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Volume 170: debated on Friday 24 April 1863

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Resolutions (April 23) reported;

(1.) "That a sum, not exceeding £50,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during tin-year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, towards the Expense of a National Memorial for His late Royal Highness the Prince Consort."
(2.) "That a sum, not exceeding £85,925, be granted to Her Majesty, to enable Her Majesty to make a Grant to the Naval and Land Forces employed in the Expedition to Kertch and Yeni- kale in the year 1855, on account of the value of the Stores captured."
(3.) "That a sum, not exceeding £1,000,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to pay off and discharge Exchequer Bonds payable on the 8th day of May 1863,"

First Resolution read.

said, he trusted the Government would consent to postpone the consideration of the Report. The noble Lord could not for one moment expect to erect the proposed monument for the sum named. In fact, it would cost not less than £350,000, and Government would have to come, year after year, to ask further sums from the House. In proposing such a scheme the noble Lord ought to have laid plans and details in full before the House, so as to enable them to judge of what they were about. They had been told that Her Majesty had set her heart upon the plan, but be believed that the plan was founded altogether upon the opinion of the Royal Commissioners. It was proposed to erect a Gothic structure of a kind from which we were far removed by time and thought, and which was characteristic neither of the prince whose name it was intended to commemorate nor of the nation by which it was to be erected. He would therefore beg leave to move that the further consideration of the subject be postponed until the plans and details which might enable the House to judge should be laid before it. He hoped, if the noble Lord would not consent to that proposition, he would give a pledge that the stun to be expended upon the monument should not exceed what he had stated to the House.

said, he rose to second the Motion, The noble Lord at the head of the Government had not stated hat the plan proposed had been approved of by Her Majesty, but that it had been recommended by the Commissioners. It appeared to him, that in contemplating the erection of a monument to the Prince Consult, they should have regard to what the; taste of the Prince Consort was. He believed that his late Royal Highness contributed more than any other individual to the progress of art and science, and everything that was calculated to advance the material interests of the country. It was therefore the opinion of a great number of individuals that the memorial to his memory should be such as he would himself have approved. If the noble Lord stated that the proposed monument had received the sanction of Her Majesty, he did not think the Motion should be pressed.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the further Consideration of the said Resolution be postponed."

said, he could not conceive anything more beautiful or appropriate than the proposed memorial, and it had been stated by the noble Lord that it was the selection of the Queen herself. He felt, however, that the sum named was not sufficient to execute it in the manner in which it should be completed, and such was the opinion also of the architect. He thought, therefore, the noble Lord should take further time to consider the amount for which he should ask. The House was only anxious that the memorial should be in all respects worthy of the late Prince Consort, but it was not a matter in which they ought to be applied to a second time.

said, he thought his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton must have misunderstood the nature of the proposal he made on the preceding evening. He did not propose to the House that they should sanction any particular plan, but that they should Vote a certain sum of money with the distinct understanding that it would rest entirely with Her Majesty to determine what kind of memorial would be most suitable to the occasion and most agreeable to her feelings. And although plans were, he was informed, exhibited in another part of that building, yet he was not aware that Her Majesty had yet determined upon any particular plan. Therefore, any argument founded upon the assumption that the cost of executing any particular design would exceed the sum which he had stated to be available was no argument whatever against the grant. What he proposed was that the House should tender to Her Majesty the sum of £50,000, to be added to private subscriptions, to enable her to direct the construction of such a monument as would be congenial to her feelings and best calculated, in her opinion, to record the great and eminent qualities of the Prince. Some particular plan that had been seen might cost more than the amount available, but the architect could, doubtless, alter his design so as to make the work greater or smaller, and more or less expensive. If, therefore, it were found that the very magnificent plan alluded to could not be accomplished for the money, a man of genius could so reduce it in its dimensions or ornament as to bring it within the sum desired. He could not, under these circum- stances, see any reason for postponing the Vote, and trusted that the House would at once agree to it.

said, that while he admired, as much as any man, the virtues and the eminent qualities of the late Prince Consort, he hoped it would be understood that any sum that might be granted for completing the memorial would be a final Vote. If a further appeal were made to the House, it would be derogatory to the Government and disrespectful to the Throne.

said, that as he understood the noble Lord at the head of the Government to give a distinct pledge that the outlay in that case should not exceed the £50,000, he hoped the hon. Member for Brighton would not press his Motion.

said, he hoped that there would be no further application to Parliament; and also that the House would not interfere in the matter of taste, fie trusted that the Vote would be a free gift to Her Majesty.

said, that after the statement of the noble Lord that the grant was not to exceed the sum of £50,000, he would not press his Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Resolution agreed to.

Subsequent Resolutions agreed to.