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to the claims of Mr. Boyd, and kept them But was the consideration of the manner back longer than, as it afterwards ap- in which his cause was urged, to have any peared to me, in justice I ought to have influence on my mind in the decision on done. As to the injury which Mr. Morgan the justice of his claims? I now stand and his friends may have suffered, from here accused.. I have been placed in the having prepared their money in order to high situation of a judge, and now I apo bid, that surely cannot be seriously in-pear in the more humble one of a person sisted on, while it is recollected that the accused, and defending himself against & final adjustment of every loan is matter of foul charge. It has been said, that I was so much uncertainty, and connected with bound to pay no attention to the claims so many collateral considerations. No of Mr. Boyd for a preference, because communication from the Bank, as to there was no express agreement, no spe. competition, ever took place, except with cific terms of engagement, for that pure respect to Mr. Boyd. How could Mr. pose. Gentlemen seem to think that Morgan contend, that he had sustained unless government be bound down by speinjury, from having prepared his property cific terms, an engagement of this sort to qualify himself
to be a bidder, when entered into by them should not be abided he stated, that, till the 23d of November, by. Might there not, however, be some he never began to doubt that there would common understanding, some implied be a competition. His own account of condition, some strong and clear construchis information on this subject was rather tion, equally binding on the minister of whimsical; it came from a confidential the country to the observance of the claim friend, of whom he knew nothing, who in point of honour and justice? No per-. informed him that he had heard, from a sonal inconvenience shali ever induce me third person, that Boyd was sure of the to depart from the terms of what I consiloan; and yet, though his information led der an honourable dealing, when a claim him to know more than the rest of the is made founded on the nature of things, world, he went on with his speculations, and a practice recognized by constant and never doubted that there would be a
Had there been an express agreecompetition till the 23d of November; ment, it would have unquestionably been he therefore would not be responsible for presented to my recollection ; but this any loss that the parties might sustain was no reason why an explanation profrom such speculations. All lists or plans perly understood, and clearly made out, that were handed about were merely spe- should not receive its due degree of atculations, particularly Morgan's; and if tention. In transacting all loans, there the parties have sustained any injury, it must be preliminary points of conversalies entirely with him and themselves. tion; a good deal of discussion naturally
The next point is the nature of Boyd's takes place, some particulars of which claim and the impropriety of departing are committed to writing, while others from the system of competition. As to are sufferred to pass more loosely. In the claim of Mr. Boyd, it has been proved the loan of 1795, it was proposed by the , that I, at first, testified strong prejudices contractors that there should be no paya and great reluctance, which were not ment on any new loan till February of overcome till it was brought forward in the succeeding year ; to which I readily a shape in which it was no longer contro assented, not conceiving that the exi vertible; that I admitted the principle of gencies of the public service would re.. competition, and receded from it only quire any money to be advanced before when fair and just grounds were adduced that period. Of this promise I was re. on the part of an individual to warrant minded by the governor of the Bank of a deviation from the general system. England, and I was the more confirmed. Here a great deal of minute criticism has in its propriety, as I found that no new been displayed by gentlemen on the other loan had taken place in such circumside, with respect to Mr. Boyd's letter. stances, even where no assurance direct, I was in the situation of a judge trying a or by implication, had been given. cause between Mr. Boyd and the public; Mr. Pitt then, noticed the connexion acting as a trustee for the latter on the in which contractors stand with govern one hand, and called upon to decide on ment, distinct from the scrip-holders, and the justice of the claim of an individual which gives to them particular claims. on the other. The claim of Mr. Boyd Contractors had, in the first instance, to. might have been asserted too strongly. treat with ministers, and were immediately
responsible for the fulfilment of the term. on the 2nd of December. It was well Government had nothing to do with the known that the pressure of public busiscrip-holders. As to that part of the ness totally precluded him from making Resolutions which censured the terms of the necessary arrangements for the budthe loan, it was easy for ingenious men to get. He defended the manner in which confound facts, by stating some that were he had exercised his discretion in making true, and omitting others that were equally the terms; and considering the state of the true, so as to make their reasoning upon country, he thought credit was dueto those. them apply to the particular purpose for efforts by which government had been which they were drawn up. His greatest able to contract for so large a loan in the objections to the resolutions were, that in fourth year of the war, upon even better them the hon. mover had contrived to terms than had been obtained in former put together a collection of truths, in such years. a manner as to convey all the malignity The next point was the effect of the and venom of falsehood. He adverted to king's message. Those who knew him the term “open and free competition," best, knew that it was not in his mind from which he was said to have departed, when the bargain was made. But if he and remarked, that in order to secure the had foreseen it, he could not have foreseen interests of the public, and prevent the the rise that took place in the stocks. manæuvres of designing persons, every He was no party to any such fraud; but to competition must, to a certain degree, be whatever cause that temporary rise was to qualified, at least by the consideration be ascribed, it certainly was not produced how far the parties were competent to by the message only. There was nothing fulfil their bargain. He never meant any more in the message than a declaration, but a system of qualified competition; and that the time was arrived, to which his from this it was not true, as stated in the majesty had alluded in his speech to parresolution, that he had made a total depar- liament. Those who carried its meaning ture. He then justified the propriety of farther, were either too sanguine in their his own conduct, in not having left him- expectation, or intended to raise hopes self at the mercy of Boyd and Co. but, which could not be realized. Besides the when the qualified competition which he message, there were other collateral causes held out was declined by the others, in for the sudden rise of the stocks—the having taken such precautions as still ena- unexpected victories of the Austrians, the bled him to name his own terms. But increasing distresses of the enemy, the he was asked, why did he not send the tranquil appearance of affairs at home, loan back again into the city? What compared with that turbulent aspect which after it had been rejected by two sets of they bore during the period when the gentlemen, and when it would come in terms of the loan were originally settled. the less inviting shape of qualified com- All these causes, coupled with the intimapetition ! When the most favourable tion that peace only depended on the disterms could only bring forward three par- position of the enemy, combined to give ties, was it probable that the less favoura- that sudden and extraordinary rise to the ble terms would produce more? When funds, which singly they would have failed a day was fixed for conversation on the to produce. After all, the extent of the loan, it was necessary that some interval benefit to the contractors, and of the loss should take place, that the parties might to the public, had been greatly over-rated. deliberate on the terms. When all was An exaggerated statement of figures had finally arranged, he saw no good that been brought forward, in order to be could possibly arise from a delay of forty- echoed through the country. It had been eight hours, a period of suspense and un- stated, that the profit upon the loan certainty, of which advantage might be amounted to 12 per cent. It amounted taken to occasion fluctuations in the pub- to this sum only for four days, during lic funds ;- one circumstance that made which stocks were exceedingly fluchim determine not to let the contractor tuating ; so that altogether it did not bear leave his house till the bargain was this price for above a few hours. In closed. He accounted for the delay which order therefore to make this profit, all the took place between the time the bargain | shares must have been disposed of within was made, and its being intimated to the those few hours ; a circumstance which House, by his being disappointed in bring would have brought such a quantity into ing on the budget, as he first intended, the market, as must have occasioned a depression, that would greatly have over-petition. But how stood the matter in balanced the temporary rise. All the point of fact? In 1793, he brought beprofit is stated to centre in the individual fore the House a bargain so extravagant, contractors, and all the concurring and that he attempted to defend it only by unforeseen causes, which operated to give stating, that it had bcen the result of a so favourable a turn to the terms of the free and open competition. Why, then, loan to have been the result of premedi- | he could not help suspecting the fairness tation on my part. Under these circum- of that loan, in which the minister abanstances, I am said to have given away the doned this mode. This loan was as exsum of 2,160,0001. by the mode of nego- travagant in point of terms, and more obciating the present loan! With this jectionable in point of manner, than the assertion the charge against me concludes, loan of 1793. And here he must make and with entreating the House to consider an observation, that the right hon. genthe extravagance of this assertion I con- tleman's exceptions were greater than his clude my defence.
rules. For it was not true, that he had Mr. Fox said, that he must, from the in substance followed the principle of pubevidence before him, vote for the original lic competition. The last two loans were proposition; and among the reasons
reasons not made by competition, and, in point which he had for the vote, he should give, of quantity, they nearly equalled all the was that of some expressions of the learned others put together; amounting to pretty gentleman who had proposed the amend nearly fifty millions. The minister, therement, and also of the minister himself, fore, had abandoned the practice of public who had said, that they had inferred guilt competition ; fifty millions had been added where there was no evidence of it, and to the capital of our debt, and that withhad made insinuations which they half re- out a competition in the bidding for the tracted. He thought he knew his duty loans. According to the principles of too well ever to insinuate guilt, where there common sense, was he not called upon to was no suspicion. With regard to the say that this loan was an improvident barguilt, as it appeared to him in this case, gain for the public? And he would ask, he would state it to the House, as whether the minister should pass uncenwell as what he conceived to be the sured, merely because it could not be nature of the accusation. The mover of proved what his motives were ?--Mr. Fox the resolutions never imputed personal then proceeded to take notice of the evicorruption to the minister. He too, had dence as printed in the report, by whichi always acquitted the right hon. gentleman be inferred that a preference was really of such corruption. But improvidence, intended to be given to Mr. Boyd. At all in a minister of finance was no small events, it was extremely material to know erime; he was surprised to hear it stated when the minister had the first notice of as a mere peccadillo. What ! improvi- Mr. Boyd's claims. On this point he dence in a chancellor of the exchequer thought Mr. Boyd's evidence inconsistent a mere peccadillo! It was a very serious with the right hon. gentleman's declaracharge against a minister, to say that he tion. Mr. Boyd said positively, on his had, in a transaction of this vast impor- examination, that as early as October he tance, made an improvident bargain. But preferred his claim, and that the chanit was not improvident merely; it was cellor of the exchequer being convinced made under such suspicious circumstan- of its justice, came under a promise to ces, as the House ought not to be too give him the preference. To forget such ready to excuse. He must protest against an important fact as this, admitted neither the doctrine that no bad motive should be of palliation nor excuse. Was it nothing, assigned to the minister, if it could not after having come under a positive probe proved what that motive was. This mise to prefer an individual, to give nowas against the common order of things, tice to the governor of the bank of his and entitled him to say, that the motive intention to hold out proposals of public could not be a good one where the effect competition, in which he knew it would was so bad, and the circumstances so not be in his power to persevere, and suspicious. The first point to which he which, in fact, he had been obliged to should call the attention of the House, abandon ? And here he would say somewas the mode of transacting the loan. thing upon the claim of Mr. Boyd. If the The right hon. gentleman had all along claim was invalid, it would only vary the been an advocate for free and open com- degree of guilt ; and if valid it was singular that it should have been entirely forgotten. commission of acts which ought not to It certainly was not a claim founded upon have been committed. With what “sweet, a direct written or verbal agreement, but reluctant, anorous delay," the right hon. even though the claim was good, it was gentleman took leave of his professions not sufficient to stand between him and he knew not. Still, however, he kept up the public. For, supposing that it would some degree of competition. But if he have been better for the nation to have was aware that it was such a competition given the contractors a pecuniary com- as to excite contempt, it was a miserable pensation ; if the chancellor of the ex. expedient to cover his determination; and chequer, or if the country, were bound if he had a better opinion of it, why did to the contractors, they were bound to he abandon it at the instance of two angry the contributors; and if such a compensa- men ? But here occurred a question of tion had been granted, it would have moment, respecting the time at which the been but fair that its advantages should loan was made. On account of some presshave been extended to the contributors, ing business in the House, the minister as well as to the contractors; for how the could not bring on the budget, but yet he country could be bound to the contractor could not put off the loan, but concluded and not to the contributor, he was at a the bargain twelve days before he notified loss to conceive. It was said that these it to parliament; whereas, on former occacame under some degree of risk. But sions, it used only to be concluded two or how long did it exist? Only till the de- three days before the opening of the budposit was made. What was the nature of get.—Mr. Fox then proceeded to speak of the risk? A risk might be so much that the motives which actuated the negotiation. it might be nothing at all. The contrac- If it was not allowed to operate as an intor might sometimes be obliged to hold strument of corruption, it certainly had scrip for a considerable time; but so was some reference to a transaction which the contributor, and the risk on his part took place in September, in which Mr. was only less, as the contractor had com- Boyd raised 2,500,0001. for government monly a greater share than the contribu- upon treasury bills, bearing a fictitious tor. In the nature of things, then, there date at Hamburgh, though drawn liere. was nothing to authorize the claim.--Much This transaction he reprobated as exstress had been laid on the conversation tremely discreditable to government, and which took place between the chancellor as disgraceful to those who set it on foot. of the exchequer and Mr. Boyd, in 1794. When he saw the right hon. gentleman It seemed, the chancellor of the exche abandon his principles; when he saw him quer, in order to hasten the payment of abandon them at the suit of an individual; the loan, had said, that the following Fe- and when he saw him abandon them in bruary would be too late for the last in- favour of this individual, after being enstalment, because it might be necessary gaged in a discreditable transaction with to negociate a new loan before that time. him, the circumstance could not but ex. This expression was representeil as a vir- cite suspicion, and it would require tual recognizance of the claim of Mr. stronger reasons than any that he had Boyd. But it was not necessary to as adduced to establish bis innocence. But, cribe this conversation to a tenderness for said the right hon. gentleman, this was Mr. Boyd's right, when it was much more only a necessary supply, which Mr. Boyd natural to suppose it proceeded from a con- advanced in the most liberal manner for cern for the public interest. This casual ex. the service of the country, in a time of pression, however, had such an effect upon difficulty, and when it would have been the mind of the right hon. gentleman, that exceedingly inconvenient to have conhe could not efface the idea of Mr. Boyd's vened parliament. This representation peremptory right to shut the market against served only to enhance the favour connew loans, till the last instalment upon the ferred by Mr. Boyd, and to establish the preceding loan should have been paid. To relation between that transaction and the all this the right hon. gentleman asked, negotiation of the present loan; for to re“ Have I shown any symptoms of partiality lieve the minister from difficulties in to Mr. Boyd ? On the contrary, was it not which he had involved himself by imwith the greatest reluctance that I deserted providence or extravagance, was too my favourite system, in order to satisfy I great an obligation to be easily forgotten. his claim?” We had often seen reluctance He might have negociated a short loan used as a veil under which to conceal the in September, which would have ope.
rated as a present supply till after the ill character of the pecuniary concerns holidays; but this, it seems, could not of this country.-Mr. Fox next prohave been explained to France, nor would ceeded to take notice of the different it have given that power half the idea of causes, which the minister had assigned our financial superiority which she must for the rise in the price of the funds soon necessarily bave formed from such a after the loan was contracted for, and highly-creditable transaction, as raising declared that he was clearly of opinion, money by means of fictitious Hamburgh that the king's message, which came to bills ! Mr. Fox adverted to that part of that House on the day after the budget, the Report which related to Mr. Morgan, was the chief cause of that rise. The That gentleman had expressed himself right hon. gentleman contended, that the in his evidence consistently. It had news of the Austrian victories, had a been said, that Mr. Morgan appeared to considerable share in promoting the rise. angry
with the minister on this occa- These victories, let it be recollected, sion. Was that unnatural in a man, who were pretty general known before the felt that he had been insulted with a 23th of November. The rapid decay of mockery of competition? He had lost the French finances was assigned as anothat which was the object of his heart, ther cause of this political phænomenon. the loan, and therefore there was nothing He begged, however, to know, whether, wonderful in his anger. Mr. Morgan had after the 25th of November, the French said he would have made a bargain for the finances had decayed so rapidly, that even loan, which would have been better for the most sanguine calculator found his the public than this. Here was at once, calculations far short of the truth. He then, the best of all possible evidences, was the more surprised at hearing this the evidentiu rei, that the bargain was an language when he recollected that about improvident one. Why, it was asked, eight months ago they were described as did Mr. Morgan not bid above Mr. Boyd being in the agonies of death, in the very by his proxy in the House of Commons gulph of bankruptcy. All arguments rewhen the subject was debated, up to the specting the decay of the French finances, whole amount, which he stated the public he considered as so many childish and to have lost ? The answer to this ques. contemptible pretences tó veil the sustion was plain, and Mr. Morgan had al- picious conduct of the chancellor of the ready given it. He did not bid for the exchequer. When the right hon. genpublic good, but for his own good, and tleman was obliged to have recourse to Therefore, when he was bidding to the such pretexts, in his opinion, no accuser House of Conmmons when they were could say more against him. He concalled upon to ratify a bad bargain, a cluded with maintaining, that the terms sum considerable enough to make that of the loan were much more extravagant, bargain much better for the public, the not than the country had paid at some less he advanced the better for himself
. former times, but in comparison with the Such was the admission of Mr. Morgan; terms which might now have been oband he had not the smallest scruple to tained, by free and open competition ; declare, that he felt as much willingness and gave it as his opinion, that the chan. to believe a man who thus admitted that cellor of the exchequer had been guilty of he wished to take care of his own in- a breach of duty. terest, as he who pretended, in money Mr. Sheridan said, that every possible matters, to have nothing in view but the method had been resorted to that day public good. Here, then, we had a man to mislead the attention of the House, preferred by the minister, with whom and draw it away from the main question fransactions of a very suspicious nature for consideration? No corruption on the had been carried on, and this preference part of the minister had been insinuated had cost the public an immense sum of by his hon, friend; but he never could money. What was he to say, on such a forget, that the chancellor of the exchecase? What could he say, but that the quer, had himself, some years ago, made minister proceeded upon some motive or a similar charge against a noble friend of other that, from the circumstances and his, then the minister of finance*. The the manner of it, had rather the appearance of a bad than a good one? It had * Lord John Cavendish, chancellor of the certainly operated to the very great de exchequer during the Coalition Administriment of the public at large, and to the tration. See Vol. 28, p. 769.