HC Deb 05 July 1869 vol 197 cc1173-4

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the following extract of a Letter, purporting to be written by him, dated 5th May, 1869, and read at a public meeting on the 21st June, be correctly reported:— I do not in the least doubt the signal merits of Faraday, and I hope that a monument may be erected worthy of so great a man; but I cannot I consent to appropriate public money towards the monument of a private citizen, however illustrious; I do not make this rule—I find it. And, if it be a correct extract, whether he will state to the House the exact terms of the rule to which he refers, and the date at which it was made?


Sir, the extract is perfectly correct; but I am sorry to say that I am not able to state the exact terms of the rule to which I referred. I find that the statues in London, putting aside the Kings, have been erected by means of funds provided in the following manner:—That of Lord Nelson was paid for by public subscription and by Parliamentary Grant. The statue of Richard Cœur de hon. was erected by Parliamentary Grant, aided by private subscription. The statue of Sir John Franklin was erected entirely by Parliamentary Grant. All the other statues have been erected by subscription; and I deduce from these facts the rule that it is not the general custom for Parliament to make grants for this purpose. Of course, Lord Nelson was an exceptional person, who does not appear twice, perhaps, in the history of a nation. The only other exception was the recent one of Sir John Franklin, whose strange and tragic death and the feeling occasioned by it may well account for his case being made an exception. I think, also, that the history of England shows that it has not been customary for us to erect monuments at the public expense to private citizens, however illustrious they may have been. Take the catalogue of illustrious names—Shakespeare, Milton, Newton, and Locke—and you will find that no monuments were erected at the public expense to their memory. Without any disrespect, therefore, to his memory, I think that Faraday may be well content to be passed by in such company. I will say, further, that the principle of this country has been to have its citizens actuated by a feeling of duty rather than of glory, and that the nation is not in an ascending scale which is prodigal of its rewards.