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SUPPLY considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £59,920, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1869, for the British Embassy Houses, Chapel, Consular Offices, &c. at Constantinople, China, and Japan."

was an enormous increase in the Civil Service Estimates this year. They were divided into seven classes, and there was an increase in every class except two. In the first class there was an increase of £198,000.

THE CHAIRMAN called the hon. and gallant Member to order. The Motion before the Committee is to omit an item from Vote 1, and the discussion must be confined to that item.

COLONEL SYKES said, he had expected an explanation from the Secretary to the Treasury in introducing the Estimates. Failing that, he had asked the Speaker whether he (Colonel Sykes) could make his comments when the first Vote was moved, and the right hon. Gentleman had told him that the Chairman of Committees would decide. There was an increase in the Estimates this year of upwards of £1,200,000, and the country should be made aware of the fact. THE CHAIRMAN: Order, order! COLONEL SYKES: Then, Sir, I shall not speak at all.

MR. MONK called attention to the proposed expenditure of £9,920 for British Consulate and Embassy houses at Constantinople. A new Embassy house was proposed to be built at Therapia. A most extravagant system was being pursued with respect to the Embassy house at Constantinople; and it was the duty of Parliament to take steps for the reduction of the sums charged upon the country for the purpose of maintaining that establishment. He would quote the following figures to prove how the expenditure had gone on MR. LABOUCHERE feared that the increasing, and to show the enormous sums matter was not fully understood by the which had been voted for our Ambassa- Committee. Not only at the Embassy dor's houses at Constantinople during the house at Constantinople and Therapia, last few years. In 1863-4 the estimate but at the Consulate houses, everything was £4,352, subsequently reduced by a was in an exceedingly bad state of resum of £400; in 1864-5, £3,200; in pair, and the real reason why Parlia1865-6, £3,455; in 1866-7, £3,000; in ment was so often asked for money was 1867-8, £4,000; and in 1868-9 it has that we had not adopted the best and reached the grand sum of £9,920. He cheapest course by pulling down the old pointed out that last year Parliament had houses and building new ones. His hon. voted a sum of £350 for iron shutters for Friend near him had spoken of the "sumthe building at Therapia, which, if the pre-mer palace" at Therapia. He (Mr. sent proposal were carried out, would be Labouchere) had had the misfortune to money thrown away. Twenty years ago upwards of £80,000 had been expended in building an Ambassador's palace at Pera, and since that thousands of pounds had been spent in keeping it in repair. He had been at the palace at Therapia, which was very pleasantly situated on the Bosphorus. He thought it was quite unnecessary to spend so large a sum for a new palace, and he hoped the Committee would not sanction the proposal. He begged to move that the Vote be reduced by £6,000, the sum proposed for the new Embassy house at Therapia.

Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That the Item of £6,000, for the Embassy
House at Therapia, be omitted from the proposed
Vote," (Mr. Monk.)

COLONEL SYKES said, that the reduction now proposed was microscopic. There

live in that palace; and the fact was that so far from being in reality a palace the buildings in question were simply three sheds, nothing better than an old farmhouse, and in exceedingly bad repair. When he resided there he could hardly sleep in consequence of the number of scorpions with which the house was infested. Those who had been much in Turkey knew that when houses became old and full of holes the scorpions multiplied with great rapidity. He believed, in fact, that the thin sheds at Therapia were by this time quite uninhabitable, and that instead of a few hundreds to buy shutters, it was far cheaper to spend £10,000 in one sum, not to build palaces, but a habitable house for the Ambassador's residence in summer. He would, however, ask the Secretary to the Treasury to defer the vote until after some communication with Con

tantinople, because he (Mr. Labouchere) | make a little display in the shape of a thought he could show how the necessary respectable dwelling for an Ambassador. house could be built without cost to this country. The Sultan had given to this country a tract of land, on which the present dilapidated sheds stood, with a large frontage to the Bosphorus. Now a frontage on the European side of the Bosphorus resembled in comparative value a frontage in a fashionable London street, and this particular frontage was a quarter of a mile in length. No Turk ever thought of occupying so large a frontage as this by his garden; he would place his villa on the borders of the Bosphorus, and let his garden extend in the rear. He thought he was not wrong in stating that when Sir Henry Bulwer was Ambassador at Constantinople, he proposed to sell a small portion of this frontage, which he estimated would fetch £10,000, and with that sum to build a new house. The only feasible objection urged against that plan was that the land was the gift of the Sultan; but he had consulted many Turks as to what their habit was when the Sultan presented them with estates, a thing which frequently occurred, as the Sultan, being heir to all who died intestate within his dominions, had annually a good many estates on his hands. They told him that they sold these presents; that it was the custom of the country, and that there was nothing in the act derogatory to the Sultan. On the contrary, they thought it would be complimentary to the Sultan to replace the three sheds by a handsome building, reared at the cost of a small portion of the outlying grounds. In fact it would be more complimentary to the Sultan to build the Ambassador's house out of funds so obtained than out of money sent from this country. He hoped, therefore, that his hon. Friend would not press his Motion, but that the Secretary to the Treasury would defer the Vote until he had had the means of communicating with Constantinople.

MR. KARSLAKE said, that as one who had spent much time in Constantinople, he knew of no Vote which the Committee should more readily sanction than this. If the Turks had been left to judge of England's power by what they saw among themselves before the Crimean War, their estimate would have been very low. England had nothing in the country to compare with the handsome buildings of the Russians; and though England's prestige had been lately re-established in the East, he thought it would be only prudent to

LORD STANLEY said, that the sum spent on the iron shutters would not be thrown away, as the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Monk) complained, because they would be used in the new building. Touching the question generally, he quite agreed with the hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. Labouchere), that the buildings referred to could not be called a palace; they simply formed a country residence of most unpretending character for the British Embassy; and, in answer to the question why they were not pulled down, and replaced by an entirely new and substantial building, he answered that this was precisely what the Government proposed to do, although the operations might extend over two years. At this distance from the locality, which was from personal experience quite unknown to him, he was prepared neither to accept nor reject the proposal referred to by the hon. Member for Middlesex ; but he pointed out that, however worthy of attention the suggestion might be, it had no material bearing on the question at issue, because if, on inquiry, it was found prudent to sell surplus land and devote the proceeds to building the houses required, the sale could be effected at any time hereafter, and the Treasury could then recoup itself from the sum realized; the building must be paid for out of a Vote, and then credit might be given for the proceeds of the surplus lands in the Estimates next year. The question before the Committee naturally divided itself into three branchesWas a house at Therapia necessary? Was the present house in a proper state of repair? And, presuming these questions to be answered in the affirmative, was the proposed mode of dealing with the question sufficiently economical? Respecting the first point, he believed there could be no doubt. We had always had a house at Therapia; because Pera was very un healthy during the summer, and because it would be extremely inconvenient if our Embassy remained at Constantinople during the summer, when the Government of the country and all the other embassies had removed to Therapia. On the second point-a Report received last autumn from the English Ambassador at Constantinople, stated that it would be hardly possible for the gentlemen of the Embassy to continue to inhabit the buildings unless something was done to them; and, as regarded the servants' portion of

to erect buildings of this character; also, whether an opportunity would be afforded to Members of acquainting themselves with the details?

the building, it was simply unfit for human | Engineers, his opinion being that officers habitation. A recent Report, by Colonel in the Royal Engineers were incompetent Gordon, clearly showed the present house at Therapia was past all repair. With regard to the manner in which those repairs were to be executed, all he could say was that a gentleman had been sent out from the Treasury, especially charged with the duty of investigating them and other kindred matters, and the Government had simply abided by his Report.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, that the plan had been sent home by Colonel Gordon, an Engineer officer appointed by the late Government to superintend the Consular buildings and other works belonging to this country at Constantinople. The total estimate was £10,000, and, as it was supposed that the building would occupy a year and a half, it was proposed to take a Vote of £6,000 this year, with the intention of following it up next year with a Vote of £4,000.


MR. POWELL said, that if the ordinary repairs were on so large a scale as £2,600, it was evident that the buildings must be in such a condition as to render their total re-construction not only wise but economical. Having visited the Bosphorus during the past autumn he could testify that the houses were worn out, and that their con- MR. LABOUCHERE said, nobody dition was such as to render them a byword would suppose for a moment that the among the native population. The build- noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign ings had been handed over by a former Affairs would waste the money of the Sultan; and the Ambassadors had suffered country, but there could be no objection, some inconvenience with regard to them on he thought, to postponing the Vote. account of their possessing certain features believed that if the Embassy at Constantiof antiquarian interest. nople were made to understand that the building of the new house would be contingent upon their finding the money, there would be a much better prospect of the money being provided in the way he had suggested than if the House of Commons voted it in the first instance. Part of the land is now used as a kitchen garden. People in their senses did not think of having kitchen gardens on the Bosphorus. The surplus land might be sold for the full amount of £10,000. As to the suggestion that a Minister should hire a house at Therapia, there must first be a house to hire. Those Ministers for whom houses had not been built at Therapia were obliged, at great inconvenience, to go to Prince's Island.

MR. ALDERMAN LUSK objected to the building of a palace for a country house. He feared that if the Committee voted £10,000 for the purpose this year, they would be called upon for further Votes for decoration and furniture next year or the year after. They had much better give the Ambassador a proper sum and let him provide his own house.

SIR GEORGE BOWYER thought it desirable that the Vote should be postponed until the noble Lord had inquired whether the statement made by the hon. Member for Middlesex, to the effect that a sufficient sum could be obtained, without calling upon the House at all, by the sale of part of the land at Therapia, was well founded.

LORD STANLEY said, even if it were determined that a portion of the land at Therapia ought to be sold with a view of recouping the nation for the expenses incurred in building, it would not the less have been the duty of the Executive to submit this Vote, in order to bring the expenditure under the notice of the House.

SIR GEORGE BOWYER: But will the noble Lord undertake to enquire whether we can recoup ourselves in the manner suggested?

LORD STANLEY: I have no objection to make the inquiry.

MR. AYTOUN asked, by whom the plan for the new palace had been drawn, and whether it was by an officer in the Royal

MR. MONK said, he wished to know whether the plans had been drawn by Colonel Gordon himself, and whether the specifications were at the Treasury? Last year the House was informed that the Government had given this matter their careful consideration, and had come to the conclusion, that as the Ambassador was at Therapia only a short time in the year, a new building for a summer residence was not necessary.

He asked the House to pause before giving its sanction to a proposal nominally to expend £10,000, but really to commit itself to an unforeseen expenditure.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, the plan sent home by Colonel

Gordon he presumed was his own drawings; at all events, he was responsible for it. He did not think there were any specifications at the Treasury; but an estimate had been sent home by Colonel Gordon, and they were acting on his advice in the


MR. SERJEANT GASELEE contended that a large expenditure of this nature ought not to be sanctioned before the assembling of the new Parliament. He despaired of the present Parliament doing anything really practical or useful with respect to the Estimates.

MR. AYRTON suggested, that perhaps his hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Monk) would be satisfied if the Government engaged not to embark in this expenditure till they knew its extent. The history of those buildings at Constantinople was a somewhat curious one. Some years ago a statement was made to the effect that it was necessary to take some means to secure the Ambassador against the danger of being burnt in the conflagrations which sometimes took place in that city. Upon that a house was begun at a sum of £14,000-enough to build a fine mansion; MR. CHILDERS said, that the House but the work went on until the Government having, in 1863, negatived the Vote for had spent £80,000 and upwards. Then the employment of a civil architect at Con- there was £10,000 for furnishing, and stantinople, the buildings there were prac- | finally the expenditure reached £100,000. tically not under the charge of anybody The amount spent annually in keeping the with professional experience. When he house in decorative repair was as much as came to the Treasury in 1865 he found the salary paid to some of our diplomatic that very large estimates of work to be agents at minor Courts. We had appealed done had been sent home, yet there was to the eye of the Turks by providing the nobody to whom application could be made largest Embassy house in Constantinople, for information, the clerk of the works fine Consular buildings, a prison, and a hos having of necessity been brought home and pital, and if in addition to all this the Ampensioned off, at considerable cost, in ac-bassador was to have a country house rivalcordance with the Vote of the House. After careful inquiry Colonel Gordon, then Major Gordon, an officer of Engineers, who had other.employment at Constantinople, and who was certified to be perfectly competent to superintend these buildings, was appointed with a salary of £300 a year, and was instructed to go thoroughly into all questions of repairs, and see whether it was proper to preserve the old palace at Therapia or not. Having made that appointment, he left the Treasury long before Colonel Gordon's Report was received, and knew nothing of what had happened since; but, knowing that if Colonel Gordon had not been appointed there would have been no one to do the work at all, and presuming that the Government had acted upon his Report to the best of their discretion, he could not oppose the present Vote. MR. MONK asked, whether the noble Lord would not postpone the item till plans and specifications were before them?

LORD STANLEY said, he was anxious to consult the convenience of the House, but he did not think this was a case for postponement. The feeling of the Committee seemed to be that the preservation of the house at Therapia was desirable. It was admitted that the premises were tumbling to pieces, and it followed that some part of the expense of re-building ought at once to be voted.

ling the other palaces on the Bosphorus let Parliament first be satisfied that the estimated cost would not be exceeded.

MR. M'LAREN said, they could not have an estimate without a specification. An officer of Engineers had sent in a plan, and, according to his idea, the house would cost £10,000; but another man might have quite another idea-might think the house should be finished and decorated in quite a different way, and the house might cost three or four times the amount now talked of. Without a specification the estimate was a sham.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, he presumed that the estimate of Colonel Gordon was made upon certain data, though the specifications might not be in the Treasury; and it would be a most unusual thing for a Committee of Supply to require a specification to be made out in detail for any public buildings. The Government had no intention of exceeding Colonel Gordon's estimate.

MR. OTWAY said, that although it was not usual to ask for specifications, it was the duty of the Minister before proposing a Vote to ascertain that the charge was a proper one. Officers of Engineers were the most expensive gentlemen to be found for the construction of any work, and their employment had cost the country millions. When a Royal Engineer was appointed to

superintend a work another person had to accompany him to take out the quantities. They had no reason to suppose there was any specification in this case, and from the experience at Constantinople they might look for an expenditure of £40,000 instead of £10,000. He should recommend the hon. Gentlemen to divide against the item.

Question put.

portunity of criticizing it. He believed they were retaining Consular establishments in Japan which were outrageously extravagant. With respect to this Vote he thought the House ought to have further information before it voted so large a sum. It was almost impossible to express an opinion upon a lump Vote of £179,000.

SIR HARRY VERNEY said, that the Government ought to be prepared to fur

The Committee divided:-Ayes 20; nish some information as to the places Noes 37 Majority 17.

Original Question again proposed.

COLONEL SYKES wished to have some explanation of the item respecting Consular buildings in China.

where and the objects for which the expenditure was to be incurred. There was one source of expenditure of which the Committee ought to be made aware. We had succeeded in getting China thrown open to foreigners, and some of the most disorderly characters from Europe had gone there. It was absolutely necessary that there should be some British authority to control these persons. If by admitting them we destroyed the authority of the Native Government, we ought in some degree to replace it, at least to the extent of keeping our own countrymen in order.

MR. SCLATER-BOOTH said, he held

MR. ALDERMAN LUSK also wished to hear some explanation respecting the sums asked for Consular buildings abroad, especially in China and Japan. He objected to the present arrangement of the Estimate, which was very puzzling and prevented hon. Members from knowing precisely what they were asked to vote. He doubted the propriety of laying out the money which was asked for Consular build-in his hand a list of thirteen places in ings in Japan, and as an illustration of the necessity for mature consideration in regard to expending money in the country he referred to a paragraph in The Times' City Article of that morning, which mentioned that there was a town near Yohokama which was magnificent for a settlement, and was on the shores of a lake as large as the Lake of Geneva. Unless details were forthcoming he should divide the Committee on the item respecting Japan.

MR. CHILDERS observed, in reference to a remark of the last speaker, that the Estimates were now arranged in accordance with the provisions of an Act of Parliament passed a few years ago, and in accordance with the advice of the Public Accounts Committee. As to this particular Vote, in 1865 the Treasury, finding that large demands were made from the Foreign Office for Consular buildings in China and Japan, determined not to sanction at that time any additional expenditure; but merely took a Vote to finish the works then in hand, and sent out an officer to visit the different stations and report as to the requirements of each. That being so, it was much to be regretted that the old fault had now been again made of not giving distinct details in the Estimates of the sums required in each case. He might add that when the consular Vote came before the Committee he should take the op

China and three in Japan at which the money would be expended. Of the total of £179,000, £50,000 was the estimated cost of new buildings at Shanghai alone. In addition new buildings were required at Canton, Foochow, Ningpo, and other places. The principle of this expenditure had been already sanctioned by the Treasury and by previous Votes of the Committee; and the total Vote was submitted this year on the principle that if the expenditure was to be incurred, the sooner the money was spent the better, for then the Government could dispense with the services of the gentleman who was superintending the outlay -Major Crossman, who had proved himself to be a useful public servant, had been sent out to Canton, and was responsible for the way in which this money was spent in China and Japan. There was every reason to suppose that he would conduct the business with due regard to economy. He might remind the Committee that large sums had been realized by the re-sales of land at Shanghai, at prices beyond its original cost; the aggregate gain would perhaps be £50,000 or £60,000, and therefore this outlay was not altogether one of money out of pocket.

MR. CHILDERS thought the Secretary to the Treasury was mistaken in one respect; for he did not believe that the House was committed to this expenditure. On

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