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of the crown should have been so ill-advised as not to be present, yet it was quite impossible to believe that the auihority of such persons as above mentioned could have had any weight with the 400 members of that great assembly! Yet, however this might be, the House of Commons ought to adhere to its duty, and persevere in the less perfect mode of preventing abuses, and that, though it might not be able to accomplish all that it desired, it would still not fail to do all that it could.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not intend to give any opposition to the motion, yet he was desirous of explaining the grounds of his assent; and also the reasons for the course he had pursued while the bill was in the House of Commons. And he thought this the more necessary after the ingenious course which the honourable gentleman who had just sat down had taken, by which, in a way certainly perfectly parliamentary, he contrived to throw out the severest animadversions on the ministers of the crown, the cause of whose absence probably was, that they had not thought the bill of such importance as necessarily to require their attendance. Two opinions seemed to prevail respecting the importance of the bill. Some thought it of vast importance, with a view to purposes of economy;, while others considered it form, idable, as trenching on the prerogativeof the crown. In neither of these opinions did he concur. He thought there was nothing in it that materially trenched on the prerogative of the crown, for be considered it as a 'matter of nice calculation, whether it increased or dimiinished the prerogative. If it diminished it in one view, it . 'certainly incrensed it in another; and where the matter was so nicely balanced, he did not think there could be any reasonable grounds for supposing that the prerogative could be materially trenched upon. As to the economical effects of the bill, he could only regard them in the view that had been stated by his honourable friend (Mr. Bankes); some offices might in this way be 'saved for the reward of services. But it ought to be recollected, that this method of reversions was the best way of making provision for the families of meritorious servants of the public, without imposing any new burthens on the pubJic. It was once a mode of providing for chancellors to wbom, for instance, the reversion of a tellership of the exchequer might be granted, instead of the provisions now in use in such cases. On the one side, therefore, he
thought there was no great advantage to be expected from the bill in point of economy, and on the other he saw no reason to fear any danger to the prerogative of the crown. If it was assumed that this was a measure of great importance, on one hand, in point of economy, or on the other with a view to an infringement of the prerogative, it certainly might be considered as the duty of the ministers of the crown to attend. But those who arlopted neither of these opinions, would of course act as if they considera ed it as a matter of no uncommon in'erest. When, therefore, liis honourable friend had proposed the measure, he had not thought it necessary to oppose it, but at the same time did not regard it in that great and favourable light in which it had appeared to others. The honour. able gentleman over the way, had expressed his surprise at the rejection of the bill, but he saw no reason why he should be surprised at the exercise of its rights by any branch of the legislature. It was the right of the other House, undoubtedly, to reject or approve, and 'nothing could be more prejudicial to this House than to assume a dictating authority, and to atlempt to do by its own act what could only be done by an act of the legislature. He would state the grounds on which he thought the present proposition of his honourable friend unexceptionable. To pass resolutions and to propose addresses from session to session, in case any measure of this sort should be rejected by the Lords, would be highly improper, as it would certainly have the appearance, at least, of a desire to take the legislative functions into their own hands. This, therefore, was not the ground on which he acceded to the present motion. But he thought nothing more reasonable, while the coinmittee intended to propose some regu. lations in some offices and the abolition of others, ihan that the matter should be left perfectly open in the mean time, and on that ground he certainly could have no ob. jection to the motion. With regard to what fell from the honourable gentleman over the way, as to a person having a reversionary office, proposing the rejection of the bill; whether that was so indecent as the honourable gentleman seemed to think, others would determine. But, certainly, a person in that situation, could of all others, feel his interest least affected by the bill. It was not proposed in that bill to take away reversions from those who had theme already, and therefore the proposal of rejection was totally
unconnected with any question of interest. It seemed to be supposed that ministers, not approving of the bill, had shrunk from their duty, and had selecied o hers as instruments to carry their designs into effect. Ifthat impression had gained any ground, either in that House or elsewhere, he was desirous that it should be done away as far as any assertion of his coulil do it away. If a person nearly connected with him had proposed the rejection of the bill, it was certainly not in consequence of any desire of his. That person thought it formidable, as trenching on the prerogative of the crown, and had endeavoured to impress upon him (Mr. Perceval) i he same view of it. But that person had been as unable to make any impression on his judgment as he had been to make any impression on his. He was, however, surprised at the active part which that person took in opposition to the bill; buy this was not countenanced by him, por done in conscquence of any desire of his, either expressed or implied. This was the real state of the case. He had no objiction to this motion ; he had privately assured his honourable friend that no offices would be granted in reversion till he brought the subject before Parliament next session, provided he was satisfied with that. His honourable friend, however, thought this the best way of proceeding, and it had his most heariy concurrence. - Mr. Bouverie said a few words in support of the motion.
Lord H. Petty expressed his difference in opinion from the right honourable gentleman, the Chancellor of the Excbequer, as to the importance of the bill to which the motion then before the House referred. That right honourable gentleman was of opinion, that it was a natter of extreme doubt, whether the prerogative of the crown received any additional :trengib, or was diminished by the provisions of that bill; and also, whether considered as a matter of public economy, it would be advantageous or disadvantageous to the interests of the public. In fact, that horourable gentlenian thought it to be so unimportant, that he was rather inclined to believe that he did not attend in his place in tbai House, on the different discussions which took place upon the Lubject. Now he (Lord H. Petty) was of a very opposite opinion ; he did conceive that two most important principles were involved in the consideration of that question. "Was it not in the first
place of some importance that persons of ability should be appointed to fill different offices in the service of the public; and was it not of some importance also, that the legislature should provide that his majesty should not be deprived of the fair exercise of his prerogative, in selecting such only as he thonght qualified to fill the offices ? This power, the practice of granting places in reversion might unjustly deprive him of in many instances. And in the second place, was it not of some considerable importance, with a view to public economy, that if at any particular time an office shonld be declared to be useless with respect to the public service, and such as ought to be abolisbed, was it not of some very material importance, that it should be in the power of the servants of the crown to abolish the oflice upon the office becoming vacant ? There was, for instance, a case that occurred last year, in which it would have been well if the measure, which was then spoken of, had been so long in force, as that places were entirely free on the death of the present occupant. The place of commissioner to the port of Dublin became vacant by the death of the last officer who fille: that place. That was one of the places which was recommended by the committee of finance to abolish. The Dake of Bed. ford, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, being influenced by the same spirit of econoiny which operated in the minds of his majesty's confideniial advisers in this coquitry, would have abolished the office if it had been in his power so to do ; but, he found upon enquiry that a rever. sion was entailed upon it; he dici then all that was in that case left for him to do; he took care that during his admi. nistration of the affairs of Ireland, no reversionary interest of that situation should be granted. The right hon. gentleman, however, stated, with reference to what was supposed to have passerl in another place, that a noble lord, who already possessed a reversionary interest, might be considered one of the inost fit persons to speak upon the subject. Now, to make uut this case, the right honourable gentleman should at least have proved that a person in such a situation must be completely satisfied that the measure of his desires must of course be full. Until he did this, which would be extremely difficult for him to do, he could not support his proposition. Unfortunately, however, for his argument, an instance was glanced at in the course of the debate, in which the person alluded to Von 1.-1807. 4.
had had two reversionary interests; and it naturally followed that, where this strong desire for emolument was manifested, the person might very probably be ready to accept a third, or would even have no objection to the acceptance of a fourth for himself or some branch of his family: In every point of view in which he could consider the subject, he thought it to be such as deserved his utmost approbation, and from every additional discussion that it underwent, he was strengthened in his former opinions on this subject. The House had itself declared its opinion almost unanimously, they had done what they conceived to be essential to the public interest, and he hoped that that House, the great inquest of the nation, would continue to proclaim its opinion with all the weight which it carried with it, to the other branch of the legislature, to the crown, and to the country, in the most firin and dignified manner. He hoped that the other House might by next session of Parliament, view the subject in a more favourable light, and that then the bill would have a better fate. · Sir John Seabright declared, that he owed it to himself, to his constituents, and to the country, to express his most cordial support of the principle which the right honour. able gentleman (Mr. Bankes) had in view.
Mr. Whitbread observed, that the right honourable gentleman (the Chancellor of the Excheqner) bad now put the question in a different point of view from that in which it had before been looked at. He gave his support to the present motion in order that business of reversions might not interfere with the labours of the committers of finance. Now this appeared certainly to throw some new light upon the subject; it was to him matter of information, as i he silence of his majesty's present ministers heretofore on this subject would rather have inclined him to believe that they were rather averse to the measure, if it had not beca for the words that had been put into the king's speech, recommending the continuation of the finance committee. Then, with these apparent inconsistencies before them, he would beg leave to bring to the recollection of the House, that the only one measure which was recommended by the finance committee to be put into execution, was that which passed that House in the form of a bill, which was afterwards lost in the other' House. It was reported that at least all his majesty's ministers wlio belonged to that