HL Deb 17 March 1845 vol 78 cc947-8
The Earl of Minto

said, he wished to put a question to the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Wellington) to which he feared the noble Duke would not be prepared to give a satisfactory answer. His question was—whether Her Majesty's Government had it in contemplation to take any measure to facilitate the publication of the very interesting magnetic observations made during the late Antarctic voyage, under the command of Captain Ross. That voyage had been undertaken at the instance of the most scientific men in this country and in other parts of the world. These observations were, at the same time, to be conducted in different parts of Europe, so that comparative information might be obtained on this subject. The voyage and the experiments had been conducted with the utmost skill, and had succeeded beyond expectation; it had led to the most curious and important discoveries, and had added greatly to the advancement of science. Her Majesty's Government had very liberally contributed the sum of 2,000l. towards the expenses of publishing the researches of the departments of Botany and Natural History; but nothing had yet been done towards the expenses of making available the more important branch of the undertaking, which was the magnetical and meteorological observations. He understood that it had been in contemplation to publish the results of these observations through the means of the Royal Society, the funds of which institution were totally inadequate for the publication of the complete observations; and he need not state that the mere results were of little value compared to the observations themselves. Under these circumstances, he did hope, as he understood that the Russian Government was about to publish all the observations taken in that country, and as the French Government was always most liberal in the publication of such observations, that the British Government would give such assistance as would lead to the publication of these observations in the most entire and perfect form. After 100,000l. had already been spent by the Government, he hoped that they would not grudge the additional sum of 2,000l. or 3,000l., which would be all that was necessary to place the public in possession of the whole of these observations.

The Duke of Wellington

said, he was not able to give the noble Earl an answer, but he might rely on it that the utmost attention would be given to the subject, and that Her Majesty's Ministers would take measures to give the most complete information in so interesting a matter. He would only add that he would direct inquiries to be made in the proper quarter.