§ Order for Second Reading read.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that in moving the second reading of this Bill, he felt it his duty to address to the House a few observations on the general character of the measure. After the termination of the Great Exhibition the Royal Commissioners found themselves in possession of a large surplus, which they were bound, by the terms of their charter, to apply to the encouragement of art and science. The Royal Commissioners, under the circumstances, prepared a Report, in which they reviewed the present condition of the institutions in this country founded for the promotion of that object to which they had to apply their own funds, and expressed their opinion with respect to the causes which had rendered those institutions on the whole less productive of advantage to the public than might reasonably have been anticipated from the magnitude of the resources placed at their disposal. It appeared that there was at present in this country a sum of not less than £250,000 a year received from public and private contributions for the promotion of art and science, but that the outlay of that money was attended with comparatively slight results, in consequence of two main causes—namely, a want of system and a want of space; and, indeed, the latter of those wants was the principal source of the former, in the judgment of the Commissioners. In reviewing the four great heads into which the Exhibition of 1851 was divided, the Commissioners pointed out the advantage which would be gained by concentrating, our artistic and scientific institutions, and they then offered to the Government of that day to apply a sum of not less than £150,000 to the purchase of land to be appropriated to the furtherance of art and science provided the Government met them with 2255 a contribution of equal amount, so that there should be devoted altogether to that purpose a suns of £300,000. That proposal having been accepted by the Government and sanctioned by Parliament, the Commissioners proceeded to purchase a considerable piece of land in the vicinity of Kensington. He had, however, to observe that in the year 1851, and previously to that proceeding, a Committee of that House, which had been appointed to inquire into the subject of the National Gallery, had reported that it was not expedient to increase the accommodation which the present building in Trafalgar Square afforded for the accommodation of pictures and works of art, and had expressed their disapproval of the site of that building. In consequence of that Report the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 had proceeded to inquire what would be the best site for a National Gallery, and had selected for that purpose the large space they had subsequently, purchased at Kensington Gore. In the year 1853 a new department of science and art had been established, and the Government of that day had applied to the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851, who had purchased that site with the sanction of the Treasury, and in co-partnership, as it were, with the preceding Ministry, for accommodation for the new school which was about to be established; and the mansion known as Gore House, which had since been pulled down, was given up by the Commissioners at a nominal rent for that purpose, although its real value was rather considerable, and amounted to £600 or £800 a year. At a subsequent period, when the museums of art were obliged to leave Marlborough House, the Royal Commissioners allotted a piece of land, twelve acres in extent, for the purpose of erecting a museum, and the House of Commons voted £15,000 for the purpose. The success of that institution was eminent. As many people, if not more, had visited that museum as visited the British Museum. He mentioned these circumstances to show that the original intention of the Royal Commissioners with regard to art and science was a wel1-digested scheme, which it was very probable would have succeeded. Subsequently to this period another Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to inquire into the conduct and management of the National Gallery generally. They reported against 2256 the present site of the National Gallery; they indicated the conditions which they thought were essential for a good site, and they clearly pointed to the neighbourhood of Kensington, which, if he were not mistaken, they specifically mentioned. A Royal Commission was then appointed to inquire as to a site, and their Report was quite in unison with the plan of the Commissioners; and until 1856 the general tone of their proceedings in Parliament indicated an intention ultimately, if not rapidly, to fulfil the designs of the Royal Commissioners, so that on that large piece of ground which had been purchased by the united funds of the Royal Commissioners and the Government in the vicinity of Kensington, there should have been erected the public museums of science and the galleries of art in juxtaposition, as originally contemplated. But in 1856 a very great change occurred. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) who took a very active and useful and distinguished part in questions of this nature, moved an Address to the Crown for a Royal Commission to inquire into the best site for the National Gallery. That Motion, which it must be remembered, was made at a time when it was clearly understood that the new National Gallery should be erected at Kensington Gore, was carried, and a Royal Commission was again appointed. Whatever might have been the cause, or the accident, which led to the result of the Parliamentary division, there could be no doubt that the decision of the Royal Commissioners was one gravely arrived at after due deliberation and investigation; and it was not only against building a new National Gallery on the Kensington estate, but against removing it from its present site. Having arrived at that point it became necessary that the Commissioners and the Government should consider what was the advantage of keeping a large amount of money in the unsatisfactory state of investment in which it had been for the last five years. The Commissioners naturally complained of the position in which they were placed. They said that they had not been allowed to fulfil any of the original intentions of the charter under which they acted, and that the only return that they had received for their capital had been a moiety of the scanty rents which a few houses on the estate and some ground let for grazing purposes could 2257 yield. At the same time, while they expressed their readiness completely to carry out the original intentions of 1852, they also stated their willingness to put an end to the barren partnership which had existed so long with no beneficial result between the Government and themselves. That was a proposition which appeared to demand the serious consideration of the Government. They were not prepared to take any steps to carry into effect the original plans of 1852, for they looked upon the decision of the Commissioners with respect to the site of the National Gallery as conclusive. They thought it inexpedient that there should be more Committees or Commissions, for they were aware that the national collection had already greatly suffered front the long-continued unsatisfactory state of affairs, and under these circumstances they thought it best to accept the second branch of the proposition of the Commissioners if they could agree to the terms on which the partnership should be terminated. The terms offered by the Commissioners were these:—That the capital which had been advanced by the Government, amounting to about £177,500, should be repaid by the Commissioners, and that there should be added to it half of the rents and other proceeds which had been received during the interval of those five unsatisfactory and unproductive years, making altogether a sum of about £182,000. That proposal Her Majesty's Government had felt bound to accept, and therefore it was the object of the Bill to dissever the partnership between the Commissioners and the Government on the terms which he had just detailed. In the discussion which had taken place upon this subject a short time back in the Committee of Supply, although every one appeared desirous that the partnership should terminate, one hon. Member expressed an opinion that the Royal Commissioners should not be allowed to escape from their engagement unless they consented to pay interest on the money which had been advanced to them more than five years ago; but that was a position which in his (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) opinion could not be sustained. The money had been lying useless all that time, as the Commissioners complained—and justly complained—in consequence of no fault upon their parts, and the Government had no right to expect interest on a sum held under such circumstances. Another proposition had also 2258 been made which he thought would not bear the test of a close examination. It was that the Government should receive not merely their capital back, but a sum which bore a nearer relation to the increased value of the land since it had been originally purchaded, five years ago. There could be no doubt that the land had very much increased in value, but it was only as applicable to building purposes that it had done so. It was more valuable to any speculative builder who was going to cover it with streets and squares and crescents; but it was not more valuable to the Royal Commissioners or to any one who was going to act in pursuance of the object of their charter for the encouragement of art and science; because, although the connection between the Government and themselves was about to cease, the Royal Commissioners had by no means given up the fulfilment of their original design, and it was still their object to achieve as nearly as possible the plan which he, on the part of the Government, had explained to the House in 1852. It would therefore be most unfair and ungenerous to exact from the Royal Commissioners an increased sum upon the assumption that the value of land in the neighbourhood had increased. Moreover, if they did so they would prevent the Royal Commissioners from accomplishing those public objects which, but for the interference of the House, would have been sooner accomplished. It would be difficult enough for the Royal Commissioners to execute all their plans, left as they now were to their own resources. There was only one other point to which he wished to call the attention of the House. The first clause proposed the general arrangements which he had explained. The second referred to that plot of ground—about twelve and a half acres—which had been used by the Government for the erection of those museums and schools of art which were originally located at Marlborough Rouse. By the second clause it was proposed that the land occupied by the Department of Science and Art, which was a public department of the administration of this country, might be retained for that department under certain conditions. The Government recommended the House to adopt this arrangement—that as long as that land was occupied by that department, as at present, no rent should be paid for it; the Royal Commissioners deducting from 2259 the purchase money were about to repay a certain sum representing the value of those twelve and a half acres. He was advised that the sum which might thus be deducted would be about £60,000. That value of the land was founded, not on the principle of paying for the land at an increased value, but upon the estimate formed when it was originally purchased. The original price paid for this plot was about £50,000 and at a subsequent period, it being of importance that a portion of the land near the Oratory towards the Brompton road should be purchased by the Commissioners, and the Government not being at the time prepared to make any further advances, a plot of land which cost about £2,000 was purchased. After that it became necessary to make roads throughout this property, and a sum of £20,000 had been expended upon those roads. He was sure that any hon. Gentleman who had seen those roads—and he had no doubt that most present had—would bear testimony to the admirable manner in which they had been executed. Of that sum of £20,000 the Royal Commissioners had supplied £14,000, the rest having been contributed by private individuals. That expenditure must have increased the value of that portion of the 12½ acres where the museums were established by £7,000 or £8,000. In addition to that the Royal Commissioners had, he believed, expended £5,000 or £6,000 upon the museums, besides £15,000 voted by Parliament, and it bad been given to him as a fair estimate, without the slightest reference to the increase in the value of the land since the original purchase, that a sum of about £60,000 should be thus temporarily deducted from the purchase-money to be re-paid by the Royal Commissioners. He had now placed before the House generally the object of the Bill. He thought that the termination of this partnership would be of great public advantage, and hoped that when it was terminated the Royal Commissioners of the Exhibition of 1851 would be freed from the trammels which had existed too long, and be able to accomplish their original purposes. He was confident that the accomplishment of those purposes would tend to advance the interests of art and science in this country.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BRISCOE
said, he wished to ex- 2260 press his satisfaction at hearing that the site of the National Gallery was not to be changed. At least he hoped he might take it for granted that such was the determination of the Government. Such an announcement would be received by the public with the greatest possible satisfaction; if the collection was removed to Kensington the rich might be able to enjoy it, but the great object of public improvement would be entirely defeated.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, he had imagined that the partnership with the Royal Commissioners was entirely to be dissolved, but he was sorry to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that that was not the fact, inasmuch as the country was to pay £60,000 at least for continuing that system of promoting art and science which ought to be maintained solely at the expense of the Royal Commissioners. He did not wish at all to discourage art, but the advantages of its promotion were so remote, so far as the working classes of this country were concerned, that he thought they ought not to be taxed for its promotion. Without going further into the subject just now, he would only say he should not oppose the second reading, but when they came to consider it in Committee he should certainly object to the second clause, and should move to terminate that partnership by which arts and sciences were to be supported at the expense of the working classes of the whole empire. He should also desire to know the exact sum that had been expended upon the land and buildings in question. The original sum voted was £150,000, which they were told would be the final demand; but since then there had been two other grants. He must protest against the money raised by taxation on the working classes being expended in such schemes as those which the partnership between the Exhibition Commissioners and the Government had led them into.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
remarked, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in one part of his speech had stated that the partnership was an unsatisfactory arrangement for the Commissioners, but in the later portion of his speech the right hon. Gentleman showed that the partnership had not been so unfortunate for them, considering the increased value of the land which they had bought. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had not stated how the money was to be raised by the Commissioners to repay the advances made by the nation; 2261 but it was rumoured that they intended to borrow the money and then to sell some portion of the land to repay the loan. He thought the Government would best consult the interests of the country if having become possessed of a valuable site for national building purposes, they abstained from parting with it. After allowing the Royal Commissioners all the ground they would require, there would still remain sufficient to be applied to national purposes, and when they remembered the amount given for Burlington House and the continual demands of the Government for further accommodation, he thought this was an opportunity that ought not to be allowed to escape them. In the name of the whole country he protested against all the advantages accruing from dissolution of partnership going to one party—the Commissioners; and he certainly should feel inclined, in Committee, to take the sense of the House upon the subject.
§ MR. PALK
said, he could not agree with the observations of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) to the effect that it was a misapplication of public money to expend it in objects of art or science. Upon the contrary, he believed the efforts made of late years by the Government, the nation, and private individuals had done much to improve the tastes of the people, and to advance the education of the industrial portion of the community. The more the arts and sciences were fostered the more would the education of the working classes be improved and their employment increased, and by that means alone would the standing reproach against our manufactures—our inferiority of taste and design, be removed. He would be glad if some arrangement could have been made whereby all the objects of art belonging to the nation could have been collected together in some place accessible to all classes, and as Trafalgar Square was inadequate for that purpose, he had hoped that the site at Brompton would have been available for that purpose, and the objection to its remoteness from the centre of London could have been obviated by the projected railway system throughout London. However, as the House desired to break up the partnership, he hoped they would at least deal fairly and liberally with the Exhibition Commissioners, and not haggle about the increased value of the land, for it 2262 should be remembered that if the land at Kensington had increased in value, that was owing to the judicious roads which the Royal Commissioners had constructed, and the way in which the grounds were laid out, and therefore he did not think the country ought to demand an advantage from this property which it did not possess when it was first bought, and which they had done nothing to improve. He looked upon this as a working man's question, and, he, for one, would give every facility to the education of the working man.
§ MR. ALCOCK
said, he was glad to learn that the partnership with the Royal Commissioner was now about to be dissolved, but he thought some allowance ought to be made for the increased value of the land. That land, which was bought for £300,000, was now worth £600,000. But if the land was to be devoted to public purposes he would not be disposed so much to complain. He might take that opportunity of asking what was now proposed to be done with respect to the public offices. He repeated, if the land were to be devoted to that purpose, or to purposes of science and art, he would not complain, but he certainly thought that every penny of the money paid by the Treasury ought to be reimbursed to them; and secondly, that if this partnership were to be dissolved, it ought to be dissolved totally and entirely.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, when the House went into Committee no doubt full explanations would be given as to those various items. He thought, however, the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) was mistaken in the view he took of the second clause. The ground purchased by the Royal Commissioners had been paid for partly with money granted by the State, and partly with money collected at the Crystal Palace. It surely could not be expected that the Commissioners should be obliged to give up to the State land that they had purchased with the money derived from the latter source. Yet, such would be the effect of the hon. Member's proposal. Whether or not it was desirable that the whole estate should be purchased, or whether a part should be left in the way suggested by the second clause, was a point worthy of consideration. Whatever course was taken, fair terms ought to be given to the Commissioners, who had a public object in view. Having received this money in trust, 2263 the Commissioners were desirous of using it first to repay what was owing to the state, and next to lay out the rest in a mode that would enable them to meet the cost of erecting such buildings for the purposes of science and art as would be useful to the public. Of course they could not do this without disposing of a part of the land upon building leases or otherwise. When the Bill came to be discussed in Committee, he believed it would be found that the transaction proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a perfectly fair one.
§ MR. JOSEPH LOCKE
said, he had, like his hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire, been rather misled as to the object of this Bill. He certainly thought that the object was the entire dissolution of the partnership between the Commissioners and the State; but it now appeared that that was not the case. The buildings stood upon ground purchased by the Royal Commissioners, and if the partnership was to be dissolved, he thought the buildings ought to go with the land. If he understood the proposition, it was that £60,000 should be set apart by the Commissioners, and be repaid by a deduction to that amount from the capital to be repaid to the country. If that were so, instead of getting interest on their capital, they would not get back the capital itself. He thought they should not have any further connection with the land. The royal Commissioners had improved the land, and now that the partnership was to be dissolved, they would be entitled to the whole value of it, and also the buildings upon it, and in his opinion it would be well to let the Commissioners take those buildings off their hands. The project was that of the Commissioners, and not that of the State. He had divided against the expenditure of this public money, and he should now call for an entire dissolution.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
said, wherever the subject of buildings for national purposes was discussed there was always great confusion as to the objects for which they were required. In this case it appeared that the Royal Commissioners had made the mistake of compounding together two things than which none could be more dissimilar—he meant science and art. In science everything was capable of demonstration; in art nothing was capable of demonstration. The country at large had a direct interest in science, which could be 2264 made immediately profitable. For example, the building which had been erected in Piccadilly for the cultivation of geology was unquestionably one of the best mining schools in the kingdom, and was of immense practical utility. What, however, had that to do with art? The cause of all the mischief was owing to people who had got, he knew not how, a great reputation for understanding art—a reputation which, nevertheless, did not last long, for they soon committed some egregious blunder, and then their reputation went down as fast as it had risen. These persons came to mix together two things that were wholly distinct, and, of course, spoilt the one without benefiting the other. The buildings appropriated to science ought to be kept entirely separate from those devoted to art.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, he could not but agree with preceding speakers that this dissolution of partnership was a mere dissolution in name. He would remind the House that the Sheepshanks' Collection of Pictures was national property, and yet formed the nucleus of a collection at Kensington. There had been so much juggling in this whole matter that he could not avoid viewing every step that was now taken with some suspicion, though he thought they might now rest satisfied that the National Gallery would remain in Trafalgar Square. He thought the retention of the piece of ground alluded to most ob-objectionable, and he would, therefore, divide against the second clause in Committee.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr) Spooner) and other hon. Members had complained in effect that the proposed dissolution of partnership did not do away with the Department of Science and Art, They appeared to forget that the Department of Science and Art existed long before the Exhibition. The partnership which was about to be dissolved arose merely from the advance of a certain sum of money by the Government to the Royal Commissioners to enable them to purchase land for a certain purpose. On repayment being made the partnership would be dissolved, although the Government might retain a portion of the land as part payment. He might also remark, that nothing had occurred year by year, in the continuance of the grants that had been made to the Department of Science and Art, that did not lead them to suppose that the 2265 country had been greatly benefited by them. The interests of the country in the promotion of art, manufacture, and trade, had been materially benefited by the stimulus that the liberality of Government had given. The present debate, however, was departing from the strict limits of the proposition contained in the Bill before the House, and would more appropriately take place when the Vote was moved for the Department of Practical Science and Art. He (the hon. Member) hoped on that occasion to give a satisfactory statement to the House to as the present condition of that department, and one which he thought would not lead to the confirmation of what the hon. Member for Warwickshire had said.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he was of opinion that the Government had acted wisely in not transferring the National Gallery to Kensington Gore. Wether the site it at present occupied was the best he would not enter on at that moment, but as he (the noble Lord) understood this Bill, it was simply to dissolve partnership between the Commissioners and the Government. The clause to which objection had been taken in no way militated against the principle, because it was a question whether the clause would ever come into operation. The clause only enabled the country, in the event of its being desirable to retrain a portion of the ground for the purpose of the Department of Science and Art at Kensington, to purchase that portion of the land so much less by receiving money from the Royal Commissioners. That question must depend on the further question whether it was desirable that the country should have that department. It had been stated that the Department of Science and Art sprung out of the Great Exhibition of 1851, but in reality it arose out of a Committee, appointed some years ago, to inquire into the arts and manufactures of this country. He would not say that Kensington was the proper place for such a department, but he thought the Government ought to retain in its hands the power of being able to take land for this or any other purpose, or in the event of its being desirable to remove the present inconvenient barracks at Knightsbridge. The question as to whether it was desirable to do this or to go to the expense of a locality for the Department of Practical Art was foreign to the question before the House.
said, that no doubt there 2266 was something plausible in the idea suggested by the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. J. Locke), that when Government gave up the interest in the land, it should give up all interest in the buildings, at South Kensington; but a few minutes' consideration would show that this was impossible and out of the question, as there were a number of art institutions in connection with the department that could not be dissociated from the central establishment. There were also normal schools, in which elementary knowledge of drawing and other arts were taught, and afterwards disseminated throughout local schools of art throughout the country. It had been said that South Kensington was situated at an inconvenient distance from the centre of the metropolis. The schools of art must have a locality, and as regarded the working classes, it had been found that the numbers attending the department were quite as great as when it was at Marlborough House. It should also be remembered that they could not give up the other collections without committing a breach of trust with Mr. Sheepshanks, who granted his noble collection of pictures on the condition that it should not be within town, but at South Kensington. The hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) had said that the combination of science and art in this department was improper. It, was true they were two branches of study, land that they were not to be confounded together, but it was a mistaken inference that they were not to be combined together; and he believed that there were few public museums—such as the British Museum, the South Kensington, and the Geological—in which this was not the case. Any one who read the Reports and traced the practical progress of these departments would discover that they had given an impetus to practical art and manufacture in this country since their establishment such as could not be claimed by any other country in Europe. In fact, such advances had been made in this respect that persons who had the direction of the art schools in France had signified their intention of copying some portions of our system which they considered better than their own.
§ MR. W. EWART
said, he could confirm the statement that the Department of Practical Art had sprung out of a Committee, which had been appointed at his instance, in 1836, and not out of the Great Exhibition; and its normal schools were the in- 2267 strumentalities by which masters were provided for the provinces. Through them, in process of time, he thought that this country, from being one of the lowest in the sphere of art and manufacture, would become one of the highest.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that he could not help remarking that the assertion of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper), that South Kensington was a convenient site for the central school of art, appeared to him contrary to common sense. The fact was, that the South Kensington Museum had been established where it was because it was convenient to a few privileged people connected with the department of science and art. He quite understood that there were some people, and very great people, who would not like to go into the centre of London—into Smithfield for instance—but who did not mind driving through the park to South Kensington; but in his (the hon. Member's) opinion, the museum had been planted there without any regard to the wants or convenience of the industrious classes. He thought it would be to the public advantage that they should entirely get rid of the museum at South Kensington, and that the money should be employed under the direction of Government, so that we might have a school of art and manufacture in the centre of the metropolis, and within a reasonable distance of those who devoted there lives to the pursuits which the institution was specially intended to foster.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he concurred in what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Ayrton), and he could testify to the fact that the distance of the Architectural Museum and its casts from the metropolis was most inconvenient to the working men of the metropolis, although, rather than not study them at all, the students would tramp to Kensington, though they would rather, to suit their convenience, they had remained at Cannon Row. He did not think that this discussion was at all premature or fruitless, although the desirability of a national school of design, and its lodgment at Kensington, were two distinct questions.
observed, that the second clause appeared not to be clearly understood. The Bill really did provide for the ultimate and permanent dissolution of partnership, subject only to the proviso as to the land and buildings. If the House of Commons determined next year that the 2268 museums should be removed, it would be perfectly consistent with the clause that this should be done, although there were certain conditions connected with the erection of these buildings which it would be necessary should be seen into. Another reason why the House of Commons should retain an interest in the land was on account of the large sum of money they had already expended on these buildings. He (Mr. Wilson) was of opinion that whatever money was paid on the part of the public ought not to be in the ratio of its present value, but according to its original price. No one would begrudge the Royal Commissioners any profit they might make on the transaction, provided it was clearly understood that the objects fur which this property were to be used should be purely public objects.
§ MR. A. SMITH
was understood to say that it seemed to be indefinite whether the Commissioners had not the power of still selling part of the estate. He understood the reason why they were to have this land at the original price was, that they were to be restricted from making it available for other purposes.
§ MR. CROSSLEY
said, it had been laid down by hon. Members that thay were very much indebted to these schools of design for the advancement of manufactures. Now, as a manufacturer of considerable experience, he could not help expressing his conviction that these departments for the promotion of art and manufacture were perfectly useless; and although he was in favour of that House dealing liberally with them, he thought they were going out of their beat when they began to be manufacturers; for it was notorious that the Government were the worst manufacturers and farmers, as well as designers, in the country. He thought they should leave the manufacturers to furnish their own designs, in which case it would be found that they would succeed quite as well without, while a great deal of expense would be saved in the high salaries paid to the teachers at these schools.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
assured his hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) that he had misconceived what he said. What he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) stated, and what really was the fact, was that this Bill was a complete dissolution of partnership. There was not the slightest connection between the Royal Commissioners 2269 and the Museum and schools located at South Kensington. The Commissioners had no more to do with the institutions than had his hon. Friend the Member for Warwickshire; and so far as this arrangement was concerned, the Commissioners would be perfectly willing to fulfil to the letter the arrangement for which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was responsible; but they, of course, demand, as a condition, that if they gave the Government the whole of the money, and took the whole of the land, they should have the use of the land; and therefore they required from the Government that they should find a museum for the Sheepshanks' Gallery, that they should find receptacles for the schools, and places where all these artistic and scientific collections should be lodged. It was not in the power of the Government to do this at present. They had not the means of finding accommodation available for museums and schools and galleries of a character similar to those that were at the South Kensington Museum, and therefore he made an arrangement and was responsible for the second clause which had been drawn up solely with a view to the interests of the public. One of the objects of that clause was to provide against injury to these public collections arising from any sudden change in that convenience that had been hitherto enjoyed; and that whenever it terminated, the public should be guarded from any too large sum being demanded for the land. If this clause were not included, they would not only not have this convenience, but they might have a demand for £90,000 made upon them; but by leaving the complete power to the Treasury, the public interest would be secured. He only mentioned the sum of £60,000, because he wished there should be perfect candour towards the House upon the question of carrying this into effect, and he took it as the maximum price, but the principle on which the sum was to be settled was an approximation as near as possible to the original price given. They could not fix the precise sum, because there had been additional purchases since by the Royal Commissioners, and there had been considerable outlay on the roads connected with the land; therefore, he only wished the House to understand that the dissolution of partnership was complete, that all these collections of science and art that had been the subject of so much criticism had nothing to do with the Royal Commissioners, who would be the landlords of their own property. Unless he had made 2270 this condition on the part of the Government, the country would have been obliged to pay an enormous rent, and to make a provisional arrangement that might terminate in six or twelve months. The object of the Royal Commissioners was virtually to carry into effect the original plans which, on the part of the Government and Royal Commissioners, he explained in 1852; but Government could not tie down the Commissioners by severe restrictions in the difficult and delicate position in which they were now placed. They must trust to the general expression of their charter. They must recollect their conduct and declarations as individuals; and if they could not trust to the declarations of those who were now acting on the Royal Commission, they could not trust to the engagement of any men. There was one condition in connection with this matter which was always contemplated, and for which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was responsible, that the outlying portion of the estate should be let out on building leases, in order that there should be sufficient income arising from the land to secure the advantages that the Government desired. The main plot of ground would be applied solely for this purpose. No part of the property would be sold. If some of the outlying portions were let on building leases, it was always contemplated, and it was a condition that the amount of the rents should be appropriated to the purposes of art and science. But the great design would, he hoped, be effected—a design it was the intention of the Royal Commission to accomplish, and for which object their plans were prepared. There would be a space of ground, an ornamental park or garden, not less in size than the enclosed area of St. James's Park, and around it would be grouped museums and galleries, the receptacles of valuable artistic and scientific collections. These results would be brought about by private and individual enterprise and energy, and if these objects were accomplished he was sure the House would never regret assenting to the Bill, the more especially as it would secure, as had been stated, a self-supporting institution. In conclusion, he would repeat that there was no wish nor intention on the part of the Royal Commissioners or the Government which was not frankly expressed in the Bill. It was a bonâ fide proposition, and he trusted the House would give it its support.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for To-morrow.