HC Deb 11 March 1881 vol 259 cc867-84

, on rising to move— That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should take steps to provide for the protection of Ancient Monuments, said, that the House, having in previous Sessions devoted so much time to a Bill providing for the preservation of ancient monuments, and having often assented to the principle, and more than once to the details, of the Bill, it might be natural to suppose that those interested in the subject would re-introduce the measure which the House had so often sanctioned. He would not, how- never, occupy many minutes in explaining why it was inadvisable to do so. It was true that the House, by increasing majorities, had passed the second reading, and that though, no doubt, there were differences of opinion on details, so far, at least, as the last House of Commons were concerned, there were few Members who did not approve the general principles of the Bill; still, there remained a few, though but a very few, staunch' opponents; and he need not remind the House that Mondays and Thursdays were Government days, and on Tuesdays and Fridays Notices of Motion came before Bills, so that practically, under the half-past 12 Rule, Wednesday was the only day on which a private Member could bring a Bill before the House. Wednesdays were balloted for at the commencement of the Session, and at once occupied—every one, for instance, being now bespoken up to the middle of July; so that, even if lie had been lucky enough to secure a Wednesday for the second reading, he would have had scarcely any chance of obtaining an opportunity of bringing it up for Committee, Report, and third reading. The fact was that, under the present system, private Members had hardly a chance of carrying a Bill to which there was any opposition, even of a single Member. Under these circumstances, he felt that, as the opinion of the House had been so often expressed, he might fairly call upon Her Majesty's Government to take up the question; and he ventured to ask the House to assent to the present Motion, not in any spirit of criticism on the Government, but to strengthen their hands. On previous occasions he had given numerous instances of cases in which ancient monuments had been destroyed. Many of our most interesting monuments had been altogether destroyed; and there was hardly one which was not more or less mutilated. It was said that they should stand by and leave them to the protection of public opinion. But that had been tried; and it must be remembered that if the growing education of the country tended to enlarge the number of those who took an interest in these monuments, on the other hand, it also weakened the superstitious feelings—though, indeed, he hardly liked to call them superstitious in the ordinary sense—to which many of them were mainly indebted for their preservation. These feelings had been so strong that even as lately as the year 1859 a farmer in the Island of Anglesey, near the Tynwald, was said to have offered up a heifer as a burnt sacrifice to appease the spirit of the deceased for having allowed a chambered tumulus to be opened—probably the last example of a burnt sacrifice in civilized Europe. At a recent meeting the Council of the Society of Antiquaries passed a resolution with reference to this point that— Again and again have the anniversary addresses from the Presidential Chair given utterance to the hope that these precious remains of antiquity might be rescued from the injury and destruction by which their value is constantly being impaired and their number irretrievably diminished. Without troubling the House by reading a complete list, he would mention the following among the more important monuments which had recently been greatly mutilated or wholly destroyed:—The earthworks at Dorchester, the Roman Camp on Hod Hill, Banbury Camp, a stone circle near Lulworth, a dolmen near Portesham, a dolmen on Lytton Down, a dolmen on West Compton Down; Cæsar's Camp at Wimbledon, a dolmen near Maiden Newton, a Camp on Shenborough Hill, comb Camp, Charlton Abbots Camp, Bagendon Camp, Rod-borough Hill Camp, Bourton-on-the-Water, the Green Ditches, Hibdown Camp, the Toots near Oldbury, Blaize Castle, Beachley Green earthworks, the Ogham Stone at Clonmacnoise, one of, he believed, only three cases in which Ogham characters were accompanied by a corresponding inscription in Roman letters; the Rath of Kilbannon, the ruins on Holy Island, in Loch Derg; the fine Menhir, known as Le Quesnel, in Jersey; a portion, he believed the last visible piece, of Roman wall at Cirencester, had recently been destroyed in order that the materials might be used to inclose a field. Mr. Clark, than whom there was no higher authority on such a subject, assured us that though— The traces of a camp are not so easily swept away as those of a barrow, nevertheless most of those known to have existed in the lower and more highly cultivated lands are gone, or remain in their names only. He was continually receiving pathetic or indignant letters from persons lamenting the destruction of some vener- able monument in their own locality. Only a few days ago a cutting was sent him from a local newspaper, regretting the removal of the last remains of Sandwich Castle, associated with Shakespeare's King John, which was being removed for agricultural purposes. England was, he believed, almost if not quite the only civilized nation in Europe which entirely neglected its national antiquities. Denmark, long ago, purchased a considerable number of the more remarkable examples; Holland had done the same. In Italy, any monument that was in danger could be taken by the State. France had a National Monuments Commission. His suggestion was that a Commission should be appointed, and that if the owner of any important ancient monument wished to destroy it, he should be required, before doing so, to offer it to the nation at a fair price. As long as the owner left the monument intact it would remain in his charge and custody—the Commissioner would have no right of interference. Now, as these monuments wanted no repairs, but only required to be left alone, it seemed to him that the Commission would not be expensive or laborious, and that one Commission, on which Scotland and Ireland would be well represented, would be sufficient. Even if they purchased a good many monuments the expense would still be trifling and the labour small. In some cases it might, perhaps, be desirable to place a fence round the monument; in a few cases, such as some of the sculptured stones, it might be well to put up a simple shelter, as, for instance, at Sueno's Stone, near Forres. In all this, however, there would be no difficulty; no interference whatever with property. The Bill contained no new principle. If land was required for a railroad, for waterworks, for other public purposes, we never hesitated to take it, of course at a fair valuation. But it was not proposed to go so far even as this. Owners were not compelled or asked to sell, unless they wished to destroy. If they valued a monument the case could not arise. So far from interfering with the rights of property, it was actually sought to protect them. There was a case on record in which the occupier of a farm wished to destroy a very interesting monument in order to build a barn with the stones. The landlord objected to this; but if it had not happened that the tenant had omitted to pay his rent he could not have interfered, and the monument would have been destroyed under the very eyes of its owner. Indeed, the tendencies of such a measure were wholly conservative. A Bill which rested on a feeling of respect and reverence for the past and for the memorials of the dead must surely commend itself to the instincts as well as to the heart of the hon. Members opposite, and had, indeed, always received from them a warm and cordial support. We took an enlightened interest in the monuments of other countries. When it was supposed that some danger threatened St. Mark's, in Venice, we were up in arms; when the Turkish Government proposed to demolish the walls of Constantinople, the English Ambassador interfered to protect them. Hundreds, nay, thousands, of pounds had been spent on the monuments of Egypt and Assyria, and yet we neglected our own. In one of the recent Reports on Cyprus it was mentioned as a striking instance of maladministration that when any stones were required for building they were taken from the roads. Surely, if we did not do it at home, we should regard it as even a more conclusive proof of barbarism that we should suffer most ancient and interesting monuments to be broken up for such purposes. For why had our monuments been sacrificed? It had not been for any national benefit; they had not been required in any important emergency; they had interfered with no great engineering works; the land they occupied was seldom of much value. It was not necessary to deny that there were cases in which the claims of science, of sentiment, must give way to exigencies of modern life: in which the welfare of the living must override the claims of the dead. But such cases were very rare. Numbers of these monuments had been destroyed for the most paltry and trivial reasons. The earthworks had been carted away to servo as manure; the stones had been broken up to mend roads: some had been destroyed out of sheer ignorance or the mere spirit of mischief. In the striking words of Mr. Myers, even in some cases it had happenned that our "Occupation roads are mended with the immemorial altars of an unknown God." In conclusion, he hoped he would be allowed to say a word in regard to the Amendment which his hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) had placed upon the Paper. That Amendment proposed that Her Majesty's Government should confer upon the local authorities the necessary powers to provide for the protection of ancient monuments; but he hoped that his hon. Friend would not press it, as it was desirable that the hands of the Government should be left perfectly free to deal with the matter as they thought best. He would not trespass further upon the time of the House. He was grateful to the House for having allowed him the opportunity, at that late hour, of bringing the subject forward. The present state of things was unworthy of a great Empire, and had, over and over again, been condemned by the House. He begged to move the Resolution, and he hoped that it would be accepted by Her Majesty's Government and by the House.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should take steps to provide for the protection of Ancient Monuments,"—(Sir John Lubbock,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


Sir, the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of London contained two points which I am entirely unable to reconcile one with the other. The first was that he desired to leave the hands of Her Majesty's Government perfectly free, and the second was that he begged another hon. Member not to move an Amendment, because it would interfere with the passing of this Resolution. But my hon. Friend cannot suppose for a moment that if he passed his Resolution he would leave the hands of Her Majesty's Government perfectly free. On the contrary, he would bind them to propose a plan on a subject with respect to which they feel great interest, but with respect to which it is impossible for them to propose a scheme that would meet with the acceptance of the House. We have most of us viewed with great interest and sympathy the efforts made by the hon. Member to dispose of this subject by way of legislation; but my hon. Friend, it appears, is beginning to despair of success in these efforts, that is, to frame a plan to which he could obtain the acceptance of the House. If he thinks he can frame such a plan we shall be most happy to see him go forward with his labours, and, if circumstances permit, assist him in their prosecution. But if he abandons his labours, the reason of that must be that he finds it impossible to obtain the consent of Parliament, notwithstanding it has shown an interest in the subject, to any scheme he has devised. The declaration of my hon. Friend is that when he finds himself unable to obtain the consent of Parliament to his plans, he will throw himself into the hands of the Government, who have no plan which they are in a position to recommend to the House. That cannot be supposed to be making real progress with the subject. To make no progress when it is desirable that progress should be made is truly a bad thing; but there is another thing worse, and that is to seem to make progress when, in reality, you are making no progress. Perhaps my hon. Friend will say to the Government—"Do you mean to say you can do nothing?" I do not mean to say that, because it would be adopting an extreme proposition on the other side. If any plan can be submitted to us by my hon. Friend, or by others who have given the subject adequate consideration, we shall receive it with respect and examine it with interest, and we shall be very glad indeed if we can found a proposition upon it. But my hon. Friend will see that it would be an absolute breach of duty on our part to go beyond an engagement of that kind, when we are totally unable to see whether it would be in our power to frame a project or not. My hon. Friend, I am sure, does not want us to take a leap in the dark. He can see his way in the matter, and if he can give the Government such information as will enable them to see their way also, they will be very glad to follow him. But, situated as we are, overcharged many times with duties and engagements of which we are only able to discharge a small portion satisfactorily, it would be a very unworthy part for us to take with. respect to the question, to deal in promises when we have no opportunity of giving attention to the subject. I should like to have the opportunity of considering very fully the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley. It appears to me there is undoubtedly much to say in its favour, while there may be much to be said against it; but the proposal is one on which I am not prepared to pledge myself. I tender the assurance I have given to the hon. Baronet frankly; and I trust, under the circumstances of the case, he will not expect us to assent to this Motion.


could not understand to what the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister objected in the proposal of the hon. Baronet. The Motion had been brought forward, and embodied in a Bill, year after year. The Bill had been year after year amended, and at last a conclusion had been arrived at which had been accepted as reasonable, and which ought not to be dismissed in a cursory manner. He could only say, if five or six years was not sufficient time for consideration, it was difficult to know how much time the Government wanted. He did not, in the least, wish to misinterpret the statement of the right hon. Gentleman; but he understood him to say that the Government were not in a position to make up their mind upon this important question. At any rate, it appeared to him that the subject was not so difficult that if the Government tried they could make up their mind upon it. It was a question to which many of them attached great importance, and he certainly thought that in one way or another the ancient monuments of the country ought to be preserved. He did not think this should be done by interfering with the rights of landowners; on the contrary, he thought they ought most jealously to preserve the rights of every landowner with respect to his property. But he certainly protested against the doctrine laid down by the right hon. Gentleman, that the House was not in a position, after so many years, to deal with the subject. His hon. Friend was quite right in pressing the present, or any other Government, to endeavour to arrive at some conclusion as to the manner in which our ancient monuments should be preserved, and if he went to a division he should certainly vote with him.


doubted whether there was a general consensus of opinion as to the best means of preserving ancient monuments. He had ventured to put upon the Paper an Amendment which, if the Government had been disposed to accept the proposal of the hon. Member for the University of London, he should have pressed on the attention of the House. If they were to preserve ancient monuments at all he thought the House must be careful not to throw upon the over-burdened central authority the duty of attending to this matter in all parts of the Kingdom; and when the hon. Baronet said there should be a National Commission to purchase ancient monuments and throw the cost upon the National Exchequer, he (Mr. Rylands) replied that the proposed system was most objectionable, and one which would certainly lead to considerable expenditure. He contended that the local authorities, who would know the value of the ancient monuments in their district, and who had power to raise rates for local purposes, should have the necessary powers given to them. His hon. Friend thought that public opinion had deteriorated with regard to the preservation of ancient monuments; but this he utterly denied, so far as monuments were concerned which it was desirable to preserve. After the statement of the Prime Minister he did not think it necessary to move his Amendment; but he trusted, if the Government did take this matter into their consideration they would consider how far any steps to be taken with regard to the preservation of ancient monuments should be left to the local authorities. If his hon. Friend thought fit to introduce a Bill, the House would have, at any rate, an opportunity of discussing his plan, and no doubt in Committee a satisfactory conclusion of the matter would be arrived at. But having been in the House on former occasions when the hon. Member brought forward this subject, he ventured to say that there was a great difference of opinion with regard to it amongst hon. Members; certainly there was not an unanimous feeling in favour of the plan proposed by him. It was, therefore, hardly fair to say that the House had expressed itself in such a manner as to justify the hon. Member in calling upon Her Majesty's Government to proceed with it.


trusted the House would support the Resolution of his hon. Friend opposite. A Bill on this subject had already passed the House, and would have gone up to the other House had it not been too late in the Session. The Government had therefore full information upon the question, which was by no means a new one. It had been discussed over and over again; but a private Member had no chance of passing a Bill, certainly not in the evil days upon which the House had fallen; his only chance was to look to the Government to accept the principle of his Bill and work out its details. The hon. Baronet had accepted in the most friendly way the Amendments that had been put forward from all quarters; and therefore those whose Amendments had been accepted felt bound to support him. He could not understand why the Government should not accept the responsibility of working out the principle which had been sanctioned by the House.


thought the hon. Baronet had, by anticipation, disposed of the arguments of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) in favour of local authorities dealing with the preservation of ancient monuments. The fact was, their preservation had never been, and never would, be matter of care to Beards of Guardians. It was only those who knew how important it was to retain the continuity of a country's history, who would take the best means to that end by preserving its ancient monuments. There were many places in the country in which that House would do well to preserve existing monuments. He remembered that in his own county a man destroyed a Roman Camp for the purpose of growing potatoes on the land. Although, however, the camp was destroyed, he was glad to say the man did not get the potatoes. Again, in the case of one of the most perfect ancient villas in the country which contained a Roman pavement, the roof placed over it by the owner had fallen into disrepair, and the pavement had been destroyed. There were also many monuments in Wales and Ireland which threw great light upon the historical condition of those countries, and those in Ireland were of much philological interest in connection with the most instructive and important language to be found amongst ancient dialects. There was in the neighbourhood of St. Albans a monument which had been described with extreme accuracy by a chronicle of the time, and from which it was supposed that the body of a saint had been disinterred. A local antiquary, however, who had been able to identify the tumulus as part of a British burying ground, found that it contained the body of an unclothed savage. He hoped the Government would consider the very important facts which had been brought forward by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London. He believed there was nothing of more practical value to those who interested themselves in the history of the country than the preservation of its ancient monuments. Those which existed in the different parts of the United Kingdom had only been imperfectly studied; and our knowledge of most important periods in our history would be lost, unless some precautions were taken for their preservation. If Stonehenge had been in the neighbourhood of a road, it would have been absorbed by the road long ago. Many monuments in Oxford had been destroyed in that way. He did not pretend to say that the Government was not very fully absorbed in Business which had been regrettably postponed, and he did not think that they would be unwilling to consider the question of these important monuments, which were a great portion of our national history; but there wore very many of those relics—especially in those parts of England inhabited by descendants of ancient races—which required constant care and were of great value.


said, the Irish people had often been accused of lacking the refinement which other nations enjoyed; but the ancient monuments were evidences of their taste and culture in the past. Was it possible that the Government would say that it should be in the power of any person, unappreciative of those monuments, to destroy them; and that they would not make penal the destruction of those monuments, which illustrated the history of the country? They had been told a good deal about the rights of property; but these monuments were not the property of any particular individual; and he thought that if the Government could not maintain and restore them, at least they could prevent the demolition of those monuments which was daily taking place.


wished to direct the attention of the House to a remarkable contrast which existed between the way in which we in this country treated our recorded history and our unrecorded history. He believed no country in the world had taken greater care of its written records, or done more to place them within the reach of every historical student; but while that was so, he believed that no country in Europe, except, perhaps, Spain, had done less to preserve the remains and relics of pre-historic ages, which were all the records we could have of a very considerable portion of the history of these Islands. There were two reasons for adopting the mode of treatment with regard to historical monuments which prevailed in some other countries. The first argument was in favour of the course he wished to suggest, which was the appointment of a Royal Commission to put on permanent record all the historical monuments of this country, as had been done by Denmark. Somewhere about 1807 the Government of Denmark did what the hon. Baronet (Sir John Lubbock) proposed last year. They placed under the protection of the law certain historical monuments in that country. The practical result was that after the lapse of about 40 years that plan was found to be a failure; the monuments which were placed under the protection of the law were not so well taken care of as those not under that protection. In 1849 the Government of Denmark placed the whole management of their historical monuments under the care of a Director and Inspectors. That plan was tried for some years, and was also found unsatisfactory; and in 1873 the Government of Denmark adopted the method which he now wished to suggest. They appointed a small Commission to divide the country into districts, and to preserve on paper the record of all that remained of the monuments of prehistoric ages. The Historical Manuscripts Commission in this country was an analogous case. He was sure that of all the Commissions which had done good service to this country, there was none to which historical students owed more than they did to that. But it would be within the recollection of the House that when the Commission was first appointed very considerable, and not unnatural, jealousy was felt as to what might be supposed to be an interference with the rights of private property, in searching records, and in making the necessary investigations. What had been the practical result? Instead of that feeling existing, he believed that the Royal Commissioners had now more applications from private individuals to examine their charters than they could deal with; and he believed that the result which the hon. Baronet and other hon. Members wished to see, by the bringing forward of this Motion for the preservation of historical monuments, would be, to a great extent, indirectly achieved by the appointment of some such Commission as the one which had already dealt so well with historical manuscripts. He hoped the Government would reconsider the position they had taken up, and would not oppose the most reasonable and proper Motion of the hon. Baronet.


rose to recall the House to the actual question before it. The hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Cochran-Patrick), and the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Thorold Rogers), had discussed the question rather of the value of the ancient monuments, and the need of taking care of them, than the actual position of the question before the House. There seemed to be but one sentiment in the House as to the value of these monuments, which were daily increasing in value as records of the past and objects of historical interest; but the hon. Baronet (Sir John Lubbock) having got his Bill so far as the second reading in "another place," now seemed to be utterly discouraged, and to wish to have the responsibility he had so well borne taken off his own shoulders and thrown on the shoulders of the Government, as the Prime Minister put it. And then came the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. E. Stanhope), who asked why the Government would not take the responsibility. The hon. Member was a Member of the Government which gave very little assistance to the hon. Baronet. There were many important national questions before the House, without the Government taking up this matter, which came before the House in an awkward manner, on the Motion to leave the Chair. Was the House, in the midst of all the Business that the Government had brought before it—and especially that important measure with regard to Ireland, for which many hon. Members had been waiting for two months—to say that whatever turned up, or whatever it had in hand, and however important the exigencies of the State, the Government must take up this question and bring in a Bill; and also, besides bringing in a Bill, provide the money for taking care of these monuments? He deprecated the idea that the Government must pledge themselves to bring in a Bill now for the protection of these monuments. The Prime Minister had certainly gone as far as any Minister could go when he expressed his sympathy with the hon. Baronet and his interest in the monuments; and he thought his hon. Friend might be quite sure that that sympathy would be made practical on the first opportunity. He therefore would suggest that his hon. Friend should proceed in his old way of bringing in his own Bill, relying on the support of the Government; and he trusted the Bill would receive a third reading in "another place" instead of only a second reading.


thought the hon. Member who had just spoken had been answered by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. All that the hon. Baronet asked the Government to do was to take cognizance of the matter, and to deal with it, not now, but at some convenient time. This was not a new question; it had been before the House for many years, and, he believed, it had had the sympathy of both sides of the House. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) said be objected to the Motion, because its purpose was centralization, and that it was a matter which ought to be dealt with by local authorities. He (Mr. Serjeant Simon) had great confidence in local authorities in all matters relating to paving and lighting, but not in regard to matters of history or taste. Let them consider these monuments for a moment; let them take, for instance, Stonehenge, or Adrian's Wall. Who would wish to see any of those disturbed? Who would wish to see Stonehenge removed, in order to allow a railway through that part of the country, or the stones of Adrian's Wall removed by some enterprizing speculator for building purposes? Who would not demur to such destruction of an ancient relic? These monuments were the landmarks of history; they illustrated past ages, they showed the state and progress of civilization, and were the links between ancient and modern times. It should be the pride of every Englishman and every Irishman and every Scotchman to preserve the monuments of his country. They were national monuments, and were among the glories of the nation; and he thought that the Government should take charge of them, and not allow them to be demolished.


pointed out that the resistance which he and some who acted with him in this matter in the last Parliament offered against the measure of the hon. Baronet was justified, in spite of the large majority they always found against them. On the present occasion those who previously opposed the measure of the hon. Baronet had not said one word; and when he had had a fair field for his own Resolution, it turned out that his own Government was unwilling to support him, and that the hon. Member for Burnley, who for many years had supported the hon. Baronet's Bill for throwing upon Imperial rates the maintenance of ancient monuments, now found himself entirely wrong. There was so much diversity of opinion as to what should be done, and as to the objects which ought to be embraced in an effort of this kind, that the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) thought that it ought to be extended even to the works of Nature. He could only say that he was as anxious to see the ancient monuments of the country saved from destruction as anyone in the House. The subject on which he differed with some was as to the means which should be employed to preserve them.


hoped the hon. Baronet would allow him to express the sympathy he felt for him—the sympathy he felt for one who had so persistently and so good-naturedly brought forward this subject year after year. At last the hon. Baronet sat "like Patience on a monument, smiling at Grief"—the grief to which his Motion always, inevitably, came. He must, again, express his sympathy with the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, inasmuch as he could not understand the language of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister. He (Mr. Warton) had been unable him- self to understand that language; he had been unable to understand the real motive which animated the Prime Minister—it was obscure as that of the ancient monuments themselves. He would only say that, sympathizing as he did with the hon. Baronet's perseverance, he could not agree with his Motion. He had seen the cloven hoof peeping out in the speech of the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Dawson). He was a sentimentalist, and would preserve ancient monuments, if they could do it consistently with the preservation of the rights of property. The hon. Member for Carlow announced the doctrine that all property belonged to the State; and it was because of that principle, now timidly put forward, but soon to be boldly advanced, that he objected to the Motion.


said, that unless the Government could give them some more definite promise to deal with this question he should certainly support the hon. Baronet. The subject, to his mind, was one of the greatest possible interest to all classes of the country; and he was sure that all must agree in the necessity for the preservation of these ancient monuments that still remained to us. He understood that the Prime Minister's argument was not so much against the application of Government powers to protect the monuments, as showing the inconvenience of being called upon to exercise their powers at the present moment. But the Government would not be obliged to bring in a Bill immediately to carry out the object of the hon. Baronet if the Resolution were agreed to. If they would give a promise that they would, on as early a day as possible, take steps to prevent any further destruction of these monuments, it would meet with hon. Members' views and give general satisfaction. As for the argument of the hon. Member for Burnley, to his (Mr. Broadhurst's) mind, it was a good joke. Surely the hon. Member did not seriously ask the House to relegate to local vestries the protection of the ancient monuments of the country. The hon. Member apparently objected to this statement of the case; but what did his speech mean if not that? The hon. Member had asked them to make local bodies responsible for the preservation of these monuments. Would the hon. Member leave the protection of Westminster Abbey in the hands of the Westminster Vestry? What would become of the building if left in such hands? Why, it would probably, ere long, be turned into a butcher's shop. He trusted the hon. Member would assure them he was only joking when he asked the House to commit these great interests into the hands of local bodies. On the other hand, he hoped they would receive an assurance from the Government that they would do something in this matter.


said, that at that late hour of the night it was not his intention to detain the House more than a moment; but being, like the noble Lord (Earl Percy) one who had opposed the hon. Baronet's Bill, he should like to say a few words. The noble Lord had tendered his forgiveness to the hon. Baronet for several remarks he had made in a little volume he published not long ago, and he (Mr. Herbert) was ready to tender his; but, at the same time, he could go farther than the noble Lord, for he was prepared to support the Resolution. He had always opposed the Bill; but this Resolution was a very different thing. It did not pledge anybody to do anything; it was a mere abstract sentiment that ancient monuments should be preserved. No member of the present or late Government could disagree with it, for they all agreed that ancient monuments should be preserved, the only question they fought about being the method of preserving them. He could not help thinking that the hon. Baronet had been hardly treated, and had a right to feel disappointed at the manner in which the Prime Minister had acted towards him. Year after year he had brought forward the subject; and all he now got in return from the right hon. Gentleman was a few words to say that the Resolution was only brought forward now to make a show of making progress with the subject. The hon. Baronet had been making a "show"—a promise, an appearance—of progress for five or six years; and it was hard on him, after the indomitable energy and pluck he had shown, that he should be thrown on one side the moment he found his own Party in power.


wished to say a word in explanation, because the general impression seemed to be that it would be necessary for the Government to bring in a Bill if the Motion were passed. He would point out that a great deal could be done in the way of preserving ancient monuments without bringing in a Bill at all.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes; Noes 79: Majority 23.—(Div. List, No. 155.)

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put. Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should take steps to provide for the protection of Ancient Monuments.

Supply Committee upon Monday next.

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