HC Deb 11 August 1882 vol 273 cc1598-600

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Shaw Lefevre.)


said, he rose to move the rejection of the Bill. The Chief Commissioner of Works had rashly committed himself to the strange assertion that no one except the right hon. Member for "Whitehaven (Mr. Bentinck) objected to the Bill. He objected to the Bill on two grounds—first, for the slipshod way in which it was drawn. It was difficult to know what the House was asked to read a second time. It was a parti-coloured Bill, the black ink portion being the original, and the red ink the improved draft; yet the black ink part, in some cases, explained the red ink; and definitions of terms were given, the terms themselves not being found in the Bill. Secondly, he protested against the invasion of the rights of property which was to be carried out under the Bill in order to gratify the antiquarian tastes of a few at the public expense.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Warton.)

[The Amendment, finding no Seconder, could not be put.]


said, he regretted that Ireland was not included in the Bill, as there were many monuments of great antiquity and interest in that country. The Round Towers and other remains were fully worthy of preservation. Although it was too late in the Session to attempt to move Amendments, he hoped that the measure would, on a future occasion, be extended to Ireland. He should support the Bill.


wished to state that they would accept an Amendment of the hon. Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), which would have the effect of enabling other monuments to be brought under the Bill by an Order in Council. If, therefore, in the opinion of the hon. Member, any monuments were omitted which ought to be included, they might still be brought within the scope of the Bill. The Bill did not go quite so far as that which the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London had for so many years moved. It was not thought desirable to extend it to compulsory purchase. The Bill simply enabled the Government to appoint a person to report upon the condition of ancient monuments, and also enabled the owners of such erections to place them under the protection of the State, with option of purchase by agreement. He believed that the Bill, when passed, would be found to work very satisfactorily.


said, he desired to thank the right hon. Gentleman for the care and attention he had devoted to the subject. As regards the present Bill, while it was, no doubt, a step in the right direction, especially in providing for the appointment of an Inspector, he could not himself hope that it would prove altogether effectual. It was natural he should prefer the Bill which had been before the House in previous Sessions. At the same time, he knew that his right hon. Friend's desires and intentions were the same as his own, and he relied on the Government to introduce a stronger Bill hereafter, if the present measure failed to secure its object. When the Bill got into Committee, he would ask the House to consider some few Amendments, though he did not propose to suggest any which would affect the essential character of the measure. The right hon. Gentleman had adopted the Schedule which he had himself proposed in previous years, and which had been prepared by very high authorities. But, though the list had been carefully drawn up, and was of a thoroughly typical character, it had no pretensions to completeness. In the previous Bill adopted by the House, there was a clause enabling other monuments to be added, and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would propose or agree to some Amendment of that character. He was also anxious that the Inspector should have some more definite status than was indicated in the Bill, because he thought it would materially assist him in his efforts. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on the prospect of carrying the Bill, and trusted the Inspector would be carefully selected, and that the Government would appoint someone whose heart would be in the work. Whatever the Bill might be, much would depend on the spirit in which it was worked; and he felt sure that his right hon. Friend would be anxious to make the Bill as effective as possible, and one which would really preserve these interesting monuments, which were the unwritten records of our early history, and some of the grandest and most interesting in the world.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.