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relatives of the sovereign whom the revolu- , offices in reversion; and as the present tions and calamities of war on the conti- session was so far advanced, let the House nent had driven to this country for an take full time at the commencement of asylum, that no attempt was made to de. the next, to consider what were offices the rive that support from any fund which grant of which in reversion it would be might prevent it from encreasing the expedient to abolish. public taxes and burthens : When they The Earl of Liverpool was surprised that saw that ministers advised their sovereign the noble earl (Grey) should have tbought against the most gracious exercise of his that the defects of the present bill could own prerogative, in administering relief be remedied in a committee; for if it from a fund adequate for the purpose; should go there for amendment, he was when their complaints were perfectly un- persuaded it would come out with scarceregarded; and when, from other circum- ly a single provision, similar to its prestances universally to be lamented, the sent state. He adverted next to the public situation of his Majesty was unfortunately dissatisfaction, and observed that whatsuch, that it was not certain whether pe- ever attacks were made upon him and his titions and representations reached the colleagues, when that question came to be royal ear, and when in fact every mea- discussed, he should be very ready to sure of government seemed calculated defend himself from such charges. The only more and more to oppose, insult, and noble earl had attributed the general disdisgust them? The great annual taxation content to the pressure of excessive taxaon the country he considered to be the tion. But he would ask, was not that root of the popular discontent ; and it taxation necessary? Must not our army behoved their lordships to do whatever lay and navy be extended in these times, in their power, by measures of a similar when all Europe, under the dominion of tendency with that now proposed, to al- one man, are arrayed in arms against us? leviate it, and conciliate the public feel. Besides, were we not to take into consiings. If it was little to: do, let it be done, deration, the encreased commerce and and give some proof that the House was riches of the country? If we were to not inattentive to the general wishes and estimate the proportion ofthe burthen and opinion of the country.
expence now, to the riches and commerce Viscount Sidmouth agreed with many of of the country at this period, and then the observations made by bis noble friend, compare them with a similar calculation and, was of opinion, that it might be made in king William's reign, he would advisable to abolish the power of grant- venture to say it would appear that tbe ing some offices in reversion. But he con- people now were richer and abler to bear tended that a great delusion had gone the burthens than they were in the reiga forth with respect to this measure : there he had mentioned. He wished that parwas much exaggeration on one side, and liament should state in any measure of clamour on the other; but the fact was this description of what offices they meant that the measure would take away nothing to abolish the reversion, and how far they froin the prerogative of the crown, nor in intended to carry this measure ; and then the least diminish the burthens on the he and others might form a decided opipeople. Such were his opinions; at the nion of its proprieiy. He concluded, by same time he had so high a respect for expressing his opposition to the present bill. the sentiment of the public, that he con- The Earl of Corysfort agreed with the sidered no blessing so great as when he noble secretary of state, that the last clause found his own conduct meeting the public was one that could not be maintained by approbation. He certainly approved of their lordships, but ought to be rejected. the principle of this measure, and would it was not only an infringement of the gladly see it carried into effect; yet al- prerogative of the crown, but also of that though he came down to the House for the of the parliament. His lordship entered purpose of giving this bill his support, from into a general review of the merits of the a perusal of its contents, and the obser. bill, and contended there was nothing in vations of his noble and learned friend on it to satisfy the discontents of the people; the woolsack, he was persuaded it would he allowed they were much depressed by not answer the end of removing the abuse. taxes, but he agreed with the noble earl Under the present circumstances, he (Liverpool) that the dire necessity of the would recommend that a bill be introduced times made them necessary. Under these to suspend till next session, the grant of considerations he would oppose the bill.
SE OF COMMONS.
Lord Redesdale hoped the noble earl, Mr. Martin was speaking upon the subwho moved for the second reading of the ject of this bill. He said, that if it was bill, would not press their lordships to a considered that, since the period when division. He would not enter largely into those Droits of Admiralty commenced, the the merits of the bill, as he opposed it on House had added more ihan 200 millions the grounds that their lordships should to the public debt, he thought it was not nut for a moment maintain its principle unreasonable to ask gentlemen seriously or give it countenance, by allowing it 10 to consider whether, out of the large sum pass a single stage.
of 5,200,0001. which appeared by the The question was then put, that the bill papers on the table to have accrued to be read a second time, which was ne- the crown, it would not be wise and pru-, gatived without a division.
dent to advise his Majesty to apply a sufThe other orders of the day were ficient sum to purchase the annuity for a then disposed of, and their lordships ad- prince so nearly allied to his family. He journed.
admitted, for the present, the strict legal right of his Majesty to the disposal of this fund in what manner he should judge
proper; but at the same time, when it Thursday, May 17.
was considered that his Majesty had a [Duke of BRUNSWICK'S ANNUITY Bill.] very large sum applicable to the expences On the order of the day for the third of his privy purse, which it was supposed reading of this bill,
would be principally applied to acts of Mr. Caleraft rose to remind the right royal munificence, and when so large an hon. gent. that a right hon. friend of his, addition was made to this fund by these not yet come to his place (Mr. Tierney). Droits of Admiralty, he could hardly have had given notice of his intention to divide expected that the House would have been the House upon the question for the third called on to relieve, out of the consolireading. His right hon. friend was ab- dated fund, so near a relative of his Masent, at this hour, only from an under- jesty. He begged that the ministers standing that the business would not come would seriously consider whether they on so soon; and therefore he hoped that would not be placing his Majesty in an the short delay, usual under the courtesy ungracious point of view, if they were to of the House, would be allowed on the advise him to apply no part of this fund present occasion.
to such a purpose ; but to throw the whole The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, incumbrance upon the country, which is that the other business of the day being at present so excessively burthened. now gone through, there was no alterna- The Chancellor of the Exchequer was as. tive, from the motion he had made, but tonished that the hon. gent. should still the question for adjournment. There was continue to repeat the sum of 5,200,0001. another subject upon which the right as the amount of the Droits of Admiralty, hon. gent. not now in his place, would as appeared by the paper, notwithstandhave full as good an opportunity of ex- ing all that had been already stated in the pressing his sentiments, and taking the House upon that subject. He should sense of the House ; namely, the Droits have recollected, that of this sum twoof Admiralty. But he had no objection thirds were applied, in the first instance, to withdraw his motion for the present. to remunerate the captors, and that there
Mr. Sheridan said, that his right hon. fore but one third of the sum, friend was with him in a Committee up 1,735,000l. could come to his Majesty. stairs, and was coming down to the House. Of this sum, also, it had been stated that
Mr. Calcraft did not wish the motion to his Majesty, two or three years ago, gave be withdrawn; nor should be, at this hour a million to the public service; and he of the evening, press any delay of the himself had stated more than once, that public business on account of the absence in the course of the last year between 3 of a member; but in the absence of his and 400,0001. more were given to the right hon. friend, he should certainly di- captors, for the value of the prizes taken vide the House upon the question for the at Copenhagen, which must otherwise be third reading of the bill.
paid for by the country. It therefore The House then divided on the third appeared, and that from the documents reading: For it, 41; Against it, 20.- then before the House, this sum of On the re-adımission of strangers into the 5,200,000l, had been reduced as low as gallery,
300,000l. The hon. gent. had only pro- might not be charged upon this fund? fessed to argue from the papers on the After the confession that there were table; and upon that paper, he therefore 70,000l. in the hands of the registrar, the met him, without pretending to give an point, as far as the reason of the thing accurate account of ihe amount of this went, was decided. He agreed as to the fund. He could not be called upon with- monstrous nature of the circumstance, out any notice to state accurately what that the crown should have the disposal part of this fund was now undisposed of. within a few years of eight millions of There were some other grants made out money, independent of Pariiament. There of this fund, in the time of Mr. Pitt's ad- had been formerly a question, whether ministration, but which he did not think the crown could accept of a voluntary it then necessary to state.
loan, &c. but the absolute command Mr. Creerey did not believe that it was without the controul of Parliament of this by any means a general practice for the sum was monstrous. All this had arisen crown to give two-thirds of those Droits from the change of things in this country, as a remuneration to the captors. In the to which we had not been always careful case of the capture of the Spanish frigates, to accommodate our institutions.
While he had good reason to believe that no the King paid his army and navy out of such proportion had been given. It had his own possessions, it was fair that he been, however, uniformly and expressly should have the disposal of whatever was stated, that in such cases it was mere captured. But when the country paid 19 matter of grace and royal favour whether millions for a navy, and about as much any thing should be given to the captors for an army, was it equitable that the or not. It was in this point of view that crown should have the proceeds of capo it had appeared to him so enormous, that, tures without the obligation of account: the crown should get hold of eight mil- Another objection to it was, that it was å lions of money, without rendering any ac- bounty upon injustice. The nation would count whatever of its disbursement to the be ashamed of improper captures from public.
focs or friends; but a minister of the day Lord Milion could not pretend to say might not scruple to procure large soms which of the two hon.gentlemen was right in this way. He adverted to the capture He had voted, however, against the bill, of the Spanish frigates, the greatest blot upon the idea that in the Droits of Admi- upon the administration of a right bon. ralty there were sufficient funds to pro- gent. now no more.
Such temptations vide the proposed pension, without im- ought not to be left upon any ministers. posing any fresh burthens on the country, He hoped the Droits of `Admiralty, by charging it upon the surplus of the would, at 'no distant period, be regulated consolidated fund. If, however, there by an act of Parliament, but, in the mean was not a sufficient, and by the gestures time, it was their duty to ascertain whe of the right hon. the Chancellor of the ther the present annuity might not be Exchequer, he would rather understand supplied from them, before they agreed that there was not a sufficient fund re- further to load the consolidated fund. maining of the Droits, his objections would, Mr. Lambe observed, that whenever the of course, be done away.
ministry came down to the House to proThe Chancellor of the Exchequer said, pose a provision for any part of bis Mathat he by no means meant, either by his jesty's family, that House always acted words or gestures, to signify that this fund with the greatest liberality. "It appeared could not afiord 70,0001. " which be be- to him, however, an extraordinary conlieved would be about the value of the trast to this liberality, that when the purchase of such annuity. It was, how- House was anxious for the passing a bill ever, impossible for him to avoid shewing to lighten in some degree the public some surprise, when, instead of 70,0001. burthens, by the suppression or regulafive millions was the sum which had first tion of useless sinecores and improvideat been spoken of.
reversions, this bill should always meet Mr.' w. Sinith said, that the question the most vexatious and pertinacious opponow was, whether the House should stop sition from a quarter whence no such opthe progress of the bill till the account of position ought to be expected. Droits of Admiralty could be examined Mr. Wibread regretted much the aband discussed; or pass the bill now, and sence of his right hon. friend (Mr. Tierney) discuss afterwards whether the annuity who had been detained so long in a Com. mittee above stairs, as to be prevented to his subjects at once at a moment when from being able to attend in time to give the chancellor of the exchequer, by the his opinion on this subject. He would, measure which he proposed last night, however, wish to propose to the right hon. confessed the difficulty of finding new gent. to postpone the further progress of sources of taxation, and when some (Mr. this bill for a few days, in order in the Huskisson and Mr. Rose) who had been intermediate time to ascertain what the in his confidence, whose knowledge of the state of the fund arising from Droits of subject was unquestionable, and who of Admiralty actually was at present. No- late had laid the foundation of a strong body objected to the annuity, and if it claim to the confidence and approbation should be found necessary to have re- of the country, had urged the strong and course to the consolidated fund, the last indispensable necessity of retrenchment ? resource of the country, he for one should When the right hon. gent. had resorted not object to its being charged upon that to the surplus of the consolidated fund, fund. But he would put it a little ad ve- to furnish the ways and means of the recundium to the ministers, whether, even year, a measure, which to say the least of out of regard to the crown itself, they it, he thought erroneous; was it shewing would not agree to the proposed delay. a proper regard to the dignity of the The right hon. gent. said, he did not re- crown ; was it dutiful or respectful to his fuse the production of the account re- Majesty, to advise him to come upon his quired; but then he refused to grant it in subjects for this 7,000l. a year, when lie time to consider, whether part of the fund himself had a fund out of which to pay it? might not be applied to the purposes of He hoped that what his hon. friend (Mr. this bill. The House had heard of sum Lambe) had said, would sink deep into of a million, granted out of this fund by the hearts of the members of thal House. his Majesty for the public service, and it All that was wanted, was, a delay till the was to be presumed from this paternal at state of the Admiralty fund could be as. tention to the interests of his people, that certained, and with that view he moved, he would not refuse any sums, that could That the debate be adjourned till this day be spared, for their relief, if he were pro- se'nnight. perly advised. They had also heard ihat The Chancellor of the Erchequer said, that his Majesty had, in his munificence, it was quite clear, and as far as he could granted several large sums to some of his perceive agreed on all hands, that the royal progeny; satisfied, no doubt, that sion could not be charged upon those the exigencies of their circumstances re- droits, but would most properly in the first quired such aids, and that if there had not instance be charged on the consolidated been this fund in existence, his Majesty fund. He should repeat what he had said must have called for aid from his Pårlias before more than once, that if the House, ment. It would be in the recollection of upon further examination into the nature gentlemen, too, that out of this fund a and 'amount of this fund, should think sum of 25,000l. had been granted to sir proper to address his Majesty to grant Home Popham ;, and he also heard that 70,000l. or a 'much larger sum to be transa money was granted for defraying the ex. ferred to the consolidated fund for the pences of the return of a governor-general public service, it would be just as easy for from a distant settlement. By a particular them to do it after this question was disact of Parliament, his Majesty was em- posed of; and it appeared to him, that powered to dispose by will of his private such an address would go with a better property. At the time that this act was grace at a future time, as it would not appassed, it certainly was not in the con- pear so directly like asking his Majesty to templation of the legislature that such a pay an equivalent for a grant which was sum as eight millions could by possibility supposed to proceed from the liberality of thus get into the possession and remain at parliament. the disposal of the crown. If this fund The House then divided on Mr. Whitwas not exhausted, he did not know any bread's Amendment, Ayes 37 ; Noes 65; stronger claim that could be made upon Majority 28. it, than to make good this annuity. He Mr. Tierney shortly after came into the would ask, then, whether it was wise, House, and apologized for being absent whether it was candid or affectionate to. after having given notice that it was wards his Majesty, to advise him to over- his intention to oppose the 'bill. The look this fund, and for this purpose apply fact was, that he was detained to a late
hour in a committee up stairs, (the bul | those who accepted them—that in truth a lion committee), and that he imagined that brand or mark was fixed upon them. another question (the finance resolutions), Therefore, those offices instead of conferwhich was likely to take up some time, ring honour, the people so much revolled would come on before it. He gave notice against them, actually attached a stigma. now, that he should, on the first open day, To take away that stigma, then from the move for a general account of the droits of fair objects of public bounty, it was necesadmiralty ; his object was to ascertain sary that a fund should be created in lieu whether there was not a sum of 70,000l. of ihose sinecures, and also to remove the disposable ; and if there was, he intended anomaly which belonged to the very prioto move an address to his Majesty to grant ciple of baving officers in the receipt of the said sum to the consolidated fund. He salaries without any duties annexed to also wished to know from the Chancellor them, After panegyrizing the system of the Exchequer when he intended to upon which our revenue was collected, bring in the bill for providing for the in which he contended was much cheaper terest of the loan.
than that of any other nation in Europe, The Chancellor of the Exchequer answer the hon. gent. proceeded to press upon ibe ed, that he would, perhaps, bring it in to attention of the committee the propriety morrow.
of establishing every practicable degree Mr. Tierney then expressed his intention of economy. It was with that view he to oppose the principle of the bill upon particularly recommended the adoption of the second reading; as it appeared to him ihe resolution. He would not be underto be not only wrong, but a violation of stood to expect that by any measure of faith to the public creditor, to throw this this nature the clamour of certain persons interest upon the consolidated fund. could be satisfied. Those persons were
[Finance ResolutIONS Sinecure not in fact to be satisfied by any thing Places.] The House having, on the mo- which that House could or ought to contion of Mr. Martin, resolved into a com- cede. This he was extremely sorry to see.
the third report of the finarice But it never could be argued that, because committee,
certain factious persons put forward extraMr. Bankes rose and moved the reading vagant demands, that House should not do of the second resolution, which being read what was reasonable — that parliament accordingly, the hon. gent. expressed his should not accede to whatever was fit and intention of moving an amendment. It proper for the public welfare. These had been observed by many gentlemen, clainours had their flux and reflux, but it that sinecure offices ought not to be abo- was notorious that they had no influence lished until some other fund should be upon the proposition under discussion, created, from which his Majesty might be whicb, in fact, so far as regarded the aboenabled to make that provision for long lition of sinecures, had its origin before and efficient public services which those such clamours were heard. He trusted, occasions afforded. Now, the object of therefore, that whatever might be the conhis proposed amendment would be to cou- duct of the factious, the Committee would ple the abolition of sinecures with the sub- never lose sight of the propriety of constitution of such a fund—and in doing so, sulting the wishes and cultivating the be hoped to render the measure of aboli- good disposition of the sound and rational tion more acceptable to his right hon. part of the community, who would, he had friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, no doubt, be materially conciliated by the and to the committee. Indeed, he thought adoption of a measure so long and so unthat the substitution would take away all animously called for-that of the aboliobjections to the abolition, while there tion of sinecure offices. It would be precould be no doubt of its being more agree- posterous to oppose to such a desirable able, not only to the country, but to such measure any idea of reverence for old esta. meritorious officers as were entitled to re- blishments, for it was impossible that these ward. For the real fact was, thạt sine- sinecure offices could have been originally cures bad fallen so much into disgrace, established without any duties attached 10 perhaps from their misapplication, but them. The committee would in fact only certainly from a general suspicion that repair the injuries of time by abolishing they were disposed of rather according to such offices. He therefore hoped for a the influence of favour than of merit, that general acquiescence in his motion, which a certain degree of disrepute attached to was grounded upon the principle of mode