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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 4

The Graphic, 17th June 1876

The Graphic, 17th June 1876.

The subjoined plan shows the site on which it is proposed to erect, side by side, two museums, one for India, and the other for the colonies. It will be seen that its position is on the Victoria Embankment, directly behind the public garden in which the Outram statue stands, and it is difficult to Conceive one more suited for the purpose. The project has received the cordial support of the Chambers of Commerce and the Royal Colonial Institute, and the Royal Asiatic Society have appointed a joint committee for its promotion. It is intended to appeal to this country with the view of obtaining the amount required for the page 15 purchase of the site, leaving it to India and the colonies to provide the buildings.

In addition to the India Museum, there would be accommodation for the India Library and the Royal Asiatic Society, and it is suggested that in the building for the Colonial Museum space should be provided not only for a Colonial Reading-room and Library and the Royal Colonial Institute, but likewise for the offices of the Crown agents and agents-general for the colonies.

Science and art are undoubtedly "at home" at South Kensington, but it is certain that the practical usefulness of museums such as those proposed, containing mainly Indian and colonial products and manufactures, will be best insured by their being placed in a central position like that indicated, easy of access to the commercial classes, and close to the Houses of Parliament and the Government offices; in other words, handy for reference. A merchant desiring information or to compare samples can ill spare the time necessary for a journey to the Exhibition Galleries at South Kensington, where the splendid Indian collections are at present temporarily deposited.

We trust the scheme may be successful, for its importance can hardly be underrated, on commercial grounds alone, if it is remembered that the ever-expanding trade of the colonies and India with the mother country exceeds one hundred and fifty millions sterling. But, besides, the rapid development of our colonies and of their relations with England is with every year becoming a fact of greater political significance, and thus it becomes a matter of duty that London should be provided with a comprehensive collection illustrative of the resources of the whole of the dominions under the British Crown.

With regard to the Indian collections already accumulated, it is an important point that the people of this country, when asked to encourage the project, should bear in mind the fact that the magnificent series of examples of Indian products and manufactures contained at present in the Indian Museum has as yet cost England absolutely nothing, the collections being chiefly due to the loyalty and generosity of the princes of India, and to the personal zeal and liberality of civil and military officers employed in India.