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a committee of supply. Mr. Foster niov-( who had so often signalized tris prowess in
·l ed, that an account of the unfunded debt tighting the battles of bis country. That of Ireland be referred to the said Com- noble lord, however, not satistied with mittee. Ordered.--fle then moved, that combating and subduing her enemies a sum not exceeding 800,0001. be granted abroad, returned home to overturn her to his majesty for paying off Treasury bills, domestic foes, by exploding those mines, for the year 1805, which was agreed to, of corruption which rendered all advanand the report ordered to be received to- tages of victory fruitless and unavailing. morrow.- Mr. Stuckey, from the Excise The commissioners thus constituted have Office in Scotland, presented at the bar an already made a variety of reports, though account of the arrears and current balances I av sorry to say that on tew have, any. in that department. Ordered to lie on the proceedings hitherto been founded. I certable.
tainly do take some degree of merit to Mr. Johnstone begged leave to ask Mr. myself for baving moved for certain papers Sheridan, whether he had abandoned his calculated to elucidate the first report, motion relative to the affairs of the Carna- and was then given to understand that a tic? If he meant to do it, he would, ina- commission had been appointed to carry: dequate as be confessed his abilities to be into effect such suggestions in the report as to a subject of such vast importance, bring appeared likely to be adopted with advanit forward.
tage. What progress has been made by Mr. Sheridan said, though the matter this commission does not hitherto appear, had long lain dormant, he certainly did though at a future time I may feel it my not mean to abandon it; especially as a duty to bring the matter again under the noble lord opposite had seemed to hint, consideration of the house. But to return some short time back, that these affairs had to the Commissioners of Naval luquiry, been so happily settled, tbat all inquiry I think it clearly demonstrated, that if they was unnecessary. He meant, immediately i had greater difficulties to encounter than after the holidays, to fix a precise day for any former commission sufiered; if tliey bringing forward his motion on that sub- have been attacked in a manner contrary ject.
to all decepcy by the whole host of job(Censure of Lord Melville.] Mr. bers and depredators, whose villainies it was Whitbread rose to make his promised mo- their object to expose; if they have been tion, founded on the tenth report of the described as exercising the ottice of inquiCommissioners of Naval Enquiry, and sitors rather than ofcommissioners ; if their spoke as follows:-When first, sir, I gave views have been vilified not onlyin this house notice that I should call the attention of but throughout the public at large; ifevery the house to the subject on which I am possible obstacle bas been thrown in the now to address you, it was my intention way of their investigations; if every thing, to follow the precedents by which the in short, has been done to disgust them, house have been generally guided, and to and make them relinquish the great task move that the tenth report of the com- entrusted to them by this house; and if, missioners of Naval Enquiry be taken into overlooking all these considerations, they consideration in a committee. I have, have thought only of discharging their however, since, on mature reflection, seen duty to their country, it will not surely bem reason to alter this original resolution, and denied that their merit has been greatly contining myself to the most important enhanced, that they are entitled to the part of that report, to make that the foun- warmest gratitude of the best interests of dation of certain propositions with which this empire. By their firmness and their I shall have the honour to conclude. With perseverance they have discovered what due respect to all the commissioners which eluded tlie most diligent inquiries of varihave ever sat under the authority and ap- ous commissions appointed for the purpose pointment of this house, I must be per- of ascertaining the amount of various mitted to say, that none was ever more abuses in the public expenditure, what honourable in its origin, none had ever all the vigilance of committees of this house prosecuted its inquiries with more real could not fully briug to light. The com-, advantage to the public interest. It is missioners having thụs done their duty to well known that this commission originated the public, it falls to my lot to bring to from the late Board of Admiralty, at the justice the criminals whom they have exhead of which presided that noble lord posed. It is needless for me to insist on
the importance of the subject on which I respectable company of the bank of Eugam now addressing you. It is important land. If I am not also misinformed, the to the high person whom the propositions report to a certain degree involves the chawith which I shall conclude principally racter of the right hon. gentleman (Mr. ir volve. It is important to the very Pitt) on the other side of the house. With salvation and existence of our coun- respect to what is said in the report about try.
It is important to the commis- the Bank of England, I am not satistied sioners who have brought forward this that the conduct of the governors in al, most interesting report. If the house de- lowing the money, the public money, to cide, as it appears to me that they are in be withdrawn in the way in which iť has duty bound, and as it strikes me it is al- been, was correct. On the contrary, it most impossible for them not to decide, has every appearance of being in direct it will prove that no person guilty of so opposition to the express regulations of tiagrant a violation of an express act of an act of parliament. The evidence of the parliament, as that contained in the tenth officer of the Bank, who was examined bereport, that no individual strongly sus- fore the commissioners, does not fully do pected of conniving at such unwarrant-away this impression. With respect to able application of the public money, or what I alluded to respecting the right hon, receiving any advantage from this misap- gentleman opposite, I shall explain my plication, however high his rank or exten- meaning in a few words. I have been sive his influence, shall escape with im- informed that the right hon. gentleman, punity. The public will look with reve- several years ago, when he last held the rence to our decisions ; they will be con- same situation which he now enjoys, was vinced that a door is opened for the intro- informed of the existence of the practice duction of regularity and economy in our of withdrawing the public money con. public expenditure, and that if our bur-trary to an express act of parliament; and thens are extreme, their produce will at that no steps whatever were taken to put least be applied to the purposes for which an end to it. If this statement be correct, parliainent intended them. If, on the the right bon. gent. will permit me to say, contrary, our decision should be contrary that his conduct betrayed very culpable to these just hopes and expectations; if negligence, and a very unjustifiable con, we shall, in defiance of the report on our uivance at a practice which every man table, pronounce the noble lord not guilty, who values the proper regulation of the then indeed the people will have serious public expenditure must consider as highly cause for complaint and indignation; then dangerous. In bringing forward a charge the vulgar assertion may with great appa- against lord Melville, I do not bring a charge rent plausibility be employed; we may against a mere unprotected individual. with truth be accused of seeking only emo- During the greater part of his life he has lument as our sole object, in place of the enjoyed an ample share of the public regood of our country. No longer can we wards, and public honours. For a period be considered as statesmen animated by a of thirty years he has been in the uninlaudable spirit of ambition---that ambition terrupted possession of some lucrative of implanted in our nature to incite us to fice, and he has at the same time exercised high deeds. We must then be considered a most extensive influence. He has, no as acting only from the base, sordid mo- doubt, many friends attached to him by tives which degrade the character of the the consciousness of obligation, and though statesman, and render him contemptible he is not now present to hear the charge in the eyes of his fellow citizens. Feeling preferred against him, he has many friends these truths severely, I do trust that the in this house who will be happy in the house will accede to those propositions opportunity of undertaking his defence. which it is my intention to found on the Thinking, then, that I take no unfair adfacts which the tenth report has disclosed. vantage of him, I proceed to that charge This report involves a considerable num- which his friends will be fully able to exber of individuals. It is not only Lord plain to him in another place. In conMelville and Mr. Trotter, his pay-master, ducting this business, it will be my object that are involved, but we have Mr. Wil strictly to adhere to that moderation which son and Mr. Mark Sprott, who cut no is the most adapted for the investigation inconsiderable figure in the scene. We of truth, but, at the same time, with that have also brought before ys the high and firmness and perseverance which my duty Vol. IV,
to the public imposes on me. In the case the abuses in the offices of the paymaster which I have to lay before the house, there of the forces and the treasurer of the navy are some circumstances of aggravation were the leading features in all the reports which will render it necessary for me to of the parliamentary committees of that occupy a greater portion of your time, day. In 1791, a positive resolution passthan I could otherwise bave wished, and ed on the reports of one of those comto employ terms of greater severity, which, mittees, declaring it as their opinion, that on other occasions, would readily be spar- neither the paymaster nor the treasurer of ed. When I look to the individual who is the navy should draw any part of the pubthe principal criminal, against whom my lic money till it was positively wanted for charge will be directed, I see many reasons f the public service. The report further which increase the magnitude of his offence. goes on to state the opinion of the comAt the close of the American war, when mittee, that the treasurer of the navy we were plunged into the greatest national should henceforth act as an accountant, distress, and when the public began to see and not as a banker, to the nation. that there had been a gross niisapplication port was at the same time made of the of our resources, petitions flowed in from amount of the treasurer of the navy's saall parts of the country, praying for some lary, which was 2000l. exclusive of profit reform in the expenditure of the public arising from the use of balances of the treasure. The right hon. gent, opposite public money in his hands. It was ou was then in the dawn of his political life, these reports resolved that all these balanand in nothing did he seem inore desirous ces should be forthwith paid into the bank of recommending himself to notice and of England, and that the salary of the treadistinction, thau by his zeal for the reform surer should be fixed at 40001. in lieu of of abuses, and his anxiety to have a well-all fees, emoluments, or gratuities of regulated system of econoniy established in whatever description. What was the conevery part of the public expenditure. Com-duct of Mr. Barré, at that time treasurer mittees were accordingly appointed, and of the navy ? Even before the resolution on the reports which they produced, regu- had been submitted to the legislature, ne lations were framed for diminishing every spontaneously paid into the Bank of Engsort of unnecessary expenditure, and for land the whole amount of the balances at removing all those causes which had for- that period in his possession. In this case merly created these excesses. Of these the house will see clearly that Mr. Barré the most prominent was the regulation was not placed in circumstances at all pafor lessening the balances in the hands of rallel to those under which lord Melville public officers. It was at the same time -has acted. There hitherto existed no poresolved that a number of the fees and sitive law to force Mr. Barré to surrender gratuities formerly existing in public offi- up his balances, but be very wisely bowed ces should be withdrawn, and instead of to the de sion of a committee of the them permanent and adequate salaries house, and shewed his readiness even to should be allowed. It was particularly anticipate the future resolution of the lelaid down, as a most important regulation, gislature. Mr. Barré thus gave the promptthat the paymaster of the forces and the est proof of his obedience to the voice treasurer of the navy should have a speci- of parliament, and it was proved before fic salary, and that they should neither di- the commissioners by the only person rectly or indirectly derive any advantage now surviving to attest the fact, that Mr. from the use of the public money. Now, Barré never afterwards, directly or indithese resolutions are alive in the recol- rectly, received the least emolument from lection and feelings of many gentlemen who the public money beyond the established are at present members of this house; and salary; and the same observation applies sure I am, that lord Melville is the very to every one of those in bis employment last man in the world who can at all plead [A cry of hear ! hear !]. Lord Melville ignorance of their existence. He, indeed, succeeded Mr. Barré for a few months, as distinguished himself at that period for his treasurer of the navy; and whether, durprofessed zeal for the reform of abuses, ing this short period, he received auy adwith what sincerity I leave to the judg- vantage from the public money, whether ment of the house to decide. He surely it was placed in the Bank of England, could not have possibly inisunderstood the locked up in the irou chest, or lodged in intention of the legislature, and I am not the hands of a private banker, I have not now to inform him for the first time, that at this day the opportunity of deciding. This is at least certain, that Lord Bayn-, ble lord's own sake, I trust it will not be ing, who succeeded Lord Melville, had no resorted to. But, sir, let me only call your sort of difficulty in answering the commis- attention to the preamble of the bill, and sioners. His answer was manly and ho- the house will see that neither its letter nourable. On being asked, whether he nor spirit can be misunderstood for a sinenjoyed any separate emolument or ad-gle moment. The preamble of the bill vantage froin the public money, he une- recites all the abuses specified in the sevequivocally answers in the negative. After ral reports, alludes to the resolutions for the dissolution of the ministry of that day, the correction of those abuses, and spewe again have Lord Melville treasurer of cities that a specitic salary is to be given the navy. On his resuming his old station in lieu of all fees, emoluments, or advanhe discovered that the salary did not ex- tages. A competenţ salary was estaactly amount to the sum 'which parliament blished, that all temptation to make an proposed. An act of council accordingly improper use of the public money might passed on this representation, and the net be avoided. ' Thus then, both accordsalary of 4000l. a year was established. ing to the spirit and letter of the act, This sum so established, was expressly it was impossible for the noble lord, or declared to be in lieu of all einoluments, any other human being, to mistake what fees or advantages. In 1785, in conse- was the direct object of the legislature. quence of a recommendation of his ma- Now, what was the first act of the first part, jesty in his speech from the throne, an act in the second treasurership of Lord Melwas passed, containing those regulations ville, with this act expressly in his view? on which the future conduct of the civil The act says, that all money shall be imdepartment of the navy was to be orga- mediately taken from the hands of the nised. At that time the right hon, gentle-treasurer, and lodged in the Bank of man opposite held out to the house the England. The art passed in July, 1785, most brilliant picture of the beneficial ef- and it was not till the subsequent January fects of these plans of improvement. While that the balances were paid into tlie Bank, he spoke of the means by which economy agreeably to the terms of the act. What was to be promoted, he did not forget the no- pussible excuse can be set up for such an ble lord against whom my charge is now to be extraordinary violation of an act of parpreferred, but selected him as the person lianient, in the framing of which the noble most fit to carry them into the fullest acti- | lord himself, in all probability, took a vity. He must now have seen his mistake, inaterial interest? He is the first to vioor, at least, the public were long since con- late that law to which so much importance vinced both of the fallacy of the hopes by is attached. In what manner too does this which they were flattered, and the peculiar violation take place? It appears,
that on unfitness of the noble lord to undertake any the 31st January, 1784, the balance in thing like national reform in any one of the hands of the treasurer of the navy was its departments. From the conduct which upwards of 70,0001.; and in July, 1785, the noble lord has since pursued, one it had increased to upwards of 113,0001. would think that he had been employed being an augmentation of more than in the work of reform only to bring it into 42,0001. betwixt the two periods to which contempt; that he was put forth as an I have alluded. I wish to know then why instrument of correcting abuses only to this delay in the transfer of the balance render them more inveterate. The bill of took place? It is impossible to account 1785 did pass, and the noble lord was the for this by any consistent principle. The person selected to carry it for the appro- only way of accounting for the matter sabation of the other branch of the legisla- tisfactorily, is to suppose that it was withture. Never was the spirit as well as the held with the sole view of private emoluletter of any act less favourable to wilful ment. I know it has been contended that misrepresentation; never could any thing the delay took place in consequence of afford a more wretched handle for any some regulations in the treasurer's office thing like subterfuge and equivocation. 1 being incomplete, but will such a pretext caonot suffer myself to believe that the as this impose even on the weakest underfriends of the noble lord will attempt to standing? What difficulty was there in screen his conduct, under pretence that the transfer which the act required? What the letter of the law has not been violated. new regulations were wanting to Such an apology would only serve to plete the safe lodgment of the balances heighten his criminality; and, for the no- l of the treasurer of the navy in the
Bank of England ? But it is to such such an extremity against the noble lord, wretched pretexts as this that the noble though my duty impels me to bring him belord is reduced when unable to give fore the proper tribunal. In making out my any other reason for the violation of an charge against the noble lord I must call act of parliainent than that which I have your attention to what is stated in the rejust referred to. Such is the situation in port, for it is material to see what is the nawhich we find the noble lord at the expi- ture of the evidence produced. First of all, ration of the first part of his second trea- then, the commissioners found that there surership. I shall now go on to the con- had beeu for a number of years deficiensideration of the sequel of this second cies in the treasurer's department, to the treasurership, which forms the grand sub- amount of upwards of 674,0001. a year. I ject of the tenth report. In doing this I am not now wishing to rest much on the shall arrange my observations under three correctness of the particular sum. Whedistinct charges. In the first place, then, ther it be ten pence, ten pounds, or even I charge Lord Melville with having appli- a million, the principle is the same, what. ed the money of the public to other uses ever be the magnitude of the deticiency. than those of the naval department with That a deficiency did exist is not denied, which he was connected, in express con- for even lord Melville himself owns its extempt of an act of parliament, and in grossistence. In this situation the commissioviolation of his duty. I charge the noble ners evinced a very laudable desire to aslord, in the second place, with conniving certain how the deficiencies had originated; at a system of peculation in an individual, and for this purpose it was necessary that for whose conduct in the use of the public lord Melville and Mr. Trotter should be money he was deeply responsible, and for suinmoned before them. As in this state this counivance I denounce him as guilty of the business I shall have frequent oceaof a high crime and misdemeanour. To sion to allude to Trotter, it may these two charges I shall, on the present to say a few words iv explanation. When occasion, chiefly confine myself; but there I speak of Trotter, I speak at the same is still a third, on which I shall not insist line of lord Melville, for in the whole of very largely now, but which, if the in- this business they are completely identiquiry is instituted, I shall feel myself most fied. The action of the one I view as the powerfully called on to support in this action of the other. This, indeed, is the house. I mean here to allude to the strong exact view laken by the committees which suspicion that the noble lord himself was reported on the situation of the treasurer a participator in that system of peculation and paymaster of the navy. They cousito which I have referred, and is conse- dered the office of treasurer as a mere sinequently liable to very severe pains and pe- cure, the whole of his business being done nalties. Unlegs what has been said could by a deputy, and in this relation precisely be unsaid, unless what has appeared be- does Mr. Trotter stand to lord Melville. fore the commissioners could be oblite-The one transacts the business, and the rated, it appears to me almost impossible other incurs all the responsibility. The to get rid of this impression. I have said treasurer of the navy, as in lord Melville's that I will pursue this inquiry with mo- case, was often a privy and even a cabinet deration on my own part, but I repeat that counsellor, and it is very fit that he should I will follow it up with steadiness and firm- be relieved from the cares of office. But ness for the country. It is certainly to the if he is to enjoy emolument without labour, honour of our public men, that even in it şurely is not asking too much to have a times when party spirit was at its height, little responsibility attached to the distriwhen the political world was the most bution of the public money. So much violently agitated and convulsed, charges then as to the identity of Mr. Trotter and such as that which I now bring forward lord Melville in this business. So zealous. against the noble lord have seldom been did lord Melville appear for the proper preferred. It is a singular circumstance, adıninistration of the civil department of llowever, that the only instance of a simi- the navy, that, not satisfied with the bill lar charge for a great number of years was of 1785, he actually proposed and obtained brought against a great public criminal by an act of council for authorizing, in the the same noble lord whose accuser I now management of the pecuniary concerns of appear. I allude to the case of Sir the navy, a variety of fresh regulations.
T. Rumbold for malversations in India; [Here the hon. member read a few pasbut it is not my wish to carry matters to sages from the act.)--Thus, continued be,