§ House in Committee.
§ Mr. Massey in the Chair.
§ (In the Committee.)
Original Question again proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £25,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
Mr. W. Williams and Mr. BERNAL OSBOBNE
rose together. Yielding to the loud calls for Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE, the hon. Member for Lambeth gave way.
§ MR. BERNTAL OSBORNE
said, as he was cut short in a quotation at ten minutes to four o'clock, it was rather unkind in the hon. Member for Lambeth to wish to prevent his resuming it in the evening. But, on the other hand, he was rather glad he had had time, since the adjournment of the House, to examine the Vote, as he was the better able to propose what he thought would be right to deduct from the credit of £75,000. He would put it at £2,000, a sum which would give the Committee an opportunity of discussing some of the items, and allow him to make a few observations upon them. The first item was the charge of £273 for the expenses of the various colonial Bishops in visiting their dioceses. He would not, however, insist on being too particular as to that Vote. There was another to which he would direct the attention of the House, chiefly for the sake of asking for some information on it. It was the charge for fees paid on conferring titles of dignity. A sum of £512 was asked for passing under the Great Seal a patent granting to Lord Brougham a barony with one remainder. He was the last person in the House who would ever say anything to detract from the justly-established merits of Lord Brougham; he thought he had well earned the gratitude of the country. But when he saw an item of the sort for the first time brought under consideration, he felt bound to call attention to it, and he was told that this was a peculiar patent, as it proposed for the first time in the history of granting peerages to skip one generation. The successor to this title 1547 was a Whig of acknowledged ability, who, like other Whigs, had retired on an acknowledged pension of £2,500 a year after a few years' services. He would not object to the Vote if it was admitted that great men's patents of nobility were to be paid for by the public; but, if not, why was an exception made in favour of Lord Brougham? Some explanation ought to be given before that item was voted. There was another charge of £188 for passing under the Great Seal the letters patent appointing the Duke of Argyll Postmaster General. A good explanation might, perhaps, be given of that item; but the House would be curious to hear what were the circumstances under which the Postmaster General's patent was to be paid for out of the public taxes? He came next to the charge of £1,415 for erecting galleries in Hyde Park for the Volunteer Review of last year. He believed more ill-will than pleasure was created by these galleries. He was told by an hon. Gentleman next him that he could not obtain a ticket for the gallery, nor could any of his friends; and if it had come to this, that galleries were to be erected on public occasions for the friends of whoever might happen to be in power, he believed it would be a very strong argument in favour of a Reform of Parliament. To that Vote he objected altogether, and would certainly divide the House against it. He now came to the last item of £944 for the Commission appointed for promoting and encouraging the Fine Arts in connection with the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament. The appointment of that Commission was a most unfortunate thing for the Fine Arts, as well as for the pockets of the people of the country. It was appointed in 1841, when the new Houses of Parliament were first begun, under the pretence of taking advantage of the opportunity to encourage the Fine Arts. The Commission originally consisted of twenty-one members, all gentlemen highly distinguished in society. No doubt they felt themselves very well employed while spending the public money in promoting the Fine Arts — with what effect let the House judge. Since the appointment of the Commission eleven of the members had died, and it at present consisted of fifteen; and—what the House should always avoid—they were gentlemen of great taste. Whenever they appointed a Commission of gentlemen of great taste they might depend the public purse was in great danger. In 1846 the Commission 1548 proposed that £4,000 a year should be spent in decorating the Houses of Parliament, and since that year £60,000 had actually been expended for that purpose. Was any hon. Member of the House not connected with the Fine Arts satisfied with the way in which that sum had been laid out? He would not make his quotation again, but if the Houses were ruins, and the New Zealander Lord Macaulay had depicted were sitting on a fragment of Westminster Bridge, if any of the frescoes remained, would he not think that they had been painted by Pagans? Not that there was any chance of their being in existence, for at the present moment they were falling from the walls. Cordelia was defaced, and Lear was almost invisible. Had not the £60,000 been grossly and wantonly wasted by this Commission? He had spoken of the frescoes only; but the Commission had been been in the habit of laying out money for purposes for which it was not originally voted. Mr. Maclise, the celebrated artist, contracted to paint certain pictures, to be completed in ten years, for which he was to receive £10,000. In 1855 the House granted £1,500, on account, to Mr. Maclise. But Mr. Maclise had since repudiated his contract. What did the Commission do? The Kensington Museum was convenient; there were rising artists to be encouraged, and this £15,000 was employed for that purpose. Hon. Gentlemen had been in what was called the Painted Chamber. There was there a series of what had been called "splendid sign paintings." Twenty-eight Tudor portraits, furnished by the Kensington Museum at £70 a head, so that the money voted for Mr. Maclise was devoted to the encouragement of unknown artists, and twenty-eight, not paintings, but inferior copies of the most approved Wardour Street School, were purchased in order to encourage the rising artists of the Kensington Museum. It was a little too much for the Fine Arts Commission to take upon themselves in that way, and it was high time for Parliament to step in and put a veto upon such proceedings. Then, again, as to the frescoes, he could only say, although not a man having a taste in that House, that he thought they were disgusting exhibitions. They cost £600 each, and the only good the country would get for the money was that in five years they were all likely to fall off the walls. Who were the designers? Who had commanded them? That House had 1549 nothing to do with them, but the fifteen hon. Gentlemen had who met to spend the public money, though not to the public satisfaction, He was fortified in his opinion by the right hon. Gentleman whose vote perhaps he could not claim, but whose silence at least he should expect—the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. That right hon. Gentleman could defend and adorn any subject—he could even prop up Her Majesty's Ministers. He said, on August 3,1860, "He did not hesitate to admit that the ornamentation of the Houses of Parliament had been in many instances enormously and ludicrously overdone." That was the Chancellor of the Exchequer's opinion of the Fine Arts Commission. The right hon. Gentleman was not only a man of real taste, but he had a sincere desire to save the public money, and it could only be by the pressure of gentlemen in his neighbourhood who had enormous taste that he could be brought to consent to so prodigal a waste of money. But there was not only a question of taste but one of historical judgment in respect of the statues about to be put up. He was sorry to make any charge—he made no inuendo— but he did not think the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works had acted with candour in the matter. Upon the same occasion when the right Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer denounced the Fine Arts Commission in August, 1860, there was a great debate as to the sum to be appropriated for the erection of statues. Originally in 1845 the Fine Arts Commission, with that prodigality that distinguished all gentlemen who were putting their hands into other people's pockets, and spending other people's money, proposed to have statues of British monarchs from Egbert to William IV. The House had then one of their fits of economy, and rather objected to have a series of statues from the renowned Egbert down to the equally renowned William IV. and it was agreed that there should be only four statues, one at each corner of the Royal Gallery. The right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works—if he would only save them from such works as these, had hardly acted with candour, his love of monarchy exceeded his admiration of that House. On August 3,1860, there was an item of £1,600 for two British Sovereigns, and great contention arose as to who those Sovereigns should be. The hon. Member for Brighton was all for Oliver Cromwell.
1550 [Mr. WHITE: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member for Dundalk would not hear of Oliver Cromwell. [Sir GEORGE BOWYER: Hear, hear!] The tide of opinion ran strongly, and the House, not feeling that confidence in the First Commissioner which they ought to have felt, the right hon. Gentleman withdrew the Vote, and in doing so said— "He did it with a view of considering whether some selection of Sovereigns might not be made that would he generally acceptable to the House." Of course it was expected then that they were going to have four respectable Sovereigns, at £800 each, and, therefore, he (Mr. Osborne) made no objection, relying upon the First Commissioner; but it now appeared, from the 12th Report of the Fine Arts Commission, signed by one Royal personage, one literary Peer, and one late Radical M.P.—the Prince Consort, Lord Stanhope, and Lord Llanover—one of the recent creations. They now recommended that Mr. William Theed be invited to undertake two of the marble statues to be placed in the Royal Gallery —those of William IV. and George IV. They were to be seven feet high upon proportionate pedestals. Mr. Thorneycroft was to he invited to undertake other two statues—those of Charles I, and James I. The money had been voted, and now the Committee found themselves in the same position as they were with respect to the Military College which they had been discussing that morning. They voted the money for the College, and the College would be erected; they had voted money for four statues, and these four statues of four distinguished monarchs would he undertaken at the expense of the nation. No doubt they would hear from the Treasury bench some talk about the necessity of promoting the fine arts; but in answer to that, by anticipation, he would refer to a previous Report of the Fine Arts Commission, in which it was stated that since the institution of the Commission the encouragement of art had been so much increased in this country by private orders that it was no longer an object to apply the public money for its promotion. He repeated that it was high time that Commission of gentlemen for spending other people's money should cease. Ho thought he had shown fair reason why that particular Vote of £994 should be refused, and if hon. Gentlemen could not agree with him in voting that £2,000 he deducted from the Estimate, he hoped they would 1551 join him in aiming a blow—for he avowed his object was to put an end to the Fine Arts Commission—in aiming a blow at this "profligate expenditure," to use a celebrated phrase of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He should move that the Vote be reduced by £2,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £23,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
said, that as he had been personally alluded to by the hon. Gentleman, he supposed he ought to say a few words in defence of his candour, even if he did not enter into the general question of his vote. His hon. Friend had been kind enough to remember what he (Mr. Cowper) had said during the last year, but he had not remembered what he had said in reference to these statues in the present year, when the Vote was passed. The estimate as framed in the previous Session appeared to pledge the House to a series of forty-two statues, from Egbert down to the last Sovereign who preceded her present Majesty. There was no such intention on the part of the Government, but as the form of the Estimate did appear to pledge the House he withdrew the Vote, stating that consideration would he given to the question whether a selection could not be made that would he acceptable to the House. When it became his duty to explain the Vote of this year, he gave his explanation in such a manner as, he thought, ought to have guarded him against any charge of want of candour. He had not trusted to his own memory, but referred to what he was reported to have said on that occasion. He was reported in The Times to have said that the Fine Arts Committee had been engaged for a long series of years in endeavouring to promote art in that building, and that they proposed that four out of the twelve statues in chronological series were to be placed one at each side of the principle doors of the Royal Gallery. It often happened to them in that House that they said too much, but he ought, perhaps, to regret that on the occasion to which he referred he had not said a little more. He ought, perhaps, to have explained at some what greater length the meaning which he had endeavoured to sketch out in those few words; but he had taken it for granted that hon. Members interested in the subject had read the Report of the Commission on the Fine Arts, which had been on the 1552 table for some time before the Vote came on. In the report of the Sub-committee, which was referred to in that of the whole Commission, it was proposed to divide the chronological series into three portions: —first, twelve statues in the Royal Gallery; and then a certain number in two others respectively. In St. Stephen's-hall were statutes of men who had been distinguished in the House of Commons; and the Fine Arts Commission suggested that in the Royal Gallery and other parts of the approach through which the Sovereign passed there should be statues to illustrate the Monarchy and the history of the country. He thought that that view was not an unreasonable one on the part of the Commission. The Fine Arts Commission had been in existence for nearly twenty years, and it had produced twelve Reports. The Commission had been proceeded by a Committee of that House which sat in 1841, and which recommended that an encouragement should be afforded to the fine arts which could not be given by private persons. Private persons had not houses sufficiently large to have large pictures, and without large dimensions they could not have frescoes, or any historical art on a grand scale. It was thought that advantage should be taken of that building to encourage high art. He did not presume to put forward his opinion against that of any other Gentleman who thought himself more competent to form an opinion on the subject, but it was the opinion of very good judges that the proceedings of the Fine Arts Commission had done a great deal to encourage an important school of painting. [Mr. B. OSBORNE: Oh, oh.] When the hon. Gentleman found fault with the decay of the frescoes—[Mr. B. OSBORNE: I did find fault with that.]—he thought that his complaint was not well founded. With two exceptions the frescoes were in good preservation; and he hoped they would last 300 years. The hon. Gentleman might go over the good frescoes and rub them with a towel without doing them injury, or he might endeavour to get rid of them by scrubbing them with water and a brush. [An Hon. MEMBER: And soap.] No; without soap; but he would find that the operation would have no effect in removing them. It was in that building that the practice of painting frescoes was commenced in England. They had been painted in other buildings since; and there was a very fine painting of that kind in the hall of Lincoln's-inn, With regard to sculp- 1553 ture, there was a demand for statues in the streets of our great towns, and it was important to set forth good examples in the Houses of Parliament. Excellence of sculpture was more easily attained and developed in the representation of historical and Royal personages, than in the imitation of the costumes of the present day. The Royal Commission was appointed for the purpose of giving encouragement and support to the fine arts, and he believed it would be conceded that the internal decorations of the Houses of Parliament were a credit to the country and elicited the admiration of foreigners. [Mr. B. OSBORNE: Oh, oh!] His opinion was that, on the whole, they had reason to be proud of the manner in which the money had been expended in those decorations. He admitted that in the lavlsh carving of the exterior money had been wasted. The names of the members of the Fine Arts Commission were a guarantee for confidence in that body. These were men who might be well trusted with the selection of a few statues and paintings. For a long period of years a sum of £4,000 had been annually placed at the disposal of the Committee of Fine Arts, but that year, for the first time, a much less amount was demanded, and that sum was to be spent entirely on the four statues, no new pictures being contemplated at present. He repeated his belief that no one was to blame for the manner in which the money was expended. At the time the Vote passed, the Committee of Fine Arts had not come to any decision regarding the statues to be selected. They of Fine Arts had not come to any decision regarding the statues to be selected. They had received a Report from the sub-committee, but had arrived at no conclusion upon it; and it was after the Vote of the House that their decision was given.
§ Mr. GREGORY
observed, that he was bound to say that it would have been better had the right hon. Gentleman been either a great deal more laconic or a great deal more communicative. On three different occasions the right hon. Gentleman had addressed the House on the subject of those statues. Last year, when the question was fully discussed, there unquestionably prevailed in the House a feeling of opposition to the proposed series of thirty-eight statues of British monarchs in chronological order; the objection being taken wholly from an artistic point of view, and without the smallest disrespect to any of the former monarchs of England. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets on 1554 that occasion objected strongly to imaginative statues of Saxon monarchs, and laid great emphasis on the fact that one of them was an extremely immoral character. The result was that the right hon. Gentleman withdrew the Motion, stating in the most clear and unmistakable terms, as preserved in Hansard, that he did so "with a view of considering whether some selection of sovereigns could not be made which would be favourably accepted by the House of Commons." Now, he asked, what chance was the right hon. Gentleman giving the House of Commons of favourably accepting any selection of monarchs? No one had been more amused than himself at the good-humoured jest of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, a few nights before, who asked him whether he could wonder at the difficulty experienced in selecting sovereigns, when he himself had such trouble in finding Members to serve on the Galway Committee. But at that very time the selection had been made. The House was allowed to believe by the First Commissioner of Works at the time the Vote of £3,200 was agreed to, that the question of what four monarchs would be selected was still open to consideration. Certainly the impression left upon his mind was not that the monarchs chosen would be George IV., William IV., James I., and Charles I.; but that the choice lay between the Edwards and the Henries, or possibly Alfred the Great. Not to use an offensive word, he believed that in the proceedings of the Government on the question there had been a want of candour amounting to a suppressio veri. The Government knew perfectly well that four statues had been selected which would be unpalatable to the House of Commons, and that if a plain issue had been raised with regard to them their execution never would have been regard to them their execution never would have been sanctioned. They shifted and they shuffled; and having last year withdrawn their scheme, with a view of considering whether some selection acceptable to the House; of Commons could not be made, they now came forward and declared their intention of persisting in the chronological series of statues which was repudiated by the House of Commons last year. It would have been much better and more candid had the right lion. Gentleman, on their part, come forward to declare that a pressure which they could not resist had been brought to bear upon them; that they had changed their original intention, and called upon the House of Commons to support them in 1555 their altered views. There was some difficulty in discovering whether those marble statues were ordered with the object of doing honour to Royalty in England or of encouraging English art. If with the former intention, he certainly did not think honour had been done in the right place. If with the latter be believed the proposed method to be the very worst way of encouraging art which could be adopted. The old maxim of fiat experimentum in corpore vili was to be applied to the House of Commons, and artists were to try their 'prentice hands on statues to adorn its approaches.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he could not help feeling that his hon. Friend who had just sat down had been unjust towards his right hon. Friend the First Commissioner of Works in charging him with a want of candour. Several of those occupying seats upon the Ministeral bench had a distinct recollection of the facts as they really happened. Last year, when the Vote was proposed, the feeling of the Committee was very adverse to it. His right hon. Friend withdrew the Vote for the time, and undertook that the question should be thoroughly reconsidered. He took measures to secure that reconsideration, and, as they now knew from the Report of the Commission on Fine Arts, great difficulty was experienced in making any proposal upon the principle of selection. His right hon. Friend made up his mind that it was not expedient to proceed upon that principle, and came down to the House with a proposition founded upon that opinion, at which he had deliberately arrived in conjunction with his colleagues upon the Commission. It was not, however, only his hon. Friend who had changed his opinion. The opinion of the House had also undergone some change, because the Report of the Commissioners of Fine Arts was on the table; there was no suppression or concealment about the matter, and the proposal made was a proposal to take money for the erection of four statues out of a chronological series. A very animated speech made by the noble Lord the Member for Leicestershire turned upon the impossibility of acting upon the principle of selection, and although the hon. Member for Galway had not changed his opinion, but stood to his task, he was in the recollection of the Committee that the discussion which took place made the object of the Vote as clear as possible, and it was passed without any 1556 call for a division. His hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard had quoted an opinion of his, which was, perhaps, expressed in too strong terms—[Mr. BERNAL OSBORNE: Not at all.]—but, as far as be recollected, that opinion referred only to what appeared to him to be an enormous waste of pains, of money, and of ornament upon the exterior of the Houses, because, with regard to the interior decorations, although they might go to excess in quantity, yet he was boound to say that he did not think that anything more beautiful waste be found in any existing fabric. He entirely agreed with his hon. Friend that the sum charged for the expenses of the Fine Arts Commission ought to be submitted to the House by way of estimate, and undertook that in a future year that course should be adopted. As to Lord Brougham's patent, the Committee was, perhaps, not in full possession of the state of the case. His noble Friend, in advising Her Majesty upon the subject, thought fit to treat this as a patent granted for special services, and it was set forth in the patent that it was granted for Lord Brougham's "eminent public services, more especially in the diffusion of knowledge, the spread of education, and the abolition of slavery and the slave trade." No doubt it was the general rule, that when honours were conferred by the Crown the charges attendant upon the conferring of those honours should be borne by the parties who received them. That was a wise regulation if only for the reason that it tended to limit the range of solicitation for such honours. But there were precedents for the course pursued in the case. In 1846 Sir Henry Hardinge was made Viscount Hardinge, not for military but civil services, and in 1852 Lord Fitzroy Somerset was made Lord Raglan also for civil services, and in both these cases the charges were defrayed by the public. Again, in 1859, Lord Canning received promotion in the peerage for civil services, and Lord Elphinstone in the same year was made an English peer, and in these cases also the charges were borne by the public. But, with respect to the charges, it should be known that a considerable portion of them went back into the Exchequer. The charges on Lord Brougham's patent were, he believed, a little over £512, and of that £440 went back again into the Exchequer, leaving £147 to be paid by the public. In short, in various cases where peerages had been conferred 1557 in consideration of civil services, the practice obtained of defraying tice expense out of the public purse.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, that the principle upon which the Fine Arts Commission was founded, that they could by spending the public money promote the fine arts or create great artists was entirely fallacious. That it was so was proved by the fact that although portrait painting was the branch of art which received most encouragement in England, we had now no portrait painter equal to Sir Joshua Reynolds or Sir Thomas Lawrence, and by the quality of the frescoes which had been painted on the walls of that building. The amount of money which had been paid for them was greater than that received by Michael Angelo or Raffaell0e, and yet look what things they were. It was said that they were coming off the walls, and he thought it would be a good thing if they did. With regard to some of thom a basin of whitewash and a brush might be very beneficially employed. The selection of subjects for the paintings was singularly injudicious. One of the frescoes, entitled the "Funeral of Charles I.," represented a brutal insult offered by a Round-head soldier to the remains of that Sovereign. It was extremely offensive to his feelings as a Royalist and cavalier, and could not be agreeable even to a Republican. Again, there was a piece of sculpture in the room behind the throne in the House of Lords, representing the murder of David Rizzio. He was at a loss to conceive on what principle such a subject could have been selected. It was surely most inappropriate for commemoration. Then, as to the artistic part of the question, it was impossible to gather from the paintings in the House of Lords the subjects there pourtrayed; they were perfectly unintelligible. For instance, there was one which was said to represent the "Baptism of King Ethelred," in which a man was to be seen kneeling without any clothes on his body, and with a crown on his head. To all appearance he seemed prepared for a whipping rather than a baptism. The King could not have stripped for the purpose of immersion, for the font was also shown in the picture, and was so small that he could no more get into it than into a tea cup. Before they went on spending money on such paintings they ought to know more about them. He would recommend the Government to put a stop to an expenditure which produced 1558 results discreditable to the country, for they gave foreigners a very low idea of the standard of art in England. He hoped the noble Lord at the head of the Government would look to the matter. He placed great reliance on the noble Lord in matters of taste, and was sorry he was not present during the recent debate on the style of the Foreign Office, to show that there was at least one Italian question on which he agreed with the noble Lord.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, that a reference to Hansard would show that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Commissioner of Works had distinctly stated that the original intention of having a chronological series of Sovereigns had been abandoned, and that it was intended to have only four statues in the Royal Gallery. In his opinion there was no difficulty in making a selection of Sovereigns to be represented. If the choice lay with him he would name Alfred, Edward I., the greatest of the Plantagenets and the English Justinian, Elizabeth, the greatest of the Tudors, and then, coming to the beginning of our constitutional history, William III. He pointed out that the sub-Committee of the Fine Arts Commission bad not reconsidered the subject since the decision of the House last year, as their Report was dated June, 1860, while the Vote did not take place till August. He agreed with his hon. Friend as to the Brougham patent, which was a most unusual proceeding. It was a compliment not to Lord Brougham but to William Brougham. That gentleman was appointed a Master in Chancery solely on his brother's account, and when objection was raised on the ground that the office was to have been abolished, people were led to believe that he would not claim his pension. As to the galleries in Hyde Park at the Volunteer Review last year he objected altogether to the presence of either House of Parliament in its collective capacity at such spectacles.
§ MR. COLLINS
said, that the next heir of Lord Brougham was a nephew, then in Australia. There had never been an instance of a patent in remainder where the next heir had been passed over.
MR. DANBY SEYMOUR
asked whether the Government had abandoned their idea of raising statues of all the Sovereigns of England, and whether they had abandoned the chronological series?
said, the House and the Government had been accustomed to leave 1559 the selection of statues to the Commissioners of Fine Arts. Last year it was stated to be the intention of the Commissioners to erect the statues of twelve Sovereigns immediately preceding her present Majesty. The four statues voted this year were not a selection of the Commissioners out of the twelve, but were an instalment of the twelve; and the instalment consisted of James I. and Charles I., and William IV. and George IV.
§ MR. GREGORY
asked when had the House received an intimation of the change in the sentiments of the Government from the determination last year that there should be four statues, one in each corner of the Royal Gallery?
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, it was clear that if the speech to which reference had been made had been uttered by the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works, he could only have been expressing his individual opinion; and he could have had no communication with his colleagues on the Fine Art Commission.
said, there had been an estimate last year for a chronological series of forty-two Sovereigns, but it had been afterwards resolved, in deference to what was believed to be the opinion of the House, that an estimate for four only should be asked for, and nothing had been said which would convey that four would be the entire number. He had done nothing to mislead the House. Last year he contemplated a selection; this year he did not; and he had a right to change his mind as he had done after deliberation, and after consultation with the Fine Art Commissioners.
§ SIR MORTON PETO
said, he wished for some explanation of an item in the Vote of £7,000 to be paid to Pepple King of Bonny.
said, that a person named "Pepple, ex-King of Bonny," set up a claim, arising out of certain proceedings of the British Government in regard to the slave trade. It appeared that the King was deposed by his subjects, but was taken under the protection of the British Consul, to whom the King's subjects were to pay a certain annual sum. The Consul, it seemed, sent the King to the Island of Ascension to keep him out of the way. There he remained for some years, and then came to this country, when he made large claims against the British Government. The matter was referred to arbitration, when "Pepple" set up a claim of £200,000.
1560 The Government then put a stop to the arbitration, but referred the matter to the Judge Advocate and the Attorney General, who recommended that £7,673 should be given to him as compensation for the annuity of which he had been deprived.
thought that a Gentleman representing Newfoundland had been on the Commission, which, he believed, was now closed.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he noticed with surprise a sum put down in connection with Her Majesty's licence to the Convocation of the clergy of the province of Canterbury to alter the 29th Canon, relating to godfathers and godmothers. He wanted to know whether Convocation could alter a canon without the sanction of Parliament?
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that Convocation had deliberated on the subject, but no decision had been come to, and as the Convocation had no funds it was thought proper that this expense, having reference to a matter of a public nature, should be paid out of the Civil Contingencies. Some canons, made by Convocation with consent of Parliament, could only be altered with the consent of Parliament; but others, made by Convocation with consent of the Crown, could be altered by the same authority as made them.
LORD HENRY LENNOX
said, he wished to know upon what question the hon. Member (Mr. Bernal Osborne) intended to go to a division?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
said, he would propose his Amendment in another form. He should take the opinion of the Committee on the item of the expenses of Lord Brougham's patent, because he thought it was a mischievous principle to lay down that a Minister should himself make such a charge on the public. If he had come to the House first, and asked for their sanction, he (Mr. Bernal Osborne) would not have offered one word of objection. He also proposed to take the opinion of the Committee on the item for the Fine Arts Commission, especially after the explanation that had been given about the four Sovereigns, to which number he re- 1561 gretted that Pepple, King of Bonny, had not been added. He should move the reduction of the Vote by the latter item first, his object being to get rid of the Fine Arts Commission.
Motion and made, Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £24,050, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, the item which his hon. and gallant Friend wished to have disallowed in the case of Lord Brougham's patent had already been expended, and consequently no reduction of the sum which the House was asked to vote for the Civil Contingencies for the next year would have any effect upon the amount expended under that head last year. That being so, and the item for the Fine Arts Commission appearing, as had been already stated by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the shape of an Estimate, the proposed Amendment had, he contended, no application to the object sought to be attained.
§ MR. COLLINS
suggested that the hon. and gallant Member for Liskeard should lump together the two items to which he was opposed, and take a division upon both at the same time.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
expressed his readiness to withdraw his Amendment if the hon. Member would make a Motion in accordance with his own suggestion.
§ MR. AYRTON
observed that it was not necessary the Amendment should be withdrawn in order that an hon. Member might move a larger reduction of the Vote. If such a Motion were made, it would be competent for the Chairman to put it at once.
said, the remark of the hon. Member would be correct if the question with reference to the smaller amount had not been actually put.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. COLLINS
said, he would then move that the Vote be reduced by two items—namely, £944 4s. 8d. for the expenses of the Fine Arts Commission, and £512 16s, for Lord Brougham's patent, being in the whole £1,456.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
then took occasion to say that Lord Brougham had expressed a strong desire—a desire natural and honourable to him, that the title which had been conferred upon him as the result of his professional career should be continued after his death. Having taken into 1562 account the long-continued services of the noble Lord, lie had felt no hesitation in advising Her Majesty to comply with the request, while the wish that the title should descend to his surviving brother seemed to be also a question which ought to be determined by the feelings of the person who made the application. Then arose the question of the fees to be paid, and he could not help being of opinion that when it was known that the new patent gave Lord Brougham no additional rank, and merely created an alteration of the remainder, the noble Lord ought not to be called upon to incur the necessary expenses for the purpose. Lord Brougham had, by the decree of Providence, no immediate descendant of his own, and the ground on which his application in favour of his brother had been acceded to was that he himself had in the course of a long life rendered, quite independently of political considerations, great and eminent services to his country, and that by assisting in the promotion of knowledge, by greatly contributing to the diffusion of education, and by the zealous and able manner in which he had advocated the freedom of the slave and the abolition of the slave trade, he had rendered conspicuous services not only to his country, but, it might be said, to the human race itself. That being so, it had appeared to him, and to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the expenses of the patent in question should be defrayed by the public, and he could scarcely bring himself to think that the House of Commons, when it bore in mind the eminent career of Lord Brougham, the high position which he occupied, not simply in the estimation of his own fellow-countrymen, but in the eyes of Europe—in short, the world wide reputation which he enjoyed, would allow any remnant of party feeling to interfere with the giving its sanction to a Vote the rejection of which could not be otherwise than painful to the noble Lord whose name was connected with it.
said, he was astonished the noble Lord should insinuate that there was any objection to granting the sum in question on party grounds. He as well as the noble Lord was alive to the eminent services of Lord Brougham, but he could not, therefore, see why he should not oppose the grant of money for the making out of a patent of peerage for a gentleman who, through no merit of his own, was appointed to succeed to the noble 1563 and learned Lord in an indirect line of succession.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, he also thought the noble Lord had been somewhat rash in the insinuation which he had thrown out, when it was taken into account that the proposal to strike out the item in question had come originally from his own side of the House. For his own part, he could not see why a grant of public money should be made in the instance under discussion which was not even asked for in the case of men who had rendered such distinguished services as Lord Eversley or Lord John Russell.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the remainder-man would no doubt enjoy the benefit of the peerage in question, but then it should be recollected that it was granted not so much to him as to the living Peer. He wished it to be clearly understood that under no circumstances could the fees of this patent have been payable by Lord Brougham's brother. They would have been payable by himself.
Motion made, and Question put,That a sum, not exceeding £23,544, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 76: Majority 26.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. LAYARD
said, the proposal was a testimony to the great services rendered by Lord Brougham, and was a honour conferred on him by perpetuating his name and title. The name of Lord Brougham was known throughout the whole civilized world, and it would be a disgrace to the Committee to refuse to pay the fees. Hon. Gentlemen disclaimed all party feeling, but when the name of Lord Brougham was first mentioned, that feeling was indicated by a party cheer.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
observed that Lord Brougham received £10,000 a year during the period he was Lord Chancellor, and during the twenty-seven years which had since elapsed he had received a pension of £5,000 a year.
said, it was all very well for the hon. Member for Southwark to 1564 make statements on hustings which could not be contradicted, but he had made a very untrue statement to the Committee. The cheer came from Gentlemen behind him.
said, the hon. Gentleman must perceive that the use of the words "untrue statement" conveyed a charge against the hon. Member.
said, he would at once withdraw the words. What he wished to say was, that the cheer proceeded from behind the hon. Member for Southwark. Motion, made, and Question put,That a sum, not exceeding £24,488, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862.The Committee divided:—Ayes 48; Noes 62: Majority 14.
§ Original Question again proposed,
said, he would ask for information as to certain sums in the Estimate for preparation of Irish Bills, though he did not expect to have any information on the point, seeing that there was neither Secretary for Ireland, Attorney General, nor Solicitor General for Ireland, nor, in fact, any person who knew anything about Ireland, on the Treasury bench.
said, that it was impossible for the gentleman who was employed at the Home Office to draught all the Bills which were introduced during the Session, and it was, therefore, necessary occasionally to employ others.
said, he should move that the item be reduced by £100, being the sum stated to be paid for the draughting of the Irish Tramways Bill, which was so badly drawn that it was impossible it could be passed by the House.
Motion made, and Question proposed,That a sum, not exceeding £24,900, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow at Twelve of the clock.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present, — Committee counted, and 40 Members not being present:1565
§ align="right">House adjourned at half-past
§ Two o'clock.