HC Deb 06 July 1888 vol 328 c572
MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been called to a letter in The Times, signed "W.," in which it is stated, with reference to the intimation conveyed to the Trustees of the National Gallery, about the Blenheim Pictures, that— That 'intimation' was no act of the Government at all … or of anybody except a Treasury official, who made it proprio motu, without instructions, and without authority, and that— Instead of severely rebuking the presumptuous official, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer thought it necessary to support him; and, whether these statements are true?


I am afraid that the assertion to which the hon. Member has called my attention is not more accurate than statements which profess to be disclosures of official confidence are apt to be. So far from the decision being that of a "presumptuous Treasury official acting proprio motu, without instructions, and without authority," it was distinctly the act of the Government of the day; and, this being the case, there was no presumption, and, consequently, no rebuke.