§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, it appeared to him that, with reference to two Motions standing on the Paper in the names of the noble Lords (Lord Strathe- 817 den and Campbell and Lord de Ros) in respect to the removal from London of the statue of the Duke of Wellington, recently removed from Hyde Park Corner, the two Motions were not in accordance with the Law of Parliament, as raising substantially a question upon which Parliament had already expressed its judgment in the present Session. He had consulted Sir Erskine May, and also a high authority in their Lordships' House, both of whom agreed that the Motions substantially raised the same question, and that, in the circumstances, neither of them could be put in accordance with the practice of Parliament. He would move, therefore, that the first of these Motions, that of the noble Lord (Lord Stratheden and Campbell), to which that of the noble Lord (Lord de Ros) was put down as an Amendment, be not made.
§ Moved, "That the said Motion be not made."—(The Earl Granville.)
LORD STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL
My Lords, I may be expected to make some remarks in answer to the objection of the noble Earl (Earl Granville), of which no kind of Notice had been given to me. He thinks the propositions now before the House identical with that which, on the 24th of March, was by a small majority defeated. It is easy to point out that there is no identity between them. The Motion of the 24th of March affirmed that the House ought to Address the Crown; that the statue ought to remain in London unconditionally; and that its site should be in the neighbourhood of Apsley House as formerly. My Motion for to-night does not ask your Lordships to Address the Crown; maintains only that the statue should remain in London until we know how it is intended to replace it; and, as to the exact site, lays down nothing whatever. It would be perfectly consistent for any noble Lord who voted against me on the 24th of March, to vote with me this evening. I will now say a word on the Amendment of the noble and gallant Lord (Lord de Ros), as there is no rivalry between us. It is still more completely sheltered against the technical obstruction of the noble Earl—of which the House will recognize the purpose—than the Motion which precedes it. The noble and gallant Lord desires the House to act on in 818 formation recently disclosed, and not in their possession at the time the noble Earl refers to. On the 24th of March, the Amendment could not have been offered. A proposal which, on the 24th of March, was actually impossible, can hardly be confounded with the proposal negatived this evening. My Lords, little more is necessary; but there are many instances of Parliament retracting its decisions, if we were—which we are not—engaging it to do so. In the other House, soon after 1832, there was a vote to do away with the Malt Duty which was afterwards retracted. In recent days, a vote in this House, reflecting on some appointment under Lord Beaconsfield, was cancelled, after a speech which Lord Beaconsfield delivered to your Lordships. This House, after deciding to part with its appellate jurisdiction, was induced, on more reflection, to uphold it. The noble Earl alluded to authorities on usage whom he had consulted, principally "elsewhere." I, also, before putting down the Notice which now stands, consulted an authority on usage better gualified to guide this House than any he has mentioned. If there was at all a general opinion that the Amendment of the noble and gallant Lord is more technically guarded than the Motion which precedes it, I should be indifferent which was first debated. Beyond that there can be no concession upon my part.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that the noble Lord (Lord Stratheden and Campbell) appeared to think that, of the two Motions, the Amendment was the more invulnerable one. That was a considerable concession to his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Earl Granville), for his noble Friend had expressed his opinion that the Motion was deliberately and literally opposed to the former vote of the House. He (the Lord Chancellor) would point out the necessity of their having Rules which could not be evaded. No doubt, the noble Lord had quoted precedents in which previous decisions had been rescinded; but, then, he had omitted to say that that had been done by Motions to rescind. In this case, the Motion of the noble Lord was diametrically opposed to a former vote of their Lordships' House; and, surely, it was not advisable to review Motions which had been determined already, especially when these 819 votes remained unrescinded. That Resolution being unrescinded, he suggested that they could not proceed with the Motion without stultifying themselves.
§ THE EARL OF WEMYSS
said, he would ask their Lordships to consider the effect of such a contention as that of the noble and learned Earl upon the Woolsack. According to that, if their Lordships once came to a decision as to the Egyptian policy of the Government, or the foreign policy of the Government, or upon any other matter upon information in the Blue Books laid before them, from which, it subsequently turned out, important facts—say, for instance, a despatch—had been suppressed, did the noble and learned Earl contend that, under such circumstances, and upon the new circumstances which had come to light, their Lordships could not reverse their previous decision and reopen the question? It appeared to him that in consequence of the speech of the noble Duke (the Duke of Rutland), the House were now in possession of fuller knowledge with reference to the sentiments and feeling of the late Duke of Wellington upon the subject of the statue, and he thought that the Motion ought to be proceeded with. This was a question which ought to be decided as a question of sentiment and not of art.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, it appeared to him that there were two reasons why they ought to enter into a discussion of this question. First, there was no Standing Order which ruled the point, but only practice; and he questioned whether precedents, if looked into, would not favour one view as well as the other. Again, they were not asking for a reversal of the Resolution of the House, but simply for delay, in order that the matter might be more fully considered. He was strongly of opinion that they should enter into such a discussion, on the ground that fresh information upon the subject had been given to their Lordships.
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
said, he was also of opinion that the question should be further considered. The Government were totally and entirely unacquainted with the facts which he had stated. He was not quite sure that the Government were clear upon the point. The Vote in the House of Commons was not for the purpose of removing the Wellington statue, or for putting it on a 820 pedestal at Aldershot when it got there. The £6,000 was simply and solely for the execution of a new statue, and he hardly thought their Lordships could be bound by that decision.
§ On Question? Their Lordships divided—Contents 52; Not-Contents 78: Majority 26.
§ Resolved in the negative.
LORD STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL
My Lords, the decision of the House engages me to go on with my Motion; but after the prelude which retarded it, mid the debates which have occurred before upon this matter, I shall not detain the House for many minutes. Whoever brings the subject forward is exposed, in one quarter, to the charge of an improper pertinacity. It is invariably asked, and with a tone of reprimand, why is the controversy so frequently recurred to? My Lords, the answer is an easy one. If something which Members of the Legislature consider mischievous, uncalled for, and, in a high degree, derogatory to an illustrious name, is threatened, they are clearly bound, until it is effected, to resist it. Their pertinacity is based upon their duty. It is said they are fatiguing Parliament. Possibly, they may be. But who is responsible fur the fatigue of Parliament? Unless a disturbance, almost a desecration without precedent had been conceived, the subject would not have arisen. Had the scheme been dropped, discussion would have vanished with it. The fatigue of Parliament is brought about by the abettors of the scheme, and not by its opponents. The pertinacity complained of belongs to Her Majesty's Government, who still insist upon a measure which they disavow, by throwing its whole responsibility on an illustrious Prince, while that illustrious Prince has never yet declared himself in favour of it. It has been said, indeed, that Parliament has sanctioned it. It has already been explained that, as regards "another place," the statement is entirely inaccurate. In this House, only 26—after all the efforts of the Government—could be found to vote against an Address to the Crown of a prohibitory character. Are the opinions of 26 to be accepted as the final judgment of your Lordships, who are not far from 500? But can they be accepted as the final judgment of the 821 Ministerial Supporters? To bring them down to 26, at least 40 must have determined to absent themselves. The 26 may all have voted upon grounds which would not now have any application. They may have thought in March the measure was not seriously imminent. But the debate we have just had anticipated that topic. It is only here essential to remark that the speech of the noble Duke (the Duke of Rutland) last Thursday week—a more instructive and impressive one than has been often heard in this or any House—together with its details, creates a wholly new departure on the subject. My Lords, at this time, we ought not to give up the strongest argument, because it may not be a new one. It is the right of the original subscribers. It is remarkable that Her Majesty's Government, however rich in legal subtlety and talent, have not attempted to reply to it. Would the original subscribers of 1846 have contributed £5, or even 1s. 6d., had they been told that in less than 40 years the statue would be removed from London altogether? They even went so far as to insist on the very site which was adopted. Some years ago an incident occurred which bears on this part of the question. The statue of Mr. Canning, on a pretext which turned out to be entirely fallacious, was taken from the line of Parliament Street and Palace Yard to where it is at present. There was a general remonstrance in this House, in which the late Lord Clanricarde and the late Lord Stratford De Redcliffe, the nearest Representatives of Mr. Canning, cordially united. It was pointed out that the donors of the statue were entitled to the site the country had originally granted. But had it been proposed, not to move the statue of Mr. Canning backwards a few yards into relative obscurity, but to withdraw it 20 or 30 miles into the country, it is easy to perceive that the derangement would not have been tolerated, even with the promise of a new statue to be formed, by a precarious subscription and a foreign artist. Noble Lords should ask themselves whether that which, in the case of Mr. Canning, would have been indignantly repelled, in the case of the late Duke of Wellington, ought quietly to be accepted? It is also worth while to remark how the proceeding would affect those who might unite to raise a 822 monument of any sort at present. Suppose all the noble Lords on this side of the House—it is no fanciful hypothesis—determined to erect a statue to the late Earl Grey, as the successor of Mr. Fox, as the Minister who carried the Reform Act, as the Leader of their Party in its darkest time, as well as the most brilliant; suppose, also, a proper and conspicuous site to have been granted, would they submit to the necessary outlay if the State reserved a latent power of withdrawing their construction where it would be utterly invisible? Whether the design was openly avowed, or cautiously suspected, it would be fatal to the project. It is, therefore, clear that the original subscribers in 1846 are going to be defrauded. It is not, as some affirm, a question of taste opposed to a question of sentiment. It is a question of contract on the one hand, and spoliation on the other. When I venture to remark that it is not a question of sentiment, I shall not be supposed to mean that there is no outrage on the distinguished character whose statue was erected in its violent removal. A noble Lord, who voted on the 24th of March, has drawn my attention to what was thought in ancient times upon the subject. There is a passage in the 10th Satire of Juvenal, on the ruin of Sejanus under the displeasure of Tiberius. The fall of the statues which had been raised in honour of the favourite is mentioned as the last indignity, by which his brief supremacy was expiated. As Dryden has endeavoured to translate it—Down go the titles, and the statue crowned,Is by base hands in the next river drowned.But is it not a modern principle as well that the statues of great men ought to be inviolable? In Paris, as your Lordships know, those of Henry IV. and Napoleon I. have stood through many revolutions, against both the Monarchy and Empire. In London, there is another instance more remarkable. In. the short Reign of James II., a statue was erected to him. Neither his flight and abdication, nor the change of dynasty which followed, nor the struggles and rebellions which only ended at Culloden, have been permitted to disturb it. It remains in Whitehall Gardens now, where anyone may see it. It might be pointed out to foreigners as an example of the tenacity with which the British public guard the monuments they may have been too 823 hasty in conceding. If this scheme is carried out, it will be answered that there is less tenacity of monuments which brilliant service had obtained and pious gratitude constructed. My Lords, whatever happens, the recorded judgment of this House is necessary to clear its name of all participation in the measure of the Government. That measure violates the public faith with the subscribers, reverses the decision of the Crown, in 1846, and rudely takes away the monument a nation had endorsed, and which the late Duke of Wellington had watched, accepted, and appreciated. More I will not add, as the House would like to hear the noble and gallant Lord on his Amendment. It is to me indifferent which of the two Motions is adopted. They are not, as I have said before, opposed to one another; but I proceed to move the Resolution as it stands upon the Paper.
Moved to resolve—
That in the opinion of this House it is not desirable to remove the equestrian statue of the late Duke of Wellington from London until the public have an opportunity of judging the monument by which it is intended to replace it."—(The Lord Stratheden and Campbell.)
LORD DE ROS
, in rising to move an Amendment to the Motion of the noble Lord, said, that he did so in consequence of the remarks made by the noble Duke (the Duke of Rutland) the last time the subject was before their Lordships' House, and his object was to endeavour to persuade their Lordships as to the advisability of reconsidering this matter before it was too late. He did not propose to weary them with a recapitulation of the facts brought forward by the noble Duke, as they were fully reported in the newspapers; but he would confine himself to observing that these facts were obtained from most reliable sources, and proved beyond doubt what were the views and feelings of the Great Duke himself on the subject of his statue. He ventured to think that if these facts had been more fully known by the Committee over which His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales presided, and also by Her Majesty's Government, a different conclusion would have been arrived at as to the fate of the statue. There were several considerations which he desired to bring before the House. In the first place, it was well known that the Duke of Wellington refused to sit until he had the sanction of the Queen that 824 the statue should be placed upon the Arch; secondly, the Duke saw Mr. Wyatt, and said that he should like Mr. Wyatt to see him on horseback; thirdly, that the present Duke was annoyed at the removal of the statue from Hyde Park Corner; fourthly, that the statue was a good likeness of the Duke as he appeared at Waterloo. Those, he thought, were sufficient reasons against the removal of the statue from London. he had no doubt Mr. Boehm was quite capable of executing a very admirable equestrian statue; but it could not fail from being purely ideal, because it was more than probable that Mr. Boehm never set eyes on the Duke, whereas the Duke had sat to Mr. Wyatt for the original. Since he had last addressed their Lordships on this subject a great number of persons of all shades of opinion had expressed to him the very strong public feeling that existed as to keeping the statue in London, because it belonged to the nation, and therefore should not be removed from the Metropolis. He would leave the question of site to be settled by a Committee; but he contended that the statue ought not to be allowed to be removed down to Alder-shot—to a barrack-yard, as it had been called. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Sudeley) stated that two votes had already been taken on the matter; but the vote in the House of Commons was distinctly a Money Vote for a new statue, and the vote in that House was not on the point as to the removal of the statue from London. The noble Viscount (Viscount Hardinge) stated that the officers quartered at Aldershot had signified their assent to the removal of the statue to that place; but he (Lord de Ros) begged to observe that the officers at Aldershot formed a very small portion of the Army, and there were very few regimental officers serving at present who held their first commissions at the time when England had to mourn for the loss of one of her greatest heroes. There were some general officers in the Army who had served under the late Duke who always made a point of raising their hats as they passed the statue. To such men the removal of the statue would be a great blow. A letter had lately appeared in The Times newspaper from General Sir William Codrington on the subject, expressing a strong feeling against the removal, which he said would be re- 825 garded by old soldiers with deep regret; and that letter, he (Lord de Ros) ventured to think, illustrated the feelings of the officers who served under the Great Duke. There was also a letter from a gentleman who generally wrote pretty much to the point in The Morning Post, which deserved attention. He earnestly hoped that their Lordships would not allow this opportunity to pass, and that they would support the Amendment which he now ventured to move.
Moved to resolve—
That this House, being now possessed of fuller knowledge of the views and feelings of the late Duke of Wellington as regards his statue at Hyde Park Corner, is of opinion that it ought not to be removed from London."— (The Lord de Ros.)
said, that, in his opinion, it was quite a mistake for the noble Lord the Mover of the Motion (Lord Stratheden and Campbell) to imagine that any slur was intended to be cast upon the memory of the late Duke by the removal of the statue, as if the statue was going to be cast into the Thames. The fact was that nothing of the kind was intended; but he thought it would be acknowledged by everyone who had studied the subject at all that the country stood higher in the way of art than in previous years; and all that was intended was that a better statue should replace the original, which had been condemned by a Committee presided over by the Prince of Wales. The noble Lord who had just sat down had said the other day that every soldier who passed the statue touched his hat.
LORD DE ROS
I said I knew several general officers who had served under the Duke, and who when they passed the statue lifted their hats.
said, that, in that case, he thought there was no reason why they might not just as suitably raise their hats to a good statue by Mr. Boehm as to the bad one which lately stood at Hyde Park Corner.
LORD DE L'ISLE AND DUDLEY
said, he decidedly objected to the idea of replacing the statue on the Arch, especially as the position of the Arch was now askew. Such a proceeding would be simply an intensification of the dominating ugliness of the statue. He (Lord de L'isle and Dudley) thought that Aldershot would be a good place for it, and, therefore, he should vote against 826 the Motion. He desired to call attention to the fact that the present Duke of Wellington had expressed his willingness that the statue of his illustrious Father should be removed to Aldershot, and that another and a better one should be erected at Hyde Park Corner.
§ LORD MOUNT TEMPLE
said, the idea of the subscribers had been to honour the Duke by the biggest statue that could be made, and to hoist it as high as possible. The question was, what would be the best form of statue to give expression to the feelings of admiration and reverence which the nation entertained for the Great Duke? The present statue had been condemned as an artistic failure by all the best authorities in Art; and the only excuse produced for keeping it was that the Duke of Wellington sat for it, and that he objected to its being taken down. But there was no reason to suppose that the Duke would not have preferred a better statue. Why should not the best statue that could be procured be placed at Hyde Park Corner? This statue was not in harmony with the character of the Duke. He was remarkable for simplicity and dignity. The statue was pretentious, exaggerated, vulgar, and even grotesque. It could do no honour to the memory of a great man.
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
said, he must apologize to their Lordships for troubling them again upon the subject. It was said that there was to be a new statue; but how did they know that it would not be worse than the old one?
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
said, that for the Royal Academy to say that the old statue was a bad one was monstrous. It was a matter of history that the Duke of Wellington, writing to Mr. Croker, in 1846, said that—Lord Morpeth writes a circular letter to the members of the Royal Academy before the statute can be seen at all; and requires each of them to assist him with their opinions of it. What is the meaning of this? It is a Minister offering a reward for opinions against the work; which it is well known has been placed where it is, not only against, but in despite of his, the Minister's opinion. Will ever any member of the Academy, looking to the Court for favour—and which of them does not—give a fair or independent opinion upon the subject?Since he (the Duke of Rutland) had last addressed the House on this subject, he 827 had received additional information as to the sentiments entertained by the late Duke with regard to the existing statue. In a letter from Lord George Bentinck to Mr. Croker, the contemporary feeling in favour of the statue being placed on the top of the Arch, as being both a suitable site and in accordance with the Duke of Wellington's sentiments, was shown conspicuously. That letter, written on the 10th of July, 1847, said—You will see what passed last night in the House of Commons. A private communication and negotiation had previously taken place between Lord John and me, the result of which was that Lord John engaged 'that the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington should remain where it is unless the Duke should intimate to Lord John that its removal to some other site would give him mere pleasure;' and that' the Duke's declining to give any opinion is to be construed as dissent.' This, of course, concludes the business. I have written to the Duke of Wellington, acquainting him with this, and likewise, at the desire of my supporters in the House of Commons, telling the Duke that they all came up manfully; sixteen, I believe, who had left London for the season, came up from the country; and, from the appearance of the House, I have no doubt whatever that I should have beat them two to one, if the artistical gentlemen had persevered. My idea is that the discussion would have damaged Lord John Russell and Lord Morpeth more than anything that has occurred, either during this or any preceding Whig Government. I believe we should have raised the blood of the whole country against them. But I am a jockey, and it is the first principle of our craft to be satisfied with winning the race if it is only by a head, and never to risk losing by showing off how much further it might have been won. My people were very anxious I should wait upon the Duke and tell him how cheerfully they had responded to the call to protect him from any slight; but I hate ceremony, and never call upon anybody.It was said by noble Lords opposite that the Duke did not care much where the statue was placed, whether it was placed on the pedestal or on Primrose Hill; but the following letter from the Duke, dated the 14th June, 1847, from Walmer Castle, would reveal that that was contrary to the fact: —My Dear Croker,—It has always been my practice, and is my invariable habit, to say nothing about myself or my own actions, More than 40 years ago Mr. Pitt observed that I thought as little of myself, or of my own acts, as if I had been an assistant surgeon of the Army; and from the year 1838 (when the statue was proposed to be placed on the arch) to the present moment I have considered it most becoming to avoid to interfere respecting a statue of which the professed object is to commemorate bygone transactions in which I had borne a part. I 828 follow the habit of avoiding to talk of myself and of what I have done, with the exception only of occasions when I am urging upon modern contemporaries measures which they do not like, and when I tell them I have some experience and have had some success in these affairs, and feel that they would experience the benefit of attending to my advice. I never talk of myself. These are the reasons for which they think that I do not care what they do with the statue; but they must be idiots to suppose it possible that a man who is working day and night, without any object in view excepting the public benefit, will not be sensible of disgrace inflicted upon him by the Sovereign and Government whom he is serving if it is removed. The ridicule will be felt if nothing else is. This last would have been vastly aggravated if I had not cautiously avoided to take any part in the affair since the year 1838.Could anything be stronger than that letter, as showing the feelings of the Duke upon the subject? With the permission of the House he would relate an anecdote concerning the Duke. A few days before the late Duke's death, Mr. Croker went down to see him, and had a talk with him that occupied some hours, in the course of which may talked about every subject they could think of which had occurred during the Duke's life. In the course of their conversation Mr. Croker said—"Do you remember travelling with me down the Old North Road in a postchaise and pair?" "Yes," said the Duke; "I recollect it perfectly." Mr. Croker went on to say—"And do you recollect our trying to guess at what was on the other side of each hill we came to, and that you were always right, and I was always wrong?" To which the Duke responded—"The whole art of war consists in getting at what is on the other side of the hill; and, moreover, the whole art of life consists in guessing what is on the other side of the hill, or, in other words, in learning what we do not know from what we do." Applying the Duke's own maxim to the present case, he (the Duke of Rutland) might say, without the possibility of contradiction, that knowing what were the opinions of the Duke in his life with regard to the removal of this statue, he would, had he lived, have felt even more sensibly the disgrace of its removal, after it had rested there for 40 years, not only from the Arch, but out of London. In asking that the statue should be replaced on the Arch, or, at any rate, not removed from London, it would be said they were 829 flying in the face of a Vote of the House of Commons, who had voted £6,000 for the purpose. But they were not asking the House of Commons for any money; on the contrary, they were asking them to save the money of the nation. He merely asked that, if thought desirable, some small portion of the amount already voted should be spent in replacing it on the Arch, or upon a pedestal in some convenient place in London, such as at the top of the Green Park, at the Horse Guards, or in Hyde Park; but he most strongly protested against it being removed to Aldershot. He was quite convinced that, if the Queen had known of these statements and of the letters he had read, Her Majesty would never have given her sanction to what the Duke would have considered an indignity; and, then, the Government would never have proposed the Vote in the other House. It was said that, whatever might be the facts of the case, it was now too late to alter the decision that had been arrived at; but it never was too late to do what was right. If the noble Lord (Lord De L'isle and Dudley) desired to have a statue of the Duke of Wellington at Aldershot, by all means let the one Mr. Boehm was to produce go there; but he hoped their Lordships would never consent to do that which must confer obloquy on the hero of Waterloo.
THE BISHOP OF BATH AND WELLS
said, that he desired to join in the protest against the removal of the statue out of London. In doing so, there was one consideration which greatly weighed with him, and that was the historical incident of the old statue being placed near to Apsley House in the Duke's lifetime; and, looking at all the circumstances of the case, he hoped that their Lordships would, by a large majority, show their sense that it was not right at this time of day to undo what was then done. He well remembered that at the time the reasons which weighed with the public were the vicinity to Apsley House, and the fact that Hyde Park Corner stood at the entrance of London, so that the statue of the Great Duke would be one of the first objects seen on approaching the City. The only objection, which was felt by everybody, was that the Arch was not fitted to support such a statue. That objection was removed by the removal of the 830 Arch. The obvious thing was to place the statue on a proper pedestal on the same site. He maintained that a new statue would not command the veneration which the old one did. If they removed the latter they entirely destroyed the old historical sentiment.
§ LORD SUDELEY
said, that this question had been repeatedly before their Lordships. In one form or other, it had been brought forward no less than seven times in that House during the last 18 months; and, on the 24th of March, their Lordships affirmed, in a Division, the policy pursued by the Government in determining to carry out the proposal of the Committee that it should be removed to Aldershot. It was unnecessary for him, and he feared it would only weary their Lordships, were he to enter into details as to the various steps which the First Commissioner had found it necessary to take, to insure arriving at an accurate and thoroughly independent decision. Their Lordships were aware of the proceedings of the Committee which sat last year, and of the pains which were taken to have it composed of the best known authorities on such a subject; and, by having the present Duke of Wellington on that Committee, it was felt that the desires of the family would be efficiently represented. The decision at which the Committee arrived, after considering every possible site in London, was that the statue must be broken up. That step was averted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales actively and patriotically interesting himself in the matter, and suggesting that, most likely, the removal of the statue to Aldershot would meet with general satisfaction, if combined with the construction of a new statue, and considered by the public in connection with the great improvements to be completed at Hyde Park Corner. The Vote of the Committee of Supply in the House of Commons confirmed the decision of their Lordships' House on the 24th of March, by the overwhelming majority of 111, which was no less than two to one. Several noble Lords had stated that that Vote was only a Money Vote for the new statue, and that it had nothing whatever to do with the removal of the existing one to Aldershot. That statement was, to a certain extent, true; but it must be remembered that the general question was brought before 831 the House of Commons on that occasion by Sir Robert Peel and several other Members, and was very fully discussed before a Vote was taken. That appeared to the Government to finally dispose of the matter. The order was consequently given, and all necessary arrangements made for the removal of the statue. The noble Lord (Lord Stratheden and Campbell) was, however, still dissatisfied, and had once more returned to the charge. On the present occasion he had nominally altered the terms of his Resolution and suggested that the statue should remain until the new statue had been made. He thought it impossible not to see that that suggestion was merely designed in order to shelve the question, and to secure a reversal of the decision at which their Lordships' House had already arrived. The noble Lord who moved the Amendment (Lord de Ros) spoke of the correspondence brought forward by the noble Duke (the Duke of Rutland) as being an entirely new matter which entirely altered the circumstances of the case. That was not so. Most of the letters which the noble Duke had quoted last week and that night wore published in a Parliamentary form; had been on the Table of the House since 1847; and everyone who had considered the subject must be well aware of their contents. The noble Duke would have the House believe that the original construction of the statue and the placing of it on the Arch met with general approval, and especially with the approval of the Duke of Wellington himself. But what were the facts? From the very day, in 1838, when the idea was started, down to the year 1847, there was one endless chorus of dispute and even bitterness. Their Lordships would remember that the selection of the sculptor, Mr. Wyatt, was vehemently opposed by a large number of the Committee, so much so that, on the 8th of August, 1838, a large proportion of that Committee wrote to Lord Melbourne asking the Government to suspend their consent, because they objected to the manner in which the sculptor had been chosen. The Members of the Committee who signed the protest were the Dukes of Northumberland, Richmond, and Buccleuch, and Lords Powys, Liverpool, Hill, Strafford, Palmerston, Anglesey, Tavistock, Dungannon, Combermere, and Craven. It was true that Lord 832 Melbourne advised the Queen, to give permission for the statue being placed on the Arch; but the Papers showed that Lord Lincoln, Lord Melbourne, and Lord Canning subsequently did their best, on the part of the Government, at different dates, to prevent it being so placed. After much correspondence on the subject, Lord Canning, in May, 1846, made a final appeal to the Duke of Rutland, explaining how much the Government disapproved of the proposed site in these words—It is my duty to state to your Grace that the remonstrances which reach Her Majesty's Government against the proposed appropriation of the arch are so many and so strong, the representations of its architect, Mr. Burton, in the same sense, are so earnest, and the opinion of every other eminent architect, artist, or other competent authority who has been consulted on the subject is so decided, that Her Majesty's Government feel called upon not only to make a final effort to induce the subscribers to reconsider the project of placing the statue on the site at present proposed, but to do all that lies in their power to facilitate a change in the design.Finally, the statue was allowed to be placed on the Arch; but only on the distinct understanding, that it should be taken down if, in the opinion of the Government, the result was unsatisfactory. A short time after it was erected, Lord Morpeth wrote to the Duke of Rutland, that the Government had decided that it must be taken down. That led to further angry controversy; and then it was said that the Duke of Wellington expressed himself strongly against the removal, and thus it was allowed to remain. What actually happened was this. The First Commissioner of Works stated the other day in the House of Commons, that he had the highest authority for saying that, after the Government had settled that the statue could not be allowed to remain on the Arch, it was suggested that the Duke of Wellington should be consulted. He was asked to go down to Windsor, and he there told the Queen and the Prince Consort that he never wished the statue to be made; that it was against his wish that it should be put on the Arch, but that, being there, and after the long controversy about it, it might be looked upon as a mark of disapprobation towards himself if it were removed. On that it was argued that the statue was liked by the Duke, and that it would be a dishonour to remove it from the vicinity of Apsley House. 833 He believed there was not one tittle of clear and substantial evidence in the Papers or letters quoted to show that the Duke had any such feeling in the matter. He had, for eight years, been a silent spectator of the controversy which had been raging about a statue to himself; and could it be a matter of wonder to any man that, modest and retiring as he was, and of a sensitive disposition, the Duke got heartily sick of the whole affair? It was only natural, therefore, that he should have done anything to prevent the renewal of what could not fail to have been to him a painful and irritating discussion. That, then, was how the statue was allowed to remain. No gentleman could do less than show a lively appreciation of such a costly and well-meant memorial. Which of their Lordships would not give a courteous and grateful answer to a body of gentlemen, who came to inform him that a subscription of between £30,000 and £40,000 had been got together for the erection of a monument in his honour? It was an old saying, that a man could not look a gift horse in the mouth; but, in this case, the Duke was forced not only to look the gift horse in the mouth, but to ride another man's hobby. If it were necessary, he could quote many of the articles and letters which appeared during the eight years of this controversy, to show how very painful and unpleasant it must have been for the Duke of Wellington, and how glad he must have been at the prospect of its cessation. Having been thus settled, the controversy should never have been re-opened, and no one would have thought of removing the statue; but what were the simple facts of the case as they now presented themselves? It had been found necessary, in making the great improvements at Hyde Park Corner, to move the arch. The First Commissioner of Works would have been the last man to have suggested the removal of the statue, had it been possible to avoid it; and he went a long way to see if the arch could not be bodily removed; but that had boon found impossible. Now that the statue was actually on the ground, the circumstances were entirely altered; and he (Lord Sudeley) was of opinion that he would be a very bold man who would suggest that the statue should be put again on the arch. Then, the question arose as to 834 what was to be done with the statue? Putting aside all questions of Art, the fact was that the colossal size of the statue made it dwarf all surrounding positions; and, as the Committee found by practical experience with a wooden profile, it was too large for any site which had been named. It had been argued that it was a bad precedent, and that, in the time of a Communistic Parliament, the statue of Lord Beaconsfield and other Conservative Leaders would be carted out of the town; but, surely, what was now proposed could not be looked upon in that light. All competent authorities told them that the statue was too large and too colossal to be placed in any site in London. Then let them substitute for it an equestrian statue of a fitting size which had every prospect of being suitable, and the precedent was one of which they certainly need not be ashamed. If the country was anxious to do honour to the memory of the great Duke, what could be done better than to have a fitting and really artistic statue placed near Apsley House, as now proposed, instead of one out of all proportion with its surroundings, and constantly held up to ridicule? At Aldershot, the colossal statue would be in a position where its size would be no drawback, and where it could be fittingly placed among the future soldiers of the country. It had been argued that the new sculptor, Mr. Boehm, would not have the advantages possessed by his Predecessor. The noble Duke adhered to his statement that the Duke of Wellington sat for his statue. It was hardly necessary to argue that, because it was perfectly clear, from the Papers on the Table, that he sat for the design, but did not sit for the statue. The Report of the Committee from which the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Rutland) had quoted was dated 1838, before the statue was commenced. Mr. Boehm would have for his assistance the two splendid pictures in the possession of Lord Penrhyn and Lord Bathurst, both of which were exact pictures of the Duke. He would have equally at his service the bust of Nobelli used by Mr. Wyatt, and would have a knowledge of the various criticisms on the present statue. It was a well-known, fact that the great difficulty in this matter had been that everyone had his own views 835 of what ought to be done with the statue; and, while they would not listen to any opposite view, would all combine against any particular scheme. No doubt, there was much to be said in favour of any one of the 10 sites which had been suggested; but, as reasonable men, they must see that someone would have to give way, unless this question was to be allowed to drag on, and they were to become the laughing-stock of other nations. The decision of the Government had been arrived at in no hasty manner. It was the result of great and patient inquiry; and it commanded the entire approval of the present Duke of Wellington, who had written as follows:—Strathfieldsaye, April 12, 1884.Dear Mr. Lefevre,—I am quite satisfied with the proposed arrangement, and I feel that by it full respect is paid to the memory of my father.I have the honour to beDear Mr. Lefevro,Yours faithfully,WELLINGTON.The Right Hon. G. Shaw Lefevre.He confidently hoped that at that eleventh hour, when preparations had actually been made for the conveyance of the statue to Aldershot, when both Houses of Parliament had already sanctioned the decision of the Committee, their Lordships would not now take steps to relegate the matter to a state of hopeless confusion.
LORD STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL
, in asking for leave to withdraw the Motion, said: My Lords, I had intended, without suggestion from the noble Viscount, to recommend the House to adopt the Motion of the noble and gallant Lord (Lord de Ros), as likely to unite the greatest number in its favour. Much has been said on the opinion of the present Duke of Wellington. In this House he has never yet declared one. The noble Lord (Lord Sudeley) has made a prolix speech against the statue being connected with the arch; but for its removal from the capital he has made no speech whatever.
§ Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
§ Amendment again moved.
§ On Question? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 66; Not-Coutents 44: Majority 22.837
|Rutland, D.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Bristol. M.||Calthorpe, L.|
|Hertford, M.||Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)|
|Ashburnham, E.||Chelmsford, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.)|
|Bradford, E.||Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)|
|Coventry, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Haddington, E.||de Ros, L. [Teller.]|
|Hardwicke, E.||Dinevor, L.|
|Harewood, E.||Dorchester, L.|
|Leven and Melville, E.||Douglas, L. (E. Home.)|
|Lovelace, E.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Manvers, E.||Forbes, L.|
|Milltown, E.||Gerard, L.|
|Powis, E.||Harlech, L.|
|Ravensworth, E.||Houghton, L.|
|Redesdale, E.||Hylton, L.|
|Romney, E.||Inchiquin, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Lyveden, L.|
|Strafford, E.||North, L.|
|Waldegrave, E.||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Hawarden, V.||Robartes, L.|
|Hood, V.||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Sidmouth, V.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Strathallan, V.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Bath and Wells, L. Bp.||Strafford, L. (V. Enfield.)|
|Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp.|
|Stratheden and Campbell, L. [Teller.]|
|Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)||Templemore, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Tollemache, L.|
|Bagot, L.||Trevor, L.|
|Beaumont, L.||Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)|
|Selborne, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Balfour of Burley, L.|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]|
|Grafton, D.||Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)|
|Saint Albans, D.|
|Westminster, D.||Carlingford, L.|
|Colville of Culross, L.|
|Northampton, M.||Crewe, L.|
|De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||FitzGerald, L.|
|Derby, E.||Hammond, L.|
|Ducie, E.||Hatherton, L.|
|Granville, E.||Hothfield, L.|
|Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.)||Howth, L. (E. Howth.)|
|Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.)|
|Kimberley, E.||Lyttelton, L.|
|Morley, E.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Saint Germans, E.||Mount-Temple, L.|
|Sydney, E.||Romilly, L.|
|Hardinge, V.||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Powerscourt, V.||Skene, I,. (E. Fife.)|
|Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.)|
|Sudeley, L. [Teller.]||Tweedmouth, L.|
§ Resolved in the affirmative.