§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee.1707
§ Clause 1.
ruled that it would be irregular to raise a discussion upon a clause which did not refer to the Vote.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again."
§ MR. CAIRD
said, the question which he wished to put to the right hon. Gentleman was whether he would introduce the Vote again on Monday in Committee of Supply. The Scotch Members generally were not present to support the Vote on a former occasion, believing that there was no necessity for their remaining, as the proposal had been adopted by the Government. It was impossible to draw a comparison between England and Scotland, because the institutions of England were Imperial. But it was quite possible to institute a comparison between Scotland and Ireland, and he found that while in income-tax, property-tax, and probate and legacy duties, Scotland contributed more than Ireland, Ireland received by Votes out of the Consolidated Fund £1,800,000 annually, to £400,000, or four times as much as Scotland. It was a proper object to establish an Industrial Museum the capital of Scotland, where the produce of the country could be seen, and a great injustice had been done to Scotland by the withdrawal of the Vote.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he hoped that they would not for a moment put Scotland in comparison with Ireland.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, he rose to implore peace between Scotland and Ireland, and to assure Irish Members that the bellicose sentiments of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) were not participated in by the generality of Members. At the same time he was bound to say in honour to Ireland that within the last three or four years they had imposed burdens before unknown on that country, and those burdens had been cheerfully borne. With regard to the Scotch Museum, he thought his hon. Friend (Mr. Caird) had done no more than his duty in bringing it before their attention, but he apprehended that it was totally impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to comply with the request 1708 which had been made. Whether they were absolutely precluded by the rules of the House he could not say, but it would be utterly irregular to bring in the Vote again on Monday next. They could not expect to hear any more of the proposal this Session. He was very sorry it was not discussed the other night upon the merits. There was no opportunity for discussing it, because there was a natural inclination to close Committee of Supply. It was unfortunate, whatever the cause, that the Vote was withdrawn, as the feelings of Scotland were wounded by the proposal being thrown over, after it had received the sanction of successive Governments. Ireland, he believed, had a similar institution in Dublin. He hoped his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give an assurance that the question had not escaped the attention of the Government, and that, upon full consideration of the amount required, they were prepared to submit as early as possible a Vote to give effect to a design not only gratifying but eminently useful.
§ MR. DE VERE
said, he would deprecate comparisons between the burdens and contributions of different parts of the empire.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he should consider the matter simply on the merits, without entering upon comparisons, which were proverbially odious. The grant was actually moved, and an opportunity given to any hon. Member to state his opinions upon it. Some years ago ground in Edinburgh was purchased with a view to the erection of an Industrial Museum. During the war the Government did not think it desirable to propose any Vote for that purpose, but this year they did propose a Vote, and as the site had cost between £8,000 and £9,000, they did not think £40,000 an unreasonable sum. They proposed to take £10,000 this year, which would have given the means of completing a considerable portion of the building without any very heavy pressure on the finances. Representations were made by persons of weight and influence urging the Government to purchase land adjoining that which had been previously acquired, but the Government resisted the proposal, and adhered to the original design. When the matter came to be discussed in Committee of Supply, there seemed to be a rather strong impression that the Government were about to make large demands on the finances for assistance to 1709 the East India Company. The feeling pervaded the House, and induced reluctance to vote anything not absolutely necessary. In deference to what seemed to be the all but universal opinion of the Committee, the Government withdrew the Vote, and he felt sure that if it had been pressed to a division a majority would have voted against it. He would take this opportunity of expressing his opinion that while he admitted the justice of many of the criticisms on the augmentation of the civil estimates, still that increase of expenditure, if not in almost every case, certainly in a majority of cases, was not made for any corrupt or profligate objects, or for the gratification of any personal or individual tastes, but for the purposes of general and public utility. Such, for example, was the Vote for a Museum in the city of Edinburgh. As had been suggested, the Government would feel it their duty at as early a period as convenient to repeat the proposition to the House, but he did not think any advantage would arise from attempting to bring forward more Votes in Committee of Supply during the present Session.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he had opposed the Vote, simply because ho thought they ought to suspend all Votes not absolutely required with the very large expenditure which must be now anticipated.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he was not present when this grant was last before the House, otherwise he should have made an observation upon it. He believed it was intended and calculated to serve a very useful and important purpose—important, not only to Scotland, but to the whole country. Scotland had always shown herself ready to take advantage of the means available for the promotion of great public objects, as in the case of agricultural statistics, where both landlords and tenants had evinced the utmost willingness to do that which was only now beginning to be done partially in England. He hoped that the next time the Vote was proposed it would not be treated as a Scotch question.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill passed through Committee.
§ House resumed. Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read 3° on Monday, at Twelve o'clock.