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It appears in a form which never was persons (I say it without the smallest assumed, and acts on principles which satisfaction, though I have lamented their never were avowed in this House before. absence) have at last come forward to The essential qualities of the bill are oppose it. This tax touches property in these ; first, that it does not operate great masses, and must be resisted. Sir, immediately, nor with all its force, but it happened to me lately, to recommend applies to cases and situations which do it to some of our great, enlightened not instantly exist, and which, therefore, ministers to look into history for instrucindividuals may hope are remote from tion. I said, it would enable them to themselves, and may never reach them. judge, from the former policy and practice Of course, it annihilates that just and of the House of Savoy, what the conduct rational check, which the constitution of the court of Turin might probably be relies on, in favour of the subject, namely, in the present conjuncture. They heard that the representative will not impose me, as usual, with indifference and scorn. exorbitant taxes, without clear necessity, The event has now taken place, even on his constituents, as long as he shares beyond my apprehension. Why do I immediately and alike with those who are allude to this circumstance at present ? to pay. By far the greater part of the To engage, if it be possible, the great members of this House are already in landed proprietors of this country to look possession of all that they expected. But seriously at their own situation before it the most dreadful of all considerations is, be too late. History, in effect, is prophecy, that the tax is to operate, not now, but and in a general view and judgment of hereafter. What guard, then, have we human conduct, even better than partileft against the most profligate extrava- cular intelligence. I wish these great gance and waste of the public fortune, if proprietors of masses of land to look into no part of the burden, whatever it may be, the history of Spain and France, and see is to be borne by ourselves ? Suppose, what happened there to persons of their for a moment, that by any possibility the own level, and once as rich as themselves. expenses of an actual war could be pro- The grandees of Spain thought themselves vided by taxes, of which the burthen secure in their titles, and rank, and for. should not be felt till twenty years hence, tune, and refused to make common cause how few would care or consider what that with the people, when the laws and liberty expense would amount to. Too many of of their country were attacked and deus I fear would say, “ The case will not stroyed by Charles 5th and Philip 2nd. happen in our time.” But not only the You know the consequence. The most entailed expence would be disregarded, insignificant and degraded order of nobibut the war itself, and all its pernicious lity in Europe, are the grandees of Spain. consequences, would be thought of with In France, the same event happened: the unconcern, as long as the money by great lords were drawn from their estates which it was supported was not taken and their castles, to attend on the modirectly out of our pockets : so that all narch. By degrees they became slaves at the checks derived from self-interest Versailles, and for the most part had against profusion on one side, and profi- nothing to subsist on but the bounty of gate measures on the other, would be the court, “ les graces de la cour"—they, utterly removed. But, secondly, this tax, whose estates were left to them, if they hapwhenever it does act, will not operate pened to give offence to a minister or to a collectively, and at once, on the whole com- mistress, when there was no room in the munity, but individually and successively Bastille, were sent back to their estatesupon one man after another. Here ano- they were “exilés dans leurs terres ;" and ther guard against unjust taxes is taken banishment in fact it was, because their away. When all men feel together, they houses were in ruins, and their lands in will probably resist together ; but when desolation. Let our great proprietors every individual may possibly hope that look to these examples: the ruin which the burthen may never fall upon bimself they suffer to be brought on the other or remotely affect his posterity, he shrinks, orders of the community will not stop of course, from united opposition, and there ; their turn assuredly will come: at looks to nothing but personal exemption, present, I know, they are happy and or personal compensation. At last, how- secure; they think they are in no danger, ever, the effects of this tax appear to have that they have nothing to apprehend for made a more general impression. Some themselves, and that all that they are

Yeas {Mr. Douglas

} 46


Noes {Mr. Sheridan

} }


doing is only to uestroy the liberty of lordships. I was not reduced to this their fellow-subjects:

state of perplexity from any motive of The question being put, “ That the personal disrespect to your lordships nor said Bill be now read a third time," the from any feeling of personal neglect. But House divided :

the utter improbability of any exertion that Tellers.

I could make, being successful in pro

ducing a change in the system at present Mr. Solicitor General

acted upon, discouraged me from under

taking a task, which I had every reason Noes Mr. Grey


to fear would prove fruitless in the end, Mr. Crewe

accompanied as it is with a sacrifice of So it passed in the negative. Mr. health, the trouble of attendance, and Pitt moved, That the bill be read the third above all, an intrusion upon the patience time to-morrow morning. Upon which of your lordships. Why then, it will be Mr. Sheridan moved to leave out the asked, bave I ventured to appear in my words “ to-morrow morning,” and insert place this evening? My answer is, that the words “ upon this day three months." had I pursued the line of conduct which And the question being put, That the these considerations suggested, I should words “ to-morrow morning.” stand part have been under the necessity of explainof the question, the House divided : ing to the country the grounds upon Tellers.

which I acted-another motive which SMr. Jenkinson

has influenced me to trouble your lordYEAS

54 Mr. John Sinyth.

ship this day—on the 15th of December

1779,* and on the 8th of February 1780, Mr. Francis

53 I proposed two motions, the effect of

which was, to suggest that system of pubSo it was resolved in the affirmative. .lic operations with which it is my wish Then the main question being put, That that the resolutions I am to submit to the said bill be read the third time to your consideration, this evening should morrow morning, the House divided : follow up. When these motions were Tellers.

proposed, they were called, not republi

can, but anarchical : they were said to be } 54

instruments of alarm, and the committee

appointed to give them effect was termed General Tarleton Noes Mr. Randyll Burch

} 54

a committee of safety. I had the satisfac

tion, however, of seeing the minister of the And the members being equal, Mr. day obliged to come forward to propose Speaker said, that he would not, by his a commission of public accounts. This vote, preclude the House from again con- commission was composed of indepensidering the bill in question; and there- dent men. The measures which were then fore he declared himself with the Yeas. adopted, embraced an extensive system So it was resolved in the affirmative. Mr. of reform. In that system I was supportPitt then informed the House, that as he ed by many members of the present adperceived so many gentlemen were un ministration. Since that time, however, friendly to the bill, he would move to there has been a suspension of that sysmorrow to put it off for three months ; tem, and a desertion among its friends. which he accordingly did.

Far be it from me to set out with imput

ing blame to the present administration: Debate on the Marquis of Lansdown's all I wish, is to offer them an opportunity Motion touching Reform in the Public of vindicating their characters. If they Offices.] May 2. The Marquis of Lans stand firm to the resolution which they down rose and said :-Sensible as I am of then voted, “ that the influence of the the improbability that any motion of crown had increased, was increasing, and mine should meet the assent of a majority ought to be diminished,” it is but fair that of your lordships, it may perhaps excite their reputations should not suffer in the some surprise, that I should offer myself opinion of the world, from the misconto your attention. I have only to answerceptions of any set of men. in my own defence, that if ever I weighed It is not my intention to enter into a a subject more than another, it is this whether I should ever again trouble your * See Vol, 20, pp. 1285, 1365. (VOL. XXXII.)

[3 X

Yeas { Mr. John Smyth

detailed examination of the various papers | specting the patent officers of the board upon the table, but only to touch upon of customs, these gentlemen are divided the principle capital points they contain. into four classes; first, those that are

The first particular to which I would draw illegal ; secondly, those that are useless ; your lordships' attention, is the second thirdly, those who execute their offices by report upon the subject of consolidating means of deputies; and lastly, such as the different boards into one; an expe- may be consolidated. It was the object dient which would abolish fifteen out of of the commissioners of accounts to abo. twenty five places. And I cannot but be lish these needless offices, and to effect surprised, that this resolution has never this is one of the purposes of the resolubeen acted upon, not only because of its tion, which I shall have the honour to importance, but also, because this report move this evening. In the port of Lonwas decidedly approved of in 1782, by a don alone, they are 61 in number, enjoy. vote of the House of Commons.* T'he ing salaries of 26,0001. a year. The save reduction of expense attending such a re- ing to the public, however, is a trivial form would be very considerable ; but consideration, when compared with the this is an object comparative trifling, benefit which would accrue to trade from when balanced with the diminution of in their dismissal. In the out-ports there fluence, as each of these places may be are 157 persons of the same description, supposed capable of gaining a member of with salaries to the amount of 140,0001. parliament, if he is to be so gained. The mint also was pronounced by the

I would next call your lordships atten- commissioners to require some reform, tion to the 9th report, respecting the pay which never has taken place. After what of the army.

ny. The way that the army is was said likewise upon the crown lands, I paid, has been justly said in the report to should have expected some improvement be a scene of composition and decompo- on this score, or at least, not to have sition, of mystery, ambiguity, and fraud. heard of any more grants of those lands Instead of two simple articles, of subsist- being made to individuals. ence and arrears, there are separate ac

But this leads me to a more important counts kept for agency, clothing subsist- and pressing inquiry—the increased inence, Chelsea, and a number of other Auence of the crown which, in my opinion, articles, which serve only to accumulate has augmented to an alarming degree. expense, and to bewilder those whose When we consider that 1,300,0001., withbusiness it is to inquire into the mode in out the consent of parliament, have been which the money of the nation is ex- spent in erecting barracks in this kingpended. Why a poor soldier should have dom, which are neither more nor less so much to pay to the right, and so much than armed fortresses, what are we to to the left, it is impossible to conceive, think? [A cry of · Hear! hear!'] Do except it be for the purpose of fraud and noble lords cry hear! when I give them concealment, as a pretext of supporting this designation? I repeat, that the bara number of idle clerks, at the expense of racks are nothing less than armed for. a deserving soldiery, and to enable mi- tresses. Though barracks, to a certain nisters, without detection, to apply the extent, may be necessary and useful, that public money to purposes different from admission does not disprove, that to those for which it was voted by parlia- their present extent, they may not overment. If this is not the case, why is not turn the constitution. When I look at the clear and easy plan suggested by the the army in all its departments, I can percommittee adopted ?- The next report ceive an alarming increase of crown influto which I would advert, is the eleventh, ence. Indeed, it seems to be the system relating to the unfunded debt, the object of the present reign, to pay all attention of which was to acquaint the people with to the army. The soldiery get any augthe real extent of the burthens incurred mentation of pay from the king without in the course of a war, and to provide the knowledge of parliament, and a varieagainst the debt increasing more rapidly | ty of douceurs are given them, the credit than the means of paying it. But of which is appropriated to the sovereign, this, like cvery other beneficial propo. but the expense is kindly left to the nasition, has been rejected by the present tion. Formerly, only the younger branministers. In the fourteenth report re- ches of families were desirous of going sequence of which is, there is an end of sions; and whose more immediate duty it all education; the books which used to was to have examined into the contracts be read when I came into the world, lie and other services, pretended to have neglected, and the sciences are left with been performed, and to have pointed out out a votary, with the solitary exception and punished those frauds and abuses, of military tactics, which at present seem which were afterwards, with no great difwholly to engross the attention of our ficulty, detected by the commissioners of youth. In case of an invasion, I would public accounts. The general and unliwish to see every hand armed in its de- mited power which was given by the refence; but I never wish to see the coun- solution of the 3rd of April 1734, to the try thus converted into a standing army. ministers, was a measure entirely subver

into the army; now, not individuals alone, * See Vol. 23, p. 119.

but whole families are enlisted : the con

From the ordinaries, I proceed to the sive of the rules of parliament, and conextraordinaries of the army, which, by the trary to the practice which has been committee of 1782, were represented as an wisely established since the Revolution, evil which called, in the loudest terms, for appropriating the supplies to the services immediate correction, and that at a time for which they have been voted. We when they were much more inconsiderable see therefore, that this proceeding did not than they are at present. Here the noble pass without much difficulty and debate; marquis quoted the passages from the Re- and that soon after another, and, so far port. Another paper he would read, ex- as it was limited, a better mode was tracted from the writings of a person, of adopted, which, though it gave the miwhom it was only justice to say, that he nisters credit for the manner of disposing treated this subject with the greatest abi- of the money voted, confined that credit lity. Mr. Hatsell says :-In all the different to a precise and special sum. It is thereservices, the navy, the army and the ord- fore incumbent upon the House of Com. nance, there has always been an exceeding, mons, not only to make this supply as or debt contracted upon each, which has small as possible, but in a subsequent been brought before parliament in a sub- session to inquire into the particular exsequent session, under the title of navy penditure of the sum granted; and to be debt, or of extraordinaries incurred, and assured that it is strictly applied to those not provided for. Formerly these ex. purposes for which it was intended, and ceedings were confined within some li- not squandered loosely, improvidently, mits. In what is commonly called the wantonly, or perhaps corruptly. Now, German War, in 1758, these sums first does not the noble lord opposite feel that became very large; but in the late war, the account of army extraordinaries on carried on in America, they exceeded all the table is liable to the charge which

. a gence or extravagance, or both, in those counts of this nature? It has required who had the conduct of this department, ingenuity of no mean kind, to wrap which rendered all the votes of the House them up in that obscurity with which of Commons, or bills for appropriating they are enveloped. Upon the present the supplies, ridiculous and nugatory system of keeping the public accounts, The sums demanded, upon the head of there is nothing which may not come unextraordinaries of the army, incurred and der the head of army extraordinaries. In not provided for, during this period, fell these accounts I see great services pernot very much short of the whole sums formed at nominally a small expense, voted by parliament upon estimate tor whereas I observe thousands upon thouthat service; nay, in the year 1782, they sands squandered upon the most trifling appear to have actually exceeded them. and insignificant objects. I received an This was such a shameful prostitution of anonymous letter the other day from the the money of the public, that though city, informing me that 40,0001. had been perhaps the distance, and magnitude, and sent to the dey of Algiers. I inquired nature of the American war might be into the truth of the fact, and I find that pleaded as some alleviation and excuse a very large sum, though not quite to this for the generals abroad who commanded, amount, has been sent. One would think or for the ministers at home, who ought that ministers themselves would be anxito have controlled those commanders ; ous to institute some inquiry as a check nothing can justify the House of Com- upon the numerous hands which are daily mons, who permitted this practice to continue, uninterrupted, through several ses- * Hatsell's Precedents, Vol. 3, p. 186.

in the public purse ; and that the country purse. When I was in office, instead of may have an opportunity of discerning employing a victualling board, I made all between the honest man and the knave. the contracts for meat, &c. by a confiden

Another article on the list of abuses is tial person under myself. This I knew the appointment of a third secretary of might subject me to an imputation of state. This is a matter which I am in- wishing to embezzle the public money; clined to take notice of, when I recollect but I despised the insinuation, and am the language which was held by an certain the country gained by the mode hon. member of another House, when the of procedure which I adopted. By the office was abolished some years ago: abolition of this board there would be a “ It has died in state, was disposed of saving of 5,0001. a year to the public. with funeral honours, and was, he hoped, But the time would fail me to reckon consigned for ever to oblivion.” But now all the abuses which have been introduced it is revived, and revived by those very and sanctioned by the present adminismen who supported its abolition. What tration. I am tired with surveying all the does not such conduct put it in the power contents of the Red Book, that chest of of Mr. Thelwall to say? Will be not corruption. The army list, of itself an say, that there is no dependance to be elephant, and the Red Book will soon beplaced in any man whatever, and that come large enough to form a library. there are no professions of patriotism, And all this has taken place under the come from what quarter they will, in conduct of two noble lords, who came which the people are not liable to be de- | into office abetting the principle that the ceived? I find, however, that though mi- influence of the crown had increased, was nisters have not paid much attention to increasing, and ought to be diminished ! the suggestions of the committee relative The measures of civil regulation which to the abolition of old offices and boards, have been lately adopted, present a dethey have most scrupulously complied plorable prospect of our internal situation. with their ideas of the necessity of insti- When the late famous bills were before tuting new ones. In one instance, the parliament, I was in the country, partly board of naval architecture, they have on account of my health, and partly in acted right. I approve of the institution; the idea that my attendance would be of and all I wish is, that it may not be con- no avail to counteract the intentions of verted into sinecures. The transport those who brought them forward. Anoboard I conceive to be useless and un- ther .bill of most destructive tendency necessary. Transports in time of war we have reason to dread, will soon be are certainly much wanted, and that brought before us, the principle of which want, l experienced severely at the end is to establish a government police in of the American war ; but is a board the Westminster, and which, I am afraid, may most proper institution to secure a suffi- soon be extended to the country. There cient supply? Is there any person in the is still another evil, which, from its magaiHouse that does not know how little busi- tude, is great enough to swallow up all ness is done by a board? One active the rest the unlimited credit upon the man, such as Mr. Atkinson, if you would bank, which has been voted to the minisgive him confidence and time, could do ter in a bill repealing a salutary statute of the whole business much better than a William and Mary, restricting the credit board. I know the arguments in favour of government upon the bank, and which of boards, drawn from the check which would have passed through the House the different individuals of which they are unnoticed, had it not been for the vigicomposed, may give to one another. But lance of a noble lord (Lauderdale) whose I have always been of opinion, that one man, talents and whose virtues do credit to the under the board of treasury, would transact country from which he comes. I must the business with much greater effect, and beg not to be understood in any thing I with equal security to the public. I men- say on this subject, to reflect upon the tion the board of treasury, because all the conduct of the bank; on the contrary, I public money ought to flow directly from admire it ; and I do not believe it issues a the treasury; and instead of giving the single note, that it has not a representafirst lord a staff, which is the present tive for in gold or silver. As I have badge of the office. I would give him a never been a governor of the bank, I cankoife to cut off every man's fingers that not speak with certainty, por can I even dared thrust his hand into the public speak with the degree of certainty that

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