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were fond of perplexity, and dealt in diffi- grant any office in reversion or to two or cultjes, whose minds were not only capa- more persons with benefit of survivorship ble of conceiving, but of maintaining such until six weeks after the commencement an absurd and incomprehensible quibble. of the next session of parliament.” To him it appeared, that, if the act for ren- Mr. Secretary Ryder, as one of those to dering perpetual the suspending act had whom his hon. friend had made his appassed, it would have been impossible for peal, felt it his duty to state the ground of the practice to have been renewed. That, ac- his opposition to the resolution. The hon. cording to any sound principle of reasoning, gent. had said that his motion was the would have been the operation of the mea: same as that which had passed nem. con. sure. Could any man possibly suppose that in August 1807. But if his recollection the bill would not have been a perpetual was right, that address of 1807 had been prohibitory measure? At least, those who voted, after the rejection in the Lords of a opposed the principle could not entertain bill which passed that House for the una contrary opinion; because, if they had limited restriction of the granting places in any impression upon the subject, it must reversion. This had, therefore, been taken be that they were afraid it would fully for the purpose of giving effect to the prinaccomplish its object. The bill which ciple upon which that House had agreed. had been sent up from that House, had He felt then an objection to the mode of had, he was happy to say, the assent and proceeding by Address; and the only support of the Speaker, and was worded reason that operated in his mind in not and framed in the same manner as all bills opposing it was, that it was at the time for rendering suspending acts perpetual, the only practicable mode of preventing of which there had been two striking in the granting of places in reversion. But stances during last session. He wished, what was the fact now? Was this the however, fairly to state to the House, that, close of the session? Was there no other if not for the peculiar circumstances of mode of accomplishing the object the hon. the case, he should never have assented to gent. had in view? They had every reathe bill of 1808, framed as it had been. son to believe, from what was known of He had entertained hopes that the spirit of sentiments expressed in another place, conciliation manifested by the House of that, if they should pass a limited bill, it Commons, would have given an opportu-would meet the concurrence of the other nity for the absurd and unfounded appre- House. Such a bill would answer the end hensions which existed elsewhere on this of the hon. gent. as effectually as an Ad. subject, to subside. Finding, however, dress; and, unless his hon. friend should the contrary to be the case, and that there state more satisfactory grounds for his pro. existed a determined principle to resist position, he should prefer the proceeding every measure designed to prevent the by bill. It was a principle universally grant of reversions; finding that there was admitted, that that House should be very no chance that a bill for that object would cautious of legislating for the country at pass the other House, it appeared to him large, except in cases of absolute necesthat the only constitutional course which sity. He could refer for an illustration of remained, was to vote an address to his this principle to the long parliament, and Majesty, as in the year 1807, and then to the calamities entailed upon the country bring in a bill for carrying the principle by its attempt to legislate for the mo. into effect. It might be said that the narchy upon its own authority. He present motion was not brought forward hoped, therefore, that his hon. friend at the close of a session as the former was, would not press his motion; at least, not and that, therefore, there would be full until he should try the experiment of a time to bring in a bill, such as that of bill, and find, that this would be the only 1908. But under all the circumstances of practicable mode of atraining his object. the case, he thought the proceeding by But if his hon. friend should not withdraw address the proper course; and it would his proposition, in order to give an opporbe for the right hon. gent. opposite to ex- tunity to bring in a bill, he trusted that plain the grounds of opposition to that the House would decide against it. course, which they had approved of in the Lord A Hamilton thought, that some former case. The hon. gentleman con.
unfortunate fatality hung over every meacluded by moving, “ That an humble Ad. sure introduced for the purpose of resirictdress be presented to his Majesty praying ing the granting of places in reversion. that he would be graciously pleased not to To be consistent with themselves, and, if actuated by any desire to promote the in- , ceive his Majesty likely to give to sych an terests of the country, ministers were address, was, that he would leave the bound to give effect to those measures of matter altogether to the discretion of his economy recommended in the speech faithful Commons. In that case, the House from the throne the first session after they could proceed effectually with the bill, as came into power. But, when he consi. such consent would do away all the ob. dered their conduct hitherto, he could see jections entertained in another place. no ground for reliance upon them for any Sir J. Neroport objected to a bill for sus. such measures. He was sure that the pending the granting of reversions, bez House of Commons was not in the slight cause it had already been made an arguest degree disposed to any improper at ment against passing a bill in perpetuity; tempt to legislate for the country at large. and the ottener bills of suspension were If this question should be got rid of by a passed, the stronger would that argument division, it would be impossible that ihe become. Those who favoured the sus, country should not conceive an unfavour pension, wtre in general those who were able opinion of the objects of that House, enemies to the abolition; and he would and of the sincerity of his Majesty's mi- rather prefer the measure of the hon. gent. nisters respecting measures of economy. who originated this business, and whom
There was one reason, indeed, which made he believed, to be sincere and interested it imperative upon them to carry into ef- for its success, than that of those, who, fect the principle of this proposition; from his heart, he thought, were hollow namely, that the great, efficient, and per. and deceitful in their professions. manent obstacle to all plans of economy, Mr. B. Bathurst thought either of the in any of the public departments, arose modes would produce the same effect; from the existence of grants of offices in but as he deemed the proceeding by a reversion. Though the prevention of such bill to be more constitutional than that by grants might not in itselt be a very mate- an address he would vote for a bill. rial reform, it would be an effectual step Mr. Peter Moore said, the subject was to that object which the House hau in of great national importance, and he must view, and which was distinctly recognized beg leave to offer his
supportin resolutions then before them, founded ing the motion.—The measure itself, of on the third report of the Committee of preventing the grant of reversions, he said, Finance:
though most important, was one of the Mr. R Dundus said, that the question most unfortunate that ever came before was not as to the principle of not grant- the House for discussion ; that although it ing reversions, but whether they should had had a great many nurses, it was pass a bill for that purpose or move an ad stunted in its growth, and although surdress? and when that question was put to rounded and protected by a host of friends him, he had no hesitation in preferring and guardians, he saw no prospect of its the mode of bill as the more constitutional ever arriving at maturity.-Nor was this mode.
the only dreary conclusion which he drew Mr. S. Bourne had always been, and from this unfortunate case ; he felt it as a was still, a friend to the principle of re- full manifestation of the general result of stricting the grant of places in reversion. all the labours of the Finance Committee, He should prefer, however, the mode of and in this he was amply supported by proceeding by bill.
the reception with which their several Mr. Lambe was of opinion that the pass- detached Reports had hitherto been met by ing of bills of suspension would cut up al- the administration of the country; absotogether the ground of the principle from lutely rendering all their efforts and under their feet. He was one of those struggles in behalf of the public nugatory who objected to these suspending mea- and useless; thereby converting the Com- . sures, and thought, that in justice to mittee into a masque for all the mischiefs their own principle, they should pass the and abuses in the financial department. prohibitory bill.
Mr. Muore said, he should now recall to Mr. D. Giddy was of opinion, that it the attention of the House, the several Rewould not be a breach of the privileges ports litherto made by the Finance Comof that House to address for permission to mittee, in support of the position he had restrict this branch of the prerogative, and laid down. This was absolutely necessary, to obtain the consent of the crown to this in order to remind the House of the situmeasurę. The only answer he could con. ation in which they stood, and to poigt out the prospect the public had to expect y of remembrancer in the court of exche. from the continued labours of the Finance quer, in which, no doubt, the most active Committee, on which so much expectation vigilance may now be expected in process had been formed, so much anxious hope against other defaulters, because he has entertained in the public mind ; and thus, himself, the great mover of all, been by contemplating what had been done, studiously spared. But, what do the the House and the country would form House now fiud as one of the direct consome judgment of what was likely to be sequences ? They have now Reports bedone. The Finance Comınittee, he said, fore them of other great defaulters holding had now sat three years, during which the important offices, of great trust, of time, they had made four Reports; to pay master to the marines, and treasurer these he should now advert.—The first of the ordnance department. What the was on the subject of a large sum of exact sum of the balance of the former is, money which had been taken from the he did not know ; as it was in a departcash, voted by the House and appro- ment which had uniformly reserved pecupriated to the payment of the army, by niary management, to their own exclusive one of the paymasters-general, confessedly jurisdiction, and made no reports to the on false public pretences, and which he House, though often required ; but there had applied to his own private purposes. was a strong presumptive evidence that This officer was also a member of the the object was of no very trifling consiprivy council, and the king's remem- deration, as the admiralty board had brancer in the exchequer, whose especial proceeded much further against Mr. Vilduty it is, regularly to report periodi-liers, than the treasury board had done cally, and put in regular process against against Mr. Steele, and had actually . all persons defaulting, and holding in proceeded to bestow Mr. Villiers's trust their hands the public money. Let the on another gentleman, a member of the House also recollect the very inauspicious House, although the rumours in circulasituation in which this Report was re- tion were, that Mr. Villiers had not been ceived ; that it was actually laying on well treated.---As to the sum in the hands the bar of the House, ready to be brought of the treasurer of the ordnance, it is up to the table, when the usher of the stated in a Report on the table to exceed black rod knocked at the door, to an- 90,0001. without any securities : of which nounce the dissolution of parliament, and, sum, Mr. Moore said, he had been informlet it not be forgotten under what circum- ed no less than from 27,0001. to 30,0001. stances that dissolution was effected. Here had been in this treasurer's hands ever he should only add, that that violent since he quitted the office on the change measure aggravated the responsibility of in administration in 1805 ; and he de. ministers for every other plan and mea sired to repeat this information the more sure which they have since pursued, and especially for the attention of the Chanmade it the more immediately incumbent cellor of the Exchequer, (the Chancellor on them, when this first Report of the of the Exchequer at this moment came Finance Committee did reach this House, ) into his place), who perhaps had not be10 support the Committee in the recovery fore heard it, with a view to excite his of the public property; and to mark the active attention to the immediate recovery conduct of the public officer guilty of of it, seeing, that in general, the older a this flagrant breach of public trust, with debt grows, the hope of recovery becomes such exemplary process and punishment, the more desperate. Now, said Mr. as his own undeniable and undefensible Moore, I humbly contend, that if a public conduct had called for, with the further prosecution had been instituted against design and view of preventing any similar the right hon. Thomas Steele, in the first practice in other departments. But what instance, as it ought to have been, with a (said the hon. member,) has been done ? view to public example, most probably The public money has indeed, after eight the House would never have heard of the or nine years of importunity supported defaults of Mr. Villiers, Mr. Hunt, and by this Report, been recovered ; but no others; nor the public property have been one step has been taken to vindicate the in danger and in hazard, if not wholly insults offered to the law, and to the lost. But said he, I shall conclude what official trusts of the public : Mr. Steele I have to say on this first Report of the still remains a member of the privy coun- Finance Committee, by putting it to the cil; and still continues to hold the office House to reflect, at this time of avowed
general difficulty, and individual distress, the question now before the House has when taxation bears harder on the subject | arisen.-Now, said Mr. Moore, of the than at any known period of time, in the whole of the Reports made by the Comannals of the nation; how many families mittee, this question for the prohibition of must be pinched and distressed by ex- reversions, seems to be the only object actions to meet a sum of taxes equal to which great pains have been taken to these deficiencies.-(Hear! bear! hear! follow up, and to render complete and from the opposition side.) I hope, said final; and the House testifies under what Mr. Moore, we shall not hear of any more difficulties it labours, what extensive, and such splendid defaulters; but with such formidable, dark, insidious opposition it examples before the House, of great po- has to encounter, so as to afford little Jitical connections, he thought instant prospect of success by following it up measures should be adopted to secure the with bill after bill, sessions after sessions, public property in every department of in a manner they have experienced. I state without exception.
will not, said Mr. Moore, use those harsh The second Report of the Finance Com- terms which the question justifies, but I mittee was on the subject of the Bank of insist on it there is a fixed and systematic England, as managers of the public funds. hypocritical insincerity somewhere : and The Committee had made a very particular thus feeling, he trusted that the House statement of the public dealings with the would not part with their jurisdiction over Bank, and had pointed out a very large this financial question, and that they would saving, highly advisable and practicable, prefer address upon address, year after in the allowance to be made them in year, until their reasonable and national future. They were allowed, at the com- end was accomplished. mencement of the sinking fund, equal to The last Report of the Finance Commit450l. per million for their charges of tee, continued Mr. Moore, brought to the management, but what might be reasonable knowledge of the House and the nation, for management of a small sum, became the the conduct of the life-and-propertyheighth of extravagance on a sum of such pledgers, and their meaning and interpreenormous magnitude as the public concern tation of “ Loyalty,” in the truly patriotic now annually amounts to; at a period too, and disinterested secret management of when the House must be perfectly confi- Mr. John Bowles and the Dutch commisdent that other bankers would chearfully sioners, in their trust of nearly two milundertake the management at one guinea, lions of public property, for a period of or, at the utmost, one and a half per mil. upwards of 14 years.-For want of the lion, with equal security and accommoda- public accounts of last year, said Mr. tion to the public; orindeed without any Moore,) on which subject he would move
allowance whatever for management, as for a standing order as soon as the enquiry · the Bank of England ought to do, seeing, and state of the business before the House
that by the use of the public funds and would admit of it,) it was not possible for their issue of Bank paper only, they are bim or any member of the House not in put in the capacity, and are in the habit oflice, to know, what had been done by and profit, of discounting mercantile bills ministers, on the subject of the large sums and commercial undertakings of trom one of money reported to be in the hands of and an half in iwo millions sterling per these commissioners.—But he trusted and week; and that, as one of the obvious expected to find, that all those moneys results of these enormous profits and ad- had been brought into the public treasury, vantages, Bank stock has within the same and that no class of men of any descripperiod more than doubled in value. The tion should be suffered to lay down the chairman of the Finance Committee
very measure and standard of their own reward strenuously contended in his place in this in appreciation of their own conduct, and House, for the reduction alluded to, but to apply the trust-funds of the public to to no purpose; and in this negative I con- their own separate use and wild abuse. tend (said Mr. Moore), this Second Report When the annual accounts were produced, was virtually annihilated ; and as I stated Mr. Moore said he should look for a last year, the sacrifice of the public rights rigid return and account of those monies, was no less than 200,000l. per annum. or not finding it so, he should have no
The third Report of the Finance Com- hesitation in pronouncing his opinion that mittee exhibited the pensions, places, the ministers of the country had been sinecures, and reversions, out of which guilty of great neglect and dereliction of 3
duty. The people of this country had formidable, as to render it difficult, in ondid de
the extreme, for any minister, whether in bute, taxes to promote private interests, or or out of this House, to venture to resist to support a corrupt system of favouritism it, after the unqualified confession, so and predilection :-and he never would lately made in this House, in truth and silently hear, that those supplies which in fact from the materials of the minister's were consecrated to public dignity, and own private escrutoire, and to which they national security, were misapplied to sup- have not any one of them offered any port a system of corrupt influence and contradiction, of the distressed state of the misrule.
finances of the country.--An hon. memThese four, Mr. Speaker, are the only ber on this side the House (Mr. Giddy) Reports hitherto received from the Finance has suggested as an alternative of obtainCommittee. Of the humble value to ing the bill in question, and in future of which, (though in their original condition avoiding the opposition given to it in the and meaning of great importance), they House of Lords, to address the King to have been reduced by the improvident pray his royal assent to both Houses for manner in which they have been disposed instituting a bill for the purpose. Mr. of by ministers, I shall now leave the Moore said, he thought this the most House and the public to form their own extraordinary doctrine he had ever heard judgment. But, feeling as I do, without a within those walls,—that the House should change of management, I much despair of petition the King for leave to move in a the continued labours of the committee financial case, which from the very essence proving of much greater comparative of the constii ution exclusively appertained advantage to the public. We must, in a to this House alone, and he was sure it great degree, govern our opinions of the could not for a moment be countenanced future by past advantages. But, Sir, said by the House. Perhaps, said Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, I shall not quit the subject the hon. member confounds this with without a particular exhortation to the hon. the practice which prevails, that when member on the floor, as chairman of the any petition comes before the House imCommittee. I exhort him and his col.plicating the grant of public money, thať leagues to a rigid and firm perseverance. it must have the king's consent; but, They now stand in a very different situ- continued he, the last case is wholly ation from that of which they very pro- different, and extends only to a point of perly complained last year. This sessions compromise, as it may be called; the the hon. chairman has a committee vir-application is made on a conclusion that tually of his own selection, they have not the grant to be made is out of money wbich any personal embarrassment now to com- has already been voted and appropriated plain of; the public expectation is un- to his Majesty's use, as the national supcommonly great; the national anxiety plies, and that any part to be otherwise throbs vastly high for the Comm ttee's appropriated by the consent of the crown final Report, of a whole system of reform the House will make good.-Not however, and retrenchment in the immense public said he, but that there appears a manifest expenditure of the country, the very absurdity in these messages, of the crown savings of which ought to form an impor- | -consenting that the House shall dispose tant national supply, adverting, that the of their own supplies, and he should be annual expenditure, at this time, is more ready to discuss the point with a view to than four times the amount, at the begin- set the principle at rest. The right hon, ning of the war. - It is true, said Mr. the secretary at stare for the home departMoore, the Committee of Finance have ment has asked, would the House now received no great encouragement to con- imitate the arbitrary times of Charles the tinue their honourable exertions to the 1st, and arrogate to themselves the whole public, from the ministerial countenance powers of the legislature. Mr. Moore given to their Reports on detached sub- said, no : the financial jurisdiction was jects. But he nevertheless conjured them exclusively their own, and conjured the to a steady perseverance for the gratifica- House not to part with it. He said, the tion of the public in the production of an times of Charles 1. had indeed a commite whole system, which the public expected tee of safety : so he trusted had the preas the result of their integrity, firmness, 1 sent; for, in that light, he now considered and decision; and be trusted, such a the Finance Committee-he said, he de. Report would now come, in strength so sired no other committee of safety, and
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