HL Deb 02 March 1865 vol 177 cc956-7

, in presenting a Petition of Trustees of the British Museum complaining of the inadequacy of the present building, and praying that steps may be taken without any delay for procuring additional space, and that appropriate buildings may be erected thereon, said, that so far as regarded any Vote of public money, that was, of course, a question solely for the House of Commons. But there were other points involved. There might be a question as to a new arrangement of collections, and there might be a necessity for the amendment of former Acts, or the passing of a new Act on that subject, which their Lordships could properly entertain. Under these circum-tances, it had seemed to the trustees that it would be most respectful towards the Legislature that, while leaving, of course, the question of money to the House of Commons, they should present a petition to this House also, and that he should state on their behalf the difficulties with which they had to deal. He had given notice that he would on this occasion enter into those difficulties in some detail, and that he would also ask, whether Her Majesty's Government had been able to devise any plan that would meet the case; but he found himself precluded from taking that course. It was the wish—the not unreasonable wish—of many of the trustees that whatever discussions there might be on this subject should take place simultaneously in the two Houses. The forms of the House of Commons would prevent his right hon. Friend Mr. Walpole, who was intrusted with the petition to that House, from saying a single word in explanation; he could only present the petition in the usual form and give notice of his intention to call the attention of the House to the subject on a future occasion. He (Earl Stanhope) would, with their Lordships' permission, adopt a similar course. He would at present make no statement and ask for no reply, but would lay the petition on the table, and on another day give notice of the period at which he proposed to bring forward the subject. He regretted that in consequence of the House not meeting on the previous day, it had been impossible for him to alter his Notice as it stood upon the Minutes.

Ordered to lie on the table.

House adjourned at a quarter past Five o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.

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