been determined to purchase a piece of land for the purpose of erecting upon it a national museum, and a supplementary estimate would be laid before Parliament for that purpose, so that he did not think the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Black), had any cause for complaint. Ireland had been more fortunate, because she had more of those industrial establishments. Of those institutions there were two not included in the present Vote—the Irish Academy, and the Hibernian Academy of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture—and they had not been included because they were not considered to be directly connected with industrial art, and they had therefore been placed in distinct Votes. With regard to the institutions included in the Vote, they were the Royal Dublin Society, which included the Botanic Gardens and Zoological Gardens, the Normal Lace School, and the Museum of Irish Industry, and the sum proposed to be voted for those establishments in Ireland amounted to about £13,000, so that Ireland could not complain. He had, he believed, now gone through most of the items of the Vote, and he would not trespass further upon the attention of the Committee.


said, that he heartily concurred in every word which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, for he felt confident that these schools of art had been of great advantage in promoting good designing. Any person who had turned his attention to the subject, even in so small a matter as furnishing a house, must have noticed a great improvement of late years in the patterns of carpets, wall paper, curtains, and all those common articles which were used for that purpose, and when such a man as Mr. Minton said that he got his best designs from these schools, that, no doubt, was an exceedingly gratifying fact. That improvement had been concurrent with the progress of the institution at Marlborough House, which had been founded on the Report of a Commission presided over by the hon. Member for Dumfries, and there was no reason to doubt that it had not only been concurrent with it, but had proceeded from it. Although, however, he concurred in the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, there were one or two remarks which he wished to offer to the Committee. If the right hon. Gentleman would look over the heads of Vote 4, he would find an item of £300 a year for a paleontologist, and also an item for an assistant paleontologist at the British Museum. Now, neither Ireland nor Scotland had a paleontologist, and if one was good for England, why should not Ireland and Scotland have one too? With regard to the school of science and the Geological Museum in Jermyn Street, that institution was founded for the purposes of showing various mineral productions of the earth which might be used for manufactures, and there was likewise to be attached a laboratory for the purpose of analysis, so that if any gentleman found a mineral upon his estate which he did not understand, he might send it to be analyzed. It was clear that there ought to be a laboratory for analysis, and against that he had nothing to say. But he had that day paid a visit to that establishment, and he had found in it not only more minerals, but all sorts of mediæval curiosities, specimens of pottery and of works in glass, a bust of the Queen, a portrait in mosaic of the Emperor of Russia, and, in short, nearly all kinds of articles which human ingenuity formed out of the raw products of the earth. He certainly did not think that those articles were in what could be regarded as a fitting repository at the Geological Museum. At the British Museum there was also a large geological and mineral collection, so that there were two institutions concurrently spending the public money upon the same object, and perhaps endeavouring to outrival each other. Then, again, there were three institutions which had museums of china, ancient and modern, and mediæval, of glass, of earthenware, and articles of that description—the one in Jermyn Street, the one at Kensington, and the British Museum; all buying against each other. It was the old story of the suit of armour which had been sold at an enormous price, on account of two Government departments bidding against each other for its possession. Now, would it not be desirable to alter such an arrangement, and to combine things of a like nature in the same institution? To do so would save expense, and would, for purposes of instruction, be much more advantageous; while at the same time a museum would be formed worthy of the nation. He thought the most practical way to go to work would be to remove to Jermyn Street all the mineralogical and geological specimens now in the British Museum, and to collect at Kensington all objects of mediæval art now at Jermyn Street and the British Museum. There was one other point to which he wished to refer, and that was the Sheepshanks' collection, now housed at what were called the Brompton Boilers. He thought that, whatever advantages that particular locality might possess, the Government had at least been premature in making that erection, pending the discussion of the Royal Commissioners upon the site for the National Gallery. Mr. Sheepshanks, who had formed one of the most beautiful collection of pictures, perhaps, ever collected by a private person, had—a thing which he believed was unprecedented—presented them to the nation in his lifetime. [Mr. BERESFORD HOPE said, Mr. Vernon did the same.] But he had done so upon a condition that they should be kept at Brompton, for fear that they might suffer from the smoke of London. Now, he thought that the Government might have waited for the decision of the Commission before erecting that building. The Commission might have reported, as in fact they had done, that pictures were not spoiled by the smoke, or that there were men who could provide practical remedies against such a contingency, and Mr. Sheepshanks might have been induced to alter the condition which he had attached to the gift, and to consent to the pictures being placed with the other pictures in the National Gallery. If he had done so, all the national pictures would be collected in one place, instead of being divided amongst Brompton, Marlborough House, and Trafalgar Square. He doubted whether it was always desirable to accept gifts on such conditions, because one gentleman might give a collection with a desire that it should be placed in Battersea Park, another in Victoria Park, and a third in Finsbury Park, and the result of building galleries in each of these places would be greatly to multiply expenses without the production of so good an effect as would result from the combination of all the collections in one building.


said, he quite agreed with the noble Lord as to the desirability of uniting all similar collections in one museum. From possessing some slight knowledge of geology, he was ready to defend the connection of paleontologists—persons who were conversant with fossil remains—with the geological museum, and he wished to express his regret that there were no similar officers attached to the museums of Ireland and Scotland. Without this science, it was impossible to identify stratification, to find out where lodes lay, and so forth. [A laugh.] Hon. Members might laugh, but he knew of nothing ridiculous in the science except its long name. With regard to the Estimate for the Kensington Gore Museum, he thought that some scrutiny was needed. In 1855, the House was asked to vote £15,000 for the erection of a corrugated iron building, which it was said could easily be removed without loss of value, and which it was always said was to be only a temporary erection. This year the whole amount of the Estimate was £46,251 14s., which might be thus divided—salaries, wages, &c. £12,601 14s.; aids to schools, £22,500; the Sheepshanks gallery, £4,700; miscellaneous items, £6,450. Some of the salaries appeared very extravagant. The chief paleontologist, who must of course be a man of considerable education, had, indeed, only £300. On the other hand, the assistant secretary had £675, and the inspector for science and art, £450. Comparatively, the principal officers of the British Museum were paid lower salaries than those of the Museum at Kensington. Mr. Panizzi, the principal librarian of the British Museum, had £1,000 a year; Mr. Hawkins, the chief medallist, who was acknowledged by every one to be a very superior man, had £600 a year; Professor Owen, one of the most distinguished men of the present day in his own line, had £800 a year, and was obliged to deliver lectures. At Kensington, the secretary for general management had £1,000 a year, and the inspector general, Dr. Lyon Playfair, the same amount. The subordinate officers seemed to be very highly paid, the assistant secretary getting £675 a year, and the accountant £250, while there were various clerks who were paid much smaller salaries. He believed that the subordinate curators of the British Museum—men of great learning and acquirements—received on the average about £300 a year. At Kensington, the art superintendent, Mr. Redgrave, a man of acknowledged ability, got £500. He also wished to know what were the duties of the inspector of science and art, and whether a gentleman competent to form a judgment upon matters of art was equally competent to give an opinion upon matters of science. Yet for that office they paid £450, and it was held by a gentleman of whom, whatever might be his attainments—and no doubt they were great—he confessed that he had never heard. He thought these situations should be given to persons of known ability, and who had made themselves a name, otherwise the nation had no guarantee that the duties would be properly discharged, and that bad art would not sometimes be foisted on the country. Some things which had come out of this school—the hearse of the Duke of Wellington, for instance—were, in his opinion, specimens of very bad art. He had always heard the Kensington Gore Museum spoken of as a sort of loadstone to draw the National Gallery there, but he rejoiced that that scheme had failed, and that a collection which ought to be the glory of the nation was to be retained in a central position. He could not, however, but look upon our annual expenditure under this head as very extravagant; and with respect to Gore House, the charges were extremely high as compared with the British Museum. While the sum of £926 only was charged for general attendance at the latter place, no less than £3,100 was charged under the same head at Kensington Gore. As it had been understood that the Vote of last year was to be a temporary one, and as it appeared uncertain what was to be done, he thought it would be best to keep down the expense to the amount at which it stood last year, with the exception of the increase on account of the Sheepshanks' Gallery, which must be incurred in order to keep up faith with Mr. Sheepshanks. The increase in the Vote under consideration being £8,468, he proposed to reduce the Vote by £3,768. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £45,087, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expenses of the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connection with the Department, and of the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., to the 31st day of March 1858.


said, he should vote for the reduction proposed by the hon. Member (Mr. Dillwyn), but at the same time he was prepared to carry the reduction still further, and to move that the whole Vote be reduced to the sum voted last year. He would remind the Committee how this Vote for the department of science and art had gone on increasing during the last ten years. In 1847–8, it was £6,219; in the next year, £7,558; in the next year, £13,600, or nearly double what it was in the previous one; in the next, £11,000; the next, £16,200; the next, £15,000; the next, £20,000 odd; and in the year 1855–6, it had increased to the enormous sum of £73,516. In other words, it had risen from £6,219, in 1847–8, to £73,516 in 1855–6; last year the sum voted was £59,000; and now they were going to vote for the present year no less than £73,855. He asked the Committee seriously whether they were going to vote that large sum of money without any check whatever being imposed on its expenditure? It was in vain that they found fault with jobs—and there was jobbing going on everywhere; the only practical good to arise from these debates was to say that the money should not go. It had been properly asked who was benefited by the geological department. It was for the owners of estates to defray the expense of surveys, and not the general public. They had three rival museums, and they were all bidding against each other for the same object. They had got, for instance, the Geological Museum, in Germyn Street, and there they found portraits of the Emperor of Russia, bad busts, old crockery, and broken china. Now, science and art were very useful; he did not disparage some things within their category; but the Government must recollect that the bulk of the money required for this large Vote was paid by a class of the community whose prospect of receiving any advantage from it was very remote, and that there was a strong feeling abroad that the money voted in that House was much more for the amusement of its Members, for the instruction of persons who ought to instruct themselves, than of the class who really needed instruction in that way, and especially that it went to promote certain fancies which—he hoped it was not unconstitutional to say it—had their origin in high quarters, and which he believed the Government themselves would be glad to see receive a check. Be that as it might, the time had arrived when the enormous and still increasing expenditure under these heads should be put a stop to; and he should therefore move that the whole Estimate be reduced to such an extent as to bring it within the amount voted last year, which was £59,000. [Cries of "No, no, £64,000!"] He held in his hand the document issued by the Treasury in accordance with his Motion for a Return, and by that document he found that the exact sum for last year was £58,526, giving, however, the Government the benefit of the odd pounds. He should move that the present Vote be reduced to £34,000, which with the £25,000 voted on account would make up the whole sum of £59,000.


—Sir, I cannot refrain from expressing the deep regret I felt at hearing the Motion of the hon. Member near me (Mr. Dillwyn), and if possible, the still deeper regret with which I heard the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner). I regret it because, if, at this early stage of the proceedings of the Committee this evening, and with so thin an attendance of Members on both sides, it should so happen, not only unfortunately for the credit of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire himself, but still more unfortunately for the credit of this House, that his Amendment should be carried, the result would be that it would go forth to the public of these kingdoms, to the public of the whole of Europe, and, in fact, to the whole of the civilized world, that this nation, which has taken credit to itself for higher pretensions than almost any other, to be regarded as the special patron of art and civilization, had, by its approval of this Amendment, displayed a niggardly and blind determination to check that growing desire of the people for the further development of taste for works of the refined and the beautiful, which the great Creator of the Universe had, for his own wise and beneficent purpose, implanted in the breasts of his creatures. Let me also ask the two hon. Members who have proposed those Amendments, if they have taken into consideration the particular moment at which they have brought them forward? What is the occasion they have taken advantage for the purpose? Why, the very night on which our most gracious Sovereign would be on Her way to honour with a visit the second city of Her Empire—the great centre of our vast manufacturing industry—to inaugurate and grace by Her presence the most magnificent, valuable, and novel collection of the treasures of the arts, civilization, refinement, and philanthropy of every age and nation that the world ever witnessed, brought together by the unsurpassed energy of the intelligent and wealthy merchants and inhabitants of that great commercial and manufacturing city, and exhibited in a building which is in itself a work of art—a collection which will reflect everlasting credit and honour on the people of that town, and be a practical proof that, as in the days of the past greatness of Venice and Genoa, arts, trade, and commerce went hand in hand. I say then that I am utterly at a loss to understand why it is that my hon., and if he will allow me to add, my paleontological, Friend has chosen a night so inopportune as this for his Amendment, and I certainly cannot bring myself to believe that he will either press his Motion to a division, or that this Committee will mark it with the sanction of their approval. At the same time I wish it to be distinctly understood that while I feel bound to oppose the Amendment, it is not to be inferred that I endorse the whole of the arrangements which call for this Vote as deserving to be characterized as remarkable for absolute wisdom. Such has not been always exhibited by the manner in which the large sums of money have been expended that have been voted under this particular head—particularly with regard to the arrangements made at Kensington. And here I may take the opportunity of observing that I quite concur in the observations of my noble Friend (Lord Elcho), who, I think, has very happily laid his finger on the real and great blot of these proceedings in his allusion to the almost useless multiplication of collections or museums which has of late characterized what may be designated as the Young Art Movement in this country. I am also quite certain, with regard to the societies which have sent their collections to Kensington Gore, that their feelings were far from favourable to the change that has taken place. I have the honour of being one of the trustees of the Architectural Museum which a few months ago was established in Cannon Row, Westminster. The premises it occupied there were homely and inconvenient, but the situation was central and desirable. They were, however, destined soon to be carried away by the great demolition of property which is to take place in that part of the town to make way for the public offices, and so the Architectural Museum was offered room in the building at Kensington Gore. But since it has gone there, the step has only been a source of regret and mortification, the public are furious and the committee can say nothing. With the best intentions they have taken a most unpopular step. The whole history of this Kensington Museum shows how very foolish it is to act first and think afterwards. Some time ago there was a large surplus from the Exhibition of 1851. Lady Blessington was gone, Gore House for sale, Brompton Park in the market, and nursery grounds to be bought; what then could be so fine as to buy a large site and establish close to Rotten Row a permanent museum for all art and science? Accordingly a first instalment arose in the shape of that edifice, whose irreverent name I will not repeat. Then the National Gallery was to go to Brompton; but it has not gone there, and is not going, and the Educational Museum is now left alone in its glory. As a commencement collections were brought together; and what is the spectacle which that Museum presents? In one department are to be seen magnificent carvings and costly chasings, and in the next there is a collection of salts, alkalis, &c. in neat glass bottles, stoppered and labelled. In one place they were in the Hotel de Cluny; a few yards distant, they were in an apothecary's shop. It is. no doubt, highly desirable to see organic substances, such as nature has made them, and likewise those organic substances manipulated by the taste and ingenuity of man. But exceeding refinement defeats itself by its own artificialness. Art occupies a place for itself in the mind of man, and attempts to combine collections of art and science must always fail. In the British Museum there is an incipient collection of renaissance and mediæval art—two branches which were formerly much neglected, almost unknown—but which are now rising every day in price and estimation. When the Government had money in their hands common sense should have led them to expend it in increasing that existing collection instead of forming a new museum. We had had, however, the old story in England, two small and imperfect collections instead of one large one. The Bernal Collection came into the market and proved that those branches of art which the fastidious ignorance of a former generation had put aside as worthless and barbarous, had grown in estimation; and it would have been only an act of common sense if the Government had devoted the art money in its hands to the augmentation of the British Museum. But, on the contrary, the Educational department of the Privy Council, with the best intentions, went into the field, outbid the Museum, and swept away the best specimens, which are now in honourable exile down at Brompton. The Government might have had one fine collection, but the result has been, that there are now two, and neither of them can be said to be complete or perfect. With regard to the use of the Kensington Museum as a school of design, let us have schools of design by all means, but originals are not required for that purpose; plaster casts and coloured models will suffice, and can be obtained at a small expense, while the matchless originals might be collected in one National Museum, which should be known as the British Museum. I do not particularly mean the building near Russell Square, but one where these magnificent specimens of Ninevite, Egyptian, Grecian, and mediæval art might be brought together, exceeding in magnificence the boasted possession of the Palace of the Louvre. Then as to the School of Design, that was at present at Brompton; well, let it be left there if you please, but I must be allowed to say, that there is want of common sense in putting it there, for the students are, for the most part, poor, and so the sixpence which many of them have to pay in going to and fro in an omnibus is a serious matter to them. This may be remedied by removing the school to the garden at Burlington House; as I took occasion, on a former discussion, to point out. That garden is at present useless, and the museum may be removed there at no greater expense than cutting down the elm trees, and shifting the iron shed, which bore the euphonious name of "South Kensington." One word more with regard to the British Museum. That institution is still too much governed upon old-fashioned principles, and hampered by the ceremony, and the conditions of the last century, when a school of design was utterly unknown and unthought of. Let that, however, be reformed on liberal principles, let art students be admitted on the closed days, and let them have the Bernal Collection, as well as the objects of art now in the museum, and thus will the object of this Vote be carried out far more effectually than it could be by any system of half measures and patching. The House may rely upon it that the time will come when the library of the British Museum will require the whole of the building, and then what can be done for the Museum will prove a difficulty not easy to solve; but instead of various miscellaneous collections, I wish to see those of art and those of each class all brought together into one place! And I am sure that this country is so rich in art treasures, that when seen together in one collection it will tell its own story. Now, with regard to the pictures, there is the Turner Collection at Marlboro' House, and the Sheepshanks at Kensington, whither Mr. Sheepshanks desired to have it moved, and there to be kept in a fire proof room. However, as that gentleman is still, I am happy to say, alive, I will only say, that the man who had the heart to give the nation such a collection would, I am convinced, have the head to perceive the enhanced value which would be given to our art treasures if they were all collected in one suitable building. With regard to the Turner bequest, Turner only stated in his will, that his pictures should be kept separate, which might be done if there were a National Gallery of proper dimensions; but until there is such a gallery, the House may rest assured that collectors will say, "We will not leave our pictures to undergo the indignity to which at first Mr. Vernon's were submitted, of being placed in a cellar." For my own part, I am still in favour of that plan of a gallery which I recommended in my evidence before the Commission, to be built in the inner circle of the Regent's Park. However, it was not adopted, no doubt for sufficient reasons, and so we must fall back on the site at Trafalgar Square. But, then again, I am almost afraid that even if we include the barracks and the workhouse within the sweep of the building, still the space afforded in such a populous neighbourhood as that of Trafalgar Square would prove insufficient. The proposal I laid before the Commission with regard to a gallery in the Regent's Park was, that it should stand within the inner circle, a space which has a diameter of 1,000 feet, and that it should be of a circular form, with radiating galleries opening on the grand central Hall, which should be crowned by a dome, which might rival those of St. Peters and Florence—the whole surrounded with water, trees, and gardens. That proposal was not accepted, and we must fall back upon the site of the present National Gallery. But the costliness of the locality must not be made an excuse for some miserable, petty, contemptible structure, as unworthy of the reign of Queen Victoria, as the present was unworthy of the reign of William IV. We must do something more. We must treat science and art as a great department of the State, and in order to do that effectually and creditably to ourselves as a great nation, we must build wisely, nobly, and liberally. But, above all things, I say, let us have no more additional museums or schools of art, but amalgamate them, and have a national collection of all departments of art in a building worthy of the contents and of the capital, and let us in that building leave space for additional contributions; and let us also have that building in a central place, so as to be easily accessible to every class of society from the highest to the very humblest members of the community. Up to the present time, we have not done anything of that sort. Well, let us do it now. A great deal has been said about the appointment of a minister of education; but we must leave him to attend to the poor children in the lanes and alleys of our great cities, and to the training them in the first principles of morality, honesty, and the love of God and man. Having done that, let us have at the head of the science and art department a Minister of State, who shall be responsible as well for the public buildings as for their contents; responsible for the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Royal Academy, the Public Collections, and, in fact, for everything that has relation to the advancement of the fine arts and of science. But until such an appointment shall have been made, the Government of the country must be responsible for public buildings—they must be responsible for Sir C. Barry's designs—they must be responsible for the bills of the future architects of the public offices—for the National Gallery, both building and pictures—for the British Museum—for the collections at Brompton—for the Royal Academy, and for the Royal Society. Let us act so that it can no longer be said that the management of those great institutions should be remarkable for jobbing and extravagance, and by their hurried debates in a thin house in the hot days of June.


said, the hon. Gentleman opposite had made a very eloquent address, telling them what in his view should be done, but he had not said anything with regard to particular items. Though he Mr. Napier was not so romantic as the hon. Gentleman, still he was in favour of affording the working classes all possible opportunities of taking advantage of institutions of art and science. He knew that in Ireland the establishment of schools of design, and the fostering care which Lord Clarendon had extended to the Arts, had been productive of the greatest benefit. Looking at the Vote as a whole, he thought it a very fair Vote, considering the prosperous state in which the country was at the present moment, and he should certainly give it his cordial support.


said, he was afraid that the closing observations of the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. B. Hope) were rather in favour of the view of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) although he had commenced by expressing his hope that the House of Commons would not, especially on this night, when Her Majesty was on Her way to the Art Treasures Exhibition, agree to a Vote which would be disgraceful to it and to the nation at large. His object in rising was, however, not so much to speak to the Vote before the Committee, as to say a word on behalf of the people out of whose pockets these Votes would be defrayed, and for whose benefit, ostensibly, they were intended. Representing as he did a large metropolitan constituency, he felt it his duty upon this the first opportunity to state his views upon the subject to which he was about to refer. The people of this metropolis, the working class, had this complaint to make—that whatever sum of money the House chose to vote they derived no benefit from it; that they had no opportunity of viewing those collections to which they by the taxes they paid contributed. He had had opportunities of seeing them engaged in their labours, most arduous labours, from morning to night, during every day of the week, and thus whilst large sums of money were voted for the National Gallery and the British Museum, they had no opportunity of setting foot within those buildings. He was going to say that which would be extremely disagreeable to many who were his constituents, but he believed it to be just. He would say, that if the working classes had not an opportunity of visiting those places on a week day, they ought to have the opportunity of visiting them on the Sunday. There could be no objection whatever, on the contrary, it would indeed be a great benefit to the community at large if such an opportunity of visiting these two places were extended to them. As matters stood they had no means of recreation on the Sunday except by going out of town—an amusement to persons in their situation too costly to be frequently enjoyed. And in the winter even that was impracticable. Surely they might go to church or to chapel, and he for one was most anxious that a visit to a place of worship should occupy a portion of a working man's Sunday. But they could not be at church the whole of Sunday—it was more than mortal man could endure, for, however strong religious feeling might be, relaxation was required in respect to church and chapel, as in everything else. In point of fact their Sundays were to a great extent chiefly spent in the public-house, to the detriment of their pockets, their health, their morals, and their domestic happiness. By throwing open the institutions to which he had referred a wholesome means of recreation would be afforded, and this might be done at such hours as would not interfere with attendance at a place of worship. Certainly it was but a manifest act of justice that means should be given for enabling those who paid for such places to visit them.


said, He was far from wishing to oppose a Vote of money for purposes of art or for the purpose of instructing the working classes in the principles of design; but he maintained that the large sums which were about to be voted for maintaining museums of insignificant and heterogeneous objects were a mere waste of money. The Vote for the Kensington Museum began by £15,000, and it would go on to hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, unless a stop was put to this system of expenditure. The noble Lord who spoke early in the debate pointed out a most objectionable scheme which had crept into this system, that of establishing three distinct national galleries. This, of course, entailed three different systems of expenditure. The National Gallery which was at the top of Trafalgar Square, which he maintained was the proper site for a National Gallery, was amply sufficient for the purposes for which it was built, if the whole of it were given up to the nation. The Royal Academy had been allowed to occupy half the building, and not many years ago a distinct pledge was given by the noble Lord the Member for London that the Royal Academy should find a site for itself. That pledge had never been carried out, and it now seemed as if the Royal Academy was endeavouring not only to occupy that part of the building which it already possessed, but by a system of underhand intrigue to oust the nation from the other half. The Government ought to give the Royal Academy notice to quit. If there was to be any removal to Kensington, it ought to be the Royal Academy which should be removed, for the people who frequented those exhibitions were quite able to pay the cost of getting there; whereas the removal of those model works, which were the true models for people to study, and not the works of modern artists, as was now assumed, would be an injury to those who really desired to study the fine arts. It was by studying the great sculptures that had come down to us from antiquity, or, where these could not be found, by substituting casts, as at the Crystal Palace, and not by the establishment of rubbishy museums containing an omnium gatherum of the auction rooms of London and the trash of the old picture dealers, that they could hope to obtain a true knowledge of art. The history of these establishments remained to be written, but it was high time that the Teutonic element should no longer I exist in our galleries of art. Whence came I the system of "restoration," as it was called, the redaubing of the masterpieces of the great artists of the past? It came from Berlin, and was brought here by Dr. Gustavus Waagen, who was honoured with the patronage of a distinguished person. He hoped the Minister for Education would not think he was making an attack on him. He listened the other evening with great pleasure to the observations which he addressed to the House, and he believed he was actuated by a desire to promote the study of the fine arts, but he (Mr. Coningham) begged to caution him against a system of which we were now only on the threshold, and to enter his protest against a further pursuance of that system. He did not think the present was an opportune moment for entering into a discussion of the management of the National Gallery, but he would say that so long as that system of management was continued, so long as the Royal Academy hung as an incubus on the energies of the artists of this country, so long would the arts be in a decadent state among us. It was a mistake to imagine that it was by State or Royal patronage that true artists had ever been produced in the world. The great artists who had appeared in past times rose when the nations from whence they sprang enjoyed liberty and freedom, and when literature and science also reached the highest pitch of excellence; and he was convinced that any attempt to foster an inferior kind of art, such as our present system was calculated to encourage, would only terminate in failure.


said, he wished to remind the House that the present Vote had no connection with the subject of the National Gallery. Some confusion of ideas seemed also to prevail with reference to the Museum at South Kensington, as if it was entirely devoted to the fine arts, but it was more intended for instruction in the arts and sciences that applied to productive industry. Its object was to exhibit articles for the improvement of the taste of the artificers and the purchasers. The hon. and learned Member for Southwark (Mr. John Locke) said working men could not attend the national collections, but one of the rules of the Museum to which he non referred was that it should be open two evenings in the week from seven to ten, so that working men might attend it after their day's work. Already no fewer than 13,000 visitors had taken advantage of the opportunity thus offered them, and he had no doubt that, especially in the winter time, it would become the resort of great numbers of the working classes. Kensington Gore was at least as central as Regent's Park, though certainly it was not so near as Charing Cross. Every effort had been made to display valuable collections hitherto concealed. As an instance of the necessity for some such exhibition he might mention that lately a search was made for valuable and curious machines in the possession of the Ordnance Department. These machines had been left in a lumber-room, and through negligence had been broken up. Now, however, no such loss could take place, for curiosities like these could be secured in the Museum. The salaries referred to by the hon. Member (Mr. Dillwyn) were not so high as the corresponding salaries in the British Museum. In reality, they were remarkably low; but the hon. Gentleman not only found fault with their salaries, but, thought to add mockery to insult, by saying that the department designed the funeral car of the Duke of Wellington. He did not know whether the designing or the framing of the car could be attributed to them. [An hon. MEMBER: They designed it.] Well, all he would say was that the design adopted was better than the others that were proposed. The noble Lord (Lord Elcho) objected to the appointment of a paleontologist for the geographical survey of Great Britain; but he must say, that from the time when Mr. Smith wrote his book on strata down to the present moment, he had never heard of any one who was capable of expressing an opinion on the subject who did not admit the value of paleontology as a test and indication of strata. In the United States, where they were not very ready in spending their money on doubtful matters, the science of paleontology was paid by more than one State. In New York several quarto volumes had been published on this science at the public expense, because it promoted mineral knowledge. That an hon. Member for Warwickshire, who might be expected to desire the fullest development of the mineral resources of the country, should oppose a Vote for mineral surveys was what no one could ever have expected. Owners of land which might be rich in minerals could not be expected to bear the expense of a doubtful search, and, as it was a matter of national importance, the assistance of the State was given. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire had suggested that, although Mr. Sheepshanks' offer ought not to have been altogether declined, yet the conditions he imposed should have been refused.


explained that what he had said was, that he thought it a pity the Government had not waited until the Commissioners of the National Gallery had reported, and if they had reported that pictures would not be injured by smoke, probably Mr. Sheepshanks might not have objected to allow his pictures to be exhibited in town.


said, his noble Friend appeared to think Mr. Sheepshanks was a man who could easily be persuaded into anything, but he (Mr. Cowper) thought that a gentleman who of his own accord gave a collection of pictures worth £60,000 deliberately and while in the full possession of his faculties was not a man to be so easily changed. The real answer to the noble Lord was to be found in Mr. Sheepshanks' own deed of offer, wherein he stated his opinion that a dry and airy situation was required for the pictures, and one remote from the bustle and dirt of a crowded thoroughfare for the study and enjoyment of them. To refuse such a gift merely because a condition was attached that it should be taken to Kensington would have been absurd, and would have rendered the Minister who so acted liable to censure. He thought the House could not assent blindly to the proposed reduction in the Vote.


said, he only rose to bear testimony to the good results which had flowed from schools of design, which had in fact so raised the standard of taste in this country, that designs were now produced which competent judges had declared equal to those of the French. He wished, however, to remind the hon. Gentleman that these schools of design were, however, nearly self-supporting, but a small aid coming from the Government.


said, he should warmly support the original Vote as tending to the improvement of skilled artisans, and could not but condemn the proposed reduction as inimical to the interests of the great mass of the people.


said, he wished to correct what was no doubt an unintentional misrepresentation on the part of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper). He had never objected to the Vote for schools of design, which he considered to be most valuable institutions, and which were only assisted by the State. The reduction which he proposed to make in the Vote would not affect schools of design in the least degree. What he objected to was the payment out of the public purse of more than £5,000 a year spent in surveying estates to prove to the owners that they possessed mineral treasures. Another objection that he had raised was that there were three museums, which went into the market competing with each other, and of course greatly increasing the cost of purchase.


said, the hon. Member was wrong in supposing that the geological survey was useful merely as illustrating the estates of private individuals. Geology enabled us to become acquainted with the structure of the earth, increased our knowledge of minerals and other natural productions, and so might be the means of adding to our national wealth. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman would not press his Amendment to a division.


observed, that he was aware that the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had a great objection to the most precious of all metals—gold. He believed the hon. Gentleman thought that the country could do better without it than with it, and, perhaps, he was afraid that any researches we might make were likely to lead to further discoveries of that metal; but he would remind the hon. Gentleman that there were other natural productions besides gold, the possession of which would be a boon to this country, and it was with a view to promote the discovery of these that the school of geology had mainly been established. Most of the continental States had schools of mines, and in France and Germany it was a recognized point of public policy that there should be a portion of the national revenue devoted to that object. In England we had never had any school of mines, but we had now a geological survey placed under the superintendence of Sir Roderick Murchison, a scientific and practical geologist, and he did not think that any reasonable objection could be made to a Vote for such a purpose. It was, strictly speaking, a national survey intended to enrich, not individual proprietors, but the country at large, and he trusted therefore that the hon. Member would not succeed in reducing the Vote.


said, he felt deeply interested in their Vote on this ground; he believed that art had been too long neglected in this country, and that many important branches of manufacture had suffered thereby. He was quite satisfied that by agreeing to the original Resolution the House would initiate a policy full of advantage to the country. We possessed many mechanical contrivances which were not enjoyed by other countries; but, nevertheless, our neighbours across the Channel, owing to their superior taste and greater cultivation of art, beat us in the production of numerous articles of general use, and this he thought was a sufficient proof that we should no longer neglect the encouragement of art. Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £34,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expenses of the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connection with the Department, and of the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., to the 31st day of March 1858.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 33; Noes 157: Majority 124.


regretted that he must trouble the Committee to divide, because his proposition involved a different principle from that on which they had just divided. He wished to reduce the Vote by striking off the items connected with the Kensington Museum, which he had already shown to be extravagant. The sum charged for salaries was excessive; the amounts paid to the assistant-secretary and the sub-inspector—namely, £675 and £450 respectively—being merely samples of the general scale. The sum of £2,000 for the purchase of specimens for an educational museum was ridiculously large, many of the articles bought at extravagant prices being apparently mere old curiosities. For instance, there was the sum of £103 for seventeen pieces of Staffordshire ware, supplied by Mr. Minton, and another item of £10, for a pair of wrought iron fire-dogs. He therefore proposed that the Vote should be reduced by the sum of £3,768. Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £45,087, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expenses of the General Management of the Department of Science and Art, of the Schools throughout the Kingdom in connection with the Department, and of the Geological Surveys of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., to the 31st day of March 1858.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 36; Noes 162: Majority 126.


said, the Government had not acted fairly towards the House in increasing the expenditure at Kensington-gore, notwithstanding the strong objections which had been made against that site by many hon. Members on previous occasions, and although the Commission with respect to the National Gallery had not made its Report. On the present occasion, however, he should not do more than protest against the expenditure, which he believed would end in disappointment, not only to the House but to the country.

Original Question put, and agreed to. (2.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £143,030, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge for Public Education in Ireland, under the charge of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, to the 3lst day of March 1858.


said, he must complain that this department had become not only its own publisher, but also a great bookselling establishment. The accounts showed a loss of £10,000 on the sale of books, and this was complained of by the trade as a great grievance. His own objection, however, was less a personal one than a feeling that the principle which dictated the adoption of this practice was an unsound one. The Government had baking establishments; why, then, did they not also sell cheap biscuits? The interference of the Government was most prejudicial to literature; for what publisher would think of bringing out a new educational work when he knew that he should have to compete with a work brought out with the aid of Government funds? The Government seemed to be aware that the course they had adopted was wrong, but like other repentant sinners they put off the day of reform. But he was satisfied that there was no way of obtaining cheap educational literature so good as leaving it to the skill and enterprize of those whose business it was to produce such works.


said, he wished to call attention to the expenditure under the heads of "Albert Agricultural Training Establishment and Model Farm, Glasnevin," "Agricultural Schools," and "District Model Agricultural Schools," amounting altogether to £17,900. There had been a long debate on the subject last year, and it was promised that they should be gradually discontinued. Nevertheless he found there was actually an increase of £900 in the estimate of this year. In a blue-book published upon this subject, he also found a number of testimonials in favour of these institutions, which reminded him very much of the testimonials on the subject of Holloway's pills. Among them was one from the present Member for Dartmouth (Mr. Caird), but, as there was no date to these documents, perhaps the hon. Gentleman would inform the Committee whether or no, since then, he had changed his opinion. Another testimonial was written by the well-known correspondent of The Times, "S. G. O.," and, no doubt, considering what they had cost the country, these institutions would look neat and tidy, but he thought the work of educating stewards, land bailiffs, and agents, for the benefit of the landed gentry of Ireland, was scarcely an object for which the public money ought to be voted. Last year the blue-book contained a description of all the wonderful turnips produced, but the compiler had apparently received a hint to omit such matter as this, which accordingly did not figure in the present publication. One of the inspectors, however, naively remarked of one of these establishments, thus maintained by public grants, that it formed a focus of improvement for the tenantry on Lord Monteagle's estates. The result of the whole, then, was that these institutions served as models for the improvement of the estates of the great landlords of Ireland. This, he did think, was rather too bad, and believing that the only mode of dealing with the subject was by striking out the proposed expenditure altogether, he begged to move, by way of Amendment, that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £17,880.


said, he certainly thought the sum of £17,900 a very large one to be spent upon an object of this sort. He should be disposed to defer very much to the opinions of Irish gentlemen on such a point, but there seemed to be some difference of opinion among them, and he noticed that, of the testimonials referred to, only seven or eight were from Irish gentlemen, twenty-two being written by persons wholly unconnected with Ireland. It did not appear, therefore, that any very strong feeling existed among Irish gentlemen themselves in favour of these establishments. For his own part he confessed that, though perhaps the state of Ireland some years ago might have rendered this grant excusable, he thought the present condition of agriculture in that country quite as good as in any part of Great Britain, and that there was, therefore, no reason for treating Irish agriculture in an exceptional way. The grant was positively more than the whole revenues of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Irish Agricultural Society, and the Agricultural Society of Scotland; yet, could any one, for a moment, compare the results attained? But he objected to this grant as a matter of principle. It was impossible to admit that, in this country, one trade possessed a greater claim than another for public support. They might as well talk of teaching tradesmen and professional men their business, as of employing the money of the State in teaching people to be farmers. Even if the business of life could be learnt at school, (and he was not of that opinion) this sytem could not be carried out. In Scotland, something of the same system was tried in the parish schools, but it was abandoned. Scotland was often pointed to as a model of agricultural improvement, but farmers there were educated fur their business as other men were, and agriculture received no State encouragement. The true mode of improving agriculture was, by having examples of profitable farming, quite independent of any public countenance and support, established in every part of the country, and prosecuted as a matter of business. Now, he had observed in Ireland the greatest development of agricultural enterprize, and he had no hesitation in saying that, probably in every county there, almost in every district in each county, excellent examples of profitable farming were now to be found. With regard to Glasnevin, especially, he objected to it as a practical failure. It had been nine years in operation, and one of the inspectors stated, in the blue-book, that between 500 and 600 young men had been sent out from this school, and were dispersed throughout Ireland, for the promotion of agricultural improvement. This statement was, however, a very loose one, for he found the fact to be, that 237 was the whole number which, during the nine years, had been educated at Glasnevin, and, of that number, not more than two-thirds had been employed in carrying out agricultural improvements in Ireland; the remainder had either emigrated, were unknown, or had abandoned farming altogether. It appeared that the number educated in this establishment was 159 in nine years, which gave no more than eighteen per annum sent out from this great centre of agricultural instruction. What effect would these eighteen pupils exercise among the 500,000 occupying tenants in Ireland? From what he had himself seen, he was inclined to think that the experimental system of farming at Glasnevin was not suitable for general introduction in Ireland. The land was farmed in the highests possible manner; the farmer drew his capital from the State, and he was not bound to look to profit and loss. The system was, therefore, an exceptional one, and was by no means certain to be useful to young men in remote districts. The cost of each pupil was £32 per annum. There was less objection to such agricultural schools as those of Lord Monteagle, which were self-supporting. He would draw a distinction between the country schools and the establishment at Glasnevin, because it was possible that the introduction of industrial training into these country schools might be useful. If there were a demand for such training as was given at Glasnevin, the establishment would pay as a private enterprize, and that was the true footing upon which such institutions should stand. He could not but agree that the expenditure on these model schools was most lavish. It amounted to nearly as much as the cost of the Lord Lieutenancy, and was as much as the Votes on behalf of the London University, of the Scotch Universities, and of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland put together. And the cost of maintaining a young Irishman, as a pupil in one of these schools, was more than was paid to the professor of moral philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. At the same time, there might be some practical difficulty in abolishing this establishment immediately, and he would recommend his hon. Friend to withdraw his Motion, and leave the Government to reconsider the matter. They could then modify or withdraw the present system upon their own responsibility, as the circumstances of the country might enable them to decide.


maintained that the model schools were very beneficial to Ireland; for a class of men were trained at them who would become independent and well-educated yeomen. It was a part of that general scheme of national education established by the Earl of Derby, in 1833, and from which the improvement of that country really dated. The total cost of the agricultural schools and farms under the exclusive management of the Board, after deducting receipts, was only £4,880. The total cost of agricultural education in 1855 was £6,895; and was it worth while to break up these establishments for the sake of this sum? He would entreat the House, instead of reducing this Vote, to ask the Government to give larger grants for the promotion of agricultural education in Ireland. Wherever model schools had been established, the greatest benefit to the district had resulted. He might cite numerous instances in support of this statement, but a reference to the school of Kilkenny would suffice for an illustration. That school had been instituted in opposition to all classes. It opened with fourteen boys, four girls, and four infants; but, so much had it progressed in popular favour, that by the end of the first year, it had 310 pupils. It had the support of all parties; it was attended and supported by the clergy of all denominations, and had admittedly solved the problem of imparting a sound education without interfering with the religion of the people, and he trusted that the Government, instead of diminishing, would increase the grants for them.


explained, with reference to the publication of the school books, that the present system had been established in 1852, under a contract which would last till 1858. Every one admitted the value of the books, and that, so far as quality was concerned, they could not be improved. Although the Commissioners produced the books, every five years the supply of books was thrown open to competition by the trade, and the Government were pledged to reconsider the whole subject in detail when the present contract should expire. In point of principle, he could not gainsay the observations of his hon. Friend the Member for Dartmouth (Mr. Caird), but he wished to remind the Committee that they had, only a short time since, by a majority of five to one, determined that departments of science and art should be maintained in this country, for encouraging those branches of manufacturing industry by which our population obtained a livelihood. Now, what manufactures were to the people of England, agriculture was to the people of Ireland. Although these establishments were not founded on truly economical principles, the exceptional condition of Ireland at the time they were established ought not to be overlooked; and if we had to congratulate ourselves on the improved condition of Ireland, we ought to guard against striking a blow at one of the influences which had contributed to her welfare. The House had not scrupled to vote hundreds of thousands to relieve Ireland from her wants. And to what were those wants owing? To the debased condition of the country with regard to agriculture, and the position of its peasantry. Having raised that country to a better and more prosperous condition, he asked the House not to withdraw that assistance which had been productive of so much good, and was likely to be still more beneficial. At the same time, he quite agreed with his hon. Friend, that it was the duty of the Government to look at the improved condition of Ireland now, as compared with what it was some years since, and he would promise that the attention of the Government should be given to the subject, to see whether there were any unnecessary expenses which might be curtailed, and whether greater practical results might be obtained from the schools The Amendment was to reduce the Vote by £17,900, but of that sum only £8,300 was required for the maintenance of the schools, £9,600 being for the completion of buildings which had already been commenced.


said, he should support the Vote, on the ground that the schools in question benefited, not alone the rich owners of estates, as the hon. Member for Stirlingshire (Mr. Blackburn) had asserted, but that they were of the greatest advantage to the humble, and hitherto uninstructed farmers of the district. He thought that the Committee could not well refuse this grant of a little over £17,000, when they would be shortly called upon to vote a nearly equal sum for the purchase of two pictures to gratify the curiosity and taste of the public of England—£3,153 for one picture, that of St. Sebastian, which had not yet arrived in this country, and £13,000 for the other, representing the family of Darius before Alexander. He did not know whether the hon. Gentleman intended to divide the Committee on the sum proposed to be voted for these pictures, but he (Mr. Maguire) would not be so illiberal. The hon. Gentleman then quoted passages from the Reports of the Rev. Mr. Brady, Chaplain to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, of Mr. A. Hill, and other gentlemen, to show that the state of agriculture in Ireland had undergone considerable improvement; that the cultivation of turnips, the fencing of farms, and the mode of cultivating the soil generally, had greatly progressed since the establishment of the model schools, while agrarian outrages had become almost unknown, drunkenness had decreased, and the rents were not in arrear, as used to be the case. He himself knew something of an agricultural school in Cork, attached to the workhouse, and could bear testimony to the fact that great benefit was derived from it, in consequence of its enabling boys who might otherwise grow up mischievous members of society to form habits of industry, and to become fitted for the discharge of the duties of farm servants. He was, he thought, making no extravagant demand upon hon. Members, when he asked them to agree to a Vote by which such a system was carried out. They must bear in mind that, in Ireland, agriculture was in its infancy, and that it required every effort which the Government could use to place it upon a good footing.


said, that he should contend that the money which had been expended in the establishment of agricultural schools in Ireland had been well laid out, and was prepared to state that in a district with which he was acquainted the improvement in the art of farming which had of late sprung up was such as would do credit even to Scotland. It had been observed that the present system was one which produced men fit only to be stewards to the landlords of Ireland. It was perfectly true that it might have enabled the Irish landlords to dispense with the assistance of Scotchmen in that capacity, and be did not wonder, therefore, that it did not meet at the hands of Scotch Members with that degree of appreciation to which it was entitled. It had also been remarked that it was impolitic to make grants of public money for the purpose of fostering a particular branch of industry; but that was a course which was very generally taken, as was the case, for instance, in the establishment of schools of design and in the promotion of manufacturing industry in England. It would be rather hard, under those circumstances, to refuse to Ireland a trifling sum to foster the only industrial school she possessed. That its expenditure was productive of great benefit was borne out by the fact that there were within his own knowledge several independent farmers in that country who owe their present position to the training which they had received in the schools in question.


expressed it to be his determination to press his Motion to a division, unless the Government were prepared to make some reduction in the amount of the Vote as an earnest of their intention on some future occasion to abolish it altogether. Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £125,150, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge for Public Education in Ireland, under the charge of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, to the 31st day of March 1858.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 209: Majority 175.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

The following Votes were then agreed to:

(3.) £405, Education in Ireland.

(4.) £3,602, University of London.

(5.) £5,010, Scottish Universities.

(6.) £1,625, Queen's University in Ireland.


observed, that the pupils attending the Queen's Colleges, and who received degrees from the Queen's University, which was established to compete with Trinity College, were unable to pay the fees requisite to maintain the institution, and that the House was called upon to supply the deficiency. He thought the subject deserved the serious consideration of Parliament. A Commission of inquiry had already been appointed, and he wished to know when their Report was likely to be presented.


said, that he found, from an observation appended to the Vote, that at the examination of 1856, at the Queen's University, there were twenty-one examiners and forty-eight pupils examined. That seemed an inordinate amount of sack to a pennyworth of bread. It appeared, also, from the next Vote, that the amount of prizes distributed to the pupils was utterly disproportioned to their numbers. For out of the forty-eight pupils examined twelve obtained gold medals, and £240 was distributed among them in money exhibitions. Such a system must destroy all feelings of emulation, so essential in an examination. The expenses of the examiners were also quite disproportionate, for as there could be no difficulty in obtaining the prizes they constituted no test of superior qualifications.


said, he was willing to admit that the number of pupils examined at the University was very disproportionate to the number of examiners, but the amount received by the examiners was rather in the shape of fees than of salaries. It must, however, be borne in mind that this University was comparatively a young institution. He believed that the Report of the Commission which had been appointed last year to inquire into the subject of the Queen's Colleges might be expected in the course of August.


expressed his intention to divide against the Vote, unless a more satisfactory explanation was given.


could only repeat the statement of his hon. Friend (Mr. Wilson). The Government had done all they could by issuing a Commission of Inquiry, and their Report would shortly be presented. These colleges were established, under a scheme of which Sir Robert Peel was the author, for the improvement of education in Ireland. It had been expected that they would confer great benefits upon Ireland, but unluckily it had been found that the demand for this species of education was less than had been anticipated. Measures were in progress for a revision of the scheme, and he hoped upon that understanding the Committee would pass the Vote.


said, he understood the right hon. Gentleman to admit that the scheme of Sir Robert Peel had proved a total failure, and he thought that so far from continuing this Vote the Committee ought to strengthen the hands of the Government in resisting such grants. He trusted the hon. Member opposite would divide on this Vote.


observed that twelve months ago the same objection was made to this Vote, and he thought that as a minute and searching inquiry on the subject of these colleges might be completed in a very short time, it was not treating the House properly to call upon them to assent to these Votes before the Report of the Commissioners was before them. If the hon. Member would divide the Committee he should certainly support him.


said, he did not rise to defend the grant, but to state that the effect of the national system of education introduced into Ireland by Lord Derby in 1833 had been to supplant the intermediate schools which used to exist in nearly every town in that country, and which afforded a good scientific and literary education, classical as well as mathematical. The consequence was that few schools now existed in which an education could be obtained to fit pupils for entering the Queen's Colleges, and the endowed schools were altogether feeders for Trinity College, Dublin.


observed, that he had no indisposition to vote a grant for the Queen's University, but he had thought it right to call attention to the fact that £240 was distributed in money, which would afford twelve exhibitions of £20 each, besides twelve gold medals. If twenty-four of the forty-eight pupils obtained these prizes, what test could the system afford of industry or acquirements? As, however, the right hon. Gentleman had given an assurance that the subject should receive attention, he (Mr. Gregory) would not vote against the grant.


said, the hon. Member for Galway county, having stated facts to induce the Committee not to assent to the Vote, now retired gracefully from opposition, and so he did not object to the grant, but only to the system. When they saw the small number of candidates who came forward to receive the benefits of an education at this university it was evident that the experiment of Sir Robert Peel had failed. He did not think, therefore, that the Committee ought to be satisfied with an assurance that an inquiry would be instituted, but that it ought to say aye or no on the present occasion.


said, that the hon. Gentleman who had addressed the House so smartly, could not have attended to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said. That right hon. Gentleman had said that a Commission had been issued, and it was for that reason that, although he objected to the present state of things, he did not wish to divide the Committee.


remarked, that he considered that the expenditure had been excessive. In six years only one engineer's diploma had been granted, and the expense for professorships, &c., had been £560 in that period.


begged the Committee to bear in mind that these establishments had been settled by Act of Parliament after careful consideration, and could not be abolished except by another Act. The Committee, therefore, would not be acting wisely, upon an incidental question of expense, to reverse the decision which had then been come to, and to take a course which would produce considerable religious differences in Ireland, as any one who heard the discussion when these colleges were established would readily understand.


said, that what he objected to was the principle that there should be two universities each conferring degrees, and yet that the degrees conferred by one should be considered inferior to those conferred by the other. He wished to know whether the Commission was to inquire into the Queen's Colleges, or into the University as well.


observed that he could not see how a question of theology could be involved. There were no professors of theology in the colleges, unless, indeed, the hon. Gentleman considered the professor of Sanscrit to be a theological professor.


said, that the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory) had spoken three times—the first time against the grant, and each succeeding time he had modified the views he had first expressed. For his own part, he thought that first impressions were the best, and he should vote against the grant.


said, that it appeared to be a general opinion that there was no necessity for those colleges, and therefore the first step towards abolishing them would be to vote against the present grant and that would of necessity be followed by an Act of Parliament.


said, he could scarcely call this system anything but jobbery. He felt called upon to raise his voice against this waste of the public money.


said, that these colleges had been established upon grounds of national policy, and that question ought not to be decided by the Committee upon a Vote relating merely to a question of expense. Questions had been raised as to various matters connected with these colleges; and as it appeared to be a somewhat prevalent opinion that they had been a failure, the Government had issued a Commission to obtain information as to the state of these colleges, and also into the condition of the Queen's University. The Report of that Commission would shortly be before the House, and he thought that it would be a very unbusiness-like proceeding, before seeing that Report, to come suddenly to the conclusion that these colleges ought no longer to be continued.


said, that if he had entertained any doubt as to the vote which he ought to give the right hon. Gentleman had removed that doubt; for surely if the Report of the Commission was about to be produced in a few weeks the Vote ought to be postponed.


said, he thought that there was a great deal to be inquired into, not only as regarded this Vote, but also with regard to the application of all the moneys voted for educational purposes in Ireland. At the same time as this grant had been continued from year to year, it would be unjust to cut it off at present, and he should therefore support the Vote, on the understanding that the whole matter would be inquired into.


said, he could not agree with his right hon. Friend. The fact that the Commission was now deliberating on its Report was a reason for at least postponing this Vote. Motion made, and Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,625, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Expenses of the Queen's University in Ireland, to the 31st day of March 1858.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 169; Noes 55: Majority 114.

Vote agreed to. (7.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £3,200, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray certain Expenses of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, to the 31st day of March 1858.

Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again."

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

The following Votes were also agreed to:

(8.) £300, Royal Irish Academy.

(9.) £200, Royal Hibernian Academy.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported this day.

Committee to sit again on Wednesday.