ists not members. The gross sum expended in pensions to distressed members being £11,106; and the donations to artists not members and their families, £19,249."


Well, such was the state of the case, when, previous to their removal to the New Buildings, petitions were presented to Parliament against any such removal. A knot of men, virulently opposed to the Academy, are mined before the Committee of the House-most favourably examined, and full scope given for their severest animadversions, aspersions, and calumnies. And it is difficult to conceive a more contemptible figure than is made by some of the most bitter of those opponents. The most unfounded assertions to the discredit of the Academy are made, and clearly disproved. However unwilling the reader of the Report of the Committee may be to come to uncharitable conclusions, it is next to an impossibility to acquit those persons of malice and falsehood. As a specimen of the latter, we refer to question and answer 1057, 2d part; and the confutation by Secretary, 2117.

B. R. Haydon, Esq., examined:"The Academy has no act or charter like other public bodies ?"

"No, they only exist by the Royal pleasure. They cunningly refused George the Fourth's offer of a charter, fearing it would make them responsible: they are a private society, which they always put forward when you wish to examine them; and they always proclaim themselves a public society when they want to benefit by any public vote."

Now, we shall see how cunning they were.

Henry Howard, Esq., Secretary, examined:-" The Royal Academy did not refuse a charter from George the Fourth, for fear that it should make them responsible. A charter was neither offered nor desired."

The Academy became established in their New Buildings. They might reasonably have now expected uninterrupted peace. They had given ample information respecting all their proceedings; and might fairly have considered themselves most honourably acquitted of all charges brought against them. Not so. Hatred is not subdued by the injury it commits. The very injury renders it the more-hatred. Do


the Academy commit any new crime? Does Art retrograde amongst the members? Are the Exhibitions of decided inferiority? Quite the reverse of all this. But the Exhibitions are more in public favour, the funds are increasing

"Hinc illæ lachryma." The wouldbe Public Accountant must be called in to scrutinize, and harass by a petty scrutiny, the accounts of the Academy, not for information, but for insult and degradation; and that such has been the view will be but too apparent.

Mr Hume is instigated to obtain an order from the House for the production of their accounts from the Royal Academy. Was his purpose, or the purpose of his instigators, to obtain accounts? No, the purpose was to annihilate the Academy-to have them "turned out" of their New Buildings


"interlopers." Thus, while one thing is pretended, another object is subsequently, and not until the order was obtained, owned. On the 24th June last, Mr Hume says, upon his discussion on the enforcing the order obtained, "He would reserve all further observations till the discussion on his motion for enforcing the order for the production of the returns. But he might observe, in the mean time, that his object had been completely misunderstood. What he asked was, that her Majesty's Ministers would adopt measures to turn them out of the building. All that he asked was, that these interlopers should be turned out, to give proper accommodation to the public.' So much for the object-now for the almost surreptitious manner in which that order had been obtained-the confession of which, by the members of the House, we humbly think has a tendency to throw no little discredit upon their deliberations.

We will adduce the evidence of Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell, the best evidence on both sides of the House. Sir Robert Peel says: "The honourable member for Kilkenny had succeeded in getting this return ordered; but, if that House had been betrayed into a hasty and inconsiderate order, it would be to their credit to rescind it. The honourable gentleman obtained the order at half past one o'clock, when the attention of members was not much called to it; and, even if members had read it, their suspicions would have been lulled by the words that were appended to the notice. The return sought for


purposed to be a continuation of a former return, made up to July 1836; but the return which the honourable gentleman now stated that he required, was a perfectly new return-a return founded on the evidence given by the President and Secretary of the Royal Academy. Why then did the honourable member try to lull suspicion, by stating in his notice, that he only required a continuation of an old report? He must say, that the addition of these words was apparently disingenuous." Lord John Russell castigates more mildly, fully admitting the fact, that the House was betrayed into the order: "He did not consider that they were in the least bound by a motion made by the honourable member for Kilkenny at a late hour of the night, at the end of an adjourned debate on the Corn-Laws; and when the members, hearing that it was a continuation of former returns, paid but little attention." The Royal Academy had respectfully petitioned against the enforcing of this order. Counter-petitions were presented from Messrs George Rennie, E. T. Parris, John Martin, George Clint, F. Y. Thurlstone, Holmes, and Geo. Foggo; and as Mr Haydon generally wishes to stand alone, so does he on this occasion, and conspicuously petitions by himself, and at a wearisome length; and whilst ostensibly his petition is, that the House may not rescind their order, it is in fact a violent invective against the Academy, for all and every thing, and showing (he not being a member) very modestly, that the greatest talent is sure to be out of it.

The opponents to the Academy, however, and Mr Hume their great advocate, and Accountant-General of all discontented and disaffected persons, are defeated-and the Academy are left, for the present, to the management of their own funds, and the keeping of their own accounts. But can the Academy expect a long respite from the Reforming Persecution? They may depend upon it, such persecution will be annual, annual as regards Parliament, and perpetual out of it. Two things will insure them that-their superior attainment in art, and their success, their increase of their funds. Their opponents will not out-paint them, as they ought first to do, and then to complain; they will find it much more within their power to raise

an unreasonable outcry: and the words "Unpublished accounts" will, at all required times, allure Mr Hume to be their advocate and make a speech for them. True, he cares little for arts and artists, and his liberal ideas have no connexion with "the liberal arts;" for his "Greek Art" was the very reverse of Phidias. He has, however, this colourable qualification :

"He finds with keen discriminating sight, Black's not so black-nor white so very white."

The Academy have escaped for the present the scrutiny of their accounts; but are there not in the very setting forth, in the very marrow of their success, indications, more than indications, of their undoing? The general admission and feeling of the House of Commons is, that they have no right to their present favour, and present position in Trafalgar Square. The plain admission is, and we think unnecessarily acknowledged, or left undisputed in their own petition, that they may be turned out at a moment's notice, to suit the public convenience, without any right being infringed. Though we are decidedly of another opinion, such is the assumption, on the part of the public, as taken by the House of Commons; and though seemingly denied by the advocate of the Academy, Sir Robert Inglis, such is in fact the admission of the Royal Academy. We think this position in which they stand, willingly or unwillingly, derogatory to their own dignity as Academicians, dishonest towards the Crown, whose right is set aside by all parties, and illiberal and dishonourable to the country. Under these circumstances, what ought these three respective parties to do? We think the original right of granting apartments in Somerset House, certainly exercised by the Crown, should, in the first place, form a distinct proposition for the consideration of Parliament. 2dly, Whether the public did not confer that right on the Crown, (and in the private capacity of the Crown,) by accepting the terms of stipulation, and giving over into the King's hands the keys of the new apartments, to be by him delivered into the hands of the Academy? Then, if it should be decided that there is no inalienable right vested in the Academy, it is for the consideration of Parliament whether it would not be

advisable to create one. The next question must be for the Academy themselves, whether-under the liability to be turned out as interlopers, and under an admission that their holding the apartments renders them liable to a public annual return of all accounts they can consistently, either with the dignity of their Royal foundation or of their own stations, and with a just view of their own advantage resulting from their own exertions, submit to the degradation forced upon themto the position, however it may have the sanction of high authority, of "remaining in upon sufferance ?"

We think the King had the right to put the Academy into apartments in his own Palace; and that, if that right was at the first doubtful, but never questioned, the undisturbed possession of nearly seventy years ought to constitute the right. It would have been the more manly part in Parliament at the time of the wrong, if it were wrong, to have resisted it; they have made the supposed wrong a right, and it is a mean thing now to consider it. Then the acceptance of terms from the King, the stipulation under which Somerset House was pulled down, and the location of the Academy according to that stipulation-the King himself, and not any authority delegated by the Commons House of Parliament, giving the keys into the hands of the president constitute, if any thing can, an admission of the previous right. Why did not Mr Hume then protest against this assumption of the right in the King? Why did they submit to the President, Council, and Officers of the Academy, for their approval, the plans of the New Buildings, if they were to have no right in them when completed? We extract the following from the Appendix to the Report in 1836:"The Royal Academy received these apartments (Somerset House) as a gift from their munificent founder, George III.; and it has always been understood by the members, that his Majesty, when he gave up to the Government his palace of old Somerset House, (where the Royal Academy was originally established,) stipulated that apartments should be erected for that establishment in the new building. The Royal Academy remained in the old palace till these rooms were completed, which had been destined for their occupation; plans of which had

been submitted to their approval, and signed by the President, Council, and Officers." Yet surely, after all, a right to the building, if substantiated, (and a right claimed by the all-potent House of Commons may amount to the same thing,) does it follow that they have a right to have accounts laid before them, of moneys towards which they have not contributed a farthing? This sort of right is pushed to an extraordinary extent an extent which, the principle being admitted, may reach to every establishment, private as well as public. If the rule is to be, that whatever the public is interested in, or takes pleasure in, must be liable to Parliamentary scrutiny as to accounts, we do not see what is to escape. Public interest is easily implied. Mr Hume boldly declares, that he would carry this scrutiny into every Exhibition. Sir R. Inglis says, "the Royal Academy was the only Institution of the kind in Europe which was not supported by the state, but it was maintained by the hard-earned rewards of its own members, aided by contributions of artists associated with them. He denied that money had ever been granted; and for money's worth he thought that a sufficient return had been made; and, if this return were persisted in being demanded, the honourable member for Kilkenny might as well carry out the principle to all exhibitors. Would he do that?" Mr Hume said, "yes."" Then," resumed Sir R. Inglis, "he asked the honourable member to move for returns of the proceeds of the Pantechnicon; or, to go to a case nearer to himself, of the Society of British Artists." What will the "Yes" of Mr Hume not include? We are sorry to see the principle as strongly laid down by Sir R. Peel. He said, "He could not concur with his honourable friend near him (Sir R. Inglis,) in denying the right of the House of Commons to call for enquiry. He should be very sorry to limit their jurisdiction with respect to public institutions, even if they did not receive the public money. There was a clear distinction between all commercial societies those connected with the acquisition of gain, and institutions intended for the promotion of public_objects." Now, here the door is opened for more scrutinies than one. We may have inquisitions of public objects. Public objects! It is the very cry of every

patent humbug-of every vender of pills and blacking-of every exhibition -from that of the tarantula and white mice, to Van Amburg and his lionsall to amuse or benefit the public. It has been well said by one of our wittiest divines and a politican, that a man cannot leave his home for five or six weeks, without the risk of finding a commissioner in it on his return. Really, if such a principle is to be claimed and acted upon by the House of Commons, let Mr Morison the hygeist take care how he takes his ride in the Park, lest he be stopped in his canter by a Committee of the House, with Mr Hume at its head, and be ordered to empty his breeches pocket, and instanter give a full account of his hygeian establishment, its proceeds and expenditure, including his own personal. A distinction, too, between gain and public good! Are not an acquisition of gain and public good, in nine cases out of ten of every concern, interwoven; exhibitions of all kinds especially? There is the Quarterly, the Edinburgh Review, the Magazines, all established for "public objects;" they are exhibitions to which the public contribute. Will Parliamentary privilege justify Mr Joseph Hume in demanding the bill and receipt for cost of Christopher's crutch? The attempt would surely double the expenditure for that item of Maga's establishment. Here are Thomas Moore and Lady Morgan receiving the public money; and, good easy souls, while enjoying themselves to their uttermost, little dream they of the prying principle that will haul over every little curious item in their "expenditure of the public money." And acquisition of gain is to make a distinction! Then, do not the Academy exhibit with a view to the sale of their works, to the acquisition of gain? What else could possibly induce many an R. A. to endure to canvass the countenance of many an honourable member whom we have seen flourishing in paint and flattery, but the acquisition of gain? You countenance me and I will countenance you, is the common bargain. Pay your money, and ask no further questions. Well the religious inquisition has been abolished, we wish a civil inqui. sition may not be set up in its stead. If it be, it is easy to see whence its members will be chosen.

We must, however, in justice, quote

another portion of Sir R. Peel's
speech; and, as it is so different in spi-
rit from the extract made, we hope
there has been some error in the re-
port, or that we have been mistaken in
the import of the first part, or, what is
most improbable, that the Honourable
Baronet was not quite aware of the im-
port of his own words; we the more
readily extract it, because it leads
to the question of what the House of
Commons should do. "The right
honourable gentleman, the Chancellor
of the Exchequer, stated that a case
might occur, in which, from the in-
crease in the collection, (National Gal-
lery,) it would be necessary to provide
additional accommodation. When that
time arrived he hoped the country
would be rich enough, notwithstanding
the deficiency of the post-office revenue,
to build for itself a palace of the arts,
(cheers.) He hoped to live to see, in
the most favoured part of Hyde Park,
a magnificent structure devoted to the
reception of works of art, not merely
for the accommodation of the sovereign,
but for the accommodation and de-
light of the people of this country; for
their amusement, their intellectual
refinement, and their improvement in
the arts, (cheers.) He hoped then to
be able to give up the rest of this
building to the Royal Academy; and
when they did so, he hoped the time
would come when they would not
have to blush with shame when-
ever they took a foreigner to see
the Royal Academy at Charing-Cross.
He hoped they would be rich enough
to provide a structure of which they
should not be ashamed." We presume
that it is far beneath the really liberal
spirit of Sir R. Peel to imagine he
would mean to annex to this gift, the
niggardly condition of prying into the
accounts of the Academy. And this,
as Sir R. Peel recommends, is what
the House of Commons should do.
But, if they are still disposed to act in
a contrary spirit, we do not see what
is left for the Academy but to refuse
to remain on the condition of Mr
Hume's motion-but to suffer them-
selves to be ejected, and build for them-
selves out of their own funds another
Academy; and we think their spirit
and energy would be amply rewarded,
their triumph be complete, and the
Arts further promoted. We question
not that the Arts will be lowered in
public estimation, and in efforts of

genius, by any degradation and mean submission on their own parts. Hitherto they have acted nobly in the distribution of their funds; the sole question, according to the motion given, that should have been before the House. They have expended L.300,000 for public benefit, which the state ought to have expended. We entertain not the slightest doubt that they will proceed honourably, and do right, having some pity even in their own contempt for the narrow, the envious, and perhaps the malignant, minds that have set on foot this persecution against them.

We cannot forbear making an extract from the speech of Mr Hawes. It is in a good spirit, and, we think, in few words contains the common sense of the whole matter:-" He, how ever, entirely concurred in the view taken of the subject by the honourable baronet (Sir R. Inglis,) and differed in consequence from his honourable friend the member for Kilkenny, who, in his opinion, had not made out a case for insisting that the order for those returns should be enforced. If there had been a bona fide grant of public money received by the Royal Academy, then, he admitted, it would be right that the House should know what had been done with it. But no such grant of money had been made to the Royal Academy, and the House ought not to forget, that their occupation of their former apartments in Somerset House had been founded on a direct personal grant from the favour of the Crown; and that they now were in possession of their apartments in the National Gallery, as an equivalent on being removed from their original premises. Reference had been made, by his honourable friend, to Academies and Institutions abroad. Those establishments on the Continent were entirely dependent for support on the bounty of the Crown, to whom they were of course obsequious, as the source from which their subsistence was derived; but that was not the case with the Royal Academy, which, he must say, had done great credit to the national taste, and encouraged the study of the fine arts in this country in the most efficient and liberal spirit, (hear, hear.) Several of his honourable friends on that side of the House, were of opinion, that public patronage was not desirable for the encouragement of the fine arts. That was the opinion of his honour

able friend the member for Wigan, and of his honourable friend the member for Kilkenny; but the great improvements introduced in the arts in France, under the patronage of the minister Colbert, are an illustration of the benefits derived from the patronage of the State, under whose auspices the Gallery at the Louvre was formed, and the Gobelin tapestry, and other useful discoveries in the arts and manufactures, introduced and encouraged. Therefore, instead of deprecating the patronage of the fine arts by the State, he was of opinion that, on the grounds of commercial policy alone, the House ought to do more, much more for art, than ever had been done in this country, (hear, hear.) It was too much, because they had given half-adozen paltry rooms to the Academy, to found a claim on that ground to insist on an account of the receipts and expenditure of that institution, consisting of funds raised by the skill, acquirements, genius, and industry of the artists themselves. Allusion had been made, by his honourable friend, to Hampton Court Palace, and the argument was raised, that because Hampton ourt Palace was thrown open, so also should the Royal Academy. Why, Hampton Court was public property, and an annual vote taken in Parliament for its maintenance, (hear, hear.) He could not see the policy of this petty warfare on the Royal Academy, the only gratuitous school of art in the country; arthought the object sought for y the returns, utterly unworthy of the House. He would far rather have seen the House evince a disposition to build a national depository of art worthy of the country. He did not, however, undervalue the services of the honourable member for Kilkenny for improving the knowledge of the people; but he could not support him in those exertions to the prejudice of private rights, and the rights of meritorious men, who had received a small boon from the country, but who in the services they had rendered to the arts, had repaid that boon a hundred-fold," (hear, hear.) This is very good-because it is just. In doing our humble endeavours to show the honourable conduct of the Academy in respect of the management of their funds, we have not thought it fitting to enter into any discussion as to the advantages of academies. Plau

« ElőzőTovább »