« PreviousContinue »
quiries, in order to make up this report. They had made progress in the business relating to the pay office, and the public accounts : but as these subjects were also under the consideration of the commissioners, they deemed it expedient to wait till these coinmi sioners should make a report upon these heads, a report which had been“presented only on Saturday last. As to the report which the committee of finance now made to the house, he had only to say, that it was less satisfictory to bi iself, than the report which a few days since he had lio sed to lay upon the table of the house; and if gentlemen should be disappointed by its contents, he could assure them he had expected a few days since to have presented a report in a shape which was consistent with his own wishes. Some.al. terations however, had been made in : a-sages of that report, and some omissions ; but he did not mean to complain of that. It might bave arisen froin a smaller number of the members having attended towards the close of the session, than in the earlier part of it, when the orie ginal form of the report had been agreed to. Such a circumstance was incidental to all large assemblies, and without complaining of it, be stated the fact only for the guidance of the house, when the question concerning the revival of the committee should come under their con, sideration. Whatever might be thought of the report which he had presented, he had acted under a sanction of the majority of the committee present when it was finally voted. Upon the whole, however, it would be found to contain much useful inforination, and many suggestions that would be productive of the public good : it will still reinain for the house to decide, how far it would adopt the suggestions of the committee. At all events he was happy that this part of the labours of the committee had been brought to a termination. The honourable gentleman concluded by moving, that the report do lic on the table, and be printed.
Mr. Leycester coincided with the honourable gentle. man in every thing he had asserted, with respect to the assiduity with which the honourable gentleman, and the other members of the committee, had discharged the trust committed to them. He should confine himself so this corroboration of the statement of the honourable chairman of the committee, if he had not felt it necessary from what Vol. III.-1808.
had fallen from him on other topics, to add a few observations in order to obviate any misconception with regard to what had passed in the committee. The honourable gentleman had stated, that some passages of the original report prepared by him had been altered, and another left out. As to the alterations be should observe, that when the report had been first proposed to the committee, most important differences prevailed respecting several passages in it, and one passage bad been carried in that instance only by a majority of one. Upon that occasion notice had been given, that, on the second reading of the report, a stage understood on all hands to be designed for a revia sion of the report, an alteration would be proposed. Some alterations were on that occasion carried by a small, others by a great majority of the committee, and others again unanimously, and this at a meeting called by the chairman in the regular way, and acceded to by those present when the adjournment of the proceedings was proposed. At a meeting so adjourned, the amendment to which the honourable gentleman had alluded, had been carried. The other passage to which the honourable gentleman had alluded had been left out of the report. From the importance which the honourable member attached to these passages, the house might suppose that they were of very great consequence, and from what had been insinuated out of doors, it would seem as if the committee was disposed to screen public delinquents. But the house would be surprised when he explained to them the real state of the case. The original report stated, if not in terms, at least in substance, that all sinecure places ought to be abolished, with few exceptions; and the amendment was, that the emoluments of some sinecure places oughi to be diminished, and that others should be abolished). Where he stated this, he was convinced that the house would not consider the difference of such importance, nor that much weight was to be attached to the circumstance of the original passage having been in the first instance carried by a majority of one. The house was left in the same situation with respect to the course it might think proper to pursue, by the amendment as by thc original passage, because no definite line was pointed out in either, and it remained for the house eventually to determine for itself. As to the other passage, to which, as having been left out, the honourable gentleman had alluded, he rather thought that it was the passage which relates to the increase of the : influence of the crown. One objection to that passage was, that whilst it enuinerated all the circumstances which had increased the influence of the crown, it onnitted all ihose by which the influence of the crown had been diminished. It was his opinion, at least, that if that subject were to be introduced at all into the report, all the circumstances on both sides ought to have been noticed. But there was a still stronger objection to the assage. The object of the appointment of the committee was, not to inquire into the increase or diminution of the influence of the crown, but to investigate the circumstances of the public expenditure, and to report how far public money might be saved in that expenditure. He was sorry to take up the time of the house between the merits of the original report and the alterations which had been made in it. But he should be glad if every amendment that had been proposed, andevery question that had been discussed in the commi ee, were 1 before the house, and he was confident that the house would concur in every alteration which bad bee, made.
Mr. 11. Thornton desired that this subject should be fully explained to the house. [le had risen to support the statement that had been made by the chairman of he committee, and to prevent any improper impression being made by the staiement of the honourable gentleman who had just sat down. That honourable gentleman seemed to think, that the difference between the passages of the ori. ginal report and the alterations made in it, was wholly unimportant, whereas for his own part, be thought it by no means trifling or unimportant. As the report stood a week ago, it expressed a wish to retain those sinecure places which were necessary to the dignity of the crown, and went on to state, that the remainder, with few excep. tions, ought to be abolished. In this passage, the comInittee expressed a decided opinion upon the principle of sinecures. It recognized the principle of the former finance committee in reserving these sinecures, which would be the remuneration of great public services, and for which, if not reserved, a provision should be substituted out of the public funds of the country, whilst at the same time it asserted a principle against sinecures in general, The amendment on the contrary stated inly that some si. necures ought to be retrenched, and others abolished, without containing any opinion against the general principle of sinccure places. As to ihe other passage which
had been alluded to, that was not of so much consequence. The increase of the influence of the crown had only been introduced to meet an argument against retrenchment, that would lessen that influence, by shewing that if it should he diminished by such retrenchment; it bad heen increased in other respects.
The re ort was then ordered to lie on the table ; and on the question that the report with the appendix be printed,
Mr. Horner desired to know what part of the voluminous documenis were to be printed, and what withheld from the general inspection of the house by not being prinied.
Mr. Bankes assured the honourable member, that every important part had been selected to be printed, and tbat the house would have every thing necessary to enable it to form a i opinion upon the subject. Besides, there was annexed to the appendix a catalogue of all the papers which he had presented, by which any honourable gen. tleman would be enabled to refer to any document in the set which he might think it necessary to consult.
Mr. Henry Thornton added, that the printed part would contain a list of all pensions, sinecures, places filled by deputies, annuities without duties annexed, and reversions, in short all places independant of the establishments.
The report and appendix were then ordered to be prin ed.
Mr. Sheridan gave notice, that on Friday next, hc, should submit a proposition to the house, on the subject of the petitions he had presented from the several personis who bad been imprisoned in Ireland.
MR. DALRYM PLE. Lord Henry Petty, understanding that no objection would be made to his notion, after paying a high tribute to the science and services of the late Mr. Andrew DalTymple, who had been offered a pension equal to his salary as hydrographer to the admiralty if he would resigi, and on his refusal had been peremptorily dismissed his office, wbich circumstance had accelerated his death, noved for a cory of a letter of the lords of the admiralty dismissing the late Mr. Andrew Dalrymple from his office of hydrographer to the admiralty, as he conceived this a subject deserving the attention of that house.
Mr. R. Ward had no objection whatever to the production of this and every other document connected with the subject, and went along with the noble lord in bearing testimony to the merits and services of the gentleman whose removal was he object of the noble lord's motion. He could assure that noble lord, that the present board of admiralty felt as forcibly as he could, what was due to that gentleman's genius and services. But he real state of the case was, that for several months before his
superannuation, the board of admiralty could not get bim to comply with their most direct orders. If ihey di. rected him to supply a particular map or chart to a particular vessel, he replied with written folios, containing reasons for his not complying, which the board of adıniralty could not countenance ; and this he had donc latterly in terms so offensive as to call for some decisive measure on their part. He had never heard of any offer of his full salary to that gentleman, but the letter requiring him to retire, without adverting in the slightest degree to his nu. merous acts of disobedience, was couched in the softest terms, and secured to himn the usual portion of salary retained by public officers on retiring from office.
After a few words from Mr. Horner in praise of Mr. Dalrymple, and from Lord Henry Pety and Mr. Ward, the motion was suffered to lie over for to-morrow, to give the latter an opportunity of considering how all the circumstances of the case can be brought under consideration of the house.
Several accounts were ordered, on the motion of Sir Samuel Romilly, of the number of personis, male and female, who have been committed for trial at assizes in quarter sessions; who have been tried, acquitted, convicted, sentenced, punished capitally or otherwise, with the dates of the conviction and punishment ; also of the number sentenced for transportation, and transported for seven or fourteen years, or for life; together with the number of convicts under sentence of transportation and in the hulks in the years 1800, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, dis. tinguishing cach year; also an account of the number of males and females who have been transporied as criminals to New Sonth Wales since the first establishment of that colony; and of the nunber of persons cast for transportation who have died on board the bulks since the