HC Deb 05 August 1875 vol 226 cc602-3

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, the object of the measure was to enable the Department of Science and Art to receive bequests of real property. That high-minded and liberal man, Sir Joseph Whitworth, had expressed a wish to add to the benefactions he had already given to the country. Sir Joseph Whitworth had endowed a scholarship of mechanical industry, to the amount of £3,000 a-year, in connection with the South Kensington Museum, and he now wished to increase that benefaction still further by making a larger endowment of a more permanent character, by bequeathing certain lands of great value to the Science and Art Department. He had expressed his own strong conviction that the maintenance by this country of her superiority in the mechanical arts depended upon her sons having the highest training in science as applied to these arts, and, for this purpose, he had communicated to Her Majesty's Government his wish to make hereafter this noble gift to the nation. It was impossible, however, to effect that object under the statute of Mortmain, and the Government thought they were only interpreting the wishes of the nation by enabling Sir Joseph Whitworth to carry out his admirable object through means of this Bill, which would confer on the Department powers similar to those already conferred on the British Museum. Sir Joseph Whitworth had enhanced still further the value of his gift by making it a condition that the bequest should be subject to the discretion of Parliament, so as to be altered if necessary to suit the varying circumstances of the time. He need hardly say that the Government had the greatest pleasure in doing all in their power to meet the wishes of this distinguished gentleman, and he felt sure that he was only expressing the sentiments of all the hon. Members of that House, when he said that, though this noble act could not add to the position which Sir Joseph Whitworth occupied most justly in the civilized world, it would establish a fresh claim to the affection and respect with which his name was regarded by his countrymen.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.