MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury can he say whence the necessity has arisen for do-signing a new Great Seal; have there been any, and, if so, what alterations made in the design of the Great Seal; how many new Great Seals have been made in the present reign, and what has been the cost of each; and what becomes of the old Great Seals.
§ MR. HANBURY
In 1897 it was represented to the Treasury that the present Seal had been in use for nearly twenty years, and twice as long as the average time during which previous Great Seals had lasted. New Great Seals wore made in 1838, 1860, and 1878. Since 1878 many documents which had formerly to pass the Great Seal have under statute been impressed with a wafer instead. It was also stated that the mechanical parts of the Great Seal wore worn out, and that the fittings and ornaments had become sensibly defaced the mechanical press and fittings are not, of course, a part of the Seal the Seal itself, I am informed, requires careful cleaning, but there may be technical difficulties in the way of sending the Seal to be cleaned and refitted. The cost of the 1838 Seal is not known. That made in 1860 cost £413, and that of 1878 £513. The new one will cost £400. The disused Great Seal is disposed of as the Sovereign may direct.
§ MR. HANBURY
It is difficult to describe them in an answer. I shall be 1513 glad to show the new design to my hon. friend.