HC Deb 14 June 1883 vol 280 c560

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Treasury has refused to purchase the Ashburnham MSS. at the price asked for by the owner, and approved by the Trustees of the British Museum; whether the refusal is final, or whether a further effort will be made to secure these valuable manuscripts for the Nation; and, if he could state what is the amount in dispute?


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If there is any truth in the statement in Monday's papers that, notwithstanding the acceptance by the Government of the honourable Member for Burnley's resolution in favour of economy, they have consented to expend £70,000 in the purchase of a portion of the Ashburnham Manuscripts?


This question had not been treated as a Treasury question, but as ono that demanded the consideration of the Government generally. With regard to the purchase of the Ashburnham Collection on the terms asked by the noble Lord, and recommended by the Trustees of the British Museum, the Government did not think they would be justified in entertaining the proposal for the purchase of the entire Collection. With respect to a purchase of a portion of the Collection, the negotiations are still going on, and I think hon. Members will agree that in that case it would be better for me not to enter into the matter at present. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member (Mr. Carbutt), I must ask him to suspend his judgment, as I do not wish to depart from the spirit of the answer I have just given.