§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, it had already been twice before the House. Once it was read a second time without objection, but the operation of the Rules of the House prevented it being carried any further that Session. Last year it encountered an opposition of which no Notice had been given, and it was defeated, though not by a very large majority. He did not the least complain of the absence of Notice, but it obviously put a private Member introducing a Bill at some disadvantage, and many hon. Members had told him since that they should have come to vote for the Bill if they had known it was going to be opposed. Under those circumstances, however, the Bill having 880 already been two years before the House, he should not discuss it at any length, and would consequently confine his observations to the simplest resumé of its clauses. The object of the measure was to constitute a Commission whose duty it would be to watch over and preserve the ancient monuments of the country, and who would be termed the Ancient Monuments Commission. He hoped that the constitution of the Commission would be satisfactory to the House, seeing that it was to consist of the Inclosure Commissioners for England and Wales, the Master of the Polls, the Presidents of the Societies of Antiquaries of London and of Scotland, the President of the Royal Irish Academy, the Keeper of the British Antiquities at the British Museum, and the following seven nominated Commissioners:—The Duke of Devonshire, the Duke of Argyll, Lord Talbot de Malahide, Sir William E. Wilde, Colonel A. L. Fox, Mr. J. Evans, of Nash Mills, Hemel Hempstead, and Mr. J. Stuart, of the General Register House, Edinburgh. A certain number of the most interesting and typical relics were thought worthy to be scheduled in the Bill, those in England being selected by the Society of Antiquaries, those in Scotland by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and those in Ireland by the Royal Irish Academy. Having thus been drawn up by such eminent authorities, he need say nothing in support of the Schedule. It was proposed that the Commissioners should give notice, in a form prescribed in the Bill, to the owners and occupiers of these monuments; and, if they thought fit, to those of any other similar monuments which they might deem of sufficient interest. After such notice, the owner or occupier would be required, before destroying or defacing any such monument, to give notice to the Commissioners, and the Commissioners would then state whether they were prepared to purchase the monument at fair valuation. If so, it would be bought, and thus preserved from destruction; if, on the other hand, the Commissioners were not prepared to buy, the owner would then be at liberty to do as he pleased with it. Thus the main effect of the Bill was really to gain a little time, during which the nation or the locality might, if so disposed, become the purchaser of such monuments. Under existing circumstances it had frequently happened 881 over and over again that interesting and venerable, and in some cases sacred, monuments were destroyed, generally for very homely and trivial reasons, to be used as manure, to mend the roads, to serve as gateposts, or for other similar purposes, and when the mischief was done, everybody regretted it, and was sorry and surprised. One word about expense. He could not imagine that this House or the country would grudge a moderate sum to preserve our ancient monuments, but he really believed that the expense to the country which this Bill would entail would be infinitesimally small, and the amount would be determined by the Treasury, subject to the approval of Parliament. He, however, trusted that the interest in any particular monument in any neighbourhood would be so great that sufficient funds would be subscribed, which would prevent any appreciable burden being thrown upon the national Exchequer. It was one thing to keep up old houses which required endless repairs, but the monuments dealt with in this Bill only wanted to be left alone. In fact, the money spent under this Act would in the main be an investment, not any expense; it would be laid out in land, which might be let for grazing purposes, and would pay at least 2 per cent on the outlay. He really could not think, therefore, that any serious objection to the Bill could be made on that score. They had endeavoured to meet the objections which were made last year, not so much, indeed, to the Bill itself, as to what the Bill was supposed to be. For instance, they were told that any man's house might be invaded by bands of destructive and enthusiastic antiquaries, that the Englishman's house would cease to be his castle, and so forth; whereas in truth the Bill, as was wittily said last year by the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope), in this respect the Bill could only affect a man whose "lodging was on the cold ground." The Bill was not, and could not be applied to any dwelling-house—nay, so careful were they not to infringe on any person's privacy, that monuments situated in any garden, park, or pleasure ground were also expressly excluded from the operation of the measure. Again, it was said that the Bill would give unlimited rights of trespass; but it must be remembered that the Bill could only be applied to monuments 882 which, in the opinion of a very well-qualified Commission, and one, from its constitution, most unlikely to interfere lightly with any rights of private property, were thought to be of national interest; and, secondly, even as regarded such monuments, the right of way would only be acquired after the monument had been purchased and paid for. Lastly, it was said that this Bill affected the rights of property; but if these monuments were to be preserved at all, he could imagine no milder method. They were told last year, and should probably be told again, that they were interfering with the rights of property; but they did so less than was the case, for instance, in every railway Bill. They did not call on the owners of those monuments to sell them; they did not in the least interfere with their rights of possession; all they asked was, that before destroying them, the nation should have the option of purchase at a fair price. He denied the measure was an unusual one, any further than the circumstances were unusual; but he had no objection to meet the wishes of those who though so by agreeing that it should be referred to a Select Committee, provided it was read a second time, as he had now the pleasure of moving.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Sir John Lubbock.)
§ SIR CHARLES LEGARD
, in moving that the Bill be read a second time upon that day six months, said, that last year, when the subject was discussed at great length, and when the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir John Lubbock) introduced a Bill substantially identical with the present measure, it was rejected by a majority of 53 in a House of 241 Members. And now they were asked to read the Bill a second time, although so far as he could see, it had not improved by keeping, neither was he aware that in the interval anything had occurred to alter their views. Indeed, in many respects, it was more objectionable than it was in its original shape. When his hon. Friend the Member for West Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) moved the rejection of the Bill last year, he termed it a "measure of spoliation," and as an Act "which meant legalizing a burglary by daylight," and he might have added to invade the rights of private property; but the hon. Baronet, in his reply, never 883 gave any answer to those very startling phrases, which he must confess sounded to him (Sir Charles Legard), as a new Member, somewhat alarming. Notwithstanding the well-known ability of the hon. Baronet and the attention which this House was inclined to pay to anything undertaken by him, a Bill comprising such an enormous area and conferring such extraordinary powers, if it was absolutely necessary to interfere with the rights of private property, as he ventured to say this Bill did—such a measure should, he thought, be introduced by the Government, and not by a private Member. He had said that the Bill dealt with the rights of private property, and he thought he was justified in using those words when he turned to the 9th section, which was as followed:—When a power of restraint in respect of a monument is vested in the Commissioners by agreement or purchase, or under any conveyance, appointment, settlement, or devise, they or any of them, or any person authorized in writing by any of them, may at any time between sunrise and sunset enter upon and inspect the monument and all parts thereof, and may, in case of necessity, break open any doors or enclosure preventing their or his access thereto without being liable to any action or prosecution for trespass or otherwise.Now that clause was a gross violation of the rights of property, and alone ought to justify the House in rejecting the Bill. Further, how was that work to be done, and how were the philanthropic individuals who were to have power vested in them to perform these acts of violence and daring to be adequately rewarded? Why, they were to be remunerated out of the pockets of the people. And that was distinctly laid down by the 12th section—All expenses incurred by the Commissioners for the purpose and in pursuance of the provisions of this Act shall be paid by the Treasury out of moneys to be provided by Parliament for the purpose.Now, this was a principle against which he must emphatically protest. If these extraordinary demands were to be made on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to meet the "reasonable," but somewhat philanthropic, views of every hon. Member of the House, his right hon. Friend would have some difficulty in making the interesting statement they were expecting to hear to-morrow. He should now turn for a moment to make the inquiry, What satisfaction could it be to anybody to make a discovery similar to 884 the one they read of as being made recently in Ancient Etruria? When a tomb was broken into, the first man entering saw a soldier clad in all his armour and lyingLike a warrior taking his restWith his martial cloak around him;but owing to that unnecessary and ruthless intrusion that peaceful soldier, who had probably lain for many years in that condition, having, probably, earned a soldier's death, it might be a hero's burial, immediately on being exposed to the outer air crumbled into dust. Although he had no ancient monuments belonging to himself on his property, yet he had a few ancient barrows, amounting in number to 16; but, thanks to the kind exertions of the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone and some of his friends to whom he (Sir Charles Legard) gave leave in an unguarded moment to dig up and explore these barrows, and to pic-nic around them, nothing now remained but unsightly mounds, and nothing was discovered but a few slumbering bones, which he should have thought might well have been allowed to rest in peace. If the Bill was allowed to become the law of the land, they could not tell where the ravages of mediaeval curiosity-mongers would stop, and unless cremation took the place of burying our dead in churchyards, there was nothing to prevent, but, on the contrary, every reason to fear that the tombs of our forefathers and of ourselves would be neither safe nor sacred. He could not but believe that wherever there was an ancient monument which was worthy of preservation either for its beauty or its antiquity, it would be safely and proudly preserved by those to whom it belonged. He could say, with perfect confidence and knowledge, of three beautiful and ancient abbeysin Yorkshire—Bolton, Fountains, and Rivaulx—that they were worthily, anxiously, and proudly preserved by their respective owners; and he felt that such a proposition as was contained in the Bill would be regarded almost as an insult to the spirit and enterprize of private persons who inherited these ancient monuments. It appeared to him that the hon. Members whose names were on the back of this Bill did not consider when they were framing it the feeling of indignation which must be excited in the mind of every person who had an ancient monument in his possession, 885 and who had, like his ancestors before him, spared neither care nor cost in its preservation. He begged to call attention to a very remarkable feature in that Bill—the Duchy of Cornwall was exempted from its operation. Why was it exempted? For a very good reason—that leave was refused to include it in this Bill of interference. Surely, if this Bill was not considered desirable for the Duchy of Cornwall, there was nothing to make them believe that it would confer any advantage on the rest of the United Kingdom. It was on these grounds that he moved its rejection, not on the simple ground of its being a Bill to preserve ancient monuments, but because it infringed in no slight degree upon a law which had prevailed through all ages and throughout the length and breadth of Her Majesty's dominions as one of the most valued and important, and that was the law of trespass. He opposed the Bill because he believed it to be unnecessary, an invasion of the rights of private property, and in no way conduced to the interests of an advanced and advancing civilization.
§ LORD FRANCIS HERVEY
, in seconding the Amendment, said, the Bill ought to be rejected at once and decisively. While the Bill recited that it was expedient to make provision for the preservation of certain ancient national monuments, and constituted Commissioners for that purpose, to be called the Ancient National Monuments Commissioners, there was no mention in the 3rd clause of national monuments, but any which the Commissioners thought proper were to come under the provisions of the Bill. The Stones of Shap were to be preserved; but Shap was a very stony place. Then there were certain tombstones with crosses which were also to be preserved, but they scarcely deserved the name of national monuments. In fact, the greater part of what were called national monuments in the Schedule to the Bill were not worthy of the name. The hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) who moved the second reading had said that the Bill, with the exception of one or two words, was the same as the Bill of last year; but in the Bill of last year there was a definition of "monuments;" that definition had disappeared from the present measure, 886 which was by no means improved by the alteration made in it—on the contrary, it had been made worse. Extraordinary powers were to be conferred upon the Commissioners. They were to be able to apply the Act to whatever they might think constituted an ancient monument and 50 yards of the land one very side of it; and it being well-known that antiquaries were bad men of business, a saving clause was inserted to prevent them suffering the consequence of any informality they might commit. Now, the Devil's Dyke, near Newmarket, stretched for miles and miles across the country, and under this clause the Commissioners would become possessed of a very large estate. The University of Oxford was not allowed to hold lands of greater annual value than £10,000; but the Commissioners under the Bill were to have an unlimited licence to hold land in mortmain. Surely these were very extraordinary powers. What was most astonishing about the Bill was that the hon. Baronet proposed to exclude from its operation such places as Tintern, Fountains, and Furness Abbeys; and why? Because he knew very well that the Bill was not needed for their preservation. But if not needed for those places, for what places was it needed? It was said there were Celtic monuments which ought to be preserved. England was once inhabited by barbarians—he would not call them our ancestors, but our predecessors—who stained themselves blue, ran about naked, and practised absurd, perhaps obscene, rites under the mistletoe. They had no arts, no literature; and when they found time hanging heavily on their hands, they set about piling up great barrows, and rings of stones. Were these the monuments which the hon. Baronet was about to preserve? And, in order to do so, was he going to force the owners of property to defend their rights? There was another point. Penalties were imposed under the Bill, but those penalties were insinuated, not specified, and therefore the persons affected would not know what liabilities they would incur by defending their property. If the measure should get into Committee, he would move an Amendment which would enable people to know what penalties they might be subjected to. The hon. Baronet had also given the Commissioners power to break open doors, to take 887 gates off hinges, and so on. Surely that was a monstrous proposal. Another point was, that the land taken by the Commissioners was to be exempt from rates. That was a matter upon which the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) would probably have a word to say. It was also proposed that when a corporation was intending to conduct, it might be, some sanitary operation for the public benefit, the antiquaries should have three months to make up their minds whether their crotchets were to be preferred to the public utility. He thought he had shown sufficient reasons why this Bill should not pass.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Sir Charles Legard.)
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
begged to assure the hon. Baronet the Member for Scarborough (Sir Charles Legard) that he felt very much concerned for the state of alarm into which he was thrown by the Bill, and under the influence of which he had moved its rejection. What startled the hon. Member most was the invasion of all principles of property, not to say the Communistic doctrine which was established, when a man by agreement or sale allowed another to break in his gate; and the man, who had bought this power, exercised it; to make a grievance out of this, proved how entirely the Bill could be misconceived, for the power was only to be acquired with the express sanction of the owners, and no possible harm could be inflicted on the unwilling. He would tell the hon. Member that he should not prevent any man from breaking in his (Mr. Beresford Hope's) door, if by agreement or sale he had allowed the man to do so. But the hon. Member had also a crow to pluck with his hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), because he had permitted him and some other gentlemen to dig into his 16 tumuli; and, after all, found there no British chieftains sleeping in their panoply of gold, but only a few bones, which they did not take away, but left whore they found them. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) must express his regret that nothing more interesting was found, for otherwise he was convinced that so enlightened a Gentleman as the hon. Member for Scarborough would have had the antiquities 888 placed in the British Museum. As to the dread of pic-nics to be held by the future Commissioners or antiquaries, he (Mr. Beresford Hope) would undertake to move in Committee that no pic-nic by them should take place within 50 yards of any tumulus. He must now turn to the noble Lord the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Lord Francis Hervey), the comic muse of the occasion, with regard to whom, should he so desire it, he (Mr. Beresford Hope) would also promise that the word "national," which the noble Lord so much disliked, should be struck out in Committee. The noble Lord had also found materials for some very transcendental merriment in the assumption that because it contained monumental stones, therefore, Shap was a stony place. But he (Mr. Beresford Hope) did not see what there could be in the stones of Shap to stimulate the jocosity of his noble Friend. His noble Friend had asked, why not include mediaeval monuments like Tintern, Fountains, and Furness? The answer to this question was twofold. Regarding the matter from the actual standpoint, the immediate object of the Bill was to preserve monuments which possessed great, if not unique, value for the antiquarian and the historian quite incommensurate with their architectural pretensions. There was now-a-days little fear that any existing remains of mediæval art would be ruthlessly tampered with while mounds and unhewn stones of an earlier time invited the destroyer. But there had been a time, not so far back, when such a statute as the present Bill, applicable to those antiquities, might have saved many architectural treasures which had now been irretrievably sacrificed. Under the protection of an Ancient Monuments Act, half Glastonbury Abbey would not have been carted away to mend the roads, nor would the steward have unroofed Bayham Priory Church to repair the farmhouses; nor was it so many years since a noble Friend of his, who, asking an Archæological Congress to examine a nack of ancient dyke in his park, found his bailiff busy levelling it. His noble Friend had ridiculed the ancient inhabitants of this island. Taking the admirable historical details which he had found in Mrs. Trimmer and Mrs. Markham, he had described them as nasty savages painted blue, seated under the 889 mistletoe, and practising obscene rites—and had asked, what did we want to know about such people? But he would remind his noble Friend that that was not the spirit in which a man, with his antecedents, should deal with the Bill. His noble Friend might play at ignorantism, but everyone knew that he was a man of culture and academical distinction, and such artificial posturing was helpful neither to his own reputation, nor to the success of the cause on behalf of which he was appearing. The word "prehistoric" had become a misnomer. We were going backward and backward in history—not centuries merely, but thousands and thousands of years—and problems of infinite importance to the antiquary, the historian, and the religionist—whatever his religion might be—were being solved by the inductions of an ever increasing array of specimens. We were bound to promote the development of those studies, and the way to do so was not to banter about sitting under the mistletoe, blue paint, or obscene rites. His noble Friend had made his jokes, and the House had laughed with him, and it was now time for him, and for the House, to regard the Bill seriously, and face the ugly fact that if some such measure were not placed upon the Statute Book, our country would lag behind any other civilized nation in its respect for its inheritance of national antiquities. If the House was dissatisfied with any of the details of the Bill, let them give it at least a second reading, and it could then be referred to a Select Committee, who no doubt would amend them.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, he was sorry to have to ask the House to descend from the high ground taken by the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), and to invite its attention to a practical view of the Bill. He did not question the propriety of some steps being taken to preserve ancient monuments; but felt it his duty to bring to the notice of the House one or two features in the measure which he feared would place them in considerable difficulty. Being connected with the Private Business of the House, he wished to point out that under Clause 4 it would be possible for the rights of property to pass from the owner without either purchase or agreement. Supposing a gentleman to be possessed of the 890 site of an extensive Roman camp, he might at present do what he liked with it; he might build upon it, alter its level, or exercise any of the rights of a private owner with regard to it. But after this Bill passed, he would cease to possess those powers, and if, disregarding the prohibitions contained in the measure, he injured, or permitted to be injured, a monument or part of a monument, he would be held to have acted in contravention of this provision. Was not that a very serious interference with proprietary rights? Standing Order No. 13 with respect to Private Bills provided that if it were intended to apply for powers of compulsory purchase of land, the Bill should specify such provision and notice should be served. But what notice was to be served on persons whose property was affected by this Bill? There might be gentlemen in distant parts of the country, say in Scotland or Ireland, who owned such monuments and who never heard of this Bill, and if, after its passing, they did anything which the Commissioners might disapprove, they would act in violation of its provisions and thus bring themselves under the power of restraint which the Commissioners would acquire by the Bill. A person so acting would be subject to the penalties provided by the 8th clause, which would bring him within range of the Act punishing persons for committing malicious injury. And not only did the Bill interfere in a manner never before attempted in this country with private rights, but it made a man a misdemeanant for the exercise of certain rights which attached to possession of property. That was a serious proceeding, which he hoped the House would not for one moment sanction. However desirable the objects of the measure might be, they should be effected in a legitimate manner, and if we were going to interfere with proprietary rights, we must be prepared to pay for them, and not endeavour to come round them in this circuitous manner. There was a curious reflection suggested by one or two of the later provisions of the Bill. It proposed to make use of the provisions of the National Defence Act. But it should be remembered that that Act was passed for the greatest possible occasion, and it gave to the Government of the day certain extreme 891 powers, the exercise of which they were to accompany in all cases with compensation. But this Bill proposed to put the machinery of that Act in use at the discretion of the Commissioners, who were private persons—the Master of the Bolls, the President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Duke of Devonshire, and other persons more or less distinguished. If the principles which had hitherto governed the transaction of business in that House affecting the rights of private individuals were still to prevail, it was impossible that the Bill should pass in its present form; and even supposing it to pass in any shape most distantly approaching its present form, the House would have to seriously re-consider its Standing Orders, for the Bill would cause a revolution in that system of procedure to which the country was thoroughly accustomed. Without wishing for a moment to question the decision of the Speaker that this was a public Bill, he (Mr. Raikes) must point out that it was of the character of a private Bill so far as it touched upon private property; and should it be read a second time, he must move that it be referred to a hybrid Committee, one portion of which would be nominated by the House, and the other by the Committee of Selection, and that power should be given to the persons whose property was scheduled in the Bill to appear by counsel and be heard before the Committee. He, however, would recommend the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) to take a step which he was sure was more convenient, and which would commend itself to the good feeling of the House, by withdrawing the Bill in its present form, and seeking to legislate in a manner more consistent with the Rules of the House and the rights of Her Majesty's subjects.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
thought the suggestions of the hon. and learned Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes) very valuable to his hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) and the House, but he could hardly agree with him in considering this as a purely private Bill. The object of his hon. Friend was a public one, and the Bill might be considered strictly in the light of a public Bill. He sought the aid of Parliament in carrying out a public object. The Bill did not interfere with the 892 private rights of property any more than the Artizans Dwellings Bill and other Bills of that character. [Mr. RAIKES said, the Bill did not refer to the rights of specified individuals.] No; but it might apply to the whole Kingdom. He thought if the Bill were sent, after the second reading, to a Select Committee, the difficulty pointed out by the hon. and learned Member might be met by alterations in clauses so as to secure the rights of property. At the same time, he must say this was a case in which they might strain the rights of property too much. It was quite fair that the possessor of a monument, if not rich or patriotic enough to set it apart for preservation, should be compensated by the public, but he could not admit his vested right to destroy it. Clause 3 gave power to extend the Bill to monuments similar to those in the Schedule which were of Celtic and Druidical origin, but he wished its scope had been wider; and he might mention a very remarkable case in Cornwall, in which the necessity of some such enactment was painfully manifest. He alluded to a very ancient church supposed to be the first erected after the establishment of Christianity in this country. For hundreds of years it had been buried in the sand, but now that the sand had been blown away, so complete and wanton was the destruction, that almost every vestige of the church had disappeared. There was an old graveyard round it where many of the pilgrims were buried, and as their bones were laid bare people came and took them away. He hoped the House would not ask his hon. Friend to withdraw the Bill; and, on the other hand, he would recommend the hon. Baronet to accept the proposal to treat the Bill as a hybrid Bill, and see whether it could not be so altered as not to interfere with any legitimate rights of private property.
§ MR. HENLEY
thought it most important to inquire whether any notice had been given to the 70 persons who were interested in the monuments scheduled to the Bill. He was extremely glad that the objection had been taken by the hon. and learned Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes); for he (Mr. Henley) did not recollect having ever seen a Bill drawn—he hardly liked to apply the term which it really deserved—in so delusive a style. It first of all scheduled 893 a particular number of monuments, as far as he could understand, without any notice or warning being given to the persons interested in the ground on which they stood, and then it was proposed to apply the Bill to any other objects of a similar character they might think fit, and in regard to which it gave an appeal, but there was no power of appeal in the first case. What justice could there be in such a proposal? It seemed to him the Bill ought to be dealt with as a private Bill, with proper notices to those affected by it, so as to enable them to state their objections. He thought such monuments as the Bill referred to should be taken care of and preserved, but for that purpose they ought not to be guilty of injustice to the owners of the property on which those monuments stood, and to avoid that he should be glad to see a measure drawn in a better form substituted for the measure before them.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
supported the Bill because he believed it sought to attain a great public object at the smallest possible sacrifice of private convenience. He admitted the high authority of the hon. and learned Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes), who had taken the objection that the Bill came within the 13th Standing Order, requiring notice to be served on those whose property was affected by it. But the hon. and learned Gentleman had himself suggested the answer to that objection, and it had been supplemented by the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), who justly urged that this measure, although unquestionably dealing with private rights, was a measure of public policy, and for that reason ought to be dealt with as a public Bill and not as a private one. With respect to what had been said as to the rights of private property, he (Mr. Osborne Morgan) contended that these monuments were part of our national history, and as such were in a certain sense national property, and ought to be in the care of the nation quite as much as the monuments which were housed in our museums. Experience, however, had shown that when they left these memorials of history to the tender mercies of their owners they fast disappeared. He respected as much as anyone the rights of private property; but the objection to this Bill—that it interfered 894 with such rights—appeared to him to spring from a respect to the rights of property run mad, for the Bill treated private owners with the greatest tenderness. It was one thing to interfere with an owner's right of enjoyment, which the Bill did not, and another with his right of destruction, which the Bill did, but only to the extent of not allowing him to destroy or deface ancient monuments without serving notice on the Commissioners requiring them either to purchase the whole of the property or the right to sell; and for that he would be amply paid. No doubt, in a certain sense, that involved the right of a man to do what he thought fit with his property; but so did every Railway Bill when a great public object was to be attained, and in such instances they were obliged to sacrifice the convenience or the rights of private individuals. If, however, the House thought the measure might be improved, then let them agree to the second reading, and afterwards refer the Bill to a Select Committee to insert such safeguards as might be deemed necessary. As to the objection that the Bill would saddle the public with some small expenses, the House had freely voted sums of money for observing the Transit of Venus, and for an Expedition to the North Pole; and he would urge that liberality of that kind should like charity begin at home. But if they could not get public money, they were willing to raise private subscriptions in order to carry out the objects of the Bill.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he should support the second reading of the Bill as an affirmation of the principle that these ancient monuments were valuable records, and that it was the legitimate duty of the House of Commons to endeavour to preserve them for the nation. It might be open to the objections stated by the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), and the hon. and learned Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes), but, speaking for himself, he would say, if he thought it were intended to be an invasion of the rights of private property, no man would resist such an invasion more than he would. He resisted the Irish Land Bill, which he had seen it stated had, according to the late Sir John Gray transferred £80,000,000 of property from the landlord to the tenant; and why did he resist it? 895 Because for the first time legislation was passed through that House dealing with private property without compensation. He found nothing of the kind, however, in this Bill, neither did he think it was so intended. The Bill might seek to apply compulsion, like the Land Clauses Act in the case of railways, roads, or fortifications; but it had in it the great principle of compensation to private owners, where property was taken possession of for the purposes of the State. It was a Bill not to invade the rights of property, or to revolutionize the way in which the State dealt with it, but simply to preserve ancient monuments. If that was carried out in a way the House did not approve of, they could set matters right in Committee. He was the son of the owner of one of those old Roman camps in the south of Scotland which were regarded with so much interest; but it was with the greatest difficulty that they had prevented it being swept away. The same thing had also occurred in regard to Cæsar's Camp at Wimbledon, part of which had been laid out for building purposes, and it stood a chance of being blotted out of the features of the country. With regard to public monuments, the State had admitted the principle of dealing with them. In his own county, on his (Lord Elcho's) application, the Treasury had sanctioned the expenditure of £400 in the preservation of a fine old abbey church, and £1,000 for a similar expenditure in Montrose, and he was anxious to see some such measure become the law of the land. The noble Lord who had seconded the Amendment had spoken sneeringly regarding what he called ancient stones with crosses, &c, upon them, but possibly some of those very stones might, like the Moabite Stone, be found important links and lights in the history of the world and civilization.
§ MR. RODWELL
must say that, having read the Bill with great care and consideration, he looked upon it as a measure at variance with the Standing Orders of the House, and which proposed to deal with the rights of private property and the rights of individuals in a manner that could not be justified. He did not, however, intend to import his professional opinions into the discussion; but he must say, if ever there was a Bill which came within the cate 896 gory of Private Bills, it was this Bill, which would compel a man to part with his property against his desire and without his consent in certain alternative cases. He should like to ask the hon. Member who introduced the Bill (Sir John Lubbock), and those hon. Gentlemen who supported it, whether the Bill was not a departure from the principle which required notice to be given to the owners of private property, when it was proposed to give power to obtain possession of it? The hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope) admitted that no notice was required to be given. He (Mr. Rodwell) would ask the hon. Member who brought forward the Bill to bear in mind the consequences that would result from such a power. He must say that the grounds put forward for such a Bill had been greatly exaggerated; and he ventured to say that it was a measure which was at variance with the functions of Parliament, and with the principles which governed Parliament in dealing with the rights of property and the rights of individuals. He wished to know why the usual practice, whether in the case of one individual or a thousand, that a private person should have notice of the intention to deal with his property should be departed from in this matter? Some 50 or 60 persons might have their rights infringed without being consulted on the subject at all. For his own part, he believed the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Bill had overlooked the consequences which would result from its operation, and he was surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman say that, as far as related to the expense involved, it would be a trifling matter altogether, not more than a few hundred pounds. Why, under this Bill as it stood, even the owner of Stonehenge parting with that ancient historical monument and having to be compensated for it, his compensation could not be valued at a few hundred pounds. And further than that, every borough Member might be pressed to bring forward the claims of particular localities, the result of which would be that, if the Bill passed, it would be difficult to estimate the expense that would attend its operation; and, looking at it in a financial point of consideration, it would, in his opinion, prove so costly in reference to the na 897 tional funds that his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer might well say, in answer to applications for remission of taxes, that the pressure upon the national resources was so great that he could not afford to comply with these requests. He therefore hoped his hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone would withdraw the Bill, and bring in a large measure to deal not only with those particular monuments, but others equally interesting—namely, the abbeys and ruins generally, which were valued by the country quite as much as these monuments of antiquity. He regarded the preservation of these as a matter of great and serious importance, and he would suggest that a body of Commissioners should be empowered by Parliament to make agreements and arrangements with the owners of property, who might hand it over to them, and thus the objects sought by the Bill might be attained without doing violence to the feelings of individuals or the practice of Parliament. He must again submit that the Bill was a departure from the practice of Parliament in dealing with private property, which was that notice should be given to the owners of such property, and looking at the Bill as a measure which, if passed, would operate injuriously, he hoped the House would not agree to the second reading.
§ MR. LAW
said, there were many ancient monuments in Ireland, and some in the county he represented, which, though not mentioned in the Schedule to the Bill, he hoped might yet be brought under the operation of the 3rd clause. He was of opinion that the measure was not open to any of the objections urged against it. It did not in any substantial degree interfere with the rights of private property. It did not propose to transfer any property from landowners to the Commissioners, but merely to provide that when an owner wished to exercise his right of property in an ancient monument by its destruction, he should not be permitted to do so without first giving the Commissioners an opportunity of buying it from him. The Bill sought to carry out a very desirable object with all possible fairness; and he submitted the proper course would be to read it a second time, and let matters of detail be considered in Committee. It appeared 898 to him that the opposition to the Bill was somewhat unreasonable; nor did its opponents at all agree amongst themselves as to the grounds of their objections. Some said it went too far; others that it did not go far enough. One hon. Member would let all these ancient monuments be swept away; others desired their preservation, but thought that should be entrusted to the proprietors. Some urged that the measure should have been promoted as a Private Bill, others that it was of such national importance that it should be left to the Government to undertake. Now, probably the real ground of all those various objections was simply the fear of some invasion of the rights of property. Let them, then consider whether the Bill would interfere with the rights of private property. In his opinion, it would not. It was an entire misapprehension to allege, as had been done, that its object was to transfer the property of owners to the Commissioners without the owners' consent; the Bill would do nothing of the kind. As long as the owner forbore to exercise his right of property in a monument by destroying it, he would be wholly untouched by the Bill. So far, indeed, from being a measure of spoliation, its effect would be that an owner who had on his estate an ancient monument might go to the Commissioners armed with a certain amount of power to influence them, by threatening to destroy the monument, unless it should be purchased on his own terms. Well, the Commissioners would be ready to buy it from him, and to pay him a fair price for it. The object of the Bill being to preserve the ancient historical monuments of the country, surely it ought to be sanctioned by Parliament. When it was said that the Bill did not go far enough towards providing sufficient funds to effect its purpose, the answer was that the promoters were ready to accept it as it was, trusting to the bounty of Parliament and of the public outside to supply such means as would be required. If the Bill did not satisfy hon. Members, of course they could introduce clauses to enlarge its scope in Committee. It appeared to him that the technical objections expressed by some opponents of the Bill had been most completely answered by the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan). It 899 had been ruled two years ago that the Bill was a public Bill; and it certainly seemed to him to be quite as much so as the Artizans Dwellings Bill, which authorized the taking of land for its owners, or the Irish Salmon Fisheries Act, which a few years ago confiscated valuable fishery rights of individual owners, some of whom had purchased in the Landed Estates Court. He hoped those hon. Members who objected to the Bill would withdraw their opposition to it, seeing that the objects which it had in view were admitted by almost all to be so desirable.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that the Bill proposed to deal with three classes of ancient monuments—first, those specified in the 1st Schedule to Bill; secondly, British, Celtic, Roman, or Saxon remains, or any other monuments which, in the opinion of the Commissioners, were of the like kind as those those mentioned in the 1st Schedule; and, thirdly, it was proposed that the Commissioners should be empowered to obtain possession of any monuments which they could procure by the consent of the owners of the property. There could be little difference of opinion as to the desirability of preserving ancient monuments, and, as far as the Preamble went, it had his cordial support; but it appeared to him that every clause of the Bill was either itself an invasion of the rights of property, or depended for its efficacy upon some other clause which would interfere with such rights. However desirable and excellent the object of the Bill might be—and he was ready to add that the object which it sought to accomplish was good—he was unable to assent to the second reading, for, as the Bill was at present framed, all its provisions appeared to him objectionable, and he had not as yet heard any suggestions which led him to suppose that the Bill could be amended so as to satisfactorily carry out that object. It was proposed to interfere with the rights of the owners of the various properties specified in the 1st Schedule; and surely such persons ought to have an opportunity of knowing what the provisions of the Bill were, and of expressing their views on the subject; but they had had no such opportunity, and if this observation applied to the owners of the monuments scheduled to the Bill, how much more did it apply to the 900 owners of those that were not named? He would admit, however, that the question was one well worthy the attention of the House, if a proper measure were brought forward on the subject. He did not propose to deal with the question of finance; he left that to his right hon. Friend near him; but it appeared to him that they were interfering with the rights of property in a manner which, if once sanctioned, he (the Attorney General) did not know where they were to stop. It might be very desirable that the nation should possess the best pictures and statues, and other works of art, many of which were quite lost to the public from being in private collections, or might be lost to the public from being sold and sent abroad; or coins of great value, as illustrating history; but would they justify the acquisition of them in such a compulsory manner as that now proposed?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, the Bill appeared to be one for the preservation of ancient national monuments. It was wonderful to see how some hon. Members sank all their ordinary principles whenever one of their peculiar hobbies was affected. Even the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), for an object connected with art and learning, became a Communist, put on the red cap, and said that private property was nothing to him; and the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had said things which would astonished Mr. Arch or anyone else at a farmers' Club. Suppose, however, the proposition had been one to make agricultural improvements with the view of providing more food for the people, and it became necessary to interfere with the right of entail, and become a disentailing Bill, would the hon. Member and the noble Lord have been so ready to interfere with the rights of landowners? They should recollect that the Bill gave power to the tenant-for-life to cut off the entail, and it was, therefore, a disentailing Bill. The great temptation, however, to vote for the Bill was the precedent it would afford for proposing an Amendment in an interesting Bill which was passing through the House of Lords; and, at all events, when this House came to discuss the tenure of land, he should be glad of assistance in imposing restraints on landowners who 901 held land in such a way as to be injurious to the public interests. His noble Friend was fond of æsthetics, and ought to have been ready to forego the sacred-ness of contracts, if the object in view were to preserve Cæsar's Camp at Wimbledon. He (Sir William Harcourt) rather rejoiced over the conversion of the hon. Member and the noble Lord to the principle, that when it was desirable for the interests of the public, the rights of private property should be interfered with. He himself thought it justifiable for objects which affected the whole interests of the nation; and he did not agree with hon. Gentlemen who said they had no right to interfere with the rights of property, or what was called the freedom of contract, which very often meant a very different thing altogether—namely, contracted freedom. He was in favour of interference for justifiable objects and on great occasions; but, even if it were said it was a lawyer's prejudice, he was not in favour of such interference for fanciful reasons, although he might sympathize with the objects sought to be attained. In this case, he was not willing for mere æsthetic reasons to give such dangerous powers as were embodied in the Bill; for he had never seen any proposal which went half so far in the way of interfering with property as the present Bill did. Practically, it gave unlimited powers of restraining persons from doing what they liked with their property from considerations of an æsthetic character. The House of Commons undoubtedly had large powers; but he thought it never appeared to less advantage, and there was nothing more to be deprecated than that the House should resolve itself into a Committee of Taste. However, he did not rise so much to discuss the Bill as to express the pleasure he felt at the views on property laid down by the hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord to whom he had referred.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
said, that as the son of a Commissioner named in the Bill, he desired to say that the objections to the Bill were based upon complete exaggeration. If an owner of an ancient monument was not going to injure it, but, on the contrary, would take every care of it, the Bill did not apply. All that the Bill called upon the Commissioners to do was to watch the monuments named in it, and only to act when the owners proposed to injure any 902 of them. Would any hon. Gentleman say it was not within the province of Parliament to interfere with the proprietor of a monument like Stonehenge, if he tried to pull it down? Again, it had been said that such a Bill as this ought to have been brought in by the Government. Surely the country would not grudge a few hundreds of pounds to be spent for the purposes of the Bill, although he did not think that they would have to spend one shilling, because sufficient money would be found by private persons. Why, the people of the United States of America would be glad to buy the monuments which the people of England, it was suggested, would grudge the money to purchase. Some persons held that they might wait; but the Society of Antiquaries had stated authoritatively that those monuments were disappearing every day. That observation, however, did not apply to monuments of which the proprietors might be supposed to take care; but some of the monuments—many of which were at the roadside—were suffered to be injured by tourists. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General had referred to the question of pictures as being analogous; but was there any owner of a valuable picture who would not take care that it should be carefully preserved? The House had already once assented to its principle without a division, and he hoped it would now do so again, and then send it before a Select Committee.
§ LORD ELCHO
wished to make one word of explanation. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) had misunderstood his argument. He had expressly guarded himself against approving of the mode in which the objects of the Bill were proposed to be carried out, and confined himself to supporting an affirmation of the principle that ancient monuments were worthy of preservation. He found in the present Bill one principle that was not found in measures like the Irish Land Bill, the principle—namely, of giving compensation for land taken.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, the objections urged against the Bill by the hon. Mover and Seconder of the Amendment must have appeared to anyone who heard them inadequate and invalid. He believed it had been said that the object 903 of the Bill might be effected by Provisional Orders to be made in necessary cases, but be feared that mode of proceeding would be most futile, if not discreditable. The question was, whether they should preserve those ancient monuments of history which were becoming increasingly precious; and what he would venture to point out was, that the question here involved was whether or not the nation should preserve those memorials of the early history of Britain on behalf of that portion of the community who believed that for centuries past those monuments had been subjected to intentional destruction. There was a large portion of the public who thought it was of the utmost importance to see preserved those monuments which were calculated to dispel such absurd, such wilful, and such deliberate ignorance of the early history of this country as that displayed by the noble Lord the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Lord Francis Hervey) who seconded the Amendment. The noble Lord spoke of the ancient inhabitants of the country as little removed from a race of cannibals; but he had suppressed the fact that it had been at all times considered of the utmost importance that we should endeavour to excavate the monuments of their heroism from those cumuli which had in the course of time become heaped upon them. These monuments were like milestones—they marked the progress of our national history. Why should the noble Lord have presumed to speak as he had that day spoken of the early inhabitants of England? Did he not know that Shakespeare had devoted the best efforts of his genius to illustrate what occurred in our history five centuries at least before the Christian era? Did he not know that Bacon, speaking of the secular history of the country—that Fortescue and others, speaking of our legal history, attributed our claims to be considered the mother of nations not to our wealth, not to our trade, not to our commerce, or to any adventitious circumstances of the kind, but to the indigenous character of the British people? He (Mr. Whalley) wished to repel all such attacks upon our national history; but he regretted to say that there was an influential literary party connected with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, gentlemen who were the natural successors of the monks, who 904 thought it necessary, in order to sustain the superstructure which they themselves had raised, that the memorials of our early history should be put out of sight and destroyed. Their motto was Delenda est Carthago. That strong and influential party deemed it necessary to destroy, leaving to the plough and to the course of time to complete the destruction of those physical monuments which confounded their own theories of ecclesiastical history. Some years ago a Bill was before the House for the destruction of some of the London churches, and among those scheduled in that Bill was the Church of St. Swithin, a church within which was placed a most valuable monument of our early history, and which was called "London Stone," about which centred the memories of our history for ages past. He, however, interfered, and the result of his interference was the preservation of that church and that monument, about which the old feeling of the country was, that if it were once removed the greatness and power of England would for ever disappear. Why, the greatest claim which Her Majesty had to the reverence of her subjects was that she was the lineal representative of the oldest dynasty in the world, a dynasty which had been in existence for more than 1,500 years before the Christian era. What he had now stated might be new and surprising to hon. Members; but those monuments afforded them the means of investigating those claims, and all that was interesting in the history of our nation, and for that reason he did hope the House would agree to give this Bill a second reading. The objection that it interfered with the rights of private property might be dealt with in the Provisional Orders, so that the Commissioners could not take into their hands any property without the direct sanction of Parliament.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, that the statement of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Eleho) showed how, in their anxiety to carry this Bill, its supporters lost sight of both its vexatious character and of its injustice. He (Mr. Bentinck) thought that while all would agree with the Preamble of the Bill as to the desirability of taking steps to preserve our national monuments, the mode in which the Bill itself proposed to attain that object was open 905 to question. Indeed, it might be said of it, that old proverb—" You should not do wrong that right may come." The proposal of the Bill involved the heavy charge against the owners of land on which ancient remains stood of a desire to destroy them; but he concurred with the hon. Baronet the Member for Scarborough (Sir Charles Legard), that the majority of the owners of such ruins were quite as anxious to preserve them as though they were compelled to prevent their destruction by Act of Parliament. He trusted that the House would look at the subject from a business, and not from a sentimental point of view. The provisions of the measure, as involving both an irritating visitation and an indefinite expense, were most objectionable, and in his opinion would be likely to lead to great litigation and endless expense, for if the details of the measure were carefully scanned, it would be found that lengthened disputes would probably arise between the owners of property and the Commissioners. It was also most unfair that the Commissioners should have an uncontrolled power to commit what had been described as burglary by daylight without the owner of the property having any power of appeal, and that the whole of the costs of this vexatious litigation should be saddled upon the latter. He also protested against the clause in the Bill that authorized the Commissioners to delegate their authority to unknown persons, on the ground that it would create doubt; and the owners of these monuments ought at least to be enabled to know who were the persons with whom they were dealing. His great objection, however, was that there was nowhere in the Bill any definition of the nature of the property to be dealt with by the Commissioners as an ancient monument. In consequence, if the Bill were passed into law extraordinary and unheard-of powers would be placed in the hands of the Commissioners. In his own neighbourhood, for instance, there was a bank, extending many miles, which was no doubt erected by the Bo-mans to keep out the sea, and in which Roman coins might be found. In parts the bank was as perfect as when it was made, in other parts it had given way, and labourers' cottages had been erected. Under the operation of the Bill the control of the whole extent of that bank 906 and the adjoining land, amounting to several thousand acres, would be handed over to the Commissioners. He did not believe the House of Commons would sanction the placing of any such powers in the hands of the Commissioners, and he trusted that, under these circumstances, no arguments, however specious, would induce the House to pass the Bill.
said, that coming as he did from a district where the farmhouses, the churches, and the garden walls were built of the spoils of ancient monuments, he should support the Bill. He looked upon the measure as providing a necessary protection against the indifference, caprice, carelessness, or it might be imbecility, of the proprietors of ancient monuments. As to the question of expense, speaking from the lowest point of view, he undertook to say he did not know anything which would pay so well as the preservation of our ancient monuments, and he was satisfied that the taxpayers of this country would never object to pay a small sum annually for the preservation of these monuments of our history. There was an ever-increasing stream of visitors to this country from across the Atlantic, who came here, not to inspect our railways, our warehouses, or our clocks, but to seek out in quiet nooks our ancient monuments, which were the landmarks of our common history. In times to come, when the English-speaking race should have spread itself over the greater part of the globe, and should have acquired wealth and power, the culture that wealth and civilization gave would lead it to seek for that which wealth could not purchase nor civilization create—namely, the monuments over which it could affectionately linger as the existing records of its old home in England. He thought that such a feeling was likely to conduce to the peace, security, and happiness of the world, and he was certain, as he had before observed, that such was the honourable feeling of reverence held by the working men of this country for such monuments that they would not object to the necessary expense being incurred for their preservation.
§ SIR HENRY PEEK
said, that as one of the Conservators of Wimbledon Common he should give his hearty support to the Bill. In doing so he had to 907 express his great gratification that so much had recently been effected in the way of securing open spaces for the recreation and enjoyment of the metropolitan public. As stated by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Eleho), he could confirm the statement that Caesar's Camp, in the neighbourhood of Wimbledon Common was being levelled to the ground. It comprised some eight acres of land, the works on which were by antiquaries variously estimated at from 1,500 to 2,200 years old, and which he, in conjunction with some of his friends, had done their best to preserve. So anxious were they that they had offered the owner as much land on the common as an equivalent; they had offered privately to buy the property of him; they had done everything they could; but at this very time people were cutting down trees and preparing to build. It was said that the property had been let on a building lease for 90 years, at £10 an acre. He believed this to be one of the most interesting relics of which the nation was possessed, and situated, too, within eight miles of that House. A Bill like that before the House would enable them to deal with such a case; and if already law, the neighbouring gentry would have bought the property and presented it to the public, while now the monument was being destroyed before their eyes. The other day he saw a gentleman with a vase from Cyprus in his hand, which had been sold to the British Museum for £50. The acquisition of such curiosities was very desirable; but that a country like this, which spent its money by hundreds and thousands in increasing the treasures of the British Museum, should allow such interesting national monuments as Cæsar's Camp to be destroyed, he considered a great shame. For such reasons, and as a means of protecting what in a few years would have passed out of existence, he gave the Bill his cordial support.
§ MR. PEASE
likewise supported the Bill, and in doing so remarked that while each of those who had spoken in opposition to it stated that they agreed to the Preamble, nevertheless attempted to defeat the measure. If, then, they approved of the principle of the Bill, why should not they agree to the second reading, and seek to have those matters of detail to which they were opposed 908 rectified in Committee? Some of the most important buildings which they sought to protect stood in no man's ground, and therefore, so far as they were concerned, there could not be any invasion of the rights of property. Further, private property would under the Bill be preserved, unless the monuments were likely to be injured when, and when alone, it would come into operation. Still, he admitted that it was impossible to deal with the question without, in some degree, trenching upon those rights; but he entreated the House not to be frightened by the legal difficulties thrown in the way by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt). Not a day ought to be lost in passing it, for if such a measure as this did not become law, all our ancient monuments would undergo the process of chipping, until at last there would not be a vestige of them left. Most of the property in question, as private property, was almost worthless; whilst, as public monuments, they were things to be preserved—were priceless. He, therefore, called upon the House to preserve them not only for the benefit of the nation, but for the benefit of the whole Anglo-Saxon race in America and in the Southern hemisphere, and as a bond of amity and union between them. With respect to the cost, he would remind the House that the Commissioners could never spend more than Government itself sanctioned.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, he rose to say a few words in this debate, in order that a voice might be heard from Ireland, on the Conservative side of the House, in favour of the conservation of her ancient monuments. In many places these were fast going to decay. It had been assumed by those who opposed the Bill that all persons who were the proprietors of ancient remains would be found in opposition to it. On his property there was a "rath" or "dun," referred to in Lewis's Topographical Dictionary. There was another near Down-patrick, included in the Schedule of the Bill; and there formerly stood, near Downpatrick Cathedral, a round tower, remarkable for the symmetry of its proportions. This tower, he regretted to say, was pulled down in 1790, in order, as was alleged, to make room for rebuilding the cathedral; but really, as he believed, in consequence of a dispute bet 909 ween a very reverend Dean and a noble Marquess in reference to election affairs. They had heard to-day what the Government would not do. He hoped they should hear, before the division took place, what the Government would do. He hoped that the Conservative Government would aid in the conservation of the ancient monuments of the country. At any rate, he heartily and cordially gave his vote for the second reading of the Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE JENKINSON
protested against the second reading of the Bill, because it would so largely interfere with the rights of private property. He trusted that no Government, whether Conservative or Liberal, would ever agree to the passing of a measure which sanctioned such interference. He did not think that there were many instances in which ancient monuments had been destroyed, and protection was not so much needed as some people seemed to imagine, as those who possessed really interesting ancient monuments would be anxious to preserve them, independent of other's interference. The powers which the Bill proposed to place in the hands of the Commissioners of dealing with private rights were such that he was surprised at the owners of property on either side of the House supporting it. Further, the Commissioners were not to be rated for the property which might come into their hands; a proposal which was quite inconsistent with the claims and the complaints of those who were interested in the question of local taxation. Were the House to adopt the suggestion that had been thrown out, and to read the Bill a second time with the view of amending it in Committee, they would have to expunge the measure as it stood altogether, and to make a new one, a course which he did not think was a Parliamentary mode of proceeding. Objecting in general terms to the Bill, he was opposed to it further on the ground that it proposed to deal partially with the country, and not to treat it as a whole. Why was Cornwall excluded from the operation of this Bill? If it were good for other parts of the Kingdom, it was equally good for Cornwall. He should vote against the second reading, which he hoped would be rejected by such a majority as would have the effect of deterring any further attempt at legislation in this direction.
, in supporting the Bill, said, that listening to the arguments which had been urged against it, one felt inclined to doubt if he lived in the 19th century. He thought the opposition to it was hardly worthy of the House, or of the age in which we lived. It was not only wilful destruction that they should guard against; but they should consider that mere neglect was constantly causing the destruction of ancient monuments. It was true that the Irish people and the Irish landowners had anticipated the Bill, and he might refer to the present condition of Muckross Abbey to show the fostering care of the Gentleman, a Member of the House (Mr. Herbert), on whose property it stood; but, sad to say, in the same county there lay neglected and falling into ruin ancient monuments which other countries would purchase with their whole wealth. The noble Lord who had supported the Amendment (Lord Francis Hervey) turned the question into ridicule, and boasted that a Celt had not been his ancestor. He (Mr. Sullivan) fully believed him, for the Celt was always influenced by a pious reverence for the past. The noble Lord asked why they should purchase such rubbish as Mr. Layard had obtained for the British Museum as evidence of Assyrian civilization, and which any skilful stonemason might, so far as art was concerned, excel; but he (Mr. Sullivan) had a respect and reverence for those monuments of the past, no matter to what country they belonged, and in the preservation of the historical memorials of those countries be hoped the House would put itself right with the sentiment of all men of culture throughout the world. The Bill would not injuriously affect private property, and he trusted that the House would assent to the second reading of it.
§ MR. DALRYMPLE
, in support of the Bill, said, that any hon. Member entering the House for the first time during the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for North Wiltshire (Sir George Jenkinson) would have thought some measure of spoliation was under discussion; whereas, instead of unduly interfering with the rights of property, the Bill before the House was conservative of those rights. He hoped that those who were interested in matters of taste, and had a care for works of art, 911 among whom he did not presume to include himself, would not be deterred from bringing forward these questions by any sneers such as had been used on the present occasion by the hon. and learned Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt. On the previous evening the same sort of tone had been adopted towards his hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane), who brought on an important question of foreign affairs. Debates on foreign affairs were nearly as rare as debates on questions of art, and in neither case ought any sneers which might be levelled at the Movers of such questions to deter them from their purpose. It was most unwise needlessly to invoke the bugbear of interference with the rights of property. No person on that side of the House certainly would propose any undue interference with the rights of private property; but their ancient monuments, while in a certain sense private property, were at the same time subjects of public interest, and it was notorious that, while many of those monuments were in the hands of landowners who knew how to take care of them, there were others in the possession of persons who were totally incapable of appreciating their value, and totally regardless of their preservation. It happened that in the county he represented (Bute) there were many of those ecclesiastical remains for which the West of Scotland was particularly famous, and, thanks to the noble Lord who owned them, they were not only preserved from injury, but in many ways money was expended upon them, so that the public might have the benefit and enjoyment of visiting them. No one who watched the public Press could shut his eyes to the fact that in many parts of the country there was a danger of these ancient monuments passing away for want of due care being taken of them. But lately, in the West of Scotland, most unfortunate inroads had been made on an ancient abbey, which might have been prevented if the proprietor had had more knowledge of the high value from an antiquarian point of view of the ancient buildings which he possessed. The present Bill was a wise and moderate step in restraint of Vandalism, and he trusted that, notwithstanding the bugbear which had been conjured up of interference with the rights of property, the hon. Baronet 912 (Sir John Lubbock) would proceed with his Bill, and that it would now receive a second reading.
§ COLONEL KINGSCOTE
was of opinion that a more arbitrary Bill than the present had never been introduced into the House. He had just read it over as he came into the House, and to his great surprise he found it proposed in the Schedule to take out of his hands an ancient monument which was situated on his property, and that without giving him any notice whatever, and without his consent. His gates also might be removed to give access to this portion of his property. If the Bill were passed no one could be sure of being left in possession of his own property, and for the sake of that property he must oppose it.
§ MR. PELL
protested against it being said that if private property was to be interfered with, it should be for something of greater importance than the preservation of public monuments. Food had been instanced as one thing; but the instincts of the people would always induce them to provide food; whilst they had to preserve ancient monuments from the love of destruction which was indigenous in youth and universal to the British snob. A Bill of this kind was absolutely necessary to preserve such monuments as remained, for it should be observed that the spirit of mischief was constantly at work upon them, and tended to their destruction. In one memorable instance, that of the Logan Stone in Cornwall, when a lieutenant in the Navy had overturned it, he was made to replace it under fear of being dismissed the service, showing the interest taken by the authorities of that day in such objects. He did replace it, displaying in doing so singular energy and skill. The hon. and learned Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), when seated below the Gangway, was constantly engaged in defending the rights of the people—to quote the usual phrase—to the commons; but, curiously enough, he was now found opposing the 913 rights of another section of the same people to preserve the monuments in which they took deep interest, and which were to be counted among the important historical records of the country. He should give his cordial support to the Bill.
§ MR. W. CARTWRIGHT
in answer to the remarks of the hon. Baronet the Member for North Wiltshire (Sir George Jenkinson), said, that the object of the Bill was not to take away property, but to preserve it; and in every case where the proprietor took care of ancient monuments there would be no interference with his rights in any way. It had been said that private property should not be taken except for the purposes of public utility, but surely the preservation of these monuments was a matter of the highest public utility. He hoped that the Bill would be read a second time. Every argument against it referred to points of detail, which could be considered in Committee.
§ MR. MARK STEWART
said, he found himself in a position somewhat similar to that of the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote), for until he came into the House he had no conception that property in which he had an interest was in the Schedule of the Bill, but he was not going to oppose the second reading on that ground. He approved of the principle of the Bill, and wished that it had been in operation for the last hundred years, and then they might have had preserved in that part of Scotland with which he was connected many interesting relics connected with the 3rd and 4th centuries, and many specimens of mediæval architecture, of which only slight traces now remained. He had in his mind's eye, on the property on which he lived, one of the most interesting monuments in Scotland—the earliest Christian monument—the stones on which the inscription was engraved were now the pillars to the gateway leading into an ancient burial-place—Kirkmadrine, in the parish of Stoneykirk, in Wigtownshire, and probably were now safe, but were almost the only remains left of interest on that spot, their neighbours having, no doubt, been taken at no very remote date to build some dyke, or for some such purpose. He could mention other places where now hardly any traces of remains were visible, the 914 monuments and stones of interest having been used up in the most reckless and indifferent way, without regard to anything of the past. He had taken great interest in the ancient monuments of Scotland. He felt that the Bill did not really interfere with the legitimate rights of property, as his view was that only those who were really neglectful of the past would be brought under its operations, and that to those a fair price would be paid, in order that the ancient monuments in their possession might be handed down to posterity. On those grounds, therefore, he should cordially support it.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
, on behalf of the Government, strongly opposed the Bill as far as its details were concerned, although he admitted the Preamble, which affirmed the importance of preserving ancient monuments. He opposed the Bill, mainly because it proposed to constitute a very strong body of Commissioners, who were to have unlimited power to acquire ancient monuments of whatever origin—British, Roman, Celtic, or Saxon, which they might think it necessary to preserve. Another objection to the detailed provisions of the Bill was, that they would have a tendency to relieve owners of property of responsibilities which they had hitherto been called upon to discharge, and had in the main discharged faithfully and well. The provision that the owners of ancient monuments should not be permitted to allow injury to the monuments in their possession was one which no owner could fully carry out, and which would compel the owners for their own protection to apply to the Commissioners to take the monuments under their care. Representing the Treasury, he should not be prepared to assume the responsibility of framing and submitting to Parliament an estimate which would satisfy, on the one hand, the Commissioners under the Bill, and, on the other, the public whose money would have to be voted, for, in his view, the responsibility would not be measured by hundreds, but by hundreds of thousands of pounds, there being virtually no limit to the ancient objects of one kind and another which might be brought under the operation of the measure. Further, the Bill which would involve so large an expenditure of money was introduced by a private Member; and it was not pro 915 posed that either the Government of the day or that Department of it which was called the Treasury should be represented upon the Commission. It might be urged that the Government of the day would be able to check the presentation of unduly large estimates under this Bill; but he feared that a strong Commission appointed by Parliament would be one which the Government would scarcely like the responsibility of dealing with. As he had said, the Government accepted the principle of the Preamble—namely, that these monuments ought to be preserved, but they were not prepared to accept the conditions and the machinery of the measure, and if the hon. Baronet would withdraw the Motion for the second reading, he would undertake that a conference should be arranged between the promoters of the Bill and the Government in the autumn, with a view to the introduction of a measure which should have for its object the carrying out the Preamble of the Bill now before the House, with such modified details as the Government could accept and undertake to carry into effect.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
, in reply, maintained that the Bill being essentially one of a public character, he had no choice but to bring it in as a public measure. The attacks that had been made on the drafting of the Bill reminded him of the old proverb, "If you have a bad case, find fault with the attorney for the other side." He took it that those who blamed the draftsman could not say much against the principle of the measure, and he thought that its supporters had reason to congratulate themselves upon the tone of the debate. The county of Cornwall was not excluded from its provisions more than any other county, but the Duchy of Cornwall for a technical reason, which he much regretted, was excluded. Many instances had occurred to show the necessity for such a measure, but, as he had already mentioned them, he had not thought it necessary on the present occasion to do so. He thought, however, it would not be denied by any one that our ancient monuments were gradudually disappearing, victims of the increased value of land and the demand for road material and building stones. Now, he asked hon. Members to look at the ancient monuments in their own districts mentioned in that Bill, and tell 916 him which of them they would see destroyed without regret. Was it Silbury Hill, the grandest sepulchral monument, perhaps, in Europe? Was it Avebury, the most remarkable of the so-called Druidical structures? Was it Stonehenge, enigmatical and unique? Was it Arthur's Round Table, or the Rollrich Stones; Kits Coty House, or Wayland Smith's Forge, dear to all readers of Sir Walter Scott? Or, turning to Scotland, was it the curious Dun of Dornadilla? Was it the Pictish Tower of Mousa, the only one, he believed, mentioned in the Sagas, and which was even now nearly perfect? Was it Sueno's Stone? or the Cat's Stane, with its inscription said to be in memory of Vetta, the grand father of Hengist? Was it the Newton Stone, with its inscription as yet altogether unread? Was it Maeshowe, with its Runic records? or the Ring of Brogar? or the Stones of Stennis, with all their romantic associations? In Ireland, was it the Giant's Ring, near Belfast? Was it the curious fortification known as Staigue Fort? Was it the remarkable tumulus of Newgrange, with its curious decorations; was it the ruins of Teltown, or the remains of the Hill of Tara associated so intimately with the earliest of Irish records? He hoped that Bill would be rejected neither by Englishmen nor Scotchmen; and Irishmen surely would not grudge a slight and almost infinitesimal expense for the preservation of these fragments of early Irish history. Indeed the expense entailed by the measure would be very trifling, the amount, moreover, would be settled by the Treasury and controlled by the House of Commons, and it would not be necessary where there was no danger of the monuments being destroyed. Those monuments had passed through great dangers. They had been spared by Roman soldiers, by Britons, Saxons, Danes, and Normans; they were respected in our days of comparative poverty and barbarism; in these days of enlightenment and civilization, of wealth almost beyond the dreams of avarice, they were in danger of being broken up for a profit of a few pounds, or removed because they cumbered the ground. If the House allowed them to be destroyed, they could never be replaced. It was said that the Bill would interfere with the rights of property. What rights? The right of destroying interesting national monu 917 meats. That was the only right that would be interfered with. It was not incidental to the Bill, it was no drawback in the Bill, it was the very object of the measure. It was really, however, the rights of destruction, not the rights of possession, which it touched. It was now for the House to determine whether it would exercise on behalf of the nation the right to preserve those monuments; whether it would maintain the light of individuals to destroy, or the right of the nation to preserve. He hoped the House would agree to the second reading of the Bill, for it would surely be a shame and a disgrace to allow those ancient monuments to perish.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 187; Noes 165: Majority 22,
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Wednesday next.
§ MR. RAIKES
gave Notice that on the Motion for going into Committee on the Bill, he would move that it be referred to a Select Committee, consisting of Five Members, Three to be nominated by the House and Two by the Committee of Selection; That, subject to the Rules, Orders, and Proceedings of this House, all persons legally interested in any of the properties included in the Schedules have leave to appear by their Agents, Counsel, and Witnesses in support of any Petition they may present praying to be heard against the Bill.