(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £278,558, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Science and Art Department, and of the Establishments connected therewith.
§ MR. WOODALL (Hanley)
This is a Vote that touches important interests in many parts of the country, and upon which I hope to have some information from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council (Sir William Hart Dyke) before the Vote is taken. At the same time, I think I ought to acknowledge the service which has been rendered to the Committee by the circulation of a Memoran- 1537 dum in reference to the expenditure in this Department, and which has suggested some of the observations with which I propose to trouble the Committee. It is known that the expenditure estimated for in the current year shows, in some respects, an increase in the Parliamentary grant. There is an increase, in fact, as shown in the Estimate, of some £20,000; but it will be observed that that increase is in every particular of an automatic nature, and is uncontrollable, seeing that it arises from the larger appreciation throughout the country of the advantages offered by the Department, and, in some degree, of the better education of the classes for whom the machinery of the Department is intended. The Memorandum of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President shows that during the past four years the expenditure in science has increased from £49,900 to £78,160, and in the Art Department from £23,400 to £39,500—a very considerable percentage of in-crease during those periods. The figures go to prove my assertion that the advantages offered by the science and art classes are increasingly appreciated by the country, and that the public continue to demand from this House a larger amount of assistance. The Estimates for the current year, I am happy to say, make a still further demand upon the increase I have quoted; and among the circumstances pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman, there is one which I venture to think is most satisfactory— namely, in showing that the instruction given by the Department is given in an increasing ratio to students from the working classes. It is satisfactory to find that the students of the artizan class have been augmented in 10 years from 81 per cent to 89 per cent of the total number. It cannot be doubted that while these figures, as far as they go, are satisfactory, they do not by any means imply that the provision made by the grant is adequate, having regard to the great needs of the country. They lead us, however, to hope that, from time to time, there will be a disposition to appreciate the character of this work; but we know that beyond that there is a need, and an urgent need, for increased work, and that it should be fostered and encouraged by those who are in charge of the Department. I therefore want to know if there is any disposition at 1538 headquarters to give this much-needed encouragement which I venture to think the country requires? And now, Sir, I turn, with some regret, to an observation which it is necessary to make— namely, that Estimates are being taken which to some extent may have a tendency to limit the work of the Department. Certainly some alarm was felt throughout the country a few months ago in consequence of a Circular issued by the Department in reference to a restriction of the number of works executed in the classes to be sent up to South Kensington. I only mention the circumstance because I think the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council may be able to explain away some of the fears which have occurred, and that he may be able to show that if there is to be any diminution of the number of works presented for grants it will be compensated for in some other direction. I am afraid that the lack of a disposition to encourage the teaching is evidenced from some other circumstances referred to in the Report. We are told, for instance, in this Memorandum that the giving of prizes and the purchase of examples for teaching in the elementary schools will cease after the current year. Now, Sir, the importance of stimulating the teaching of drawing in the elementary schools has been sufficiently acknowledged in a debate which recently occurred in this House, and I cannot help urging that prizes are of considerable value for that purpose. There can be no kind of question that it is of the utmost importance that prizes and aid should be given to the elementary schools in the provision for good examples. Nothing is more manifest than the want of good examples, and particularly of elementary casts. If these grants are discontinued I hope that the Committee will be assured that the schools will not suffer by the change. I observe, in the Estimates, another significant diminution in this grant. In the last year there was actually expended in building grants a sum of £4,900; but I see that the Government only ask this year for £3,000. During the interval, admittedly, that a great deal has been done—which leads to the hope that there is going to be an important movement for providing technical schools and science and art classes. With regard to building grants, it is a 1539 matter of notoriety that there has been a considerable struggle going on between the Department and the Treasury. A Question was put to the Government with regard to it by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol last Session, and again this Session. My hon. Friend pressed the Government very strongly upon the point, and a deputation from my own constituents waited upon the Government since in order to claim the fulfilment of an assurance which was given to them some time ago, and upon which they have relied. I should be glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that he has at his disposal the means of satisfying this need in the event of the sum I have referred to—namely, £8,000— being found insufficient. There is another important particular to which I wish to call the attention of the Committee for a moment or two. I speak of the Department of Circulation. There have been for years past many manifestations of growing impatience in regard to the accumulation in the Metropolis of national art treasures. Now, no one wishes to weaken the value of South Kensington, or of any of the other London Museums as places for reference; but the claims of the great industrial centres and the most important seats of industry in the Provinces for examples suited to particular localities are irresistible. Demands have been made that greater encouragement should be given to the Science and Art Department, in order that the system might be made to work more thoroughly and more effectively. I think it is impossible for any Member of this House whose constituency has a museum or a library under the Free Libraries Act, or any connection with the Schools of Art, not to take an interest in this scheme for the circulation of examples. It has now been adopted for some years, having proceeded cautiously and tentatively at first. The examples were once confined to special Departments, and very limited in their number. Nowadays, I am happy to acknowledge that examples are taken from the museum itself, and that very often they are extremely valuable, and are certainly of a very serviceable kind. I am sure that the Committee will view with great satisfaction the fact that although some most valuable works have been taken 1540 about the country from London, they have been taken such care of that, practically, no injury has been sustained by any picture or other work of art which has been lent. And here let me say a word on behalf of a man who has had his full share of abuse in the past, but who has gone far beyond the demands of his office in stimulating the interest of the people in this particular Department. To my own knowledge several of the towns in this country owe their museums to the zeal and "go" with which Sir Philip Cunliffe Owen has stimulated them. I very much regret that the grant for examples and for the circulation of works of art throughout the country this year is actually reduced, although the Memorandum issued by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President states that the demands made upon the Department for these articles have very largely increased. Last year there were 32 provincial museums, 26 temporary exhibitions, and 260 science and art schools to which the Department sent examples and works of art. Altogether 26,000 objects were loaned during the year. There is another subject which calls for remark. I have spoken of the value of the Circulation Departments. There has been growing in the important provincial museums, of recent years, a desire to acquire examples specially suited to the requirements of the localities which are to be in permanent possession of them. Now. Sir, the Science and Art Department has been accustomed for many years past to make grants in aid towards the purchase of suitable examples for the assistance and guidance of the pupils attending the schools, and of late the Science and Art Department has gone further, and has applied the same principle to the purchase of more important works. I turn, for instance, to the Report which was presented to this House last year. A sum of £1,500, if I remember rightly, was voted a few years ago—I think in 1881 or 1882—for this purpose. Last year that amount was reduced to £1,200, and I believe I am right in saying that every shilling of this money was actually expended. I should very much like to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council the consideration of this important fact, to which I do not suppose for a moment 1541 he is indifferent—namely, the advantage of the artistic advice, as well as the money aid which is given in this way to the provincial schools, under the guidance of experts like Mr. Armstrong, who is perfectly acquainted with the value of the objects purchased, and has a full sense of their usefulness as aids to teaching. I myself can testify, as far as I have had anything to do with the matter, that it would he a most calamitous thing if the managers of provincial museums were to be deprived of the money now paid towards the collection of objects which it is desirable to purchase. I have referred to the expenditure during the last year, and I may add that Birmingham, Bath, Bradford, Cork, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Reading, Sheffield, and Wolverhampton have all been aided in this way, and I know that during the current year applications will be made for assistance, and very much disappointment will be felt if these grants are refused by the Department. The Government have recognized the need for technical instruction, and they have also recognized—and very wisely I think—the need for the administration of any scheme of technical instruction being left mainly in the hands of South Kensington. We were all delighted to see the way in which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen)—early in the present year — showed at Liverpool the importance and urgency of this question of technical instruction. The Royal Commission, upon which I myself had the honour of serving, and the Commission on the Depression of Trade have strongly urged the importance of this question. Unfortunately the Bill which was introduced this Session into Parliament in reference to technical education has had to go the way of other Bills which have been brought forward this year. I wish, however, to ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President to a matter which may be worth his consideration. He knows that the noble Viscount the Lord President of the Council (Viscount Cranbrook) and himself are absolutely masters of the administration and expenditure of the Department — more absolute masters than the heads of any other Department. The Science and Art Department bears a remarkable contrast as compared with the other 1542 Department at Whitehall. Some years ago the Directory of the Science and Art Department was unknown to Parliament, and I do not think the conditions in which they expend the money voted by Parliament are known even now. Therefore I would make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President whether it is not possible so to revise the conditions on which the grants are given as to accomplish for the country some of the advantages which the Technical Instruction Bill was intended to confer? There was a clause in the Bill which was, in fact, the very core and substance of that measure, and it reads as follows:—The expression 'technical instruction' means instruction in the branches of science and art, with respect to which grants are, for the time being, made by the Department of Science and Art, or in any other subject, which may, for the time being, be sanctioned by that Department; the expression 'technical school' means a school or department of a school which is giving technical instruction to the satisfaction of the Department of Science and Art.There are 45 subjects in regard to which the Directors of Science and Art are pledged to give grants in; and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President to consider whether it is not possible to modify the teaching in the existing schools so as to make drawing and modelling somewhat more practicable? I know that it is impossible to accomplish all that was intended to be done by the Technical Instruction Bill, but, having some slight knowledge of the subject, I would venture to urge that something useful may be done in a provisional way which would make an effective foundation to the larger scheme which the House will probably be called upon to consider in the coming Session.
§ MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)
The hon. Member for Hanley has urged the importance of the teaching of drawing m the elementary schools, and I think the whole of the Committee will concur with him in that observation. It is very much to be regretted that in the interesting Memorandum which has been put before us there should be such a statement as that which is contained in the concluding sentence—namely, that steps are being taken somewhat to reduce the grants to the art classes. I think that that is a very unfortunate indication of policy to be given out to the country when the country at the 1543 present moment is beginning to open its eyes to the vital importance of this question as affecting our industries in many ways. Nor is the indication any the less alarming from the manner in which it has been given. I shall be glad if it turns out that I am mistaken in assuming that this is the way in which the reduction is likely to occur. In the Circular to which allusion has already been made, which was sent out in February last, the Committees of the art schools of the country are warned that merely elementary or draft work is for the future to be submitted; but that, practically, grants are only to be given for work of such a standard as will really qualify teachers in the lower grade. That is a very serious alteration. I may be told that the Education Department is recognizing the importance of teaching drawing in the elementary schools; but it must take some years before a scholar in elementary schools can grow up so as to be able to teach art, and in the meantime the grant is to be largely withdrawn. My own constituents certainly regard this intimation with no slight feeling of alarm. A gentleman connected with the York School of Art has written to me in these terms—Considering the new regulation in connection with the working of some of the smaller schools, I could not but come to the conclusion that, if put into force, it would be fatal to many of them. I have also carefully thought out the probable effect the proposed regulations would have on the annual grant to this school, and, so far as I am able to judge, it would diminish very soon about 50 per cent.Gentlemen interested in these schools of art say that the great difficulty is to induce young artizans to come into the schools. We can get those who wish to become painters, or to take to art as a distinct profession; and I understand that it is the policy of the Department to increase the interest in these few persons, and to decrease it in regard to the many whom we are anxious to get into the schools. The art classes cannot accomplish what we ought to get in the country, unless a considerable portion of these pupils go into the school, so that they may have their eye educated in their particular trade. As I have said, those who wish to take to art as a profession come readily; but if the art schools are to become a means of educating a few young men and women 1544 to start in life as artists, but is to hold out no incentive to those who are to embark in handicrafts, I think it will be a great and serious loss to the community. There is a feeling that the fees required for the support of these schools of art are already a heavy burden upon the few, and large sums have to be collected from voluntary sources. The fees required in this country are much higher than young people of the artizan class can afford, and are seriously felt by young persons just starting a career. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President whether it is not possible to do something which may obviate the danger that is likely to occur to the art classes, and whether something cannot be done to alter the mode in which the grant is given? I am quite aware that the number of works sent up every year is very great, and the labour of judging them is also considerable; but surely some means may be found by which really useful work of an elementary kind may be encouraged and stimulated in connection with these schools, which are now doing their best in drawing in the young artizans of the towns.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
I think that something should be done with the view of endeavouring to impress upon the Department the necessity of bringing art instruction more within the reach of the working classes of this country. No doubt, a good deal has been done already; but I would suggest that useful works of art should be distributed among the elementary schools in succession, so that the pupils in each may have an opportunity of studying them in detail. I am afraid that South Kensington does not do half enough, and that a great deal more might be done in the elementary and board schools. Works of art of a simple character now in South Kensington might be passed from school to school, so that the best of our artizans may be able to avail themselves of them. At present the facilities given to the elementary schools are practically nil; but where they are given to those who are able to pay they have been of considerable benefit. I am sure that whatever the cost may be it would be cheerfully paid by this House.
MR. CON WAY (Leitrim, N.)
I think that this Vote is second only in importance to the Vote for Public Edu- 1545 cation; and inasmuch as the Science and Art Department are likely, from the experience we have had this Session, still further to take charge of technical education in this country, I think it is well to discuss the question on its merits. The primary work of the Science and Art Department is calculated to call into existence among the artizan classes of this country some valuable ideas in connection with such things as designs for carpets, curtains, wall-papers, furniture, and other things, and in that way it will have a tendency to make the homes of the artizan class more cheerful and inviting, so that their feelings and aspirations may be elevated. It was never intended that the Department should compete with the Slade School of Art or the Royal Academy in pictorial or high art in all its various fields; and I am afraid that, to some extent, it has wandered from its primary work, and has been pursuing a system of advertising itself in guide books and handbooks. It has left the track which called it into existence, and has set up as a rival to the higher schools of art. I must say that I myself have been surprised at the effrontery of the South Kensington Authorities in claiming credit for the work of people altogether outside the scope of their influence—that is to say, in claiming that valuable work has been based on instruction derived from South Kensington. The Department at South Kensington claim to have produced distinguished artists, who have, in fact, never studied in the Museum, among them being such men as Mr. Dobson, R.A., Mr. E. J. Poynter, R.A., Mr. H. Armitstead, R.A., Mr. W. Onless, R.A., Mr. H, Pyne, R.A., and even Miss Thompson. They remind me of the Cambridge coach, who annually claimed the credit of turning out the Senior Wrangler, and who, I believe, Mr. Courtney, includes yourself among his conquests. In the Calendar issued by the Science and Art Department there is an annual disquisition on the benefit of Ireland's connection with the Department in the development of science and art. Since 1870 the Department has issued annually in its Calendar a Report from the Science and Art Commissioners, claiming that Ireland is under the greatest obligations to South Kensington for the 1546 development of its science and art. As a matter of fact, Ireland has its own science and art examinations, which have greatly benefited the country, and which are quite independent of South Kensington. It is a singular fact that none of the examiners in science and art at South Kensington received their training at that institution. Ireland is well able to look after its own art and science if the opportunity presents itself, and as an illustration I may mention the intermediate education results. The Report of the Commissioners shows that results have been produced far superior to those which have been produced under the auspices of the South Kensington Science and Art Department. With one or two exceptions the Department does not even encourage its own students to work for the higher positions in the Department. It is a well-known fact that most of the officials of South Kensington are foreigners, and when I say "foreigners" I mean persons who have been imported into the Department. There is scarcely an assistant there who can claim to have received his instruction in the Department. And it is unfortunately true that the importation of the military element causes a stagnation of art instruction at South Kensington. This can be easily proved if hon. Members will look through the literature placed at their disposal. The Memorandum issued by the South Kensington Authorities has been alluded to. I have endeavoured to study it, and in order to get at some of the facts set forth in it I have been obliged to study the Appropriation Account of the Civil Service Estimates, the Annual Report contained in the Calendar, and numerous Papers issued by the Department. There is, I think, a much better means of arriving at the character of the work done than merely reading the Reports of the Department. In my efforts to test the value of the work done by the Department, I took the trouble to compare the Vote now asked for with the Vote that we gave last Saturday week for the Public Education Department. The total Vote asked by the South Kensington Authorities is £438,558, and the cost of administering that Vote is £38,800— that is to say, that the cost of administering a Vote of less than £500,000 involves no less than 11 per cent. Com- 1547 pare that with the Education Vote. The Education Vote, which was passed in this House on Saturday week, is £3,458,807, or, in round numbers, £3,500,000; while the cost of administering it is £217,746, or a little more than 6 per cent. This is an extraordinary state of things, and affords convincing proof that there is something rotten in the administration. What private firm would dream of spending 11 per cent for administration? Certainly a banker who brought about such a result would feel himself considerably staggered when he came to look over his accounts at the end of the year. I am sure the Committee will be obliged if the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President will get up in his place and explain how this large sum of money comes to be spent in connection with South Kensington. There is another matter connected with it which makes the expenditure still more startling. South Kensington only pays for results, and not for average attendance in classes; whereas, in the Public Education Department, the average attendance is taken into account. South Kensington only pays for results, and nothing else, and yet it takes this large sum to administer this small Vote. The officials appear to be far too numerous. The salary of the Secretary is £1,500 a-year. No doubt that officer performs his work well; but in the Civil Service Estimates he is also put down as Director of Science, for which, however, he receives no salary. Sir Philip Cunliffe Owen has a salary of £950 as Director and a residence, and the salary of Director is, I find, spread over other officials. The assistant gets £100, and the chief clerk £100, and I have been able to trace the history of an upper clerk, who receives £400 a-year, from the foot-notes attached to the accounts. We have Directors in one part of the establishment and Directors in another. Indeed, the offices are so multiplied that they produce something akin to bewilderment when we come to inquire into the salaries. In 1882 the Director of Art was appointed Visitor— a new office altogether in connection with South Kensington. Mr. Poynter receives £500 a-year for occupying that position, and when the Visitor was appointed there was another gentleman pitchforked into Mr. Poynter's position—Mr. Armstrong 1548 —over the heads of Mr. Bowler, the Assistant Director and others. The record of Mr. Armstrong is absolutely nil. I have heard it said that he once exhibited a picture in the Grosvenor Gallery; but as to what it was I know nothing. He has no record whatever in connection with science and art. This is the character of the work done at South Kensington, and, in looking over the annual accounts, I find no less than three pages filled with, items of extra remuneration. More than £8,000 appears to be given to the officials of South Kensington over and above the salaries specified in the Civil Service Estimates. That, I think, is a most extraordinary state of things. A regular staff of examiners ought to be appointed without these items for extra remuneration. The duties must be very light indeed, for I find that an examiner, after spending two or three hours at South Kensington, is able to take a jaunt into the country, and to receive this extra remuneration for it. It shows how the money goes, and how the 11 per cent which is spent for administration is employed. Now that attention has been directed to the matter, I trust that there will be some reform of the administration of South Kensington. This is the natural history of an upper clerk at South Kensington. He is appointed at a salary of £400; presently he is asked to examine evening schools, for which he receives additional remuneration, together with his travelling expenses. He is also Lecturer on Irish Lace, and he reports upon the progress made in the lace trade, receiving £52 10s. for doing so. He gets further £50 a-year for compiling a catalogue, and he has been made Inspector of Irish Lace at £200 a-year. This is what goes on at South Kensington, and it was only by going through the Report of the Department page by page that I was able to get at the truth. In January, 1887, Mrs. Power Lalor was appointed to inspect the lace; but Mr. Alan Cole— this upper clerk—has since been re warded with the Inspectorship and £200 a-year. Under all the circumstances, I think I am justified in moving the reduction of the Vote by this gentleman's salary, plus the £100 given to the Director and £100 for a clerk—making £400 in all.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £278,158, be granted for the said Services."—(Mr. Conway.)
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)
May I ask whether the Vote is to be discussed generally, or only the Amendment?
I think the discussion ought to be confined to the reduction which has been moved by the hon. Member.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President intends to offer any defence of the Department either now or hereafter?
§ MR. WOODALL
I hope the Committee will be favoured with the views of the Irish Members as to the value of the work done by Alan Cole, to whom reference has been made. I know that it is extremely important to help industry in Ireland, and it is, perhaps, unimportant whether a particular clerk has been promoted from a former position to the charge of a department. The question for the Committee to consider is whether he does his duty satisfactorily, and whether the outcome of his work is beneficial. I believe that the result of Mr. Cole's efforts, in collecting examples of lace and in disseminating information, has been that some Continental buyers now go to Ireland, and that some Irish lace goes to Paris, and finds its way to the American markets.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE) (Kent, Dartford)
With regard to the particular points raised by the hon. Member for North Leitrim (Mr. Conway), I do not intend to follow the hon. Member who has moved the reduction of the Vote in discussing the conduct of the authorities at South Kensington. With regard to Mr. Alan Cole, he has done very good work in Ireland in connection with the Irish lace industries; but the Lace Inspector appointed is not Mr. Alan Cole, but Mrs. Power Lalor. The appointment was made by the Lord Lieutenant.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I do not think it would be worth while to pursue this matter to a Division, although I think it was well to call attention to the appointment of Mr. Alan Cole over 1550 the head of Nrs. Lalor. I understand that this gentleman—Mr. Cole—is a conscientious public servant, and I have no reason to doubt that he is, from all I have heard from all parts of Ireland in which he has had work to discharge.
§ MR. HOOPER (Cork, S.E.)
As a member of the Cork School of Art I should like to say a word. I certainly consider that Mr. Alan Cole has done good service in Ireland in connection with the lace industry. If one thing is more wanted in Ireland than another it is encouragement of the small industries. It would, in my opinion, be very unfortunate if some expression of opinion is not given with regard to the value of Mr. Cole's work. Mr. Cole has been most anxious to further the development of new designs for Irish lace, which is a matter of enormous importance to the industry. Mr. Cole has travelled throughout the country delivering lectures, which had been of great service. I have met Mr. Cole, and heard his lectures, and I know the value of his services.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Sir HENRY HOLLAND) (Hampstead)
I trust the hon. Member for North Leitrim (Mr. Conway) will withdraw the Motion. While I had the honour to be Vice President of the Council, I received several Reports from Mr. Cole, and I can only say that he is doing good work, and that he is forwarding this lace industry in Ireland in every shape and form.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
The object of the Motion of my hon. Friend was to draw attention to the appointment of Mr. Cole, not so much for the purpose of condemning Mr. Cole himself and the good and valuable work he is doing for Ireland, but to the peculiar position he is placed in at South Kensington. I am well acquainted with the art schools of Ireland, and especially those in connection with South Kensington, and I entirely express concurrence in the views of the hon. Member for Mid Tyrone (Mr. M. J. Kenny) and South Cork (Mr. Hooper) as to the opinion held by the Irish people in reference to the amount of practical work Mr. Alan Cole has already succeeded in doing. He has succeeded in putting upon a firm basis an industry which was languishing from want of artistic taste. That, however, does not 1551 necessarily show that Mrs. Power Lalor has not been unjustifiably superseded. She has also a knowledge of the lace industry and designs. I should be sorry to express any opinion as to the merits of Mr. Cole; on the contrary, it is certainly the opinion of all who are acquainted with his work that he has rendered good and valuable service. I hope my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment.
§ MR. CONWAY
Just a word or two by way of explanation. I said nothing about the abilities of Mr. Alan Cole; but I mentioned his case as an illustration of the way in which matters are conducted in South Kensington. My contention was that he should not be employed in Ireland, but at South Kensington, where he receives a salary of £400 a-year. I think the administration of South Kensington demands further information than we have yet received.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
I should have been out of Order in dealing with the whole question of South Kensington on the Motion of the hon. Member. I was tied down to the one particular point raised in the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
I wish to take this opportunity of making a few observations upon the Vote generally, and also upon the speech of the hon. Member for Hanley (Mr. Woodall). Now, Sir, I have on many previous occasions, before sumo hon. Gentlemen now present had seats in this House, had occasion to criticize the mode in which the South Kensington Museum was administered; but I am bound to say that after a lapse of many years I have come to the conclusion that, upon the whole, the work there is carried out as satisfactorily as it is possible to be. I do not concur in the strictures which have been passed by the hon. Member for North Leitrim (Mr. Conway) upon the mode in which the salaries are paid. I understood the hon. Member to complain of the salary paid to the Art Director. On that point I join issue with him, for as everyone knows, with such duties as are attached to the office 1552 of Director of the Museum, it would be impossible to have a Museum of Art so beautiful in itself and so full of good examples if the Managing Director was required to turn his attention to other things. Having some acquaintance with foreign art museums, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that there are few museums on the Continent which are more satisfactory in their artistic results than South Kensington. I believe that the art specimens collected under the reign of the late Mr. Cole, and especially under Sir I.C. Robinson, would realize a greater price than those at which they were acquired for the nation. I have had occasion from time to time, and even as lately as the year before last, to find fault with the mode in which parts of the work has been carried on; but these occasions have been exceptional, and I do not see the slightest shadow of a reason for in any way reducing or interfering with the salary of the Art Director. Having said so much on the general question, I will now address myself to what fell from the hon. Member for Hanley. The hon. Gentleman found fault with the Government in the first instance, because they had, to a certain extent, diminished the circulation of objects, and had also diminished the power of the Museum to purchase them. I agree with him that it is greatly to be lamented that the Treasury should be so parsimonious in the matter. I think it is much to be deplored that Her Majesty's Government should have diminished the Vote; but in regard to the reproduction and circulation of objects of art and the power of purchase, I cannot say that I altogether concur with the hon. Member as to the power of purchase which he proposes to place in the hands of the directors of Provincial museums. My own idea is that the power given to a public official, unless he has shown that he has absolute capacity for such an office, should be very much circumscribed. I believe that this power is controlled to some extent by the Department over which my right hon. Friend (Sir William Hart Dyke) so ably presides, and I understand that when power is given to Provincial museums to purchase, the objects to be acquired are restricted to reproductions. We have been told in this House, and by writers in the Press, that the exhibition of works of art at South Kensington 1553 should improve the minds of the artizan class; but I think this class will derive very little benefit by merely looking at things the merits of which few people understand. In my judgment, there is one principal branch, of instruction which should be given to that class, and that is an explanation of the principles of the Old Masters. When I go to a Provincial town I generally visit the school of art; but I am sorry to say that, instead of finding in the school itself a real work of art, it is generally one of the most hideous buildings that can possibly be conceived. Not long ago I was at Brighton, and I saw there a school of art the facade of which, if I may be allowed to call it so, was a positive disgrace to the inventor, and had no originality or merit whatever. I would ask my right hon. Friend to impress on the officials in his Department the necessity of teaching, among other things in the school, the principles of the Old Masters, whether in matters of building or even as applied to furniture. Now, is there anything unreasonable in this suggestion? Let me direct the attention of my right hon. Friend to the works of the late Mr. Chippendale. He was a cabinet maker, living in St. Martin's Lane, and the pieces of furniture which he manufactured were beautiful works of art. He published a book of designs and commenced the preface with a treatise on the five orders of architecture, and another upon perspective, because he laid down that no person was fit to be a cabinet maker unless he had a competent knowledge of these two subjects. It would, I think, be of much advantage if a similar course were taken by our schools of art. I should like to see everyone who enters a school of art taught the principles of art, which guided ever branch, before the commencement all the Old Masters and workers of what of the present century, and he would go out a very different person from what he was when he entered the school. I observe that during the past year the sum of £7,000 has been expended on the Art Collection; but the Report of the Director of the Science and Art Department, with the details of purchases, ought to be furnished to every Member of the House in the ordinary form, instead of being left to be obtained at the Sale Paper Office— in order to inform us what these pur- 1554 chases were. In the Annual Report of the National Gallery every purchase is fully described, and I would suggest that in the same way a clear and distinct description of every work of art purchased for the Science and Art Departments should he published in the Annual Report.
§ MR. HAYES FISHER (Fulham)
I should like to draw attention to a grievance which is complained of by the staff of messengers and attendants of the Science and Art Department—namely, that the rules governing their sick pay, which have been in operation for years, have been withdrawn, and that they are now subjected to rules of a much less favourable character. I am told that a man who has served for 20 years as a messenger in the Department is only entitled to the same amount of sick pay as the man who has served 12 months. I do not think that the principle of cumulative sick pay works well at all, and I would urge that these messengers and attendants should be entitled to 10 days' pay for every 10 years they have served. In regard to superannuation, they ought to be placed on the same footing as those who are doing similar work in the British Museum and other Departments.
§ MR. WOODALL
With the indulgence of the Committee, I should like to state more clearly my contention in regard to aid in the purchase of examples—the subject which was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck). I stated correctly that the original Vote for this purpose was £1,500 a-year; but last year it was reduced to £1,200, and this year it has disappeared altogether. The Report shows—and this is a matter which I did not quite accurately state—that between 1882 and 1886 there was expended altogether a sum of £10,000, of which a considerable portion came from the Department. I should like to have some satisfactory explanation upon this matter from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I wish to make one or two observations on the work of the Geological Department, with respect to the geological survey. I believe it is understood that the Government have reconsidered their original intention of continuing the survey on a large scale 1555 in Ireland. I hope to have some satisfactory assurance on that subject, because I have had applications from different parts of the country urging me to press the matter upon the Government. What I want more particularly to mention and to ask the Government for information upon is the administration of the Geological Museum in Jermyn Street. I have no desire to make any complaint of the administration or otherwise; but I thought to point out that we do not seem to be doing as much for a development of geological knowledge in this country as is being done by other countries. The Mining School of Geological Instruction in Paris corresponds with our Geological Museum in Jermyn Street; but in Paris they have gallery after gallery full of splendidly-arranged collections illustrating the geological conformation of the country. I would suggest to the Government that it would be exceedingly useful if such a complete collection can be gradually established in this country. It is done systematically in France; and although its full development would require a much larger Museum than we now possess, the importance of the matter established in connection with the mining industry of the country is so great, that I think it is desirable, if possible, to do something in the course of the present year. Then, again, in connection with that matter, I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the very meagre condition of our geological surveys as compared with those of other countries. I have tried to ascertain if there are any larger or more extensive geological maps than the ordinary maps we possess, and I am assured that there are none. In America they have most magnificently-developed maps of the mineral lodes. I do not know whether hon. Members have ever seen the great map of the Corn-stock lode, and the magnificent scale on which the mineral lodes are illustrated and developed by diagrams. Very much more is done by the American Department of Geology than is done here. I am sure that nothing would tend more to assist the development of our mineral industries of the country than that we should have a geological survey here on a similar scale to that in America. Of course, I am fully aware that all these things cost money. Of course they do; but the more money that is spent in this 1556 direction would be far better for the interests of the country than the useless expenditure of money which now goes on. I have no desire to complain of anything connected with the Geological Museum as far as I am acquainted with it; but these matters are of the highest practical importance, and I think it is absolutely necessary that the Department should keep them in view, and see if something in the same direction cannot be established in this country. As to the question of models in the Jermyn Street Museum, I am happy to say upon that point the Museum contrasts favourably with that in Paris, where the mining models have not yet been got into proper working order and arrangement. It certainly appears to me that the amount of money we spend in connection with specimens for the Museum, books for the library, and for mining models, is very small compared with the amount expended in salaries and other matters. On page 358 of the Estimate hon. Members will see that the whole sum set down for specimens in the Museum and books in the library is £250, and £200 for the construction of mining models. It appears to me that we might afford a larger sum than that for a matter which is certainly of considerable importance. It is quite impossible to teach engineering properly until we have mining models. I should very much like to see in the Estimates another year a much larger sum set apart for these purposes.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
I have no reason to complain of the length to which this discussion has been carried, although a very large field has been traversed. I hope hon. Members will not think me discourteous if I do not allude specifically to all the subjects which have been mentioned, seeing they are so numerous that it is difficult to carry all of them in one's head. As to the remarks of the hon. Member for Camborne (Mr. Conybeare), I think that they are worthy of consideration; but, at the same time, I would point out that there is a very perfect geological collection at the Jermyn Street Museum. With regard to the question of survey, it must be remembered that in this country we have not the same scope as in America, where there is an enormous field of unexplored country, although I fully admit that we cannot have too 1557 perfect a survey in this small Island of ours.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
I made no complaint of the land not having been surveyed, but of the scale of the survey. In America they have a survey on something like a 25-inch scale.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
With regard to the question which has been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher), while I am quite prepared to admit that there is much to be said upon it, I can only assure him that it is entirely a Treasury matter. If I can see an opportunity of remedying what I do admit, to a certain extent, to be a grievance, I shall be glad to do so. My right hon. Friend the Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) has made some general remarks upon the Department in which I am disposed to concur, and my right hon. Friend concluded with an appeal to me for general information. Now, I think that there is a certain amount of modified information in the Reports, although I am afraid that a good deal of information is omitted in order to keep the Reports themselves within proper bounds. Some very hostile remarks have been made by the hon. Member for North Leitrim (Mr. Conway) with regard to the administration of the Science and Art Department. As far as I am myself concerned, I am by no means indisposed to have a discussion of this nature, and I have purposely laid upon the Table a statement of the grants to the Science and Art Department for the last few years as a challenge to hon. Members, in order that they may discuss the question and take more interest in it. I think it is regrettable that hitherto the Vote should have been taken sub stlentio. Considering the sums that are yearly spent upon the Science and Art Department, I think hon. Members have a right to criticize not only the results, but the administration of the Department itself. I welcome this criticism, although I cannot agree with all that has been said; but I consider that it is good for the Department itself. With regard to the question of salaries, it must be remembered that the officers to whom allusion has been made had to have special gifts, for which it is necessary to pay, and you pay more than it would otherwise be necessary to pay. The hon. Member for North Leitrim 1558 has pointed out that the cost of the administration in the case of the Science and Art Department is 11 per cent of the total administration, whereas in administering public education it is only 6 per cent; but the hon. Member forgets that we have museums to look after, and that the work of guarding museums is a much more expensive thing than the administrative work at Whitehall. The cost of the British Museum, from similar reasons, is about 15 per cent of the sum voted. As to the South Kensington Department, whatever its demerits may be, as far as the results go, it has been able to give a good account of itself. The hon. Member has referred, among other things, to the appointment of Mr. Poynter, and has stated that that gentleman receives a salary of £500. As a matter of fact, the maximum salary is £100. A great variety of topics have been touched upon in the course of this discussion, and I am quite prepared to admit their importance; but as far as I am concerned, and the power of the Science and Art Department, I have to make the reply that we have to deal with the material at our disposal. We regret having to make restrictions, and we wish to make the Department as useful and as perfect as possible; but it must be borne in mind that there are many hon. Members in this House who are disposed to think that we are paying a very large sum indeed for this Department at South Kensington. Hon. Members must remember that I am, to a certain extent, between two fires. There are those who would like to see a large sum allotted to South Kensington, while others are disposed to criticize the expenditure in a hostile sense. A point of very great interest has been raised with regard to the circulation of different objects of art specimens, with regard to which there has been a Motion on the Paper for some time. The question is one of some difficulty. In the first instance, we are met with the difficulty of accommodation at South Kensington. We have only accommodation for a certain number of these specimens; and as these objects are circulated for periods, in some instances, of not more than three months, it is necessary to keep their places vacant. The difficulty thus arises of finding extra accommodation. It has been suggested that there should be a 1559 certain set of inferior specimens for lending out. I do not think that that would be a wise system; if we are to send out specimens at all, we should send the best. By adopting any other course we should do more harm than good, and would, undoubtedly, give rise to great dissatisfaction. There is an increasing demand for these specimens, and I hope nest year, by making small economies in different directions, to reproduce this item in the Votes, which we have this year been obliged to discontinue. Allusion has been made to the question of building grants, and to the fact that there is a considerable diminution in the Estimates this year with regard to these grants. Here, again, I must make the observation that the question is one of expenditure. I am most anxious that this question should be considered, and I hope that next year proper arrangements will be made with regard to it with Her Majesty's Treasury. Another matter which has been referred to is the alteration of the scale of payment to art classes. The scale of payment has been altered, and I hope that in the different localities greater encouragement will thus be given to the better kind of work. Elementary or rough works will no longer be considered in awarding payments on results; but the payments on personal examinations have been increased. There is no desire on the part of the Department to shirk criticism, and I have to thank hon. Gentlemen for the suggestions they have made. I believe that I have now travelled over most of the points which have been touched upon in the course of the discussion. I can only say, in regard to the Vote— which I hope the Committee will now consent to pass—that I believe the discussion we have had to-day will bear very good fruit. As I have said before, it has been too often the custom to pass the Vote sub silentio in the small hours of the morning. I can assure hon. Members that I am most grateful for the criticism that has taken place.
§ MR. WOODALL
The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President has not referred to the question of technical education.
§ MR. MOLLOY
Will the right hon. Gentleman also take into consideration the proposition I made as to lending works of art upon a wider scale?
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
Every opportunity will be taken for the circulation of works of art as widely as possible. In regard to the teaching of science in the elementary schools, that is a very large question, and I am afraid that we do not possess the materials for dealing with it, although I hope, seeing the growing interest taken in it, that it may be possible to do so before long. It is a large question, and was approached by me the other night. I can make no absolute pledge; but I will promise that the subject shall receive the best consideration. I believe that, by a small sacrifice of the public funds, something may be done. During the last few days I have been giving the subject my most careful consideration.
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman is desirous of improving the Department under his care as much as possible. Therefore I will call his attention to a point which I think has been somewhat overlooked—namely, the expense of management, which I feel certain the right hon. Gentleman is desirous, if possible, of reducing. Some very important points have been brought forward by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leitrim (Mr. Conway). The right hon. Gentleman gave, as part of the reason of the heavy expenditure upon the administration, the existence of a considerable number of Museums and Art Collections; but if he will turn to the other Votes on page 345, he will see that the salaries for such Departments are included in the Votes for the particular Departments, and not in the general administration of the Science and Art Department. Therefore I think the right hon. Gentleman will arrive at the conclusion that the expenditure for managing the Science and Art Department is somewhat too great. I mention the fact in order that the criticisms the hon. Member for North Leitrim desired to make may not escape notice owing to any false security, so to speak, in the matter. There is one point of great importance which the right hon. Gentleman did not refer to, although it is referred to in the Memorandum quoted by the hon. Member for Hanley (Mr. Woodall)—namely, the cessation of the grant for the purchase of examples. I fancy that the passage in the Report refers only to the art portion; but there 1561 have been examples purchased also in connection with science instruction. My experience of Local Bodies is that they do try if they can to save money by avoiding the purchase of examples, so that it is desirable the Department should gradually encourage the purchase of good examples. I believe that no money can be better spent by a Department than in promoting the purchase for local institutions of good art specimens. Of course, this discussion has become somewhat more important on account of the probable fate of the Technical Education Bill. It will be in the remembrance of the Committee that the question was urged in connection with that Bill whether French and German should be taught under it if it ever becomes an Act. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman to take into consideration whether something cannot be done in connection with the teaching of French and German by the Science and Art Department. The Art Division of the Department is something like 50 years old. It was not until after the Exhibition of 1851 that the Science Department was added; and what I wish to Know is whether the scope of the Department cannot be widened by including the most attractive subject of elementary mathematics? The right hon. Gentleman must be aware, however, that it would be very difficult to obtain an accurate knowledge of practical science without a knowledge of French and German. He must also know that at the present moment the teaching of foreign languages is greatly discouraged in our schools, and I think he will admit that in carrying out any system of practical art it will be necessary to teach foreign languages.
§ MR. NOLAN (Louth, N.)
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman what becomes of the specimens sent into the Art Schools at South Kensington by students competing for prizes?
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
I am unable at the moment to say what becomes of the specimens which the hon. Gentleman refers to; but I would point out that the question of accommodation arises in this case.
§ MR. NOLAN
I must confess that I find some difficulty in reconciling the statement of the right hon. Gentleman with the answer given to my hon. Friend with regard to the Department at South 1562 Kensington. I now understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that there is not room for all the specimens sent in.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
I believe the best of the specimens are distributed to different schools. I can assure the hon. Member that I regard the point of the circulation of specimens a most important one; and I have also to inform the Committee that I will do my best to remedy the difficulty, and to promote as far as lies in my power the distribution of the specimens.
§ MR. MOLLOY
There are specimens at South Kensington which can be lent at any time. I believe the prize works are retained, while the others are distributed. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to see if the board schools and voluntary schools cannot get some assistance in this respect.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
It would, I believe, effect a saving of expense if the South Kensington and British Museums were under the same control and management. It has been pointed out more than once that there is between these two Institutions an antagonism in the matter of purchase; and you sometimes find the authorities of South Kensington and the British Museum bidding against each other at auctions, which is perfectly absurd. You will also find that the British Museum sometimes has prints that it does not want, and that the authorities at South Kensington, although they want them, will go and buy new ones instead of going to the British Museum for them. In fact, there is a rivalry between them that is prejudicial to the public, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will take this matter into consideration, and see if the two Establishments cannot be made to work harmoniously together.
§ Original Question put and agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed.
That a sum, not exceeding £77,385, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending
on the 31st day of March 1888, for the Salaries and Expenses of the British Museum, including the amount required for the Natural History Museum.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
On this Vote I have, in the first place, to express my regret that Her Majesty's Government think it necessary to reduce the sum for purchases. This is a matter of particular regret to the Trustees, because there are this year a large number of objects in the market which it is desirable to acquire. The Trustees have endeavoured to induce the Government to make the usual grant; but they have not considered it advisable to do so, and it is, perhaps, hardly for me to say more than I have upon that subject. The number of visitors at the Museum last year was somewhat less than in the year before; but, on the other hand, it was rather larger than during 1884. A number of valuable donations have been received within the year, and I think it is due to those who have made them that they should be acknowledged here, both on account of the interest which attaches to them and as an encouragement to others to do the same hereafter. The Egyptian Exploration Fund has presented a collection of great interest, made on their behalf in Egypt by Mr. Flinders Petrie. Mr. Franks, to whom we are indebted for many previous donations, has given a valuable collection of pottery. To the Executors of Sir Walter Elliott the Trustees are indebted for a splendid collection of coins of Southern India. To the Natural History Museum Messrs. Salvin and Goodman have presented a large and very interesting collection from Central America, comprising nearly 10,000 specimens, and the Trustees are also indebted to Lord Walsingham, Mr. Seebohm, and others, for valuable additions to the National Collections. These will be found recorded in the Return presented to the House, and I hope that the reference I have made will show that we really value the articles presented to us, and that it will be an encouragement to donors in the future. The whole number of additions to the Department exceeds 200,000. I will only add that several selections have been lent to local exhibitions, and that sets of electrotype coins have been presented to local museums.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
I am sure the Committee are indebted to the hon. Baronet the Member for London University (Sir John Lubbock) for the very interesting statement he has just made. But I have to call the attention of the Government and the Committee to a subject which has been brought before the House to my knowledge for the last four years. We have been trying for a long period to induce the authorities to open the British Museum to the public at night; but year after year the same half-hearted objections and the same half-hearted promises have been made on the subject. I myself brought forward this question in 1883, 1884, and 1885; in the last of those years we received something like a genuine promise. The Secretary to the Treasury then admitted the strength of the demand made, which was supported by many hon. Gentlemen, more especially by those now sitting on this side of the House. When I point out that the amount asked for is £147,000, and that two-thirds of the whole sum comes out of the pockets of the working classes, as opposed to the richer classes, it will be seen how strong is the case one is enabled to make on behalf of the artizans and mechanics of the Metropolis. Now, the British Museum is a very valuable institution for those who can afford time and money to visit it; but as regards the working classes, many of whose Representatives are in the House at the present moment, and whose support I claim, they have no opportunity whatever of visiting this splendid Museum, although, as I have said, two-thirds of the money which supports it comes from them. Now, the objection that was urged to opening the Museum at night is that you will have to establish the electric light in certain parts, or generally throughout the building. I answered that objection at once by the question, "Why not do it?" Then the reply came from the Treasury Bench— "It will cost money, and we cannot afford to spend it." In 1885 the then Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Hibbert) promised that it should be done as far as lay in his power; he said he would consult with the Trustees of the Museum, and I believe that I am right in saying that the Trustees expressed no opposition whatever, and 1565 that they promised to carry out the work if the Treasury would consent to the expenditure necessary for the purpose. The danger from fire having been got rid of by the plan of electric lighting, the Government fell back on the expenditure that would be necessary. An estimate was obtained for lighting the Museum at night. The figures I do not remember, but the estimate was a very small one indeed for the installation; the estimate for maintaining the light was especially small, and I think it was £1,000 a-year; it was certainly not more, and I should not be surprised if it turned out to be less. The cost of electric lighting, such as we have in the clubs and elsewhere, is very little more than that of gas; but whatever the cost may be at the Museum, I say that the working people of the country, more especially those of the Metropolis, are entitled to enter the Museum during the only hours in which it is possible for them to go there. Although these facts have been proved year after year, and although these promises have been made, nothing whatever has been done. The mechanic and artizan population of the country for whom the Museum is of more benefit than for any other class have no more than two days in the year on which it is possible for them to examine the works of art and other objects which are contained there. As I said, we had, in 1885, a distinct promise that the proposal to open the Museum at night should be carried out, subject to the consent of the Trustees, which was then the only difficulty, and which has now ceased to exist. The hon. Baronet the Member for London University has assented to my remark that the Trustees have no objection to the opening of the Museum at the time proposed. I ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) if he will now carry out the promise made in 1885? The sole point that remains to be offered as an objection is that of the extra labour that the plan would involve. But I do not see any objection on that ground. We can afford to pay for extra labour in this case; and, whatever it may cost, we are bound to do so on behalf of those who find most of the money for maintaining the Museum. I find that for furniture alone the sum of £11,000 has been expended last year, and that a similar 1566 sum is spent year after year for furniture and fittings. If hon. Members will look at the details on the Paper before us, they will see that a very large expenditure is incurred for fitting shelves and so forth. However, my point is not to make any difficulty about furniture, more especially as the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has said this will come up on another Vote. Where this expenditure goes to I do not know; but while this extravagant outlay continues the Treasury will not find the money necessary to pay for the electric lighting of the Museum in the evening. This is no Party question; it is a question of the right of the artizan and mechanic population in the country and in the Metropolis, and Members in all parts of the House are bound to give this proposal to open the Museum at night their support. But we must bring pressure to bear on the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury. It took me two years to bring pressure effectively to bear on the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) when he was Secretary to the Treasury; hut I am in hopes that the kindly disposition of the present Financial Secretary will cause him to say that next year the British Museum shall be open to the public at the time proposed; and if we can bring about this alteration, with the support of the Metropolitan Members, I am certain that they will deserve and receive the gratitude of their fellow-citizens.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
While I agree with the remarks that have fallen from the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy) with regard to opening the British Museum in the evening, I cannot help feeling that the Museum proper is rather a dull place. On the other hand, I think that the Natural History Collection at South Kensington is extremely interesting to everyone, and I would impress upon the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury the desirability of allowing the South Kensington Museum to be opened in the evening. The buildings cost a great deal of money to the people, and, so far as I have seen, the result of their being open only in the daytime is that they are visited by a few nursery maids and children. I think if arrange- 1567 ments were made to open South Kensington Museum in the evening, that most charming Exhibition would become a favourite resort.
§ COLONEL DUNCAN (Finsbury, Holborn)
In reply to the appeal of the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy), I am ready to give my support to his proposal, on the understanding that such an addition shall be made to the staff as will prevent any undue amount of labour being imposed upon those who are at present employed at the Museum.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
I am afraid my answer will not be satisfactory to the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy). I can assure the Committee that, as far as I am personally concerned, I will do everything I can to facilitate this matter; but there are a great many difficulties in the way, and one of them is the question of the addition to the staff which would be required. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, I think, has dealt very summarily with the cost of lighting and the cost of the additional staff; but I think it is exceedingly difficult to say what the cost will be. I understand that some estimates have been made of the capital outlay which would be necessary, and this is placed at something like £17,000 to establish the electric light; and we know perfectly well, from what has already occurred in connection with the British Museum, that the cost of whatever may be done will probably much exceed the original estimates. I am afraid also that the cost of maintaining the light would be much nearer £3,000 than the sum of £1,000 which the hon. Member named; and besides this, as I have said, there would be required a very considerable addition to the staff. I have no doubt that it would be of some advantage to allow the people to visit the Museum at night; but we must not lose sight of the heavy expenditure which would be incurred by carrying out the arrangement. The hon. and learned Member has referred to some promises which my Predecessor (Mr. Hibbert) made in 1885. I am not aware of the circumstance myself; but I will make inquiries, and see whether the Treasury is under any obligation to carry out this proposal. The question, 1568 however, is one which will require very serious consideration, and I cannot hold out any more hope than this. Governments are from time to time accused of being very reckless and extravagant in matters of expenditure; nevertheless, it is found that every Member has some idea of his own to carry out for which increased expenditure is necessary. I recognize it as my duty to look closely into every subject that I have to deal with, and try to keep the expenditure within reasonable limits. With regard to the Natural History Museum at South Kensington, that question has come forward, and I may mention that during the year I entered into communication with the authorities of the National History Museum with the view of extending the hours during which it was open. I believe that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) will find that during the summer there has been an extension of the hours. The question of lighting is much more serious, and it is one that I have not brought forward; the question of expense is one which must be decided by the Government with reference to the whole subject. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that electric lighting would not get rid of the necessity of gas lighting altogether, because I know of no instance of persons being willing to trust valuable collections to the dangers which might arise from lighting the place where they are deposited solely by electricity. You must have in every room some gas light, and therefore the element of danger from that cause is not removed, and not only that—the more or less destructive effect which proceeds from gas lighting must continue. I will, however, bring the question of expense before the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) when the Estimates are framed, and it will be for him to decide whether any additional outlay should be incurred next year in connection with this subject.
§ MR. MOLLOY
This is the old story, Sir. I am quite ready to admit that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury is willing to do all that he can in this matter; but, after all, it comes to this—that he promises to bring the matter before the Government. These words are identical with those used by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Gentle- 1569 man the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) in 1885, who said that he had "already promised that the matter should be carefully looked into." Now, what is the objection put forward by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury? It is that if you have the electric light you must also have gas. I grant that. But what is the difficulty? The Museum in Jermyn Street is lighted by electricity; the authorities have no difficulty in lighting that Museum and opening it at night; nearly every club is lighted by electricity. There is no gas used in them although the old chandeliers are there; there is simply a wire running down the room. But supposing gas is necessary, you must keep a small jet of gas burning which can be turned on fully when it is wanted. Then there is the objection on the ground of the addition to the staff which has been brought forward to my knowledge for five years. I thought I had exploded that argument. There must of course be an addition to the staff, and that addition the people are entitled to have. It is clearly of no use making these appeals, and I shall therefore move the reduction of the Vote by £13,000, the item for purchases and acquisitions. I maintain that you have no right to expend the money of the taxpayer unless he gets something out of it in return, and if you are going to expend £13,000 a-year for these purposes, I shall object to it so long as I find it is of no benefit to the working classes.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £64,385 be granted to Her Majesty for the said Services."—(Mr. Molloy.)
§ MR. ISAACS (Newington, Walworth)
I rise to support the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy), and I may say that I was about to make the same suggestion to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury with regard to this and other institutions. My opinion is that we should do better to allow the working public to have access to the exhibits in our museums and galleries at times convenient to themselves than to enlarge the number of those exhibits. I may also bring to the notice of the hon. Gentleman that this is the proper time to light the British Museum with electricity, because a tramway has been laid down which will 1570 greatly facilitate access on the part of the working population of London to the doors of the Museum. Therefore, I support the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County, and I further throw out the suggestion that a similar course to that contemplated should be taken with regard to the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I support this Amendment because the British Museum exists for the gratification and instruction of all taxpayers, and there is no doubt that the great mass of the taxpayers cannot go there. [Mr. JACKSON dissented.] The hon. Gentleman shakes his head; but if he goes to the British Museum, he will find that on ordinary days the working classes are not present. A working man no more than any of us can be at two places at the same time, and if he has to work for his livelihood, he cannot be at the British Museum. There are two ways in which this proposal can be carried out. You can do it by lighting the Museum with electricity, and opening it in the evening, or you can open it on Sundays. I almost think it would be the better plan to open it on Sundays. Although I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, I think that it is desirable we should eventually arrive at having it opened both on Sundays and in the evenings of week days. Now, one objection that is constantly urged against this is that it would require a larger staff. No one supposes for an instant that a man will work for seven days a-week for six days pay. I have worked out the probable cost, which would be about £2,300 for extra pay for Sundays, and £600 for police; add another £1,000 if you like, and that makes £4,000 a-year. Now, if you spend £147,000 a-year, in order that-only the privileged classes may be able to go to the British Museum, and if you take the mass of this money from the artizans, surely it is only reasonable that in order to allow this class to visit the Museum we should vote an extra £4,000 per anuum. There is a Sabbatarian feeliag against opening such places on Sunday, but I think that is dying out. [An hon. MEMBER: No, no!] I think it is, because we find that in Birmingham and similar large towns the museums are opened on Sundays, 1571 and are attended by hundreds and thousands of working men. You may say that these men ought to go to Church. I can conceive that a man may go to both places; he may learn a great deal in Church, and, certainly, he may learn a great deal in the British Museum. But you have here to deal with facts. There are vast numbers of persons who do not go to Church, and there are vast numbers who go to the public-house, and it seems to me that by opening the museums you offer to the latter a very legitimate counter attraction. Probably, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy) will not carry his reduction—we seldom carry reductions here—but I trust that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury and the Trustees of the British Museum will look closely into this matter, and recognize the fact that the great mass of the public cannot go to the British Museum in the day time. Whether you say it should be on Sundays or week days, I maintain that the opportunity desired should be given to the majority who pay the larger proportion of this £147,000 for the maintenance of the British Museum.
§ SIR ROBERT FOWLER (London)
I may remind the Committee that when the question of opening the British Museum on Sundays came forward in a previous Parliament, it was opposed by the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Broadhurst); and when the question is again brought forward in a proper way in this House, I shall feel it my duty also to oppose it by every means in my power. With regard to opening the Museum on week-day evenings, I think the proposal to light it by electricity is well worthy of the attention of my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson), and also of the Trustees.
§ MR. LAFONE (Southwark, Bermondsey)
I do not think it advisable that this reduction of the Vote should be made; because I would point out that if the Committee agree to it, we should lose the whole sum now devoted to purchases and acquisitions. I think it would be better, if we can, to persuade the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to give an undertaking that during the Recess the question of what the actual lighting and watching would 1572 amount to shall be considered; and thon next Session we should be able to take such measures as are necessary for throwing open the Museum at night. I think the object in view is most excellent, but I should certainly not like to deprive the Trustees of the means of making additions to the collections, while, at the same time, we were no nearer to getting the Museum opened in the evening.
§ MR. BAUMANN (Camberwell, Peckham)
We are in this position with regard to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy); it is desired to open the British Museum at night to the working classes. Now, if the hon. and learned Member is accurate in his assertion that the working classes find two-thirds of the money voted for the Museum, I say that the Treasury have no right to refuse to open the building at night. But I must say that the hon. and learned Member seems to me to endeavour to bring this about in an illogical way; because, granted that we want to open the Museum at night, the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury says it will cost £3,000 to light the building, and the hon. and learned Member's proposal is to reduce the sum now voted. I cannot vote for such an Amendment as this.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
The hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy) says that he cannot understand where the money goes to that is charged for furniture; but I think the hon. and learned Gentleman has forgotten that we are still paying for the transfer of the Natural History Collection from Bloomsbury to South Kensington. The hon. and learned Gentleman will see, however, that this year there is a reduction of £5,000, and I trust that next year the charge will be still further reduced. We have within this year gone to a considerable expense for cases; and the next time the hon. and learned Gentleman visits the Museum he will probably find a considerable alteration. With regard to opening the British Museum in the evening, it is the object of the Trustees to open it as much and as long as possible, and, without artificial lighting, we avail ourselves of every hour of the sun's light. But the Committee will see that the lighting of 1573 the building after dark is a matter for the Treasury, and not for the Trustees, to decide. We shall be willing to fall in with any plan for opening the Museum, so far as it is possible for us to do so; but the course proposed by the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County is one that is calculated to defeat his own object. Let me take my own case. I am anxious that we should open the Museum in the evening; but it is impossible for me to vote for the reduction of the Estimate by the amount devoted to purchases, and, indeed, I am sure the hon. and learned Gentleman himself would be very sorry to carry this Amendment. I know the interest which he takes in the Museum, and that he would be the last man to wish that the Vote should be diminished in the manner he suggests. Therefore, I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will be content with the discussion that has taken place, and raise the question again next year. If, however, he insists on dividing the Committee, the result would be to convey a false impression as to the desire of the House with regard to the object the hon. and learned Gentleman has in view. On the subject of the cast of lighting and additional labour, I may point out that, in my opinion, this would not cost anything like the amount which the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) has suggested.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I certainly hope the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Birr Division of King's County will not take the unusual course of reducing the Vote in order to secure for the public greater facilities for visiting the British Museum. If the hon. and learned Member will be content with this debate, I will undertake, on the part of the Government, that the question shall be most carefully examined during the Recess; and if we do not find ourselves able to come to a decision favourable to the views that have been indicated in the Committee, we will give the House an opportunity of expressing its opinion, and endeavour to meet the views of hon. and learned Gentlemen on the subject. We entirely sympathize with the object of the hon. Member; but we have, with regard to the Exchequer, a great responsibility resting upon us, and a still greater re- 1574 sponsibility in connection with the extremely important and valuable collection in the hands of the Trustees of the British Museum.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I raised the question of opening the Natural History Museum at South Kensington some time ago, and I got a promise that the subject should be most favourably considered. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) now tells me that the question of lighting was not considered at all. After what has taken place on this subject, I do hope that this time it will be seriously considered; and, so far as the Amendment before the Committee is concerned, I suggest that the hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County should accept the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury.
§ MR. MOLLOY
I have only one object in view in moving my Amendment; and I accept the offer of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), because I think it is a very fair one. But allow me to point out that in 1885 the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) contained these words—As he had already promised, he would take care that the matter should be carefully looked into during the Recess."—(3 Hansard,  273.)The words are curiously identical with those of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury on this occasion. I have waited two years for this matter to be carefully looked into during the Recess; but I will do no more now than express my strong desire that the right hon. Gentleman will this time seriously consider how great is the injustice done to the working classes, in whom he takes so strong an interest, by denying them the opportunity of visiting the Museum at night.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)
If my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury is about to look into this matter, I may suggest to him a new light in which he can view it—namely, that there are two British Museums, one in Great Russell Street, and another at South Kensington. The 1575 hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) has told us that, so far as he is concerned, he thinks the Museum in Russell Street a very dull place, and certainly, comparatively speaking, it has very few visitors—ia fact, there arc at; Russell Street, relatively considered, very few objects which must interest the general public. I would, therefore, suggest that when my hon. Friend is considering this question he should also consider the question of lighting the Natural History Museum alone. I think this arrangement would probably meet the requirements and satisfy the wishes of the general public; because when the Natural History collection was removed to South Kensington the public followed it. The arrangement would also, to a great extent, get rid of the objection on the ground of expense, and I would for these reasons suggest that the proposal should receive my right hon. Friend's consideration.
§ MR. WOODALL (Hanley)
I certainly sympathize with the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) in the necessity under which he finds himself for resisting claims that would involve an increase of expenditure; but, surely, the Committee is entitled to some information with regard to the decrease of the Vote for the coming year, especially as the hon. Baronet the Member for the London University (Sir John Lubbock) has stated that this is a favourable moment for the acquisition of specimens. I find the Vote for purchases has been reduced from £21,000 to £13,000— a reduction of over one-third—under that very important head. The Committee may not be aware of how largely the authorities at the British Museum employ their resources every year for the benefit of the provincial museums. I have the greatest satisfaction in acknowledging on behalf of my constituents the continual contributions of casts and coins, as well as other valuable works which have been made to the collections and libraries in my town, and we learn with regret that these gifts will this year be materially diminished in consequence, as I believe, of the proceeding of the Government. This does seem rather hard, and I am bound to say that the Government are not, in my opinion, to be congratulated on the manner in which they have dealt with this Vote.
§ MR. DE LISLE (Leicestershire, Mid)
It seems to me that if the House votes these large sums of money annually for keeping up this and similar institutions, the London authorities ought to provide proper and adequate approaches to them. Now, there is no proper approach to the British Museum either from the point of view of utility, or of the dignity of the edifice, and I should therefore like the Government to put some pressure on the authorities to improve these approaches. Some houses have been pulled down at the corner of Museum Street, abutting the church of St. George's, Bloomsbury, of which circumstance advantage might be taken to widen the roadway from the Museum to New Oxford Street. If that were done we should have at least one good approach to the British Museum. Having brought this matter before the Government, I venture to express a hope that during the Recess, when so many things are to be carefully considered, some steps will be taken to induce the authorities to make the alteration I have suggested, and which, I believe, would meet with general approval.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £4,908, to complete the sum for the National Gallery.
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)
I wish to take this opportunity of addressing to my hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) m a more convenient form a Question which has already appeared on the Paper with regard to the National Gallery. I beg to assure my hon. Friend and the Committee that I intend in no way to find fault with the mode in which the National Gallery is conducted. The observations which I felt it my duty to make not long ago with regard to the management of the South Kensington Museum apply in their entirety to that of the National Gallery. We have on the whole a most admirable collection of pictures, they are extremely well selected, and generally speaking I think the Trustees have discharged their duties to the advantage of the country and with credit to themselves. Therefore, I wish it to be distinctly understood that I bring no charge either against the Directors of the National Gallery, or against their predecessors. I guard 1577 myself by these remarks; because in former years when I have thought it necessary to mate some criticisms I have found the Director and some Trustees to be extremely thin-skinned; I repeat, then, that I bring no charge against these gentlemen, who are most useful public servants. Now, one of the complaints I have felt it my duty to make in former days was that the Directors did not exercise due economy in the purchase of pictures, and that they were in the habit of allowing pictures to be sold by public auction in England and then buying them from the purchasers at a very enhanced price. Some years ago a picture by Paolo Veronese (the Vision of St. Helena) was sold in the rooms of Messrs Christie and Manson for 300 guineas, to a gentleman who I strongly urged to buy it, and not very long after his death, the same picture was bought in the same auction rooms, for the nation, at the price of 3,000 guineas. Two or three years ago, as I am informed and believe, a gentleman bought a picture of a dealer in London, for £40; he took the picture to Italy, where he met the agent of the National Gallery, to whom it was sold for a considerable sum. I do not know whether this report is true; but I believe it to be so. One defect of our system is that all sorts of authorities are responsible for our works of art. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke) is responsible for the works of art in his Department; the Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for the National and Portrait Galleries; the Trustees of the British Museum—among whom are my hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock)—and myself, are responsible for art in that Institution. In other cases, the Chief Commissioner of Works, and the Home Secretary are responsible, and we have lately heard that a Court official, denominated the Great Chamberlain is, responsible for the works of art in the Houses of Parliament. I wish to see these responsibilities delegated to one official, and I hope some day that we may have a Minister on the Treasury Bench having a knowledge of art who will be able to answer well and efficiently questions put to him on this subject. I have now to ask my hon. Friend whether the report is true that early in the present year a picture of Giovanni Bellini was bought 1578 in the rooms of Messrs. Christie and Manson for 120 guineas, and lately sold by the purchaser to the Trustees of the National Gallery for 400 guineas? If the report is true, I think it is a proceeding on the part of the Directors of the National Gallery to which attention should be directed. I would remind the Committee that, two or three years ago, what I think a most unfortunate mistake was made—namely, the expenditure of an unreasonably large sum for the purchase of two pictures from the Blenheim Collection. I do not think, nor did I at the time, that the country was justified in giving that enormous sum for two pictures, one of which (the Vandyke) — although possibly a very good picture—was really not wanted in the Gallery as a specimen of the master. We were then told that there would be no purchase of pictures for some years; and I see, on referring to the sub-head which accounts for the money disposed of by the Trustees of the National Gallery, the following entries:— "Purchase of pictures, 0; increase, 0; decrease, 0." Well, when I refer to the Report of the Director of the National Gallery—for whom the Secretary to the Treasury is responsible—which I hold in my hand, I find that a largo number of pictures have been purchased. I anticipate the statement that these pictures have been purchased out of private bequest funds—the Walker Fund, the Lewis Fund, &c. At any rate, I should like to have information as to whether that is the case or not. If the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury is not able to answer the question, off-hand, I will repeat it on some other occasion; but I would impress upon him once more that I do not address this question to him in order to criticize in any way the action of the Trustees of I the National Gallery, except that I think when pictures are sold in this country, and sold at first hand, the Trustees would do better to buy them at first hand rather than allow other persons to buy them and take them away, and then: purchase the pictures from the persons who have bought them at extravagant prices. It is only a matter of attention and diligence on the part of the Director and his subordinates. There is an agency to which the Treasury might subscribe—an agency with which hon. Members in this House are, no doubt, familiar—which affords information on 1579 these matters, and which would, no doubt, prevent a repetition of what has occurred in the case of the picture by Giovanni Bellini. The Trustees of the National Gallery, or any private persons, have only to subscribe to this agency in order to receive notice of these sales, and every assistance in informing themselves as to pictures which are in the market. I do not know whether Her Majesty's Government subscribe to that agency; but if they do not, and will take the precaution to subscribe in the future, they will find it will be a great saving of money to them when purchases of this kind have to be effected. I think I have made my question clear. I would ask the hon. Gentleman, in addition to the Notice on the Paper, whether the pictures which I know have been bought by the National Gallery, have or have not been purchased out of the fund voted by the House of Commons?
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is an excellent authority upon pictures, and we are very much obliged to him for his interesting observations upon the subject. He has pointed out that no demand is made this year on the National Exchequer for the purchase of pictures, and that no demand was made last year. I am glad to hear this after the shameful and scandalous waste of public money on the purchase of the Blenheim Gallery pictures some time ago. I am glad to know that Her Majesty's Advisers have come to the conclusion that they are bound to abstain for a few years from the purchase of any other pictures, and I trust that there is no doubt that the pictures which have been purchased recently have been bought out of money left for the purpose by private bequest.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY) (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
With regard to the question which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) has just put to me, and the Notice which he has had upon the Paper now for two or three days, and of which he gave me some previous Notice, I am desirous to say that I believe the facts are as he stated. I believe the picture by Giovanni Bellini was sold at Christie's for the sum named, and although the transaction is not completed—that is to say, although no money 1580 has passed—I believe that an agreement has been entered into for the purchase of the picture for the sum named— namely £400. I understand the picture is to be paid for out of the Lewis bequest. I believe that the plain and frank explanation of what occurred is this, that at the time of the sale at Christie's, Sir F. Burton, the Director of the National Gallery, was busy in connection with some arrangements that were in progress and failed to see the picture. But if the right hon. Gentleman contends that if the picture had been seen it would have followed as a necessary consequence that the National Gallery would have been able to buy it at Christie's for £125, issue must be joined with him. It does not by any means follow that if there had been more competition the picture would not have brought a larger sum. If there had been a large amount of competition the price might have run up. Because a picture fetches a certain sum at Christie's it does not at all follow that it is not worth a great deal more. The price which you may be prepared to give for a picture by private contract is by no means to be compared to the price which a picture may fetch at a sale. Indeed, with regard to the picture in question, my belief is that if there had been greater competition it would have fetched a much higher price, because I am told on good authority that it is valued at a higher sum than is to be paid for it by the National Gallery. However, that is apart from the question; the picture was missed at the time, and therefore there was no competition for it on the part of the National Gallery. As to the other Question which the right hon. Gentleman has asked, I have already answered it; and as to the Question put to me by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy, &c. (Sir George Campbell), that has also been met in the same way. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the accounts correctly represent the grants which are made from the Treasury. I trust that that will satisfy the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid.)
There is a point which seems to have escaped the attention of hon. Gentlemen — one which arose on the Museum Vote and comes up again here—namely, the Question of opening the National Gallery and lighting it at night. There is no reason why the same principle 1581 should not be applied to the National Gallery which it is proposed to apply to the British Museum. I am quite aware that there is a special danger in this matter, and that it is considered that light at night may have a bad effect upon the pictures; but we must remember that the electric light can be used, and that the employment of gas can practically be altogether dispensed with. There is no need, therefore, to fear that the use of artificial light would have a bad effect upon the pictures. I am quite prepared for the answer that gas would have the effect probably of destroying the pictures; but I maintain that if the electric light is used, the pictures will not be injuriously affected. That argument is, therefore, brushed aside. As to the expense, I do not think the cost of lighting the National Gallery would be anything near as large as the cost of lighting the British Museum. Considering that the collection at the National Gallery is of the highest value, and that the cost of maintenance is comparatively trifling, it seems to me to be stinginess of the worst kind to say that the people of London, and the immense body of people who come pouring into the Metropolis every day from the country, should be deprived of the privilege of inspecting the National Collection of pictures after six o'clock at night. I will not go into the question of opening the National Gallery on Sundays; but I think it would be well to repeat whatever steps are being taken for the lighting of the British Museum at night in the case of the National Gallery, directly a proper method is discovered and its utility proved.
§ MR. JACKSON
I think it right to make a correction in the answer I gave the hon. Gentleman just now, because there was one point which escaped my memory. I think it only right to say that a short time ago very serious pressure was put upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen), and a proposal was made to him that if he would not give some additional grant to the National Gallery he should allow the Trustees to retain some portion of the entrance fees, and to make some profit on the sale of catalogues. The question was considered, and my right hon. Friend, who is very often more pliant than his Secretary in those matters, yielded to the extent of 1582 promising to give a grant of £1,500 this year; and I am afraid that this will entail the presentation of a Supplementary Estimate. With regard to the question of lighting, I dare say that question was carefully considered by those responsible for the Gallery, and I must point out that this question, so far as the National Gallery is concerned, stands in a different category to that with regard to the British Museum. In the one case—in the case of the Museum —the Trustees have shown no opposition to the proposal; in fact, they are willing to do anything they can to promote the opening of the Museum at night. But I believe there is, on the part of those who are responsible for the pictures in the National Gallery, a very strong feeling that the lighting of the Gallery would be attended with extreme danger. Those who are responsible are very strongly opposed to the introduction of light, and to the opening after dark. There has been a Return furnished to the House of Lords—I do not know whether to this House as well—in which their views have been set forth in very strong terms.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
The hon. Gentleman says that a Supplementary Estimate is to be brought forward to cover the grant to be given to the Trustees of the National Gallery. Is that sum in lieu of fees, or in addition to fees? Will it comprise the whole sum to be given, and are we to understand that the money will not be expended by the Trustees before it has been voted by this House—I refer to the amount to be voted under the Supplementary Estimate?
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
I am obliged to my hon. Friend for answering my question so frankly and fully; but, at the same time, I am bound, to say that I do not agree with him at all. It is impossible to speculate as to what the picture to which I referred would have fetched under the hammer if the Government had been represented at the sale; still, I contend that it is the duty of the Representatives of the country to be at a sale of this 1583 kind to do their best in the interests of the country. What I wish to point out to my hon. Friend and to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government is, that they ought to do their best, in connection with all these matters, to save the country needless expense. If they wish to buy works of art, or anything else, they ought to take pains to attend all the sales, by themselves or by their agents, and ought not to allow what seems to me to be a very large and improper expenditure of public money. It is not the first time that such an expenditure as that of which I have complained has happened.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
Do I understand the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to say that the grant of £1,500 to the National Gallery will not be given in addition to the fees, but in place of them?
§ MR. JACKSON
I suppose that this grant will have to be sanctioned by the House of Commons before the money can be handed over. The hon. Member is quite right in understanding that this £1,500 is not in addition to fees, but in lieu of them. It was thought much better that the question should not be complicated by any special temptation being placed before the Trustees to charge increased fees, or to make undue profit out of the sale of catalogues; therefore it was decided to allow them a grant.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
The answer of the hon. Gentleman seems to me to be unsatisfactory in the highest degree. Are we to understand that an account relating to the National Gallery is to be laid befere this House, showing that no money is to be handed over for the purchase of pictures, and that then a Supplementary Estimate is to be asked for which may be devoted to that purpose? This point is not made clear; and, further than that, the hon. Gentleman seems to hesitate to tell us whether or not this money has already been handed over to the National Gallery and spent by the Trustees.
§ MR. JACKSON
The money has not yet been handed over by the Treasury; but, so far as the expenditure on the part of the National Gallery Trustees is concerned, I cannot undertake to say that they have not spent any of the fees which may be looked upon as a part of the whole £1,500. I can have no means 1584 of knowing whether that money is expended or not; but, so far as the Treasury is concerned, the grant has not yet been handed over. I hope the hon. Gentleman will not condemn me for having been frank with him. Being anxious not to mislead him in any way, and these arrangements having been made, I thought it better at once to state the facts to the House, so that hon. Members would not be surprised when they heard of it.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
We are exceedingly obliged to the hon. Gentleman for making a clean breast of it, and I hope it will be understood that this money will not be handed over to the National Gallery until it is voted by this House.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
There have been a great many occurrences by no means of an agreeable character connected with this Session, which, at any rate, have afforded us this one advantage, that they have given Members time to go and look at the National Gallery and the National Museum. I dare say a great many of us have very profitably spent a few hours there during the past few months, and I have no doubt that many of us will do the same before the House rises for the Recess. I should like to point out that I do not think the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has been nearly specific enough in his answer on the subject of the lighting of the National Gallery. What he ought to do in a matter of this kind is not to say—"Oh, the officials are against you; they will not take the responsibility of lighting the National Gallery." That is not a sufficient answer; because the guardians of valuable treasures are always exceedingly careful of their trust —whether they are works of art or antiquities. These guardians always resist proposals for throwing open these museums or galleries for longer hours to the working classes, unless they see their way to extra pay. Extra pay would very often produce very considerable change in the opinions of those who are guardians of treasures of this kind. I should like the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to say exactly what is the nature of the injury which the Trustees of the National Gallery apprehend might result from lighting the place by electricity. In the case of electricity, you can have no escape of 1585 gas, which we know is injurious to pictures. We have not the same heat nor the same atmospheric conditions with electricity as we have with gas; and I should like to know what the guardians of the National Gallery, who, I dare say, are authorities on this point, have to urge in objection to the electric light. I should like to know whether the electric light would have any chemical effect in decomposing the pigments which are used in the pictures? If there is any objection of that kind, it is one which only a specialist could give a sound opinion upon, and upon which even a specialist could only express a reliable view after he had carefully examined into the matter and experimented upon it. If the authority appealed to simply objects to electric lighting, because he is afraid of fire, then I must say I do not think a National Gallery official is the sort of authority to whom we ought to go for an opinion. I would rather have the opinion of the head of the Fire Brigade, or the opinion of anybody at the head of a large public establishment. In the matter of fire, I do not see how the head of the National Gallery can be necessarily a specialist. Of course, this objection might be made; but I should like the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to state specifically whether that is the reason, and the only reason, why the electric lighting is objected to —namely, that the National Gallery might take fire. If electricians report that there is nothing specially dangerous in the manner in which, electricity can be applied which would entail a danger from fire, I do not see what objection there can be to lighting the National Gallery for, at any rate, two or three nights a-week. It might be lit up to 7 o'clock or 8 o'clock at night. That would give immense opportunities to the working classes to visit the place and see the pictures, and it would have a great refining influence upon such people. The Gallery has been enlarged, and it now possesses more rooms than ever; it is sufficiently spacious to accommodate large numbers of people, and there is no reason why, if it is possible, the public should not be admitted in the evening. There is another small point to which I should like to call the attention of the hon. Gentleman. I think it would be advisable if 1586 directions were given to the attendants at the doors of the National Gallery to take charge of coats as well as umbrellas and walking sticks. At present there is some inconvenience, owing to the refusal of the attendants to do this. Although the matter is only a trifling one, I think it would be well for the Government to give attention to it while they have the whole subject under consideration.
§ MR. JACKSON
I had no wish to detain the Committee by reading the Report of the National Gallery Authorities on the subject of lighting; but some objections taken by them apply both to gas and electricity. After speaking of the danger of exposing pictures to bad air and referring to the ill effects caused by gas and heat, they go on to refer to electric lighting, and they say that it has not yet been shown that electricity contains no element and is accompanied by no conditions which are likely to affect such sensitive works of art as pictures. They further state that the light is not under control so fully as to prevent danger by fire on the one hand, or sudden extinction on the other. In the Report it is stated that when the light collapses in a series of rooms containing treasures of art, perhaps, there being a large promiscuous crowd of persons present, most serious consequences may ensue; and the Authorities wound up their Report by saying that the Trustees, being appointed guardians of the National Collection, are bound to draw the attention of the Government to all the dangers that may arise to the pictures under their charge. The Committee must bear in mind that a change of this kind, if once made, would be very difficult to depart from. I suppose if serious injury were done to any of our pictures, and damage resulted from the change, it would be damage that would be absolutely irreparable; and that was my reason for saying that the Trustees objected to the adoption of either gas or electricity for lighting the National Gallery.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I do not think the arguments of the Authorities are at all conclusive. We all know that gas is deleterious to pictures; and I do not suppose that anyone in this House would desire to see it introduced, because; in addition to all the chemical effects produced by the 1587 combustion, it would be very dangerous as regards fire. But I would just mention a circumstance which seems to me to leave a doubt as to whether the conclusion of the Authorities with regard to electricity are sound. I think the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury knows, and the Committee knows, that there are other Galleries in London where very valuable pictures are from time to time exhibited which are open at night; and it must be remarked that not only at night that the necessity for lighting exists, but that during the winter months it is necessary that we should have artificial light in order to see the pictures exhibited in these places even in the daytime. Take the Grosvenor Gallery and the Burlington House Collection. I presume it is a matter of notoriety that those Galleries, in the winter months at any rate, contain works of great value that are priceless, not only from the Royal Collection at Windsor, and other places, but from some of the most magnificent private collections in the country. Now, if it has been found that the pictures in those places do not suffer from the effects of the electric light, it appears to me that the timid fears of the Authorities of the National Gallery are entirely without foundation. I would put it to the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury whether he could not have a definite inquiry made upon this point? I would put it to him whether he could not request the Authorities of the National Gallery to confer with those who have charge of the Burlington House Collection and the Grosvenor Gallery as to whether any ill effects have ever been discovered from the use of the electric light? If during a number of years the pictures have been exhibited at those places at night, and no ill effects have been discovered, it appears to me that that is a strong argument in favour of having the electric light in the National Gallery. With regard to the possibility of sudden extinction, I do not think that there is any very solid argument to be based upon that. Why, I recollect not very long ago that the electric light was suddenly extinguished in this House; we did not lose ourselves; and very promptly there were forthcoming candles and lamps. Precisely the same thing happened at the British Museum——
§ MR. CONYBEARE
No. I remember being there one day when the electric light went out—something had happened to the machinery I think—or, at any rate, there was a stoppage of some kind. No serious consequence such as the hon. Member has referred to resulted; nothing was stolen, no valuable MSS., or anything of that sort. Supposing we had the electric light at the National Gallery, it would always be possible to have a few lanterns at hand, in order to provide against such an emergency as the hon. Member points out. There would be no danger of having lanterns in the National Gallery— of course, under the control of the attendants. I do not mean to say that you should keep them constantly burning, or that you want a secondary sort of light, but lanterns should be distributed throughout the place, just as the police in this building are supplied with them at night, when the electric light is turned off, in order to see that everything is right. It would be perfectly practicable for the attendants in the National Gallery to have lanterns in this way, which they can use in the event of any emergency occurring. It does not appear, on a careful and calm consideration of the Report to which the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury referred, that there is very much foundation for those timid fears expressed by the National Gallery Authorities. At any rate, I think the points I have raised are well worthy the consideration of the. hon. Gentleman and the Trustees of the National Gallery.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £1,116, to complete the sum for the National Portrait Gallery.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I wish to ask a question of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) on this Vote. The hon. and learned Member for the Birr Division of King's County (Mr. Molloy) is unavoidably absent, and I desire to say, on his behalf, that he is under the impression that the portraits in this Gallery are exposed to danger from fire; and he wishes 1589 to be assured on the subject. I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman if he can give the Committee an assurance that those pictures are as far as possible safe from this danger?
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I desire to ask the same question. The amount granted for purchase in connection with this Gallery is only £435, which is not a large sum for the purchase of portraits of our great men, and I do not think that exception can be taken to it; but I have been near the Portrait Gallery lately, and I find that there are all sorts of inflammable materials lying about it, and that there are numerous workmen engaged there, smoking a good many pipes, and it is very possible for a fire to break out there at any time. I should like to know whether Her Majesty's Government are aware of the danger, and whether they have taken, or intend to take, any precautions?
MR. W. G. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Penryn and Falmouth)
And I would ask the same question. I should like to ask whether any plan has been agreed upon by the Government for the construction of a better building to contain these portraits? Have they any scheme in contemplation?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
As regards the question of fire at the National Portrait Gallery which has been raised by two or three hon. Members, I would merely point out that those hon. Members must have forgotten for the moment that the portraits are not at South Kensington, but at Bethnal Green.
§ Vote agreed to.
(5.) Motion made, and Question, proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £13,800, be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888, for Grants in Aid of the Expenditure of certain Learned Societies in Great Britain and Ireland.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)
I have upon the Paper a Notice to reduce this Vote by £1,000, and my rea- 1590 son for doing so is to call attention to the distribution of the Vote, especially the distribution of the Vote as it concerns science in Scotland. I know that this subject I am bringing before the House is no new one, because it has been brought on on previous occasions. It has come especially to the front during the last winter and spring, through a very powerful and unanimous representation on behalf of the scientific societies in Scotland, made by Sir William Thompson, who is well known to this House as an eminent scientific man. The learned societies of Scotland have placed their views very successfully before the hon. Members of this House, in a Memorial circulated amongst us: and they also on one occasion during the Recess laid their views before the Government by means of a deputation headed also by Sir William Thompson. What I principally contend for is this— I think we might make a case upon the generally unfair distribution of this Vote. It purports primarily to be a Vote for Great Britain, and in a certain degree for the United Kingdom; and I think that if one casts one's eyes over the items in it, one will see that the interests of science in Scotland are hardly done justice to. Hon. Members will see that there are items for the Royal Geological Society of London, and for the Royal Academies of Music in England and Ireland; but we have no grants at all in Scotland, and the Royal Geological Society in Ireland can run alone, and does not receive a grant, but there is a grant made to the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. This latter is an association which is not yet, I think, in working order. It has obtained the present grant from the Treasury, whilst a similar association established in Scotland, and which for many years has been in working order and obtaining valuable results, has never yet been able to secure a grant. I will call attention, especially, to the two first items on this Vote—£4,000 a-year for investigation dispensed by a committee of the Royal Society, and £15,300 a-year for meteorological purposes dispensed by the Meteorological Council, which is also a committee of the Royal Society. The two committees exist upon somewhat different foundations, and the committee of the Royal Society which 1591 dispenses the £4,000 a-year is a committee appointed by the Royal Society itself, and numbers about 60 members, and there are two representatives from Scotland, members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, upon it. The Meteorological Council is also a committee of the Royal Society, but it has on it a certain number of individuals subject to the approval of the Treasury. They are all paid members, the chairman getting £300 a-year, and the others about £1,000 a-year divided amongst them. What we complain of with regard to the first item on the Vote is this—we do not make any complaint that there is any unfairness at all in the work done by the Royal Society committee; we are sure that that committee do their utmost to allocate that sum fairly amongst all the claimants who are young scientific men, and desire aid in scientific work; but we say it is practically impossible for a committee of men, the great bulk of whom are scientific men belonging to London, Oxford, and Cambridge, to have adequate knowledge fairly to dispense a grant of this sort, and to recognize the claims of younger men engaged in scientific work in Scotland, and in remote parts of the country. Here is what Sir William Thompson says about it—They had not a word to say against the absolute fairness and the high degree of intelligence which were brought to bear upon the administration of the grant by the Royal Society of London, but they felt that Scotland was placed under a serious disadvantage.He went on to say—Any scientific worker, whether he is Scotch, or Irish, or English, or German, living in the neighbourhood of London has a great advantage over any worker living in Scotland in respect of aid being given for scientific research.Again he said—It was, however, physically impossible for that Society to be personally cognizant of the claims and of the securities that any applicant living in Scotland might possess, because they had no personal knowledge of his merits or of the manner in which he was likely to use the money.I could confirm that statement of Sir William Thompson's by reference to what has been said by others who are interested in the matter; but I do not think it is necessary. It is not possible for Parliamentary documents to show the state of the case; because it is on of the peculiarities of this grant that 1592 this committee of the Royal Society renders no account of what it does with this £4,000 a-year. There is no report rendered to any public authority as to what becomes of the money; and though Sir William Thompson says that it is dispensed with fairness, yet the fact remains that there are members upon the committee from the Universities of London, Oxford, and Cambridge, and whilst assistance is given in their parts of the United Kingdom, the younger scientific men in the distant centres of learning do not have sufficient regard paid to their claims by those gentlemen. What I desire in regard to this item is that a sum of at least £1,000 out of the £4,000 should be allocated to a committee of the Scottish scientific bodies for distribution by that committee—I mean a committee such as that of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, or the Royal Society of Glasgow, and representatives of all other scientific bodies in Scotland. There is a grant to the Royal Irish Academy for scientific research, and we desire that a similar body should be constituted in Scotland, and that the sum I have mentioned should be dispensed by that body. My second point is with regard to the Meteorological Vote, which amounts to £15,300 a-year; and what we particularly complain of is this, it is an office for the United Kingdom—what the scientific bodies complained of before Lord Lothian (the Secretary for Scotland) was that a Meteorological Institution, which is in many respects the most important Meteorological Institution in the country—namely, the Observatory on Ben Nevis—gets no aid whatever out of this Vote. I think I can show that fact— namely, that practically the Observatory at Ben Nevis gets no aid out of the Vote. We claim that this important Institution, which has been started by voluntary effort, at an expenditure of about £8,000, has a fair claim to receive some grant in aid. We do not care whether it comes out of this Meteorological Vote or not; but naturally we look to the Meteorological Vote as being the source from which it might be expected to come. Now, what is the position of this Observatory on Ben Nevis? Undoubtedly, there is a grant of £100 a-year by the Meteorological Council; but that is for value received—the committee is supplied with the observations taken, and the clerical work, which is necessary, is 1593 itself worth, the money. But, more than that, the Government actually makes a profit out of the Observatory there. It is well known to those who have visited the Observatory that a telegraph wire is established from the base to the summit of the mountain, and the Observatory has to pay the Post Office £130 a-year for the use of that wire. Besides that, the Post Office makes for private telegrams over this wire over £30 a- year— it made £31 18s. last year. The receipts for the Post Office for Press telegrams from this Observatory, I am also told, amounted in three years to about £200; it is clear, therefore, that the Government, instead of giving any aid to this admirable Institution, absolutely makes a profit out of it at the present time. It will naturally be asked how it is that the Meteorological Council have refused to give any further aid to this valuable Institution. There has been put in my hands within the last day or two the Memorandum just issued by that Body, and it is there stated that the telegrams which have been received from Ben Nevis Observatory during the past six months have been absolutely useless for the purposes of storm warnings. Well, I should like, first, to point out that that is not always the attitude which the Meteorological Council has taken up towards this Observatory, because in their Report of last year, in which it was stated that they have decided to give £100 a-year, they also expressed regret that other demands on the funds at their disposal precluded them from making a larger contribution to the Observatory— that was in the Report for 1885–6. But I would call attention to this, that it has been clearly pointed out that this grant which was given to the Observatory was not given on the understanding merely that telegrams should be sent from Ben Nevis for the purpose of storm warnings. That is not solely, or anything like exclusively, the object for which the Vote is given by the Meteorological Council. Anyone who looks at the annual Report of the Meteorological Committee will see that the Vote was originally designed for three purposes— namely, for land meteorology, for storm warnings, and for ocean meteorology. Last year the sum devoted to land meteorology was £3,160, weather information £4,000, and ocean meteorology £2,845; and there is also out of this 1594 £15,000 a-year dispensed by the Committee, a sum which varies from £700 to £1,000 for special scientific researches under the domain of meteorology. Either under the last category, or under that of land meteorology, undoubtedly this Institution at Ben Nevis has a claim upon this Vote. I think I can show from the mouth of Mr. Scott, the secretary of the Council himself, that he is of the same opinion. Giving evidence before Sir William Sterling Maxwell's Committee appointed in 1877 to consider the question of the grants in aid of meteorological observations, Mr. Scott said there was a want of stations at high levels; but an objection existed to them because they would not pay commercially, but he thought that the higher they could be got the better. Since that time we have seen high level stations established in America and other countries, and we have this one established on top of Ben Nevis, which I believe distinguishes itself above the other high level stations for its observations. It is, I believe, the only high-level station where observations are taken all the year round every hour of the night and day for scientific purposes. It is undoubtedly an Institution of the greatest possible value. We therefore claim on behalf of the Institution itself, and also on behalf of Scotch Meteorology, that the Ben Nevis Observatory should have some larger grant, or, at any rate, get some aid from the Government towards its permanent arrangements. We do not, as I have said, care where the money comes from. We do not care whether it comes from this particular item or not; but we do earnestly maintain that it is a grievance that this sum voted by the Imperial Exchequer is not adequately distributed with a view to the interests of Scottish science, and particularly with a view to the interests of this Institution. I would just quote one word from Lord Lothian's reply to the deputation which waited upon him, and to which I have already referred. He said—He felt it very strongly that the request of the deputation was absolutely a reasonable one, and that the funds which had been given for scientific objects in Great Britain nominally, had been confined so entirely to those objects in connection with London, that he would be most happy to do what he could to approach the Treasury and to endeavour to have effect given to the views brought forward that day.1595 Lord Lothian has endeavoured to give effect to the views of the deputation; but I am afraid he has not had much encouragement from the Treasury. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has been kind enough to show me the correspondence, and I must say I do not think the noble Lord got much satisfaction. But I can assure the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury and the Committee that this a subject deserving very careful inquiry and consideration. It is a subject upon which all the scientific bodies in the North are united, and with regard to which they they are determined as far as they can to press earnestly and continuously on the attention of the Government. I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £1,000.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £12,800 be granted for the said Services."—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ SIR EDWARD BIRKBECK (Norfolk, E.)
I do not wish to take up the time of the Committee for more than two or three minutes; but with reference to the case of the Ben Nevis Observatory, I can assure the hon. and learned Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) that, according to the opinion of Mr. Robert Scott, the Observatory at Ben Nevis has not been successful, and, according to the information he has received from the various high level stations in Europe they have by no means yielded that success which was expected of them; but what I wish especially to say with reference to this Vote is this, I am greatly disappointed that the Government have not seen their way to increase the Vote. [Laughter.] My hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh laughs at the idea of increasing the Vote; but I wish to point out the great necessity of giving increased information as to the weather in the interests of agriculture, especially at hay time and harvest. I think that every telegraphic post office throughout the length and breadth of the country should be able to supply information for agricultural purposes regarding the weather in other parts of the country. I know for a fact that information of this kind has been of the greatest value to agriculture, and I know that it would advance those interests 1596 very materially if this question were taken up and further facilities were given for obtaining information. The expense which the carrying out of my proposal would entail would be very small indeed. The point, at any rate, is one which I trust the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury will devote careful attention to between now and next Session. In addition to what I have said, I would plead for the distribution of information concerning the weather in the interests of our fishermen, and for the purpose of saving life around our coast. This Vote ought to be materially increased, not only for the sake of increasing the facilities to our fishermen for carrying on their trade along our coast, but also for the purpose of giving storm warnings to people in charge of vessels sailing in British waters. Information of this kind is already given to a certain extent, but I think it might be rendered much more efficient. If this were done I am confident that it would lead to great results, and that many lives which are now lost round our coasts would be saved. If my recommendation was carried out in the interests of our mariners, as well as from an agricultural point of view, both farmers and the fishermen of the United Kingdom would owe a deep debt of gratitude to the Treasury. If they could give further facilities, I think it would be only what is fair and just.
§ MR. M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)
I desire, though not a Scotch Member, to join my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) in objecting to the way in which this large Vote is at present administered. I think he has made out a very strong case indeed in support of his contention that the Meteorological Committee does not deal at all fairly with the Scottish Meteorological Observatories with regard to the distribution of this large Vote. I think, in one respect, the distribution of this Vote should be reconsidered, even if there were no question of giving a portion of it to the Scottish Observatories; £1,000 of the Vote goes to paying the salaries of the chairman and other members of the Meteorological Committee, and it is very doubtful whether, when that £15,000 was originally voted by Parliament in 1877, it was intended that £1,000 should go in salaries to members of the 1597 Committee, and if we can succeed in reducing the Vote by £1,000 I think we shall be justified in doing it—by the £1,000 which the members of the Committee devote to themselves. Now, this money of course is paid by all the taxpayers of the United Kingdom, and yet it is a fact that the whole £15,000— with the exception I think of £100—is devoted to English societies. Scotland gets practically nothing of it, and the Scotch people of course have to pay their share of the taxes. This is a very long-standing grievance. Scottish Members and Scotchmen have long been familiar with the fact that Scotland does not get its fair share in the way of grants of money voted for one purpose or another by this House. Now, the Scottish Meteorological Society was founded in 1855, and for 22 years it struggled on without getting grants from this House, until in 1875 £1,000 was given to it for work it had done previously, and at the same time this Vote of £15,000 a-year was granted, it was announced as clearly as anything could be when the Vote was brought forward, that the Scottish societies were to get their fair share of the money. However, from that time to the present, Scotland has been deprived of any proportion of the grant. In the first place, there is no Scottish member on the Meteorological Committee. An effort was made to get one or two Scotchmen elected, but this was refused, and thus Scotland has no voice in the distribution of the grant. That, I think, in itself was not a proper thing, and if the Royal Society at the instance of the Government appoints a Meteorological Committee, the Government should especially recommend them to see that at least one Scotch scientific man is placed upon that Committee. Now there are other Meteorological Observatories in Scotland besides the one on Ben Nevis, but all of them are maintained by voluntary contributions. They none of thorn get a portion of this grant, although Parliament has said that the grant is for the encouragement of meteorological research. I believe that the Observatory on Ben Nevis is the only one that gets any of the £15,000, and in that case the money is not received as a grant. It is not received for the encouragement of meteorological research or for the taking of 1598 observations, but simply as a payment for the result of the annual observations sent to the Meteorological Council in London. Therefore, we are entitled to say that practically Ben Nevis Observatory gets nothing at all as a gift from the £15,000. Well, Sir, the people of Scotland are always willing to do their utmost to pay their way. They are not always coming to this House asking for grants, and ever since 1855 they have kept up their meteorological observations themselves, and as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh has said, they have spent £8,000 in establishing this Observatory on the top of Ben Nevis. That capital sum has been laid out, and in addition they have spent £600 a-year raised by voluntary contributions for the support of the Observatory, and they also pay by way of rent £30 a-year to the Post Office for telegraph wires. I think it is inexpressibly shabby on the part of the Government to demand this sum for telegraph wires. If they cannot get a grant from the Government for this Observatory at least I think we should ask that the demand made upon them for this payment should be discontinued. The Observatory is very economically managed, and if Parliament decided upon aiding it, no excessive demand would be made upon the Treasury. £600 a-year is not very much for what the Observatory does. The officials there are a Chief Observer and two assistants, and they take observations every hour of the day and night. Such a state of things in connection with this Observatory is exciting great dissatisfaction both amongst the scientific men of Scotland and the subscribers to the Observatory, and there are signs that the subscriptions will fall off if the observatory does not receive encouragement directly from the Government or from the Meteorological Committee. The work they do is well done, and if the Meteorological Committee or the Government could possibly suggest any improvement in regard to the work, I am sure the authorities would only be too glad to carry it out. It is clear from the evidence laid before the Committee that until pressure was put upon the Meteorological Committee to give money, that body thought the work done by the Observatory on Ben Nevis very good and useful indeed, and it is only when a 1599 demand is made for pecuniary assistance that it began picking holes in the work, and declare it to be worthless. The Scottish Society does not ask this money for nothing. They make a very fair offer to the Treasury. They say that if the Treasury will give £1,000, even if they will give a grant of £600 a-year to pay the expenses of the observatory at Ben Nevis, they will start another observatory supported by voluntary contributions at the foot of Ben Nevis, and thus will have observations taken simultaneously every hour of the 24 in the day all through the year at the top and at the foot of Ben Nevis. In his way extremely valuable records will be taken. I think on this point they make a very modest and reasonable request. I repeat the Scotch people do not want this money given to them for nothing. They will meet the Government half way, in fact, they will meet them more than half way, and will continue to spend a large and increasingly sum of money out of their own pockets, provided they can get some encouragement from this Meteorological Committee, or from the Government. What they ask for is a grant of £1,000 or £2,000 a-year. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh has not sprung his Amendment upon the Committee. His proposal is to the effect that the Vote should be reduced by £1,000; but I think the Government should really consider whether they cannot bring forward the grant we ask for as a Supplementary Estimate, or as a Vote in the Estimates next year, when they grant this money to the Meteorological Committee and the Royal Society of Scotland. The Royal Society, which gets the £4,000 a-year, which we are about to vote, does not grant anything at all to this Scottish Society, and the reason they refuse to do so is, because they say they cannot grant money to permanent institutions. I dare say that is a very well-founded objection; but it does not apply to the Meteorological Committee, which grants its money to permanent societies for permanent investigation. What we contend for is, that justice should be done to Scotland in this matter, and that the Scottish people should not go on for ever paying more than their share of the taxes, and getting less than their share of their money back again in the shape of grants. We 1600 have been told that Lord Lothian, the Secretary for Scotland, is in favour of this grant.
§ MR. M'LAREN
I take it that Gentlemen are generally in favour of what they consider to be absolutely reasonable. I think we see in all this the ill-effects of not having the Scotch Secretary in the Cabinet. As long as the Scotch Secretary is not in the Cabinet, Scotland will be treated unfairly in the matter of these grants, and we shall not expect justice to be done It was announced on the last Vote that £1,500 was extracted from the National Exchequer for the National Gallery, and we cannot get a grant of £1,000 for the Ben Nevis Meteorological Observatory. I think it must be obvious that both for scientific purposes, and as the hon. Member for East Norfolk (Sir Edward Birkbeck) has said, in the interests of the farmers and fishermen of the country, that these meteorological observations should be carefully recorded. Though we have no Scotch Representative on the Treasury Bench at the present time, I hope, that, at any rate, the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury will endeavour to do justice to Scotland in this matter. Even if he does not assent to the Amendment which is before the Committee, I hope he will bring pressure to bear on the Government of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in order to get them to make a grant to Scotland next year.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I have great pleasure in supporting this Motion. I would call the attention of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury to the gross injustice with which Scotland is treated on all these Votes. Might I just say a word or two upon this Vote we are now discussing? England receives £20,000 a-year in grants for scientific purposes, and Ireland receives over £3,000 a-year, whilst in Scotland we are supposed to get a sum of only £300 a-year for scientific purposes. I say we are supposed to get it, for that £300 is all paid back to the Government in rent and taxes by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Not one single 1601 penny, therefore, is given to Scotland. You get £20,000 in England, and you give free quarters in Burlington House to the English Society; you give money to the Irish Society; but all you do for Scotland is to give her £300, and then take it back again in the shape of rent and taxes. I maintain that this £15,000 is one of the Votes which ought to be reduced. I should like the Vote to be reduced by £3,800, which is the amount spent by the Meteorological Committee in carrying on its work. The Committee give themselves very nice salaries; indeed, the money is jobbed away in one way or another. Public money ought not to be used in the fashion this money is used. I find that out of £15,000 which has been voted annually for the last four or five years, only about £700 on the average has been spent yearly in scientific researches; the rest has been spent in salaries and other expenses. The real scientific work is done by men of science who are fond of science. If Scotchmen used this money in the way I believe it is used in England and Ireland, I do not think it would be of much good in Scotland; but while you are subsidizing scientific societies Scotland should get its share of the subsidy. Scotland is awakening to the importance of this question, and the unfair way in which it has been treated financially since the Union will stimulate the Home Rule agitation among the people of that country. I have much pleasure in supporting the proposed reduction of the Vote.
§ MR. M'LAGAN (Linlithgow)
I regret to vote at any time for the reduction of a sum granted for scientific purposes. I shall vote for the proposed reduction of this Vote, but with great reluctance; I shall do it as a protest against the manner in which Scotland is treated in this respect. I thoroughly agree with what has been said by preceding speakers, that Scotland has not got its fair share of this money, although it pays a large amount of taxation. After the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan), I do not intend to engage the attention of the Committee for long. I will merely say that out of £23,000 voted for the learned societies only £300 goes to Scotland. We ask that we shall be given one-twelfth part of this money, and that is far less in 1602 proportion to the population of Scotland, and far less in proportion to the taxation of Scotland than Scotland ought to receive. Let me mention another fact. I find that £5,000 was given towards the establishment of a Royal Biological Association in Ireland; and that £500 is given annually. We established a Biological Society with full equipment; but when we asked for a grant of £100 we were ignominiously refused. The Scotch lion has up to this refused to roar; but you may depend upon it, when it does take it into its head to roar, it will get what it wants. As to the Meteorological Society, lot me say that we established a Meteorological Society in Scotland; we made observations, and we applied them solely to agriculture and the fisheries; and although agriculture and the fisheries derived a great deal of benefit from them, we have only been able, during the 22 years that the Society has been established, to got £1,000 out of the Government. We want money to assist us in carrying on our meteorological work; we want to carry our observations further by establishing another Observatory at the bottom of Ben Nevis. If £2,000 were granted to Scotland for scientific purposes, we would be quite content to support all our scientific societies, and we would ask the Government for nothing more. It costs us £600 a-year to carry on the present Observatory. I trust that before another year comes round we shall not be put to the necessity of coming to this House with a request for more money for our scientific societies; but that the Treasury, long before the Estimates are presented, will have granted us the subsidy we desire.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Gal way, N.)
The money given for scientific purposes in Ireland does not amount to anything like our proper share. There seems to be £300 given in this Vote for music in Ireland; that is a very interesting subject; but I think it is more an art than a science. The money for the Zoological Society is really very well spent. We could not keep up the Society without this money; and it is very important that the grant should be continued. Reference has been made to the Irish Academy; but if anyone looks at the Estimate he will see that the money granted to the Academy is for the keep- 1603 ing up of the Celtic language and for antiquarian research. Practically, none of this money is devoted to the advancement of science in Ireland, and what is particularly desired in Ireland is that a sum of money should be devoted to science as it is in England. There is one subject to which I particularly wish to draw the attention of the Committee; it is a matter of the greatest importance to farmers. The sum of £15,300 is a late addition to the Estimates, and the reason that is given for the devotion of this money to meteorological purposes is that it is advisable that we should have weather forecasts and weather reports.
An Amendment has been moved in reference to the question of justice to Scotland, and that issue must be disposed of first.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
I hope Scotland may get every justice from this Committee; but I hope that if I and my hon. Friends support the Scotch Members in this matter it will not be taken that we Irish Members are disposed to allow Ireland to go without her fair share of this money, but that our vote will be taken as a protest against the enormous proportion of money which is allotted to England. We shall reserve to ourselves the right of bringing forward the question, not of justice to Scotland, but of justice to Ireland. When the particular Amendment before the Committee is disposed of I shall move to reduce the Vote by £500, with the object of raising the question of the publication of weather forecasts in the different districts of Ireland.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) has brought forward this Motion in a most temperate and moderate speech; at the same time, I do not think his speech led up to the Resolution he moved. It appears to me that several hon. Members who have spoken have laboured under a misapprehension as to the amount of this Vote which is spent in different parts of the United Kingdom. My hon. and learned Friend began by complaining that £2,500 is given to the Marine Biological Association—principally an English Association—and that nothing has been done for the Scotch Association. I am always glad when the Committee 1604 votes anything for scientific purposes, and I shall be glad to see anything voted for the Scotch Association. At the same time, there is a Scotch Fishery Board which receives £12,000 a year, and the snm of £2,500 has been given to the English Marine Biological Association in the belief and hope that it will benefit fishermen in this country, Really there is a sum given to Scotland for the same purpose. The principal gravamen of the hon. and learned Gentleman's complaint is that the Meteorological Committee does not sufficiently recognize the Ben Nevis Observatory. The Meteorological Committee is not a really English Committee; it is composed of the most eminent scientific authorities. The secretary is Mr. Scott, and I think that everybody will agree that you could hardly have an abler or a stronger Meterological Committee, or a number of gentlemen more qualified to form an opinion upon meteorological questions. I venture to say that these gentlemen never consider for a moment whether the money is to be spent in England, Scotland, and Ireland, but how it can be best expended in the general interest. They come to the conclusion that to increase the amount of the grant to the Ben Nevis Observatory would not be proper; that the results would not justify an increase of the expenditure in that direction. When we have a Committee consisting of such eminent gentlemen I can hardly imagine that this Committee will override its decision. The money has been spent among the different stations which send out storm warnings, and I find that there are 12 of such stations in England, three in Scotland, and three in Ireland. That seems to be a very fair division, and it is one, no doubt, which has been very carefully considered. I am persuaded that the Meteorological Committee simply considered in what way the money could be best spent in the general interest. Then my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Buchanan) complained that no grant had been made to the Scottish Meteorological Society; that the English Society receives the whole £15,000, excepting £500 for the Geographical Society. There is no grant to any English Society whatever; the main part of this grant is granted to the Meteorological Committee, and I have already shown that it is not spent with reference to England, Scotland, or Ireland. Then, again, the 1605 £4,000 is not a grant to the Royal Society directly speaking. It is a grant which is administered by a Committee composed of members appointed partly by the Royal Society and partly by other societies. Having sat on the Committee, I can assure hon. Members that when any application for a grant for scientific investigation is made it is most fairly considered. My hon. and learned Friend most fairly and courteously said he did not impute for a moment any unfairness to the Committee, and I am sure other hon. Members who have spoken did not intend to do so in the least; but they seem to be under the impression that these grants for the purpose of scientific investigation are used solely by English scientific societies. I trust I have shown to the Committee that it is really nothing at all of the kind; as a matter of fact, the Royal Society, which includes among its members representatives of Scotch societies, distributes this grant of £4,000 entirely in the interest of science generally. If my hon. and learned Friend thinks there are other Scotch societies whom it may be well to have represented on that Committee I do not think he would find any objection raised to their representation. As far as I am concerned, I should be very glad to see all the Scottish societies appointing delegates to form part of the Committee. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will see that it is very desirable that there should be one general body to administer the grant, otherwise the money might be voted twice over. It is advisable that we should get the most eminent authorities we can together, and that they should decide as to the manner in which the money can be best spent. If hon. Members will look at the details of the Vote, they will see there has been absolutely no grant to any English society whatever. The money which has been spent has really been spent in the general interest of the whole country. The idea of expending money on English, Scotch, or Irish Societies because they are such never enters into the calculation.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
I cannot help observing that while this question has been under discussion not a single Member of Her Majesty's Government connected with Scotland has been present in the House. This is only another specimen of the way in which 1606 Scotch Business is generally done. Now, I quite agree with those who view with great jealousy the expenditure of money for scientific purposes; I agree with those who hold that the endowment of research is only an euphemism for the endowment of perambulators. I believe that scientific research prospers best when it is left very largely to itself; but, in this case, we have to deal with a very special set of circumstances. A very large sum of money has been subscribed voluntarily in Scotland—to the extent of £8,000—for the establishment of an Observatory on Ben Nevis. This question has been argued by some as if it were a Scottish question; but this Observatory has been established for the benefit of science, for the benefit of the United Kingdom, and the amount of money that is required to maintain this Institution is extremely small—it is only £470 a-year in addition to the sum required for the Telegraph Service. What I should like to know is, what the opinion of the Government is with regard to the value of the Ben Nevis Observatory? If that Observatory is not of sufficient importance to justify its being maintained, then let it drop; but if it is the opinion of the Government that it ought not to be abandoned, then it is absolutely necessary that a portion of this grant should be set aside for its maintenance. We are told that Mr. Scott is of opinion that the results obtained are not worth the money expended. But, on the other hand, a scientific man of the greatest eminence —Sir William Thompson—states that the results obtained at Ben Nevis have a most important bearing on the weather statistics, besides being of great value to the Department of Metaphysics. I find also that the British Association, for the Advancement of Science have from time to time made grants for the assistance of the Ben Nevis Observatory; but the rule of that Association prevents them making grants to a permanent society. Now, the Royal Society, although it has declined to subscribe, has not done so on the ground that the results are not valuable, but that its funds are not sufficient to enable it to do so. Therefore, so far as scientific testimony goes, the maintenance of this Observatory appears to be of importance in the general interest of science. The question the Government must face very 1607 soon is, whether or not they are prepared to see this important station maintained for the benefit of meteorological science. This is not a question of giving money for Scotland. This Institution is one in which the Scottish people have taken great interest, and to which they have subscribed in the most liberal manner; but in doing so they have been actuated by no selfish ideas, but have acted solely in the interests of science in general.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
I will not detain the Committee very long in endeavouring to answer the very many questions which have been put to the Government. I think the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter), who has just sat down, has practically furnished a complete answer to everything that has been said. I must entirely and thoroughly agree with the hon. Member that the establishment of the Observatory on Ben Nevis is not a question simply for the benefit of Scotland; but it is an establishment which will probably benefit the whole of the United Kingdom. My contention must be that, precisely as that argument applies to the grant for Ben Nevis, it applies to the whole of the grant which is given to the Meteorological Society. It cannot be said with any approach to truth, or bearing in mind the circumstances of the case, that the grant which is administered by the Royal Society, or the grant which is administered by the Meteorological Society, is for the benefit of England alone. The grants are made for the benefit and interest of science at large, and Scotland benefits by the researches which are made by these societies exactly to the same extent that England and Ireland benefit. That will be my contention, and I think it is a contention which it is very easy to maintain. It is not very encouraging, however, to hear hon. Gentlemen speak of this money as having been wasted; one hon. Gentleman, I think, spoke of the money which is voted by this House for scientific purposes as having been "jobbed away." If that is true, there is no great encouragement for us to increase the grant in such directions. Really, the speakers upon this Vote appear to me to have answered each other. Now, something has been said 1608 about the Ben Nevis Observatory. I do not wish for one moment in any way to cast a doubt upon the value of the Ben Nevis Observatory; but reference has been made to the value of the information obtained from Ben Nevis. It is necessary, I think, to call the attention of the House to the fact that the Meteorological Society have made careful observation as to the value of the telegrams received from Ben Nevis between the 1st of January, 1886, and the 30th of April, 1887. The result is that during this period they received from Ben Nevis only 19 telegrams, and of these only two arrived before storm, warnings were issued, and on these occasions the receipt of the telegrams in no way influenced the Society in determining the warnings. In the opinion of the Society the telegrams from Ben Nevis, in their existing form, are absolutely useless. So far as to the value of the Observatory from this point of view of the Meteorological Society; but I desire in no way to minimize the value of the work which may be done at Ben Nevis in other directions. But the Committee must remember that the Vote for the Meteorological Society was raised for the distinct purpose of giving throughout the Kingdom warnings of storms and weather forecasts. I am quite correct in saying that the grant to the Society was augmented from £14,500 to £15,000, on the Motion of the late Mr. A. M. Sullivan, to enable the Meteorological Society to supply 8 a.m. forecasts gratuitously to all newspapers applying for them; and £300 more was added in 1882, and the arrangement was made permanent, subject to 12 months' notice. It is the fact, therefore, that the grant was increased with a direct reference to enlarging and extending the information throughout the country; and I believe it is acknowledged by everyone that the Royal Society and the Meteorological Society do administer these grants—not for the benefit of England, or of Ireland, or of Scotland in particular, but in the interests of science at large, and that in the benefits of these grants everybody practically shares alike. This is my answer to hon. Members who have raised any question as to the distribution of the grants. The only point in which I can sympathize with the hon. and learned Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. 1609 Buchanan), who has raised this question, is the very natural desire that Scotland should be in some way represented on the Meteorological Committee. So far as the Treasury is concerned—and I speak entirely from the narrow Treasury point of view—there is no desire to limit or fetter the freedom of the Meteorological Society, or of the Royal Society, in the administering of these Votes. The Treasury will offer no objection to a portion of the grant which is administered by the Society being administered, if it is thought proper, in the interests of Scotland, or to the association of Scottish Members more closely with the Society. If I can do anything in that direction. I shall be most happy to do it.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I have only one or two words to say in regard to the observations of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Jackson) concerning the Ben Nevis Observatory. I think the hon. Gentleman has not quite understood what is the point of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Buchanan). We do not accuse the hon. Gentleman of any disposition to despise Ben Nevis or its Observatory; but we think he does not quite appreciate its value. It is not a question of storm warnings. It was never expected or intended that the Ben Nevis Observatory should add much to our knowledge as to storms; but it was thought that an Observatory at Ben Nevis would add very much to our knowledge of meteorology generally. As the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, who ought to know everything, doubtless knows, meteorology is the least advanced science among the sciences of Nature. Much remains to be made out by observations which will affect our knowledge of the causes which determine the weather; and it is impossible to say what valuable and new light observations made at this great height may throw on the subject. We expect very large and tangible results from the Observatory; and we hope that, under these circumstances, the Treasury will consider the case of the Ben Nevis Observatory, and that they will, in one form or another, make special provision for it. It must not be supposed that there is any Scotch jealousy in the matter. We know that the Scientific Committee in England would never think of regarding the administration of the money voted as a matter in which 1610 the claims of the different countries should be considered as mutually hostile, or in any way opposed to one another. But, at the same time, it would give some satisfaction in Scotland if it were arranged that Scotland should be more distinctly represented on the Body administering the Vote, or if there was a Vote given to the Scottish Society to be distributed in its own way, and among the younger observers who may not be well known in London.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)
I confess that I am not able to regard the reply of the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury with any very great satisfaction. I cannot but think that it is hardly fair that the Meteorological Society should take up the position they have done, and try, I must say, somewhat ungenerously, to throw a stigma upon the good work done at the Ben Nevis Observatory, by saying that, for the limited purpose of storm warnings, only 19 telegrams had been received during a period of 16 months, and that the whole of these telegrams were practically useless. It is hardly fair for the Meteorological Society of London to try to damage the Ben Nevis Observatory by stating that the telegrams received from it are useless for the purpose of storm warnings. It seems to me that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has hardly met the case fairly in saying that the primary object for which the money was voted was that of weather forecasts and storm warnings. In consequence of the answer I have received from the Government, I shall be obliged to press my Motion to a Division in order to enforce my views upon this question, from which views there is no dissent among literary men in Scotland. I observe that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald) is now in his place; and, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman is himself a scientific man, I am sure that no one can with greater force urge this question upon the consideration of the Treasury. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) to consider whether he cannot see his way to improve the administration of this Vote.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUEE (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I cannot help thinking that the hon. and learned Member 1611 for West Edinburgh would rather prejudice than advance his case if he divided the Committee upon this question. What he is anxious for is that the Government should approach the question with a view to see what can be done to meet the views of the Scottish Members. I cannot think he would further his wish by dividing the House on the present occasion, and possibly obtaining an adverse vote. I am persuaded it would be better if the hon. and learned Member would leave the matter in the hands of the Government, on whose part there is a desire to see how far they can meet the views expressed.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I should also like to put it to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Buchanan) whether it would be wise for him to take a Division on this question; whether he would by a Division really get a fair judgment of the House upon the question? My sympathies are exceedingly strong with the hon. and learned Gentleman; but I am afraid that if he goes to a Division we shall get an adverse decision of the House, and we shall practically be giving the sanction of the House of Commons, which has not yet been given, to the present mode of administration by the Royal Society and the Meteorological Society of these grants. I think the Scotch Members have made out a strong case, and I think there is room for considerable doubt as to whether this money is being so wisely administered as the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury seems to think. Personally, I consider that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met the case very fairly. I hope the Government will consider the whole matter during the Recess, and consider also whether it would not be wise next Session to appoint a small Select Committee to inquire into the matter. At present Parliament has no effective control. £20,000 a-year is being expended, and I have great doubt as to whether the country receives value for the money. I have very great doubt as to whether the meteorological returns we receive are very accurate; indeed, I believe that, if returns were laid on the Table of the House as to the weather forecasts, and as to what the weather really turned out to be, they would not prove to be very accurate. I am in entire sympathy 1612 with the hon. and learned Gentleman; but I must put in a little caveat against the separatist tendency of some of the arguments which have been advanced. At the same time, I think there is a case for inquiry as to whether these grants are administered on very well ascertained rules, and in accordance with a very wise precedent. Of this I am perfectly certain—that a Division now would be completely misleading. Let me say one word more, and it is this—it is now a quarter past 10 o'clock, and I believe that since 5 o'clock this Committee of Supply has been occupied in discussing Motions not for the reduction but for the increase of the national expenditure. Nowadays most of the Motions made in Supply amount to application for the expenditure of more money. I remember my right hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) telling me that while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer there were 28 proposals made in the House for the reduction of the national expenditure, and 500 proposals for the increase of the expenditure. It is certainly not very encouraging to those who have economy very much at heart to find a disposition on the part of Lon. Members to spend more money.
§ DR. CLARK
The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) has spoken of the representation of Scotland upon the Committee of the Royal Society. I frankly admit that Scotland is represented upon the Committee, but only by two gentlemen out of 60 who compose the Committee. For the presence of the two gentlemen Scotland has to pay £40 a-year. The Royal Society and not Scotland votes the money, and none of the money voted goes to Scotland.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I am not convinced it would be desirable to avoid taking a Division, because I have got absolutely nothing from the Government. If the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen), or the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), will promise that a Committee will be appointed to inquire into the distribution of these grants, I would think twice before dividing; but otherwise I do not see what I would gain by abstaining from dividing. I have received absolutely no assurance or concession from the Government.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
It was in the interest of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Buchanan), and not in the interest of the Government, that I counselled him not to divide. We are prepared to consider the matter. We cannot hand over everything to a Select Committee. Select Committees would be soon exhausted if all these questions were referred to a Select Committee. We will consider the matter in the Recess; but if the hon. and learned Member chooses to take a Division, of course we cannot prevent him doing so.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 45; Noes 99: Majority 54. —(Div. List, No. 414.)
§ [10.20 P.M.]
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
The question I sought to bring before the Committee a few moments ago, when I was ruled out of Order, has been brought before the Committee on previous occasions. I maintain that we are wasting the money given to the Meteorological Society if we do not distribute the results obtained by the Society in such a manner that they will be valuable to the people who want to use them most. The results obtained by the Society are, I acknowledge, of some use to fishermen; but there is a class of people in the country which is much more numerous, and that is the farming class, to whom these results would be useful. This year we have had a very long spell of dry weather, and therefore the ordinary warnings would have been comparatively useless. Generally, however, at hay and harvest time it is important that farmers should be able to know what sort of weather there is likely to be within any given 24 hours. I am quite aware that no Meteorological Society can infallibly supply accurate predictions all over the country; but they can help the farmers a great deal. The results are already obtained by the Society. The Society know the force of the currents of air; they know what the barometrical pressure is; and they are able, with a certain degree of accuracy, to predict what the weather is going to be. To be of service to farmers, these predictions must be easily accessible. In nearly every country town there is nowadays a telegraph office, and all that need be done is that the Postmaster General should direct that at 9 o'clock every morning the prediction 1614 from the Central Council shall be posted on the window of every telegraph office. The cost of this arrangement will be practically nothing. You may say it will entail the trouble of signalling. I do not suggest that the whole of the predictions should be posted on every telegraph office window. I only want that the weather forecasts for the particular district in which the office is situated should be posted, unless the office is just between two districts, when the forecasts for both districts may be posted. I speak under correction; but I believe that every telegraph office throughout the United Kingdom is supplied every morning with Greenwich time. There would be no very great trouble in sending at the same time the weather forecasts. The amount of time spent in telegraphing would not be more than a few seconds. When I brought this question up on a previous occasion the only argument adduced against my suggestion was that we should interfere with the newspapers. I have spoken to a gentleman who was the proprietor of the largest newspaper in Ireland; and certainly, at that time, he had no objection whatever to the Post Office signalling the state of the weather. I do not think what I suggest would injure the newspapers at all, because the very people who buy newspapers are the people whose attention is drawn to weather reports. The proposal I make would be a very great help to the farmers in the country districts, and, instead of injuring the newspapers, I think it would really be a benefit to them. However that may be, I have no objection that the towns in the immediate vicinity of London and Dublin, which may be supposed to get the newspapers in time to be of use to the inhabitants, should be excepted; but, as I have said, in the remote rural districts it is most necessary that the information should be given, because there the people cannot possibly get a newspaper until at least 12 hours after it is published, and the information is then too late to be of any use. I consider this matter to be one of very great importance, and it is for that reason that I draw the attention of the Government to it. The consequence to the country would be nothing whatever in point of cost. None of the representatives of the Press have ever opposed themselves to such action on the part of the Government, and it cannot be denied that the 1615 information would be of considerable value, not only to the farmers, but also to the Meteorological Bodies throughout the country; and, moreover, I think, if you could confer some practical benefit in this way, that the great body of the people would take an interest in the subject, which at present is not the case. Finally, I would say that, although we spend a little money upon these calculations, the amount of importance we attach to them is nothing like that which obtains in America, where the results are regularly published.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
I hope the Government will pay attention to what has been said by the hon. and gallant Member for North Galway (Colonel Nolan), because this is a serious matter. We are spending this large sum of money which benefits the towns, but is of no benefit whatever to the people in the rural districts. In towns, so far as this information is concerned, it is only a question of whether one should take out an umbrella, or what sort of day it is likely to be; but it has a far more serious bearing on the country districts. It is of no use to say that these reports are in the newspapers, because the people who are in the rural districts only get a newspaper, perhaps, once a week, or, even if they take one in daily, it arrives too late to be of any use. Certainly, I think it is most desirable to carry out the proposal of the hon. and gallant Member in hay and harvest time. The Government can have a short report sent down to the post offices without any extra expense whatever, and thereby confer a great boon upon the farmers in the country districts, who, although they bear their full shave of the expense, at present get no benefit from it whatever.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
I entirely agree with the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway, and I also rise to say a few words on this Vote. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) promised that during the Recess he would take into consideration the propriety of extending the distribution of this Vote. I would ask my right hon. Friend whether he has considered the rainfall accounts which have been taken by Mr. Symonds, and whether it has been decided that he should receive any assistance from the Votes of this House? The expense 1616 hitherto has been entirely supplied by private subscription. The information obtained is very valuable in the case of waterworks and establishments of that kind, and I think the present is a fair time to urge on the Government the consideration of the work done by Mr. Symonds, with a view to his having some assistance in carrying out that work.
§ MR. MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
Although I quite agree with what has been said with regard to Government assistance in works of this kind, I wish to point out that in Scotland we only receive £300. We find most of the money for this work ourselves, and we have a meteorological report sent to us daily. I think if we can do this in Scotland, farmers in England and Ireland might do the same; and although I cannot say that we do not want more money for these purposes, I think our neighbours should take our advice, and put their hands into their own pockets for the purpose of getting these reports.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid.)
I opposed this Vote last year, and I feel disposed to oppose it on the present occasion. It appears to me that the work now being done is merely experimental, and that the science of meteorology is only in its infancy. But, at any rate, as far as I can see, the body who call themselves the Meteorological Committee utterly fail to take the steps which were intended by Parliament to be taken for the purpose of bringing the science to greater perfection. I do not know that their observations thus far have been of such a reliable character that their circulation in the rural districts or amongst the fishing population would be very valuable, because my own experience of fishermen is that they are as well able to judge what weather they are going to have as those who take these observations in different parts of the country. We have no real Annual Report from the Council, telling us what they do for the enormous amount of money voted every year. We have here the sum of £15,000 going annually to this body of which we do not get any adequate account, and they cannot show us so far that they have made any real or rational progress in the science of meteorology. Some years ago a gentleman rather well known as a meteorologist made certain, suggestions to this 1617 Society for the purpose of taking observations in the Atlantic, so as to be able to gain knowledge of the atmospheric currents; and, as far as I can understand, his efforts were practically repulsed on i the ground that other suggestions of a similar character had already been made, and that they were impracticable. Now, it appears to me that if anything like real progress is to be made in of science of meteorology the experiment must be carried out altogether regardless of success or probable failure. If there is a reasonable belief that these experiments will lead to anything like valuable discovery, I should think they ought to be undertaken; and, seeing that this body receives this large sum of money, and furnishes reports to newspapers in the United Kingdom, which are of very little use, and for which they charge £800 a-year, I think we ought to ask for some information from the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury as to what is done with the money voted. As the matter now stands, I cannot see that we are any better off than we were 10 years ago. We have these newspaper reports it is true; but, as far as persons carrying on agricultural operations are concerned, they are in the same position as before, while as to the fishermen, I believe that these reports do not afford the slightest protection; and there is just as much loss of life among that class as there used to be.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
In the absence of a few words from the Government on this subject I think I shall have to move the reduction of the Vote. I have asked the Government if they will cause these reports to be published in the rural districts during hay time and harvest. I quite agree with the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) that it is sufficient that the reports should be confined to that period. In reply to the hon. Member for Kirkcudbright (Mr. Mark Stewart), I should fancy that certain gentlemen in the localities combine together to supply this information to the farmers. These gentlemen would have to put their hands into their pockets in order to telegraph to London and to pay for the reply, whereas the Postmaster General can telegraph the information without any expense whatever. The only question to be considered is as to whether the arrangement would interfere with the newspapers. I do not believe that it would. On the other hand, 1618 you would stimulate the farmers in the direction of good farming, and that, I think, is well worthy of the attention of the Government.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
I would point out to the hon. and gallant Member for North Galway that the reports are published in all the newspapers every morning in all the districts. [Au hon. MEMBER: No, no!] I think I am correct; but I will look into the matter and see if it is possible to arrange for what the hon. and gallant Gentleman requires.
§ MR. AIRD (Paddington, N.)
I wish to say a few words as to the great use the Reports of the Meteorological Society have been to the various industries in this country. I may point out with regard to the particular works upon which I have been engaged for so many years, that we have, ourselves, derived great benefit from them. We have made it a rule in carrying out these large works to arrange with the Meteorological Society, for a reasonable payment, to send telegrams every morning as to the weather we may reasonably expect. We have certainly derived great benefit from the knowledge thus gained, and therefore I hope it is not taking up the time of the Committee unnecessarily by asking that every assistance should be given to further the observations which have proved so useful in the past.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I have no doubt that what the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway (Colonel Nolan) requires should be done if these forecasts could be relied upon; but I must say that I share the opinion of the hon. Member for Mid Tyrone (Mr. M. J. Kenny) that this particular science has not yet reached a reliable point. I have often found these calculations at variance with the actual weather experienced, and the other day when there was a great thunderstorm, I looked to the forecast and there was no indication whatever that the storm was approaching. While I hope that this science will progress, I have doubts whether Her Majesty's Government should add to their other responsibilities that of being answerable for the weather.
§ MR. PROVAND: (Glasgow, Blackfriars, &c.)
The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has said that he will place this matter before the right 1619 hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General (Mr. Raikes) and see what can be done with regard to it. I may be permitted to point out, however, that the Post Office has informed me that they have no power by their Acts of Parliament to disseminate news. In the Return which I hold in my hand it is mentioned that £800 is paid for sending weather reports to the newspapers in order that the newspapers may disseminate them. I think that practice ought to be stopped at once. There is no property in this country which has been so successful as newspaper property, and I think that this expense is one which the proprietors should bear themselves. I believe that the Post Office has no power of disseminating news in the way suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for North Galway (Colonel Nolan).
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
There seems to be a difficulty in getting information from the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury with regard to this Vote. I wish to point out that there are half-a-dozen Fellows of the Meteorological Society who put £1,800 into their pockets out of this Vote. I think we ought to know exactly how much the Fellows of the Society get out of this grant.
§ MR. JACKSON
I am afraid that I cannot answer the question of the hon. Member; the only information I have is as to the total amount. As the hon. Member has said, there appears to be a payment of £300 to the Chairman, and a certain amount for fees to five other members, making a total amount of £1,000 in all. The Secretary apparently gets £800 a-year, and £1,000 appears to be devoted to special researches and experiments. That is all the information I am able to give at the moment; but if the hon. Gentleman desires it, I shall be happy to make further inquiries.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (6.) £7,321, to complete the sum for the London University.
§ (7.) £9,000, to complete the sum for the University Colleges, Wales.1620
§ MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
I do not propose to ask the Committee to reduce this Vote, because, in my opinion, no money can be better spent than that which we are now asked for; but I wish to make a brief reference to one or two points in connection with the Colleges in North and South Wales. In the case of the Colleges at Bangor and Cardiff the grant has been made permanent, and a Charter of Corporation has been granted them; but in the case of Aberystwith College it was made a necessary condition that the people of Wales must first contribute £1,000 in order to get the grant at all; and, further, the grant is only given for three years, a circumstance which produces great uncertainty, in as much as it is impossible for the Governors in consequence to complete their plans. They are now building a new College at an expense of £20,000; and, owing to the want of a Charter, an immense difficulty is experienced in coming to a decision with the contractor and in respect of other business. I wish to point out that, notwithstanding the fact that this inequality exists as between the Colleges, the results of the examinations show that Aberystwith does practically twice as much work as the other two Colleges together; and I have risen for the purpose of asking the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will impress upon the Government the duty of clearing away this inequality by giving a permanent grant and a Charter of Corporation to Aberystwith College?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
I think the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Merionethshire (Mr. T. E. Ellis) who has just spoken upon this subject seems to show that Aberystwith College does better without a permanent grant than the two other Colleges which have such grants. I cannot think that that is a good argument in support of the hon. Gentleman's case; but, however that may be, I have no knowledge that the Government have any intention of interfering with the grant that is at present given. I will, however, inquire as to this and also the question of the Charter.
§ Vote agreed, to.
§ (8.) £1,487, to complete the sum for the Deep Sea Exploring Expedition (Report).1621
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I rise to task whether it is not nearly time that this Vote came to an end? It is 11 years since the Challenger finished its last excursion, and even now we are asked for £3,000 for publishing the accounts. On such terms as this the charge is likely to go on for another 11 years, and I should like to have some idea of when this example of jobbing on scientific grounds will be put a stop to.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
I am in hope, Sir, that this charge will very soon come to an end. There is, I think, no doubt that the report of the investigations made by the Challenger will be a very valuable record; but it would be of no use unless it were published. The work is being carried out with a remodelled staff, and I am informed that it will come to an end in about three years.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I would like to know what will be done with the volumes when they are published? We have the reports from time to time; but my wish is to learn in what manner the work when complete will be circulated. I have looked at some of the volumes, and it occurs to me that they are of extreme value; and my object is to secure, if possible, that the public libraries in England, Ireland, and Scotland shall be supplied with copies of the work. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has pointed out that the results of the expedition would be of no use unless they were published; and I therefore suggest that the volumes as they appear should be circulated in such a way as to be accessible to the public.
§ MR. JACKSON
The question raised by the hon. Gentleman, I believe, was settled by a Committee, which decided to what learned societies, libraries, and colleges a copy of the work should be given. I believe the copies are limited in number, a certain number being for distribution, and a certain number for sale, and for what is called reserve store.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
It is said that there have been 14 or 15 volumes disseminated. The hon. Gentleman has failed to tell us what volume we have got to at present, and perhaps he will indicate it. Will any Member of the Government indicate—even by his fingers 1622 —what volume they have reached? If any Member of the Government will do that I will sit down at once. The Challenger has led us to a certain number of discoveries, and after 11 years we come to a certain volume relating to them; but hon. Gentlemen opposite do not know what it is. Would the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury kindly inform us where does this grant of £500 a-year come in? Is the Director to supervise this matter for another 11 years—for 11 times 11 years — is he to get 11 times 11 times £500? This seems to me an exceedingly possible, if not probable, waste of public money. I do not pretend to know much about this matter. [Laughter, and cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, I can return the compliment to hon. Gentlemen opposite. I think they know less than nothing about this subject. It seems to me that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury has helped those who know very little about this matter to know still less about it. I ask when this payment of £500 will terminate, and why it is that the nation should be called upon to continue this payment? If these are not pertinent questions, and are not worthy of an answer, I shall be quite as satisfied as the bon. Gentleman is.
§ MR. JACKSON
I cannot answer the question as to the number of the volume; but with regard to the expenditure which the hon. Member for West Kerry (Mr. E. Harrington) has mentioned, this remodelling of the staff was agreed to in 1877. I believe I overstated the matter when I said it would come to an end in three years time, because I believe amongst those who understand the matter the impression is that it will come to an end with the payment next year.
§ Vote agreed, to.