Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ing the great service of lord Wellington however, was clear, he thought that, whatwith this sinecure, it had been given to ever might be the saving, it was important a right hon. gent. (Mr. Yorke) who had, that these offices should be abolished for he firmly believed, acted always in his the reasons which he had already stated. politics upon the fair conviction of his There was another description of offices own mind, and with whom he had some. too which required the attention of the times differed. He meant to say no- House, he meant those where the emoluthing invidious of that right hon. gent., ment was large beyond all proportion to who very probably had no prospect either the duty. It was proper that these should of this or any other office of the kind, for also be regulated, and that an allowance the line of political conduct which he had should be made in every instance propor. thought it right to follow. But nobody tioned to the services performed. There could say, that he had ever done any par- was a third class of offices more numerous ticular service to the country which de- that the former-he meant the offices served this reward. He had never per- which were executed by deputy. The formed any service certainly, for which object of his Resolutions would be with reany one could have dreamt of conferring spect to them, to abolish what was sine. upon him a direct pension to the amount cure, and retain what was necessary, reof the emoluments of the sinecure which ducing the emolunient to that for which was now in his possession. He did not the duty was performned, with some inthink therefore, that both the mode of di- crease in many cases, no doubt, on acrect pension, and that of sinecares ought count of the increased responsibility.to be preserved. For the pensions would The hon. gent. then read Resolutions be given for services performed, and the conforınable to what he had stated, con. sinecures would be granted, as bitherto, cluding with this—" That a select Comfrom favour. This method of granting mittee be appointed to examine to what direct pensions for services had become offices the principle he had thrown out a very great source of expence, and yet could be applied." Having read all the there had been no reduction of the sine. Resolutions, he proposed the first of them

There had been instances in which as an Amendment upon that which had these offices had been applied to the new been read from the chair. The substance cessary and commendable object of the was, “ That it was expedient to abolish sireward of services, such as those which necures, except such as were connected with had been granted to lord chancellors. the personal service of his Majesty, or the But as great inconvenience and irregular- royal family--10 regulate other offices, ity arose from their not being vacant at and to reduce the salaries of such as were such times as they were most wanted, the executed by deputy to the sum for which act of the 39th of the king had been in the service was performed, with an altroduced for granting direct pensions to lowance for the additional responsibility chancellors, by which they became a -all to be done after the present interests charge on the nation, independent of the in these offices had expired.” burthen of these offices which were after. The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, wards granted as matters of mere favour. that whatever the House might think as to

These considerations had induced him to the propriety or impropriety of pledging think that it would be much better to abo- itself as to the measures recommended by lish these offices altogether, and to give his hon, friend, all must agree, that the his Majesty the power of granting pen- propositions were of the utmost importsions, to a limited amount, in lieu of the ance in themselves, and required the most offices abolished-the power of giving the serious and deliberate examination. It additional pensions always commencing was of importance to be cautious in adoptwith the fall of the sineçures. This was ing them, both on account of their effect necessary in order to prevent the crown upon the influence and interests of the from having for a time the double power; crown, and in as much as they were of a and without this caution it would not be novel nature. He could not complaio that a measure of economy, in the first. in- he was taken unprepared upon this substance, but a measure of extravagance. ject; but he doubted whether the Com. What might be the saving on the whole mittee would be prepared to decide at by the abolition of these offices he was once upon matters of this importance, not at the moment prepared to state, but it with such a very short warning Reso. had been calculated in the Report. This, lutions had been proposed from both sides

cures.

of the House last session, and a long de- ed with the advantages be expected from bate had taken place upon them. The it, whether it would serve to conciliate Resolutions had been printed; they had the people, to remove the complaints or been long in the hands of members; and satisfy the desire of the disaffected and as both sets of Resolutions were similar in discontented? It was necessary, therefore, principle, gentlemen must have been that his hon. friend should explain himpretty well aware of what they were to self distinctly on that point to the comexpect. But his hon. friend had, during mittee.-Mr. Burke, to whose opinions the the whole of that period, given no hint of finance committee. had referred in its rehis intention to propose any thing of this port, had said, that changes had a tenkind; and as the propositions were of so dency rather to increase than diminish much importance in themselves, he hoped discontent; for people, he said, submitted the Committee would not allow itself to with patience to old and established pracbe surprised into their adoption. But he tices, if these practices were kept within could not agree, that the propositions if correct bounds, when they would feel a acceded to by the Committee would have new mode of bearing the same necessary any of the good effects which his hon. burthen almost intolerable. Mr. Burke, friend had anticipated, considering the too, had the subject of direct pensions and way in which he proposed to accompany sinecures under his consideration, and all them; and yet, with that accompaniment, he said was, that upon the whole he rathe Committee could not be aware what ther preferred the mode of rewarding serpractical measure his hon. friend would | vices by direct pensions. So his hon. proceed to found, upon them if passed. friend said that it was the inclination of The committee, of which his hon. friend his mind, upon the whole, to prefer the had been chairman, had stated in their method of direct pensions. It would apReport, that some offices ought to be abo: pear from this, that he had not formed a lished, and others regulated ; and pro- decided opinion upon the question, but posed, that some substitute should be was rather inclined to think that upon the found for these offices with a view of pro- whole the mode of pension was preferable. viding means to reward public services. But this would hardly be sufficient to inIt was then clear that there must be some duce the House to adopt measures of this substitute for these offices, and that sub- importance, without having attentively slitute, his hon. friend had said, must be and maturely weighed their tendency, and commensurate with the sinecures abolished without having formed a decided opinion, (No, no)—commensurate with these of that their adoption would answer fices, he understood (commencing with essentially good purpose.

The House the fall of the offices)--commencing with could not on such slight grounds as those the fall of the offices, was it? Well then, which had been stated by his hon. friend, if the amount of the pensions were not to assent to this change, nor could it reasonabe commensurate with the value of the bly hope that such a change would have offices, there would be a reduction of the any effect in alleviating public burthens funds, out of which great services were to or removing discontent. What did Mr. be rewarded. What was required of the Burke say on the subject ? He said, that Committee by his hon. friend, then, was he would have no great objection to such this, that it should consent to abolish the a change, but that he did not think it pru. funds which the crown had at present, dent to propose it. He did not like to without knowing how far any thing else take away what answered the purpose, in was to be substituted, without knowing to the hopes that some substitute might poswhat extent he would propose to grant the sibly be found. Mr. Burke then, had repower of conferring direct pensions. It fused to be the proposer of such a change, was proper to be perfectly aware whether and had said, that instead of removing bis hon. friend meant to propose any di- discontent, it would rather tend to inminution in the funds for the reward of crease it. The House would therefore do services, because that might alter the ar-well to consider gravely before it gave gument completely; for if no reduction into a proposition so new in itself, and so of the fund was intended to be made, then suddenly submitted to them for their de. it would be for the House to consider cision. But his hon. friend had advertwhether, the question of economy being ed to a grant of a sinecure place lately, entirely out of the case, the change pro- which he contended was a most unexcep. posed by his hon, friend would be attend-tionable one, (a laugh, and hear, hear!)

some

that was his opinion. There was no law | attempt to cut off all these offices at onc to prevent a grant of this nature being sweep was extremely dangerous. As to made to such a man as Mr. Yorke, who the influence of the crown, he still retaincertainly had been some time in his ma- ed the sentiments he had before expressed jesty's service. He thought that the -that the influence of the crown, upon office was part of the patronage of the the whole, had not increased, compared crown, and that his majesty was at per- with the great increase of the popular fect liberty to confer it upon any merito- branch of the legislature in wealth and rious individual he pleased. His hon. influence, and power in the state. That friend had said, that the 'place might have was his opinion. As to the assertion, that been given to lord Wellington. He could the influence of the crown was increased not, in consistency with the ideas of his by the national debt, he believed the very hon. friend, grant the office in reversion reverse to be the case. He felt himself at any rate, But if it had become va- bound therefore to oppose the amendcant at the time Mr. Yorke was in office, ment. he did not known that there could have Mr. Bankes explained, that he certainly been any objection to his possessing it. thought that less than the aggregate His hon. friend had said, that he had no amount of the sinecures, in direct penobjection to the rewarding of long and sions, would answer the purpose of affordfaithful civil services. What then was ing adequate means to reward public serthe period of service which his honourable vices. As to the charge of having taken friend would think necessary to form a the House by surprize, he said that an inclaim to these rewards ? Till some other dividual member could only propose his period was fixed, he might be allowed to resolutions in his place—but the House suppose that the three years Mr. Yorke was called upon at present merely to settle had been in office rendered him not an the principle. The substitute, &c. would improper object of his majesty's bounty. be a matter for future consideration. But How long would it be necessary for a man he should be extremely glad if the House to expiate the demerit of not having would allow his resolutions to be printed, been in office ? He would ask the gentle that they might consider them with all men on the other side, whether they would the care which had been bestowed on have it thought it wrong that Mr. Fox those of his right hon. friend.—He was should have got a sinecure of this kind be- sure his resolutions would gain by that. fore he had been a year in office; though The Chancellor of the Exchequer instantly he had spent a long and laborious life in assented that time should be given to opposition ? Independent of party feeling, print his hon. friend's resolutions. But he thought that the sinecure in question he thought it ought to be understood, that had been very properly disposed of. He the subject, if postponed at present, should hoped the House would see that this was not be debated this week; because, if a measure of too much importance to be they were to sit from night to night very adopted so lightly. Hi

His hon. friend said, late, they could hardly be equal to the that the sole ground on which he brought exertions that would be required in the it forward was that of economy. (No! no). debate on the Walcheren inquiry. Yes, of economy. He had indeed said, Mr. Whitbread considered the accusathat the measure would conciliate the tion of surprise as perfectly unfounded. people, and remove discontent; but that some on the same side with the right hon. he understood to be only through its effi- gent. had brought forward motions of the cacy, for the purposes of economy.-Hedid same kind, the member for Sussex parnot understand that his hon. friend rested ticularly, which were at least liable to a it at all upon the ground, that it was pro- similar objection. The opposition to the per todiminish the influence of the crown; abolition came with a very ill grace from but conceived that he placed its great him—a great reversionist, and one who utility in its effects in point of economy. had sinecures from his infancy for no serHe perfectly agreed that every saving vice whatever. He allowed that Mr. Yorke should be made that was consistent with was a very honourable private character, but the public service, that could be made he had perforined no public service that without detriment to that service. But deserved such an annual sum, and aobody there the question arose, could this change would ever have dared to propose such take place without detriment to the public a thing for him in the shape of a direct service ? For his part, he thought that the pension. It was not only the inclination 1

of

of his mind, but his most decided opinion, I begged to ask, sums collected from the that these sinėcure offices should be abo- people, and of course the per-centage on Jished. As to the conferring of these them an additional burthen on the public? places for public service, the right hon. It was beyond human patience that the gent, himself and Mr. Yorke were in people should be called on to endure instances that this was a perfect delusion sults of this kind. On these grounds he upon the public. He contended that was of opinion that the House should that though no great practical saving could be night come to a vote, on the resolutions made, still even a sum might be saved not now proposed for their adoption. unworthy of attention. The reception of Mr. Bankes then proposed, that the Mr. Yorke, by his former constituents, matter should be postponed till to-morrow proved what the public thought of this fortnight, the committee then to sit again. grant. He went to them after vacating The Chairman then reported progress, bis seat, and they very properly refused and obtained leave to sit again. to return him. Could the right hon. gent. state one instance in which a great public

HOUSE OF COMMONS. service had been rewarded with a sinecure? It had been found necessary to

Tuesday, March 20. create provisions for chancellors by direct [Offices in Reversion Bill.] Mr. pensions. As to the crown, these offices, Bankes rose to move for leave to bring in instead of being a source of strength, were a bill, which the House had repeatedly only sources of weakness, especially now

shewn that it thought necessary, although when they had become quite disgusting. another House of Parliament seemed of a It would most certainly conciliate the very different opinion; he meant a bill people to shew that attention was paid to to prevent the grant of Places and Pensions the proper expenditure of their money. in Reversion. The bills which the House It would be less vexatious to their minds had already passed for this purpose had to pay a pound when convinced of its ne- the nisfortune to fail in the House of cessity and justuess, than one penny with Lords, as well as anoiber bill, which bad an idea that any part of it was to go to these originated in that House within the presinecure men. -To illustrate the want of sent session. Nevertheless, he thought attention paid to economy, and the truth the mode by which the House was most of the observation of lord Melville, (at likely to carry its wishes ultimately into one time first lord of admiralty) that two- effect, was to shew that it was in earnest thirds at least of our expenditure in the by using every means it might constituarticle of stores was misapplied; he cited tionally adopt, without the appearance of the case of certain ships where stores had pertinacity, to obtain final success in a been laid in, on their sailing from the measure so necessary to public economy, river for eight weeks, but in which on their end so satisfactory, as it would be, io arrival at the Nore, other stores were public feeling. He understood, that in found to be necessary, those originally ihe other House of Parliament it was not put on board having been made away usual to entertain or discuss measures with. Sinecures, the hon. member con- which were considered to encroach upon tended, were but an excrescence of the the privileges of the crown, without havconstitution. At the time the salaries ing his Majesty's assent expressed by his annexed to these offices were granted, ministers to the discussion. He was not the offices were effective. It was, there. conversant with the proceedings of the fore, not so novel now to scek that they other House of Parliament, but he could should be abolished, being non-affec- find no such principle in the proceeding tive, as to ask that they should convey, of this House ; and, notwithstanding that as it were, freehold rights to the sums a bill of a siinilar nature had been lost in use to be paid for the performance this session in the other House which had of the duty annexed to thein. It had originated there, still he thought their been stated, however, by the right hon. lordships would not be indisposed to regent. to whom he bad before alluded (Mr. ceive another bill, having the same geneYorke) that the fees of the office laiely ral object in view, but worded in a diffeconferred on him did not come out of the rent manner; and instead of proposing, pockets of the public, but arose from as in the former bills, to perpetuate the prosmall fees on sums going into the exche- hibition, to render it a bill of suspension quer. Were not all these, however, he of the prerogative from time to time. Hin VOL. XVI.

C*

[ocr errors]

re

*] PARL. DEBATES, March 20, 1810.-Mr. Montague. right hon. friend (the Chancellor of the on which he meant to trouble them. Exchequer) had himself never shown Some papers would be necessary to eluciany hostility to the measare. On the date his statement, and for these he procontrary, he understood him to be friendly posed to move; the first were letters that to its principle; and therefore he hoped had passed between admiral Montague it would not be deemed unparliainentary and the first lord of the admiralty ; those if he now ventured to recommend to his letters would shew, that at the very moright hon. friend, as one of the confiden- ment when the admiral's son was tial advisers of his Majesty, to endeavour fused examination, other officers had passto remove the obstacles to this bill in ano- ed, one of whom was immediately apther place, and to obtain, if possible, his pointed a lieutenant. Mr. Montague's Majesty's consent to its admission and actual time of previous service was out in discussion in the other House. The hon. August, when, if he had passed, he would member concluded by moving for leave have been a lieutenant in the Mediterrato bring in the bill.

nean fleet. For this injury there was now The Chancellor of the Erchequer said, he no remedy, unless bis commission was anfelt no disposition of hostility to the mo- tedated. He would next call for a letter tion of his hon. friend. At the same from lord Collingwood, shewing, that at time he declared, that the principle now that time a commission was vacant for Mr. avowed by the hon. member, namely, Montague. He would not trouble the that of making the bill a temporary mea- House with any detail, as he had heard sure, was one the most likely to obtain that a remedy was intended in the present for it success, and therefore it was that he case; but before he sat down, he felt tbat had recommended this line of proceeding. he was only doing his duty to press upon He had always thought it improper to them the prevention of the recurrence of appoint to such reversions while the Com- the same unintended injury to others on dismittee of Finance continued to sit, and if tant services; for instance, there must be it should be deemed right to abolish, upon many similar situations among officers their recommendation, any offices on the serving in the East and West Indies. It demise of the present occupiers or pos- could not be known there, that the regusessors, of course no reversions would be lations of the new naval college, though assigned, and the bill, so far as it related they originated in 1806, did not fully apto such particular appointments, would be ply till 1808; and to make it impossible to unnecessary. He should not object to have any further doubt upon the subject, the motion of his hon. friend for leave to he would now move an address to his bring in the bill, reserving to himself the Majesty, " That the ninth article of the right of moving in the Committee on the 2d chapter of naval instruction, of Dec. bill an amendment of the title in these 1806, he transmitted to all captains on fowords," for a time to be limited.” With reign stations, and all boards, and others respect, however, to the advice given him connected with the examination of ofby his hôn. friend, as one of his Majes ficers; and also that such other parts of ty's ministers, touching the counsel it the code as were applied to examination might be his duty to give bis Majesty should be selected anii transmitted.” Yet apon the subject of this bill, although he he felt that the remedy for the peculiar considered it by no means unparliamen- case of which he spoke, would come 50 tary, or improper, for his hon. friend to much better from the admiralty, that on suggest to him that advice, yet it would an assurance of that remedy's being inbe extremely improper for him to declare tended, he should not press the question. in that House, what the advice might be Mr. R. Ward thanked the hon. bart. for which he should feel it his duty to offer the mildness with which he brought forto his Majesty elsewhere.—Leave was ward the motion, but conceived that with given to bring in the bill.

reference to the papers which he mention(MR. MONTAGUE.] Sir C. Pole rose for ed, they ought to have been brought for the purpose of adverting to an act of in. ward before the House could adopt any justice which had taken place in the naval specific motion; but to save any misconservice. He would not use harsh lan- ception he would narrate the matter in its guage on the occasion, since he was fully progress. By an order of council, so long convinced that the injustice arose merely since as 1773, any officer, after serving from ignorance and inadverteney. He three years at the Portsmouth Naval Acawould now state to the House the grounds | demy, and three years on sea, was entitled

« AnteriorContinuar »