§ On the motion of Sir R. Peel the Order of the Day for a committee on Public Monuments was read, and the several entries on the Journals of the House, dated respectively February 3, 1817, October 30, 1801, March 24, 1803, September 26, 1799, and February 16, 1801, giving the thanks of the House to Lord Exmouth, Sir James Saumarez, and Sir Sydney Smith, were also read. The House resolved itself into committee.
§ Sir Robert Peel
rose to submit the motion of which he had given notice, for an address to her Majesty, praying that she would be graciously pleased to give directions for the erection of three monuments to three distinguished naval officers of this country now no more— Lord Exmouth, Lord Saumarez, and Sir Sydney Smith. The only embarrassment which he (Sir Robert Peel) felt in the performance of this duty was, that of making a selection and discrimination amongst the claims which, on a review of the naval services of this country, were presented for public consideration. It was impossible to review the devotion to the public service—the gallant exertions which had been made for the defence of the country, and for the vindication of its honour, by the officers employed in the navy, without feeling the highest admiration of their service, and the deepest gratitude for the manner in which it was performed. If, by a proposition of this kind, he thought it could be supposed that he implied any reflection upon those distinguished naval officers whom lie did not propose to honour by similar records of public gratitude, he should feel the greatest pain and embarrassment. It was, however, always necessary in cases of this kind to make a selection and discrimination. Being impossible to commemorate the services of all who did well, it yet became a public duty to do honour to the memory of those who had most distinguished themselves; and when he considered the especial claims of the three great naval officers whom he had mentioned, he thought he 1192 should' be enabled to show that in each of their cases there was good ground for the distinction which he now proposed to confer upon their memory. It was impossible to over-state the wholesome effect upon the different branches of the public service of these acknowledgments of public gratitude for distinguished actions. He could not witness, without the highest, satisfaction the feeling of enthusiasm which was the other evening displayed by the gallant Commodore (Sir C. Napier), himself a great ornament to the naval profession, when this subject was first mentioned, and when an hon. Member on the opposite side of the House intimated objections, or doubts, at least, as to the policy of erecting monuments for the commemoration of the distinguished service of individuals. It was impossible to witness the generous enthusiasm which the gallant Commodore displayed—impossible to remember how much he had done to distinguish himself in the service of his country, and not at the same time to perceive what the effect upon the gallantry and exertion of public servants must be, when they found that their services were remembered, marked, and honoured by a grateful country. This was the cheap defence of nations. With reference to two of the three officers whom he had named, it was necessary only to mention two of the exploits which they had performed, to show that they were fully worthy of the honour he proposed to confer upon their memory. It was impossible to recall to one's mind the gallant defence of Acre, and the capture of Algiers, without feeling it almost unnecessary to say a single word in honour of the men by whom those services were performed. In the case of Sir Sydney Smith, although the force employed was inconsiderable, yet he doubted whether in the history of the world a more important service was ever performed. With a force at his command consisting only of drafts from the crews of two ships of the line, garrisoning the town of Acre, which at the time of his first occupation of it had not one single gun mounted upon its walls on the land side of the fortifications, Sir Sydney Smith, inspiring his little band with the spirit of his own valour, was enabled to baffle all the efforts of the greatest military commander of the time, with an army of 17,000 veteran troops at his back. The best testimony that could 1193 be borne to the value and importance of this great service, would be found in the cotemporary history of the period. The name of Sir Sydney Smith was mentioned in the speech from the Throne, and when a vote of thanks was proposed to him, then only a Captain in the naval service. On September 26, 1799, Lord Melville, then Mr. Dundas, spoke of him in these terms:—In speaking upon this subject, he really felt himself at a loss for terms to express his sentiments upon the conduct of that officer. It was impossible for a human individual to conceive a situation of more difficulty and delicacy than that in which Sir S. Smith was placed; and yet, in this situation, he had brought off a very small remnant of force, not by a well-conducted retreat, but with glory, against the whole power of the French at St. Jean d'Acre. It was now about twelve months since the intelligence arrived of the landing of that army on the coast of Egypt, and what the general feeling in this country was upon that occasion must be fresh in every man's mind. After many difficulties, the force of the enemy was collected for the purpose of making an attack upon St. Jean d'Acre, garrisoned by a small number of Turks, and assisted by a handful of British troops. Nothing could exceed the importance of this contest; they had, as Sir Sydney Smith had stated, a nation for spectators, who waited the issue of the conflict, in order to determine which party they should join. He did not in his opinion, say too much, when he said that he believed that the safety of the Turkish empire depended upon the event of that contest. He animated the Turkish forces by his conduct, and directed them with his skill. He fought at the head of a few British seamen for more than sixty days in succession, in defending a breach against the whole French force, headed by an enterprising general. He freely confessed that he had not got over the astonishment he felt when he was first informed of these circumstances; he had read the dispatches again and again; he had frequently ruminated upon them, and to this moment he could scarcely conceive how human exertion could achieve what he had done. This gallant officer had in the course of his life met with many difficulties, and there was a time when some persons who did not know him talked lightly of him. To those who could talk or think so of such an officer as Sir Sydney Smith, he would say nothing; he would leave them to the contempt they deserved, and to the remorse they must now feel in contemplating the character of that officer. He would not say that his actions on the coast of Egypt were unrivalled, but he would say that there never were any in which there were displayed more heroism, more skill, and greater exertion.Shortly afterwards his Majesty sent a 1194 message to the House of Commons, re. commending Sir Sidney Smith for a pension of 1,000l. per annum. He (Sir R. Peel) proceeded from the claims of Sir Sidney Smith to the services which had been rendered by Lord de Saumarez. They were, perhaps, less familiar to the public mind than the services of Lord Exmouth and Sir Sidney Smith, but still they were services that ought to be held in the highest estimation. Every one in that House. would be sufficiently familiar with the naval annals of the country to recollect that in July, 1801, Lord de Saumarez attempted to cut out three sail of-the-line under the batteries of Algesiras with a superior force. In that attempt he failed. He met with a reverse; having six sail-of-the-line under his command, he lost one of them. He retired discomfited, but not defeated. Within three days he repaired the shattered condition of his fleet, returned to Algesiras, attacked the combined French and Spanish fleet of ten sail-of-the-line, blew up two three-deckers, captured another, and allowed the remainder to escape only with great difficulty. That was the result of Lord de Saumarez's second action. The public thanks were given to Lord de Saumarez on that occasion, and he begged to call the attention of the House to the terms in which the greatest naval commander of this or any other country spoke with respect to the conduct of Lord de Saunmarez. In the House of Lords, the vote of thanks was proposed by Earl St. Vincent, who spoke in the most glowing terms of the services of Lord de Saumarez. He was followed by Lord Nelson, who, speaking of the two battles at Algesiras, said, "that a greater or more gallant action had never been fought than that of Sir James Saumarez, and that the promptness and spirit with which he had attacked a superior force, could not be surpassed." He was particularly struck with the letter written by Sir James Saumarez, in answer to that vote of thanks. After acknowledging with the utmost gratitude the thanks of the House, he stated, that on four former occasions he had been honoured with the thanks of their Lordships; having been in command of a line-of-battle ship in four different general actions—in Lord Rodney's action—in the action of the Earl St. Vincent—in Lord Bridport's action, and in Lord Nelson's action of the Nile. On five different occasions, therefore, had Sir 1195 James Saumarez received the thanks of Parliament for his conduct in five great actions, The last case to which he had to call the attention of the House was the case of Lord Exmouth, and here, as in the case of Sir Sydney Smith, it was only necessary for him to refer to what Lord Exmouth had accomplished. When he mentioned the siege of Algiers he thought he need say no more. He had referred to the testimony of gallant officers in the case of Sir James Saumarez, and he had also referred to the testimony of naval officers in the case of Sir Sydney Smith, and he could not help referring with a feeling of satisfaction to the testimony borne by an officer who certainly stood as highly distinguished in the naval service of this country to the merits of Lord Exmouth. The Earl of Dundonald, then Lord Cochrane, in speaking of the conduct of Lord Exmouth, said, that he deserved all the praises which he had received, that the attack was a noble achievement, and that he had never heard of a more gallant exploit than that in which Lord Exmouth led his ships against the Algerine hulks. To him there was something refreshing in the way in which one gallant officer had borne testimony to the services of another; be had read the testimony of Lord Nelson and of Lord Cochrane, and he thought the House would agree with him in thinking, that it was an eloquent testimony of the merits of their competitors. With respect to Lord Exmouth, his life had been one continued course of distinction in the naval service; the very day on which he fought the battle of Algiers, Lord Exmouth had completed a public service of forty years. He began his service in 1776; at the commencement of the American war he commanded the Spartan, and he began his career in a way prophetic of his future renown. The First Lord of the Admiralty addressed a letter to him approving of his services as a midshipman on board of a sloop of war on Lake Champlain, and stating that he would take the first opportunity to promote him, in consequence of his gallant conduct on the lakes during the American war; he was raised to the rank of a lieutenant, but at the time that letter was addressed to him, he had not attained the age of nineteen. Reflecting, then, on the life of Lord Exmouth—on the gallantry he constantly displayed in action—on his long services to this country—not merely in the de- 1196 struction of human life, but in saving it—reflecting also on the energy of his character, and on that which he, perhaps, ought not now to allude to—his private virtues—he thought it would be impossible to find any man who had a greater claim on the gratitude of the public than Lord Exmouth had. Those were the three cases to which he wished to call the attention of the House, for the purpose of having the services of these individuals acknowledged by some public record. He had already stated that the late Government had inquired into the claims of the different naval officers, and they had thought proper to confine the selection to the three individuals named. He also had made inquiry, and he roust say that the discrimination exercised by the late Government was a wise one, and it was in consequence of his own judgment coinciding with theirs that he now brought forward the propositions. It would not be necessary to ask for a large grant of money. The value of such monuments did not altogether consist in their being splendid works of art; it consisted in the incription on the monument, recording the services of the individual to whom it was erected, and stimulating others to similar exertions. He trusted, at the same time, that works of this kind might be made subservient, by a proper selection of artists, to the encouragement of art; but he was sure that the House would not consider it necessary to erect monuments of an expensive kind. On the contrary, he thought the public would more readily acknowledge the merits of these individuals, if they found that their monuments had cost a moderate sum, and he therefore trusted the House would cheerfully and unanimously consent to the motion pro posed. The hon. Member for Lambeth had given notice of what he would not call an amendment to the motion, but of an addition to it. The hon. Gentleman intended to take the present opportunity of inviting the House to take into consideration the services rendered to humanity by eminent men in science. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would not press that amendment. The subject was one which deserved their serious consideration, but in his opinion it should stand alone, for it would diminish the compliment to the great luminaries of science if the motion should appear to follow as a mere appendage to that with regard to military or 1197 naval merit. The hon. Gentleman had selected three distinguished names, but if monuments were to be erected to men of science, he would infinitely prefer any motion to that effect to stand alone, a d upon its own merits. He begged, however, to be understood as pronouncing no opinion adverse to the proposition brought forward by the hon. Member opposite. Much might be said in favour of erecting monuments not merely to men eminent in civil or political life, but also to those eminent scientific and literary men who had deserved well of the public.Quisque sui memores alias fecere merendo.But, though he did not say that all such benefactors of humanity were entitled to the gratitude of the public, he nevertheless thought that any proposal for a monument to them should not be connected with a motion like the present. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Member, in order that he might give an additional value to the subject, would withdraw his motion for the present, and take another opportunity of bringing it forward on its own intrinsic merits, for he felt sure that the hon. Gentleman would best consult the interests of science if he should take that course, rather than make such a motion by way of amendment to another. The subject of these naval monuments had been before the House for two Sessions; the justice of the principle, and the discrimination made, had been taken into consideration by two distinct Governments; and when the hon. Gentleman now proposed to add the names of Herschel, Watt, and Davy, he ought to recollect that a spontaneous burst of gratitude had raised to one of these individuals a more splendid monument—more splendid if they estimated splendour by popularity —than those which they proposed to raise to commemorate the merits of these three individuals he had named. But should the House adopt the principle contended for by the hon. Gentleman opposite, it was of the utmost consequence that a proper selection should be made; and under all these circumstances he trusted the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his amendment, in order that the House might give its unanimous consent to the proposition which he had made, and reserve for their future consideration the claims of those of whom the hon. Gentleman stood forward as the advocate. He thought the three 1198 officers he had named had peculiar claims on the House for a recognition of their services, and he did not think that the House, by consenting to the present proposal, would be showing any indifference to the claim which scientific men had upon the gratitude of the country. The right hon. Baronet concluded by moving the first of the three following resolutions:—
- " 1.Resolved, Thai an humble address be presented to her Majesty, that her Majesty would be graciously pleased to give directions that a monument be erected to the memory of Admiral Lord Viscount Exmouth, in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's, with an inscription expressive of the public sense of his great and meritorious services, in the course of a long and distinguished life; and in particular, of his able and gallant conduct in the successful and decisive attack on the batteries and naval force of Algiers, on the 27th of August, 1816; and to assure her Majesty that this House will make good the expenses attending the same,
- " 2. Resolved, That an humble address be presented to her Majesty, that her Majesty would be graciously pleased to give directions that a monument be erected to the memory of Admiral Lord de Saumarez, with an inscription expressive of the public sense of his great and meritorious services, in the course of a long and distinguished life; and particularly of the valour, plomptitude, and ability which he displayed, in successfully attacking a superior squadron of French and Spanish ships in the Streights of Gibraltar, on the 12th and 13th days of July, 1801 and to assure her Majesty that this House will make good the expenses attending the same.
- "3 Resolved, That an humble address be presented to her Majesty, that her Majesty would be graciously pleased to give directions that a monument be erected to the memory of Admiral Sir Sydney Smith, with an inscription expressive of the public sense of his great and Meritorious services, in the course of a long and distinguished life; and in particular, of the valour and ability which he displayed daring the whole period of the important operations, with the conduct of which he was intrusted, on the coast of Egypt; and especially in the gallant and heroic defence of the fortress of Acre; and to assure her Majesty that this House will make good the expenses attending the same."
§ Mr. Hawes
assured the right hon. Baronet that he had no wish, by the amendment of which he had given notice, to disparage the honour or glory of those services which had been rendered to the country by the gallant men referred to in the motion of the right hon. Gentleman. He Sad, however, felt—in common, he 1199 believed, with hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House—that while gorgeous monuments had, from time to time, been erected to the memory of military and naval heroes, they bad overlooked the claims of those who had rendered most important services to the country, though those services might be less striking and brilliant than those of a naval or military character. If he thought that the amendment of which he had given notice tended in any degree to dim the lustre which justly distinguished the names of those gallant men to whom the right hon. Baronet had alluded, he would at once defer to the opinion expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, and bring forward on a future occasion the motion of which he had given notice. The right hon. Baronet had said that some principle of selection ought to be adopted with regard to those to whom it was proposed to erect monuments at the public expense. He (Mr. Hawes) conceived he had adopted a fair principle of selection,—one most intelligible and justifiable; for he had selected three co-temporaries of Lord de Saumarez, Lord Exmouth, and Sir Sydney Smith, who were distinguished for important scientific discoveries, which had been productive of great practical benefits to the country. The right hon. Gentleman had said that these monuments were the cheap defence of nations—that they afforded a stimulus to noble deeds. He conceived, on the other hand, that if they adopted a course which would stimulate men to emulate the deeds of Herschell, of Watt, and of Davy, they achieved for this country the highest glory among all the nations of the world. He thought by associating the names of the eminent men to whom his motion referred with the names of the gallant officers to whom the right hon. Baronet had alluded, those gallant men were placed in a higher position, for they might be regarded as benefactors to their species. After what had fallen, however, from the right hon. Baronet, he should pause before he pressed the motion of which he had given notice. If the right hon. Gentleman had gone rather further than he had done—if the right hon. Gentleman had said that, regarding this as a question of considerable importance, he would consider during the recess whether, as First Minister of the Crown, he could agree to the suggestion, he should have been perfectly willing to leave the consideration of 1200 the matter and 'the selection of names in-the hands of the right hon. Baronet. When he referred to the list of names of those persons to whom public monuments had been erected, he was surprised to find how small a proportion of the public money had been devoted to commemorate the services of scientific men and of civil officers. He found that out of a.,sum of 132,000l. which had been devoted to the erection of public monuments, only 14,000l. had been appropriated to the commemoration of civil services. Out of forty public monuments which had been erected, four only could be considered as, monuments for civil services. The first was that in memory of Lord Chatham, the next was that to William Pitt, the third was that erected to Mr. Spencer Perceval, and the fourth that to Captain Cook. He had placed the name of Captain Cook in the list because he conceived the services of that gentleman were of a scientific character. He should have felt much gratified had this list included the names of other distinguished men who were eminent for their scientific services. He might have mentioned the names of other individuals besides those to whom the motion of which he had given notice referred; but he had selected the names of men who were cotemporaries of the gallant officers to whom the right hon. Baronet had alluded, and who were distinguished for great and original scientific discoveries. Dr. Herschell had added to our knowledge nearly one half of the solar system; Watt, he thought, might be regarded not merely as the improver of the steam-engine, but as the originator of many most important improvements; he might be considered almost in the light of an original inventor, and entitled to the especial gratitude of the country; and with respect to the important discoveries of Davy, but one opinion was entertained throughout Europe. He might have cited to the House many laudatory opinions from the works of foreign authors as to the discoveries of this eminent man. He was not, however, insensible to the concessions which had been made—or rather, to the coincidence of opinion which had been manifested—by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He was, therefore, inclined to leave the subject in the hands of the right hon. Baronet, than whom no one was more competent to deal with the question, and to select the names of the indivi- 1201 duals whose memories it was proposed to honour.
§ Sir R. Inglis
considered that his right hon. Friend had done himself honour by proposing this motion. He concurred in the observations of his right hon. Friend, and he had no doubt that the assent of the House would be cordially given to the proposition. He must, however, be allowed to express his regret that the right hon. Gentleman had determined, by his resolution, the place in which the monuments should be erected. He knew the value which was attached to the distinction of a public funeral, or to the erection of a public monument, in one of the great cathedrals of this country; but he thought it would have been better had the right hon. Baronet reserved for future consideration the determination of he place in which the monuments to the gallant officers named in his motion should be erected. Various suggestions were made to the committees on national monuments and on the fine arts with respect to the erection of monuments to eminent men. In the committee on national monuments which sat last year, Mr. Barry was asked whether, crowded as Westminster Abbey now is by monuments, it would not be advantageous to remove some of those monuments, especially such as bore no reference to the place where the party was buried, to some other place, such as the new Houses of Parliament or Westminster Hall. He had called the attention of the hon. Member for Lambeth to one monument in Westminster Abbey, that erected to the memory of Mr. Watt—and he would say, that however admirable that monument might be as a work of art, and however creditable to the sculptor, Mr. Chantrey, it was not in consonance with the character of the edifice in which it was placed. Mr. Barry, who was examined before the committee on the fine arts, was questioned on this subject, and he stated, that he considered it most desirable that the statues erected in memory of eminent men should be placed in Westminster-hall. This suggestion of Mr. Barry was, he presumed, confined to those monuments which had been erected by order of Parliament. He might be allowed to offer a suggestion with respect to the ornamenting of public places in the metropolis. Many of the public places in London were ornamented by monuments which had been erected by 1202 the liberality of the families or friends of deceased individuals; but he thought there was ample opportunity for carrying this principle still farther. It was, he believed, almost impossible to place any more monuments in Westminster Abbey; and he did not consider it desirable to render the cathedral of St. Paul's a mere depository for monuments, which might not be in consonance with the religious nature of that edifice. He thought that in the place in which persons were actually buried there could be no objection to the erection of monuments; but he entertained a different opinion with regard to mere commemorative monuments. He confessed that lie regretted the delay which had taken place in paying due honour to the eminent men to whom the right hon. Baronet had referred, when he compared the date at which their exploits were performed with the date when those exploits were recognised. It appeared as if the old principle of canonization had been adopted—that a certain number of years should be allowed to elapse before a monument was erected to commemorate the public services of an individual. He had looked over the list of persons in whose memory, during the last sixty years, Parliament had directed the erection of public monuments. He would not read that list to the House, for it might be deemed invidious were he to do so; but he would observe, that there were in the list the names of twenty-eight individuals, of whose services no record was found in the history of this country to entitle them to the distinction conferred upon them. He thought that no individuals ought to receive public funerals, or to have public monuments erected to their memory, if their services did not afford them a strong and decided claim to the honour. In 1815 a resolution was adopted by the House that a public monument should be erected to the memory of every major-general who was killed in action. The war terminated soon after this resolution was adopted; and consequently, it had not been acted upon; but, he would ask, was the House prepared to carry out such a resolution, and to award a public monument in memory of every major-general killed in action, whatever might be his character or the nature of his services? He thought that these honours were degraded by being made so general. Although considerable delay had taken place 1203 in the public commemoration of the exploits of the gallant officers to whom the right hon. Baronet had referred, they were now, at a distance of time, enabled to look back upon their achievements, and to judge how eminently they were entitled to this distinction; and thought, therefore, that the House was about to confer upon them, he would not say a tardy, but a well-considered honour. He had purposely abstained from alluding to the case of civilians, whose public services might entitle them to a similar mark of distinction; and he thought the hon. Member for Lambeth had exercised a sound discretion in leaving that subject to the consideration of her Majesty's Government. He hoped a future opportunity would be afforded of considering that question, and that the recognition of eminent public services would not be confined to navel or military heroes.
§ Sir R. Peel
begged to state, that he did not wish to fetter the discretion of the Crown as to the place in which public monuments should be erected.
§ Sir R. Peel
thought the Crown ought to possess the discretionary power of selecting the place in which these monuments should be erected. He would, therefore, omit from his motion the words, "in the cathedral church of St. Paul."
§ Sir G. Cockburn
begged, on the part of the navy, to assure his right hoe. Friend and the House, that this handsome and spontaneous mark of their approval, by the honour bestowed on the memory of these distinguished officers, would afford extreme gratification to that branch of the public service. It would be idle for him to address the House at length on this subject, after the excellent speech which they had heard from the right hon. Baronet; but he might be excused for referring to the feelings of the navy with regard to the exploits to which the right hon. Baronet had referred. He could assure the House, that when the account of the defence of Acre reached the fleet, in the Mediterranean, the greatest astonishment was felt at that glorious achievement. Ho might say, that it was owing almost wholly to the personal ability and valour of Sir Sydney Smith, aided by portions of the crews of only two line-of battle ships, that—although a complete breach was effected—the town was suc- 1204 cessfully defended against the veteran army of Bonaparte. The breach was stormed three or four different times, and each time the troops of the enemy were met by that gallant officer, with his small band of British sailors, and each time the enemy was driven back. That was a service different from that which naval officers were usually called on to perform, and therefore the achievement was more signal. It insured the approbation of the country, and exemplified the character of the British navy, which never left it. They found Sir Sydney Smith afterwards leading the British fleet, and showing deeds of daring on every occasion, and he thought, therefore, that the memory of that gallant officer was very properly and justly selected by Government for this distinction; and, though late, it was not too late to do honour to a hero. On the part of the navy he had also to say, that the Government could not have made a better selection than in choosing for this distinguished honour the memory of Lord Exmouth. In addition to the valour he had displayed in the first American war, he had fought the first brilliant action in the last American war as he had fought before. In the first battle in the last war he had fought his ship, taken his antagonist a prize, and brought her in. The action of Algiers showed vast determination, and extraordinary efforts were made. The batteries opposed to his fleet were, he might say, almost terrific; but the walls had been battered down, and the first victory over slavery (if he might so express it) was obtained. But he must note another deed, which would mark the man. A ship, full of passengers, was wrecked off Plymouth; Lord Exmouth, then Captain Pellew, was passing; he got a rope put round him, and himself placed on this wreck, and did not leave it till every person safely escaped. That act marked the man, and the navy felt grateful to the Government and to the House for marking their approbation of such a man. Speaking of Sir James Saumarez, after the action of Algesiras, where he ran on a shoal under the batteries, and where for want of wind one ship got aground and could not be relieved, and the enterprise at last was obliged to be relinquished—on getting into Gibraltar he found the masts of his ships crippled in every way from the fire of the batteries, when he received intelligence of a French and Spanish squadron 1205 coming. The moment the seamen heard that, they begged they might work night and day in refitting and repairing the damage. The officers set the example, and when the French and Spanish fleet hove in sight the English ships were towed out, putting up their rigging as they were going on, and in the action that ensued they took three ships out of ten, blowing up two Spanish ships and taking a French ship a prize. It required the energy and determination of that commanding officer to attempt such a thing. The attempt showed the character of the officer in command; the carrying out of that attempt into execution was what he trusted the British sailor always did—to run at the enemy wherever he saw him, and trust to his own valour for a victorious result. He trusted that this public memorial, in commemoration of the services of these gallant men, would excite others to imitate their acts when the country should require it. He did not doubt but that it would have the best effect. In the name of the navy he returned his thanks to the House for the manner in which it had received the proposition.
§ Mr. Hume
could assure the House that he did not intend to oppose this proposition. On the contrary, he held in his hand a return which he had moved for in 1838, giving a list of all public monuments erected by Parliamentary grants. His object in moving for this return had been twofold; first, to show that the gratitude of the country to their defenders had been as it were kept a secret, that the public had been excluded from the opportunity of being reminded of these marks of gratitude shown to merit. Their influence and effect on the people were, therefore, lost. In his opinion these monuments ought to be placed in some public building, such as the monument proposed in commemoration of the battle of Waterloo, for which that House had voted 300,000l; and, undoubtedly, if such a building had been erected, nothing was so proper as to place all those monuments in such a building. His second object had been to show that public gratitude seemed to be entirely devoted to military men, since men of science seemed to be forgotten. Depending so much as England did on science, it was surprising to find that not one scientific man had been rewarded. Although he was satisfied that it would be niggardly to refuse this ho- 1206 nour, still he thought these rewards were too much narrowed to military and naval men. He recommended the hall at Greenwich Hospital as a fit place for the erection of naval monuments. He would have all these monuments removed from Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's, and placed in Greenwich-hall. He hoped that the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey would exhibit a more liberal spirit; at present the monuments of Watt, of Davy, and of Newton and Locke, instead of being open to the public, were hidden from them. Not one person in 500 in the country knew that there were these monuments. He hoped the right hon. Baronet would use his influence in getting these public buildings opened to the public. He found that the Archbishop of York had shown a most praiseworthy spirit of liberality in this respect. These feelings of sympathy with the pub-lie, and these indulgences and grants—boons if they pleased —were recollected with gratitude, and were also highly useful in tending to direct the thoughts of rising generations to objects of enterprise and honour. The whole sum expended in public monuments, since the monument of Wolf, which was the first, in 1764, had been but 132,000l. There was no one but would say that this was a very niggardly amount. He believed that in France a rule was laid down that the propriety of erecting public monuments should not be taken into consideration till ten years after the decease of the individual. He thought that a very proper rule, and it. conferred a greater honour on the memory of the individual chosen for such a mark of respect. He trusted that the right hon. Baronet would take into consideration the propriety of promoting the arts in the monuments to be chosen.
§ Mr. Wyse
thought this selection of individuals for this honour from one branch of the public service placed the other branch in a most invidious position. He thought the other branch of the service had equal claims. He was of opinion that the motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth would be of use, inasmuch as it would bring the subject, during the interval which would elapse between the present and the next Session of Parliament, under the consideration not only of hon. Members of that House, but also of the country generally. The names his 1207 hon. Friend had chosen he thought had been well selected, though this was not the time to enter into the discussion of the separate and individual merits of the distinguished individuals thus brought under renewed notice and attention. He must, however, observe that foreigners visiting this country were much struck that while almost every regard had been had to the memories of this country's heroes, both military and naval, it had so little distinguished itself for paying such a compliment to the departed worth of the many eminent persons who had adorned literature, science, and the arts. With regard to the motion of the right hon. Baronet opposite, he felt the force of the objection which had been taken to St. Paul's being the locality. That point, however, had been abandoned by the right hon. Baronet, and he trusted that whenever the proposed statues were erected, sufficient attention would be paid in the choice, and that none of the strange inconsistencies which characterized both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's would attach to the locality which might be determined upon for their reception.
§ Sir F. Burdett
said, that without meaning the slightest invidious feeling towards those eminent men, Admiral Sir James Saumarez and Lord Exmouth, whose names had been introduced into this motion, yet, with all respect for those persons to whose merits such valuable testimony had been borne, he must say that it did appear to him that the particular merits of Sir Sydney Smith—his whole career indeed —deserved individual distinction. His exploits in the defence of the fortress of Acre, which was thought by all to be indefensible, produced results of incalculable benefit to the country. He should be glad if all public monuments were made matter of individual consideration. He did not think it a good thing to mix up merits of various kinds, however vast those merits might be. He would content himself, however, with mentioning one or two traits in Sir Sydney Smith's character, which would illustrate the spirit that governed him throughout the whole of his brilliant career. His humanity was equal to his bravery, and his generosity towards a subdued enemy exceeded his valour and his humanity, and that trait of his, in giving life to those who had been left by Bonaparte in the flight of his army, was not the least worthy of mention. Bona- 1208 parte was obliged to make the most rapid retreat he could, and, in doing so, he left his sick and wounded behind. It was something monstrous for men, unable to walk, to be left in boats, without anybody to navigate them, and entirely destitute of stores or any kind of provision. These men, found in this situation, were steered to an English port, the men trusting to the generosity of the British. In that they were not disappointed. Sir Sidney Smith did everything in his power to assuage the suffering's of the people, and his exertions to relieve officers and men in their distresses brought down: upon his head the blessings of all those persons. His imperturbable spirit upon every occasion, his resources under every distressing circumstance, never being at a loss in the most trying exigencies, and always acting under a confidence of final success, rendered his character as distinguished for individual power, as the devotion of his mind and energies to the cause of his country was great and unequalled. The hon. Baronet paid a warm tribute to the Marines, to the greatness of their claims, and to the modesty with which they brought them before the public; and having gone over all the main features of the siege of Acre, and pronounced a eulogium on Sir Sidney Smith, he concluded by expressing his hearty concurrence in the motion of the right hon Baronet.
§ Mr. Brotherton
did not wish to disparage the merits of those who had distinguished themselves in arms; but he thought the country was too much disposed to war, and too little to the encouragement of the arts of peace, and that it was considered that military and naval heroes conferred greater benefits on the country than those men who had by their inventions done so much for the welfare of mankind. The best means to promote the happiness of nations was to promote a good understanding between them, so that they might find delight in serving, instead of injuring each other. He believed, that if France and England would unite together, and proclaim to the world that they would not settle any differences by war, but by common sense and justice, war would cease. He should wish, then, to see honours conferred upon those who were eager to save life, rather than to destroy it. About two years ago, a Captain Glegg, of Liverpool, saved the lives 1209 of 110 persons, at the risk of his own. He was so much struck with the act, that he put a motion on the books of the House, for the Government to confer some dignity upon that individual, but Lord J. Russell requested him to withdraw his motion, saying that the Government would take it into their consideration. He accordingly did so, and some dignity was to have been conferred on Captain Glegg, but he was absent from the country at the time, and before his return, a change of Ministry took place, and he never received the honours intended for him. He put it, then, to the Government, whether it would not be of service to the country to have some honour or medal to confer upon those who should display humanity in such a way as must be gratifying to the feelings of the nation. He cordially agreed with his hon. Friend, the Member for Lambeth, as to conferring honours upon men of science; but he differed from him in this—his hon. Friend would confer them upon those individuals who had already been rewarded, but he could point to men of genius who had contributed largely to the welfare of this country by their inventions, as, for example, the inventor of the mule-jenny, whose descendants were now in a state of indigence. He thought, that those were the men upon whom honours should be conferred.
§ Sir J. Duke
said, that having had the honour to serve under Lord Exmouth, and to act as his private secretary, during two years that he was in the Caledonia, he had an opportunity of knowing the merits of that gallant officer; and he (Sir J. Duke) ought to express his grateful thanks to the right hon. Baronet for having in a manner so creditable to himself and the country, brought forward the services of that distinguished individual. He was sure, that the navy would be grateful to the right hon. Baronet and to that House, and from the feelings of all around him, he was satisfied the country would feel grateful also. There was one peculiar characteristic of the noble and gallant Lord. No gallant officer was so constantly employed during the late war, as the noble Lord. From the time the first ship, the Cleopatra, was captured, to the close of the battle of Algiers, Lord Exmouth was only on shore for a very few months. The right hon. Baronet had alluded to his having upon one occasion 1210 saved 600 lives at the risk of his own. It was for that he received the honour of a baronetcy, and not for the capture of the French frigate. At the early part of the war, our commerce suffered much from French privateers at the entrance of the Channel. Lord Exmouth was then appointed to the Arethusa one of the squadron, and sent against those privateers, and never once was he under any other command than his own. He was always detached. It was in commemoration of his gallant services, that the well-known song was composed and sung throughout the navy. When he was in company, too, with Admiral Reynolds, on board the frigate, the Amazon, they met with a large French ship of eighty guns; they attacked her, and drove her ashore, at their own imminent peril. Lord Exmouth was always ready on a great emergency, and when the ship was driven ashore, it being necessary to shorten sail, and being a dangerous thing to accomplish, Lord Exmouth himself went to the yard-arm, and set the first reef, and then said—"Go, men, and follow my example. I do not wish my men to do anything I cannot do myself." Off Toulon, too, he nearly brought on an engagement with the French fleet, and if he had come to an action he would have given as good an account of himself afterwards as Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. He begged, then, to tender his personal thanks to the right hon. Baronet for having brought forward this subject; but, at the same time, he would suggest, that such men as the late Lord Camden ought not to pass unnoticed. Hon. Members were the guardians of the public purse, and they ought not to pass over unnoticed an individual who, in the most disinterested manner, had given up to the public nearly half a million of money.
§ Dr. Bowring
said, that concurring cordially as he did in the sentiments of his hon. Friend, the Member for Salford, he should be sorry not to say upon this occasion, that he did not think the country had done justice to those men who had done honour to the arts of peace, and had rendered interminable benefits upon mankind. He might mention that at this moment the descendants of Taylor, who, he believed, introduced his invention of steam navigation into this country before Fulton did so in America, were now in a state of indigence.
said, that having 1211 served under Lord Exmouth, Lord De Saumarez, and Sir Sydney Smith, he could not give a silent vote upon this occasion. He could not but tender his thanks to the right hon. Baronet for the manner in which he bad brought forward this motion and he should now sit down contented when he saw these monuments erected, be they at Greenwich or at St. Paul's.
§ Address agreed to.