PP/GC/LE/76 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding the completion of Nelson's Column, and general Treasury matters, 31 August 1856
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Chancellor of the Exchequer], Harpton [Court, Radnorshire, Wales], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he was not aware that Nelson's Column was incomplete. If the four lions intended for the base of the column would be an improvement, the 3,000 pounds need could quite properly be requested. "Might it not be well to get the opinion of someone of taste and judgement as to the expediency of making the additions. It generally happens when anything of this sort is done, that somebody discovers that a more monstrous deformity of art never existed. In that case it is well to be able to say that the opinion of some person of authority on the subject was taken." Finances stand fairly well for the present financial quarter. Anderson reports that the cash balances at the end of the quarter will be 4,800,000 pounds. Of this 2,000,000 pounds will be needed for deficiency bills to cover the October dividends. "The last instalment of the loan of 5 millions is paid in this quarter, and for next quarter the revenue is estimated at 15 millions and the expenditure at 18 millions, leaving a deficiency of three million to be provided for. In order to repay this sum, it will be necessary to resort to the power of borrowing on Exchequer bills or bonds, which was obtained last session. That power extended to two millions, with an ulterior power of borrowing two millions more, in the case of the vote of credit two millions should be used. That vote has not however been touched, and I believe that it will be sufficient to borrow two millions in next quarter, which the bank are, I hear, willing to advance." Trade accounts show great commercial prosperity. "If the harvest is pretty well got in, and if the prices of food are not exorbitantly high for another year, the productiveness of the indirect taxes ought to be considerably increased. I look upon it moreover that a surrender of so many millions of income tax is not a sure loss to the Exchequer. For the income retained is not all saved, much of it is expended in taxable articles, and makes itself felt in increased taxes, duties on wine, and other articles of consumption." The currency question and the bank acts, will have to be dealt with at the next session. There will probably be a good deal of talk, but little action, if things remain as they are in the city. 31 Aug 1856 Enclosed are: (i) a letter from Sir Benjamin Hall, first Baron Hall, [President of the Board of Works], Great George Street, [Mayfair, London], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he returns Admiral Hamond's note. The Nelson Column was to be completed by private subscription and the amount subscribed fell short of the cost of the work. Parliament voted 14,800 pounds. This has been spent as set out in the enclosed memorandum [see enclosure (iii)]. Four lions were to have been placed at the base of the column, but again there were not sufficient funds. 3,000 pounds would be adequate for the lions. 26 Aug 1856 [Postscript] Hall wishes to give the instructions to artists for the Wellington monument; the instructions ought to appear in the weekend papers. 26 Aug 1856 (ii) Letter from Admiral Sir Graham Eden Hamond, [second Baronet], Norton Lodge, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: amidst the almost daily announcements of memorials to commemorate the achievements of officers employed in the Crimean war, Hamond ask how the nation has forgotten to complete the column raised in Trafalgar Square to the memory of Admiral Lord Nelson, now dead for over half a century. "Surely this omission is not creditable to the British character and it ought to be at once rectified." One word from Palmerston would speedily effect the completion, and so gratify the navy and the whole country. "As the last survivor of all the captains serving in action, in the line of battle, under the command of Lord Nelson, I presume to submit the foregoing to your lordship's consideration, in the hope that I may yet be permitted to see the work complete ere I be summoned to follow my late glorious commander into another state; an event which I sensibly am aware cannot in the common course of nature be much longer delayed." He trusts Palmerston will think the suggestion neither improper nor disrespectful. 20 Aug 1856 (iii) A financial statement, in the hand of a clerk, detailing funds and expenditure in relation to Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square. 26 Aug 1856
Five papers
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William Anderson, principal clerk at the Treasury
Admiral Sir Graham Eden Hamond, second Baronet
Admiral Horatio Nelson, first Viscount Nelson, deceased
Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, London
Monument for Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, deceased: proposed for St Paul's Cathedral, London
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