§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £400, be granted to His 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, 1903, for a grant to the Board of Trustees for Manufactures in Scotland in aid of the maintenance of the National Gallery, School of Art, and Museum of Antiquities, Scotland, &c."
§ (9.0.) SIR JOHN STIRLING-MAXWELL (Glasgow, College)
rose to call attention to the unsatisfactory state of the accounts in reference to this subject, and especially as affecting the National Gallery. This question had been raised several times, but the discussions had always been of an inconclusive character. He could, however, assure the Scottish Department that matters would not be allowed to drop very easily, and that every opportunity would be taken to inform the people of the country of the facts with a view, if possible, of putting some backbone into the Department. The immediate subject with which he had to deal was the National Gallery, but it was closely entangled with other institutions under the Board of Manufactures. This Board was a respectable old Scottish institution dating from 1727, and was composed of twenty-seven or twenty-eight Scottish gentlemen of high reputation enjoying the confidence and respect of their countrymen. Though, like many other bodies in the country, it was an antiquated and anomalous body, it was capable of doing very useful work, if only it were conducted in a business-like manner and with sound methods of finance. The funds for the half a dozen institutions included in the management were pooled, and the entanglement had been disastrous to the National Gallery. The accounts were meagre and even misleading, and the description "miscellaneous" appeared under some fourteen 207 entries, giving no information of expenditure. Hon. Members for Scotland were often charged with being slow in obtaining their rights, but the fact that only eight annual reports had been issued, although the Board of Management had existed since 1727, proved surely that they had not long had the opportunity of knowing what was going on. The annual cost of the National Gallery in Scotland was £1,571, of which £311 was derived from visitors' fees. The total income of the Board was £6,070, of which the balance, after the Parliamentary grant of £3,400 was deducted, was made up of fees and income from investments. There were certain considerable invested funds as to which no statement appeared in the report, but which presumably amounted to between £40,000 and £60,000. He would be glad to know how that fund came into existence. He believed it was the result of accumulations from more fortunate days, when the School of Art used to cost less, or even bring in some profit. They might congratulate themselves on the fact that the money had accumulated, otherwise the Board would be unable to meet its ordinary liabilities. But of the grant of £3,400 received from the Treasury, £2,000 was paid under the Act of Union, and was Scottish money. Of this £2,000 of purely Scottish money, the National Gallery received only about £1,000, the remaining £1,000 being spent by the Board of Manufactures upon other institutions. The £2,000 was essentially Scottish money, and it ought to be spent on exclusively Scottish objects, not as at present on objects to which the Imperial Treasury is bound to contribute. The National Gallery in Ireland received £2,963 from the Imperial Exchequer, which included £1,000 a year for the purchase of pictures. He was aware that there had been complaints that there was want of life in the National Gallery in Scotland. The gallery lacked the force of life, and anybody who imagined that while it was in this lethargic and comatose state due to want of money it would receive gifts from persons outside was living in a fool's paradise. These galleries should be preserved for the reception of interesting national objects, but the National Gallery of Scotland was not in a position to secure such objects, except by private 208 gift. He hoped the Government would grant an inquiry into the question of the institutions under the Board of Manufactures, and give a grant of £1,000 a year for the purchase of pictures for the National Gallery in Edinburgh. It was the duty of all the Members for Scotland, if the Government were not able to meet them on these two points, to go into the division lobby in support of the reduction of the vote by £100, which he begged to move.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £3,300, be granted for the said Service."— (Sir John Stirling-Maxwell)
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
said he entirely agreed with what the hon. Baronet opposite had said. It was right that they should put forward in a moderate spirit legitimate causes of complaint when they were asking for money for such a purpose so commendable as the maintenance of the National Gallery in Scotland. As the hon. baronet had explained, the National Gallery in Scotland at present received £1,000, which was nominally a grant from the Treasury, but was in reality a payment in discharge of an obligation that was as old as the Articles of Union. The result was that, in, substance, the National Gallery got nothing at all. His point was that Scotland was entitled to get as high a grant as Ireland. The demand of the hon. Baronet was a most moderate one. In the first place, they ought to have a grant of £1,000 a year to put them on a level with Ireland, and, in the second place, an inquiry ought to take place with regard to the whole subject, and also to investigate the manner in which the multifarious duties of the Board of Manufactures were discharged. Those were very fair and reasonable proposals, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would shorten the discussion by assenting to them. If they were not agreed to, he should certainly support the hon. Baronet in the division.
§ (9.32.) MR. SHAW-STEWART
supported the appeal. If Ireland had a right to a grant of £1,000 a year, Scotland surely had an equal right to a similar sum for the same purpose. Scotland had certainly not done less to 209 deserve it, but possibly she had not obtained it because her representatives may not have been sufficiently active in the matter. One reason why they had been backward in pressing for this grant was that there had been more urgent needs in the Highlands. But of recent years considerable grants had been made to meet the demands from the Highlands, and now the Scottish representatives were unanimous in making this reasonable request. In former years the demand had been met by the reply that the Board of Manufactures was not the best body of men to whom such a grant could be entrusted. If that was the case, let a scheme be brought forward without delay for the reconstruction of that body. That would, to a certain extent, be satisfactory as a first step towards doing justice to the Scottish National Gallery, but unless some definite promise was made by the Government he should feel it his duty to support his hon. friend who had moved the reduction.
§ Mr. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
said the question of the encouragement of art could never be a Party question, and certainly that of the encouragement of Scottish Art ought never to provoke Party feeling between Scottish representatives. He congratulated the hon. Baronet on the manner in which he had brought forward the question, and also upon the firmness he had shown. It was not a new question. The matter had been brought up on former occasions, but he believed the reason their request had not been granted was that they had not been in thorough combination against the Government of the day, from whichever party it was drawn. An inquiry had been demanded. But inquiries were very cheap things, and did not often lead to any practical result. he hoped, therefore, that Members would not be content with an inquiry, but that they would insist as a minimum that they should have at least as much as Ireland received for the support of their National Gallery, as well as an inquiry into the whole subject.
§ Sir ANDREW AGNEW (Edinburgh, S.)
also supported the request which had been made. It did not seem right that any of the National Galleries should be allowed to stagnate, but they could not 210 help doing so if they had not the money to improve and increase their collections. It was the wish of all Scottish Members that a regular grant should be made to enable the National Gallery to purchase new pictures when the opportunity offered. The Gallery ought not to be allowed to subsist on charity, on chance gifts and bequests; it ought to have a fund of its own, so that it might be in a position to go into the market and buy pictures from time to time, so that the interest and value of the collection would be increased. The sum asked for was very small, and probably they would have got it before had they been as persistent as the Irish Members in bringing the claims of their country before Parliament. It was a generally accepted maxim, or, at any rate, one usually acted upon, that those who did not ask did not want. Scotland had not hitherto asked with sufficient pertinacity for such a grant, but now that Scottish Members on both sides were unanimous on the point, he hoped the request would be granted.
§ Mr. CALDWELL
welcomed the intervention of Members on the other side in pressing for this grant. The application had been made year by year by Members on his own side of the House, but it was not surprising that the Government should not have yielded when Members on the other side obediently went into the lobby against the proposal. He was glad to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer present, because the right hon. Gentleman would remember that he promised to give Scotland £26,000 a year to bring up the fee grant to 12s. per scholar. Owing to a miscalculation, however, that sum had not been required, and the Exchequer had been the gainer to that extent. The right hon. Gentleman had admitted that in equity in any re-arrangement of money required for educational purposes, Scotland had a good claim to consideration in respect of this £20,000. A demand was now made for £1,000 out of £26,000, and he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would accede to it.
§ MR. BONAR LAW (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
was reluctant to join in this demand upon the public purse, because he was one of those who believed in economy, and he also agreed with the 211 Chancellor of the Exchequer who had often remarked that, while in the discussions on the Budget everybody urged economy, yet in Committee of Supply they joined in pulling at his purse-strings. But there was a, limit to I which that consideration should apply, and he had never heard a case made out more clearly in favour of a demand than on the present occasion. In no department of life, was the truth of the parable of the importunate widow better illustrated than in the endeavour to get money from the public purse. He was inclined to admit that the Unionist Members had taken things pretty easy as regards Scottish questions, but naturally they did not welcome voting against the Government with the same enthusiasm as hon. Members opposite. It would, however, be an unfortunate thing if the idea got abroad that Scottish interests were better looked after when representatives of the other side of the House were in a majority, and partly for that reason, but mainly because of the justice of the demand, he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would accede to this request. If, however, it was necessary to take a division, he should have no hesitation in supporting the hon. baronet.
CAPTAIN BALFOUR (Middlesex, Hornsey)
as an English Member, but a loyal Scot, backed up the claim of the Scottish Members in this matter. The demand was an exceedingly moderate one; it was simply a request for straw to make bricks, and surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not rival Pharoah of old in refusing that request. The case of Ireland had really been under-stated, because for the Irish National Gallery a sum of £3,600 was voted under normal conditions. He was glad that Scottish Members were backing each other up in the proper way in this matter, but he regretted that the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark should have introduced his somewhat recriminatory remarks. This was the first Parliament in which Scotland had had a majority of Unionist Members, and surely, if the other side had had the predominance for so long, they ought to have got the matter settled. If the Motion were taken to a division, he should support his hon. friend.
§ (9.48) THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
I feel that I ought not to leave this matter entirely to my right hon. friend the Lord Advocate, although I am well aware that he could state the case better than I can. I find myself in a rather difficult position. I am, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, responsible for the Treasury of the United Kingdom, but I am present tonight in a Scottish House of Commons. I have always been brought up to believe that certain proverbs, such as "A penny saved is a penny gained," and so on, were proverbs especially dear to Scotsmen. Judging by the debate tonight, however, I find that when it is a question of taking money out of the general Treasury, those proverbs are entirely forgotten. I do not say that as indicating hostility to the present proposal, but I entirely deny that Parliament has been unfair in this matter of grants for the purchase of pictures for the National Gallery of Scotland as compared with that of Ireland What is the principle upon which Parliament has acted with reference to the National Gallery both in Dublin and in Edinburgh? It is that the State should contribute in equal proportions with private generosity. How has that principle operated in Ireland? Since 1864 Parliament has contributed for the extension of buildings of the Irish National Gallery £21,000, part of which is included in the Estimates for the present year, and for the purchase of pictures £34,000—in all, £55,000. There has been received during that time from private generosity £54,000. How does the Scottish account stand? During that time the Treasury always offered a corresponding grant for any grant made from private funds. A sum of £6,000 has been given accordingly by the Treasury, as against £6,000 derived from private generosity. Now, that does not speak well for Scotland, which is a wealthy country as compared with Ireland.
§ Mr JOHN WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)
How much more revenue do you get from Scotland as compared with Ireland?
§ Sir M. HICKS BEACH
Not a penny more than Scotland is well able to pay. A short time ago I was in Edinburgh and saw the National Gallery; I know the Irish National Galleryin Dublin well. The latter 213 has infinitely the better collection, and the pictures far more valuable now than, when they were bought. The Irish National Gallery has had the. inestimable advantage of being managed by two men of singular capacity, who have utilised the Parliamentary grant of.£1,00 a year in the most admirable way for the purchase of pictures, and as a result the Gallery possesses pictures which are now far more valuable than they were when they were bought. There was a grant of £5,000 made to the Scotch National Gallery for the purchase of pictures. It has been expended in the purchase of one picture by a Scottish artist—a very good picture, no doubt, but 1 am advised on good authority that the picture would not sell now for anything like the money it cost.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I think the hon. Baronet will not deny what I have just stated. The fact is that the management of the Scottish Gallery is in the hands of a too unwieldy body, which is quite incompetent for such a purpose. Speaking for myself, I should not grudge a grant of £1,000 a year to the Scotch National Gallery if there was proper security that it would be we I expended, but I decline, to entrust it to the Board of Manufactures. The first step in the matter is that there should be some inquiry into the management of the Scotch National Gallery, and I will communicate with my noble friend the Secretary for Scotland on the subject of instituting it. Therefore, before I can promise this grant, I require some security that the money will be properly expended.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancasshire, Chorley)
said that he was very glad to hear that the right hon. gentleman had promised an inquiry into this matter and he hoped that they would secure as a result of it this grant for Scotland. He wished to comment on one or two figures which had been given to the Committee by the right hon. Gentleman. The whole tone of the right hon. Gentleman's argument in the earlier part of his speech was very distasteful to the Scottish Members, and also to some hon. Members representing British constituencies. The whole, tone of the right hon. Gentleman's argument seemed to be that there, was no 214 public support given to the National Gallery in Scotland. He was aware of the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there was no private support given to the National Gallery of Scotland and he had had the curiosity to look through the catalogue of the gallery that evening. There were 650 items in the Gallery' and of these 3 per cent. only were purchased by the Board of Manufactures, the remaining 97 percent. of the pictures having been contributed by private funds and private societies. He thought that was a sufficient answer to the charge that there was no public support given to the National Gallery in Scotland, and he should like the right hon. gentleman to point to any Gallery in Europe or London in which he would find so large a proportion of pictures contributed by private individuals or by private societies.
There was another point, in which the right hon. Gentleman touched upon the money side of the pictures in the National Galleries, in which he said private generosity had contributed to the value of £6,000. That might approximate in cash to the amount given by private generosity, but hon. Members would remember with affection the name of Sir William M Ewan, who gave 5,000 guineas in response to which he understood that the Treasury only gave £5,000. At any rate there was a rumour to that effect in Scotland. He wished to remind the right hon. Gentleman that gifts and bequests to the National Gallery in Scotland did not always take the form of cash; for very often valuable pictures were given, worth thousands of pounds, and. therefore, it was not quite right to take cash and measure private generosity by the actual sovereigns paid into an institution. The right hon. Gentleman had only taken into account bequests in money. But one of the pictures which had been given by private donors was worth £20,000. He thought that was a sufficient answer to the charge of want of patriotism which the right hon. Gentleman had brought against the people of Scotland. He was glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman was going to look into this question. The Board of Manufactures was instituted about 200 years ago, chiefly for the purpose of promoting the jute trade. Whether that trade was 215 prosperous or not, he did not know, but the duty of promoting the jute trade had long since been removed from the work of this distinguished body At the present moment any odd jobs seemed to have fallen to the lot of this body, and he hoped that before very long it would be reconstituted in such a way that some good would come of it. Hon. Members did not base their demand for Scotland upon the ground that Ireland got £1,000 per annum. He did not think that argument was correct, or that it was even an advisable argument to put forward. It seemed to him to be a financial argument, which entirely denied the unity of these realms. He thought, however, a similar argument could be put forward with regard to Scotland, and without occupying any more the time of the Committee, he would conclude by expressing the hope that when this promised inquiry was held, it would be an exhaustive character, and if this were so he was confident that one result would be that these institutions in Scotland would be re-organised on a better and a more influential footing which would secure greater efficiency in the future.
§ (10.10.) SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
It strikes me that a comparison made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer between Scotland and Ireland is not quite accurate. The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not proceed exactly on the same footing in the two countries, because I understood him to mention only the money gifts in Scotland, while he rolled off with great unction a list of bequests of pictures for Ireland which he estimated at the value of £40,000. The noble Lord opposite tells us that the pictures bequeathed or presented to the Scottish National Gallery arc not included in the comparison made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ Sir H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I confess that I am not very fond of these comparisons between Ireland and Scotland, and more especially I am not 216 at all anxious to take the scale of expenditure of public Departments in Ireland as our standard in Scotland. The Scotch people pride themselves, as the right hon. Gentleman stated I think with some foundation, upon being an economical nation, and I can only say that I can recall case after case in this House when Scotch Members have united in pressing upon the Government of, the day a reduction of something which was being expended in their country, showing that they did not desire money to be spent improperly in Scotland, but that they wished everything to be done with a due regard to economy. Tonight we have the whole of the Scotch Members without exception asking for better treatment and better provision for the Arts in Scotland, and for the artistic exhibitions and schools of that country. The right hon. Gentleman has made a proposal which I confess seems to me not at all an unreasonable one. He says, and I agree with him, that the control which at present exists is not entirely satisfactory.
As for the Board of Manufactures, I should not care to say anything disrespectful of it in the presence of the hon. Member for Ipswich, but I may say that it is not only a cumbrous body, but it has amongst its members a large number of men who come from different parts of the country, and who are not expected to pay much attention to its affairs. I do not think I should go far wrong if I said that until a short time ago the Board of Manufactures was really one individual, who was, I think, the Secretary. He was the Board of Manufactures, but he seems to have disappeared now, and I do not know what has become of him. By common consent the Board of Manufactures was not a satisfactory body for controlling such matters as were before the Committee. I understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised an inquiry into the whole subject of the control of not only the National Gallery, but the other institutions connected with art, and I hope I understood him to promise that he would reserve the assistance he might give until there was a proper governing body. If that is so, I cannot conceive a more satisfactory result of this universal foray of the Scottish Members on the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (Wigtonshire)
expressed his satisfaction at the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but desired to dissociate himself from any expression of resentment against the Board of Manufactures. It was, indeed, a somewhat nebulous body, though some of its functions seemed to be strangely at variance with its title. He had never been able to understand, for instance, why the Museum of Antiquities should be committed to the care of the Board of Manufactures. It seemed rather to cast a reflection on the genuineness of the antiquities which the antiquaries had brought together in Edinburgh. If their operations in the past were to be, inquired into he trusted that it would not be done in any spirit of undue criticism or ingratitude for the duties which they had performed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had made a comparison between the generosity of the patrons of art in Ireland and in Scotland. He could not quite follow the data upon which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had proceeded, although he was quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman was incapable of doing any injustice to the Scottish subjects of the Crown. At the same time he thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had laid himself open to the charge of unfairness in the comparison which he had made, and he would show the Committee why. The Vote for Ireland and the Vote for Scotland appeared under the same heading, and it mentioned the National Gallery, etc., for Scotland, and the National Gallery, without the etcetera, in Ireland. What did the etcetera include in Scotland? It included the School of Art, the Museum of Antiquities, and the National Portrait Gallery. How was the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Antiquities housed. He wished to point out to his right hon. friend that, but for the generosity of the late Mr. Findlay, who gave £50,000 for the purpose, the people of Edinburgh would have been without buildings for their collection of antiquities and National Portrait Gallery. Had it not been for the generosity of the late Mr. Findlay they would have been at the present moment houseless, for they had no money to provide a new home for their collection of antiquities and the National 218 Portrait Gallery, and the Treasury refused to find them any. he knew how wearisome these complaints were against the Treasury, but, nevertheless, he wished to express his gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman for the assurance he had given that, in future, if the same policy of economy was pursued in regard to the institutions of Scotland, it would be done after a full inquiry had been made into the whole subject.
§ (10.20.) DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
said the evidence which had been brought before him showed that the management of those, institutions had been extremely unsatisfactory. One charge brought against the Board was that they had bought only one picture. The National Gallery of. Scotland has always prided itself on being a national collection of great artists who had flourished in Edinburgh. They would have been extremely wrong if they had failed to take the opportunity of securing the admirable work to which reference had been made. The right hon. Gentle man had compared the collection in Edinburgh to that in Dublin. There was no national art in Ireland that he knew of. [Laughter.] Well, he thought there was very little. There might be a few sporadic and occasional examples, but there were no schools of art in Dublin like what they had in Edinburgh. The Irish got a settled amount of £1,000 a year, and if it was not spent it was stored up to be available for the purchase of specimens in future years. What they kept in view in Edinburgh was the desirableness of acquiring at any time the work of a Scottish artist, in order that it might be placed in the national collection. He had not seen the collection in Dublin, but he did not believe for a single moment that it could compare with that in the National Gallery in Edinburgh.
Mr. PARKER SMITH
thought that Scotland should have a grant for the purchase of pictures. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that the Irish National Gallery in twenty years had received £55,000 from private sources, and about an equivalent sum 219 had been given from the Imperial Exchequer. It was said that in Scotland they had received about £6,000. But the right hon. Gentleman left out altogether the splendid sum which Mr. Findlay gave for the building which now holds the Scottish national portraits. What he understood was that if a gift of £40,000 or £50,000 was given for a Scottish gallery, an equal sum would be given by the Treasury, and if so, that knowledge might prove an incitement to others to make such gifts.
THE EARL OF DALKEITH (Roxburgh)
said that they had heard that this gift of £50,000 made by the late Mr. Findlay had not been met by the Treasury; therefore, while Ireland had got its fair return for private contributions Scotland had not, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to put down for Scotland something like £50,000 or £60,000.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said he was astonished to hear his hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire make a most unprovoked and uncalled-for assault upon the artistic work of the people of Ireland. The only excuse for that must be found in the fact that the hon. Gentleman had not visited the museum in Dublin at all. The hon. Member would excuse him for saying that there were schools of art of the highest possible merit in Ireland before Scotland was thrown up by some volcanic disturbance. The exhibits in the museum at Dublin proved beyond all question that from the earliest ages Ireland was famous for everything artistic. At the present period the Irish representatives were engaged in a fierce struggle to obtain from England specimens of Irish art which had found their way into the British Museum. It was most providential that he happened to be here to say a word in defence of Irish art.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
said Scotland ought to insist upon getting a grant for the National Gallery on the lines laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If that were done, instead of receiving £6,000, Scotland ought to have received £66,000, for Mr. Findlay himself gave £50,000, and the Turner drawings were worth 220 £10,000. Unless he got some more satisfactory explanation he would support the Amendment.
(10.35.) MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said he really did not know how any hon. Member who heard the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer could give such an extraordinary travesty of what his right hon. friend said as his hon. friend the Member for the Camlachie Division had given. The Chancellor of the Exchequer promised an inquiry into the constitution of the Board of Manufactures as a proper authority to take care of the National Gallery. His right hon. friend indicated, not obscurely, that the Board of Manufactures, which had an historical genesis in its favour, was not perhaps the best judge of what a picture gallery should be, and the time had come for some change. His hon. friend did not say that he was going to give an inquiry into the question of pounds, shillings, and pence. What his right hon. friend said was, that if he could be certain through inquiry that we had a perfectly good body to direct a national picture gallery, he would not stick out for a paltry thousand pounds in the year's Estimates. He never promised Ireland that precisely every penny spent by private munificence should necessarily be covered. He did not promise it for Scotland. But he said that, if there were a proper body to manage the Scottish National Musuem, he would be glad to give it the same amount of grant in the yearly Estimates as he had been in the habit of granting to Ireland. With that statement he thought hon. Members might be content.
§ Sir H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said he took it that it was also part of the understanding that whatever additional money the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave, and he hoped it would be more than £1,000 a year—would date from this time.
§ Sir JOHN STIRLING-MAXWELL
said what they asked was that a full inquiry should be made into the institutions under the charge of the Board of Manufactures, and that the inquiry should embrace the whole of their financial position, including the question 221 of a grant from the Imperial Treasury equivalent to the benefactions made by private persons.
§ MR. WEIR
said that he was not satisfied with the promises made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Lord Advocate, and as a Scotchman he protested against the Chancellor of the Exchequer castigating Scotchmen for illiberality. Scottish liberality stood forth brightly for science and art in the past. It was the business of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to open his purse and contribute to the Scottish National Art Gallery. The Chancellor of the Exchequer need not have twitted the Scottish people for not giving more money to their Art Gallery. He thought it was most unfortunate that Ireland had been dragged into this question. He found that £17,000 had been given to the National Gallery in London, and he wanted to know what the people of England had contributed last year to that institution. He was sure that no people in the world were more appreciative of pictures and the fine arts than the Scottish people. Had any of the members of this Board of Manufactures ever ventured to go to Japan in quest of curios or antiquities from Shinto or Buddha temples? Had they sought antiquities in Egypt, India, or Greece? What did the right hon. Gentleman expect in the way of pictures worth placing in a National gallery, for £1,000 a year? He was glad that the Unionist and Tory and Radical Members of Scotland had joined hands on this question, and had taken a leaf out of the book of the Irish Members in demanding fair play for Scotland. He had never seen a more unsatisfactory Report than that of the Board of Manufactures. There was nothing definite in the promise of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he hoped the hon. Member would go to a division.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
said he was somewhat surprised that his statement appeared to be misunderstood, as there was still a disposition to go to a division. Nothing could be done this year, but, of course, he intended that something should be done in next year's Estimates, and that was the important 222 point. He did not consider that the Board of Manufactures were a fitting body to manage the National Gallery, and he could not place £1,000 at the disposal of this Board, guided by an unknown secretary, as the Leader of the Opposition had said, for the purchase of pictures.
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
said that the right hon. Gentleman knew Scotland pretty well. He had not meant to say in his earlier speech that Scotchmen were less liberal in gifts for public purposes than Irishmen; but he did say that their liberality had not been stimulated as the liberality of Irishmen had been stimulated in regard to private benefactions to the National Gallery. He would look into the matter and endeavour to ascertain what benefactions had been made. By the inquiry he promised he hoped that some arrangement would be made that would place the National Gallery of Scotland in the same advantageous position as that of Ireland; and he would undertake to place a sum of £1,000 on the Estimates of next year for the purchase of pictures, with the understanding that it should be managed and controlled by whoever should be appointed as the result of the inquiry.
§ Sir JOHN STIRLING-MAXWELL
said that, after the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he should withdraw his Amendment.
§ SIR CHARLES DALRYMPLE (Ipswich)
said his only claim to intervene in the debate was that he was the only member of the Board of Manufactures who happened to have a seat in the House. It had been said that the management of the Board was practically in the hands of a secretary. Anyone who had been present at the meetings of the Board would know how untrue was that allegation. There were upon the Board men who had a great knowledge of art, and they had the constant presence and advice of Sir George Reid, President of the Royal Scottish Academy. As he understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the obstacle to more liberal treatment of the National Gallery had been the incompetence of the Board of Manufactures. If they had had an inkling that that was the state of mind of the Treasury, he was 223 sure the Board would have resigned in a body. He would only refer to the figures the right hon. Gentleman put before the House, which, of course, must have been supplied to him from some ignorant source, or else he would never have omitted, in mentioning the liberality shown to art in Scotland, to refer to the munificence of Mr. Findlay, which had been alluded to in the course of the debate.
§ Sir HERBERT MAXWELL
said that since mentioning £50,000 as the amount of Mr. Findlay's gift, he had refreshed his memory, and he found that while his original gift for the National Portrait Gallery and the Society of Antiquaries was £50,000, that was subsequently supplemented by various sums, amounting to about £50,000 more. Accordingly, Mr. Findlay's benefactions to these two institutions amounted to nearly£100,000.
CROSS hoped that the inquiry promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer would take a broad form, and that £1,000 would not be regarded as the maximum amount of the grant. The Scottish Members had an opportunity of making a protest; and even if they did not succeed on the first occasion, the Government would give them a more sympathetic hearing next year. He hoped the Government would grant the concession they asked for, namely, that the inquiry should be a broad one; that the sum should not be limited to £1,000; and also that the controlling body should be such as to meet with general approval.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put and agreed to.