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HOUSE OF LORDS.

country within one another; the excess considered the existing state of reverof the loan for each year over the sinking sionary offices as an obstacle in the way fund had not decreased in the due propor- of arrangements for a reform, an alteration tion; the increase of product in 1808 had or abolition of sinecure places. Sych been owing principally to the mere modi- places, were, in argument, generally defication of a duty ad valorem, and could not fended on the ground that it was desiramake the principle of any fixed and defi- ble that the crown should have the power nite calculation. He seemed to think of so rewarding great services; yet it that it would go more to equalize the could hardly be maintained, that the pracmutual proportion, the income and expen- tice was conformable to the principle on diture should bear to each other, to resort which their existence was defended. If in some degree to the aid of new tases. their lordships would, on an economical

The Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted principle, look into the subject, they that the produce of the measure of 1808 would, he believed, see, that from the pehad been owing in some measure to a

riod of the commencement of the present progressive increase of the stamp duties, reign, up to the present time, 100,0001. but in a still greater proportion to the new a year might have been saved to the regulations then erected.

country; and that upon a calculation After some further observations the Re- of compound interest, such a measure of solutions were agreed to, and the report, practical economy followed up, according the House having resumed, was ordered to its principles, would have saved for the to be received on Friday.

service of the public a sum little less than 20 millions. He had as yet heard nothing in the shape of argument or refutation to

alter his mind respecting the improvidence Thursday, May 17.

of allowing sinecares to be granted and (OfficES IN REVERSION Bill.) Earl held as at present, and certainly nothing Grosvenor rose to move the second read against the object of the present measure, ing of the bill, which had been sent up which directly tended in its degree to the from the Commons, with various altera- accomplishment of a general and salutary tions from the preceding bills, on the system of reform in the expenditure of the same subject, which had been on former country. Neither in any constitutional occasions rejected by their lordships. He view, could he see any ground of arguwished to impress npon their lordships' ment against this measure. The present minds the propriety and the necessity of practice did, in fact, fetter the due and fully and fairly considering, and of pass-wholesome use of the prerogatives of the ing into a law the present bill; at least of crown, and was consequently prejudicial agreeing to the second reading, and going to the public interests. into the committee upon the bill, wherein The principles on which the crown conany part of it that appeared liable to ferred the rewards due to meritorious inwell-founded objections, might be amend- dividuals for eminent services were left ed and corrected. His lordship stated completely untouched by the adoption of the various circumstances that had hither- such a bill, while the mischief occasioned to attended the progress of this measure, by imprudent grants in reversion would be and forcibly recommended its adoption on intirely done away. Many of the obevery principle both of public economy jections made in former discussions to the and constitutional policy. Considered as principle of such a measure were oba measure of economy, he would not un- viated in the present bill, which took no dertake to say that it would produce any notice of the reversionary grants in the very great immediate saving of the public possession of the clergy, &c.

It was a money; still were it to be considered

matter of great regret to him, to find on only in an economical view, it was highly former occasions, that the heads of the deserving of their lordships' consideration. law and the heads of the clergy were of It was well known that the finance com- different opinions from himself, and came mittee of the House of Commons, to which, down to the House to oppose these bills. more especially after the repeated dea It was also a matter to him of deep conclarations of the sense of that House upon cern that so little regard was paid to the the subject, he was disposed, and he wishes, and feelings, and opinions of the thought their lordships ought to feel dis- nation at large. He had not any recolposed, to pay great and just attention, had lection of a measure in which the public mind seemed so decidedly unanimous: propriety of attending to the public feeling, and would their lordships, in times and he was discharging his parliamentary circumstances like the present, refuse the duty in moving the second reading of this opportunity that was offered them of giv- bill, repeating that the objections entering some indication to the people of their tained against it, some of which he could desire and intention to devise and adopt anticipate, might be removed by amendall possible reforms in the public expen- ments in the committee. On a former diture, at a period when so many and such occasion, a noble secretary of state (Li. great burthens were unavoidably to be verpool) had thrown out some enigmatic borne by the nation? He did not wish, cal and oracular expressions, with regard and he should be among the last to pro- to the mode of proceeding to be pursued pose, any improper deference to what respecting the present bill; but he waited miglit appear to be popular clamour ; but with eager expectation for the disclosure an attention to, and a compliance with, of the noble secretary's sentiments on this the legitimate and reasonable wishes of head, but he had waited in vain. He the people, was, he thought, highly be trusted however that the House would coming the character and honour of their do its duty; that it would recollect the lordships. There might be, certainly, pains which the other House of Parliafrom disappointment, or from false views ment had bestowed upon the bill. That of the real state of things, or from delu- they would be mindful of the respect sion, persons in the country, whom they which was due to the other House, and might consider to be disaffected; but above all that they would not forget wbat that suspicion could not attach to the ge- the people expected from them on a point neral feeling of the public; and surely to which their feelings were now so sorely the refusal of that which it was fair and alive. On these grounds he trusted the right, and constitutional to grant, could House would give their full concurrence not be the best mode of resisting disaffec- to the present motion. After recalling to tion, to which, on the contrary, it would the attention of their lordships, that part give the best handle and pretext. He of his Majesty's speech, at the opening might be accused of using the language of the session, which related to economy, of intimidation in stating these sentiinents, the noble lord concluded by moving the but he had no such intention. It was not second reading of the bill. intimidation to state to the House of Lords The Lord Chancellor left the woolsack in what were the wishes and sentiments of consequence of and to reply to what had the people of this country, and to recom- fallen from the noble earl, who, without mend to them a disposition to conciliation meaning any thing disrespectful, he must by wisely acceding to these wishes. At say seemed not to have read the prethe present important period, after what the sent bill which was very essentially diffepublic had seen of the conduct of ministers rent from the other bills, that, on this subfrom the commencement of their admini- ject, had been sent up from the Commons, stration, their cry of No Popery in the being not a bill to abolish the grantiog of first instance; the various measures they places in reversion, but a bill to make alhad since pursued, either abroad, on their terations in the mode of granting them. expedition to Walcheren, and their reten. Such a bill, therefore, admitted the priotion of that island with such dreadful loss, ciple of granting reversions, and professed even after the retention of it was perfectly solely to regulate the way in which they unnecessary; or the way in which they had, for ages past, been constitutionally conducted the business of the govern | bestowed by the grace and favour of the ment at home, and disposed of the offices crown. His lordship then proceeded to which were in their hands; could the point out various inconsistencies in the public be satisfied with such means re- proposed operation of the bill, and conmaining in the hands of such ministers? tended, that according to its principles no He professed the truest and most loyal good reason could be assigned for ihe exrespect for the crown and for the constiiu- ception of certain offices from its operation. tion of the country, both of which he It was so constructed that it might forbid thought a measure of this description the grant of a reversion of 1001. a year, and tended not to impair, but to strengthen yet not forbid the grant of one of 1201. or and secure. Therefore upon the princi- 1501. a year, by not proceeding upon a ple of the bill itself, upon a regard to the proper specification of the reversions to be true interests of the crown, and up the abolished. The committee of the House

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of Commons had been sitting for a consi- , mained precisely the same thing as ever. derable time, and this bill was all that It then attacked all the most dignified and their lordships had yet heard of, respect. venerable institutions of the country: now ing any general system of economical re- it assailed the constitution and the priviform. He had no sort of objection to leges of parliament, but affected to respect every reasonable and practicable amelio- and venerate the throne. But their lordration ; but he liked to see his way clear ships might depend upon it, that the throne in such matters, and to know what he was itself must be enılangered, if it succeeded doing, before he should consent to an al- in its efforts against the privileges of parteration of existing establishments. There liament, which parliament possessed only were great difficulties in every way of for its own security and dignity, and for viewing the subject: but the last clause the sake of the people themselves. of the present bill rendered it quite im- Viscount Melville contended, that it was possible for him to avoid voting for its re- delusive to argue on any saving as a consejection, as it contained quite a new prin- quence of this measure, for the present. ciple, and that one of the most objection. The public had been told, that there had able that could be conceived; it pro- been of late an increase of places, by those posed that reversions should not be granted who made gross exaggerations, and inhereafter by the crown, but might be cendiaries would always be found to také granted in the event of an address from advantage of the popular prejudices, to either House of Parliament to the crown kindle the flame of discontent; but parliafor the granting such reversion. By ment was not to act upon feelings arising this means the patronage was, in fact, from such arts and insinuations. to be transferred from the sovereign to their duty to protect the House of Parliaeither House of Parliament. This was ment, and also to protect the third branch the sort of compliment which this bill in. of the constitution, against an attack made tended to pay to the sovereign-in whom under professions of respect for the crown. the right was constitutionally vested. He Had offices unnecessarily increased of late could see no possible public service to be years? He wished for an account of the obtained in a view of economy, certainly number of places held in reversion in 1760, not in a constitutional view, by such a and those so held at present, to see how bill.-As to what had been said about the that matter stood. He had seen a book conduct of ministers, about their coming on the subject, containing statements of into office, and the campaigns in Spain. reductions of places, &c. during this reign. and Walcheren, such was his opinion of All administrations had successively abothe importance of this bill, that if it was lished offices. In Mr. Burke's bill these imagined that it would turn out this weak grants were entirely omitted. In Mr. administration, as it was called, he could Pitt's administration, the pamphlet (Mr. only say, that in such a view of it, it Rose's) to which he had before alluded, would be as easy for a child to pull down shewed that great reductions took place. a mountain with its little tinger. Respect. Every administration had made similar reing the popular feelings and opinions, he ductions; the last had done so. Turning was confident that whatever they might be, round to lord viscount Sidmouth, he begtheir lordships could have but one mode of. ged pardon for having omitted to particu. conducton this occasion, as on every other ; | larize that noble lord's administration, namely to do, not that which a popular which had certainly done the same (a clanjour might call for, but to do that which laugh.) He would however caution noble in their hearts they believed to be right; lords against sanctioning the principles to act according to their own consciences, and arguments upon which the bill under and their own views. Disaffected persons consideration was brought forward for might exist, notwithstanding the excel their adoption. What, said the suplence of the constitution; and every one porters of it, can be more absurd than to who recollected what had passed during grant places to persons yet unborn, and the last 10 or 20 years must be impressed of whose capacity to fill such places no with a sense of what he owed to the gene- | idea could previously be formed ? - This ral welfare of the state, after seeing the objection the noble earl would do well'segreat and awful events that had occurred. riously to turn in his mind: their lordships Disaffection some years back proceeded should all give it a proper degree of atin a more direct way.

It had now

tention :--They would then see bow far it changed its mode of attack, but still re- went to affect their own hereditary honours

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and distinctions. The noble earl was de- / which their lordships would shew most restined to be a statesman-an hereditary ad spect to the opinion of the other House, viser of the crown before he was born; and and a proper attention to the feelings of who could have been certain beforc-hand the country. He condemned however that the noble earl would have have proved. the erroneous reasonings on which the such a light to that House, such an orna- noble lord compared the principle of ment to his country, as he now proved to granting reversions to that by wbich their be? Besides the high distinction of the lordships sat in that House, by hereditary peerage, the most splendid the sovereign right. He approved altogether of the obcould bestow, was often the reward of the ject of the measure now proposed, either brilliant and meritorious services of the ia in an economical or constitutional point of ther; and how could a father be more sa- view. This opinion was confirmed by a tisfactorily rewarded than by conferring former speech of the noble and learned favours and honours upon him which were lord on the woolsack, who, in relation to to descend to his immediate descendants his own department, had stated, that the and to his latest posterity. In the same practice of granting reversions in the time manner were places in reversion granted. of lord Thurlow, and even of lord NorthThe father's services were doubly re- ington was so frequent, that the noble and warded, by continuing the reward io his learned lord, during eight years of his son. Did not they vote pensions to chil chancellorship, and my lords Rosslyn and dren yet unborn, when they conferred Erskine, could scarcely get an opportunity grants for lives to those who performed of conferring any thing on those who had distinguished services to the country, such claims upon them by services or consanas lords St. Vincent, Duncan, &c. Would guinity. they admit the principle and claim its ex- Respecting sinecures and offices in reercise for either of the Houses exclusively. version, it had been maintained, that the Each might have in that case its favourite, legal rights and securities by which they and each might pass their votes for an ad- were held, were of a nature so similar to dress, and go scrambling in at the doors and those by which private property was poswindows and chimnies of the palace, to sessed by individuals, and that it was so see which of them should first present it! necessary to

hold sacred every right Could they do real service to the country which was legally given, that they could by taking from the crown the fountain of not with justice be affected to the injury of rewards and honours, its constitutional | the bulders. His lordship confessed that prerogative? He could never consent to in a full view of the case, he inclined pass a bill so erroneous, upon the plea of greatly to that opinion. Yet some of these pleasing the people. He was certain that offices could never have been expected to in any measure for the real relief of the produce the sums which, under the recent people, nothing could be more desirable circumstances of the nation, they had to the sovereign, than to do every thing produced to the occupiers, and it was nathat lay with him, yet, although he iural, therefore, that the public should thought the bill objectionable enough in look anxiously to their lordships promost of its provisions to be rejected at ceedings for some salutary regulation upon once, still he would suggest the propriety such subjects. For instance, he was in. of deferring a decision upon it for three formed ihat three offices held by three weeks or so, in order to see whether the noble lords, yielded an income to those other House of Parliament would furnish noble persons of no less a sym than 75,000.. any new grounds to justify its adoption. per annum. Lord Arden, Earl Camden

Earl Grey said, that this measure, so re- and the marquis of Buckingham. One of peatedly sent up to their lordships from them possessed by a noble lord opposite ibe House of Commons, deserved their lord Arden), was also granied in reversion most serious attention. Though he concur- in case of his survival to another, a near red in several of the observations that had relative of that noble lord (Mr. Perceval.) fallen from the noble lords who preceded Now,. upon the principle he had menhim, and though he was not friendly to the tioned, no bill of retrenchment, Mr, last clause which grounded the right of Burke's nor any other, could make any granting reversions on an address of either speedy alteration in such offices. With House of Parliament, yet he could see no respect to what the noble viscount had particular objection to its provisions that stated from a pamphlet lately published might not be removed in a committee, by by an eminent author (Mr. Rose) ; be was surprised that the noble lord should I disposition to relieve them of any part of argue upon the statements contained in it the heavy burthens they were obliged to as conclusive, upon the subjects of the re- bear. His lordship then noticed the diftrenchments made during the present ficulty with which the means of raising reign, and of the decrease of the patronage money was accompanied, to shew the neand influence of the crown. it would cessity of making all practicabie savings, require no great knowledge or trouble, if and instanced the case of the lottery, there were time for it, to expose the er

which with all its train of evil conseroneous and false statements and con. quences to the morals and babits of the clusions which that pamphlet contained. people, no minister had yet been prevail. How could any man seriously contend, ed upon to relinqirish. In the economical that this patronage had decreased, who reforms and retrenchments which had compared the taxes of tbe country at the been made, no administration that he had time of his Majesty's accession, with their yet known, had done all that it might, and present state, and considered the vast aug- ought to have done, in pursuit of such inentations of our immense naval and great objects. He did not, in this case, military establishments, and the unex. except even that administration of which ampled increase of the number of persons he composed one, though he must add, employed in the collection and adminis. that from the various circumstances in tration of the revenue? It was scarcely which they found themselves placed, they possible to doubt upon ibis subject. The had scarcely time to do more than to bequestion then before their lordships was gin such undertakings, and to offer some whether it was titring and expedient, that prospects to the country when they were the grant of places in reversion should be displaced. But he would add, that a for the future abolished. Should the future administration must take some more abolition of sinecures succeed, then this decisive and effectual sieps for this purpose bill would be perfectly innocent, and than had as yet been taken by any minisshould it not, then he contended that the try that had ever been in power. He bill would be beneficial. He had no he. | must conçur in what had been said of the sitation in saying that in all views of the virtues and merits of the sovereign; but he subject which he could take, he thought must deeply lament that his Majesty had their lordships ought to pass it.

such imprudent advisers, whose principles The noble lord then proceeded to com. of policy and government were so danment on the singular conduct of adminis- gerous, and might prove so fatal ; who tration respecting this bill. In the other look no warning from the terrible caHouse, the person who was at the head of lamities that by a vicious policy had the ministry said, he saw po good nor overwhelmed other countries. harm in the measure, and therefore he Respecting the state of the times, he gave it his support ; and yet when it came must say, that during bis political life he up to that House, ministers were ready to had not known the general state of the oppose it, though they avoided on such country, such as so seriouşly to call for occasions entering into any discussion upon attention, and even to excite apprehension. its merits. Why had they not all along Discontent had never been so generally taken an express and decided part? He prevalent as at the present moment. The considered the existing practice respect people might be indeed, and he believed, in ing reversions as an anticipazion of the some respects they were deluded on impormeans of the crown, and as weakening its tant public subjects; but he had still the just prerogatives; and the abolition of it, highest opinion of their good sense and paas giving the crown a much better oppor- triotism, and of the effect of conciliation and tunity of exercising its prerogative for any attention to their just wishes and feelings. purpose conducive to its own dignity or But what could they be expected to think the public welfare. He was confident, and to feel, when they witnessed the daily that ihere never was a subject of public conduct of the administration ; when they importance on which he had found so heard of reversions and sinecures being little difference of opinion in conversation defended as the means of enabling the with others, or from all he heard or saw of King to reward eminent services, and saw the public mind. He exhorted the House them bestowed for no such purposes, betherefore to pay this mark of attention to stowed in open opposition and violence to the public feeling: if it were but little, it all their known feelings when they saw

yet be a graceful indication of their even in the case of providing for those VOL. XVI.

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