Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1

CHAP. III.

.

Bill for the Regulation of the Civil List.-Motion for abolishing the Office of

one of the Secretaries of State.- Motion respecting the Augmentation of the Salaries of the Secretaries of the Admiralty.- Motion concerning Salaries and Emoluments in Public Offices.--Mr Grensell's Motion concerning the transactions with the Bank. -Bank Restriction Act extended till 1818. Consolidation of the English and Irish Exchequers.--New Silver Coinage.

On the 3d of May, Lord Castlereagh be brought home to the actual sovemade a motion for leave to bring in a reign to support his public splendour, bill for the better regulation of nis or meet the charge of his domestic enmajesty's civil list.

“ The subjects joyments--a sum not equal to oneinvolved in the regulation of this mea third of the whole of the civil list. sure, were," as his lordship observed, He then proceeded to give, in the first “ of the most delicate nature ; never place, a retrospective view of the civil theless, a variety of causes,--and, list expenditure for several years, com. among these, not the least effectual, pared with its revenue. the liberties which had recently been The average expenditure of the taken by some gentlemen of the oppo- seven years, up to 1811 insition, in talking of the personal habits clusive, had amounted to L.1,103,000 of the royal family, rendered it abso

That of the year 1812 was 1,374,000
Of 1813

1,316,000 lutely necessary that the feelings cal.

Of 1814

1,361.000 culated to make his majesty's ministers Of 1815

1,436,000 avoid their discussion, should be over- And the year ending 5th Jan. come. In his introduction, the minister

1816

1,480,000 reprobated the vulgar error of suppo- During this period the revenues of sing the whole, or even the greater the civil list, as he had already stated, part of the demands upon the civil list, were unequal to satisfy the demands io arise out of the private expenditure they were intended to meet. In the of the sovereign and his family, while, seven years up to 1811, their average in truth, much the larger part of them amount, under the settlement of 180+, were as strictly caused by the necessi- was 995,0001. Since that period, from ties of the public service, as any of the various circumstances, they had been grants annually made for the army or swelled to 1,060,000l. It would be

If the expences thrown on seen that the revenue, in the course of the country by the unhappy state of the seven years, had fallen short by the nominal sovereign should be de. about 1,000,000l. ; and since that peducted from the annual expence of the riod the deficiency had considerably civillist, it would not exceed 1,339,0001. increased. On the face of this state and of this sum only 409,000l. could meat it would appear that there was a

the navy

tendency in the settlement which had in possession of its former revenues, it been made of the civil list to create would not have had occasion to apdebt. If the House looked to the ie proach parliament for any assistance.” ports of all the committees which had The second object of his lordship’s been appointed to inquire into this speech, was to give a perspective view subject, it would be found, that every of the probable future expenditure of one of them had uniformly pronoun- the civil list, with a consideration of ced that the estimate of 1804 had been the adequacy of the funds appropria. completely inadequate to its object; ted to it, and the most economical' meand was not in fact borne out either thod of augmenting them. The estiby those circumstances which had pre mate which he thought might be made, ceded, or by those which followed it. was 1,339,1951., prosenting, when comOn all hands, the insufficiency of the pared with that of last year, (larger, civil list income had been allowed, and of course, as being made during war), the augmentation of it had only been a reduction of 139,0001. Should this delayed on account of those casual be deducted from this sum, (as Lord aids derived from the war, of which he Castlereagh judged would be just and had already spoken. The gross amount proper,) the 170,0001. occasioned by of the debt which had accrued on the the Windsor establishment, the privy civil list since 1804, was 2,500,0001. purse, and the allowance to her majes. The liberality of parliament had grant. ty, in consequence of the state of the ed in discharge of that sum 762,0001. king, the estimate would be reduced An advance made by the Crown from to 1,169,495l. To this he thought its West Indian revenues, and from no objection could be made, as it was the surplus of the Scotch civil list, to precisely the medium between the the amount of 1,738,0001, had still charges that had occurred on the civil further reduced the debt. During the list between 1804 and 1811. same period, it was to be recollected - With regard to the proper mode of that the Crown out of the same funds meeting the future expenditure of the (in the year 1807, he believed,) had civil list, as thus estimated, he thought advanced the sum of 1,000,000l. for that parliament must either increase the service of the public, to meet the the general allowance, for that sersupplies of the year. If, instead of vice, by the 65,0001., which had been doing that, the Crown had applied for the seven years up to 1811, the this sum of one million to the discharge annual excess of its expenditure, and of the debt on the civil list, 60 far from by a sum adequate to cover the Windhaving occasion to apply to parliament sor establishment extraordinary, or for assistance, that sum would have withdraw from it certain charges which more than covered the whole of the would relieve it to the necessary exremaining debt, and would have effec- tent. The latter plan he recommendtually prevented the inconvenient pres- ed for their adoption. He thought sure which it had experienced. But it nothing could be more unwise than to was not merely this sum of 1,000,0001. entail Auctuation in the expenditure of which had been advanced in 1807, that the civil list, by loading it with charges had been furnished for the public ser- of a public nature, from their very esvice, by the liberal consideration of sence so changeable. The charges which the Crown in the course of the war he wished to see removed from it were the sum of 2,800,000l. had been thus then particularized, (they consisted of appropriated. These facts would go various items connected with all the to prove, that if the Crown had been branches of public service,) and the relief to be afforded by their removal, through both Houses by a large mawas stated at 255,7681., being within jority. a few thousand pounds of what he had The same charges made by the opdescribed as necessary;

position against the civil list, were, on His lordship concluded with de- various occasions during the session, tailing certain prospective regulations brought against various other departwhich would be necessary for uphold. ments of the public expence. One of ing the proper splendour of the crown. the most conspicuous of these occa, The principal topic in this part of the sions was that on which Mr Tierney detail was the necessity of a new offi- brought forward his motion with recer, who should act as the representa. gard to the offices of the seeretaries tive of the treasury in the superintendo of state. According to the view given ance of the whole civil list expendi. by this member, the old establishment ture ; who should have all facility of of two secretaries of state had been communicating with the different de increased by the addition of a third in partments, and of calling the officers the year 1794, solely on account of before him and inspecting their ac- the war; and that having ceased, the counts; and who should thus be ena. officer created on account of it should, bled to controul extravagance in every he alleged, be immediately disconti point, and to make proper represent. nued. In reply to these observations, ations to the treasury whenever he Mr Golbourn and Mr Addington sta. should see occasion. His lordship ted, that the immense additional labour proposed, that the salary annexed to which had, within the last 20 years, this office should be 15001.

become necessary in the management On the 6th of the month, Mr Tier- of our colonies, had alone been more ney entered into a long and detailed than enough to justify the creation of examination of the various accounts an additional secretary: submitted to the House by the mini- The personal and bitter recriminasters, in order to guide their judgment tions lavished by the two partiesagainst respecting the civil list bil. The each other upon this occasion need not charges of extravagance and profu- be embodied in the annals of the time. sion which he brought against almost The increase which has obviously taevery department of these, were an- ken place in our population and in our swered, chiefly by statements of detail, power, seems to afford some presumpby Lord Castlereagh and the Chan. tion, that the labours of another great cellor of the Exehequer. Upon the state officer might not be unnecessary. whole, it would seem that the attacks We believe that, in the midst of all made on the personal expenditure of the zeal of their debates, no charge of the Regent were by no means merited idleness was brought against any of by the late conduct of that prince; the persons actually filling any of these that his situation, as it was one with high and responsible situations. From. out precedent, so it might have occa- the statement given by Mr Addingsioned some expences (such as build- ton, it would appear, that even the ing, &c.) a little out of the ordinary toils of professional men, active and course, but that, on the whole, he had eager in their professions, admit of been endeavouring, and that success- greater intervals of repose, and defully, to suit his expence to the situa- mand, during their continuance, a less tion of the country. In the end, the intense application, than the exertions bill of Lord Castícreagh was carried of the persons filling these high official

situations, which, in our country, are The motion was lost by a majority of never adequately rewarded, except by 43. the honour of worthily discharging Several important financial debates them. The House rejected the mo- occurred this session, in consequence tion of Mr Tierney by a large majority. of the public transactions with the

A similar attack was made by Mr Bank, the nature of which, and the Methuen upon certain regulations, alleged grounds of suspicion concern. whereby the salaries of the secretaries ing them, were in some measure exand clerks of the admiralty had been plained in our last volume.* It will kept up at the rate of war salaries af. be recollected, that Mr Grenfell and ter the conclusion of the war. Lord Mr Meilish moved two counter sets Castlereagh alleged, that when the of resolutions, stating their respective peace with America was concluded, views concerning the state of the pub. the period of reduction might have lic transactions with the Bank, and been supposed to be arrived, but that that the House agreed to take up the the subsequent re-appearance of Buo- discussion of both upon the same ocDaparte had demanded new hostilities, casion. and new labours on the part of the The production of the accounts or. officers in question, and had conse. dered towards the close of last session quently rendered the continuance of had not, in any measure, altered the their salaries at the war rate not only opinion then expressed by Mr Grenreasonable but indispensable. At a fell respecting the unequal nature of subsequent period of the session, how the transactions with this immense ever, it was declared by Mr Warren- corporation. On the 14th of March der, that there was no intention on the he made a long and most elaborate part of government of moving for any speech, which terminated in a recapipermament continuance of the salaries tulation of the advantages' gained to of the admiralty secretaries at the rate the Bank, and of the corresponding allowed during the war.

loss to the public, arising out of the Another debate of a similar charac- possession by the Bank of the public ter occurred on the 7th of May, when balances since 1806, assuming the agLord Althrope made a motion on gregate amount during the whole of the subject of the increase of, or di. this period to have been about eleven minution of, the salaries of public of millions and a half. According to this ficers. His lordship mentioned, that statement, in 1806, the Bank advanced this important subject was in the hands a loan of three millions to the public, of a committee appointed by the trea. at three per cent., which reduced the sury, but that he was of opinion that aggregate amount of the deposits from 20 progress had been made by them in eleven millions and a half to eight milremoving the grounds of public dis- lions and a half. content, and that, therefore, the matter would be better in the hands of a The interest op eight mil. committee of the whole House. The

lions and a half, is, per Chancellor of the Exchequer entered anoum..........

£425,000 into a long detail of facts, with a view To which add interest on to prove that the charge against mi- the loan of three mil. nisters was unfounded, and that the

90,000 matter was already in excellent hands.

Together..... 515,000

lions....

* See Edinburgh Annual Register for 1815, Part I. p. 83. et seq.

same rate.

a half.

From 1806, then, to 1808, the Bank to any gentleman by his private bank. held a public treasure, amounting to er, they should therefore be paid at the eight millions and a half, and made a

Were it possible that any profit thereon; or the public lost there. competition should occur as to the on an interest of money at the rate of management of the public business, 515,0001, per annum.

he was satisfied that any respectable In 1808, the Bank advanced another banking house in London would wil. loan of three millions, which reduced lingly undertake to do what the Baok the deposits in their hands from eight of England does, for 25,000l. per an. millions and a half to five millions and num, thus making a saving of nearly

half a million to the public.

In addition to tbe immense gains de. The interest on five mil.

rived by the Bank from the interest of lions and a half is, per

the public balances, another great annum

£275,000 branch of their profits arises from the To which add, as before,

allowance possessed by them for maon the loan of 1806 ... 90,000 naging the national debt. This allow.

ance had been fixed by Sir Robert Together

365,000 Walpole, in 1726, at 3601. per mil.

lion, an allowance, as Mr Grenfell be.

lieved, perhaps not too much at the From 1808 then, to 1814, the-Bank commencement of the business ; but held a treasure belonging to the pub- the subsequent immense increase in lic of five millions and a half, and made the amount of the national debt had a profit, or the public lost in interest

, by no means, he alleged, been attendof money thereon, at the rate of ed with any thing like a correspond365,0001. per annum.

ing increase of trouble to the Bank ; In 1814, the loan of 1896 was dis. on the contrary, the profits derived to charged, and the amount replaced in them at a time when the debt exceeded the possession of the Bank, by which ten hundred millions, must have been the aggregate amount of deposits was far beyond the contemplation of those again raised from five millions and a who lived when it did not exceed two half to eight millions and a half. The hundred millions, while a very small interest on this is, per annum,425,000). increase of establishment would be " From 1814, then," said Mr Gren. sufficient for managing the additional "fell, to the 5th April, 1816, the Bank business occasioned by it. From mowill have held a public treasure of tives unintelligible to the goveroment, eight millions and a half, and we shall however, Mr Pilt had, in 1791, allowhave been paying to the Bank at the ed the Bank 450l, instead of 3601, per rate of 425,0001. per annum, for ta- million. This allowance had, in conking care of it.”

sequence of the labours of the finance In return for this large annual sum committee of 1797, been reduced by of 425,0001., it is fair, continued he, Mr Percival in 1808 to 340l. per mil. that we should enquire what services lion, at which sum it now stood, but are rendered to the public by the Bank. below which he had no doubt it ought From every enquiry that he had been to be still very far reduced. Various able to make, it appeared to him to be other items were enumerated by Mr demonstrable, that the sergices render- Grenfell, in each and all of which he ed by the Bank to the public were ex- was of opinion an undue advantage was actly of the nature of those rendered taken of the public by the monopoli

« AnteriorContinuar »