to the Treasurers of Local Committees, and by them transferred to the genera fund at the Bank of England, in the names of the Treasurers named in the Royal Commission. An Appendix to this introduction shows that the gross amount of subscriptions reported as having been received has amounted to £75,000. Of this above £64,000 has been paid to the Commissioners, the balance having been reserved by the Local Committees to meet the expenses of collection, printing, &c. The general financial position of the undertaking at the opening of the Exhibition was as follows :—

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Charter or Incorporation.

General principles of the Exhibition.

Subject to the approval of the Commissioners the direct control over this expenditure has been exercised by a Finance Committee, consisting of Lord Granville (Chairman), Lord Overstone, Mr. LABOtJCHERE, Mr. Gladstone, Sir Alexander Spearman, Mr. T. F. Gibson, Mr. T. Baring, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Pete. Mr. Edgar A. Bowring has acted as Secretary to the Committee, and Assistant Commissary-General CARPENTER, as the financial officer, has administered the actual expenditure of the Commission.

The preceding statement of account shows that, even at the present time, a considerable liability has been incurred by the Commissioners. At the period when it became necessary to make positive arrangements for the erection of the building, the actual receipts were only £35,000: personal responsibility legally attached to His Royal Highness the President, and to every member of the Royal Commission, in respect of every pecuniary engagement. A remedy for this somewhat anomalous position was obtained by means of a charter of incorporation, and the formation of a guarantee fund. The first relieved the Commissioners of all personal responsibility, and the second insured both the completion of the undertaking, and the House of Commons from the liability of being required to make any grant of the national funds towards it.

Letters Patent, dated July, 1850, were issued, incorporating the Commissioners, under the title of "The Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851," and the charter was accepted 15th August, 1850 (Min. xxviii., p. 1). A guarantee fund of £230,000 was formed by a limited number of persons, includingmost of the Commissioners, and other friends of the Exhibition, one of whom opened the list with a subscription of £50,000: upon the security of this fund the Bank of England consented to make such advances of money as might be wanted from time to time.

The fundamental principles upon which it was proposed the Exhibition should be formed had been discussed and settled before the Commission was issued, and are recited in the Commission itself. With the requisite limitations and conditions, these principles were confirmed by the Commissioners, and formally announced in the month of February, 1850, so that there was a full year for preparations. It was declared that the productions of all nations would be admitted, and classified lists of objects were prepared by Committees of eminent persons in each department (whose names are given in an Appendix), and published to show the nature of the contributions which exhibitors were invited to send in the four departments of Raw Materials and Produce, Machinery, ManuFactures, and Fine Arts. The regulations by which certain articles were excluded were as follows:—

Nothing is suitable tor the Exhibition, except such results or human industry as are capable of being preserved without injury during many months.

All spirits, wines, and fermented liquors, unless derived from unusual sources, are inadmissible, except in special cases, and under special restrictions; and when oils, spirits, &c, are exhibited, to prevent accidents, they must be shown in well-secured glass vessels.

All highly-inflammable articles, such as gunpowder, detonating powder, lucifer matches, &C., and all live stock, and articles perishable within the duration of the Exhibition, are inadmissible, unless specially excepted. %

In respect of the fourth section of the Exhibition, SCULPTURE, MODELS, and the Plastic Art, the following were the limitations:—

Objects formed in any kind of material, if they exhibit such a degree of taste and skill as to come under the denomination of Fine Art, may be admitted into this section.

The specimens exhibited shall be works of living artists, or works of artists deceased within three years before the 1st of January, 1850.

Oil paintings and water-colour paintings, frescoes, drawings, and engravings, are not to be admitted, except as illustrations or examples of materials and processes; and portrait busts are not to be admitted.

No single artist will be allowed to exhibit more than three works.

It was also announced that the 1st day of May, 1851, was fixed for opening opening fixed rot the Exhibition, and the engagement has been kept: that Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to grant a site for the Exhibition on the south side of Hyde Park, lying between the Kensington Drive and the Ride commonly called Rotten Row, and that exhibitors would be required to deliver their objects, at their own charge and risk, at the building, which would be provided to them free from rent.

After much examination and inquiry, the Commissioners resolved that prices were not to be affixed to the articles exhibited, although the articles might be marked as shown for economy of production, and the price stated in an invoice to be sent to the Commissioners for the information of the Juries.

It was clear that two very different systems of management would necessarily Admission of Fohave to be adopted towards Foreign countries and the United Kingdom, arising out of the different relations of guest and host. Although it was proposed that the expenses of the building and management should be defrayed by voluntary subscriptions, scrupulous care was taken on every occasion to discourage the receipt of any subscription from any foreigner, resident at home or abroad. Over the admission of British articles, the Commissioners reserved to themselves full powers of control; but as respects Foreign articles, the power of admitting them was confided absolutely to an authority of the country which sent them.

In order to give Foreign countries the utmost time for their preparations, and long before the size or character of the building had been determined, the Commissioners resolved to divide a certain large amount of exhibiting space among all Foreign countries, amounting in the whole to above 210,000 superficial feet, or rather more than the entire 8pacc which France occupied for its two expositions of 1844 and 1849. It was estimated that this amount would be about half the size of the building, which was considered to be a fair proportion. Fssjjo'ssuil ^ne amount of space which was offered to each Foreign country, and placed at its absolute disposal, was as follows:—


example, obtained upwards of 05,000 superficial feet of exhibiting space, instead of only 50,000 feet

Accompanying the allotment of space sent to each Foreign country and colony, the following instructions were transmitted:—

No articles of foreign manufacture, to whomsoever they may belong, or wheresoever they may be, can be admitted for exhibition, unless they come with the sanction of the central authority of the country of which they are the produce. All articles forwarded by such central authority will then be admitted, provided they do not require a greater aggregate amount of space than that assigned to the productions of the country from which they come; and, provided also, that they do not violate the general conditions and limitations. It will rest with the central authority in each country to decide upon the merits of the several articles presented for exhibition, and to take care that those which are sent are such as fairly represent the industry of their fellow countrymen.

Her Majesty's Commissioners will consider that to be the central authority in each case which is stated to be so by the Government of its country. Having once been put in communication with a central authority in any country, they must decline, absolutely and entirely, any communication with private and unauthorized individuals; and should any such be addressed to them, they can only refer it to the central body. This decision is essentially necessary, in order to prevent confusion.

The Commissioners do not insist upon articles being in all cases actually forwarded by the central authority, though they consider that this would generally be the most satisfactory

arrangement; but it is indispensable that the sanction of such authority should in all cases be expressly given, and that it be held responsible for the fitness of such articles for exhibition, and for not authorizing the exhibition of a greater quantity than can be accommodated in the space assigned to the productions of the country in question.

In case the central authority in any country should be of opinion that the space allotted to the productions of that country is greater than it will require, the Commissioners have to request that this opinion may be communicated to them, as it is obvious that it would not appear well if a large vacant space should be left in the department assigned to any country.

A definite quantity of space was in like manner offered to each of the British And British CoColonies in the following proportions, and subject to the same rules for admission:"'

Net superficial

tipert Feet allotted

Australian Colonies—

New South Wales . . . 2,000

New Zealand .... 500

South Australia . . . 350

Van Diemen's Land . . 600

West Australia . . . 350

Bermudas 50

Canada ..... 4,000

Cape of Good Hope and Natal . 750
Cape Coast Castle and Dependencies 100

Ceylon 1,500

Falkland Islands ... 25

Gambia ..... 100

Gibraltar 100

Hong Kong .... Nil.

Hudson's Bay Co.'s Territories . 1,000
India, including Singapore . . 30,000

Ionian Islands .... 1,000

Labuan 250

Malta 1,000

Mauritius 750

New Brunswick.... 750
Newfoundland .

It was intimated that colon

Nova Scotia and Cape Breton

Prince Edward's Island

St. Helena

Sierra Leone

West India Colonies




British Guiana


Granada .



Nevis .

St. Christopher's

St. Lucia

St. Vincent .

Tobago .

Tortola and Virgin Islands



al and foreign productions wou

Net superficial
feet allotted.

. 1,000


50 150

375 100 750 100 125 250 . 1,500

50 100 250 250 250 100

50 750

[ocr errors]

d be admitted for the purposes of exhibition without payment of duty. The building of the Exhibition has been considered as a bonded warehouse, and the Commissioners of Customs have afforded the utmost facilities consistently with that obedience to Customs' laws, which was imperative.

Those who have had experience only of the continental systems of exhibitions, Seir-nuDporting which are managed and paid for wholly by their Governments, find it difficult to Exhibition, understand the self-supporting and self-acting principle of the present Exhibition, which has hitherto depended wholly upon the voluntary subscriptions of the British people: the heavy liabilities which still hang over the undertaking rest wholly upon individuals in their private capacity, and not upon the Government. The British people, as well poor and working men, as the richer classes, have had the undivided responsibility, not only of conducting the first experiment of an Exhibition of their own works on a national scale, but of collecting funds to pay all the expenses of an Exhibition of the Works of all Nations. Our National Exchequer has not been charged with any portion of the expenses, but the con


tributions of the most remote towns have been received and applied, even in payment of the military and police assistance which the Government has permitted to be employed on the occasion. So completely spontaneous has been the organization for the Exhibition, that not even the several municipal councils throughout the country were employed, but an independent organization was created for the express purpose wherever a locality was disposed to form its own Local Committee. Without the assistance of the Local Committees of the United Kingdom, no Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations could ever have been accomplished. ^SL^ofVhe About 65 Local Committees had been formed before the issue of the Royal

United Kingdom. Commission, with the assistance of the Members of the Society of Arts, who had been nominated by the President to visit different parts of the kingdom. To extend this organization over the whole kingdom, into Local Committees, was one of the first acts of the Royal Commission. A circular was issued to the Mayors of all towns within the United Kingdom, having a municipal constitution (Min. i., p. 1), announcing the issue of the Royal Commission, and requesting, if no Local Committee had been formed, that the mayor would communicate with the principal inhabitants for the purpose of ascertaining whether, in their opinion, the circumstances of the town rendered it advisable to appoint a Local Committee. The functions of these Local Committees have chiefly consisted in the recommendation of Local Commissioners to represent the interests of their localities— in encouraging the production of suitable objects for exhibition—in affording information in the locality relative to the Exhibition—in the collection of subscriptions—and in facilitating the means of visiting the Exhibition.

The Commissioners intimated that it was their wish to limit, as far as possible, the necessity for the exercise of the powers of rejection and selection of objects intended for exhibition, and for that purpose to call to their assistance the local knowledge and discretion of the several Local Committees. They recommended that the Local Committees should enter into personal communication with those persons resident within their district, who were likely to be exhibitors; and that they should ascertain the character and number of the objects which it would be their wish to send to the Exhibition. For the purpose of communicating with the Local Committees, the Commissioners appointed Dr. Lyon Playfair, and Lieut-Colonel Lloyd, Surveyor-General of the Mauritius, Special Commissioners, by*BStuhwffi 1% was uot re<luire<1 that exhibitors should of necessity be subscribers to the tom. fund. All persons desirous of contributing articles to the Exhibition of 1851, were

invited to give notice of such intention, and transmit a general description of the nature of each article, and the space which would be required for the exhibition of it, to the Secretary of the nearest Local Committee, and the Local Committee was requested to digest the returns so made to them, and transmit them to the Commission before the 31st Oct., 1850. It was not necessary in the first instance either to exhibit to the Local Committee specimens of the articles to be sent or to give a minute specification of them. But it was decided that it was necessary for intending exhibitors to obtain the certificate of the nearest Local Committee of its approval of the articles sent for exhibition, before they could be received by the Commissioners in the building. Upwards of 330 Local Committees were formed in the three parts of the United Kingdom and the Channel Isles. A list of those which have transmitted subscriptions to the fund, or sent articles to the Exhibition, will be found in the Appendix.

« ElőzőTovább »