« ZurückWeiter »
cluded with moving the following muneration would be still farther resolutions.
reduced, by the sums the commis1. That it appears to this house, sioners would have to refund by an that to commit pecuniary trusts to act of parliament, as interest on any persons whatever, without pro- the sums kept at private bankers, viding any check upon their pro- or otherwise withheld from the ceedings, without calling for any public. The committee had stated regular or periodical accounts, and its opinion with respect to the du. without settling, during a long ty of government, which was in course of years, the mode or a substance precisely the same, and mount of their remuneration, is a conceived in the same words with neglect which must inevitably lead Mr. Ord's first resolution. But to the most prejudicial consequen- Mr. Thornton acknowledged a ces, and a violation of the most distinction between commission, essential duty of government. ers such as these, and a govern
2. That such neglect and devi- ment. If the commissioners neg. ation have been proved to exist, lected the business to which they and might have been attended with, were appointed, their neglect must material loss to the public.
be wilful, and consequently highly 3. That the commissioners upon criininal. But the members of a Dutch property have been guilty government had various other imof gross misconduct in violating portant functions to attend to. the act under which they were ap- Besides, successive governments pointed, and appropriating to their might not always be aware of the own use, without authority, sums views of their predecessors. And for which they ought to have ac- even the secretary of the treasury counted to the public.
has so much other business to at4. That the accounts of the tend to, that he might inadvercommissioners be referred to the tently omit some part of his duty. auditors of public accounts, to be Upon these grounds he considered examined.
the neglect of the government, 5. That all consideration of the and the neglect of the commisremuneration to be allowed to the sioners as meriting different proeommissioners ought to be de portions of blame. ferred till their accounts are final. The Chancellor of the Exchely settled.
quer said, that when gentlemen On the question being put on considered that it was only on the the first resolution, Mr. H. Thorn- 25th of March that the report had ton felt it necessary as chairman been presented to the house; that of the committee who had made some delay had taken place in the -the report, to state that he most cor- printing of it; and that it was not dially concurred in every part of in the hands of gentlemen until the report. The remuneration to the within a fortnight of the time when commissioners as recommended in the notice was given, they would the report by the committee was not think it surprising that no mea• now £10,000, no very inadequate sures had been taken by the trearcompensation for the light business sury before the notice of this mothey had to perform. But this re- tion. The treasury, however, had
applied to the committee of the tions which were put to them, but prisy council, to call upon these which in fact amounted to nothing commissioners to give in their ac more than gross prevarication, and counts to the treasury, to be then a direct falsification of their fortransferred to the auditors of pub- mer testimony. Within the first le accounts to be passed. Upon year of their existence they had the whole, he did not think that lodged £850,000 in the hand of ay practical convenience could their private bankers, though durresult from the adoption of the re- ing that period, not a farthing had solutions proposed. And certainly been paid by them into the bank he was not more to blame than the. of England. And within the three noble lord (Petty.) who had pre- last years, the whole sum lodged ceded him in office. But in fact in the bank of England amounted neither was to be blamed. The to only £90,000. He should supeffect of a general vote of censure port the resolutions. But whatever on all the successive governments might be the fate of these, he ence the institution of these com-, should afterwards move for an admissioners, would fall entirely on dress to his majesty, to direct the the present government. Seeing attorney-general to prosecute these therefore that the act which had commissioners for malversation in been in operation for the last four. their trust. years provided for the effectual Mr. Rose said that if any blame check of these accounts, and that was to be imputed in the present the business was now in train to be matter, it must undoubtedly be to fully and finally settled, the house, that government by which they he was confident, would not think were appointed.' But the act apit necessary to entertain the resolu- pointing them required them to tions. And he hoped that Mr. produce their accounts when called Ord himself would withdraw his for, and to take their instructions Botion. But if he should not, it from the privy council. As to was Mr. Perceval's intention to their remuneration his idea was, move the previous question upon that it should be fixed when their his resolutions..
business should be completed. Mr. Sir John Newport said, that if Rose said that to him personchere ever had been an instance of ally blame was to be imputed if it malversation of trust, it was that was imputable to any one. But as now under discussion. If such mal- to what had been stated about proceeds, when proved incontesti- a supposed leaning towards one bly, should not be marked by the se- of the commissioners, Mr. John verest censúre of that house, it would Bowles, he did not so much as be an encouragement to corruption. know that man's person, nor had The conduct of the commissioners he ever read any of his pamphlets, was aggravated by the manner in though he allowed that they were which they had given their evidence laid regularly upon his table. As before the committee. On their to the neglect that had taken place examination they gave amended and of not paying attention to the proexplapatory anewers to the ques. duction to the proceedings of the
Dutch commissioners, it might hap- person who was writing to accuse pen, in the hurry of business, to others of not having made just and any government.
proper returns of their incomes Mr. Whitbread began an ani- upon which the tax might be le· mated and severe invective against vied, holding his head high in sothe negligence of government, and ciety; the censor of morals, and the criminality of the commission- unsuspected of such a flagitious ers, with the following striking course of conduct against the pubproæmium. “A great smoke has lic as had now come to light. Those long issued from the office of the were piping times with the antiDutch commissioners. Persons jacobins. One was fighting his have often said that the Dutch way up to be an ambassador; ancommission was a great job, and other was preparing to govern the that if enquired into, it would be country in the shape of a secretary found so. But no mortal alive of state ; and Mr. John Bowles *, ever expected to find such a blaz- their associate, who prepared the ing fire as that which is now known heavier parts of the composition, to have been so long burning in while the budding diplomatist and Broad Street.” Mr. Whitbread secretary were relaxing from their painted in lively colours the rapa- severer studies, in these humourcity of the Dutch commissioners, ous political effusions, which adorn their gross extortion, their preva- the page of the anti-jacobin, was rications, and their matchless im- reclining in the dignity of his ofpudence in attempting to set up a fice in Broad-street, and launching kind of defence of their miscon- forth his anathemas against all duct, and even in canvassing the those who opposed that adminismembers of that house for their tration, which had so amply revotes and interest. He was not warded his past, and secured his
acquainted with any of those com- future labours. Mr. Whitbread, · missioners personally. One of them with a feeling in which all honest however was sufficiently known to men must fully sympathize with him, the public, Mr. John Bowles, a se- exulted not only in the detection ries of years, as a writer by profes- of Mr. Bowles, but over the disapsion, in high repute, of great esti- pointment and chagrin that must mation ; a man receiving the re- be felt by that man. He would ward of his literary labours; an un- not, like the Athenian mentioned blemished servant of the public; a by Horace, have the satisfaction of
* Mr. Bowles before he was appointed a Dutch commissioner was, as we believe he now is, a commissioner of Bankrupts; a place conferred on him by Mr. Pitt, on account of a pamphlet he had written against Tom Paine's Age of Reason. He wrote a great number of pamphlets on the “ Political and Moral State of Society," and others, pretty much in the same strain, but under other titles. He was commonly called, by way of irony, by those who knew him, the Rev. Mr. Bowles. He had the most efficient hand in the rstablishment of the WEEKLY ANTIJACOBIN NEW6PAPER. The principal conductors and contributors, however, were Mr. Canning, Mr. George Ellis, and Mr. John Hookham Frere. Mr. Bowles was the most zealous member of the society for the suppression of vice, and a justice of the peace for Kent, Surrey, and Middlesex.
estamplating his money in his dered, and the inadequacy of the Lest as a salve for the ridicule of number of persons allotted to te populace *: for he was per transact that business, it would apraded he would be made to re- pear morally impossible that some and the attermost farthing. A things should not escape attention. Escocery so rare, and in all its cir- Thus Mr. Huskinson endeavoured cmstances so amusing, as the to defend the treasury. But neiSands and hypocrisy of John ther Mr. Huskinson nor any one Eowles, had not been made since else attempted to defend the conthe moment when the philosopher duct of the Dutch commissioners. Square was discovered in Miss Sea. Mr. Ponsonby produced some pasJim's garret. Mr. Whitbread sages from the writings of Mr. uncluded with reading several Bowles, by which he was self-conpesages from the voluminous writ- demned, more forcibly and directngs of Mr. Bowles in recommen- ly, if possible, than by those quotstion of morality and religion, in ed by Mr. Whitbread. Mr. Jolin Se last quoted of which passages Bowles, it was said, had published Mr. Bowles says, “ that these pri- thirty-two pamphlets., Mr. Poncáry căuses of corruption (which sonby had seen one of them, and he had stated) operate in a most as the title was tempting he had kaming manner in this country. looked into it. It was termed “ A At home, it is impossible to deny, Moral View of Society at the End that an inordinaté love of pleasure, of the eighteenth Century.” And and an insatiable lust of gain, have happy should he have been if at produced an alarming indifference any time he could have presumed to every relative duty, and to every to possess that pure morality it sacial feeling; a sensible increase professed to inculcate. Among the of fraud, perfidy, knavery, and passages quoted by Mr. Ponsonby peculation, and a rapid approach is the following: “A more conto that state of selfishness, which vincing proof can hardly be coninvolves å total disregard for the ceived of the disregard of our durights and advantages of others.” ty than the growth of peculation; The following (said Mr. Whit- and that, so far from rendering to bread), which are the last words Cæsar the things which are Cæof the sentence, I cannot but sup- sar's, every person must be shocked pose he amply feels, and that “ by at the gross defalcations which
jost retribution” he has “ com- every where come within their pletely sacrificed his own felici- view.” Again, “ Nothing can,
without a sense of religious duties, Mr. Huskinson said that the get the better of temptation.” It Dutch commissioners were parlia. was clear, Mr. Ponsonby obmentary commissioners. When the served, that whatever might be immense increase of business in the case of the other commissionthe treasury, since 1793,was consi- ers, this gentleman, was, at least,
not ignorant of the public duties charge of neglect was less than imposed upon him by his situation. that of omission. For whereas
Mr. H. Thornton, in order to negligence argues only a want of obviate the objections to the seve- due attention, and not any intenral resolutions moved by Mr. Ord, tional breach of duty ; omission proposed to consolidate them into carries in it, or may be supposed dne, and in such terms as should to carry, the idea of a voluntary nieet with general approbation. forbearance to perform a duty. The resolution which he intended to House of Commons, June 20.substitute for the whole five was as Mr. Vansittart, in the course of a follows : “ that the commissioners speech of great length, said, that at appointed in the year 1795 for the time when, in stating the fithe disposal of captured Dutch nancial arrangement of the year, property, taking advantage of the the Chancellor of the Exchequer neglect of the government to en- disclosed his intention of charging quire into their proceedings, have, the greatest part of the interest on without authority, appropriated to the loan on the war taxes, he felt their own use large and unreason and intimated that it would be imable profits; that they have pri- possible for him to acquiesce in vately taken interest on large ba- such an arrangement without relances of money, which ought to monstrance. But, on some occa.. have been lodged in the bank of sions, when the subject might have England ; that they have refrained been proposed he was prevented from giving correct and explicit from attending by private circuminformation respecting the interest stances. And he also felt that so taken to the committee ap- considerable advantages would atpointed for enquiring into the pub- tend the mode of proceeding he lic expenditure; and that they had had now adopted. If he had opbeen guilty of a great violation of posed the bill for charging the war public duty."
tax with the loan, and that with Mr. Ord declared his intention much more ability and eloquence of taking the sense of the house than belonged to him, it might on all his resolutions. The house have been difficult for the right then divided upon the first resolu- honourable gentleman, even if he tion, when there appeared
had seen the force of his arguFor the first resolution 77. ments, to have agreed to his conAgainst it 102.
clusions. After having intimate: The other resolutions were with in the speech from the throne, and drawn, and Mr. Thornton's reso- deliberately proposed in his budg. lution adopted, after a division up- et, that no new taxes should be on the question for substituting the brought forward for the service of word omission for neglect.
the year, he might not have easily For the original resolution 78. persuaded the country to acquiesce For the amendment 98.
in the imposition of taxes which · The word omission it seems was might be found burthensome; and thought less severe on ministry which his proposed measures had than neglect. But in fact the shewn to have been, in his opinion,