§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S.)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he can now give the names of the Committee appointed to inquire into the condition of the South Kensington Collections; and, whether he will direct the attention of the Committee to the Report and Evidence of the Duke of Devonshire's Commission, so far as it relates to this subject, and also the Reports and Evidence of subsequent Committees which Government have, from time to time, appointed without acting upon their recommendations?
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSOHEN)(who replied) said (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I am still in communication with several of the gentlemen whom it is proposed to put on the Committee, consequently I cannot as yet state the names. With regard to the Reports of previous Commissions or Committees, the attitude of the Government was shown in an answer given by the First Lord of the Treasury in the House on the 26th of last month. The Duke of Devonshire's Commission, to which the hon. Member refers, reported in 1874 that it was desirable that the Scientific Collections should be subjected to a critical revision, with a view to restricting them to such objects as are of National interest or utility. Similarly, the Committees which sat in 1883, whose Reports were adopted by Sir Frederick Bramwell's 897 Committee in 1885, held that the Scientific Collections might be weeded with advantage. Sir Frederick Bramwell's Committee omitted to deal specifically with this question; and for this reason my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, decided in 1885 that nothing could be done until the Collections had been thoroughly sifted by some independent authority. It is this object which the new Committee is intended to effect.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
asked whether there was to be any Representative of Ireland on this Committee?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that the suggestion had not been made to the First Lord of the Treasury. The Committee was to be selected, not with a view to the representation of Parliamentary Parties or separate Nationalities, but to collect the best men to judge of scientific and artistic objects.