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be applied to him. But being con- tion of reform from which adınini. scious of the fincerity and patriotism stration were averse. Since, there. which guided him, he cared not for fore, the noble duke at the head of imputations that were not founded the treasury declared, that though in reality: As to the pension grant. he agreed with him in his general ed to lord Loughborough, he could principles, he was hostile to his monot by any means approve of it; tion, he was indifferent in what and he believed that he was not fin. manner it thould be disposed of. gular in considering it as a measure He considered the getting rid of any the most unwise and improper. He motion by a previous question to be might be charged with the love of as strongly a rejection as a direct nechange, but the censure did not gative. He would therefore, at prehurt him. Without change or in- lent, proceed no farther. The prenovation there could be no improve. vious question was now put and carment. It was idle, however, to ex- ried without a division. pect success in any plan or propofi

CHA P. XV.

A

A Bill for reforming the Public Officers. The Objeets of this Bill. Com.

plaints of Abusos. Opposition to the Reform Bill.' It is lost in the House of Lords.

MIDST the projects for cise-office, the office of surveyor ge

serving the nation, suggested neral of his majesty's land revenues, not merely by the enormous load of the office of Surveyor-general of his the national debt, but by the ex- majesty's woods and forests, the ofistence of real and pernicious griev- fice of taxes, the Stamp-office, the ances, it occurred to Mr. Pitt, that Salt-office, the hawkers and peda reform was highly expedient in lar's office, and the hackney.coach the public offices. He accordingly office. 2. Accounts of the annual presented to the commons, A incidental charges incurred in each bill for preventing abuses, and el- of the faid offices.

3. Copies of tablishing certain regulations in the the establishments of the said ofseveral offices of the Treasury, Ad- fices as they stood at Michaelmas, miralty, Ordnance, Excise, and 1782, thewing the numbers of the Stamps, and of several other of- feveral officers, and clerks employed

He then moved, " That therein, with the salaries and allow. there be laid before the house. ances paid to each.” Accounts of the fees, gratuiries, This bill, proposed by Mr. Pitt, and perquisites, received and taken comprehended a great variety of by any person or persons in the objects; and he declared that it was following offices and departments, a part of the plan of economical viz. the Admiralty-office, the Ord- reform which had been projected by nance, the War-office, the office of the late adininistration. comptroller of the army accounts, paring it, assistance had been defirthe Navy-office, the Navy Pay-office, ed from the commissioners of pubthe Victualling-office, the Sick and lic accounts; and it had in view Hurt-office,the Customhouse, the Ex- the most timple and caly method of

fices.''

1.

reform

In pico

reform. He therefore flattered him- pride, and confidence, which were nefelf, that the bill, in confequence of ceffary to uphold their virtue. Now its utility and importance, would the bill in question would have the readily pass the two houses of par- effect to destroy this official confeliament.

quence, and might eventually tend to Mr. Burke observed, that the late endanger the whole management of administration had been full of high the public expenditure. For if sufprofessions of reform; but that dur- picions were avowed, that the heads ing the short time in which they of the offices connived at corruphad continued in power, it was not tions and frauds in those under very clear that they had not given them, the receipt and expenditure way themselves to great abuses with of the revenue would be exposed to respect to official °fees; and loud hazard. This surmise was not to complaints of extravagant fees taken be treated slightly; and he believed from the merchants of London, that no abuse had hitherto been on account of passports had been practised that ought to produce a heard. It was therefore fit that denial of confidence to the public their conduct should be inquired in- offices. to, that a judgment might be formed There were other objections to the of their fidelity and honour. He bill. If it Mould pass, the cominismoved accordingly for, “ 1. An fion of accounts must be continued account of all fees received on passo to a great length of time. This ports given to any thips from the would expose the public to an im• 30th of November, 1782, at the mense expence; a circumstance office of the secretaries of state, or which was a very improper operaany other office, the quantity of tion of economy or reform. The the fame, and the distribution there. endless variety of matter which the of. And, 2. For copies of all let. bill held out to observation and scruters applying for redress on com- tiny, would employ long and anx• plaining of the said fees taken at the iously the thoughts and labour of office of the secretaries of state, or the commissioners. Nor could it clo any other office.”

cape notice, that the superiors in Lord John Cavendish was doubt. each office must be necessarily more ful whether the objects of the bill able for this bufiness than even the would be best obtained by an act of commissioners. parliament. Perhaps there were It was indeed to be confessed, that others and less expensive means by there were articles in the bill which which its advantages might be fé. he highly approved. The sale of cured. He thought that the regu- offices was a matter which was infi. lations of the fees, gratuities, and nitely absurd; and he was ready to perquifites in the different departe concur in'any adviseable method for ments of the public offices, might be correcting an abuse that was so noadjusted by each office respectively. torious. It was impossible that ofWhere abuses bad prevailed to an fices could be filled with propriety, improper extent, an official when money and not ability was the re&tion might be applied.

title to them. There were other plication of this correction would, abufes pointed to in the bill, for befide its proper advantage, have which remedies ought to be sought alio the falutary effect of giving to for and applied. The expenditure the different offices that weight, of stationary wares in the public

Offices,

cor

The ap.

H4

offices, and in the houses of officers example, the chief clerk of the nawas Thameful and excessive in the vy-office had a salary of about two greatest degree. But it appeared that hundred and fifty pounds a year; these grievances might be removed; but he received not less than two and all the objects of the bill be at- thousand five hundred pounds in tained without its passing into a law. gifts. The other clerks, whole fa

Mr. Pitt accounted it furprising laries were smaller, received gifts that lord John Cavendish Raould op in proportion. These gifts might be pose his bill, while he allowed that termed the wages of corruption. there were parts of it which called Between the clerks in office who forth his approbation. His bill was were concerned in checking, pafling, founded on a principle of official and expediting the accounts of per@economy and public reform; and fons who were employed in serving the situation of the country de- the public with different articles, manded it. To continue the com- and thofe persons themselves, there mission of accounts might be cxpen- prevailed à most infamous traffic, five; bat would not the benefits which defrauded the nation of a great arising from it be sufficient to com- annual revenue. In the post-office, penlace any loss that might be incur- the place of secretary was legally red? That official abuses would be worth six hundred pounds, but its remedied by official men, was in his profits exceeded three thousand. The mind a monitrous propofition. For iwo secretaries of the treasury might those who actually committed the receive annually during peace two abuses would be required to remedy thousand pounds; but in the time them. Reforms conducted in this of war, their income rose to five manner would be preposterous in- thousand. There were other, and deed! For men who had gained by perhaps greater abuses ; but these abuses would be disposed to continue were fuifcient to ascertain the exift. in them.

erce of the grievance; and that the If there was an object more de- public mult gain in no common serving than another of the atten- ineasure by a general reform in the tion of paliament, it was that the public offices. receipt and expenditure of public The neceffity of giving a check to money thould be managed in all the the sale of offices was universally algreat revenue offices with the most lowed; and it was not less necessary scrupulous purity and exaftness. To to bring forward regulations with enlarge on the consequences of a regard to the superannuation of officontrary practice would be to trifle. cers, and the appointment of persons They were most palpably obvious. to discharge the duty of such of them It was more destructive to enter into as may have leave of absence. Prethe abuses which actually prevailed. viously to the existence of the latt When the late board of treasury in- board of treasury the commissioners stituted an enquiry with regard to of the stamp-duty had been accurs the navy-ottice, they were repeatedly tomed to appoint each of thein one informed that in this department no of their own servants to be a stampfees were received. Įi appeared, er, and instantly to grant leave of however, that though no fees could ablenice to him; so that the place be legally demanded, sumns of money was a finecure, and the business of to a great amount were taken under it done by a deputy. New otħces she appellation of gifts. Thus, for had also been created without ne

ceflity

peility; and no abuse could be more cord he had never before heard of pregnant with public ruin.

it. But when it was urged that his The improvident expenditure of stationary amounted to one thoufand the revenue of the kingdom in what and three hundred pounds, it ought had obtained the name of incidental to have been observed, that there expences, under which head were were peculiar circumstances in con. comprised the supply of persons in nection with it. Upon the stationoffice with coals, candles, and fur- er's bill there was an allowance of niture, had grown to an extrava- 40 per cent, which was a perquisite gance that was truly amazing. The to the usher of the Exchequer. He work done to houses held under go- thought indeed that this expence vernment was another enormous im- might be saved to the public; and potition and abuse. The house in that the perquisite might be dropped Downing-ftreet had cost the public after the death of the present ulher for repairs in one year the sum of of the Exchequer, who held his of. ten thousand pounds. Bulhby-park fice for life. But in respect of the had also its share of expence; and amount of his bill for stationary, this these were not the only houses be- peculiarity reduced it to 6ool. Now longing to the public.

as the first lord of the treasury kept As to the consumption of station- a secretary and several clerks, and ary wares by the officers in the dif- as his house was rather an office ferent departments of government, it than a private dwelling, it per. might be termed a depredation. It haps might be thought that this sum exceeded the annual sum of eigh- was by no means excestive or proteen thousand pounds. It would fule. attonish the noble lord in the blue As to the articles of coals and ribband, that the year before the last candles, he had refused to receive be had cost the public one thousand them at the expence of the public; and three hundred pounds for Ita- and no abuse on that head could be tionary. Of the bill the articles reproached to him. With regard to were certainly very curious; and the repairs of Downing-street house one of them was most particularly he had taken no active part. The fo. It was an item of three hun. oflicers of the board of works had dred and fort pounds for whipcord. ftared their apprehensions that the It was impossible that his lordship house would fall, and the neceslity could have connived at this extrava. of its immediate reparation. gancy of abuse. But it might be him the alteration of the house was alluded to in order to evince ihe ab- a serious inconvenience; and no Lolute neceflity for a substantial re- candid person could imagine that he form. He could hardly believe was personally to blame in a matter that any serious opposition could be of this kind. As to Bufhby-park, made to the measure he had propof- when his majesty was pleased to coned; and he stated that the carrying fer its rangership on lady North, it of it into execution would add an- was not tenantable. Its repair was pually to the public revenue not less nor imputable to him; and he bea fum than forty thousand pounds. lieved that with regard to it nothing

Lord North declared that the idle or wantonly ornamental had statement of this bill for itationary been executed to put the public to had not been made with a due can- expence. dour. As to the item of the whip. Mr. Fox exclaimed against the

enormous

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enormous fecs which had been taken press with a wanton cruelty on the during the late administration at the indigent and the worthy: board of treasury on the score of The bill, notwithstanding the obpalsports. The late board of trea- jections made to it, passed the comfüry had been infinitely remiss in mons, and was ordered to be carreforming their own official abuses ried to the lords for their concuron the subject of fees while they rence. With the lords, however, were in power ; but when they had it was not so successful. Earl Temple reaped their harvest they were in moved in the house of peers for the ordinately vigilant to prevent their lifts of fees which were taken at the successors from imitating their ex- different public offices, with a view ample. It was not a little extraor- to carry the bill into a law, by de. dinary, that while the late treasury monstrating its utility and advantawere scheming bills of reform upon ges. But his motion was objected the abolition of fees of every deno. to. Earl Fitzwilliam contended that mination, the two secretaries were in the papers called for were unnecefthe habit of taking four times the fary, as the bill proceeded on no common fees on passports. In time statement of abuses that were actuof war the usual fee of a passport ally existing. Lord Stormont defirwas 71. 1os. Nor could any com- ed their lordships to attend to the plaint be made against a charge fo peculiar phraseology of the bill : moderate. But by a refinement that * Whereas it is highly expedient was surely unreasonable, this fee was for the correction of abuses which to be repeated according to the num- may have arisen, and with a view to ber of foes with whom we were cn- such savings as may be made." This gaged in war. The merchants ac- language was indefinite, and had a cordingly, had been charged thirty reference merely to possibilities. The pounds a piece for passports at the paper called for could therefore be offices of the secretaries of state; of no use, and their production and what was curious beyond ex- could have no effect but to create pression, an order came to these of- delay and trouble. Lord Loughfices from the Treasury to put an borough supported these lords; and end to this practice on the very day while he aflerted that the bill af. upon which he had the honour to firmed nothing, he observed, that kifs hands upon his promotion. the persons who had framed it had

Mr. Burke spoke with warmth a. been rash and precipitate. For they gainst the bill. Considering Mr.

Considering Mr. had forgotten that parliament had Pitt as a projector, he compared paffed an act for the entire regulation him to a large serpent gliding along of the pay-office. Now the pay. in the mire of reforin, with a num- office was one of the objects of reber of little diminutive officers in his form in the bill. There was anbelly. The bill did not hold out other impropriety which its framers any true or solid principle of eco- had committed. They had nomical reform. It exhibited vex- powered the commissioners of acation for æconomy, and expence counts to administer an oath to per. for improvement. It would abolish fons selling offices. Now there was a number of petty and insignificant in full force a statute, declaring the offices; and it would erect five ex- sale of an office to be an indictable pensive ones upon their ruins. offence. This then would be to give Without serving ihe public it would to the commissioners a power to ad

minister

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