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rate reform, and which, while it did away places of this description, stated that it obnoxious offices, would establish a fund was not the opinion of that gentleman that in their room, calculated to answer every all sinecure offices should be abolished. object which those who pleaded for the The hon. gent. who proposed the amendexistence of such offices professed to have ment had not stated any substitution for in view. The honourable member con- the places abolished, nor had he indeed cluded with proposing the amendment he informed the House at what time the abohad described.
lition was to take place. He had seemed Mr. Martin said, he should have been to consider that in the distribution of the desirous to have abolished entirely all offices there were great abuses, and that sinecure places; but as he was anxious the crown had influence sufficient. But to gain something, rather than lose all, he when the House should consider the difwould accede to the amendment proposed ference in the value of money now and at by the bon. geotleman (Mr. Bankes.) the time when his Majesty came to the The right hon. the Chancellor of the Ex- throne they would find the influence of the chequer had said, that the House should crown had derived very little accession not interfere without being able to do from the disposal of the sinecures. It did something effectual, He allowed the posi- not appear that the hon. gent. had furtion, because he thought it was high time nished a sufficient argument for the abothey should do something effectual; for lition, because though persons might have the House had been upwards of thirty done little service to the state, still they years promising the people a relief or al. deserved reward. He entirely differed jeviation from ihese burdens, and yet, let from him in the idea that civil servants who would bring forward the subject, no- should not be rewarded with sinecure ofthing had been done in it. He thought fices, on the contrary he conceived that the hon. gentleman had founded his reso- none but civil servants ought to be relutions on those of Lord North in 1782 ; warded in that manner. For instance and though he differed in opinion as to the would it be correct to have rewarded such effect, yet he was willing to support the a man as lord Nelson with the place of hon. gent's. resolutions, because, as he be- auditor of the exchequer ? fore said, he would be willing to obtain a Lord Althorpe would support the amendlittle rather than to do nothing. He had ment, although his opinion was rather in however, a very great objection to the sys- favour of the original resolutions. He Aem of rewarding public services, by sine- asserted that the influence of the crown cure places, because the crown was not had increased insomuch that in order to conscious of what it gave; and to pre- preserve the balance of the constitution vent the servants of the public from it was desirable that that influence should being too profusely rewarded, it would be reduced. Therefore the total abolibe inore satisfactory to the parties re- tion of sinecures would more readily meet quiring reward for public services, to his approbation. As a means of rewardhave the reward defined, than to have it ing meritorious services, which was the conferred in the way in which it was now alledged plea for the existence of these done. And as the national debt had in- sinecures,' he thought them peculiarly creased in a degree beyond all imagina- unsuitable, and ‘for two reasons ; first, tion, it was the duty of the House to lessen because, when the meritorious service these burthens as much as possible. There should recur which called for reward, it was one circumstance which struck him was improbable that a sinecure office most forcibly, which was, that where a would be vacant; and, secondly, because, person of large hereditary fortune had it was improbable that such office would done meritorious services, he ought not be a fit reward for such service. surely to expect the same degree of re- Mr. W. Smith said, that all the House muneration as a person who had dedicated was at present bound to do was, to consi. his whole life without any fortune of his der the advantages resulting from both own to support him, save only his own ex- plans, and to do something that would ertions and superior talents. Under these make matters better than they are at this circumstances, being desirous to obtain the moment. Notwithstanding what had just best relief he was able, he should support been said by the right bon. gent. who the resolution of the hon. gentleman. spoke last but one, he could not conceive
Mr. Long, in allusion to the opinion of the reason why naval and military serMr. Burke with respect to the abolition of vices should not be rewarded from sinc., cure offices. It would certainly be an al- | present measure, which would convince leviation of the public burdens; and the the people that, whether great or small
, only advantageous ground that ministers the economy of government was directed had to stand on was, that it was a custom to prevent any imprudent waste of money, which had long prevailed that they should which, by being restrained would lessen altogether be applied to civil services. the faxes. It had been said, that ail He thought it most extraordinary, thatatter ollicers attached to the crown, and princes giving a sinlecure office of 2,7001, a year of the blood, should be spared in this reto a right hon. gent. (Mr. Yorke) that form; but he had no hesitation in say. same person should, in a very short time ing, that the dignity and bonoor of the afterwards, be appointed to one of the crown would be more effectually con first offices under the government, viz. sulted in attaching the affections of the that of first lord of the admiralty. If the people, than by pensioning 12 lords of the right hon. gent. had been rewarded with a bed-chamber at 1,000l. a year, who had pension, be thought it would have been votes in the other House, and generally otherwise. It had been said on this sub. voted one way. Were they without sa ject, that these sinecures were originally lary, would the splendour of the crown be intended, not only as rewards for services diminished, or the character of these performed, but as marks of the sovereign's noble lords lowered in public estimation ? favour. He would, however, be bound Mr. Bastard declared it absolutely neto say, that from the Norman conquest cessary in consequence of the extended pa. to the present moment, there was no tronage of the crown, and of extended burone reign in which this sort of favouritism, thens of the people, to follow up the whenever exerted, was not unfortunate. principle of retrenchment in every deWhat, he asked, had become of the partment of the state. There was a fer60,0001. a year granted for the privy purse ment abroad; and the surest way to disof his Majesty, which was intended to be arm those actuated by improper hopes for the very purpose of enabling his Ma- was to afford reasonable indulgence to the jesty to confer marks of his favour in re- great body of the people. The ferment warding public services; yet on every existing had not a stronger source of supoccasion which had since occurred, where ply than in the thought, that whilst compublic services were to be rewarded, this mittees of that House were suggesting 60,0001
. a year, instead of being applied many plans of economical reform, as atto that purpose, had been expended, no one solutely necessary, the House was in the knew how; and in the reward of public uniform habit of not only not attending services ministers had uniformly applied to to, but of actually over.ruling their sugparliament for grants from the civil list. gestions. He concluded with observing, When the crown granted the office of re- that even if the House was not inclined to gistrar of the admiralty to the right hon. be honest from principle, the time was gent.'s (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) now come when it should be so from nefather, it never could have imagined that the cessity. fees would amount to the enormous sums it
Mr. Wharton said, the retrenchment of now did, from the circumstance of the navy sinecures would not lessen in any extent of England taking prizes from every nation worth notice, the burdens of the people. in the world that sent ships to sea; and It was therefore on the principle alone that it was certainly extravagant beyond mea. the matter was worth discussing. He obsure, that such an office should be con- jected to the present resolutions, because tinued further than the life of the present they abolished one source of reward, and remaining reversioners. He contended said they would substitute another, which that the principle on which the present other they did not define. In opposition resolution was founded, was not new, but to the noble lord and hon. gent. opposite had been acted upon through a long series (lord Althorpe and Mr. Smith) he asserted, of years ; and, in support of his opinion, that the influence of the crown, so far quoted several acts of resumption in many from having increased, had decreasedreigns. Novelty could not, therefore, be (Shouts of hear ! hear! from the Opposiurged against the measure. The neces- tion.) He defended this assertion, on the sity for abolishing sinecures, arose from ground that though the patronage of the the severe pressure of the public burdens. crown had increased double since 17$8, These could only be reduced by lowering in consequence of the increased expendithe annual expenditure, and not less by the ture, yet that it was not in a greater propor
tion to the wealth and population of the , and to receive the salaries of three offices. country, on which it had now to operate. (It was here whispered to Mr. Whitbread In proof of this, he took the value of land that he did not take the salary of Chanand of trade, and thence deduced, that cellor of the Exchequer). He begged the wealth of the nation was in propor- pardon; he really had only just heard tion of five to one, to what it had been in what he was before unacquainted with, 1782.
that the right hon. gent. had declined, by Mr. Whilbread said, the speech of the a minute of the treasury, receiving the hon. and learned secretary of the treasury emoluments of the Chancellorship of the was a repetition of what he understood Exchequer; he had not been before in. was said by him over and over again in formed of the fact, and therefore it was not the Committee-room up stairs. Indeed it to be wondered at that he had made the was more applicable to any other subject mistake. The option of such emoluments than to the one on which it was intro- ought not, however, to be left to any man, duced; it would suit a discussion upon and in his opinion, as well for their in. the assize of bread much better, than a tegral impropriety as for their lately indebate on the propriety of this restriction curred disgrace, sinecures themselves of the grants of the crown. With respect ought to be altogether abolished. To to these sinecures the country had but one prove the gross misapplication of those opinion: from the system of favouritism sinecures he had only to state that Mr. pursued and the abuses visible in the way Yorke had got 2,700l. a year, and lord in which they were conferred, scarce a Wellington only received 2,000l. Thus man out of the doors of that House could it was court favourites were rewarded; be found their advocate. They were not even above those whom ministers themsuited to the taste of the army, nor to the selves decided to have merit. He wished navy; but in the language of the hon. before he sat down, totally to disapprove secretary, they were fitted for the civil de- of the distinction which the learned genpartment that was for such efficient pub. tleman who spoke last, seemed to make lic servants as the learned secretary him- between the King and the people; they self.-Mr. Whitbread next adverted to the were one and indivisible, and the King's grant recently made to Mr. Yorke, and best interests depended on and sprung contended that the public were not alone from the people. disgusted with such grant, but that from The Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed such an illustration every sinecure grant with the hon. gent. as to one point, that became an object of public aversion. the interests of the King and people were Such opinions had been expressed in that the same. With respect to the proHouse very generally, and he had him-positions brought forward, he considered self heard the present secretary for Ireland one of them as wholly useless. The adop. (Mr. W. Pole) and a colonel (Wood) of tion of it would effect nothing in point of one of the Middlesex regiments of militia economy, and do but little towards the distate, that for their public services, when- mipution of prerogative. The proposition ever it should be thought fit to reward he alluded to was, that which declared them, they would never condescend to that the remuneration of services by pentake a sinecure oflice. Numerous were sion, was preferable to that by sinecure the evil effects, arising from such grants, offices. He could not adopt his hon. and not the less considerable one was that friend's distinction, that pensions were these sinecures prevented the necessary more honourable than sinecures. He was increase of salary to the great efficient persuaded that such a change would not offices of the state. What for instance abate one particle of the clamour that was the argument advanced in the favour was so industriously excited against the of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when latter. The gentlemen opposite would it was in contemplation to give him the quarrel with pensions just as they did with Chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster sinecures. Did any man believe that this for life? It was then contended that the
was the way to please and content the salary of the first office was not a suffici- people, or appease the clamour, which ent remuneration for the discharge of its those who declaim against sinecures, as duties. It was however to be presumed, stigmatising the individuals who accepted now that the same right hon. gent. was of them were too apt to increase? He dealso first lord of the treasury, that he would fended the appointment of Mr. Yorke, not condescend to take that of the duchy than whom a more honourable man did
not exist; and contended that this ap- / whose sentiments would be suspected; pointment had cast no odium on the sys. but he would rather consent to be plundertem of rewarding services by grants of ed of his property than to give up his lisinecure places. As for his emoluments, berties. He thought this one of those if it would afford the hon. gent. any otherwise indifferent propositions, by pleasure, he could inform him that Mr. which it was possible, by agreeing to it Yorke had, in consequence of holding the to separate those who felt well-grounded office of teller of the exchequer, relinquish- discontent from those who pretended to ed the 2,000l. a year additional granted du- feel so. The motion, therefore, bad his ring the administration, of which Mr. T. support. Grenville formed a part, to that gentleman, Mr. Canning maintained that the fabrie as first lord of theadmiralty.--He was not of the monarchy could never be supported for his own part disposed to agree in the except the throne was surrounded, not assertion that that House never could be merely by a decent but a gorgeous splenbackward in liberally rewarding public dour. He was persuaded the offices, services. Why, those were the very which bis bon. friend proposed to abolish services respecting the remuneration of could not be touched without vital danger which an impartial decision could never to the constitution. Something however be expected from the House. It was im- should be done with the Report. The possible that gentlemen could agree to House should either concur in the propo. reward those whom they were in the habit sitions contained in it, or negative them
of opposing for a number of years, and altogether. His objection to the propo· whose acts they reprobated or aflected to sition of his hon. friend, was that he adopi.
condemu as the cause of whatever cala- ed only half of the plan recommended by milies might have befallen the country. I the Committee. He could not, however, He protested too against the position laid withhold his assent from the principle of down by his hon. friend (Mr. Bankes), the resolution. He believed, that the obthat an office granted under the great jection on the score of public odium was seal might be resumed. The admission much exaggerated ; and he was also per cf such a principle would shake the foup suaded, that the power of disposing of dation of all property. It might as well sinecure ofiices never bad been abused to be said, that ihe donation lands granted the extent which had been asserted. He by Henry the 8th to the ancestors of the could not see how it was possible to pro. duke of Bedford might be cancelled at vide by any legislative measure that the this day, because they became infinitely salaries of sinecure offices should merge more valuable than the original donor in whenerer the person enjoying them should tended. There were only two ways in be improved in his circumstances.
Such which the proposition could come recom- a hint urged as an argument ad retemended, with regard to its economical cundiam night be employed, but he did effect, and as it might diminish the prero. not see, how it could be applied, to gative. Of the former the House had no establish a right to inquire into a person's proof whatever before it; as to the latter | private affairs. In cases of returning ta he was persuaded, the same objections public service, it was otherwise. That would apply to pensions that were urged frequently occurred in the instances of against sinecures. Upon these grounds ambassadors to foreign states, and the he should feel bound to oppose the Re. office of lord chancellor. He agreed with solution as not likely to give satisfaction his right hon. friend as to the futility of in any point of view.
leaving the remuneration of public services Lord Milton was of opinion, that the to the House of Commons. It would not resolutions of bis hon. friend deserved the be merely unadvisable, but dangerous in support of the House. He thought, if they the extreme that it should exclusively pose were carried, they would do away a great sess such a power. Such was not the plan deal of public scandal. A sinecure when of his hon. friend. It appeared to be his once granted must be conferred anew intention, that the source of remuneration when it became vacant, whether there should still remain in the crown, but that was or was not a deserving person ready the channel through which it was to flow to receive it. This was not the case with should be changed that it should be done a pension. As to the influence of the by pension instead of sinecure. He was crown, he thought it had increased in a of opinion that the objection respecting Very rapid degree. He was not person limitation of service as a claim to rema. neration might be easily got over. He hereafter on the strength of the amenda did not view the proposition as trenching ment proposed by the hon. mover, to form on the prerogative of the crown. He con- a fund for the reward of public services, sidered himself, however, no farther bound to be at the disposal of the crown, in lieu by his vote than to entertain the propo- of these exceptionable sinecures. But, sition. Whether he might hereafter as. let the committee consider a little the sent to it wbolly, or in part, would depend grounds on which the right hon. the on the view in whicli it would be pre- chancellor of the exchequer treats this po. sented to him.
sition. He considers it on two grounds : Mr. Peter Moore then rose and said, first, as to the quantum of saving to the However unwilling I am to trouble the public after a substitute shall have been committee at this late hour, on a question established; and, secondly, how far it too which has so often been debated, and will diminish the influence of the crown. therefore almost precludes the possibility Now, as to the first point, the right hon. of introducing novelty, I must neverthe- gent. makes it a matter of calculation. less throw myself on the patience and in- I am glad of it, because, then, though dulgence of the Committee for a very contrary to his general position, the right short time. It will be in the recollection hon. gent, subscribes to the propriety of of the Committee, that when my hon. and conceding this obnoxious source of exlearned friend (Mr. Martin) originally penditure to the people, and removing the introduced to the House his propositions, odium in which it is justly held. He is, arising out of the Third Report of the however, pleased to contend, that subject Committee of Finance, I declared my opi- to this eperation, when the substitute has nion, in the most decisive and unqualified been formed, the residue will be so very terms, that as his propositions did not go small, that it could not be an object worfar enough, inasmuch as they did not go thy the experiment. I hope, in these to an absolute and positive abolition of times, every retrenchment, however small, these sinecures, I could not support them; when retrenchment is become necessary, of course, finding that the propositions and has been so loudly demanded, will now before the Committee, brought for- not be lost sight of; as a great number of ward by the hon. gent. on the floor (Mr. small savings will soon form a consider. Bankes) even fall far short of my learn able aggregate; and it ought to be ime ed friend's, it cannot be expected that material to the public and to the Com. they will meet my support. They can- mittee from whence they are derived, not, Sir. I will not be content with any provided the aggregate be realized. Now, measure that shall fall short of complete Sir, let me suppose that aggregate formed, abolition; because I feel and know the by economical contributions, 3 or 4001. whole of this expenditure to be a direct from one place, 2 or 3000 from another, waste of the public property; and, so ready for public appropriation. If we feeling, I shall ill discharge the duty I cannot have millions thus accumulated, as owe to my constituents in particular, and we ought to have, let us have hundred to the state at large, if I countenance the thousands, or fifty thousands, or even less continuance of an expenditure of this de- sums, and then let the House avail themscription. No, Sir; it is my duty to selves of (by rigidly applying) the conpress and to insist on the abolition; and it gratulations of yesterday on the very adis the just expectation of the public, who vantageous terms on which the loan of the have repeatedly and firmly demanded it, year has been contracted for. According by petitions and humble applications for to those terms, every 40,000 guineas and a series of time past, that they should be a small fraction of this aggregate of our relieved from these burthens. In the savings, will exonerate the public burprinciple of this expectation, I am glad to thens on the people to the amount of a find that the House are generally agreed ; million sterling. 'I have no doubt, that for, except the right hon. the chancellor the abolition of these sinecures, would of the exchequer, and the hon. gent. (Mr. produce some millions in this way; and Wharton) who sits near him, as far as the I have no hesitation in saying, the public avowed sentiments of individual members have a right to demand it, as they have can authorise such a conclusion, there ap- | done, and to expect il, in common juspears to be no objection to the abolition, rice, from the fidelity of their trustees in provided the Committee agree to some this House, in relief of their own heavy kind of substitute which is to be proposed burthens. These, then, would form no