HC Deb 05 June 1863 vol 171 cc425-8

said, he rose to call the attention of the House to a Report recently issued by Sir Henry James of the progress of the Ordnance Survey of the United Kingdom. That Report contained a suggestion which would have the effect of postponing the survey of Scotland for about a quarter of a century, until a re-survey of England had been made on a larger scale, together with revisions of the surveys already completed both of England and Ireland. The attention of Parliament had been frequently called to the subject, and various inquiries made; but, so far as Scotland was concerned, they had been working without any fixed plan, and a Committee had reported last year that the interference of Parliament had not only caused delay, but very great and unnecessary expense. What was the actual state of the survey of the United Kingdom? There was a complete map of England on the one-inch scale. As a map it was perhaps the most convenient of all, but for many purposes a larger map was necessary; and, if so, one on the 25-inch scale was probably the most desirable. There were two complete maps of Ireland, one on the six-inch scale, and one in outline on the one-inch scale, and a third in progress showing the physical characteristics of the country. In Scotland there were 30,000 square miles to be surveyed. A little more than one-fifth, or 6,348 square miles on the six-inch, and 4,022 square miles, or considerably less than one-seventh, on the one-inch scale were completed; but only 732 square miles on the six-inch, and about 1,000 square miles on the one-inch scale were published. It had happened once that the engineers were all removed to Ireland to make the survey on the six-inch scale, but it was scarcely fair to Scotland to take them away a second time. The people of Scotland had contributed their share to the surveys of England and Ireland, and they were entitled to have their country surveyed before further proceedings were adopted either in Ireland or England. They did not care upon what scale the map was done, whether the six-inch or the one-inch scale; but the survey ought to be completed. He did not wish to call for the action of Parliament, but he desired to bear what course Her Majesty's Ministers intended to adopt.

MR. E. ELLICE (St. Andrews)

said, that in addition to what had fallen from his hon. Friend, he would beg the House to remember that in comparison with England the area of Scotland was exactly one-half. England and Ireland both had got capital maps; while Scotland had been waiting forty years for a map. It was now proposed to delay its completion, in order to expend £1,500,000 upon a second survey of England upon a linger scale. The survey of England had cost £1,060,000, while the survey of Ireland, on the one-inch and the six-inch scale, had cost about the same amount. In Scotland only 4,000 square miles had been surveyed, and that survey had cost £500,000—or half as much as the whole of England. Now, the survey of Scotland had been always estimated to cost only £1,000,000; but if only 4,000 square miles had cost half that sum, how would the survey of the remaining 26,000 be completed for the sum named. For his own part, he had been always opposed to a very expensive survey of the country, and he believed that a capital survey on a minor scale might be obtained for £300,000. But the conclusion having been arrived at that Scotland should be surveyed on a larger scale, he trusted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would take the matter into his serious consideration. It was generally supposed that the annual Vote of £70,000 was appropriated to the purposes of the survey of Scotland; but if hon. Gentlemen would look to the Return which he had obtained last year, they would find that nearly half the money was appropriated to other purposes. He found that last year only £20,000 of the £70,000 was spent in Scotland, £20,000 more having been spent in England, while £10,000 was laid out upon the revision of the map of Ireland, which had two maps already. There were other items in the list for military surveys, besides a long schedule of fanciful performances—such as copies of old maps, lithographs, and other things. It would be satisfactory if in the future it could be Stated, when the Estimates were considered, what amount was to be appropriated to the survey, and that the Department should be bound either to spend the money on the survey for which it was voted, or to do as other Departments did—namely, pay the balance into the Exchequer. Now, the people of Scotland felt themselves much aggrieved in being placed in a worse position in respect to a survey than either Ireland or England, and he thought they had a right to claim that the survey in that country should be proceeded with in a continuous manner. If it were proceeded with at the rate of last year, instead of its being finished in ten years as promised, the youngest Member in that House could scarcely hope to live to see a complete map of Scotland. He trusted, therefore, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give the assurance, that before he embarked on the large expenditure proposed in Sir Henry James's Report, the money voted in the present year should be devoted to the survey of Scotland.


said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give no pledge not to commence the survey of England until that of Scotland was completed. The evidence taken before the Committee, of which the hon. Member for Wick was Chairman, showed that it was impossible to carry on the survey of the latter country continuously. The fact was that the more cultivated portions of Scotland had been very completely surveyed, and of those portions the Scotch people had not only a map on the one-inch scale, but also a plan on the twenty-five inch scale. The portion which remained to be surveyed was the Highlands, and that it was possible to survey only during the fine portions of the year. A survey could not be carried on there in winter, while it could be proceeded with very well in England. It would be rather hard, therefore, to prevent men from going on with a survey in England at a time when they could not work in Scotland. On the other hand, a survey could not be so well made in England during the summer, on account of the crops. The survey might, he believed, be carried on most economically and profitably to both countries, if it were proceeded with during part of the year in Scotland and part in England.


said, it might be impossible to carry on the survey during the whole year in the mountainous districts of Scotland, but there would be no difficulty in surveying the low-lying grounds, of which a large extent still remained unsurveyed. The subject, he might add, had attracted considerable attention in Scotland, and he hoped it would receive the consideration of that House.