HC Deb 05 August 1859 vol 155 cc1043-5

Resolutions reported.


rose to vindicate Scotland from the charges which had been brought against her the other night as constantly attempting to get hold of the public purse. There were some Gentlemen in the House who, whenever a Vote was brought forward for a national benefit, if the locality happened to be in Scotland, denounced it as a Scotch job. That phrase was applied last night to a Vote of£12,000, which was asked for to repair an accident that had befallen a part of the national property—the Crinan Canal—which was a highway through the Highlands, and on that account was objected to, though these same Gentlemen did not hesitate to vote £300,000 for a highway across the Thames in the shape of a bridge in the neighbourhood of this House. These charges were so frequent, and made with so much confidence, that he had taken some trouble to go over the Estimates to find how much of the public money was appropriated to England, Ireland, and Scotland respectively. He found this was more difficult than he had anticipated, from the way in which the Estimates were prepared; but there was one estimate in which the sums were voted separately for each country. For the administration of justice there was voted for England £803,926; for Scotland, £129,188; and for Ireland, £856,283. He thought this was both law and justice enough for Ireland. On the Vote for Education, too, he found the account stood thus:—For England, £384,935; for Scotland, £83,920; and for Ireland, £249,468. With respect, to this last Vote he must state that Scotland never asked for it. His hon. Colleague the Lord Advocate had some years ago brought in a Bill to enable Scotland to provide for its own education out of local rates, and if that Bill had passed, as it did pass this House, the funds of the nation would have been saved this £83,000. There was not a town in the kingdom where education was more ample or more cheap than in Edinburgh, and it was only when this House began with a lavish hand to scatter the money of the country, and, in point of fact, called upon all to come and take it, that parties in Edinburgh pushed in their claim along with the rest, and he believed that the money so squandered did more harm than good. He had a word, however, to say upon another subject. He wished to direct the attention of the Government to the injury sustained by the Industrial Museum of Scotland through a misunderstanding between the Board of Education and the Board of Works. The erection of the museum in question had been decided on about five years ago, and an estimate of £40,000 had been fixed upon for that purpose. At the same time a site had been obtained, but it was not until three years ago that a sum of £10,000 was first set down in the Votes of the House with the view of carrying the object into execution; and then some economical Gentlemen came forward to oppose the Vote on the ground that money was scarce in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Vote was in consequence struck out of the Estimates, The first, which ought to have been the second grant for the museum, was agreed to last year, but the £10,000 which ought to have been voted the year before was withheld. A dispute regarding the plans, however, has sprung up between the Board of Education and the Board of Works, which effectually stopped the progress of the buildings, and the money which ought to have been expended on them was still retained in the Exchequer. This year he expected the Vote would have been again inserted in the Estimates, but he had looked for it in vain. There could be no doubt that the museum would be of great use; it was to include the practical arts, as well as science, and he had no doubt that many hard-headed Scotchmen would issue forth from studying at that museum, who would benefit not Scotland only, but England and Ireland. Some valuable specimens have already been secured for the museum. The extensive collection of that eminent naturalist Professor Edward Forbes have been obtained, and the geological museum of Hugh Miller; but they were all put away in boxes, and were of no benefit whatever till a house was got for their arrangement. But for the dispute between the two Boards to which he had referred they would have had three grants of £10,000 each by this time, the house would have been roofed in, and the people of Scotland might have derived all the education that was possible from the exhibition of these valuable collections in a building where they would be open to public inspection. He therefore begged to move that the Treasury would interfere between these two Boards, and take such steps as that the works may proceed without further delay.


seconded the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed,—"That the said Resolutions be now read a second time."

Amendment proposed,— To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'the Treasury be requested to interfere between the Board of Education and the Office of Works, in order that a proper building may be at length erected for the Industrial Museum of Scotland, on the site which was procured about five years ago,'" instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he would not attempt to follow the hon. Member in the observations he had made touching the proportion of the public expenditure allotted to Scotland, and would confine himself entirely to the substantive matter he had brought before the House. He would assure the hon. Member that no dispute now existed between the Board of Education and the Board of Works. A sum of £10,000 was voted for the Museum the year before last on account of the £40,000, and the delay which had taken place in commencing the works was owing partly to the separation of the plans, and partly to the necessity for procuring additional land. He was happy now to inform the House that the Board of Works and the Council of Education had agreed to have joint plans immediately prepared, and that as soon as they were completed orders would be given to commence the works. He had every reason to believe that they would be commenced with in a very short time.


said, that after the satisfactory answer of the right hon. Gentleman he would withdraw his Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Question again proposed, "That the said Resolutions be now read a second time."