§ House in committee.
§ Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £3, 035, Embassy Houses &c., Abroad.
§ MR. DODSON
asked under whose authority the repairs of the embassy house at Constantinople were conducted?
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
saw no reason why our Ambassador at Constantinople should have two establishments. It was a mere waste of public money.
said, that at certain seasons of the year the ambassador found it necessary to go to Therapia for sanitary reasons, and he presumed the health of our Minister at Constantinople was of some importance to the country. Besides, there was convenience in it, as the ministers of other countries went to Therapia at the same time, and diplomatic correspondence could, therefore, be more easily carried on. The repairs had been conducted by a clerk of the works, who resided on the spot, and who acted under the orders of the Board of Works at home.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, there was no one who saw the two residences who would not prefer that at Pera to that at Therapia. It was not correct to say that the other ambassadors had residences at Therapia. The Austrian Ambassador had not; he doubted if the Russian Ambassador had. The British Minister never went there till his residence at Constantinople was burnt down some years since. He then took a residence at Therapia, and continues it ever since.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that the British Legation at Pekin occupied buildings extending over four acres and a half, all of which were in a state of dilapidation. He saw in these Estimates no charge for them.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also
§ (2.) £2,982, The British Consulate, Constantinople.
§ (3.) £53,000, Westminster Bridge Approaches.
§ (4.) £3,914, New Westminster Bridge.
§ MR. ALDERMAN SALOMONS
asked whether the estates belonging to Westminster Bridge were sold, or whether the revenues from them were brought into the account?
said, that the Bridge estates were not sold. The revenue from them would be found in the Finance Accounts.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also
§ (5.) £8,200, General Register House, Edinburgh.
§ (6.) £11,200, Industrial Museum, Edinburgh.
§ (7.) £6,870, Aberdeen University.
stated that the works, the cost of which would be defrayed out of the Vote, were those which were contemplated in the year 1858, when the Vote was first proposed. The title of the Vote included the word "renovations," because the south wing of King's College was in a dilapidated state. and it was proposed to pull it down and build a new wing, which would be appropriated to class rooms. None of the money would be spent upon the erection of a new library or of professors' houses.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) £800, Window in Glasgow Cathedral.
said, he wished to ask for some explanation of the Vote. In 1858 a Vote of £400 was taken for the subject; but it was not spent, and was paid back into the Treasury last year, and now the sum of £800 was required. He wanted to know why the public should be called on to pay for stained glass in the east window of Glasgow Cathedral. It appeared that the matter was first taken up by voluntary subscriptions. If that subscription had failed, or if the estimate had been exceeded, which was usually the case, that might be laid on the parties, but it was opening up a new and a large question to say that the public should be called upon to make good the deficiency. He was not 316 anxious to run one country against another, but he should be glad to have the principle settled, because he knew of a cathedral in Ireland the authorities of which would be very glad of a public grant for a stained-glass window, and which he had no doubt would be equally acceptable to the congregation.
said, that Glasgow Cathedral was public property, and the State derived revenue from the Cathedral lands, and it, therefore, seemed right that Her Majesty, who was the owner, should join with others in the subscription which had been set on foot to pay the expenses of its ornamentation. They had often heard that property had "its duties as well as its rights," and this was one of the duties which arose from the possession of this cathedral. The principle of the Vote had already been affirmed by the House, but the sum voted in 1856 (£400) was found insufficient, and had not been spent. Three years having elapsed since the time when that money was voted, it had been returned to the Exchequer, and it was now necessary to revote the whole sum required. The public faith had been pledged that the nation would act with those who had subscribed for this object, and he was sure that the House would not wish to withdraw from that pledge. Great interest had been excited with respect to this matter in Scotland, and it would be a discredit that the State should decline to join with persons who had gone to great expense for the ornamentation of this cathedral in carrying out a work which would not be merely for local advantage, but would tend to the promotion of the fine arts throughout the United Kingdom.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he thought it most unjust that the public should be called upon to vote money for such a purpose. The right hon. Gentleman was not content with the former Vote of £400, but he now required it to be doubled.
MR. HARVEY LEWIS
said, that if the property was Her Majesty's and Her Majesty had to subscribe to the fund for the window, he could not see the necessity for coming to the House. He should like to know if it were intended that this should be a precedent? He confessed he could not see, if it were once done, how the House could refuse to do it again.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, the hon. 317 Member appeared to forget that Her Majesty did not receive the rents of Royal properties in Scotland and elsewhere, but that the net proceeds were paid into the Exchequer, and, consequently, that the only proper way of sanctioning any expenditure was by a vote of the House of Commons, upon which, therefore, rested the obligation of discharging the duties in connection with that property. He could not refrain from expressing his admiration of the signal munificence of the Scotch noblemen and gentlemen who had contributed a sum amounting to £8,000 or £10,000 for the embellishment of the cathedral. In the annals of modern art no circumstance of a more creditable character was mentioned. It would be strange if the Crown, speaking by the voice of the House of Commons, declined to give a sum of £800 to complete so magnificent a work.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, that the Vote showed the inconvenience which arose from the severance of the Commission of Public Works and the Woods and Forests. The receipts from the Glasgow Cathedral went into the accounts of the woods and Forests, and, considering the strange things done by the Woods and Forests sometimes, he could scarcely understand why they had not contributed to this window. The other windows had been filled up by subscription, and only one remained, and though this right hon. Friend said it was desirable, considering it as a work of art, that this window should be filled up, he (Mr. A. Smith) confessed he had never seen a painted window that was worth looking at. He should, therefore, move that the Vote be cut out.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, he remembered very distinctly when the Department of Woods and Forests was also the Department of Works, and a great deal was said annually in that House on the inconvenience of combining a department of revenue with a department of expenditure. The consequence was that a Committee of the House recommended the separation of those departments, and they were separated by Act of Parliament with general approval. The result was that the small revenues attached to the ancient cathedral of Glasgow, which were part of the land revenue of the Crown, appeared in the accounts of that revenue, and were annually laid before the House, and of course if there were any payments to be made for the cathedral they ought to be voted by the House.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he was afraid the House did not quite understand the position of this question. There was no call on the House to complete the subscription, as if the subscription which had been entered into had failed. The question stood thus. A number of noblemen and gentlemen had undertaken to fill the windows of the cathedral with stained glass. His (Mr. Blackburn's) own family had taken one window; Mr. Bond, as they had heard, had also taken one. There was no difficulty in getting families to take all the windows, the east window as well as the rest; but as the cathedral was Crown property it was thought only proper that one window should be reserved for the Crown. But let there be no misunderstanding; if the House thought proper to refuse that call on it to improve its own property, as well as to contribute to the advancement of the fine arts, there were many families in Scotland who would be proud to step into their place.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, the amount asked for was small, but the principle was of great importance. If the money came into the hands of the Woods and Forests they should have contributed. The difference between Scotch gentlemen and the House of Commons was that they contributed their own property but Parliament was dealing with the property of the nation.
§ MR. BUXTON
said, he would remind the Committee that there was a distinction between that cathedral and the English cathedrals. They belonged to public bodies in the Church—the cathedral at Glasgow was the property of the Crown.
said, that at the Reformation the Church property in Scotland came into the hands of the State, and did not, as in England, remain in other hands. The income from the Church estate in Glasgow was paid into the Consolidated Fund, and it was in respect of a portion of the property of the State that the Vote was proposed. The income from the Church lands did not go to the Sovereign, but was part of the imperial revenue. [Cries of "What is the amount?"] The amount was stated in the reports of the Woods and Forests, but they were not at that moment on the table of the House.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he wished to mention, as one proof of the value of the property, that £1,200 a year, which used 319 to be devoted from the fund to the Glasgow College, had lately been retained by the Government.
§ MR. H. BAILLIE
said, it was not only the Church lands of Glasgow, but all over Scotland, that were now in the hands of the Crown.
§ MR. CRUM EWING
said, if the House would give up the amount of the rents to Glasgow the citizens would be very glad to keep their cathedral in repair without troubling this House.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
observed that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests spent large sums of money without making any application to the House.
§ MR. MACKIE
was understood to say that if the Crown refused to take part in this magnificent work the people of Glasgow would retain all the credit to themselves.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, that it was of great importance if there were any outlays that they should be voted by the House, and not expended on the authority of the Woods and Forests. It was very important that every grant of public money should be brought before the House. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the time when the departments were divided, but unfortunately the Woods and Forests was not represented in that House, and they knew very well that sums were spent by the Woods and Forests without authority from that House, and hon. Gentlemen opposite might consider that the money might have been spent without coming to that House.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he would remind the hon. Baronet that at the time the change was made in the departments it was distinctly arranged that the Woods and Forests should be under the immediate control of the Treasury, and should be represented in the House by the Secretary to the Treasury; and that regulation was still in force. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Works, therefore, ought not to be called to account, because he was unable to furnish details of matters which were really not under his control.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding £800, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of placing a Stained Glass Window in Glasgow Cathedral, in the year ending the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 159; Noes 51: Majority 108.
§ Vote agreed to.320
§ (9.) £413, Examination of Plan and Estimate for Main Drainage of London.
said, that the explanation of the Vote was that it was to defray the expenses in connection with a Report made by two engineers, Mr. Simpson and Captain Dalton. The account had been sent in in 1858, but from various circumstances those gentlemen did not appear to have pressed their claim until lately. The Government declined to pay them the full amount, but considering that they had made the Report in reply to attacks on their previous statements, it was thought but fair that they should be paid the expenses that they were actually out of pocket but they were not to receive anything for the employment of their own time.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, be observed that something like £9,000 or £10,000 had been expended in these inquiries about matters in which the Metropolitan Board of Works was concerned. He hoped the Committee would draw this moral from that fact, namely, that the less the Government interfered in future with the management of metropolitan works the better for the public. He said this because a great metropolitan question was now pending—namely, the Thames Embankment. He trusted the Government would be induced to leave that work to the Metropolitan Board of Works, and would not interfere with that body in the way that previous Governments had done, which had drawn down upon the country that expenditure of which they were now asked to vote so large an item.
said, the engineers employed were not public officers. They were only engineers employed to do this work. The account was sent in, but could not be placed on the Votes of last year, and so was thrown now upon the Votes of the present year.
§ Vote agreed to; as was also
§ (10.) £3,000, National Gallery, Dublin.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £160,000, be granted to Her Majesty, towards defraying the Expense of constructing certain Harbours of Refuge, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ MR. BAXTER
remarked that he was glad to observe a greater disposition on the 321 part of the House to reduce the expenditure than had existed for some years past. He wished to call the attention of the Committee to what he considered to be the greatest blot in these Estimates, and be intended, by taking the sense of the Committee upon the question, to endeavour to put an end to the great and ridiculous expenditure that was going on at Alderney, He submitted to the good sense of the Committee whether they ought not to try to stop this expenditure, and thus prevent good money being thrown away after bad, even although it was humiliating to confess in the sight of our neighbours across the Channel, that we had been guilty of great folly? It stirred one with indignation to examine the various plans that had been from time to time submitted in the interest of engineers and contractors, with the view of making a harbour at Alderney. He held in his hand a remarkable document, entitled Alderney; a Sketch, presented to the Select Committee which sat last year on the Miscellaneous Estimates, and which gave particulars with regard to five plans which at various times had been submitted with respect to this harbour. The first plan was devised in 1848, at an estimated cost of £620,000. In 1850, there was another plan, at a cost of £880,000. In 1854, there was a further extension proposed, at an estimated cost of £1,300,000. In 1857, there was a still further extension, at an estimated cost of £1,850,000, and those plans were followed up in 1858 with the greatest plan of all, at an estimated cost of no less than £2,000,000. He desired to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that, of all these various plans, only one had been submitted for the consideration and approval of Parliament—namely, the plan of 1848, which was also the smallest plan. He had the honour of sitting last year on the Committee on the Miscellaneous Expenditure of the Country, and they had rather remarkable evidence given on the subject of Alderney. Sir Richard Bromley stated that the control of the Treasury over the expenditure was nominal, and the Admiralty had no control whatever. The Civil Lord of the Admiralty told the Committee precisely the same thing, and made the remarkable statement that the stones at Alderney were thrown into 120 feet of water without any sort of independent measurement whatever. It was rumoured that the Government were in possession of a Report of an officer of some standing, to the effect that 322 the best thing which could be done with Alderney, in the event of a war breaking out with France and England—which God forbid—would be to blow it up altogether. As a harbour of observation, being out of view of Cherbourg, it was useless; and he had heard military authorities state that it was useless as a harbour of defence, as the country could never supply a sufficient number of soldiers to man the fortifications. He wished to impress upon the House of Commons its duty, as guardian of the public purse, to take the initiative in this matter by withholding the Supplies. The Vote for Alderney was not taken as a military Vote, but they were asked to vote the money for it as a harbour of refuge. He put it to the common sense of every hon. Member of that House if there ever was such a misnomer. Every person must know that Alderney, as a harbour of refuge, was, and would always be, totally useless. He was sure there was not a shipowner in that House who did not know that his vessel would be far safer beating about in the Bay of Biscay, under any circumstances, than if she were to make the harbour of Alderney; and he was sure his hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay) would dismiss any captain who ran one of his ships there for refuge. The noble Duke at the head of the Admiralty had stated that fourteen plans for the Harbour of Alderney had been presented; but he believed that no official would stand up and defend so gross and expenditure as the carrying out of these plans would require. They had already spent on this gigantic folly no less than £860,000; and he thought it was high time for such extravagance to be checked by the House. An intelligent witness, Captain Claxton, in his evidence before the Committee on Harbours of Refuge, stated, that in the event of a gale of wind, and vessels running into Alderney for refuge, there would not be room for seven ship. According to the lowest estimate, they would be asked to spend £363,000 more. He trusted, therefore, that the Committee would cease to be deluded by the answer which they usually received on the subject—namely, that if the House refused to vote this money the harbour would be useless. He did not believe that any money they could spend upon it would render it serviceable to the public, and he should, therefore, move that the sum of £90,000 for the works at Alderney be omitted from the proposed Vote.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, that in 1845 the Treasury had handed over the execution of these works to the Admiralty; and Sir Charles Trevelyan had, on that occasion, used these words—"We are of opinion that these important public works should be executed under the responsibility and supervision of the Lords of the Admiralty." The Admiralty, having accepted that responsibility, had undertaken a public trust with respect to the expenditure of £3,000,000 of public money. Now, in what manner had they discharged that trust? He found from the evidence of Sir Richard Bromley, the accountant general, given before the Committee of which the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Baxter) was a member, that no control whatever existed over the expenditure, and that he had no means of checking their accounts. The accounts, it appeared, were never audited. The director general of works for the Admiralty stated that the estimates were not submitted to him; they were prepared by the engineers, and by them handed over to the contractors. He did not wish to disparage either the engineers or the contractors, but the system was defective. If a fixed salary and a marine residence were given to a resident engineer, that was not the best means of securing a rapid completion of the works in hand, and without a proper superintendence of such works it was not likely that they would be executed in an efficient manner. The system pursued, indeed, seemed to give a premium on the prolongation of the works. The director general of the works stated before the Committee that he had on one occasion accompanied the Lords of the Admiralty on a visit to the works, but not one question was asked him about the works; and upon being asked how the estimates were framed, he had said, "I have no knowledge whatever." The noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Palmerston) had always denied that Alderney was a harbour of refuge, and had declared it to be a great public work of defence, which was recommended by the Duke of Wellington. The original estimate was £620,000, and the Duke of Wellington must undoubtedly, therefore, be taken to have sanctioned that expenditure; but that estimate had grown already to £1,300,000, and there was a prospect of its being increased to upwards of £2,000,000. He thought it very likely that if the works had been properly carried out the £620,000 originally estimated would have proved sufficient. Harbours of refuge were a 324 great public want. The loss of £1,500,000 worth of property and several hundred lives, which took place yearly for the want of them ought to be regarded, he thought, as a great national discredit. Deputations had frequently waited upon the First Lord of the Treasury and upon the Lords of the Admiralty for the purpose of urging the necessity for the construction of additional harbours of refuge; but they had always been met with the same stereotyped answer, that they had not got the money, and were not in a position to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for it. But how could they give that answer with a clear conscience when they asked the House every year for this enormous sum of money to construct what was not a harbour of refuge but a system of defence? For the purpose of ascertaining how other public bodies entrusted with the expenditure of public money conducted their affairs, he had investigated the course pursued by the Tyne Commissioners, who were making large and extensive works of a similar character to those at Alderney by extending their harbour, and he found that there was not a single check that could be named or conceived which was not applied by those commissioners. There were persons employed to weigh every waggon load of material that was thrown into the sea; others who took independent measurements of the work done, as it proceeded, and rendered faithful accounts to their employers. None of these checks, however, existed at Alderney, but the whole superintendence and responsibility were thrown on a single resident engineer. No doubt that gentleman was a man of integrity, and one that could be relied upon, but it was not right that such a responsibility should be cast upon a single person. And, in his opinion, it was the duty of the Admiralty to institute proper checks, and show whether the works for which such large lump sums as were yearly expended were paid had been done. His hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Whitbread), one of the Lords of the Admiralty, had himself felt it necessary that some further check should be provided, and, struck with alarm at the enormous amount of material thrown into the sea in the course of the works at Alderney, had said he considered it his duty to suggest that a system of independent check should be instituted over such a gigantic submarine construction. But these works had been commenced fourteen years ago. How was it that his hon. Friend (Mr. Whit- 325 bread) was the first man to suggest, after a lapse of fourteen years, the adoption of a system of independent measurement, which ought to have been established when the works were first commenced? It was not, in his opinion, at all creditable to a public department that they had left undone a work of such importance. He hoped to hear from the Government before the debate closed that they had a definite plan of construction upon which the Admiralty were determined to act, and also that there was some reasonable prospect of the works at Alderney being completed. His vote would depend to some extent upon the reply given to that question, because if it could be shown by the Government that the money already expended had produced an incomplete harbour, and that by a small additional sum the harbour could be made a perfect work, then of course it would be wise to leave the matter in the hands of the Government, trust to their discretion, and vote the money. But on the other hand, if no satisfactory answer could be given by the Government, he should certainly vote for the reduction proposed, and so put a stop to that which he considered an enormous reckless expenditure.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
said, that before the Committee heard any official statement with respect either to the present or the course the Government proposed to pursue for the future, he was desirous of giving a short extra-official explanation of the past as far as he was cognizant of the matter. And he would begin by saying, in concert with the noble Lord at the head of the Government (Lord Palmerston), who had made a statement on a previous occasion upon this subject—a statement which he (Sir James Graham) begged in the most precise manner to confirm—he did not regard the work at Alderney as a harbour of refuge. He was sorry, indeed, to find that it had been so designated, because it was not consistent with the fact, and tended therefore to deceive. The work was designed for defence, and he regarded it as being both of a naval and also of a military character. He had had conversations on many occasions with the late Duke of Wellington on the subject, and it was a work to which the Duke attached primary importance, one which he had himself recommended, and one which even up to the close of his life he had always regarded its progress with great satisfaction. It was not to be dissembled that Cherbourg had justly been an object of England's jealousy 326 in connection with the question of the maintenance of our naval supremacy in the British Channel. But, however, any hostile movement in the British Channel from the westward of Cherbourg must take place between Alderney and Portland. He did not think any objection had been taken to the great works which had been successfully carried on at Portland. By a telegraphic cable communication had been established between Portland and Alderney. As to the military works at Alderney, he believed they were complete, and he spoke upon the authority of Sir John Burgoyne, who had conducted that portion of the construction. Sir John Burgoyne considered them so complete that, for his own military reputation, he desired nothing more than to command a small garrison of less than 3,000 men, and he was confident he could hold on against any force that could be brought against him. With respect to the harbour, he (Sir James Graham) admitted at once that it was not a harbour of refuge. It was the opinion of admirals and generals upon whose authority he could rely, but more especially it was the opinion of the Duke of Wellington, the highest of all military authority, and therefore he (Sir James Graham) felt persuaded that Alderney fortified, and with the means of accommodating ships of war, and as the progress of naval science went on, iron-clad steamers of war would, in conjunction with Portland, form a most important means of checking any naval operations in the Channel; and in the event of any large force being congregated at Cherbourg from the westward it would be found a most sure means of defence. With regard to the expenditure, he admitted it had been large, but to say that there had been no check upon the expenditure was erroneous. He had himself, while at the Admiralty, considered it his duty to superintend and watch very narrowly the expenditure. It was not brought under the attention of the Accountant General of the Navy nor of the Director General of Works. The work had been transferred from the Treasury to the Admiralty, as a very special service of a mixed character, partly naval and partly military. The naval part was under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Walker, the engineer, a man of the highest reputation, of the strictest integrity, and in whom, from long experience, he (Sir James Graham) felt entire confidence could be placed. Mr. Walker was responsible to the Admiralty for the whole outlay upon that portion 327 of the works. He appointed an engineer quite apart from the contractor; the engineer was responsible for the measurements; he made a quarterly report to Mr. Walker; Mr. Walker laid the report before the Admiralty, and it was investigated. Such was the mode in which the work was conducted during the two years he was at the Admiralty, and he was quite satisfied that every security was taken with respect both to measurement and superintendence. The executive Government would tell the Committee their view of the progress of the work, and to what further extent it would be carried. With respect to the past he did not regret the work had been commenced. He was not an undue alarmist. He did not believe that at the present moment there existed any hostile intention on the part of France towards this country; but it could not be denied that France had been making a great outlay, and that her naval preparations were far advanced. Without any immediate intention of hostility to England, that nation might naturally look with something like jealousy at the naval means of this country, and might desire, in consideration of some future contingency on the Continent, to be able by naval preparation to balance the power of England on the sea. They could not conceal from themselves that, whatever might be the present policy of France, that was a possibility, and this country, without giving any just cause of offence to France, was justified in adopting measures of precaution for the maintenance of its naval superiority. He repeated that he regarded this outlay as partaking of the prudential character he had glanced at; though the expenditure must be carefully watched by the House. He believed the present discussion to be not inopportune, and being cognizant of the facts, he should not have discharged his duty if he had not frankly stated his opinion with respect to the past, and he was quite sure that the Government would be ready to state their view with respect to the future outlay which they would recommend the House to sanction.
said, he was not about to dwell on the merits of Alderney as a harbour, or a naval or military defence, but he wished to correct a statement made by the hon. Member for Northumberland (Mr. Liddell) as to what had been done from time to time in regard to Alderney. The accounts referred to by the hon. Baronet opposite had been regularly laid before the House since 1850.
328 Now, he (Captain Jervis) had visited those works, and he could bear witness to the fact that not a single stone had been used there which had not been carefully measured and valued. He did not think that any papers could be more clear than those which had passed the Admiralty yearly in connection with the harbours of refuge.
said it was true that the design of the harbour had undergone various alterations, which were principally owing to the increasing size of ships, but still the total estimate for the construction of the works had remained at the same amount for the last five years—namely, £1,300,000. No estimate of £2,000,000 had ever been sanctioned. The view of the question to which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle had called attention had, he thought, a considerable bearing on the point at issue, because if the Committee were to refuse the Vote under discussion the whole of the past outlay at Alderney would be thrown away, including that which had been granted for the fortifications on the island. Those fortifications were, he might add, of a nature to render the island almost as impregnable as Gibraltar itself; and if the Committee were to vote the necessary sums, we should have a harbour which might, in the opinion of some hon. Gentlemen, be useless as a harbour of refuge, but which, in accordance with the views of many persons competent to form a judgment on the subject, and among them of no less an authority than the Duke of Wellington, was calculated to constitute a most important basis of military operations, and an advantageous place of shelter for vessels of war. The unfinished state, moreover, in which the works at Alderney were at present rendered it highly inexpedient that their progress should be arrested. The breakwater consisted of a base on which a wall was built in masonry, and this submarine base had been extended to the furthest extremity to which it was intended to be carried,—a point which was considerably in advance of that reached by the wall, the consequence of what was that the swell it caused at the entrance of the harbour made it at times dangerous if not impracticable for vessels to enter.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that as a harbour for military and naval purposes that at Alderney, no doubt, assumed a character of considerable importance at the time when the works there were commenced; but he should like to know from the noble Lord 329 the Secretary to the Admiralty whether the changes which had since that period taken place with respect to armaments had not completely diminished the value of the harbour. Would it, he would ask, with guns such as those now in use, be possible for a fleet attacked by a more powerful enemy to continue in that harbour without running the risk of being destroyed? It by no means, in his opinion, followed that because Alderney was a harbour of great importance several years ago is should be regarded in the same light in the present day.
§ MR. WHITBREAD
said, that with reference to the question of the control exercised by the Admiralty over the expenditure for the construction of the breakwater, he had to state that the payment of the contractor was adjusted on the measurement by passing it over a weigh-bridge in the presence of a Government officer of the actual cubical mass of stone which was used in the breakwater. Before any payment was made by the Admiralty the measurement was certified by Mr. Walker, the superintending engineer in London, and by Mr. May, the engineer on the spot. It was, therefore, impossible that the Admiralty could be imposed upon unless there was collusion between the contractor and those parties. It was not an easy matter for an independent engineer to go down and measure whether more stones had been charged for than had been used in so enormous a work.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he thought the question before them was one of the most important which had been ever submitted to the consideration of the Committee. The evidence of Sir Richard Bromley and Colonel Greene before the Select Committee on the subject disclosed a system of accounts which were unparalleled, and the attention of the Admiralty as well as of the Civil Lords was called to the matter. As to Portland Harbour, the consulting engineer and the acting engineer were one and the same person, so that there could not be much check there. Sir Richard Bromley, in his evidence, stated that the mode in which the money was spent upon these works in such large sums was most unsatisfactory—that hundreds of thousands of pounds were expended without any detailed account being received by him in respect to such expenditure—that the practice was for the Admiralty to issue an order for the advance of a certain sum—that he paid the money 330 so ordered; but that the details of how it was to be expended were never submitted to any public audit. He (Sir Henry Willoughby) asked how it could be said that those were accounts which ought to be passed by the authorities of the Admiralty? Why, it was quite clear that those were no accounts at all. What was still more extraordinary, however, was that the inspector of works (Colonel Greene), when asked on what grounds he signed the certificate with respect to the expenditure in the case of military defences, replied that he knew nothing about that which he was called upon to certify. Now, could anything, he would ask, be more absurd than to make use of the name of an important public officer to guarantee payments with the nature of which he was entirely unacquainted? So strongly did he feel the impropriety of such a course, that he addressed a letter to the Board of Admiralty showing the absurdity of making him responsible for works he knew nothing whatever about. It was quite clear, with such facts before them, that the Committee ought to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, with the view of giving time for the organization of some better system of accounts. It was monstrous that any public department should sanction an expenditure of tens of thousands of pounds, without anything in the shape of a voucher. There was a conflict in the matter between the Treasury and the Admiralty, and in the confusion between the two departments all control was lost. He believed that the nomination of engineers was with the Treasury, the work being considered rather of a civil than of a naval character. There was no doubt the engineer was an honourable man and one of a high character. So far the interests of the public were secure in his hands. Nevertheless, they were spending an additional £800,000 on the works of Alderney alone, while the advantages to be derived from that large outlay were still somewhat doubtful. He hoped that the Committee would not assent to vote the money until they had a better system of accounts before them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would, perhaps, consider that an excellent opportunity for putting in practice some of those economical rules on which he had laid so much stress.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Treasury had not given the Committee any distinct information as to the extent to 331 which these works were to be carried, and what plan was to be adopted. It was stated before the Committee of last year that the works were only to be continued on the foundations which had already been laid, but it was evident that new foundations had since been laid.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, that unless it could be clearly shown that fixed defences of that sort would be an effectual protection for our naval forces the expenditure of the money would be useless. With the small military force which the country possessed they could not defend their extensive series of fortifications all over the world. He should certainly support the Amendment, and he almost regretted that the sum to be expended on Dover Harbour had not been included in it.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, that in the autumn of 1859, when the Government first came into office, he had been associated with his right hon. Friends the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Trade to consider the matter; and, having had various engineering authorities before them, they came to the conclusion that it was impossible under any circumstances to stop the works until they came to a certain point marked D on the plan before the House. The foundations had been laid up to that point, and it had been an understood thing with the contractor that the breakwater should be constructed up to the point where the foundations were laid. The contract had been one of a very peculiar nature. From the earliest there never had been any fixed plan with regard to the full extent of the work. The difficulties had been so great that probably former Governments felt it would be necessary to carry it out to a certain distance to ascertain whether that would give shelter. The consequence was that the contractors carried out their foundation to that point, and it was impossible to stop the construction of the breakwater until it came to that point on the western arm. It was also necessary that certain rocks within the harbour, which were really all that prevented it being a very fair harbour, should be blasted—["Hear, hear!"]—and also that on the eastern arm the breakwater should be carried out as far as some islets marked on the plan K. That was necessary, because the tide made so strong across the mouth of the harbour from the race of Alderny, that, unless the breakwater were carried out that far, vessels would not be able at time to get into 332 the harbour at all. He was not defending the orginal construction of the harbour, for which he was not responsible; but it was the duty of the Government, when they found the work carried to its present point, to complete it to such a point as would make the harbour a decent harbour. With regard to the utility of the harbour in the event of a war, it was perfectly true that circumstances had very much changed since the Duke of Wellington recommended its construction. The utmost limit of the range of guns then was some 3,000 yards; now we had guns which would carry double that distance. By so much, therefore, Alderney harbour was damaged, and he was willing to admit that, in his opinion, it did not possess the same advantages as when its construction was first commenced. The right hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) had, however, overlooked the fact that, if an enemy came there to throw shells into the harbour we had very fine forts which could throw shells at the them. He presupposed, too, that the enemy would have command of the sea—an event which he trusted would never come to pass. Undoubtedly, in the event of a future war, Alderney Harbour would be of considerable valus as a defensive work, and as a look-out station for vessels watching the coast of France—though, at the same time, he wished to guard himself from being held to be one of those who would have advised its original construction. As to the control over the expenditure on these works, no doubt, when the evidence to which the hon. Baronet opposite had referred was given, there was a deficiency in that respect, but very efficient checks had since been put into practice. The Admiralty, under the circumstances, had as fair a check as could be devised.
said, the noble Lord had admitted that Alderney was a very bad harbour, and he would ask, if it were full of rocks and dangerous currents, what was the use of enclosing it? No man in his sences would dream of running for Alderney in a gale of wind, therefore it could not be called a harbour of refuge. Then it was described as a harbour of observation, but was it worth while to spend £1,300,000 for a mere look-out station? If necessary, somebody could be placed on the island with a telegraphic wire to communicate with the Admiralty, and that would be a much cheaper and better arrangement. The noble Lord the Secretary 333 to the Treasury used the old stereotyped argument, and said that because £800,000 had been spent upon the place, therefore they must spend £500,000 in finishing it. But what reason had they for supposing £500,000 would finish it. From the experience of Holyhead Harbour, and other great works, it would not be surprising if another half-million or million were required. Then, in answer to the argument derived from the increased range of artillery, his noble Friend had refused to go upon the assumption that we had lost the command of the sea. But, if we retained the command of the sea, what was the use of the fortifications of Alderney at all? He asked whether, if that enormous sum had not been spent there, the French in the event of war would ever have thought of landing at Alderney? The fact was that the erection of fortifications would tempt an enemy there. These fortifications would require 3,000 men, or, according to some estimates, 5,000 or 8,000 men, to hold them, and could we during war spare such a force for the defence of such a place? He trusted that the Committee would look the matter boldly in the face, and would refuse to sanction any further expenditure.
said, he wished to remind the Committee that during the Russian War our gunboats, steaming round and round all the while, laid Sweaborg in ruins with hardly any injury to themselves. Unless, therefore, we had a fleet stationed at Alderney a few gunboats stealing out of Cherbourg might at any time destroy the fortifications.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
asked, whether it would be greater economy to throw away the £800,000 which had been already expended, or to complete the works at the cost of £500,000? Alderney was only eighteen miles from Cherbourg, and considering the enoromous expenditure which had been going on there, he thought it would not be wise to abandon the fortifications on that island. He should support the Government in their proposal.
§ MR. BAXTER
said, he thought it was evident, after the speech of the noble Lord, that he was himself opposed to the expenditure. From his speech, coupled with that of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, it appeared that the Government had come to on decision yet, for while, according to the latter, the works would cost only £1,300,000, the noble Lord seemed to think they would 334 cost a good deal more. Granting, however, that the Government knew their own minds upon the subject, they might next year be turned out of office, and their successors might take an entirely different view, and sanction a much larger expenditure.
said, his statement respecting the sum required for completing the works had been made on the authority of the superintending engineer.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
expalined that the £500,000 included everthing necessary to finish the harbour.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, as the chief argument which induces the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baxter) to persist in his Amendment seems to be based on an apprehension that the Government may be turned out next year, I will remind him that he and his friends will have it very much in their own power to prevent such a misfortune. He has it in his power, therefore, to mitigate the force of his own argument. The other arguments which have been used are not entitled to more weight. My right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham) has, in the clearest manner, shown that by the best military and naval authorities, this harbour was considered not as a harbour of refuge, but as a most important naval and military position, with a view to the defence of the country from hostile operations in the Channel. In these days people are not very apt to submit to authority; but I do think that upon a point of this kind, upon a question of naval and military tactics, upon a question as to the value of certain arrangements with a view to the defence of the country, the opinions of the Duke of Wellington and of the various other persons whom my right hon. Friend has quoted are entitled to consideration. I am strongly of opinion that their view is the right one. This is a matter which has been often discussed by the best naval and military authorities, and I think there never was a case more completely made out than the value which the station at Alderney, defended by works on the island, would have in the way of crippling, intercepting, and thwarting hostile operations in the Channel by France. It is said that there have been no plans of Alderney Harbour. What my noble Friend the Secretary to the Admiralty stated was, that there have been no fixed plans of the various extensions which have been proposed from time to time. There always was one and the same 335 plan as to the line along which the breakwater was to be carried. The only question was as to the point where it was to end. That was varied according to the different views which at different times were taken of the matter. But great surprise was manifested, and loud cries of "Hear, hear!" were raised, when my noble Friend said there were rocks in the harbour which required to be blasted. The hon. Gentleman who expressed their astonishment at that statement must be little conversant with naval matters and the construction of harbours if they think you are never to make a harbour where there are rocks which require to be blasted. Why, blasting rocks is the simplest and casiest of all operations. The construction of a great breakwater in deep water—as at Plymouth, for instance—is a work of difficulty, of time, and of expense; but the blasting of rocks is an easy matter. In Holyhead Harbour there were rocks to be blasted; in fact, you can seldom make a harbour in a spot which is free from rocks, and the blasting of rocks under water is a simple and easy operation. But it is said that the changes which, since the days of the Duke of Wellington, have taken place in naval and military warfare have destroyed the value of the harbour at Alderney. I take leave entirely to differ from that statement. The change which has taken place in the mode of propelling ships has increased rather than diminished the value of the harbour; because, from the rapidity of the current of the tides in those waters, the use of steam gives you a much greater command of the harbour than you had before, both in coming in and in going out. Then we are told that the greater range of guns makes the harbour of no value. I maintain the contrary, because we can have much heavier guns, carrying much further, placed in position on shore, than any ship can carry at sea; and your arm reaching from the shore will be much longer and more powerful than the arm of the ship which is attempting to attack you from the sea. Something has been said about ships not being easily hit, but everybody knows that you can hit a ship under way nearly as well as a ship at anchor. Then we are told that the harbour could be easily destroyed. A harbour is not so easily destroyed as some hon. Gentleman seem to suppose. It consists of water surrounded by stonework, and you might throw a good number of shells at a breakwater or a harbour before 336 you broke it down. That danger, therefore, is not to be apprehended. Recollect moreover, that you never would have a large collection of ships at Alderney. It is not intended for that purpose. You would merely have a small number of steamers to watch and intercept convoys. They are not easily hit, and they can fire at the enemy as well as the enemy can fire at them. But it is said that these works on the island would require a garrison which might be more usefully employed in war somewhere else. I differ from that view, We have been told by the best military authorities that something like 3,000 men could hold these works against any force likely to attack them; and I say, that if 3,000 men, by holding these works, could thwart and impede the attempts of a hostile fleet upon our shores, they would be more usefully employed there than in any other place to which they could be sent. I maintain, then, that to leave these works unfinished—and remember they are sea works, which everybody knows if left unfinished will be destroyed by the action of the winds and waves—instead of completing them and making them useful for the purpose for which they were intended, would be the worst possible economy. I trust, therefore, that the Committee will not allow itself to be led away by the fervid eloquence of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) and of those who have supported him, but will take a calm and dispassionate view of the matter. The statement of my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle had shown the value attached to these works by those who, I take the liberty of saying, are better judges than any of us here; and it would be bad economy if we were to throw away the money which has been already expended at Alderney without obtaining a result, instead of, by a little additional outlay, making the works there of great value and importance with a view to the defence of the country.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the item of £90,000, for Works at Alderney, be omitted from the proposed Vote."
§ The Committee divided: —Ayes 50; Noes 65: Majority 15.
said, that three years ago a pledge was given by the Government that Dover Harbour would be given up, and that only the pier would be constructed. Ever since, however, the Government had taken £50,000 a year for 337 Dover. He wished to know when the pier and harbour would be completed?
said, that the harbour of refuge at Dover had being proceeded with. The length of the pier was 1,800 feet, and the estimated cost was £650,000, and the estimated Votes of the House had been £460,000. If the present Vote were agreed to, there would remain £150,000 still to be voted. The whole work was under contract.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (12.) £46,702, Holyhead and Portpatrick Harbours and Works at Spurn Point,
§ MR. H. A. HERBERT
said, he wished to call attention to the Note appended to the Estimate. It referred to the £445,000, which was the estimated cost of the eastern breakwater, packet piers, and postal accommodation at Holyhead, as approved by the Admiralty and sanctioned by the Treasury; the Note said, "As stated last year, it is hoped that a great part, if not the whole, of this £445,000 will be saved." Now, that refered to a large sum which appeared in the Estimated of 1857 on the recommendation of Mr. Hawkshaw, and was intended to be laid out for the accommodation of the mail packets plying between Holyhead and Kingstown. The City of Dublin Company, on the faith of the promise of the Government to provide that accommodation at Holyhead, laid out a large sum of money in the construction of new mail steamers that were now admitted to be the finest and fastest vessels of the kind afloat. But the Government had never performed its part of the agreement; it had done nothing whatever towards the construction of the pier. He should, per haps, be told that the Company was satisfied with the present arrangements. That was not the case; the last report of the Company proved that it was dissatisfied, and did complain. Even if it did not, there was another interest besides that of the Company—the interest of the public. On the strength of the proposed postal improvements the House had granted a large subsidy to the Company. But in consequence of the non-performance by the Government of its part of the contract it had been obliged to give up the fines it was 338 empowered to retain for loss of time by the Company. The money voted by the House was, to a certain extent, made nugatory by the neglect of the Government. The Company deserved every credit for the manner in which it performed the service; but the public ought not to have to give up a right. The Government was to have constructed a proper pier, as at Kingstown; but at Hoylhead there was still nothing but a miserable wooden jetty, without any protection whatever; in some weather the steamers could not run alongside of it without difficulty; and there was always some delay. He did not ask that the whole of the money should be laid out; but the Government was bound to construct the pier, as it had promised.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he saw no prospect of a termination to the cost of these works. They were an instance of the delusion practised upon the House by inaccurate estimates. The first estimate for the work was —808,000, but now Mr. Hawkshaw put it at —1,900,000.
§ MR. LEFROY
corroborated the statement of the right hon. Member for Kerry, and hoped that the Government would, at least, take a Vote for a sufficient sum to complete the arrangements for landing and protection from dangerous winds for the magnificent vessels now employed in the public service.
said, the Estimate, on the face of it, showed that the Government did not desire to conceal the fact that the Packet piers had been approved by the Admiralty and sanctioned by the Treasury in 1857, and he would also admit that those piers were referred to in the postal contract. In 1859 it was arranged that the Government should provide a temporary wooden pier in extension of the old pier, and a sum of £16,000 was voted and expended for that purpose. At the beginning of last year it was suggested that, by a small additional outlay, the temporary wooden pier could be made adequate for the wants of the packet service, and that thus the more costly work that had been contemplated might be dispensed with. Accordingly a Vote of £7,000 was taken, and note was inserted in the Estimates that the Vote for —445,000 for a permanent pier would probably not be required. It was true that Mr. Hawkshaw had suggested certain reductions in the extent of the proposed works for permanent piers, by which the cost would be reduced to £286,000; but it was thought better, 339 before entering upon that expenditure, to make a further trial of the temporary arrangements. He was informed that, as far as the site was concerned, the commanders of packets preferred the temporary to the permanent pier. There could be no doubt that some covering should be provided on the pier for passengers landing from the packets, but he did not think there could be any difficulty in covering over the temporary wooden pier. With respect to the postal contract, he must say there had been no relaxation of the conditions of the contract on account of any insufficiency of pier accommodation, but, according to a clause in the contract, no fines were to be levied until the accommodation that had been originally contemplated was fully provided. With no power to impose fines on them the packet company had not of course the same inducement to keep time, but notwithstanding that the service had been satisfactory performed. Under those circumstances, he thought it would be advisable to make further trial of the temporary arrangement, and to abstain for the present from any expenditure upon the more costly scheme.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he was not a shareholder either in the North Western Railway or the Packet Company, nor was he in the habit of taking a passage in the steamers between Holyhead and Dublin. He, therefore, could not be supposed to have any interest in the matter. He, however, frequently found himself in the harbour, and the condition of that harbour was so remarkable that he was glad his right hon. Friend had called attention to the subject. He (Mr. Bentinck) had no sympathy whatever with the arrangement for the accommodation of passengers or the conveyance of letters. He had always held that so long as what were called free trade principles were carried out everybody ought to bear their own expenses, whether for letters or as passengers, and that no one had a right to an Imperial contribution. To that point, however, he did not wish to advert. The important point was this. He would undertake to say that there did not exist in Europe such a specimen of public mismanagement and of wasteful expenditure—he should not be using too strong a term if he said of downright absurdity—as the harbour of refuge at Holyhead. The harbour was originally planned to be constructed at a trifling expense for a harbour of refuge and a harbour for the accommodation and convenience of the public. What was 340 the result? After the northern pier was constructed the harbour was found to be perfectly inadequate for the purposes for which it was designed. It was no harbour of refuge; for, in the first place, the northern pier was not sufficiently extended; and, in the next place, it was entirely open to the sea at the entrance, and was completely exposed. They had expended somewhere about £600,000 when it was discovered that they were proceeding on a mistaken principle, as economy was so apt to do in this country. They had thrown away £600,000, whereas, if they had at the first laid out a larger sum, a sufficient harbour of refuge would have been constructed. Holyhead Harbour was a disgrace to the country, and an exemplification of a system which made us the laughing stock of Europe. Having fooled away £1,100,000 in making a bad harbour, when they could have made a good one for much less money, they were now endeavouring to render that harbour perfectly useless. There were rocks which rendered it dangerous to go into the harbour of refuge at night, and yet they would not go to the expense of having a light ship there. They also grudged a trifling outlay for the convenience of the steampackets which conveyed the mails between London and Dublin, and we proposed to spend more money on the old harbour, which had been previously condemned. Some explanations ought to be given of why they were now about to lay out money in improving the old harbour, the inefficiency of which was the ground for the construction of the new.
said, he quite agreed that, perhaps, a more extraordinary tissue of blunders had never been committed than had been witnessed in the case of the Holyhead Harbour. The original estimates had been immensly exceeded, the original plans widely departed from, and now, after all the outlay, the harbour was found very inadequate for the purposes for which it had been designed. The packet pier was, however, a different thing from the harbour of refuge, and the harbour of refuge was of no use as regarded the packet pier. Before voting any further sums the Committee ought to be informed of what was the intention of the Government in respect to the packet pier. The wooden jetty at present used for the packets could be only a temporary work.
said, he believed that it was generally admitted, on both sides of the House, that Holyhead was worth- 341 less as a harbour of refuge. They had already spend upon it £1,188,000, and £732,000 more would be required. They were asked to spend that money, not for the purpose of improving it as a harbour of refuge for the saving of life and property, but for the purpose of building piers for the accommodation of certain passengers travelling between Holyhead and Ireland. In so doing they were laying down a dangerous principle, as persons interested in Southampton, Liverpool, and other ports where there were packet stations, would have much stronger grounds if they choose to come and ask Parliament for money to build piers.
§ VISCOUND PALMERSTON
There are two questions involved in this Vote—one in regard to the harbopur of refuge, the other in regard to the packet communication between Dublin and Holyhead. With regard to the harbour of refuge my hon. Friend who has just spoken is entirely mistaken, as indeed other hon. Members have been, in supposing that this harbour of refuge is a failure. It is quite the contrary. That harbour of refuge is a great success. It has afforded shelter to an immense number of vessels frequenting that channel. During some times of storm there have been hundreds of vessels in that harbour at the same moment. Therefore, my hon. Friend must not imagine that the money expended on that harbour has been thrown away, for the object has been accomplished. No doubt it is quite true that the plans for that harbour have been varied from time to time. The Government had originally fallen into the mistake of adopting a work on too small a scale. That is a very favourite system here when we discuss the Estimates, but it very often turns out not an economical, but, in the end, a very expensive plan. When a work is found not really to accomplish the object in view, it must be altered, and every one knows that altering a work commenced on one plan and adding to it on another, is much more expensive than if the original work had been of the requisite dimensions. If the line of pier had been originally made to include a sufficient area the work might have been made much better, and less liable to injury, than on the line which was adopted. But, nevertheless, the harbour is very valuable to the commerce of this country. My hon. Friend, therefore, need not make himself uneasy with the idea that the money expended has been thrown away. Questions are still pending as to 342 the degree to which the existing piers should be carried out; and these matters require consideration. Then we come to the packet question. I do not admit the justice of the argument of my hon. Friend (Mr. Lindsay) that we ought to put this harbour of Holyhead as a packet harbour on the same footing as Southampton or Liverpool, or any other port from which packets start. We must recollect that Great Britain and Ireland are part of the United Kingdom. There is a union between them, and it is a matter of Imperial policy and advantage to facilitate to the utmost possible extent the means of rapid communication for letters and persons between the two islands. I hold that to be quite distinct from all questions of private enterprise—it is a national object, and one well deserving of any expenditure within reasonable limits that can be deemed useful for accomplishing so important a purpose. I think, therefore, there is great force in what my right hon. Friend (Mr. H. Herbert) stated in regard to the inconvenience now existing in the temporary wooden pier upon which passengers land; but questions are still pending, and decisions have still to be taken, as to what would, with a view to a permanent arrangement, be the best situation in which to make that permanent work. Some, like the noble Lord (Lord Naas), would prefer the old packet station; others, connected with another railway communication, would prefer the spot where the new works lie. Now, I can assure the Committee that it is the wish of the Government to do that which, on the whole, will most facilitate communication with Ireland. The matter will be fully considered with that view. We hope, in the mean time, this temporary pier will sufficiently answer the purpose; but we quite mean to carry out the permanent arrangement. The only question is where the permanent work would be best placed, in prolongation of the old pier or on the spot occupied by the new wooden pier.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he did not think the question of his noble Friend as to what the Government intended to do had been fairly answered. The contract made with the Dublin Steam Packet Company had fulfilled all the conditions imposed on them in the most honourable and satisfactory manner, and the Government ought also to fulfill their part of the contract.
§ MR. GEORGE
said, he must enter his protest against the idea that the temporary ac- 343 commodation was sufficient for the packets, and he should hold the Government responsible for the damage which might arise to the fine vessels of the Dublin Steam Packet Company at the wooden jetty until their part of the contract was fully carried out. The Steam Packet Company had regularly performed their part of the contract, and during the hard frost last winter, when an additional half hour was granted to the railway companies, the time was almost always made up by the steamers. The original scheme for the construction of the eastern breakwater ought to be carried out.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that the plan referred to was prepared by the late Mr. Rendall, and was intended to provide accommodation for both Irish and Transatlantic steamers. The latter class of vessels did not use Holyhead Harbour, and doubts were entertained whether so large an amount of accommodation as was contemplated in that plan would be required by the Dublin steamers; indeed, he believed that the Dublin Company themselves were as willing as the Government, if not more willing, that some different arrangement should be made. The wooden pier was not intended to be permanent. Among other reasons it was not sufficiently durable; and if the stone pier was not soon commenced the existing jetty would not last until it was completed. It was the intention of the Government, as soon as the Admiralty had come to a final decision upon the subject, to construct a stone pier. He hoped that the House would at all times treat the communication between England and Ireland as a matter of national concern which was of the highest interest and importance.
said, he thought there ought to have been some declaration on the part of the Government that the works would be proceeded with at once. If it had not been for the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secreatary for Ireland, the Committee would have been left without any knowledge that a stone-pier would be erected at Holyhead.
§ MR. BENTINCK
denied that he had implied that the harbour at Holyhead, as a harbour of refuge, was a failure. What he had stated was that it might have been constructed at a much smaller cost. A short-sighted and sordid economy had prevented this harbour being made serviceable at night.
§ MR. H. A. HERBERT
said, he would appeal to the Committee to bear him out 344 whether there was not a strong inducement to complain of the conduct of the Government? The Government said they intended to make a pier, and yet could not make up their minds. All the facts stated by him had been admitted by the Secretary to the Treasury. It was, therefore, hardly fair to quote in reply to him the Vote from the Estimates of last year, because it was then said, as it was now, that the Government was doubting. The indecision of the Government, however, with regard to that harbour, was no reason why hon. Members should remain silent. He had from the first contended for the necessity of the improved postal communication between England and Ireland, and had successfully struggled against the opposition of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer; and as long as doubt subsisted in the minds of the Government he should continue to urge them to determine on some decisive course of action.
§ MR. SLANEY
acknowledged the service which had been rendered by Holyhead as a harbour of refuge, and expressed a desire that a harbour should be constructed in Cardigan Bay for the reception of ships which were driven into that bay by westerly winds.
Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £64,556, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of Erecting, Repairing, and Maintaining the several Public Buildings in the Department of the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ MR. GREGORY
said, he regretted that the conduct of the Royal Dublin Society compelled him to move that the sum of £882 for additions, repairs, and alterations, and £1,500 for erecting a new palm house at the Glasnevin Botanical Gardens, be struck out of the Estimates. The Royal Dublin Society was of considerable antiquity, having been founded exactly 130 years before. As an institution it had been of great utility in Ireland, and so far from wishing to curtail its resources he would desire that it should receive, under more favourable circumstances, a larger grant of public money. The question at issue was this: There were botanical gardens at Glasnevin, which were the property of the public, supported by public grants. In 1791 the House of Commons granted divers sums for the purpose of establishing those gardens, and the Royal Dublin Society was entrusted with the monies for carrying that purpose into effect. Since that time 345 also various Parliamentary grants had been made to the Royal Dublin Society in connection with the gardens. In answer to his Motion it would probably be urged that these were private grounds managed by a private society, but the fact was that, whereas down to the year 1836 the society had received £300,000 from Parliament, the contributions from its members only reached about £20,000, the greater portion of which amount had been consumed in the purchase and furnishing of Leinster House. Since 1854 Parliament had annually voted £6,000 for the society, and additional sums varying from £1,000 to £1,700 were to be found yearly in the Estimates for incidental expenses. The average subscriptions for the last six years were only £1,300, or less than one-seventh of what they received from Parliament. The Select Committee which sat in 1836 laid down the principle that the grants to the Royal Dublin Society were given to them as trustees, and not as absolute properties, and since the establishment of the Council of Education the establishment in Dublin was regarded as one of their branch offices. The citizens of Dublin, seeing what was going on at the other side of the water, how, after Divine service on Sundays, Londoners were enabled to enjoy themselves at Kew and Hampton Court, and having the same love of natural beauties and equal capabilities of appreciating them, felt with regard to public gardens towards the maintenance of which they themselves contributed that they ought to be in an equally advantageous position. A great deal of fuss had been made about a petition signed by 6,000 inhabitants of Dublin against opening these gardens on Sunday; but on Tuesday last he presented one signed by no less than 16,500 of the people of that city, including five of the Judges of the land, 900 professional men, and 2,740 voters, praying that they might have the enjoyment of rights similar to those exercised by the people of London in respect of Kew Gardens. The corporation, the trades assembled in common hall, and the police magistrates of Dublin had pronounced in favour of opening those gardens of Sunday; and in such a case the opinion of men who from their experience knew what was likely to have a beneficial effect on the minds of the working classes, ought to receive great attention. A deputation waited on the Lord Lieutenant, and asked him to use his influence with the Dublin Society. His Excellency communicated with the Depart- 346 ment of Science and Art; and the papers containing the correspondence on that subject had been laid upon the table of the House. From those documents the Committee would see that every effort had been exhausted by those who held the views which he now advocated in order to induce the Royal Dublin Society to concede what was asked before they resorted to the step of endeavouring to coerce that body by having a portion of their grant taken away from them. He regretted that, owing to all remonstrances having proved unavailing, it was now necessary to take that course in reference to a society which he very much respected. The Committee of Council on Education, in a communication of the 19th of March, stated that they considered that "admission to the gardens should not be limited to members of the Royal Dublin Society, but that they should be open to the general public after the hours of Divine Service." I reply, the secretary stated that in order to so open them, a large increase in the number of the assistants—which it would be perfectly out of the power of the society, with their limited means, to make—would be necessary. He then went on to say that, after a full discussion on two former occasions, a large majority of the members had negatived the proposition. He next, though very lightly, touched on the private character of the question. It was, indeed, private as regarded the pleasure, the convenience, the sentiments, and the consciences of the members of the Royal Dublin Society, but it was very public as regarded the demands of that society on the taxpayers of the country. Mr. Norman M'Leod, in an able reply, informed the secretary that the argument on the ground of additional expense would not hold good; and in illustration instanced the cases of Hampton Court and Kew. The additional expense caused by opening the latter on Sundays was £150 per annum; and as it appeared that out of the 425,314 persons who visited Kew Gardens during the year 1860, no less than 176,983 were Sunday visitors, that additional expense did not amount to £1 per 1,000 persons. The Royal Dublin Society assumed that the opinion of the majority of their members at two several meetings expressed the feelings of the majority of the people at large. That was exactly the argument used by every close corporation. They were always the intelligent portion of the community, and they were only small minorities who ventured to op- 347 pose their exclusive proceedings. The Royal Dublin Society observed that the grants voted to them had been small. He thought that assertion was true; but if they wished to gain favour in that House they must adopt a different system from the exclusive one. He would beg of the Committee to remember that the question had nothing whatever to do with the proper and legitimate observance of the Lord's Day. The Dublin Society, as a body, had not treated it as if it had. He was aware that it had been endeavoured to give it that complexion; but the society itself had hardly encouraged that view of the case. A public meeting had been held in Abbey Street, Dublin. He did not know whether it was opened with the Doxology, but a number of clergymen of extreme views were present; and he had no doubt that the whisky interest was well represented. A speech had been delivered by Dr. Gayer against the opening of the gardens on Sunday, in which he stated that the agitation for opening the gardens on that day did not originate with the people; whereas it was the movement of the artisans on the subject that first induced the other classes to take part in it. Dr. Gayer then told the artisan class that they might on Sunday walk along the "shady banks of the canal," or along the length of the "Circular Road." Now he (Mr. Gregory) believed that of all the cities in the empire Dublin was the only city where the artisan class had not an opportunity of seeing a flower from year's end to year's end. Yet, Dr. Gayer told them to go to the "shady banks of the canal" or the Zoological Gardens, which were open on Sundays, and where they could enjoy the sight of the wild animals. He then talked of the opening of the gardens on the Lord's Day leading to drunkenness, to filling the public-houses in the vicinity, and establishing a sort of Donnybrook. He begged to say that a more shameful slander upon the people of Dublin never was uttered. The real supporters of public-houses and of tippling on Sunday were those who would not allow the people to enjoy innocent and profitable recreations, by shutting against them the doors of gardens and other public grounds on Sunday. The testimonies given as to the excellent conduct of the people in Kew Gardens on Sunday, and also the uniform good behaviour of the people at the Zoological Gardens, Dublin, on that day, proved the groundlessness of that objection. There- 348 turns of the summary convictions in Dublin showed that in 1858, out of 18,500 such convictions, only 9,309 were for drunkenness, and that fact proved how little ground there was for believing that they would be guilty of excesses on Sunday in the vicinity of the Royal Society's Gardens. There was a cemetery at Glasnevin, in the neighbourhood of the gardens, and it was alleged that the people would get drunk at the funerals, then proceed to the gardens and destroy the rare flowers and plants which it contained. Not to speak of the unlikelihood of persons getting drunk when they were committing those dearest to them to the tomb, the answer to the allegation was that the funerals were over by twelve o'clock, and it was not proposed to open the gardens till two. Then the objection drawn from the privacy of the gardens had no force. The subscriptions only amounted to £1,300 annually, the rest of the money necessary being made up of public money. As the subscription was only £2 a year, and included admission to the library, and other advantages, he could not help thinking that the subscription was every good investment. Although the members of the society wished to keep the poor artisan from viewing the garden and flowers on Sunday, yet they visited the garden themselves on that day with their wives, little ones, and friends. So that the whole thing was a mere exclusive pretext to keep out what the members of the society, doubtless, considered the rabble. Then, it was said that there would be such an influx of visitors on Sundays that the gardens would not hold them. The Glasnevin Gardens were of of forty-three acres in extent. Now, he ascertained from Sir William Hooker that in one day upwards of 13,500 persons were present in Kew Gardens, which had an area of seventy-six acres. The members of the Royal Dublin Society need not, therefore, be afraid that there would not be room in the gardens for all those who wished to attend. There had been no mischievous agitation on the subject. The memorial for throwing open the gardens on Sunday had been signed by Conservatives as well as Liberals. The prayer of the memorial had been advocated in "another place" by the Earls of Eglinton and Donoughmore, and also by an Irish prelate whose speech reflected the highest credit upon him. He would make two proposals to the society. Let them either give up the gardens to the Board of Works, or 349 admit the public during the same hours as at Kew, charging one penny per head the first year, a halfpenny the second, and admitting the public free afterwards. He trusted that the Government would meet the society with firmness, and that hon. Gentlemen on the Conservative benches would show to the people of Ireland, where they were gaining confidence, that that confidence was not misplaced. He entreated the Committee not to reject, for the sake of humouring the exclusiveness of an oligarchical society, the prayer of 16,000 artisans of Dublin, who asked to refresh their eyes, gladden their hearts, and elevate their tastes by the admiration and enjoyment of the most beautiful works of Nature.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the item of £2,382, for the Royal Dublin Society, be omitted from the proposed Vote."
§ SIR EDWARD GROGAN
said, he could not but express his regret that the hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his scat should have addressed the Committee in the tone which he had adopted towards the members of the society. The hon. Gentleman's speech was in truth nothing more than a recapitulation of the printed papers for which he had moved, which had been circulated amongst hon. Members, and which they were as competent to read as he was to speak them. There was, however, this difference between the two modes of becoming acquainted with their contents, that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gregory) had drawn attention to those parts of the papers only which were favourable to his own view, and had kept in the back-ground entirely all that would make in favour of the Royal Dublin Society's view of the question. It was only right that the Committee should know the real facts of the case before they proceeded to give a vote upon the hon. Gentleman's Motion. The Royal Dublin Society was a very old institution, having been founded in 1731. It obtained a Royal charter, and was endowed for many years by the Irish parliament. It consisted of Irish gentlemen, who assembled together for the purpose of promoting agriculture; and such was the state in which the union of the two kingdoms found the society. It was then in receipt of a grant of £15,000. In 1836 the Society passed a resolution repudiating the right of alienating any portion of their property for the private advantage of their members, and admitting 350 that they held their property subject to a public trust. In the year 1854 a long correspondence took place between the Government and the authorities of the society, the Government having it in contemplation to give a grant to the public fir purposes if recreation, and they thought it well that it should pass through the hands of the society. The Government, at the same time, gave it as their opinion that greater facilities should be given to the public for admission to the museum, library, and Botanic Gardens. The gardens (said the minute) ought to be opened on every week day, and a similar rule should be extended to the museum and library. The minute added that their Lordships (Board of Trade Department of Science and Art) did not propose to diminish the responsibility of the society in the management of the funds entrusted to it by Parliament. The Minute proceeded—My Lords may from time to time request Returns and instruct competent persons to report on the state of the gardens, the museum, and library, but, beyond aiding the society in giving the fullest publicity to its labours, their Lordships will not interfere in its management.It was upon that understanding that the society agreed to surrender a number of their privileges to the public. The public had the benefit of the change, consequence of a distinct bargain, but the society remained perfectly independent, and a more straight-forward and high-minded body of men could not be found anywhere. There was no sectarian feeling among them at all; and any man, by paying twenty guineas, or, if he preferred it, two guineas a year, could become a member. It was found necessary that everything should be settled on the clearest basis, in order to avoid misconception, and a deputation empowered to make the necessary arrangements came up to London and conferred with the Board of Trade on the matter. One of those gentlemen was Mr. Hamilton, then Member for the University of Dublin, who had various interviews with the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, who was then at the Board of Trade, which then occupied the position in regard to the institution which the Educational Department did at the time he was speaking, and the result of the negotiations was such as he had described, the society exercising its functions entirely free from the control of or responsibility to the Board of Trade. Every one of the propositions of the Government was assented to by the society, and they had studiously fulfilled their part of the en- 351 gagement. It was, therefore, most unfair on the part of the Government to depart from a positive engagement and introduce a new and unexpected stipulation. The hon. Member for Galway having once represented the city of Dublin ought to have known better than to speak of the members of the society as he did, for a more independent, intelligent, and respectable body of men could not be found. He believed that many gentlemen had joined the society who would not have done so had they contemplated that such an arrangement as was now proposed could have been forced upon them. The hon. Member for Galway disparaged the subscription of members; but how much did the gentlemen of London subscribe to Kew Gardens, the National Gallery, or the British Museum? He did not object to the grant of public money to those institutions, nor had he the slightest wish to diminish it. In the last six years the sum of £660,370 had been voted for the British Museum, and £97,300 for the National Gallery. He mentioned those two institutions because they were somewhat analogous in their character to the Dublin Royal Society, being alike for the benefit of the people. The library of the Dublin Society was extremely well frequented—often, indeed, inconveniently crowded. In addition in the last six years, £106,520 had been voted for Kew Gardens and pleasure grounds, while, on the other hand, only £35,415 had been in the same period of time voted for the Dublin Society, with its library, museum, and botanic gardens. With regard to the subscriptions from members, he found that in that time they had contributed £21,811, considerably more than half the expense of maintaining the society. As the grant to the society was required for repairs and new works, its withdrawal would be an injury to the public no less than to the society. He could state from his own knowledge that very few of the members visited the gardens on the Sunday. These gardens were a quarter of a mile from the city bounds, and adjoined a large Roman Catholic cemetery. There were also a number of whiskey shops in the neighbourhood, and those who knew how mourning and drinking were sometimes combined in Ireland could judge whether it was desirable that the grounds should be unreservedly thrown open on the Sunday to visitors from such quarters. He had presented a petition from a large body of people in Dublin, to whose reli- 352 gious feelings violence would be done by opening these gardens on the Sunday; and why, he asked, should a different rule be adopted in reference to Ireland than that which had been followed in this country in regard to the British Museum? When it was proposed to open that institution on the Sunday the noble Lord at the head of the Government said that it would have a bad effect on the moral sense of the country if Parliament should appear less careful of the religious feelings of the country than the people themselves. As to the Dublin Society being an exclusive or oligarchical society, he ventured to say that the hon. Member for Galway, notwithstanding his speech that night, would be admitted a member if he offered himself a candidate for that distinction. Some of the first men of the country were at the head of the society, and the question had been deliberately submitted to them, and as deliberately rejected by them. In June, 1858, the question was decided by the society against the opening of the gardens on Sunday, by a majority of 140 against 37. In the subsequent year the question was again brought forward, when the majority against the opening was 129 against 18. In the present year another division was taken on the question, when there were 207 against the opening and 40 in favour of it. He wanted to get a distinct opinion of the House upon the question, because it was better that the country should know at once, if the fact were really so, that the House of Commons no longer thought the observance of the Sabbath desirable. It was better that the country should know at once that the Parliament of this Protestant country did not hesitate to punish the Royal Dublin Society, because they expressed their unwillingness on the grounds stated to open the gardens to the public on Sunday.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, that the observations which had just been addressed to the Committee could not be passed unnoticed by those who felt, as he did, the necessity of opening gardens and places of innocent recreation on the Sunday. He must enter his protest against the assumption of the hon. Member (Sir Edward Grogan) that the Vote they were about to discuss involved in even the remotest degree what was properly called the "Sunday question." Neither could he concur with the hon. Member in thinking that the opening on the Sunday of these grounds near Dublin had any ana- 353 logy to the opening of the British Museum The Motion for opening the latter place on the Sunday created great interest in his mind, and for several weeks before it came on he occupied himself in going about on Sundays and endeavouring to obtain some idea as to how many of the humbler classes passed their leisure hours on that holy day; and the Committee would scarcely credit if he were to tell them how extremely small were the places in the shape of gardens which were thronged by artisans, who seemed to be grateful for anything bearing the name of a garden in which they could pass their Sunday. He was connected with a country where more, perhaps, than in any other part of the United Kingdom what was termed Sabbatarianism had taken a deep root, and where the well known story had become a sort of proverb that "You mauna whistle on a Sunday." In that country both the great cities had entered the lists to vie with one another. At Edinburgh all sects joined in this crusade against Sunday recreation; and because gingerbread nuts, or some other slight refreshments, were sold on the Castle Hill, it was proposed that the inhabitants should on a Sunday be prohibited from climbing up the romantic slopes of that hill and gazing from its summit on their beautiful city. At Glasgow the clergymen of all denominations, he regretted to say, banded themselves together to anathematize those who went by the steamboats to view the picturesque scenery as the vessels glided down the broad stream of the Clyde. Now, he asked, what class in this kingdom most needed an opportunity for recreation on the Sunday? The Zoological Society's grounds in Regent's Park was a fashionable promenade on a Sunday; it was crowded by the "Upper Ten Thousand." Was it a sin, then, for poor people who were toiling all the week, and rarely saw the light of Heaven, to seek rest and innocent recreation on the Sunday? He could not think so, while it was not denied to those who had the most of the week to themselves to do so? So with regard to the Crystal Palace, there the last move that had been made was one by which the middle and upper classes, who could afford a yearly subscription of two guineas, were enabled to enjoy the gardens on a Sunday, and even to dine in the Palace itself. As for Richmond and Greenwich, the House needed not to be reminded how they were crowded with the carriages of the aristocracy on the Sunday. But it was said that the case of Glasnevin 354 Gardens was altogether an exceptional case, that these gardens being in the neighbourhood of a Roman Catholic cemetery, and the convivial habits of the Irish people considered the opening might probably lead to riots; but then the petition to which allusion had been made, and which was signed by the present Lord Lieutenant, by the late Lord Lieutenant, and by many magistrates, proved that those to whom the duty of keeping the peace was entrusted feared no such result. He should certainly support the Motion of the hon. Member for Galway, although he regretted the form in which it was presented to the Committee; because, from the high character of the members of the Dublin Society, he should be sorry to give his voice in favour of any Motion which could have the effect of depriving them of their usefulness. He must, however, take the word of the hon. Member for Galway for this, that every other means to effect the desired object had been tried without success, and that the present Motion was the only alternative left him.
§ MR. BUXTON
said, he would suggest that the Motion should be postponed until next year in order to see whether the society would take warning from what had passed. The hon. Baronet who opposed the Motion had no right to say that in voting for it the House of Commons would be declaring against the observance of the Lord's Day. In voting for it he should feel that he was promoting the proper observance of Sunday. He could not conceive that any one could have investigated the Sunday question without coming to the conclusion that the day should be spent, not in worship alone, but in refreshment. [Cries of "Oh!"] Well, he would say, then, in recreation. One of its main purposes was left unfulfilled, unless part of it was so employed. He believed that most thinking persons held that view, but that the temptation was very strong not to utter a sentiment which was sure to call forth violent hostility. It was, however, right not to hush up such opinions, for it would do much for the physical, moral, and even for the religious health of the people, if the heavy bondage regarding the Lord's Day were in due measure relaxed. Moreover, there was something to him almost shocking in the idea of affecting to think the opening of public gardens a desecration of the Sabbath, when they all knew the easy, luxurious, delightful manner in which they never scrupled to spend the day in their own country homes. They 355 all derived infinite enjoyment from their own parks and pleasure grounds; and how, then, when asked to afford pleasures the same in kind, though, unhappily, less in degree, to their hard-worked brethren, could they cast up their eyes and talk about the desecration of the Sabbath? The opposition to such measures of relaxation arose, in many cases, from the purest principle; it arose too often from sheer cowardice. But he was confident that, of whatever faults that House might be guilty, of this fault it would not be guilty—namely, of shamming a superstition which it did not feel.
§ MR. GEORGE
said, it was not his intention to follow at any length hon. Gentlemen on the religious topic which had been so much dwelt upon, believing it to be beyond the real question that was to be decided that night. The Royal Dublin Society had not, he believed, grounded their refusal upon points connected with religion. Neither was it his intention to comment at any length upon the tone or temper of the hon. Gentleman who had raised the question. He (Mr. George), however, could not avoid observing that the Motion came with a very bad grace from the hon. Member for Galway, and that the tone in which he spoke of a great number of gentlemen who were connected with Dr. Gayer in the Dublin Society was scarcely worthy of him. He did not think the Motion was brought forward with candour. The hon. Mover said the Royal Dublin Society had asserted the right of private property as against the Government of the country, when he must have known that they utterly and entirely repudiated any such claim. They admitted that they held the property in trust for the public, and subject to the decision of Parliament. But there was another point. In 1854 a deliberate compact was entered into between the Government and the society that, in consequence of the society handing over to another body certain lectureships, the Government undertook that the gardens should be opened for six days in the week; that they would not interfere in the general management of the gardens by the society; and that they would give up all control of the school of art as soon as it became self-supporting. The Government ought not, therefore, to suspend the operations of the society by putting a stop to the Vote.
§ MR. CLAY
said, he wished to protest against the question before the Committee 356 being treated as a Sunday question. He had been in these gardens, and he had found them three parts full on Sunday with well-dressed people. The question was whether the poorer part of the community should be admitted to the same privilege. The society had been described as extremely harmonious and well regulated. Nothing was so comfortable as to do as one liked, by he trusted the Committee would not allow the society any longer to debar the poorer classes from innocent amusement and recreation. He did not think it desirable that they should wait until next year, unless there was some intimation from the Government that the general wish of he Committee would then be satisfied.
§ MR. LOWE
Sir, I hope the Committee will be of opinion that the Government have acted in this matter with fairness and moderation. The Committee of Science and Art were asked by the Lord Lieutenant as to what should be done in the matter, and guided by the analogy presented in other cases, they without hesitation expressed the opinion—the view may be right or wrong— that these gardens ought to be opened on Sundays, and that opinion we communicated to the Lord Lieutenant. We received in reply a letter from the Royal Society alleging reasons why the gardens should not be opened, and which appeared to place the question on the ground that the society claimed to itself the privilege of negativing such an opinion coming from the Government, taking up, in fact, towards us the position of a private society. Like Hotspur "Yet they did deny their prisoners;" still maintaining that they had a right to receive the public money, and that it would be a breach of faith on the part of the Government to interfere with them in any way. It was under these circumstances that we were waited on by a large deputation of Irish Members, and asked to withdraw the Vote from the consideration of the House. That step we refused to take, because we desired that the society should be afforded a full opportunity of deliberating on the matter calmly. Since then a debate, in which the subject was very ably treated, and in which it was clearly shown, I think, that the society ought to reconsider the course which they appeared to have decided upon adopting, came on in "another place." I am sorry to say, however, that no impression seems to be made upon them by that discussion, and that it looks if 357 they were disposed to push matters to the last extremity. The question whether the gardens ought or ought not to be opened on a Sunday is, no doubt, one on which hon. Members generally will be found to entertain different opinions. It is, however, a question on which I have no doubt myself, but I do not, nevertheless, presume to judge for anybody else on the subject. But, be that as it may, there can be no doubt that this society has received £400,000 of the public money, and is in the receipt of money now from two departments of the State to the amount of something like £8,000 a year. [Mr. WHITESIDE: £2,000 of that is a casual Vote.] But it is a casual Vote which comes every year. Now, that being so, I cannot help thinking that the society must be held to enjoy the advantages which it possesses cum onere—that is to say, upon the condition that in exchange for so large an amount of public money it should consent to make itself responsible to the Government for the uses to which that money is applied, and that if it can itself conscientiously make use of those gardens on Sunday it might conscientiously permit them to be made use of for the public good. I hope, at all events, that whatever decision the Committee may arrive at with respect to the opening of the gardens—which is after all a minor question—they will be of opinion that it is a absolutely necessary that a society of this description should not be allowed to arrogate to itself the right of rendering itself irresponsible to any department of the Government. I may add that as we have hitherto proceeded in the matter with as much of moderation as we could do consistently with the views which we entertained on the subject, it would be well if the Committee would consent to carry that policy one step further. The Vote to which we are now asked to assent is one for hot-houses and other buildings, for which the contract has been no doubt already entered into on the strength of this money being granted by Parliament, and I would therefore suggest that we could not, consistently with good faith, refuse to give a sum of which if we decline to vote it we should not really be depriving the society so much as the contractors to whom I have referred. There will still remain a sum of £6,000 to be granted, and in dealing with that amount the Government will no doubt be willing to pay due regard to the views and wishes of the House. The adoption of this course will afford the society time to con- 358 sider the question still more fully, and I hope those hon. Gentlemen who may have influence with its members will make use of that time in endeavouring to win them to moderation.
§ MR. VANCE
said, the position of the society rested on the opinion expressed by the Government to the deputation as to the independence of the society and documentary evidence which showed that the society had the power of using the money for any purpose they might think proper, and also on account of the peculiar position of the gardens, which were not of a size to be opened to the public, as were the gardens at Kew. The Royal Dublin Society had been entirely misrepresented. It was not a small society in Dublin, but a society composed of 1,500 of the first and leading gentlemen of Ireland, comprising in their number as many as forty Peers; and when the society had considered the question they had carried their views by majorities of seven to one. He rejoiced to hear that the moderation of the Government would not advise the House to refuse the grant. By the compulsion of a refusal of the grant the gardens would not be opened to the public on Sunday. It would not; for the society would refuse it. He really did not think it necessary to trouble the Committee further.
said, he thought the hon. Member for Galway had brought the question forward in a very fair and temperate manner, and that the argument raised by his hon. Friends on his side of the House had no grounds at all. He rose for the purpose of impressing upon the Government that they ought for once to come forward and state in a straightforward manner the course they intended to pursue. The hon. Member for Brighton had made a proposition which relieved him (Colonel Dickson) from a difficulty in which he was placed. He was extremely unwilling to oppose the Vote, for this reason among others—that if the Vote were once got rid of they might find some difficulty in getting it back again. He hoped, therefore, that the proposition of the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. Buxton) would be acceded to; and that if they got an assurance from the Government that they would not allow the Lord Lieutenant to be made a mere King Log in the matter, his hon. Friend would not press his Motion.
§ MR. CARDWELL
—I think nothing could be more straightforward and tempe- 359 rate than statement just made by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Lowe), in whose department this Vote lies. I have, I may add, the greatest respect for the members of the Royal Dublin Society, with whom in 1854 I had the privilege of communicating, when President of the Board of Trade, with respect to the extension of their grant. That extension was accorded to them, and the record of what passed on the occasion is contained in a paper which I now hold in my hand. The arrangement then entered into was that with regard to certain departments the Board of Trade should possess a direct superintendence, but that with respect to those matters of high art and general agricultural improvement to which this excellent society devoted its useful labours the intervention of the Government should not be exercised. Now, nothing in that arrangement, so far as my memory serves me, touches at all upon the question of the opening of the gardens on Sunday. And, at all events, acting as the representative of the Government at the time, I did not presume even to imply that the House of Commons should not retain a perfect control over the distribution of the money which it granted, while the members of the society themselves, in a letter which they wrote on the subject, admitted the authority of Parliament to deal with their affairs so far as certain modifications of the rules of the several departments of their institution were concerned. I have no hesitation in saying, in answer to the appeal of the hon. and gallant Officer (Colonel Dickson), that, as at present advised, I hold it to be the desire of the House that the sum annually voted to the Royal Dublin Society shall be voted on the condition that in its application to useful purposes the opinion of this House, as expressed through the department which is responsible to Parliament for the Vote, shall be treated with respect and obedience. I believe, too, that what is generally called the Sunday question is not involved in this proposition. It is not possible for us who go to the Zoological Society's Gardens, and who avail ourselves of the new privileges of the Horticultural Society on Sundays, to say that the Sunday question is involved, nor do I think it is wise of the fellows of the Royal Dublin Society to maintain that it is involved, seeing that they avail themselves of the privilege of the gardens on that day. I earnestly hope that excellent society will see the propriety of conforming to the wish of Parliament. I think the hon. Member 360 for Galway has exercised a wise discretion in raising the question on this first Vote, because it gives time to the society for further consideration; but I hope he will not object to the particular items of this Vote, for the expenditure has been sanctioned by former Estimates, and it would be wrong to withhold from contractors and workmen payments for which the faith of Parliament was believed to be pledged. On the Educational Estimate the Vote for the Royal Dublin Society will be brought forward, and it is not the intention of the Government to sanction the distribution of the Vote through the Royal Dublin Society, except on the clear understanding that they will submit to the will of the House of Commons in its distribution, which will the Government believe to be that the gardens shall be opened on Sundays, under such reasonable arrangements as may be made by the society.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
I wish the House to understand clearly what the Royal Dublin Society is. Long before the Union it received a much larger grant from the Irish Parliament than is now given to it. Every scientific man in Ireland is a member of it, and since I was a child I remember that no good thing in science, art, or agriculture was promoted in Ireland except through the instrumentality of this society. I have received a letter from a gentleman who is a member of that society, and who holds the same views on this question as the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He tells me that he was anxious that the gardens should be opened, but that when he looked round him at the meeting he found opposed to him every man who for the last half century had advocated in the city of Dublin every question which was of the slightest utility to the people. ["No, no!"] Crying "No" is not an argument; the hon. Member had much better stand up and speak like a rational man. There is just this difference between him and me—I represent the University of Dublin, and I know who are the members of this society. I know that men of all persuasions and all politics belong to this society, which it is in your power to break up by agreeing to the proposition to which the Motion of the hon. Member for Galway may lean; for I tell you plainly that these gentlemen will not yield their convictions to yours, and if you command them to open their museums and the whole of their establishments on Sunday they will refuse. I do 361 not deny that you have the right to take the grant away from this society and in-trust its distribution to other hands—to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, for instance; but he will not find three men of the same class in Dublin to carry out his views. You must remember that you are dealing with a body of educated and intelligent men, who for the last sixty years have done more for the cause of agriculture and science than any other body of men in Ireland. Until the last six months you had not an art gallery in Dublin, but the gentlemen of this society subscribed their money and got one up. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford was President of the Board of Trade he was very far from saying what he has said to-night. This is what he wrote then—Their Lordships observe with satisfaction that, in contemplation of the supplementary grant for the gardens which will be included in this year's Vote, the Committee of Botany have recommended that the gardens should be open every week day, and my Lords consider that a similar rule should be extended to the museums and library.That has been done, and every suggestion made by the Board of Trade has been carried out literally, and now you call on them to open their gardens on the Sabbath, to which they object. You may make that demand on pain of withholding the grant. You have the power to break up the society by your votes, but I tell you that the manner in which you propose to treat unpopularity of Her Majesty's present Administration in Ireland. That society embraces all the scientific men in Dublin. Does the hon. Member for Galway, who as former Member for Dublin, knows something of the feeling there suppose that he would be able to get up another society in Dublin against the opinion of the large body of gentlemen who now constitute this society? He could not do it if he were to call a public meeting tomorrow. These botanical gardens are very small, and they are filled with plants for the instruction and information of those who study botany. They are not places into which a great body of people could be admitted with convenience, and if you open them on Sundays you entail great additional expense on the society, for they must employ another set of attendants for Sundays, as those who are at present employed are entitled to their holyday on that day. It has been open from morning to 362 night on every week day since the Board of Trade called upon the society to open it. I can only say that in withdrawing this grant you will withdraw it from the most useful body which exists in the sister kingdom.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that after the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, he would recommend his hon. Friend not to divide the Committee on that occasion. He did not imagine that the Dublin Society, for the sake of preventing the poor artizans of Dublin from enjoying that which the artizans of London could enjoy every Sunday at Kew, and for the sake, perhaps, of securing the exclusive enjoyment of the Glasnevin Gardens on that day for themselves and their families, would persist in their intention to close the gardens on the Sunday when they knew the feeling of the Government and the House on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside) had spoken very contemptuously of those who had advocated the opening of the gardens. Amongst them were five judges, twelve assistant barristers, and 900 professional men. He (Mr. Monsell) repeated he had no doubt that very shortly Glasnevin would be open on the Sunday the same as Kew was.
§ MR. LEFROY
deeply regretted that the hon. Member for Galway should have approached this subject in the tone he had adopted, and could not but think that the course he had pursued was most ungracious towards many of his old constituents. He would not enter into the Sabbath question further than to say that it was a great mistake to say that because these gardens were closed on Sunday the people were deprived of recreation, for the fact was these gardens covered but a very small portion of ground and were close to a large park more suited for public walks. The real question was, if a large number of the members of the Dublin Society had a conscientious objection to opening these gardens on the Sunday, were those objections to be disregarded and overruled by mere official authority, although supported by those who might agree in opinion with the hon. Member for Galway. For himself (Mr. Lefroy) he must protest against such a course.
§ MR. GREGORY
denied that he had spoken in any harsh manner of the Dublin Society. He admired their usefulness, which he deplored their exclusiveness, and 363 firmly believed that the society was composed of men more prudent and less hot-headed than seemed to be supposed. He would accede to the request of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, because he felt satisfied that the society would be guided by the opinion expressed in Parliament, so that it would be unnecessary for him to take the invidious course of striking off any portion of their grant. Relying, therefore, on the distinct understanding that the Government would not bring forward the annual grant for the Dublin Society until they were satisfied that the society would open the gardens to the public on Sundays, he would not press his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. W. WILLAMS
said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that there were Votes amounting to £60,000 for building schools in Ireland. There was no such Vote for England.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also,
§ (14.) £2,628, Kingstown Harbour.
§ (15.) £5,000, Sheriff Court Houses, Scotland.
(16.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £32,600, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of erecting and maintaining certain Lighthouses Abroad, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
complained that the country was called upon to defray the expense of lighthouses at the Ionian Islands, Western Australia, Ceylon, and other places, and moved the reduction of the Vote by £22,400.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, he wished to ask how it came that the Committee were asked to vote £8,000 for a light to the Bass Rocks at Ceylon? Those rocks did not lie in the course of trading or colonial vessels, but in that of the steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental Company. He did not dispute the propriety of placing a light there, but he thought the revenues of India should bear one half of the cost. It was proposed to substitute floating for fixed lights. Now, floating lights would be far more expensive than fixed lights, and on that ground alone the latter ought to be preferred. The lighthouse at Western Australia was required solely for the mail service, but the lighthouse at British Columbia was purely for colonial purposes, and no good reason could be shown for the Imperial revenues being charged with its maintenance. He also wished to know 364 what had become of the £20,000 which had already been voted by Parliament for lights on Bass's Rocks?
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, that no country in the world had so great an interest as England in having the coasts of its colonies well lighted. It was, no doubt, desirable that the colonies should contribute towards lighthouses which were, to a certain extent, beneficial to themselves; but it did not follow that because a lighthouse was erected on an island it was erected for the local interests of that island. Generally, indeed, it was erected upon some point with a view to guide passing ships, and, therefore, for the interest of the empire at large. England was interested in the commerce of the world, and she ought not to grudge the expense of erecting proper lighthouses in every part of her dominions. Half the cost of the lighthouses at British Columbia was paid by the colonists, and it might be a question whether other colonists should not be asked to contribute to similar objects. He could state, upon the most competent authority, that floating lights would be more serviceable at Bass's Rocks, and would not be so expensive as a fixed lighthouse. Orders had been sent to Bombay for the construction of a lightship for Bass's Rocks, and another would be built as soon as it was ascertained that the first had been successful.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not stated what had become of the £20,000 already voted for a lighthouse on Bass's Rocks.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, he was afraid that a great deal of the money had not been well expended. [MR. CHILDERS: Has it been expended at all?] He believed so; but to give an account of former unsuccessful efforts to light Bass's Rocks would be to tell a very long and a very painful story, and he was afraid the Committee would not be much edified by the narrative.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, he thought the explanation a very lame one. Why should not the charge in reference to Ceylon be paid for out of the colonial revenue, which exceeded the expenditure? He did not see why the House should pay the charge also in reference to the Ionian Islands.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he was also of opinion that the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade was unsatisfactory. It 365 suggested a very important question, which must sooner or later be pressed upon the attention of Parliament, namely, whether the colonies should be exonerated from the payment of any part of the expenditure incurred for the general interests of the empire. It was all very well to say that England was interested in the commerce of the world, but that general proposition could not be accepted as a defence of an Estimate which called upon the mother country to pay the whole expenses of lighthouses erected in the colonial possessions of the Crown. It was time to consider what would be the consequence of England taking such an expenditure on itself.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, the Estimates for the lighthouses in the Bahamas, the Ionian Islands, and Western Australia were the usual Votes passed in each Session. There were two lights at the Bahamas for which this country must pay, as there was no other means for raising the funds. Whether it was a general proposition or not, it was the duty of England to vote this expenditure.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, the Votes specified might not be novelty but they had nearly doubled in amount. British Columbia, a poor colony, was to repay half the cost of its lighthouses, while Ceylon, a rich settlement, was to pay nothing. What had been done with this £20,000, and why all the expense was to come out of Imperial funds had been very imperfectly explained.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, he could give further explanation if the Committee wished; but it would be difficult to go into all the details.
§ MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, he thought Ceylon should pay for lighting its own coasts, as also should the Ionian Islands. Colonial expenditure should, in those cases where it was sufficient, be applied to these purposes.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, if all the expenditure were for the benefit of the colony itself, the colony, no doubt, should pay; but the expense for lighthouses was for the benefit of our own commerce frequenting those seas. It was an Imperial purpose. The same rule applied to Ceylon.
insisted that in the case of the colony of Victoria local interests were almost exclusively benefitted by the lighthouses.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, that the lighthouses on the coast of Ceylon were erected for the purposes of British trade generally, and not for the be- 366 nefit of that colony, which was not a maritime country.
§ MR. G. W. HOPE
maintained that the interests involved were general interests. Colonies would not consent to light the great highways of the ocean.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
could not recognize the justice of the principle of taxing British taxpayers for purposes of mixed Imperial and colonial utility.
Motion made, and Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £10,200, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of erecting and maintaining certain Lighthouses Abroad, to the 31st day of March, 1862,
§ —put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
moved that the Chairman report Progress.
Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and negatived.
(17.) £5,000, Highland Roads and Bridges.
said, he objected to the Vote as one that was quite uncalled for in the present time. The grant had existed since the Rebellion in 1745; but, as that part of the country for which this money was asked had enormously increased in wealth, he thought it was time to discontinue the grant, and he should, therefore, move its omission.
said, he was obliged to propose the Vote because the Highland Commissioners were appointed under an Act of Parliament passed at the beginning of the present century. The duty was cast upon those commissioners of keeping the roads in repair, upon the understanding that they were to receive an annual Parliamentary grant. This was only a grant in aid, as the commissioners had power to assess the owners of property to meet the expense.
§ MR. COLLINS
said, he hoped the Committee would negative the Vote unless the Government gave a promise that next year they would bring in a Bill to repeal the Act on which it was founded.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,000, be granted to Her Majesty, on account of the Commissioners of Highland Roads and Bridges, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 72; Noes 59: Majority 13.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (18.) £35,000, Rates for Government Property.367
§ MR. SCLATER BOOTH
asked, why the parish of Aldershot, which had as good a claim as the other places that now shared in the grant, was not allowed to participate in it?
MR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the principle adopted was to confine the allowance to places in which there were naval and military establishments bearing a considerable proportion to the whole rateable property of the parish, and if it could be shown that the property at Aldershot in the occupation of the War Department came within that principle, the Government would not refuse to consider the case in a future year.
§ Voteagreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.