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It further appeared that nearly 5000 influential persons had registered themselves as promoters of the proposed Exhibition.
Upon the presentation of these reports to Her Majesty's Government, the Ssmskiis! Queen was pleased to issue the following Commission, which was published in the London Gazette of 3rd January, 1850 :—
Victoria, R. Victoria, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith: To Our most dearly-beloved Consort His Royal Highness Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-coburo And Gotha, Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter, and FieldMarshal in our army;—Our right trusty and right entirely well-beloved cousin and Councillor Walter Francis Duke of Buccleuch And Queensberry, Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter; Our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin William Earl of Rosse, Knight of Our Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick; Our right trusty and rightwell beloved cousins and Councillors, Granville Georoe Earl Granville, and Francis Earl of Ellesmere; Our right trusty and well-beloved Councillor Edward Geoffrey Lord Stanley; Our right trusty and well-beloved Councillors, John Russell (commonly called Lord John Russell), Sir Robert Peel, Baronet, Henry Labouchere, and William Ewart Gladstone; Our trusty and well-beloved Sir Archibald GalloWay, Knight Commander of Our Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and Major-General in Our Army in the East Indies, Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India Company,* or the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India Company for the time being; Sir Richard Westmacott, Knight; Sir Charles Lyell, Knight, President of the Geological Society of London, or the President of the Geological Society of London for the time being;f Thomas Baring, Esquire; Charles Barry, Esquire; Thomas Bazley, Esquire; Richard Cobden, Esquire; William Cubitt, Esquire, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, or the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers for the time being; Charles Lock Eastlake, Esquire4 Thomas Field Gibson, Esquire; John Gott, Esquire; Samuel Jones Loyd, Esquire;§ Philip Pusey, Esquire; and William Thompson, Esquire, greeting:
Whereas the Society for the Promotion of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, incorporated by Our Royal Charter, of which Our most dearly-beloved Consort the Prince Albert is President, have of late years instituted Annual Exhibitions of the Works of British Art and Industry, and have proposed to establish an enlarged Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, to be holden in London in the year 1851, at which Prizes and Medals, to the value of at least Twenty Thousand Pounds Sterling, shall be awarded to the Exhibitors of the most meritorious works then brought forward; and have invested in the Names of Our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin Spencer Joshua Alwyne Marquess of Northampton; Our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin and Councillor George William Frederick Earl of Clarendon, Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter; Our trusty and well-beloved Sir John Peter Boileau, Baronet, and James Courthope Peache, Esquire, the sum of Twenty Thousand Pounds, to be awarded in Prizes and Medals as aforesaid: and have appointed our trusty and well-beloved Arthur "Krrr Barclay, Esquire, William Cotton, Esquire, Sir John William Lubbock, . Baronet, Samuel Morton Peto, Esquire, and Baron Lionel De Rothschild, to be the
* At his death in 1800, he was succeeded by Jonx Shepheud, Esq.
t Succeeded by William Hopkins, Esquire, M.A., Cambridge, though Sir C. Lyell still remains a Commissioner by election under the Royal Charter afterwards granted, t Now Sir C. L. Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy. § Now Baron Ovkbstonb.
Treasurers for all Receipts arising from donations, subscriptions, or any other source oa behalf of or towards the said Exhibition; Our trusty and well-beloved Peter Le Neve Foster, Joseph Payne, and Thomas Wink Worth, Esquires, to be the Treasurers for payment of all Executive Expenses; and Our trusty and well-beloved Henry Cole, Charles Wentworth Dilke, the younger, George Drew, Francis Fuller, and Robert Stephenson, Esquires, with our trusty and well-beloved Matthew Dioby Wyatt, Esquire, as their Secretary, to be an Executive Committee for carrying the said Exhibition into effect, under the directions of Our most dearly beloved Consort:
And whereas the said Society for the Promotion of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, have represented unto Us, that in carrying out the objects proposed by the said Exhibition, many questions may arise regarding the introduction of productions into Our kingdom from Our Colonies, and from Foreign Countries; also regarding the site for the said Exhibition; and the best mode of conducting the said Exhibition; likewise regarding the determination of the nature of the Prizes, and the means of securing the most impartial distribution of them; and have also besought Us that We would be graciously pleased to give Our sanction to this undertaking, in order that it may have the confidence, not only of all classes of Our subjects, but of the subjects of Foreign Countries;
Now Know You That We, considering the premises, and earnestly desiring to promote the proposed Exhibition, which is calculated to be of great benefit to Arts, Agriculture, Manufactures, and Commerce, and reposing great trust and confidence in your fidelity, discretion, and integrity, have authorized and appointed, and by these presents do authorize and appoint you, Our most dearly beloved Consort Francis Albert Emanuel Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-cobourg And Gotha, you Walter Francis Duke of Buccleuch
AND QUEENSBERRY; WlLLIAM Earl of RoSSE; GRANVILLE GEORGE Earl GRANVILLE;
Francis Earl of Ellesmere; Edward Geoffrey Lord Stanley; John Russell (commonly called Lord John Russell), Sir Robert Peel, Henry Labouchere, William Ewart Gladstone, Sir Archibald Galloway, or the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India Company for the time being, Sir Richard Westmacott, Sir Charles Lyell, or the President of the Geological Society for the time being, Thomas Baring, Charles Barry, Thomas Bazley, Richard Cobden, William Cubitt, or the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers for the time being, Charles Lock Eastlake, Thomas Field Gibson, John Gott, Samuel Jones Loyd, Philip Pusey, and William Thompson, to make full and diligent inquiry,—into the best mode by which the productions of Our Colonies and of Foreign Countries may be introduced into Our kingdom;—as respects the most suitable site for the said Exhibition,—the general conduct of the said Exhibition;—and also into the best mode of determining the nature of the Prizes, and of seeming the most impartial distribution of them:
And to the end that Our Royal Will and Pleasure in the said inquiry may be duly prosecuted, and with expedition, We Further, By These Presents, Will And Command, and do hereby give full power and authority to you, or any three or more of you, to nominate and appoint such several persons of ability as you may think fit to be Local Commissioners, in such parts of Our kingdom and in Foreign parts as you may think fit, to aid you in the premises ; which said Local Commissioners, or any of them, shall and may be removed by you, or any three or more of you, from time to time, at your will and pleasure, full power and authority being hereby given to you, or any three or more of you, to appoint others in their places respectively.
And Furthermore, We do, by these Presents, give and grant to you, or any three or more of you, full power and authority to call before you, or any three or more of you, all such persons as you shall judge necessary, by whom you may be the better informed of the truth of the premises, and to inquire of the premises, and every part thereof, by all other lawful ways and means whatsoever.
And Our Further Will And Pleasure Is, That for the purpose of aiding you in the execution of these premises, We hereby appoint Our trusty and well-beloved John Scott
Russell and Stafford Henry Northcote,* Esquires, to be joint Secretaries to this
And for carrying into effect what you shall direct to be done in respect of the said
And Our Further Will And Pleasure Is, That you, or any three or more of you, when and so often as need or occasion shall require, so long as this Our Commission shall continue in force, do report to Us in writing, under your hands and seals respectively, all and every of the several proceedings of yourselves had by virtue of these presents, together with such other matters, if any, as may be deserving of Our Royal consideration touching or concerning the premises.
And Lastly, We Do By These Presents Ordain, That this Our Commission shall continue in full force and virtue, and that you Our said Commissioners, or any three or more of you, shall and may, from time to time, and at any place or places, proceed in the execution thereof, and of every matter and thing therein contained, although the same be not continued from time to time by adjournment
Given at Our Court at St. James's, the 3rd day of January,
By Her Majesty's Command,
The foresight of the Society of Arts, which had provided a mode by which the Determination o contract might be determined in conformity with the public wishes, was fully justi- the society of fied by the event. So far as the public manifested its opinion it appeared to be its wish that the undertaking should be carried out as a national work. Accordingly at the first meeting of the Commissioners, held on 11th January, 1850, the propriety of confirming the contract was discussed, and they resolved to avail themselves of the powers which the Council of the Society of Arts had reserved. The first act of the Commissioners was the publication of the following announcement:—
The Royal Commissioners have felt it their duty, at this their first meeting, to take into their immediate consideration the propriety of confirming the Contract which has been entered into with Messrs. Monday.
They are perfectly satisfied that the contract was framed with the sole desire on the part of the Society of Arts of promoting the objects of the Commission,—that in agreeing to it at a time when the success of the scheme was necessarily still doubtful, the Messrs. Munday evinced a most liberal spirit,—that it has hitherto afforded the means of defraying all the preliminary expenses,—and that its conditions are strictly reasonable, and even favourable to the public.
After hearing, however, the statements made by individual members of the Commission,— after communicating with the Executive Committee,—and after a full consideration of the whole subject,—the Commissioners have come to the conclusion that it will be more consonant with the public feeling, and therefore more conducive to the objects for which the Commission has been appointed, to exercise the power reserved, and at once and absolutely to terminate the contract with the Messrs. Munday.
This determination necessarily throws the whole burden of the Exhibition upon voluntary contributions. The experiment is of a national character, and the Commissioners feel that it ought to rest for its support upon national sympathies, and upon such liberal contributions as those sympathies may dictate.
* Now Sir Stafford II. Nobthcotk, Bart.
The amount of the funds which the public may place at the disposal of the Commissioners must determine the extent of accommodation which can be provided for the Exhibitors, and the terms on which admission can be given to the articles to be exhibited, and upon which also the public can be admitted to inspect them.
The Commissioners wish it to be understood that they are invested with unrestricted power over the application of the funds; that it is their intention to invite competition in respect of all branches of expenditure to which competition can advantageously be applied; and that they will proceed, without delay, to establish regulations for insuring an effectual control over the expenditure, and a satisfactory audit of the accounts. <
The Commissioners feel, that in thus abandoning a contract which, regarded in a pecuniary point of view alone, is undoubtedly advantageous to the public, and resting the success of the proposed experiment entirely upon public sympathy, they have adopted a course in harmony with the general feelings of the community.
It now rests with the public to determine, by the amount of their contributions, the character of the proposed Exhibition, and the extent of benefit to industry in all its branches which will result from it.
It is desirable that subscriptions for this great purpose be immediately commenced throughout the United Kingdom, and the result ascertained with the least possible delay.
In the mean time the Commissioners will be actively engaged in preparing the various measures, upon which it will be their duty to come to a final decision as soon as they are enabled definitely to ascertain the extent of the pecuniary means which will be placed at their disposal.
It is desirable, before giving any account of the proceedings under the Commission, to notice those changes which necessarily supervened upon the determination of the contract. The Commission itself set forth that the functions of the Commissioners were those of inquiry and general direction, whilst all the pecuniary responsibilties, and the performance of all the executive duties, were to be carried out by and in the name of the Society of Arts; but when the contract was cancelled, although the Commission itself was not altered, the practical result was to place on the Commissioners individually and personally the whole responsibility of the undertaking, both pecuniary and executive. Under these circumstances the Executive Committee felt it to be their duty to tender their resignations (Min. iv., p. 3), which they did in the following terms:—
The members of the Executive Committee submit that the dissolution by the Royal Commission of the contract, which they had been appointed for the purpose of carrying out, has changed the nature of their functions, and even superseded many of them. They are of opinion, therefore, that it is desirable that the Royal Commission should be left as free to select the best organization for carrying their intentions into effect, as if the Executive Committee had never been appointed. They feel that they should not be acting in accordance with their sincere wishes of witnessing the perfect success of the Exhibition, if they did not come forward to express their entire readiness at once to place their position in the hands of His Royal Highness The Prince Albert, and the Royal Commissioners.
These resignations were not accepted, and some time elapsed before the executive arrangements were conclusively modified to meet the altered circumstances of the case. It had been the original intention of the Society of Arts in forming the contract, that in the event of its being determined, the liabilities of the contractors should be simply transferred to the Government, and that the original relations between the Commissioners and the Society of Arts should have remained; but this intention does not seem to have been made sufficiently clear by the deed, and it was not urged by the Society of Arts. The deed of contract simply provided that the Treasury should have power to undertake the liabilities and relieve the Society of Arts from them. This the Treasury did, Mutu.i lUbmtin but in doing so, at the same time took a guarantee from the Commissioners »ndiheComthemselvcs, and thus the whole responsibilities rested with them. The answer of the Treasury to the Commissioners was that—
My lords have no intention of rendering themselves liable to the payment of any sum on this account; but as it seems that a request from them, that the contract should be determined, is necessary in order to enable the Commissioners to carry out their own intentions, they have no objection to taking the formal step of making the request suggested by the Commissioners to. the Council of the Society of Arts, on receiving from the Commissioners an undertaking that the money will be forthcoming when required by Messrs. Munday in conformity with the stipulations of the contract. ......
The Commissioners accordingly undertook that the money should be forthcoming when required (M in. iii., p 7). The Society of Arts gave the requisite notices to the Messrs. Munday, and in due time all the outlay which they had made, amounting to about £23,000, with the interest which had accrued, was repaid to them.
The pecuniary liabilities having thus devolved wholly on the Commissioners, it became natural that they should desire to appoint a chief executive officer of their own nomination. Her Majesty was advised to issue supplemental commissions, appointing Mr. Robert Stephenson, M.P., a commissioner, upon his resignation as Chairman of the Executive Committee, and Lieutenant-Colonel W. Reid, R.E., Chairman of the Executive Committee in his place. These appointments were made by the advice of the Government, Mr. Labouchere stating, "that the subject of the executive arrangements had been under their consideration, and that they had proposed to recommend to Her Majesty to appoint Colonel Reid to be Chairman of the Executive Committee" (Min. v., p. 1). The contractors themselves, as well as their nominee, thereupon ceased to attend the meetings of the Executive Committee.
The earliest step which the Commissioners took after the determination of the Public s«i»crip. contract was to appeal to the country for subscriptions to carry out the Exhi- manV^mem!1 bition. They announced that they had undertaken the absolute control over the expenditure of all money that might come into the hands of their Treasurers, and had made arrangements for auditing accounts, and ensuring the strictest economy. It was pointed out that the scale upon which this important undertaking would be conducted must depend entirely on the amount of pecuniary support which it should receive from the public. The Commissioners appealed with confidence to all classes of the community, to enable them to make such liberal arrangements as would ensure the success of the undertaking in R manner worthy of the character and position of this country, and of the invitation which had been given to the other nations of the world to compete with us in a spirit of generous and friendly emulation. It was announced that the amount of the funds which the public might place at the disposal of the Commissioners must determine the extent of accommodation which could be provided for the Exhibition; and that should any surplus remain, after giving every facility to the exhibitors, and increasing the privileges 'of the public as spectators, Her Majesty's Commissioners intended to apply the same to purposes strictly in connection with the ends of the Exhibition, or for the establishment of similar exhibitions for the future.
All subscriptions were considered to be absolute and definite; they were paid