THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN,
in rising to call the attention of the House to the question of the opening of Museums and Galleries on Sundays, and to move—That, seeing the success which has attended the action of Her Majesty's Government in opening on Sundays the national museums and galleries in the suburban districts of London and in the city of Dublin, and whereas this House was last Session informed by Her Majesty's Government that no opposition to Sunday opening, so far as it had already gone, had come before them, this House is of opinion that the time has arrived for extending the policy of Sunday opening to all museums and galleries supported by national funds,said, that the subject was one which had been several times before their Lordships, and that, therefore, there was no necessity for him to enter into details with regard to it. If he did not enter at length into the question, he wished the House clearly to understand that he did not do so from any doubt as to the strength of the arguments which could be used in support of the proposition he had to lay before their Lordships. He merely took his present course because he saw no object in troubling the House with a twice-told tale. No doubt, the arguments used two years ago were fresh in their Lordships' minds; and he hoped that those arguments, although not then successful, had since germinated and would bear good fruit on the present occasion. He would confine himself to arguing three principal points — first, whether a largo number of the working men of the Metropolis were anxious that a change in the law on this subject should be brought about; secondly, whether such a change in the law would give any large classes an opportunity of utilizing in a proper manner their Sunday leisure; and, thirdly, whether there would be very serious objection raised in any district against the opening of the Museums on Sunday in their neighbourhood. With regard to the two Amendments to his Motion which stood upon the Paper, he might say that he accepted the first— that of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley of Alderley) which proposed that the Museums should not be opened on Sunday until 2 o'clock in the afternoon—with great pleasure, as it undoubtedly supplied an omission in his Resolution, be- 156 cause he had not the slightest desire to interfere with the hours of religious service on Sunday. On the contrary, he believed that the adoption of his Resolution would increase the attendance at places of worship by elevating the general moral tone of the people. But the Amendment of the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) he looked upon with very different feelings. In the first place, it was not an Amendment to his (the Earl of Dunraven's) Resolution at all, and he did not know whether it could be moved as such. The noble Earl did not propose to introduce, or add, or interpolate any words, but brought forward an altogether different proposition. He should have infinitely preferred that the noble Earl had met him with a distinct negative. Did the noble Earl think that the opening of Museums on week nights could be regarded in any sense as a substitute for the proposal contained in the Resolution? The working classes, and those for whom he asked this boon, were removed, many of them, great distances from Public Galleries and Museums, and after their return from their daily labour were much too tired both in mind and body to avail themselves of the so-called privilege offered them by the noble Earl and his Friends. He had received a great many letters bearing on this point, and in all of them the same remark was made. Practically speaking, to open Museums on week-day nights would, to his mind, be of no use at all. No one could expect a working man, after he had got home, washed and dressed himself, and had his supper, to leave his wife and family in order to visit a Museum two or three miles away. There was another reason, besides, why the proposal of the noble Earl should not be adopted, and that was that the authorities of the British Museum and other National Institutions would infinitely prefer to have such places opened on a Sunday afternoon instead of on week-day nights, and that mainly on account of their employés. As they all knew, a large number of working men were anxious for a change, such as he now suggested; and, in speaking of working men, he did not confine himself merely to the artizan classes. He included shop assistants, lawyers' clerks, and people of a similar class, who were employed during the entire day. No doubt, there were many people of the 157 working classes who did not at all care for the proposed boon, who knew little about Museums, and cared just as little; and he had no doubt that many Petitions had been signed by persons of that stamp against the opening of Museums on Sundays. But he was confident that there was a large and growing number of the artizan classes who were exceedingly anxious that this boon should be conferred upon them. Within the last few days he had received resolutions in favour of his proposal from large numbers of working men's clubs and associations. Again, the opposition to the movement, in the House of Commons, although still very large, was diminishing, and public opinion, it might therefore be assumed, had undergone a considerable change in the same direction. It was true that there was a large majority in the House of Commons last Session against the Motion by Mr. Howard; but that was, to a great extent, due to a very vigorous speech delivered by Mr. Broadhurst, who spoke with all the authority of the working men on a subject of interest to the working men. But Mr. Broadhurst's authority to represent the working classes upon the point had been immediately challenged at a meeting of Metropolitan working men called to consider this question. The delegates present represented 46,000 people in round numbers, and associations containing 45,482 members sent delegates instructed to vote for Sunday opening, while 536 members sent delegates instructed to vote against it. The resolution passed was to this effect—That we declare that those we represent strongly desire to see extended to London the policy of Sunday opening, which has proved such an unmixed good to our fellow-citizens and working men in Birmingham, Manchester, and other provincial towns.That meeting was a very remarkable one, attended, as it was, by delegates sent to record the deliberately formed opinions of the majority of the members of the various trade organizations, and distinguished, as it was, by the very high tone adopted by the speakers, and by the strength and fervour of their views. He thought a meeting of that kind deserved to be taken into consideration, and he trusted their Lordships would give it the weight and consideration it deserved. In the name of common sense, why should not the arti- 158 zans of London have the same benefits asthose of Manchester and Birmingham? What was the difference between the character and circumstances of the two? The only difference was that, whereas in the Provincial towns the Institutions were in the hands of the municipal bodies, and the working men could make their opinions more rapidly felt, in the Metropolis the question of their being opened or closed depended on the action of Parliament, and the opinion of the working men on Parliament could not make itself so rapidly or easily felt. In this respect Parliament lagged behind the municipal bodies in having a true view of what was wanted for the welfare of the working man. From a view of all the circumstances of the case, he confidently maintained that the policy of Sunday opening had proved an unmixed blessing in those places where it had been adopted. None could know so well as the working classes themselves what was beneficial to them; and the deliberately formed opinion of the vast majority of the working men of London that Sunday opening had proved beneficial in Birmingham and Manchester was an assertion that ought not to be lightly contradicted or gainsaid. If the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) would carry his objection to its logical conclusions, he would bring in a Bill to close Kew Gardens, Hampton Court, and other places of that kind, that were open in the suburbs, and to close the Museums that were open in the Provincial towns, and then their Lordships would see what was the real and true strength of public opinion upon this question. Nor was this a new experiment. It was an experiment which had been tried in all Protestant countries on the Continent. It had been tried in America, and in our Colonies, and the result was pronounced to be good. It had been tried in a great many of our Provincial towns, and, so far as he could judge, the result was good there also. The Chief Constable of Birmingham, speaking of the Art Galleries there, said—These places have been opened since 1872 with the greatest success. In my opinion, no such satisfactory results could have been achieved among the poorer classes of the town in weaning them from the public-houses. They are visited by thousands, and more orderly, quiet, and decently-dressed crowds are not to be seen anywhere.Again, the Mayor of Manchester, and the 159 chief librarian of the chief public library in the same city, bore similar testimony as to the good results ensuing from the opening of the public libraries and the annual picture exhibition, the chief librarian, indeed, adding that the success of the experiment so fully justified their expectations as to silence all opposition. He submitted that opinions of that kind ought to have some weight in their Lordships' House. The next point he wished to mention was whether the working men would avail themselves of this privilege or not. He was aware it was often claimed that they cared nothing about it, and that where Institutions were open they did not go to visit them. That allegation was not, however, at all borne out by all the testimony of competent observers in the places where Museums and Art Galleries were open. On 11 Sundays of one year 62,000 people visited the Gallery of the Royal Institution at Manchester; the Birmingham Art Gallery was visited by 29,000 people on the Sundays of one year; between 10,000 and 11,000 had availed themselves of the kindness of the noble Duke (the Duke of Westminster), who opened the Gallery of Grosvenor House during the Sundays of two months; the Botanic Gardens at Dublin were visited by 156,000 people in one year; and those at Kew by over 411,000 people. He could multiply facts of that kind; but he thought he had sufficiently shown that there was a strong desire that Sunday opening should be extended to the Metropolis, that it was found where the privilege was accorded that the working classes had most greedily availed themselves of it, and that their being opened had caused no scandal, nor even occasion of complaint. In other words, he had shown that wherever the experiment had been tried it had proved successful. He was quite aware of the strong opposition to the change he proposed; but he ventured to say that that opposition was founded to a great extent on false assumptions and misstatements which, although no doubt involuntary, were more or less misleading. Two or three days ago he received a leaflet from the Working Men's Lord's Day Best Association, commenting on the delegate meeting to which he had alluded, and stating that the names of the delegates were counted twice over. That was not the 160 case. A certain number of the members of those associations were affiliated to the London Trades' Council, and so were counted twice over; but the number was comparatively small, and not at all sufficient to warrant the statement that the numbers were counted twice over. He had not been able to quote the exact figures, and it had been impossible for him to find out the exact majority or minority that voted for sending the delegates to those various bodies. A letter appeared in The Times the other day, in which it was stated that the enormous number of the working class organizations—no less than 2,335, representing 480,725 members—had sent to the same Society against the opening of Museums on Sundays. It had been impossible here again to find out whether that statement was correct or not. As a matter of fact, he believed it to be full of mistakes. He wrote to the Association for the pamphlet which he was told contained all the information required; and the reply he received was that the pamphlet had not yet been issued, although it had been sent to the newspapers. In those circumstances, the House ought not to attach any importance to those statements. He had just received a letter from a working man, one of the delegates of the meeting of the London Trades' Congress, which contained more than 15,000 members, who stated that he was morally certain that there w-as not the number of trade organizations mentioned in the letter to The Times in the whole Metropolitan district, and that, even if there were, nothing like such a number as that given expressed the opinion it was stated they had done. He wished to point out also the way in which this information was received. The Society was asked months ago to ascertain opinions in the matter among the working classes, and they gave the result only the day before that on which this Motion was to be made. The issue was not placed fairly before the Societies. The question was not whether the Museums should be opened on week-day afternoons or not at all, but whether they should be opened on Sunday afternoons or weekday nights, and that was not put to the working men. A great deal too much was assumed also in the extraordinary way in which the question was put to them. It was stated in the resolution, for instance, that "it was undesirable 161 that Parliament should further promote the employment of Sunday labour;" but he contended that the employment of Sunday labour by the opening of Museums in the way he wished would be absolutely nil, or, at any rate, so infinitesimally small that to place the matter in that way before the public was to put it on an entirely false issue. The various organizations were written to, and the person who was asked to state whether he was in favour of Sunday opening was a requested to state whether he did so as private individual or as secretary speaking for the society; but he (the Earl of Dunraven) had no means of testing the accuracy or representative character of the signatures. He had received one letter inclosing a copy of a resolution passed by a branch of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, and that resolution was a protest against the secretary having signed the document on behalf of the branch in opposition to the opening of the Museums as proposed, knowing, as he must have done, that the great majority of the branch were in favour of it. Doubtless there were other cases of the same kind, and if time were given for investigation he had no doubt that the figures which had been given representing the number of working men opposed to this movement would be brought down to very small proportions. In other respects the statements made against the movement were hasty and unreliable. A little while ago it was stated that the opening of the Art Gallery at Birmingham on Sundays had proved a complete failure, and that the attendance had fallen off. It was true the attendance fell off; but there was nothing remarkable in the fact, bearing in mind that that Gallery was burnt down. Manchester had also been referred to in proof of the failure of the people to appreciate the opening of Museums on Sundays; but in that city there was no Museum at all. Therefore, he asked their Lordships to form no opinion on the subject from the statements made by those societies. Numerous Petitions had been presented for and against this proposal, and he fancied that the majority of them were against it; but he would ask their Lordships to consider whether it was right to balance Petitions for and against a proposal of this kind. It was easy to get up Petitions against it, for all those who had no feeling on 162 the matter were willing to sign them; but persons would not sign their names to any Petition in support of the proposal unless they were strongly in favour of it. It was not fair to balance Petitions for and against Sunday opening equally against each other, as though it were a question whether people should or should not be obliged to visit Museums. If his Petition were granted, no reluctant person need avail himself of the privilege. There was no compulsion in the proposal he was making. If people did not want to go to the Museums on Sundays they could stay away. All he asked was that those who were not satisfied with the Day of Rest as it now was should have an opportunity of spending a portion of it in that way which they believed to be most conducive to their own improvement and happiness. That was the opinion of thousands of the working people of this country. Their Lordships had always been solicitous of the interests of the people, and as an evidence of this he might point to the Bill which their Lordships recently passed to prevent the payment of wages in public-houses. He (the Earl of Dunraven) did not believe that this kind of legislation would make the working men temperate. Intemperance among the other classes was not removed by legislation; it died out by men becoming more civilized. If Parliament would only give the artizans and workmen of England a chance of improvement and of healthy and reasonable recreation, if it would only remove the obstacles—of which this was one—which stood in their way, the result would be the same. The main argument against this proposal used to be that it would lead to a desecration of the Sabbath; but this appeared to have been given up, and it was now said that if this proposal was adopted we should be in danger of losing Sunday as a day of rest. But he would ask their Lordships seriously to reflect whether that objection rested upon any solid ground. He believed that the objection was entirely groundless, for the working classes had not the smallest desire to work on the Sunday, and they would not now-a-days be made to do what they did not want. The whole course of legislation and the whole tendency and direction of the action of working men in recent years had been towards shorter hours and less labour. Would not common sense sug- 163 gest that if more work was to be done in the week the first effect would be to do away with the Saturday half-holiday rather than to interfere with the Sunday? He had the greatest respect for the feelings which induced the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) to oppose him on that ground; but was not the noble Earl reasoning on facts which, though they might have existed 40 or 50 years ago, had no existence now? The argument of interference with the Sunday as a day of rest was, however, no longer the main objection, and the ground of opposition had been shifted to a certain extent. But at the bottom of all the opposition out-of-doors lay a strong Puritanical religious feeling—a feeling which he looked upon with the greatest respect, but which he believed had upon this subject been excited and aroused on false issues, and which did not represent the true and natural feeling of the people. He had received a circular the other day, which he certainly considered the most extraordinary document that he had ever seen in his life. He believed that he could challenge every statement in that circular, not by any abstruse reasoning, but by the merest common sense. The circular in question was sent by the Lord's Day Observance Society, and in it it was said, speaking of these Museums and Galleries, that—To open them on the Lord's Day by authority would be an encouragement of things in direct rivalry to the public worship of Almighty God.That was the most astounding assertion almost ever put into print. It asserted that the contemplation of the works of God, as collected in Museums of natural history, and of the noblest works of man in the shape of works of art, literature, and the like, was in direct rivalry with the worship of Almighty God. He thought that was a most monstrous assertion, and one which he did not suppose would be accepted by the right rev. Prelates. Then he found in another paragraph that the Committee urged that no such demand existed as would justify the assertion that the people wished for such openings; and in another paragraph he found that London would be deluged with the multitudes flocking to those Museums. He would like to know which of those statements was true, as they did not agree very well together. But the last 164 paragraph was, perhaps, the most astounding of all. There it said that in Paris, Berlin, Florence, and other capitals the result had been the almost unbroken toil of the great majority of working men, and that in those capitals the state of morality was so much darker that illegitimacy, infanticide, suicide, and murder, existed in a much greater degree than in London, in proportion to the population. As a matter of fact, that was not true; but the astounding part of that assertion was that they were actually asked to believe that the contemplation of natural history specimens and good pictures, and the perusal of good literature, produced suicide, immorality, and murder. He did not mean to say that there were not pictures which might be capable of creating homicidal tendency as against the authors of them, or even pictures which might lead persons looking at them to think that suicide was preferable to a prolonged contemplation of them; but what he had read was a solemn statement to their Lordships and not an art criticism, and they were asked to believe that that was one of the results of opening Museums on Sundays. He merely mentioned those arguments because they were the arguments which were used out-of-doors, though he did not believe they would have any weight with their Lordships; and he asked them not to attach too much value to Petitions and opposition called into action by such extraordinary arguments as those. There was one other point to which he would refer, and that was the question of extra labour. That would be infinitesimally small. As a matter of fact, we had long since come to the conclusion that a certain amount of labour was allowable on Sundays, if it led to good results. If Parliament were to pass a Bill to suppress one out of the many newspapers which appeared on Monday morning, they would put an end to much more Sunday labour than would be incurred by the opening of Museums. Professor Dyer, of Kew Gardens, had said that the Gardens and Museums were generally thronged with visitors on Sundays, and that all that the attendants had to do was to give a little extra cleaning on Monday morning. Since he had come into the House, he had received a letter which suggested that if there was any difficulty about the labour on Sundays, a sufficient number of attendants 165 could be obtained from religious communities which kept their Sabbath on a Saturday. There was nothing he would more deeply regret than to see Sunday labour largely increased, or to see the reverence for the Sunday abated or lessened one atom; and he believed that we ran a risk of seeing it lessened if the alteration he suggested was not made. The danger was in the Sabbath ceasing to be useful to us or a great benefit to the people. If this were the case, he feared they would see the reverence for the day greatly diminishing. Sunday was a day of great irksomeness to thousands of excellent people, and its irksomeness was chiefly experienced by men and women who were the most intelligent and who had most influence over their class. He greatly regretted also that anything like a shock should be given to religious feeling, but he did not believe that any such shock would be given by opening the Museums on Sunday. He should be very sorry to think that the religious sentiments of this country rested on such a very flimsy foundation. He merely asked their Lordships, in conclusion, to believe that the extra labour required would, be infinitesimal; and he asked whether it was just to the taxpayers that they should be practically debarred from having any enjoyment or use out of the buildings for which they paid, and whether it was fair that the working men of London should labour under a great disadvantage, as compared with those in our other great Provincial cities? The Motion asked for nothing but justice to the working classes—justice which the Amendment to be moved by the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) would not grant. This was a boon greatly desired and most earnestly implored by many thousands of the most intelligent men and women, not only among working men and artizans, but among many other classes whose whole time was taken up in labour. He did not want to coerce anyone against his conscience, but only liberty for everyone to do as he pleased. There was no danger of their losing Sunday as a day of rest, but he would ask whether it was right, kind, or considerate to lay insuperable obstacles in the way of their fellow-countrymen who were anxious to raise themselves, and who could not do so until those obstacles were removed? They only desired to do that without harming anyone; and by so 166 doing he thought an enormous improvement would be soon manifested in the whole tone of the national character, and an undoubted benefit would be conferred on all classes. The noble Earl concluded with the Motion which stood in his name.
in seconding the Motion, said, he thought it hardly necessary, after the able speech of the noble Earl, to say more than a few words on the question. There appeared to him to be two arguments commonly used against the Motion— the first, that it increased Sunday labour; the second was what he might call the thin end of the wedge. He was sorry to understand that many persons took the view that because Museums were opened, shops, theatres, and other places of amusement would be opened also. He could say that the working people certainly asked nothing of the kind. With regard to the question of Sunday labour, it must be obvious that a certain amount of labour was approved of at present. Much labour was expended on newspapers, much in the traffic of the streets and upon the railways in excursion and other trains. He was much struck by a remark of Mr. Powell with reference to excursion traffic when he said that he did not see why excursion trains should not take the country people into town to see the Museums there as well as the townspeople into the country. The working classes had made it clear that it was impossible for them, after the toil of the day, to visit those Institutions on weekday evenings. Various fishing villages were sending representatives to the Fisheries Exhibition. These poor people had only six days to remain there, and if the Museums were open to them on Sunday it would be a great boon to them and give them a chance they would never probably have again. He could testify to the number of visitors to the National Gallery of Dublin, of which he was a Governor. It amounted on the average to 700 every Sunday, and there was no doubt whatever that the privilege was highly appreciated. The fact indirectly was evidence in favour of the contention that, in refusing to permit the reading of books, the admiration of the highest products of human ingenuity, or the study of the wonders of nature, we were illegitimately depriving 167 large masses of our countrymen of privileges to which they were entitled. The late Dean Stanley, who was President of the Society which desired to promote the opening of Museums and similar places on Sunday, made some remarkable observations on this subject. He said—The observation of Sunday more than any other religious question touches the hearts and consciences of the country. The object of the Sunday Society is to maintain the value and importance of the English Sunday to the English people, and, on the other hand, to do the best they can for them.Believing that it would tend to promote the proper observance of Sunday, he had much pleasure in seconding the Motion.
Moved to resolve,
That, seeing the success which has attended the action of Her Majesty's Government in opening on Sundays the national museums and galleries in the suburban districts of London and in the city of Dublin, and whereas this House was last Session informed by Her Majesty's Government that no opposition to Sunday opening, so far as it had already gone, had come before them, this House is of opinion that the time has arrived for extending the policy of Sunday opening after Two o'clock to all museums and galleries supported by national funds."—(The Earl of Dunraven.)
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
said, he was certain that it was by an oversight that the words of his Amendment had been left out—
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY,
in moving, as an Amendment—That inasmuch as a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Public Institutions have reported, on the 27th of March 1860, that such institutions as the British Museum and the National Gallery should be opened on week-day evenings to the public between the hours of seven and ten in the evening at least three days in the week, this House is of opinion that the time has arrived when this recommendation should be carried out,said, that the noble Earl (the Earl of Dunraven) had begun his speech by complaining that he had behaved somewhat unfairly and disrespectfully to the noble Earl. The noble Earl must have forgotten what occurred in 1880, when, on a Motion expressed in precisely the same terms, he had moved an Amendment in the same form as that now standing upon the Paper. No objection of the kind was then raised, but the Amendment was carried. Under these 168 circumstances, he failed to see how he had neglected to treat the noble Earl with the courtesy which he certainly deserved. He must say, however, that he could not agree either to the Motion or the statement of fact with which it commenced. The Motion began by stating that—Seeing the success which has attended the action of Her Majesty's Government in opening on Sundays the National Museums and Galleries in the suburban districts of London.That stated too much. The experiment had only been tried at Kew, Greenwich, and Hampton Court—very small suburban collections. Whenever it had been tried for long in Provincial towns it had failed. The great argument in favour of the movement was that it would tend to decrease intemperance; and he would take one case alone—the case of Birmingham—as an example. In Birmingham, where the Public Library and Art Gallery had been open on Sundays for several years, the system had certainly not succeeded in moderating the habit of drinking; on the contrary, that city had seen an increase of drunkenness and intemperance. In 1875 the number of persons proceeded against for drunkenness was 2,507; in 1878 it had increased to 2,851. The number of convictions for drunkenness in 1875 was 1,859, and in 1878 the number was 2,380—an increase of 521 cases. He must assert that the success claimed by the noble Earl would really go for nothing, unless he could prove that there had been a saving of hundreds and thousands of persons from drinking habits, and that those who frequented the Galleries and Museums were persons enticed from gin-palaces and pot-houses. It was stated that no opposition had been laid before the Government. Everyone knew perfectly well, however, that opposition had been shown by the public. The feeling of the House of Commons was shown in the last Session when Mr. Broadhurst resisted Mr. Howard's Motion for opening Museums on Sundays, and defeated it by 208 to 83, gaining a majority of 125. And the feeling of the country on the subject was not less plainly exhibited when Mr. Broadhurst presented to the House of Commons on Friday, May 4, Petitions signed by persons representing 100,740 individuals, and on Monday, the 7th, Petitions from 8,450 employés in different firms. In the House of Lords, Petitions 169 in favour of the noble Earl's Motion, if any, were next to nothing. Six, he believed, was the sum total; but there were many against it. To mention only two—one from the Wesley an Conference, representing the whole body of the Wesleyans, and others signed by nearly 70,000 persons, one alone having 49,503 signatures. He was not prepared to say, if the noble Lord's Motion was carried, and the Museums and Art Galleries were opened on Sunday, that hundreds, and even thousands of people would not flock to them; probably the British Museum and similar places would be crowded; but it would not be with gin-drinkers, but with sightseers, who could as well make their visit on some other day —comfortable people, who found time a bore, and rejoiced to make the Seventh Day resemble the other six. But there was another side to the question, and that was the amount of additional labour imposed on many classes of the community. The noble Lord had dwelt only on the small amount of labour which would be imposed on the guardians of these Institutions. But a noble Duke opposite had said last year in regard to that matter, that it was not possible to employ supplementary people for places like the British Museum; they must have people who were cognizant of the details and history of the collections. But he would put that consideration aside. And then let them look at the additional labour which would be thrown on others. Let them consult the omnibus men; they would tell you that they now worked 16 hours, in the day, and that they only got one Sunday a-month off, for which they themselves had to pay. If this Motion were agreed to, their labour would be quadrupled, and they would probably lose that Sunday which they now had per month to themselves. Let them go to the cabmen. They spoke of the proposal with positive alarm. Then there were the railway officials to be considered, and the dangers to the public arising from the overworking of those officials. Again, it was well known that wherever large bodies of Englishmen congregated, liquor was sure to be in demand. Did they suppose that the large crowds of people who were expected to visit these places on Sunday would not require to have refreshments? Many of them would call themselves bonâ fide travellers; and, certainly, drinking 170 habits would be encouraged to a much greater extent than they were at present. He had the testimony of a late secretary to the Sunday League. He deposed, before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1868, when resisting the closing of public-houses on the Lord's Day, that the people—he instanced himself, among others—must have refreshments when they went to hear the Sunday bands in Battersea Park. The result, then, would be that great additional labour would be thrown on the assistants in the public-houses. Take the experience of a Bank Holiday last year at the Alexandra Palace, when crowds of people assembled to gaze upon the works of art and beauties of nature there. He would read the figures which had been given by the lessees as to the amount of drink consumed on that day. That would give their Lordships an idea of the amount that would be consumed on a Sunday if these Museums were opened. The amount consumed on Bank Holiday in June, 1880, was 150 barrels of ale and 23,000 bottles of spirits, wine, ale, and stout; and 400 additional waiters had to be employed. This was the populace feasting on the enjoyment of the Fine Arts! The feeling which animated the great mass of the working people who were opposed to the opening of Museums on Sunday was that it was a step in the direction of opening theatres and workshops on the first day of the week—the making a "Continental Sunday" of that day. There was also an apprehension among working men that, in a short time, it would eventuate in a demand by employers that they should receive seven days' work for six clays' wages. The noble Earl had said that these people could protect themselves. No doubt they could in times of prosperity; but let an adverse time come of abundant supply of labour and little or no demand for it, they must accept the conditions of the employer and work on the Seventh Day if he chose to enforce it. He maintained that the large mass of the workpeople were decidedly opposed to the change. It was perfectly true that 62 societies of working men in London were in favour of the noble Earl's proposal; but the noble Earl forgot to tell them that the 222 remaining societies were all against it. He would explain to their Lordships the course he 171 had taken in regard to this matter. Last year, after Mr. Broadhurst took the line of opposing the proposal in the House of Commons, and his Amendment was carried by a majority of 125, he consulted several gentlemen of experience in the matter, and sent out circulars in order to ascertain the opinion of the working classes generally on the question. Circulars were accordingly sent out to 2,335 Trade Unions and Working Mens' Associations, Clubs, and Institutes in London and the Provinces, and answers were received from every one of them, signed either by the Chairman or by the Secretaries of the different Associations, Clubs, and Institutes. The question submitted to them was— "Will you accept Mr. Broadhurst's Amendment; or would you rather have the Museums open on Sundays?" The answers sent gave the title of each Association or Institute, the name of the secretary, the number of persons belonging to the Institution; while another column contained various observations; and all those Associations spoke in the strongest language in favour of Mr. Broadhurst's Amendment, and objected to the other proposal without a moment's hesitation. The result was that 480,725 adult men—the choicest men among the working classes of England—all protested in the most decided manner against the proposition of the noble Earl. Was it not manifest, from this statement, that they were forcing that imaginary boon on an unwilling and reluctant people? Now, he himself proposed substantially the same Amendment as that of Mr. Broadhurst. The noble Earl said that it was a vain and foolish Amendment; that, if carried, it would be of no use, and that it would do nobody any good. Well, to that he had to say, in the first place, that it satisfied all those 480,725 working men; and, secondly, where it had been practically applied, it had been accepted. In 1872, the late Sir Charles Reed, the Member for Hackney, presented to the House of Commons two Petitions signed by 84,000 persons praying that the Bethnal Green Museum, which had just then been instituted, might not be opened on the Lord's Day. The Bethnal Green Museum was under the jurisdiction of the South Kensington authorities. Now, about that time or the year following, the South Kensington authorities opened 172 the Bethnal Green Museum on the weekday evenings, shutting it up on the Lord's Day; and what had been the result? The noble Earl said that on the week-day evenings no working man or woman would go there; they would be tired and weary, and would rather remain at home. But what was the fact? In about nine years, during the time that that Museum had been opened on week-day evenings, so far from nobody going there, between the hours of 7 and 10 there had been no fewer than 3,200,000 visits paid to the place, a very large proportion of the visitors being working men and women. Well, if those men and women who protested against that Institution being opened on Sunday, and declared that they would not go there on that day because it would be against their conscience to do so, had in nine years paid 3,200,000 visits to it on week evenings, was it not fair to suppose that if similar Institutions to that at Bethnal Green were opened elsewhere on week evenings the working classes would attend them in like numbers? A certain proportion of our working people might be Agnostics, and a still larger proportion might be indifferent to religion; but there was another and a not inconsiderable body of them who were deeply religious, many of them being found in churches and chapels, while a great many were not found in either. Those were men under true religious convictions; and, regarding the matter from the highest point of view, they held the sanctity of the Lord's Day to be so great that they would submit to anything rather than that it should be depreciated. It was a remarkable fact that there should be such a consensus of opinion among working men that the opening of the Museums on Sunday would lead to great social mischief, and that the Lord's Day must and should be respected as a Charter, as a day of rest for all classes of the people. Were not those sentiments to be regarded? And did they not show that there was in the hearts of the people that love for social order which was one of the best securities for the body politic? Those people desired to conform to the religious habits and traditions of their forefathers; and ought not their Lordships to rejoice in that fact, and to do everything in their power to foster such feelings? He trusted 173 that the response of their Lordships to that appeal would not be one that would discourage those sentiments; he trusted —nay, more, he believed—that their decision that night would show that the action of their Lordships was in full and joyous conformity with the wishes and, he might say, with the prayers of a large and most respectable body of their fellow-countrymen. The noble Earl concluded by moving the Amendment standing in his name.
To leave out all the words after ("That") and insert ("inasmuch as a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Public Institutions have reported, on the 27th of March, 1860, that such institutions as the British Museum and the National Gallery should he opened on week-day evenings to the public between the hours of seven and ten in the evening at least throe days in the week, this House is of opinion that the time has arrived when this recommendation should be carried out.")—(The Earl of Shaftesbury.)
§ EARL COWPER,
said, it was with great regret that he felt himself differing from the views of his noble Relative who had just spoken. He thought he might take it for granted that nobody would venture to say that in those Galleries and Museums there was anything that was likely to deteriorate the working men, or that the Institutions were bad in themselves. He had heard some people—not very religious people—say that the effect of listening to a long sermon was to make them eat a better lunch. But he did not think there was any good reason to suppose that attending Museums or Picture Galleries would necessarily lead people to drink. He did not believe there was any more connection between the consumption of drink on Sundays and the opening of Public Collections than there was between Sunday opening and the murders committed in Dublin. It was, however, objected that the opening of those places on Sunday would lead to something else which they would not be able to stop. It was said that if the Museums were once opened they would go on gradually opening the theatres, music-halls, and similar places. Now there was hardly any change, however good, that was not advocated by some people who might also advocate some other things which were objectionable; but surely that was no argument whatever against adopting a thing which was good. 174 But was there anything in the proposal of the noble Earl (the Earl of Dunraven) necessarily leading to the opening of other places? There was, he thought, a broad distinction between a public place, supported by public money, belonging to the public, and to which access was free, and allowing places to be opened where money was recived for admission. There was a difference, for instance, between opening Kensington Gardens or Battersea Park and opening the gardens at Cremorne. There was, however, another objection to the Motion, which was more intelligible. That was the division of opinion on the subject among the working men themselves. But there was a division of opinion; for if there were Petitions against the Motion, there were also Petitions in its favour. But it was difficult to get at the real opinions of the working classes, and Petitions were no gauge of real convictions. Those who objected to the Motion made it a matter of conscience, and were consequently much more active in getting up and signing Petitions than those who held, it might be an indolent opinion, that it would be a good thing to open Public Galleries and Museums on Sunday. It was said that the National Gallery and the British Museum required a high degree of cultivation for their enjoyment. No doubt that was so—but it was all the more important to give as many opportunities as possible of improving the taste of the working people. He felt, as much as anyone, the importance of a day of rest, and of giving the sanction of religion to that day. But he could not but think that the observance of Sunday which consisted simply in hearing sermons and compulsory abstinence from all enjoyment did more harm than good. In his opinion, the Sabbath was better spent partly in worship and partly in wholesome recreation which did not involve labour. Certainly those who inflicted gloomy Sundays upon their households were not entitled to enforce their views upon those who did not agree with them. His noble Friend who introduced the question had referred to the labour aspect, which was, no doubt, an important aspect of it. But they all had their dinners cooked on Sundays, and employed their servants in other ways; and he thought it rather Pharasaical to refer to the labour imposed on a few for the sake of the many who 175 would be benefited by the opening of Picture Galleries and Museums—as to the drivers of cabs and omnibuses. It would not be an increase, but only a fresh distribution, of labour, because, after all, working men were not in the habit of staying at home now on Sundays. He would certainly record his vote in favour of the Motion of the noble Earl.
§ EARL CAIRNS
said, that two or three topics had been introduced into the question with some amount of exaggeration. First, there was what might be called the public-house argument. It seemed to be thought that there was something in that proposal which would have the effect of emptying public-houses, and so promoting the cause of sobriety among the people. This was a very plausible argument at first sight; but, upon examination, it would not be found of much weight. He was one of those who doubted whether the persons who frequented public-houses would be found in the British Museum or the National Gallery. He had not much personal knowledge on the subject, but he had been assured by those who thoroughly knew the working men, and their habits, and that was the view which they expressed. That question, too, was in some measure settled by the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Westminster), who had opened his splendid Gallery to the public on Sundays, and who had stated that it was certainly not working men who availed themselves of the opportunity afforded. Public-houses were closed from 3 to 6—precisely the time at which working men would visit the Picture Gallery or Museum—and they were re-opened at 6. Thus the time during which the Picture Gallery was open would be the time when the public-house was closed; and there would be no rivalry between the Picture Gallery and the tavern, and the former would have no means of withdrawing customers from the latter. But when 6 o'clock came round—as looking at pictures was exhaustive work—the visitors to the Galleries would betake themselves to the public-house. In fact, he had been informed that the publicans were in favour of the noble Earl's Motion, and that the public-houses in the immediate neighbourhood of the Public Exhibitions which it was proposed to open expected a large increase of custom. Another argument was that the places already 176 open wore much frequented, and that their opening had been very beneficial. He supposed Kew Gardens and Hampton Court were referred to. But there was no analogy between such places and Picture Galleries and Museums. He could imagine nothing more wholesome or desirable than that people should betake themselves to Kew Gardens or Hyde Park or Battersea Park on Sundays to enjoy the fresh air and flowers. What was the test proposed of the desirability of the change? It was always assumed that the number of persons who would avail themselves of increased opportunities was a conclusive argument in favour of the proposal. No doubt, if those places were opened, a largo number of persons would visit them; but the argument did not go far enough. The whole question of the Continental Sunday was involved. If theatres or music-halls or opera-houses were opened, no doubt a largo number of persons would visit them. It was assumed that the opening of Museums and theatres in foreign countries conduced to sobriety; but if that were so, which he doubted, the argument proved too much, for no one proposed that theatres and concerts-rooms should open on Sundays. Such a change was not wanted. He would read to their Lordships an extract from a letter written by a German gentleman of eminence as to the state of things on Sunday in his country. He said—We Germans are, to a great extent, far removed from such a celebration of Sunday. The day of rest and of most elevated joy is too often robbed of its honour. The forenoon of Sunday is given up to work and the afternoon to pleasure. That which can elevate man is often despised, but that which degrades him is sought after. On Sunday the policeman reap their most abundant harvest; on Sunday children occasion the greatest anxiety; on Sunday-evening, above all other days, does the wife anticipate the return of her husband with a foreboding heart. Drunkenness and riotousness celebrate their greatest triumph on Sunday; and most of the misdemeanours are committed on that day, or are intimately connected with the misuse of it. We turn, therefore, to our countrymen with the urgent request that they would, in their various spheres, endeavour to procure for the Sunday a more honourable observance in our land. If the Sunday acquires a different character, the national life will rest on a securer basis.He trusted, therefore, that their Lordships would not suppose for a moment that by relaxing the Sunday rule in Ger- 177 many the morals of the people tad been improved. There was only one other matter connected with this question to which he should desire to refer, and that was with regard to the difficulty, pointed out by the noble Earl who spoke last, of drawing a line. If they did all that this Motion proposed that they should do, where were they to stop? The noble Earl said that he saw no difficulty whatever in drawing a line; but he confessed that he waited most anxiously to hear from him whore they were to draw it. The noble Earl said that they ought to open those Establishments which were paid for out of the public taxation. But, in that case, what was the principle upon which he intended to proceed? Surely it could not make much difference in point of principle whether the working man paid for the maintenance of an establishment by means of taxes or whether he paid for it at the door. Somebody came and said—"Here is an Exhibition exactly similar to your National Exhibition, which you say will elevate the minds of the people, but we charge 6d. at the door." Would the fact that the 6d. was charged at the door be a valid ground for preventing such a private Exhibition from being opened? It was quite impossible to listen to an argument resting upon so flimsy and unsubstantial a suggestion. It might be said that those Exhibitions educated and elevated the mind; but there were many people who believed that the drama educated and elevated the mind, yet it was scarcely proposed to open the theatres in this country on a Sunday. There were others who thought that the performance of music educated and elevated the mind, yet it was not proposed to open the opera-house on a Sunday. This showed how impossible it was to draw the line at that which educated and elevated the mind. After all, the real question was, in whose interest was this proposal made? It was put forward by a Society composed of professors, philosophers, and artists of great eminence, for whom we had a great respect. They did not make the proposal on their own behalf, but on behalf of the working men. But was it the fact that the working men themselves desired that this proposal should be carried into effect? He did not say that there might not be a small number of working men who did desire that these Establishments should be opened on Sun- 178 day; but he did say that the overwhelming mass of the working men was opposed to the proposal. Apply every test on the point that they liked, and they would get the same answer. The first great test of the feeling of the working men on this subject was to be found in their Representative Assembly—the House of Commons. What had been the view which had been taken of this question by the House of Commons ever since the passing of the last Reform Bill, when the representation of the country was so widely extended? Since that time there had been three divisions taken on this question, and on every one of them there was an overwhelming majority against the proposal to open the Museums on Sunday. The noble Earl who sat upon the Cross Benches (the Earl of Dunraven) said that the majorities in the House of Commons against the proposal were continually diminishing, and that that fact showed that a change was coming over public opinion in reference to this question. He observed, however, that the minority in the other House had only increased from 83 to 87 on the occasion of the last division, which did not show a very decided increase of public opinion in favour of the proposal. Who took the lead in the other House in opposition to the proposal? Why, it was a working man, who said that—He voted against it in the interest of labour with which he had been connected all his life and on the ground that the seventh day should be kept distinct and as fully relieved from all associations of labour as it was possible. He also opposed the Motion on the ground that there was no sufficient demand in the country to warrant the Resolution submitted to them. He further opposed it on the ground that the Motion could have no effect except loosening the ties which bound them together in defence of an absolute right of having one day in seven free from all labour."—(3 Mansard,  1168.)In his opinion, that was a very sensible ground of objection to the proposal; and he was satisfied that Mr. Broadhurst's view of the matter was shared by the majority of the working men of this country. There was not a borough in England which was so completely composed of working men as was the Tower Hamlets, and when this question was discussed at the last School Board election for that borough, Mr. Lucraft, who was thoroughly acquainted with the desires of the working men, when asked 179 whether he would vote for the opening of the Museums on Sunday, said—As to opening of Museums on Sunday, he looked at it purely from a workmen's point of view, and he should not like to work seven days instead of six. He therefore could not vote for opening Museums on Sunday.That announcement was received with cheers. Last year the two Representatives of that borough voted against the proposal. Then, it was said that the Provincial towns were in favour of the proposal. Mr. Mundella, however, had pointed to the fact that out of the 154 Municipalities in England who had Museums, only four had opened theirs on Sunday, and these Municipalities were controlled, as the noble Earl (the Earl of Dunraven) had said, by the votes of the working men. In Nottingham, where a splendid Museum of Art had been built at the cost of the ratepayers, the question of opening it on Sunday became a test question at a municipal election; the candidates in favour of opening were defeated, and Mr. Mundella had been informed that the return of the successful candidates was effected by the votes of the working men. As for Manchester, pictures were exhibited at the Royal Institution, which was in the hands, not of the municipal authorities, but of private trustees, who, acting on their own responsibility, opened the building six Sundays in the winter for two hours in the afternoon, to which there was great opposition in the town itself. It was proved to demonstration that the working men, by their action in the Provinces, objected to this Motion. The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) who sat behind him told them he was responsible for the way in which the returns of the various trade organizations stating their opinion on this question were obtained. He did not think the noble Earl who sat on the Cross Benches (the Earl of Dunraven) could be aware of what the Society, of which he was the mouthpiece, did with regard to the mode adopted of obtaining the opinion of these societies on the subject of Mr. Broadhurst's Resolution. The Sunday Society, as soon as they heard there was going to be an appeal to the working class organization throughout the country, published an advertisement in The Times and The Daily News in January last, in which, after declaring their conviction that the response to the appeal would be 180 to demonstrate the practical unanimity of the working class organizations in support of the objects of the Sunday Society, they actually offered to the Working Men's Lord's Day Rest Association to bear the whole cost of publishing the returns. The Sunday Society were so convinced that the appeal would turn out in their favour that they would bear the whole cost. It was to be hoped they would fulfil their promise. Well, the result was that 480,725 members of the trade unions and other trade organizations were in favour of Mr. Broadhurst's proposal. And what had they to weigh against that? A deputation went to the noble Earl the Secretary of State yesterday, and they put into his hands a document claiming that they had in favour of opening 45,482 working men, as against the number he had stated. But, then, they very candidly said that the total was somewhat in excess of the number of individuals, seeing some members of trade societies were also members of clubs, and, moreover, many of the trade societies were represented on the Trades' Council. Many of the names were counted twice over, oven among the 45,000 just mentioned. Indeed, the Society had made a calculation, and counted between 15,000 and 25,000 duplicate names. But was not this most conclusive evidence of what the working men of the country thought? He submitted it was, and, therefore, he said that the first great question being what the working men wished, their Lordships had every guide and proof that they did not wish for this proposal to be carried; but, on the contrary, that it should not be carried. He held and believed, as many of their Lordships held and believed, that Sunday was a Divine institution, and one of the greatest blessings which Divine Providence ever gave to mankind. There were many persons who looked at the Sunday in its phyiscal bearing, and there were others, working men especially, who looked at it from a labour point of view; but all these ends could and must be accomplished by the aid of the action of Parliament and by legislation. They had legislation in regard to trading, labour, and so on, on Sunday. They might depend upon it they never could maintain legislation upon this subject unless they maintained the sanctity of Sunday as a Divine institution. It was quite impossible on a 181 matter of this kind to justify or maintain legislation in the long run, unless legislation was backed by the feeling in the country that they were legislating in defence of that which was a Divine institution. He objected to the movement which was being made by the Sunday Society — it was a singular name by which they called themselves— because it was calculated to destroy this feeling with regard to the Divine institution of Sunday. He was sure the noble Earl had no such intention; but what was the view put forward by the Society? He had in his hand an address delivered under the auspices and on behalf of the Sunday Society, by one of its vice-presidents, a man for whom he had the greatest respect as a man of science. What was the teaching with regard to the Sunday put forward in his address? This was the teaching—Turning over the leaves of the Pentateuch where God's alleged dealings with the Israelites are recorded, it strikes me with amazement that such writings should be considered binding upon us. The overmastering strength of habit, the power of early education—possibly a defiance of the claims of reason involved in the very constitution of the mental organization— were never more forcibly illustrated than by the fact that learned men are still to be found willing to devote their time and endowments to these writings, under the assumption that they are not human, but Divine. As an ancient book claiming the same origin as other books, the Old Testament is without a rival, but its unnatural exaltation provokes recoil and rejection.It was impossible for the public to disconnect language and doctrine of this kind from a Motion composed by the very Society whose views were given out in the address from which he had quoted, and, therefore, he dreaded, and the country dreaded, countenance given by their Lordships to a Motion of this kind.
said, he did not wish by rising then to necessarily close the debate, nor did he speak as representing the views which the Government took on this matter; but he wished to make a few observations, not at all in the way of a formal speech, in explanation of the vote he should give on the subject, for he intended to vote, as he had voted before, in favour of the Resolution. A noble Lord who spoke behind him said nobody thought it was wrong to go to Museums or Picture Galleries on Sundays; but he was not at 182 all sure that that was a right or sound assumption. There were not a few noble Lords, and a considerable proportion of people in the country, who conscientiously thought it was wrong to go to Museums on Sundays. He did not, however, intend to argue at all upon the high religious and moral aspects of the question. Mention had been made of the difference between opening the British Museum and National Gallery and descending to the opening of theatres and other places; but it appeared to him to be infinitely more difficult to draw the line between opening Hampton Court and Kew Gardens and the British Museum and National Gallery. He could not help feeling that some of the arguments that had been used were apart from the question. The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) had complained of the hardships of omnibus and cab-drivers; but that referred, not so much to the opening or shutting of Museums on the Sunday, as to the stopping of all traffic by road, rail, or river on the Sunday, and by that means securing the immense advantage from his point of view of preventing the public, who must use these means of locomotion, from getting to Kew or Hampton Court, or to the other Gardens in the suburbs. What he (Earl Granville) had felt and always said—and he entirely agreed with the two noble Earls opposite —was that this was one of those social questions in which they must be guided very much by the opinion of those who were principally concerned. The noble and learned Lord who had just sat down had gone very minutely into the evidence of public opinion as far as he was concerned. He made an allusion to what had passed at Bethnal Green Museum. He (Earl Granville) should like to know what the opinion of the Rector of Bethnal Green was. He (Earl Granville) thought that that bore very importantly upon this question. With regard to the indication of public opinion, the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) first mentioned what had taken place in the House of Commons, and complained that the noble Lord had said that there had been a change of feeling in that House in that respect. He (Earl Granville) could not help thinking that the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) was mistaken in this matter. What were the actual facts? In the first division 183 on the question in the House of Commons the majority against the opening of Museums on Sundays was 328, in the second 203, in the third 142, and last year the number was 125; and these figures, in his opinion, justified the assertion that there had been a change in the opinion of the House of Commons on the subject. But he went a little further. He thought a very much stronger indication than this diminution arose from the fact that one of those who voted in the majority last year was the Prime Minister of this country, who, of course, exercised great weight in a matter of this sort, and the fact of his vote made the decrease in the majority still more remarkable. On the other hand, Mr. Forster and Mr. Chamberlain, who were well conversant with the opinions of the working classes, voted in the minority in favour of the Motion. The noble and learned Earl then went to the opinion of the labouring classes of the country, and his strongest point of all was what Mr. Broadhurst had done in the settlement of this matter. Mr. Broadhurst represented a borough in which he (Earl Granville) had the greatest interest. He was a man whom he knew very well, and he could conceive no more trustworthy man, or one less likely to deceive, or who had a greater acquaintance with the class which he represented or to which he belonged; but, in stating Mr. Broadhurst's opinion, neither of the noble Earls happened to mention that Mr. Burt, who was equally representative of the class, was the person who seconded the Motion of Mr. George Howard on that occasion? Then the noble Earl opposite seemed very indignant, and, from the hints thrown out, seemed to think that the opinion of the working classes had not been quite fairly taken; but he said nothing to impair the manner in which that opinion was taken. He said that they should have been asked, in the first instance, whether they approved of Mr. Broadhurst's Amendment; and, secondly, whether they were in favour or not of opening Museums on Sundays? He must say that he thought the noble Earl quite right. Nothing could be a fairer way of putting the question; but that did not happen to have been the way the question was put. The way the question was put was this— 184The Committee of Management of the Society approves of the Amendment proposed by Mr. Broadhurst in Parliament for opposing the increase of Sunday labour.Was that the way to make an appeal for a fair expression of opinion? It was not a question as to whether they were in favour of the opening or shutting of the Museums, but "Will you have an increase of Sunday labour?" That was begging the whole question. Nobody could doubt what the answer of the great masses of the working classes would be to the question. He was very much inclined to believe the opinion that great masses of the working men of this country were opposed to the opening of the Museums on Sunday. But this Resolution did not affect the whole country. It affected the Metropolis of the country, and therefore it was really very important to ascertain, as far as possible, the feeling and opinion of the working men of the Metropolis on the subject. With reference to the figures that had been quoted to the House, representing the number of working men opposed to and in favour of the movement, he could not help feeling that the case of the 40,000 working men stated to be in favour of it— and their case was not a wit stronger than that of the small shopkeeper, and especially the ill-paid, and hard working clerk—was deserving of some consideration. It had boon said that workmen could spend several hours in the evenings of week-days at the Museums, &c, but this was denied by the men. He put to the deputation of working men, which waited upon him yesterday, a question specially on this point—"Can you make out to me that it would not be as easy to attend on week-day evenings as on Sundays?" And they gave him the time when they left their homes, their hours of labour, the time it took to get back and clean themselves, and they said—"Is it possible that we should be in a state of mind or body to start fresh to go to Museums?" Nobody wished to force those to go to Museums who had moral or religious objections to do so, but the hardship was in preventing those who wished to elevate their minds. One member of the deputation said it was a hard case that after the Government of the country had given them the means of education in early life, they should now 185 deprive them, by refusing to open the British Museum and National Gallery on Sundays, of the opportunity of elevating their minds as men, and of thus giving the last touch to their education. He granted that a man who was in the habit of getting drunk in a public-house on Sundays was not likely to be induced by such measures as these to make a sudden turn towards intellectual diversion; but he believed that working men who had received some education—such education, indeed, as their class never before had the means of acquiring— would, if they had the opportunity to choose, go to places where they could amuse themselves and elevate their minds rather than to the public-house, and it might be exactly the turning point whether for the rest of their lives they would go to the public-house or abstain from it. The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) had said that going to Museums would encourage men to drink as much as going to public-houses. But there appeared to be this difference. He (Earl Granville) could conceive the objection to a man leaving his wife and family in a small room on a rainy day and going away to the public-house to spend his time; but it appeared to him that there was a great difference between that case and that of a man who, after taking his wife and family to a Picture Gallery or a Museum, at the end of the time sought some refreshment for the sustenance of his mind and body. He desired to say, in conclusion, that he did not wish to influence in the slightest degree any noble Lord on that side of the House; but, for his own part, he confessed that he had heard nothing in the debate that evening to induce him to give a different vote from that which he had given on the subject on previous occasions.
§ On question, whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the motion?
§ Their Lordships divided: — Contents 91; Not-Contents 67: Majority 24.187
|Sutherland, D.||Camperdown, E.|
|Westminster, D.||Cowper, E.|
|Bristol, M.||Fortescue, E.|
|Ashburnham, E.||Haddington, E.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)|
|Innes, E. (D. Rox-burghe.)|
|Kimberley, E.||Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun.)|
|Malmesbury, E.||Hothfield, L.|
|Milltown, E.||Inchiquin, L.|
|Morley, E.||Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)|
|Pembroke and Montgomery, E.||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.) [Teller.]|
|Wilton, E.||Kintore, E. (E. Kintore.)|
|Powerscourt, V.||Lovat, L.|
|Alington, L.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Monson, L.|
|Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Bramwell, L.||O'Hagan, L.|
|Carlingford, L.||Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)|
|Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Sandhurst, L.|
|Skene, L. (E. Fife.)|
|Coleridge, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Conyers, L.||Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)|
|Dorchester, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.) [Teller.]||Truro, L.|
|Gerard, L.||Tyrone, L. (M. Waterford)|
|Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)||Wolseley, L.|
|Canterbury, L. Archp,||Cranbrook, V.|
|Selborne, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)|
|Marlborough, D.||Hawardon, V. [Teller.]|
|Norfolk, D.||Melville, V.|
|Richmond, D.||Sherbrooke, V.|
|Somerset, D.||Sidmouth, V.|
|Aberborn, M. (D. Abercorn.)|
|Bangor, L. Bp.|
|Hertford, M.||Bath and Wells, L. Bp.|
|Salisbury, M.||Carlisle, L. Bp.|
|Chichester, L. Bp.|
|Amherst, E.||Durham, L. Bp.|
|Bathurst, E.||Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp.|
|Cairns, E.||Hereford, L. Bp.|
|Carnarvon, E.||Lincoln, L. Bp.|
|Dartmouth, E.||London, L. Bp.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||Rochester, L. Bp.|
|St. Albans, L. Bp.|
|St. Asaph, L. Bp.|
|Effingham, E.||Winchester, L. Bp.|
|Harewood, E.||Amherst, L. (V. Holmesdale.)|
|Powis, E.||Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)|
|Redesdale, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Shaftesbury, E. [Teller.]|
|Waldegrave, E.||Carrington, L.|
|Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)|
|Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.)||Kinnaird, L.|
|Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)|
|Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)|
|Clinton, L.||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Colville of Culross, L.||Penryhn, L.|
|Congleton, L.||Penzance, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Poltimore, L.|
|Crewe, L.||Polwarth, L.|
|Denman, L.||Robartes, L.|
|de Ros, L.||Rossmore, L.|
|De Saumarez, L.||Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Dinevor, L.||Scarsdale, L.|
|Douglas, L. (E. Home.)||Shute, L. (V. Barrington.)|
|Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)|
|Ebury, L.||Silchester, E. (E. Longford.)|
|Forester, L.||Tollemache, L.|
|Harlech, L.||Wimborne, L.|
|Kenlis, L. (M. Head-fort.)||Winmarleigh, L.|
|Ker, L. (M. Lothian.)|
§ Resolved in the negative.
Moved to resolve,
That inasmuch as a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Public Institutions have reported, on the 27th of March 1860, that such institutions as the British Museum and the National Gallery should be opened on week-day evenings to the public between the hours of seven and ten in the evening at least three days in the week, this House is of opinion that the time has arrived when this recommendation should be carried out."—(The Earl of Carnarvon.)
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, that he thought in a very few words he could show his noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury) that there were very strong reasons why his Amendment should not be agreed to. He would speak merely with reference to the British Museum, and, in passing, he might say that he was not sure that the class of persons whom his noble Friend expected to attend would be the class who attended it. But the very large addition of labour which would be imposed on the officials and functionaries of the Museums was something very much beyond what the House had at that moment in contemplation, and would amount to no less than £15,000 a-year; and if that expense were large, the amount of labour thrown on the staff would be equally large, and required very great consideration indeed before the House agreed to a proposal of that sort. There was another point; the throwing open the Museums meant a change in many very important de- 188 tails, some of which might sound small when taken by themselves, but which, when taken in the aggregate, meant a very great deal. The question of lighting was a very serious one. First of all, it was admitted that it would be dangerous and improper to light the British Museum with gas, and as to the electric light, it was very far from being perfected. As a matter of fact, it had suddenly gone out within the last 12 months in the one department where it was used, and left the place in total darkness. In the Reading Room, with a limited, selected, and very orderly assemblage, such a contingency was unimportant; but if it were to occur in the other parts and the galleries of the Museum, with a crowd of people collected in them, it was impossible to say what the result of five or ten minutes' darkness might be. There was another point which again he must press, and which was important. The cleaning of the British Museum was a serious matter. At this moment, the difficulties, as the noble Duke opposite had said, were considerable, and if they had, on three additional evenings in the week, the entrance of a large crowd of persons, the difficulty would be very much greater. On wet evenings the Museum would be often used as a shelter and a lounge, and the amount of dirt which would be brought in on those occasions would be very considerable. It would thus become necessary to close a large portion of the Museum during the mornings to enable the necessary cleaning to be done; for the cleaning of statuary was a rather slow and nice operation. Sculpture could not be wiped with a cloth; but the dust must be blown away, and occasionally the marble must be washed. For all these reasons, and for others with which he would not trouble the House, he strongly urged his noble Friend to consent to give the House some little time for consideration. He believed the proposal in the Amendment of his noble Friend was not practicable without at least a large outlay and a good deal of consideration. At all events, in order that time might be given to consider the question of expense and other matters, he moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ Moved, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(The Earl of Carnarvon.)189
§ VISCOUNT HARDINGE,
as a Trustee of the National Gallery, desired to corroborate the statement of the noble Earl as to the difficulties, and even dangers, that would arise if this proposal were agreed to. The Trustees had often had the subject under their consideration; but in view of the danger which would arise if the building were lighted with gas, and the present undeveloped state of the electric light, they had come to the conclusion that it was impossible at present to do as proposed. He quite concurred with the noble Earl in all he had said, and thought that, amongst other drawbacks, the dust that would be collected by large bodies of working men and others congregating there on a wet evening might be very injurious.
§ EARL CAIRNS
observed, that he did not think the noble Earl intended to bind the country to any immediate action in this matter, and it would undoubtedly be useful if further time were given to consider it. He would therefore propose, as an Amendment to the Amendment of the noble Earl, to leave out the words "the time has arrived when this recommendation," and insert the words "this recommendation, in so far as it is found consistent with the safety and the welfare of the institution." That would leave the question entirely open.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I am not surprised that the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) has not entirety acquiesced in the Motion of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon). It is one of the most remarkable suggestions I have heard made in this House. The whole debate has turned on the wishes of the working classes. The Amendment was moved with all the authority and eloquence of the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury). If that Amendment was objected to, it was surely the duty of those Members of the Opposition who were pursuing this after policy to have spoken before the Amendment was put. The majority of the Members of the House have retired, thinking the matter is disposed of; and now, without a word of warning, this Amendment has been sprung upon us. I can only say that what has been done will have a most extraordinary effect upon the country?
§ EARL CAIRNS
I beg your Lordship's pardon. That is quite a mistake. The vote was simply on the original Resolution.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I object to the proposal being now made after many of their Lordships have retired.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
By far the greater number of those who took part in the division voted on the question of Sunday observance. There is no mistake about the motive which brought down the crowded Benches this evening. Now it is proposed that the debate should be adjourned, and the noble Earl complains that no Notice has been given of the intention to adjourn the debate to consider the much smaller question which has now arisen. No statesman in either House has ever heard of Notice given of any such intention. What is now required is information from the authorities of the British Museum and the National Gallery, who have not yet been heard. I should be willing to adopt the Amendment, deprived of its dangerous and stringent character by the Amendment of my noble and learned Friend (Earl Cairns), because there are many questions of a technical and administrative character that are worthy of careful consideration before the proposal can be carried out. At the same time, I think the Motion for the adjournment of the debate is very reasonable.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
said, he would suggest that as their Lordships had not discussed this question of opening Museums on week-day evenings at all, it should be brought forward on a separate Motion. The condition of affairs was much altered since former years. He was also of opinion that at a time when the nation was trying to protect buildings from the enemies of social order, it would be well if the direction in the Amendment of the noble Earl was delayed in being carried out.
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
said, he did not see the necessity for the adjournment, though he was not unwilling to accede to a Motion of that character. His present Amendment was identical in terms with one he proposed in 1881, when it was carried without, any question being raised.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, he objected to the proposal of the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) being put before their Lordships as an alternative for the original Motion. He hoped no one would be deceived by the transparent proposition that Sunday opening of Museums and Art Galleries was not necessary because abundant accommodation could be provided on week-days. No such question was before the House, and the working people, so far as their Lordships were concerned, must go without Sunday opening.
said, he did not think the majority of the working classes were in favour of Sunday opening, and the information before the House gave a contradiction to what had fallen from the noble Earl (Earl Kimberley) who had just sat down, who was, moreover, not justified in what had been stated by him in reference to their Lordships' House, the statistics being distinctly at variance with what had been stated by the noble Earl.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, he must deny that he had sprung any mine upon the supporters of the original Motion. He had not only mentioned to the Lord Chancellor, before the debate began, that he intended to raise this question, but he had consulted the noble and learned Lord as to the particular course which it was desirable to take.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I can bear out what the noble and learned Lord has said as to his having mentioned his desire to have an opportunity of giving expression to his opinion in the sense stated. I was not, however, aware that it was the opinion of anyone except himself. Having myself voted with the majority, I must say that I did so in the full belief that that which was recommended was practicable and ought to be done, and I continue of that opinion.
§ EARL CAIRNS
said, that if his noble Friend withdrew the Motion for Adjournment, he would move the words he had suggested.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, he should not oppose that course; but he thought what had taken place had been very extraordinary.
said, that the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) had not, either previously or now, dictated any special mode of carrying out the Reso- 192 lutions of their Lordships' House. It was obvious that there must be different hours in summer and winter.
Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
Moved, as an amendment to the foregoing Resolution, to leave out ("the time has arrived when") and in the last line after ("should") to insert ("if and so far as may he found consistent with the safety and general welfare of those institutions" (The Earl Cairns); after further short debate, the said amendment, on question, agreed to:
Resolved, That inasmuch as a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Public Institutions have reported, on the 27th of March 1860, that such institutions as the British Museum and the National Gallery should be opened on week-day evenings to the public between the hours of seven and ten in the evening at least three days in the week, this House is of opinion that this recommendation should, if and so far as may be found consistent with the safety and general welfare of those institutions, be carried out.