§ MR. HEYWOOD
said, that in moving the Address to Her Majesty for the preservation of the Crystal Palace until the 1723 1st of next May, he was prompted do so by what he believed to be the general wish of all classes. Among the grounds on which the appropriation of the building raised in Hyde Park to the object indicated in his Motion seemed to be desirable, he thought that not the least important was suggested when it was considered how much larger London was than any other capital in Europe or America. The ordinary attractions of Hyde Park as a place of public resort had this year been immensely increased by the presence of the successful Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. Originally the project for the building had been to erect an enormous brick edifice with a huge dome. Of course, there had been great alarm in the neigh-bourhood when that proposition was first heard of. While the prolonged and difficult discussion as to the character of the required edifice, was proceeding, a beautiful design appeared in the Illustrated News of a glass palace, which was proffered as a substitute for the brick building. This design was subsequently somewhat modified; but it was virtually adopted; and it was that design which they now saw carried out in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. He was quite aware that while the building was in the course of erection the immense traffic which it called into operation occasioned considerable inconvenience to the immediate neighbourhood; but he did not consider, when the Exhibition was closed, that the glass palace would cause any inconvenience to the residents in the vicinity. He believed, with respect to the durability of the building, that it was very firm and solid. The iron work was remarkably good, and the timber, which was Canadian, would last several years. Some expense to keep it order would necessarily be required, if the building were converted into a winter garden; but the attainment of that object would be well worthy the expense. What he asked the House to do was, to give its sanction to the continuance of the Crystal Palace for such a length of time as would enable information to be gained with reference to its future use, partly for pleasure and partly for scientific purposes. He thought it was a matter well worthy of consideration whether or not it might be formed into a good winter garden for the inhabitants of the metropolis. There were Gentlemen in that House fond of riding, but they often found Rotten-row wet and sloppy. Might it not then be considered how far one part of the 1724 Crystal Palace could be converted into a riding-house? If such a thing were practicable, it would, unquestionably, be a great advantage to that part of the metropolis. With respect to one of the scientific uses to which the palace might be applied, they had an example of what he meant in the Botanical Gardens in the Regent's Park. The conservatory there was a model of what he thought might be established within the wide range of the Crystal Palace. But there was another view of the case. The British Museum was deficient in the room necessary for the reception of all the antiquities provided for it; and the greatest naturalists agreed that the specimens of natural history there would be exhibited to great advantage under glass. The British Museum would soon be far more than filled both in the library department and in that of antiquities; and he thought the third department, that of natural history, might be successfully transferred to the Crystal Palace. The way in which the Royal Commissioners had conducted the whole affairs of the Exhibition, reflected great credit upon them; and he must say that his Royal Highness Prince Albert, who was trained under the Astronomer Royal at Brussels, and made great proficiency in his mathematical studies, was admirably fitted to be at the head of such a body of Commissioners for the promotion of any scientific object whatever. The duties of his Royal Highness Prince Albert and his coadjutors were now coming to a close; and their present intention was to close the Crystal Palace on the 1st September. They were further bound by their contract to remove the building altogether by the 1st of June, 1852. What he (Mr. Hey wood) asked the House was, that the Commissioners should be granted a delay up to the 1st May next year, with a view to steps being taken whereby the Legislature could authorise the Commissioners to retain possession of the building altogether. He was authorised to state on the part of Messrs. Fox and Henderson, the contractors, that they would hold themselves in readiness to treat with the Commissioners as regarded the 1st May upon the same terms as had been agreed to as regarded the 1st September. The Commissioners would not, in a pecuniary point of view, be held responsible; and he must at the same time say, that he thought Mr. Paxton and Messrs. Fox and Henderson, who had distinguished themselves so much in the erection of the build- 1725 ing, deserved much from the Commissioners in the way of reward, and he should not be sorry to hear that a considerable sum came to them when the change took place. It had been stated by good judges that a very little change, at a moderate expense, would adapt the building to its new use, for the comfort, recreation, and instruction of the inhabitants. In that particular part of the metropolis there was a general absence of places of public resort and amusement. The only place of public resort he was aware of was Tattersall's; there was nothing analogous to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens in the Regent's Park. As to any nuisance being created of which the inhabitants could complain, he might observe that the arrangements of the police hitherto had been excellent; and the same order could be easily preserved under whatever character the Crystal Palace appeared. The particular style of architecture called crystal architecture was new to historians, and the magnificent specimen in Hyde Park would, no doubt, be spoken of in future history as one of the great features of the age in which we lived, and one not unworthy to be ranked with railways, the penny postage, and other inventions. There were, besides, associations connected with this building that ought to create a feeling favourable to its preservation; such, for example, as the magnificent scene at the opening of the Exhibition by Her Majesty. The Crystal Palace might be described as the nearest approach to a ladies' club that had ever been constructed, for there a lady might walk about with as much security and quiet as in her own drawing-room. As to the changes to be made in the building, a variety might be suggested for consideration, such as fitting up the lower sashes with glass, intersecting it with streets, and so on. The matter which he had brought to the notice of the House was not one in which the Commissioners themselves could move. They had only to abide by their contracts, explicit and implied. Neither was it a matter in which the Government could move. Hence it had fallen into his hands, as an independent Member; and it was for the House itself to decide. The interests of the parties who were residents and owners of house property in the neighbourhood of the palace, were to be fairly considered, and their claims to compensation might hereafter be weighed. The House was at present only appealed to to grant a little 1726 time; and he, for one, should deeply regret if they were carelessly to allow the destruction of a noble monument of the days in which they lived.
Motion made, and Question put—
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct, in such manner as to Her may seem fit, that the Crystal Palace be preserved until the 1st May next, with a view to determine if that novel Structure, or any portion of it, can be adapted to purposes of public utility and recreation.
§ COLONEL SIBTHORP
said, he rose to oppose the Motion. He considered that, in so doing, he was at least acting consistently with the course he had hitherto pursued on this subject. He had, at the outset, looked upon the erection of this building as a gross attack on the rights of the people of this country; and he had been proud to find the opinion of a humble individual like himself borne out by the high authority of such eminent lawyers as Lord Brougham, Lord Campbell, and Mr. Justice Cresswell. He had the highest respect for the Illustrious Prince at the head of the Commission, but be still entertained the same opinion he originally professed on this subject. Unfortunately, however, for the people of this country, the erection of this Crystal Palace took place; and what had been the result? The desecration of the Sabbath—the demoralisation of the people—a disunion of parties—and increasing poverty to a most serious extent; for he had heard, and with pain, that the poor of this country had been seduced to come up to this Exhibition. All that they had saved and all they could borrow had been in many cases spent in this foolish journey; and he knew he spoke facts when he stated that not only had they borrowed money but pawned their clothes to enable them to come up to this "World's Fair," as it was called; and now they were left without a penny in their pockets. One-half of the tradesmen in the metropolis and the provincial towns would tell them that their trade was lost—that they had no customers—all had gone to the Crystal Palace, not merely for amusement, but, what was worse, to make future orders for the goods of foreigners, who came here to undersell the honest, industrious, and heavily-taxed people of England. As for the building itself, it was, no doubt, a wonderful building externally; of its interior he knew nothing, for, curious as he was on the subject, he had, from principle, denied himself the gratification 1727 of his curiosity on that point. And they were now considering whether they should perpetuate this building. But a compact had been made with reference to it, that it should stand only for a certain time, and that it then should come down. Did the Government intend, or did they not, to adhere to that compact? Would they swerve from that compact, and adopt the Resolution of the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood)? He believed that, morally, religiously, and socially speaking, this Exhibition was a great curse to the country; and, with the opinions he had ever entertained of it, and in which he was more than ever confirmed, he could not possibly subscribe to any such Motion. After the exhibition of meanness on the part of the Commissioners when they came to that House and asked for money for the payment of their clerks, he could expect nothing at their hands but trickery and manœuvring. He had given his mite to oppose the erection of the Crystal Palace, though in that they were thwarted by the late Attorney General. Would those who had already made 300,000l. by it, spend some of that in keeping up the winter garden they wanted? Would they keep up this palace of tomfoolery at their own expense, or would they have the boldness to come to that House for a Parliamentary grant for it? If the latter, then that would of itself form a sufficient reason for his own opposition to any proposal tending that way, to say nothing of his general objections to everything connected with the whole scheme, and the manner in which it not only violated the rights of the people in general, but more especially the rights of those to whose property in the immediate neighbourhood of the Exhibition it was a serious injury. On all these grounds, then—pursuing the same course he had ever followed on this subject—guided by no selfish motives whatever, but acting in pursuance of what he felt to be his duty to the people of this country—he should say "No" to this Motion, and gave it his most determined opposition.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he had no intention of following the hon. and gallant Officer through the great variety of topics to which he had adverted in his discursive speech; but, as one of the Commissioners, he begged to offered a few observations on the Motion now before the House. He did not agree with the hon. and gallant Officer in the general estimate he had formed of the merits of the Exhibition. His belief 1728 was that it had not only ministered to the gratification of hundreds of thousands of persons of all ranks and conditions, but that its permanent effects on the trade of this country, as well as on the improvement of all the arts that ministered to the comfort and well-being of the people, would not be little. However, upon these points there was so wide a difference between the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln and himself, that he despaired of making any impression upon the mind of the gallant Colonel by any arguments he could use, and therefore would leave that question to the general sense of the House. The gallant Officer had talked of the general demoralisation of the country caused by this Exhibition. Now, he believed nothing could be more moral, in the highest sense of the word, more humanising, or civilising, than the great spectacle they had seen in this country. So different were his views from those of the gallant Colonel, that though he had seen with admiration the magnificent assemblage of works of industry collected within the marvellous structure which the genius of Mr. Paxton had raised, yet there was another spectacle he had seen with still greater delight, and that was the orderly demeanour of the hundreds of thousands of our fellow-countrymen of all ranks and classes, from the hives of industry in the manufacturing towns, as well as from the agricultural districts, almost without a single case being brought before the police, and without the slightest disturbance of the public peace, in spite of those sinister observations they had heard so much of, that the metropolis would be a scene of disorder, if not actually burnt and pillaged. Nor could he omit to say how gratifying it was to find that, notwithstanding the great influx of foreigners to our shores, there had scarcely occurred among them, any more than among our own countrymen, a paltry police case, or the slightest breach of the public peace. He therefore formed a very different estimate of this Exhibition from that entertained by the hon. and gallant Officer; and he could not help referring to the circumstance, so gratifying to them as Englishmen, while it had excited the admiration of foreigners, that all this had taken place without any display of military; that the mere staff of the policeman, enforced by the love of order and of law which happily distinguished the people of this country, had crushed everything like disorder, notwithstanding that the streets of the metro- 1729 polis were crowded beyond all former precedent. He would now make a few remarks upon the question more immediately before the House. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Heywood) had brought forward a Motion, not asking the House to pledge themselves to the eventual and permanent maintenance of the building, but to consent that a sort of reprieve should be given to it, so as to enable them next Session fully to consider the matter. On that question he, as a Commissioner, and as a Member of the Government, would express no opinion whatever. He held that it was a question for that House to decide. Both as a Commissioner and as a Member of the Government, he considered himself pledged to pull down the building, unless that House expressed a different opinion. For his part, not for all that was in the Crystal Palace would he be a party to the violation of that pledge, without the consent of the House of Commons. At the same time, it was right the House should be mindful of how the Commissioners stood in regard to this matter. The engagement which was entered into with Messrs. Fox and Henderson as to the taking down of the Palace, presented two alternatives. It was, in the first place, agreed to pay a certain sum for the use of the building for a certain time; and that it should then be taken down; but if it should be finally resolved to retain the building by the Commissioners, it was then agreed that they should purchase it by the payment of a further sum. At that moment they stood engaged to pay to the contractors, for the use of the building, about 120,000l.; and, if the building were purchased, they engaged to pay 70,000l. more, making altogether about 190,000l. It was also agreed that unless the Commissioners gave notice to Messrs. Fox and Henderson for the removal of the Palace before a certain day, they should he bound to purchase it, so that even if the building were to stand, they would be obliged to give that notice, unless those gentlemen were ready to release them from that obligation.
§ MR. HEYWOOD
had the authority of Mr. Paxton to say that Messrs. Fox and Henderson would consent to waive those terms of the contract.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
would only say further, the Commissioners were, in fact, bound to pull down the Crystal Palace, unless the House interfered to prevent it. The whole question was before the House, and he would not give an opinion on the 1730 subject one way or the other. Every Member was perfectly competent to form a judgment upon it; and it was pre-eminently the duty of the House to decide the question. He should not vote on the Motion, but wait and see what decision the House came to.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
said, that differing entirely as he did from the feelings expressed by his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Sibthorp) on this subject, he agreed with him in the conclusion to which he had come, and he was anxious to state the grounds on which he had come to that conclusion. He believed the House was not at liberty—he used that phrase deliberately—to alter the contract into which the Commissioners had entered with regard to the removal of the building from Hyde Park. He agreed with his right hon. Friend (Mr. Labouchere) in all that he had said as to the benefits which had already resulted from the Exhibition. And when they acknowledged those results, it behoved them not to be proud, but thankful that there had been communicated to a larger mass of their fellow-creatures than had ever before been congregated together, more rational, intelligent, and beneficial pleasure than had been ever before enjoyed. And when he compared the predictions of last year with the happy falsification which it had been their privilege, through God's good providence, to witness, he felt shame and humiliation when he remembered that he also was amongst those who prognosticated evil. He had indeed taken no public part in making those prognostications, but in his own secret mind he certainly anticipated almost all the evils which others had stated; and therefore he wished now all the more strongly to bear testimony, with his right hon. Friend, to the good conduct of the people of England, as well as to the good conduct of their friends and allies from the Continent, whom they had welcomed. He had every confidence in the efficiency of the police force; but he believed that if the great masses who had been congregated together had not been actuated by higher principles, ten times the amount of I police force would not have sufficed to preserve order. Further, he could not but acknowledge the great obligation the country owed to the prescient sagacity of the illustrious Prince who devised the plan, and who had successfully carried it out, notwithstanding the lukewarm support of many, and the ill-concealed aversion of 1731 others. That illustrious Prince foresaw, not only the immediate pleasure which his conception would contribute to his fellow-subjects, but also the great ultimate and lasting benefits which would result from it. Those benefits, he (Sir R. Inglis) apprehended would not be of a limited or of a temporary nature; but, if the building were destined to fall to-morrow, those benefits would be felt for many generations to come. It was, indeed, a peace congress, in which were brought together those who were formerly regarded as natural enemies, and who, without the sacrifice of principle, and without any differences of opinion, had drunk at the same spring; and all of whom, he hoped, were equally thankful for the pleasure they had been permitted to enjoy. No one could have visited the Exhibition without experiencing a joy he had never felt before at beholding so many happy faces brought together. If he differed from his right hon. Friend (Mr. Labouchere) in any part of his address, it was that in which he withdrew himself from all responsibility as a Minister of the Crown. The Ministers of the Crown, from their position, ought to guide and govern the House. But he did not consider the question to be whether the preservation of the Crystal Palace, or the erection of a new one, would or would not be for the best interests of the country. He felt that he was not at liberty to take into consideration any benefit that might result from the continuance of the building. To him it was simply a question of contract, and more especially with those whose property had been already deteriorated to a great extent by the building, and would be much more deteriorated if the building should be made permanent. His right hon. Friend wished to have an expression of the opinion of the House on that point; but if that opinion were unanimous, it could not affect the contract. Nothing but an Act of the Legislature could possibly get rid of the contract. If, therefore, the question should come to a division, he must feel himself bound to vote against the proposition of the hon. Member for North Lancashire, because he did not think they had the power, however much they might have the desire, to retain the building.
§ MR. EWART
said, he should support the Motion. He could not understand the argument of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, that the House was not at liberty to annul the contract. Messrs. Fox and Henderson did 1732 not insist on the precise conditions of the contract; and the House, therefore, could fully intervene to effect a delay and time for consideration. The people out of doors did not object to annulling the contract. The proprietors of houses adjoining the Exhibition were no parties to the compact. They were accidentally mixed up with the question, and had claims entitled to attention; but with these claims at present the House had nothing to do. There were three purposes to which the Crystal Palace might be converted, in the event of its being retained as a permanent building: first, it might be a place filled with scientific collections; second, a place of recreation; and, thirdly, a place for health. As a museum for scientific objects of all sorts, it would be invaluable; as a place of recreation, it would suit admirably; and in the winter season, as a place conducive to health, it would be attended with great advantages to many classes. On these grounds he was decidedly in favour of the retention of the building. He paid no attention whatever to the suggestion that it was not fitted for a permanent building. His answer was, that Mr. Paxton had explained in his pamphlet that even when forming the original design, he carefully kept in view the after use to which the building might be applied as a winter-garden. The question for the House was, whether they would let slip this splendid opportunity of conferring a vast benefit upon the public and the country. He hoped that they would not. He cordially concurred in all that had been so well said by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere) and by the hon. Baronet Sir R. H. Inglis) as to the spirit shown by the people, the conduct of the Government, and the forethought of the illustrious Prince; and, in now giving his vote in favour of the proposal of his hon. Friend, he was convinced that he was expressing, as far he knew them, the opinions of his constituents and of the great body of his countrymen.
said, as he lived opposite the Crystal Palace, he might be pardoned for saying a few words. He believed that few of the edifices built opposite Hyde Park would have been built in the way they are now if it had been contemplated that the view of the Park, and their intercourse with it, would be obstructed by the erection of a building so formidable in point of size. He had chosen that locality on account of its privacy; and he 1733 knew that his neighbours, and especially that enterprising builder, Mr. Elger, had been subjected to serious losses in consequence of that privacy being infringed. On the other hand, when he looked to the extraordinary scene presented in the Crystal Palace—to the gathering of all nations there—and to the wonderful collection of all the products of art and industry inside—he felt that he should be selfish indeed if he were to interpose his own domestic convenience against the retention of a building that he thought might be made a great agent in the civilisation of the world. He certainly thought they would be committing a rash act if they decided for its immediate demolition; and therefore he would support the Motion of the hon. Member for North Lancashire, in order to give time for further inquiries. He had his doubts whether it could be converted into a winter garden; but he believed it might be made a museum more important than any that had ever been seen—that, in fact, it might be made a great European university of civilisation.
said: I desire to put in one or two reasons in favour of the Motion. The first is, the general impolicy of doing and undoing. After great expense has been incurred to raise a building, the odds appear to be that something better can be done with it than to destroy it. And the next is, that there is a large party in the country who are anxious to see the building preserved, not only till May next, but in perpetuity or as far towards it as is possible. The great end and object of the Exhibition in Hyde Park does not appear to have been ever stated in this House with as much distinctness as it admits. The place is a grand mart of all nations, where each in kindly and honest rivalry, may determine which of the necessaries or comforts of life can be obtained on better terms by exchanging the products of their country for them, than by making them at home. In all this, there is no fraud, no setting of nation against nation, no attempt at anything but the promotion of a common good. In every country, there is what may be designated as a commercial interest, whose immediate concern is in the furnishing or forwarding the goods to be exchanged with foreigners. In England, this interest is represented by nobody so well as my constituents at Bradford; it is therefore my manifest duty, to stand up for everything which may promote the extension of foreign 1734 commerce. We trust the question has been sufficiently sifted here and elsewhere, to prevent our being put down under the childish cry of Protection to Native Industry. Are we not native industry, and is not our industry as good as another's, or better, inasmuch as the result of it is to give the benefit of the difference of price to the consumers, with no balance of injury to the operatives in the aggregate? In this view, we should necessarily be glad to see the present building applied to the purpose of a similar Exhibition triennially, or if that be too often, septennially. And for such a purpose, it is clear we must vote for the preservation of the building now.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, if this were a question whether they were to pay a compliment to Mr. Paxton for his splendid design of the building which had been erected, or to Messrs. Fox and Henderson for the skill and ability with which they had carried out Mr. Paxton's design; or if the question were whether they were to pay a tribute of respect and admiration to the illustrious Prince who had originated the idea of the Exhibition, he certainly would have offered no opposition to the Motion; or if it were desired to mark their sense of the value of this Exhibition—if there was any doubt whether they were sufficiently sensible of the advantages which had been derived from the general good order of all classes—then he would not be found among the opponents of this Motion. But agreeing on all these points with the hon. Member for North Lancashire, he still felt that a great principle was involved in the question which they were called upon to discuss—the principle of the maintenance of perfect good faith with the parties concerned in these transactions, which was involved in the question they were then discussing; and he felt bound in consequence to oppose the proposition for an Address to the Crown on this subject. He put it to hon. Gentlemen opposite whether this building would ever have been raised—whether the public consent would ever have been given to an encroachment of twenty acres on Hyde Park, if it had not been assured that when the purposes of the Exhibition were served, and the time fixed upon for its conclusion arrived, that then the building should be taken down, and the park be restored to its former condition, for the recreation and the health of the people? If they looked to the express terms of the contract, he thought they would see that nothing could warrant a departure from 1735 the original arrangement. He did not refer to the specific provisions of the contract entered into between the Government and the contractors, but he spoke of the general understanding in that House and the country, and he, for one, could not bring himself to he a party to its violation. While admired as much as any man the genius and the tact shown in this building, he thought it would be for the advantage of the designer himself that the building should be removed in the full bloom of its fame. It was not well, for instance, that a public man should remain at his post after his faculties were impaired and his vigour paralysed; it would be better that he should retire into private life; and so it was with regard to this building. No doubt it excited, at the present moment, general admiration; but he believed that when the Exhibition was removed—when it no longer contained the various products to which the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. M'Gregor) had referred—the public admiration would not be extended to it in the same degree. The lion. Mover of this Resolution stated that it might be retained as a place of recreation for Belgravia, and he also suggested that it should be retained as a ladies' club; but afterwards the hon. Member was constrained to admit, that, in consequence of the want of a free circulation of air, it would be necessary to alter the lower part of the building. Well, but if that were necessary, what was to become of the ladies' club? And even admitting all this, would not the people of Tyburnia demand a similar portion of the park for their recreation also? Another hon. Gentleman was averse to its being converted into a winter garden; but he suggested that it would form a magnificent museum for specimens of geology, and zoology, and all the other ologies. But there was one answer to all of these speculations—that a considerable expense would be incurred, whether the building was to be used as a winter garden, or ladies' club, or as a new Tattersall's; not that these expenses would be very heavy, or that they would be much felt at first, but as years rolled on, the expenses would begin to be severely felt, and there would be a different feeling with respect to it on the part of the people. A good deal had been said respecting the petitions presented on this subject; but he must say that he had examined these petitions with some care, and, instead of the majority of them coming from the metropolis, as might have been expected, he 1736 found that most of them came from Scotland—from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Selkirk, and Stirling; and in England, the towns of Falmouth and Exeter were most conspicuous; but in London the petitions were in very limited number; and he believed that if the metropolis were polled, there would be a great majority for restoring Hyde Park to its pristine integrity. If this encroachment were permitted, he feared that other portions of the park would be used for kindred purposes, and thus the space allotted for health and recreation would be gradually encroached upon. For these reasons he must give his decided opposition to the Motion.
§ MR. WAKLEY
said, the reason why no petitions had been presented from the metropolis was, that the mass of the population could not believe it would enter into the head of any man to destroy such a building. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) seemed to fear that the public would sustain a loss of twenty acres in Hyde Park by the retention of this building; but if the right hon. Gentleman would look into this question, he would find that the building would be a great gain to all classes. The building would not be confined to any particular class, it would be open to all at particular times gratis; and with respect to the cost of it, it never was intended to apply to the Government for the expense of its maintenance. Mr. Paxton himself stated that, in order to prove no public grant was necessary, responsible parties were willing to take the building on a lease for twenty-one years, and to submit their tariff of charges for admission to the control and supervision of Government. He was certainly surprised to find that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn), and the hon. Baronet (Sir R. H. Inglis), who represented the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, should manifest so much indifference to the interests of science. They talked of a contract. The contract was between the Commissioners and Messrs. Fox and Henderson, and he held in his hand a slip of paper, signed John Henderson, to this effect:—"I agree, on the part of Messrs. Fox and Henderson, to consent to an arrangement for notice of removal of the Crystal Palace, to be given for its removal on the 1st of May next, provided that they are not placed in a worse position than if notice were given on the 1st of December." That point was therefore disposed of. Who could contemplate the destruction of such 1737 an establishment otherwise than with feelings of pain? He (Mr. Wakley) declared that the Crystal Palace was connected with the noblest associations that could engage the mind of man. The conception originally was a grand one. It was marvellous in its capacity. It embraced the universe, and they had seen the effect of it manifested in every quarter of the globe, the concentration of interests being in that sacred spot in Hyde Park. Was it not an audacious step to presume to desecrate such hallowed ground? That was the conviction which he entertained. He might be wrong; but he declared, if it was proposed seriously to destroy that fabric, he should not be surprised at the labouring men refusing to undertake the demolition of what they believed was a temple of peace and industry. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University; of Oxford was one of the prophets of evil, but he had had the candour to admit he had been agreeably disappointed. The hon. Baronet seemed astonished that the English people should have been admitted in such numbers; and should have behaved so well. But what did he expect? Did he think the English people were wild beasts? He (Mr. Wakley) could assure him that the English people, into whatever place they were admitted, conducted themselves as rational and civilised beings; and their behaviour on this occasion, whilst it reflected honour on themselves, would tend to raise the national character in the opinion of foreign countries. Then, with regard to the foreigners; was it not delightful to witness harmony and concord amongst persons whom the hon. Member had had the misfortune to call natural enemies? But human beings were natural friends, and were only made enemies by bad government and vicious legislation. By inviting people to meet and reflect on works of art, they were humanised in the highest possible degree, and their minds were elevated to the highest point the human intellect could attain. Gentlemen had the means of enjoyment where ladies were not admitted. There would be no fear of the demolition of the Crystal Palace if it were put to the vote of the ladies of London or of England, whether or not they were in favour of its retention as a winter garden, where, instead of a shivering atmosphere and mountains of dirt and dust, they might enjoy a promenade protected from these sources of annoyance and ill health. It would be a place of universal resort; and for people 1738 in the neighbourhood to say their property would he deteriorated, was a most cunning trick. They would be setting up a claim by and by for compensation. But he would put this question to the owners of property in the neighbourhood—if it was resolved that the Crystal Palace should be retained, would they undertake to sell their property at the same price they would have taken before the Crystal Palace was erected? The same cry was made when railways were being rapidly extended; but he believed there was no instance in which property in the neighbourhood of a railway station had declined, whilst in many cases it had increased three and four fold in value. His conviction was, that no praise could be bestowed on Messrs. Fox and Henderson equal to their deserts. But it was the exclamation of every one—"After all, the structure is the crowning work." Was it possible any human being could say, "Sweep it away! Leave not a fragment of it behind?" He (Mr. Wakley) could not ask for an unanimous vote; as three persons had spoken against the Motion. They would be three great curiosities in a future day. He could not possibly understand how any one could contemplate the destruction of the Crystal Palace; and he firmly believed, if it was possible the votes of the people could be taken, forty-nine out of every fifty would be in favour of its permanent establishment.
§ MR. BANKES
said, the remark of the hon. Gentleman who bad just resumed his seat, that only three Gentlemen had spoken against the Motion; so far from weighing with him to the same conclusion, satisfied him, on the other hand, that the arguments offered by those Gentlemen were so unanswerable that nothing more was needed in addition. He was perfectly satisfied with the argument of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn), founded on the necessity of keeping faith with the parties concerned in the contract relating to the erection of the Crystal Palace. He was not for the destruction of the building, nor was he for its continuance on its present site, as that would be a violation of public faith. But if there was a great desire for the establishment of a winter garden in the metropolis, the hon. Member (Mr. Wakley) was the proposer of a new park in Finsbury, and thither the Crystal Palace might be transferred. [Mr. WAKLEY: I should be delighted.] He would be most happy to vote with the hon. Member if, such was the proposition. The hon. Gen- 1739 tleman was the advocate of the interests of the labouring classes, and if the Crystal Palace was removed from Hyde Park to Finsbury Park, the labouring classes would be employed, the experiment of a winter garden would be tried, and public faith would be kept. It was not a question of Fox and Henderson—it was a question of those residing opposite that part of the park. He (Mr. Bankes) cared not whether it was my Lord Campbell on one side of the Serpentine, or Mrs. Hicks on the other; he was opposed to every sacrifice of faith with any individual. He asked the hon. Member for Finsbury, whether he believed the consent of the two Houses of Parliament could have been obtained for this great project, if it had not been understood that the interference with Hyde Park would be only for a limited period? If the hon. Member could not answer that question, as he (Mr. Bankes) believed he could not answer it, negatively, whatever might be the wish for the retention of the building, it ought to be removed at the stipulated time.
wished to state why he should vote against the Motion; it was because it appeared to him to be of far more importance to keep public faith, than to preserve the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. When the subject of building the Palace was first under consideration in that House, the very first minute which the Crown laid on the table was a memorandum of the Commissioners, in which they stated that, with regard to the building, they could only repeat to the House the assurance which had been already given, that it was not intended to be a permanent building, but that it would be entirely removed within seven months after the closing of the Exhibition: that an agreement to that effect had been entered into with the Lords of the Treasury, and that the building must be removed in accordance with that agreement. It was owing chiefly, if not wholly, to the understanding that the building was to be a temporary one, that the inhabitants of the metropolis so readily gave their support to the plan; and, such having been the agreement, he did not think it fair to call upon the Commissioners to violate their pledge. It had been said that the people did not expect that the building would be removed. That was not a very complimentary opinion to express towards either the Commissioners or the Government. The Commissioners gave a solemn assurance that the 1740 building should be removed, and the Government also gave a like assurance. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley) had said that the inhabitants of the metropolis never would believe that any one would remove the Crystal Palace; he (Lord Seymour), however, hoped that time would show to those persons that the words of public men, and of the Government, were not so lightly spoken, and so easily disregarded.
§ MR. C. P. VILLIERS
said, that when it was stipulated that the building was only to be temporary, it was in consequence of the opinion then entertained by many persons that it could not succeed, and must fail. He, in common with the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis), had grave apprehensions of the propriety of assembling millions on a site on one of the greatest thoroughfares of the metropolis, and had, with him, been happily disappointed. That feeling was pretty general at the time, and that made them less anxious as to retaining the building. With regard to the feeling of the inhabitants in the neighbourhood, he could say, having resided there for some time, and knowing the sentiments of the residents, that they regarded this Motion, which was only for the retention of the building for four or five months, in order to try how it would succeed as a winter garden, in a different light from what they would if it was now proposed to perpetuate the building. He believed they would consider it much more disagreeable if the building were to be taken down in winter immediately when the agreement expired.
said, he agreed with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Finsbury with regard to the petitions from the metropolis. He believed the people could not bring themselves to think that the building was to be pulled down. The people did not know the precise pledge which had been given; but they knew that Mr. Paxton had constructed the foundations so strongly that the building might be made permanent if it was thought necessary. All that was now asked was to preserve the building till the 1st of May. By that time the opinions of the public could be made manifest. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge had made use of a curiously eccentric argument, for he said, "If the winter garden would give an advantage to Belgravia, Tyburnia would put in her claim for the same thing." There might 1741 be a question whether, according to the old adage, they might not have too ranch of a good thing; but if the right hon. Gentleman thought Tyburnia would be so desirous to have a winter garden, how could he in the same breath tell them it would be a bad thing for Belgravia? He believed that the Exhibition had promoted good-will and peace amongst men, and that more than a mere remembrance of it should be retained as its record.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that if the object of the Motion was to express the well-deserved credit he thought they owed to the illustrious Person who bad conceived the design of the Palace, of the Commissioners who had erected it, of the architect who had designed, and of the energetic contractors who had carried it out, there was nothing that had fallen from any hon. Member, except from his hon. and gallant relative (Colonel Sibthorp), in which he did not most cordially concur. If, again, the object of the Motion was to express their admiration at the conduct of the people and of those who had visited them, in that, too, he most willingly concurred; but he thought the House, in considering such matters, was apt to lose sight of the real question before them. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley) had indulged in a warm eulogium on the Temple of Peace, in which had been united all the nations of the earth. No one could admire more than himself the Exhibition, and the good it had done in promoting good-fellowship between the nations of the world, and in displaying the wonders of art from various countries to which hon. Members had alluded. That was what had been effected by the Exhibition, but that was what would not be effected by the proposed plan. A certain purpose had been accomplished by the existence of the building for a definite time, and it was utterly impossible to obtain that purpose by the devotion of the building to another object. The hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. P. Villiers) said, let them try the experiment of a winter garden. Before they came to any conclusion on the subject of the garden, they must give some little attention to the kind of expense to which they would be subject, and to the source whence it would come should they sanction that plan. One of the Commissioners had stated the terms of the contract, which were that they (the Commissioners) were to become 1742 possessors of the building on the payment of 70,000l. in addition to the contract price for the erection and use of the building. If the nation were to perpetuate the building, they must be prepared to take on themselves, in the first place, the payment of this 70,000l., for those were the terms on which the Commissioners might take up the building from the contractors, and if they put themselves in the position of the Commissioners, they must be called on to pay the same amount. Nor should they shut their eyes to that fact. If the Commissioners thought fit to purchase the building for the nation out of the funds they had received, that was another matter; but it appeared from what had been stated, they could do no such thing. Therefore they must consider they were authorising the expenditure of 70,000l. in the purchase of the building. An hon. Member told them it was the intention of Mr. Paxton from the first that the building should become permanent; but no one would say, taking it altogether, that it was in such a state as would render it capable of being maintained as a permanent building without expense. He would not state any probable sum, but he was quite sure no one would contradict him when he said that to put it in a condition for a winter garden would require a considerable outlay; and he apprehended no one imagined that it could be maintained permanently without a considerable annual cost. This only referred to the building as it stood. As a winter garden considerable expense must be incurred to put it in a state to afford the country the slightest opportunity of judging whether they would like it or not. He did not suppose his hon. Friend (Mr. C. P. Villiers) thought that empty walls would enable the public to judge whether they would like it or not as a winter garden. But if it was put into the state of a winter garden, he did not think the object which the hon. Member (Mr. Heywood) had indicated of a ladies' club would be quite in unison with the scientific purpose described by others. The building was built for a temporary purpose; the most solemn pledges were given that it should be so; and the noble Lord the Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests had stated to them he thought the Government were bound to take it down, unless there was a national expression of public opinion which should interfere between them and its removal. It must, he thought, be something more than 1743 a mere majority of the House that could convey the certain expression of that opinion; and, for himself, he would not pretend to express any opinion, nor did he, as a Member of the Government, feel called upon to take the initiative at all. He had stated what they had to expect if they proposed to continue the building; and, as a Member of Her Majesty's Government, he would give no opinion on the question, and in that capacity he would give no vote upon the question.
thought the arguments urged that evening against retaining the building, were such as ought not to influence the decision. He denied that the noble Lord at the head of the Woods and Forests was justified in entering into any contract which could fetter the public as to what should be clone with the building. In point of fact, there were no parties capable of entering into the supposed contract; and even if there had been, he should still deny that any such contract had been entered into. The utmost that could be said was, that an expectation had been held out that the building would be removed; but he claimed for that House the power of saying in what manner, in their opinion, it was best that the parks should be used. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had not furnished the House with any distinct information as to the expense of maintaining the building. He (Mr. Headlam) did not think any great expense would be incurred. The funds derived from the opening of the Exhibition would be considerable; and, considering that the Zoological and Botanical Gardens maintained themselves, he could not doubt that the Exhibition also might be supported without the slightest difficulty by the subscriptions of visitors. He believed it was a great mistake to suppose that the public were indifferent on the subject. If there had not been many petitions presented, it was simply because no one had any idea that the building would be removed. At all events, the public would be greatly disappointed if it were not retained till the 1st of May; and under the contract with Messrs. Fox and Henderson it might be retained until then without any extra expense.
§ MR. GEACH
could state, from the most credible sources of information, that the observations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the perishable nature of the materials was not correct. The building had been so constructed that there was scarcely any part which they would not 1744 have to put up in a permanent building, or any expense gone to which would not be incurred in putting up such a building at present. With the exception of painting, the expense of keeping it in repair, would not be considerable. He could not admit that the persons who had residences in the neighbourhood of the Crystal Palace were the public; and, if any violation had been committed towards them, it had been committed when Her Majesty, by Her warrant, granted the site, and when the Parliament sanctioned the building by an address to the Crown. He considered the consent of the general public was to a great degree involved in the consent of the Parliament to that Act. It would be found, too, that the metropolitan districts had petitioned in favour of retaining the Palace.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 47: Majority 28.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Henry, A.|
|Alcock, T.||Hindley, C.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Hollond, R.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Hudson, G.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Johnstone, J.|
|Bass, M. T.||Kershaw, J.|
|Bell, J.||Knight, F. W.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Knox, hon. W S.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Langston, J. H.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||M'Gregor, J.|
|Bright, J.||Mahon, The O'Gorman|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Matheson, Col.|
|Brotherton, J.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Moffatt, G.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Morris, D.|
|Carter, J. B.||O'Brien, J.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Pilkington, J.|
|Child, S.||Pinney, W.|
|Clay, J.||Rich, H.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Rumbold, C. E.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Salwey, Col.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Sandars, G.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Scobell, Capt.|
|Dawes, E.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Duncan, G.||Smith, J. B.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Tennent, R. J.|
|Ellis, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Evans, J.||Thompson, G.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Thornely, T.|
|Ewart, W.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Forstor, M.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Fox, W. J.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Geach, C.||Williams, W.|
|Grosvenor, Earl||Wilson, J.|
|Hallewell, E. G.||TELLERS.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Heywood, J.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Wakley, T.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Bouverie, hon. E. P.|
|Bankes, G.||Boyle, hon. Col.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Lennard, T. B.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Lewis, G. C.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Lushington, C.|
|Coles, H. B.||Martin, J.|
|Cubitt, W.||Masterman, J.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Melgund, Visct.|
|Denison, J. E.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Dick, Q.||O'Brien, Sir L.|
|Douro, Marq. of||Parker, J.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Reid, Col.|
|Edwards, H.||Richards, R.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Seymour, Lord|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Spooner, R.|
|French, F.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Stuart, J.|
|Greene, J.||Wigram, L. T.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.||Wynn, R. W. W.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Young, G. F.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||TELLERS.|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Baring, H. B.|
|Knox, Col.||Grey, R. W.|