HC Deb 12 March 1883 vol 277 cc194-5

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the Government intend to buy the Ashburnham Manuscripts; whether the price stated in the Press, viz. £160,000, is the correct price; and, whether, if that is correct, he will give an opportunity to the House to express an opinion on the matter before committing the country to so considerable an expense?


In reply to my hon. Friend, I have to state that Lord Ashburnham has offered to the British Museum what are known as the "four Collections" of the Ashburnham Manuscripts for £160,000. The Trustees have this offer under consideration; and if they should recommend its acceptance, in whole or in part, to Her Majesty's Government, the subject will receive the most careful attention of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and myself. Should it be proposed to purchase any considerable part of this Collection, we shall only agree that it be paid for out of moneys to be voted by Parliament, so that the House will retain its full liberty to vote or not the necessary funds.