§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
I beg to ask the Prime Minister what was the date upon which the British Government decided to refuse the bequest of the late Mr. Stibbert, of Florence, of his collection of art and other property to the British nation, the reasons for such refusal, and whether he will lay upon the Table of this House a copy of Mr. Stibbert's will, as well as of the correspondence on the subject of this bequest between His Majesty's Government, the Italian Government, the Municipality of Florence, and others.
§ MR. HARCOURT
I have been asked to reply to this Question. The bequest was declined in August last, because it appeared to His Majesty's Government, on examination of the will, that they would have practically no power over the administration, under the conditions laid down by the testator, and would be involved in rather wide financial liabilities. Neither under the terms of the bequest, nor under the Italian law, could any part of the collection have been transferred to this country. The renunciation of the bequest by us 429 transfers it on exactly the same terms and conditions to the Commune of Florence, and therefore those desiring to see the collection will do so exactly as if we had been in nominal custody of it. I do not think it is necessary to lay Papers on the subject, but I will show the hon. Member and others interested any of them they may wish to see.