Slike strani
PDF
ePub

we exert that industry, and those talents have reason to hope, will be undertaken by in forwarding the work, which I am afraid abilities that are fully adequate to it. may be exerted in impeding it-I engage, Something must be devised (if possible) to that the whole may be put in complete check the ruinous expence of elections. execution within a year. For my own Sir, all or most of these things must be part, I have very little to recommend me done. Every one must take his part. for this or for any task, but a kind of ear- If we should be able by dexterity or nest and anxious perseverance of mind, power, or intrigue, to disappoint the exwhich, with all its good and all its evil pectations of our constituents, what will effects, is moulded into my constitution. I it avail us? We shall never be strong or faithfully engage to the House, if they artful enough to parry, or to put by the choose to appoint me to any part in the irresistible demands of our situation. That execution of this work, which (when they situation calls upon us, and upon our conhavt made it theirs by the improvements stituents too, with a voice which will be of their wisdom, will be worthy of the able heard. I am sure no man is more zeaassistance they may give me) that by night lously attached than I am to the priviand by day, in town or in country, at the leges of this House, particularly in regard desk, or in the forest, I will, without regard to the exclusive management of money. to convenience, ease, or pleasure, devote The Lords have no right to the disposition, myself to their service, not expecting or ad. in any sense, of the public purse; but mitting any reward whatsoever. I owe to they have gone further in self-denial* this country my labour, which is my all; than our 'utmost jealousy could have reand I owe to it ten times more industry, it quired. A power of examining accounts, len times more I could exert. After all I to censure, correct, and punish, we never, shall be an unprofitable servant.

that I know of, have thought of denying At the same time, if I am able, and if I to the House of Lords. It is something shall be permitted, I will lend an humble more than a century since we voted that helping hand to any other good work body useless; they have now voted themwhich is going on. I have not, Sir, the selves so. The whole hope of reformafrantic presumption to suppose, that this tion is at length cast upon us; and let us plan contains in it the whole of what the not deceive the nation, which does us the public has a right to expect, in the great honour to hope every thing from our virwork of reformation they call for. Indeed, tue. If all the nation are not equally forit falls infinitely short of it. It falls short ward to press this duty upon us, yet be even of my own ideas. I have some assured, that they will equally expect we thoughts not yet fully ripened, relative to should perform it. The respectful sia reform in the customs and excise, as well lence of those who wait upon your pleaas in some other branches of financial ad- sure, ought to be as powerful with you, ministration. There are other things too, as the call of those who require your serwhich form essential parts in a great plan vice as their right. Some, without doors, for the purpose of restoring the indepen- affect to feel hurt for your dignity, bedence of parliament. The Contractors’ Bill

cause they suppose that menaces are held of last year it is fit to revive; and I re- out to you. Justify their good opinion, joice that it is in better hands than mine. by shewing that no menaces are necessary The Bill for suspending the votes of Cus- to stimulate you to your duty.—But, Sir, tom-house officers, brought into parliament whilst we may sympathise with them, in several years ago, by one of our worthiest one point, who sympathise with us in and wisest members*, (would to God we another, we ought to attend no less to could along with the plan revive the person those who approach us like men, and who designed it!) But a man of very real who, in the guise of petitioners, speak to integrity, honour, and ability, will be us in the tone of a concealed authority. found to take his place, and to carry his It is not wise to force them to speak out idd into full execution. You all see how more plainly, what they plainly mean.necessary it is to review our military ex- But the petitioners are violent. Be it so. pences for some years past, and, if possible, Those who are least anxious about your to bind up and close that bleeding artery conduct, are not those that love you most. of profusion : but that business also, I Moderate affection, and satiated enjoy.

* W. Dowdeswell, esq. chancellor of the exchequer, 1765. See Vol. 16, p. 833.

* Rejection of lord Shelburne's motion in the House of Lords, see Vol. 20, p. 1318.

ment, are cold and respectful; but an ar-capable of receiving. I feel with comdent and injured passion is tempered up fort, that we are all warmed with these with wrath, and grief, and shame, and sentiments, and while we are thus warm, conscious worth, and the maddening sense I wish we may go directly and with a of violated right. A jealous love lights his cheerful heart to this salutary work. torch from the firebrands of the furies. Sir, I move for leave to bring in a Bill, They who call upon you to belong wholly “ For the better regulation of his Majesto the people, are those who wish you to ty's Civil Establishments, and of certain return to your proper home; to the sphere Public Offices; for the limitation of penof your duty, to the post of your honour, sions, and the suppression of sundry useto the mansion-house of all genuine, se-less, expensive, and inconvenient places; rene, and solid satisfaction. We have and for applying the monies saved therefurnished to the people of England (in- by to the public service." deed we have) some real cause of jea- Mr. For seconded the motion. lousy. Let us leave that sort of company

Lord North paid Mr. Burke very great which, if it does not destroy our inno- compliments on his speech, which he said cence, pollutes our honour: let us free was one of the most able he had ever ourselves at once from every thing that heard, and such as no gentleman in that can increase their suspicions, and inflame House but the hon. member, he believed, their just resentment; let us cast away was equal to, although he had the happifrom us, with a generous scorn, all the ness to know, that there were many who love-tokens and symbols that we have had very brilliant parts. With regard to been vain and light enough to accept ;- the motion, he certainly should not opall the bracelets, and snuff-boxes, and mi- pose the bringing in the Bill in question, niature pictures, and hair devices, and all but he begged the House to understand, the other adulterous trinkets that are the that he did not pledge himself not to oppledges of our alienation, and the monu- pose it in some one or other of its subsements of our shame. Let us return to quent stages. The subject was of the our legitimate home, and all jars and all most serious importance, and went to the quarrels will be lost in embraces. Let new forming of our domestic establishthe Commons in parliament assembled, ment; it required, therefore, the most debe one and the same thing with the com- liberate consideration, and ought to be mons at large. The distinctions that are discussed with the utmost care and cirmade to separate us, are unnatural and cumspection. He said, in all cases where wicked contrivances. Let us identify, patrimony and hereditary revenue were let us incorporate ourselves with the peo- likely to be affected, it was the constant ple. Let us cut all the cables and snap parliamentary custom, first to obtain the the chains which tie us to an unfaithful consent of the parties whose interests shore, and enter the friendly harbour, that were concerned; he submitted it to the shoots far out into the main its moles and House, therefore, whether it was not a jettees to receive us.—“ War with the piece of decency and decorum, due from world, and peace with our constituents.” the House to his Majesty and the Prince Be this our motto, and our principle. of Wales, whose patrimony and hereditary Then indeed, we shall be truly great. revenue were materially interested in the Respecting ourselves we shall be respected present question, to pay them at least the by the world. At present all is troubled, same respect as would be paid to any and cloudy, and distracted, and full of an other subject of the legislature. ger and turbulence, both abroad and at A short conversation took place, upon home; but the air may be cleared by this which Mr. Burke postponed his motions storm, and light and fertility may follow relative to the King and Prince's proit. Let us give a faithful pledge to the perty: asserting, however, his right to people that we honour, indeed, the crown; make them if he pleased, and that he abbut that we belong to them ; that we stained from it only through respect for are their auxiliaries, and not their task- the crown and royal family. masters ; the fellow-labourers in the Lord George Gordon got up to provo same vineyard, not lording over their that a more unconstitutional speech had rights, but helpers of their joy: that to never been delivered in that House, than tax them is a grievance to ourselves, but the speech which Mr. Burke had proto cut off from our enjoyments to forward nounced. His lordship charged Mr. theirs, is the highest gratification we are Burke with having lost sight of the York

{}

Petition, and said, he saw most plainly and county palatine, or either of them, that the whole business was a juggle be- and for applying the produce thereof to tween the worthy member for Bristol, and the public service.” At the same time, the noble lord 'in the blue ribbon. He Mr. Burke moved for leave to bring in, then went into an arraignment of the va- 4th, “ A Bill for uniting the duchy of rious parts of Mr. Burke's speech, and at Cornwall to the crown; for the suppreslength, when the question was put, in- sion of certain unnecessary offices now besisted on dividing the House upon

it. longing thereto: for the ascertainment The House divided: the Yeas went and security of tenant and other rights ; forth.

and for the sale of certain rents, lands, Tellers.

and tenements, within or belonging to the

said duchy; and for applying the produce YEAS Mr. Hussey

thereof to the public service.” But some Mr. Spencer Stanhopes

objections being made by the surveyor Lord George Gordon was appointed general of the duchy concerning the rights one of the tellers for the Noes ; but no of the prince of Wales, now in his miother member remaining in the House, to nority, and lord North remaining perbe a second teller for the Noes, the Yeas fectly silent, Mr. Burke, at length, though returned into the House, and Mr. Speaker he strongly contended against the prindeclared the Yeas had it. Leave was ac- ciple of the objection, consented to withcordingly given; and it was ordered, draw this last motion for the present, to " That Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, lord John be renewed upon an early occasion. Cavendish, sir George Savile, col. Barré, Mr. Thomas Townshend, Mr. Byng, Mr. Colonel Barré gives notice of his ProDunning, sir Joseph Mawbey, Mr. Re-positions relative to a Committee of Accorder of London, sir Robert Clayton, counts.] Colonel Barré then called the Mr. Frederic Montagu, the earl of Upper attention of the House to some ProposiOssory, sir William Guise, and Mr. Gil- tions, in addition to those of Mr. Burke. bert, do prepare and bring in the same." The plan which his hon, friend had sub

mitted to the consideration of the House, Feb. 14. Mr. Burke obtained leave, with so much ability on his part, and without opposition, to bring in the follow- which had been received with so much ing Bills: 1. “ A Bill for the sale of the grateful attention on theirs, comprehendforest and other crown lands, rents, and ed a great deal, and promised advantages

to and for applying the produce thereof to ture. His hon. friend had done a great the public service; and for securing, as deal, and having taken upon himself the certaining, and satisfying, tenant rights, labour and fatigue of conducting so great and common and other rights. 2. A Bill a part of the reform, it called not only for for the more perfectly uniting to the the gratitude, the assistance, and combicrown the principality of Wales and the nation of that side of the House, but of county palatine of Chester, and for the the other also.

The abilities of every more commodious administration of jus- man, and the assiduity of every man, were tice within the same; as also, for abolishing called upon in the present instance. His certain offices now appertaining thereto, hon. friend did not, he was well assured, for quieting dormant claims, ascertaining claim any exclusive privilege of forming and securing tenant rights, and for the propositions for a thorough reform. The sale of all forest lands, and other lands, country had taken the alarm; their meettenements, and hereditaments, held by his ings were sober, and their petitions were Majesty in right of the said principality decent. They expected redress, and it or county palatine of Chester, and for ap- became that House, in the present hour plying the produce thereof to the public of difficulty and suspicion, to act as beservice. 3. A Bill for uniting to the came the representatives of the people. crown the duchy and county palatine of For his own part, he was not reformation. Lancaster, for the suppression of unne- mad; but there were some objects which cessary offices now belonging thereto, for he ardently wished to introduce to the the ascertainment and security of tenant consideration of the House, and which and other rights, and for the sale of all would be properly connected with those rents, lands, tenements, and heredita- of his hon. friend. In his plan he had ments, and forests, within the said duchy proposed that the high offices in the ex.

[ocr errors]

and pros

chequer, the emoluments of which are ready to adopt any plan that appeared calexorbitant, should be permitted to con- culated for the promotion of economy, tinue as they are during the lives of the and for reducing the public expence to present possessors. He confessed, for his order and limit. When the hon. gentleown part, he thought that something more man had proposed his plan the other day, should be done. He did not think it right with so much perspicuity of reasoning and that persons who were in general possess- elegance of manoer, he asked if there ed of large private fortunes, should be per- were any more propositions still left; he mitted, during the wars and calamities of did this, surprised that he should have their country, to reap advantages which neglected the ground which he conf-ssed, they did not do in times of peace

for his own part, he thought the most esperity; and he would, on this ground, in- sential of all. That the expenditure of troduce a proposition, that the perquisites the public money should be brought as and profits of these places should be put much as possible under check and con. on a footing equal to the peace

establish- troul, he was well convinced; no member, ment. This he thought fair, just, and he believed, would venture to deny the reasonable.—Another subject of the high propositions; and it was very certain that est importance, and which, in his opinion, the present course of the Exchequer was called most loudly for reformation, was inimical to a speedy and effectual controu). the mode of voting the public money with. The system was unequal to the extent of out estimate. It appeared that no less the business ; and it created delays and than six millions of the public money were inconveniencies exceedingly disagreeable, in the hands of two ministers, for which and which tended to obstruct, instead of there had not been, to this moment, the expediting the national service. The

What could the people people, he said, ought to be satished with think of such proceeding? He could with respect to the expenditure; it was their assurance inform the House, that the right; they expected it; and he, for his greatest part of this large sum might bave own part, wished that the utmost clearness been reduced to estimate. In 1775, the and precision should be found in the pubextraordinaries had amounted to more lic accounts.

He was convinced that all than 400,0001. Surprised at the enor

the

expence could not be reduced to estimity of this sum, he called for vouchers, mate. The nature of war was such, that that he might enquire, if possible, how it no probable estimate could be found capahad been expended. The accounts came, ble of providing against contingencies : but he found that instead of throwing any there must, therefore, be exceedings: and light on the matter, they stated no more ever since the land and sea service of this than the dates of the warrants from the country had advanced to bulk and magni. commander in chief, on which the money tude, exceedings were found to be abso. had been paid. As he proceeded in this, lutely necessary. When an officer made he waded deeper into obscurity, and there a demand, it was not possible to withhold was no more light thrown on the matter it. The service in the hour of danger and by the accounts than there had been by action must not be abandoned ; and though the gross vote of the House. He was the sums so advanced might be even ex. convinced that nothing but a Commission travagant, yet at a distance from the scene of Accounts, consisting of a small number of action, and unacquainted with the neof men, could correct this evil, and bring cessities of the occasion, government could it within proper bounds and controul. He not refuse the request. The officer, howknew that the minister would have the ever, was answerable to his country for naming of that committee; but notwith the sums that he received, and it was on standing this, he foresaw much good from this responsibility that the advancements it. A small committee would not dare, had been originally made and admitted. in the face of their country, to make a He was free to confess that he thought a mockery of what was intended as a na- Commission of Accounts the most likely tional good. On this he rested his hopes, way of checking the public expence; and and he would on a future day introduce for his own part he thought it so salutary, propositions to this effect.

and indeed so necessary a measure, that Lord North said, that he wished to hear be wished to see it adopted. The hon. the propositions of gentlemen from every gentleman had said that the only objec. side of the House; and he could assure tion was that the ministry would have the them that no man in it would be more naming of it. He knew that the majo

The very

year,

rity of the House would have the Lord George Gordon said, that the hon. naming of it; but why the decision of the gentleman had too hastily given the noble majority should throw an obloquy on the lord credit for his intentions. For his persons they named, he was yet to learn. own part, he believed that his design was Committees of accounts had frequently to cajole the House and the people. been appointed, and they had sometimes Mr. Fox paid many handsome comfailed of producing any good. When pliments to the propositions containformed on principles of faction, they were ed in the plan opened on Friday last actuated by intrigue, not zeal, and politics by Mr. Burke,and allowed great candour had mixed themselves with every decision. and fairness on the part of the noble lord, And when, too, they had been appointed who had so readily approved of the idea of a temporary nature, and gentlemen thrown out of appointing commissioners of had boih attended them and their duty in accounts; but could not agree with his the House, little good had been derived, lordship, that a better, or a more ready for their time had been too short for the mode of accounting to the House for the , objects of their concern. But a committee expenditure of public monius, could not

of a small number of gentlemen rendered be devised, or reduced to practice. At permanent, and sitting through the year, present the issue of very large sums were would be capable of rendering solid ad- year after year left unaccounted for, and vantage to the country. As to the hon. he thought it right the minister should no gentleman's other proposition, respecting longer be suffered to lay out enormous the emoluments and salaries of offices dur- sums, for the expenditure of which the ing war, he could only say, that no exor- House had as little given their assent, as bitant fees or profits arose in the offices. the public were satisfied of its receipts. If the emoluments were large and un

last for instance, the esti. common, in the present state of things, it mate for the transport service from Cork was because a larger receipt and expen- to America, had been given in at 60,0001. diture now occurred than during a peace and no less a sum than 400,0001. was acestablishment. A certain profit was an- tually charged for that very service, and Dexed to the amount of the receipt and the minister, with a modesty peculiar to payment, and that consequently rose in himself, had never thought it worth his proportion to the advancement of the na- while to explain such an enormous excess tional expence.

of the estimate. No less a sum than Colonel Burré observed that the noble 60,0001. had also been issued to Mr. lord had spoken plainly and like a man. Stewart, to buy presents for the Indians, He had declared that there was occasion but how it had been laid out, the House for a reform ; and he considered the noble were to this moment totally ignorant ; lord as pledged to the measure of a com- and but for the integrity of the minister, mittee of accounts. He thanked the no- he might just as well have put the whole ble lord for speaking out, and he formed money into his own pocket, for he had just the most favourable presage of success as much right to it. He deduced many from the noble lord's declarations. The reasons from these facts, to prove how noble lord had said true, that the extraor- necessary it was to have the expenditure dinaries could not be prevented altogether, of the public money put under some conand that it was impossible to withhold the troul.- The hon. gentleman went largely demands of officers upon actual service. into a defence of the various petitions from He, however, were he in the noble lord's the county meetings, and animadverted situation, would let officers know, that it with much poignancy, on the protests enwas not the Treasury alone that they had tered into at several of the said counties, to satisfy, but parliament also ; and that as the protestors were by no means war, the Treasury could not protect them from ranted in libelling those persons who had the enquiries and the censure of their thought fit to pray parliament for econocountry. He answered him with respect my in the public expenditures. As tu the to the emoluments of office, and said that noble lørd (Cranbourne) who had been certainly men who enjoyed great and ex. very active that way, he thought he detravagant profits, merely from the occa- served the censure of the House ; for he sions of war, would and ought to make had attended the county meeting, and no objection to yield up those profits, and might there, if he had thought proper, be contented with the profits which they have signified his objections to the resolureceived in peace.

tions he had since protested against. But

« PrejšnjaNaprej »