HC Deb 12 July 1858 vol 151 cc1266-7

said, that before Mr. Speaker left the Chair he wished to put a question to the Secretary to the Treasury. In the Estimates before the House there appeared all item of £19,296 for the repair and restoration of the British Embassy House at Paris. Would the hon. Gentleman be good enough to lay on the table the documents explanatory of this extraordinary item before the Committee were called upon to discuss it? Large sums for the repair and fitting up of the Embassy House at Paris had been voted during the last few years; and in 1856 the House became so alarmed at this expenditure that it referred these Estimates to a Select Committee, when it was thought that the whole subject would have been got rid of for years. Since the peace of 1815 no less a sum than £135,000 altogether had been spent in the purchase and repair of this Embassy House, which unfortunately was an old building when they first bought it. He had once been puzzled to conceive how so much money could have been laid out upon it; but he had since been given to understand that the sums voted by Parliament had not always been applied to the purpose for which they were intended.


said, he was not at all surprised that the additional Vote of £19,296 about to be proposed, after the heavy expenditure already incurred for the same object, should have provoked remark from the hon. Member. He should be very happy to lay on the table the reports and correspondence on which the present Vote was founded, and he could only say that the subject had formed one of anxious consideration on the part of the Government.


said, that this matter had commanded the attention of the late Government, who, after all that had taken place, were certainly surprised to receive early last winter such an account of the state of the Embassy House at Paris as the one that had been sent to them. Mr. Hunt, the surveyor of the Department of Public Works, had been sent over to Paris to inquire into the subject, and the Report ultimately made to the Treasury was that £18,000 or more would have to be expended to put the house in order. When the French architect's figures came to be tested, they amounted to a little in excess of Mr. Hunt's estimate.


inquired whether it was true that the previous Votes for the Embassy House had not been applied to the purpose for which Parliament had intended them?


said, he had not heard of any much allegation until now.