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wholly executed by deputy, your committee do not feel themselves competent to recommend any general regulation by which the proper scale of salary in any of them may be settled, as soon as the proposed reductions can be accomplished. They do not possess all the information necessary for this purpose; and, even if they did, it is possible that an establishment, which might be now adequate for any particular office, might cease to be so before the termination of the existing interest.
Your committee are therefore of opinion that it should be left to the judgment and responsibility of the Lords of the Treasury for the time being, as vacancies occur, to place the several offices proposed to be regulated upon such an establishment with respect to the number and rank of the persons requisite for the discharge of the efficient functions of such offices, and the amount of salary to be assigned to each person, as may appear to them adequate, after a full inquiry into the nature and extent of the duties to be performed, and the degree of official and pecuniary responsibility which necessarily attaches to some of them. If it should be thought proper in any act to be passed, with reference to the subject of this report, to enact, that whenever any of the said offices shall be reduced and regulated, there should be laid before both Houses of parliament a comparative statement of the number, duty, and emolument of the respective officers under the old and new establishments, your committee conceive that the parliamentary check,
created by this arrangement, would be sufficient to prevent any abuse of a power which seems properly to belong to the Lords of the Treasury, as the official and responsible advisers of the crown, upon all matters which relate to the superintendence and control over the public expenditure.
It may not be improper, in treating this part of the inquiry, to call the attention of the House more distinctly to some peculiar circumstances before alluded to, which are connected with offices of great emolument in the courts of law in Ireland.
It appears, that upon a vacancy which recently occurred in the office of Clerk of the Pleas in the Court of Exchequer, by the death of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, a claim to the appointment to that office was preferred by the Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, and an individual was appointed by him, and was sworn in before the Court of Exchequer. A proceeding, by quo warranto, was instituted on the part of the crown, and the judgment of the Court of King's Bench was adverse to the claim of the Chief Baron. An appeal, however, has been made to the Court of Error; and may hereafter be made, by either party, to the House of Lords. In the mean time, by an act of the legislature, 56th Geo. III. c. 122, the emoluments of the office are paid into the treasury, and the due discharge of all the official duties provided for. It is not impossible that claims, similar to those which have been preferred in this instance by the Chief Baron, may be preferred to the appointment to other offices in the law courts
of Ireland, of great and disproportionate emolument, which have hitherto been considered as at the disposal of the crown.
Your committee cannot, however, avoid submitting to the House, whether it would not be perfectly consistent, both in justice and sound policy, to provide for the regulation of all such offices after the expiration of the legally vested interests, upon the principle on which it is proposed to regulate other offices partaking of the nature of sinecures.
The duties attached to many of the principal offices in the courts of law in Ireland appear indeed to be so various and important, and to be necessarily performed by so many persons, that it would be extremely difficult, without the most mature consideration, and probably without inquiries instituted on the spot, to suggest any arrangement for the future conduct of the business of these offices, when the existing interests in them shall have terminated.
Your committee understand, however, that there is at present a commission in Ireland, appointed in consequence of an address of the House, to inquire into the state of the courts of law in that part of the United Kingdom. It would be very desirable that the menbers of this commission should be required by the Executive Government, to examine, with as little delay as possible, into the circumstances under which the several offices in the courts of law, which have hitherto been considered in the disposal of the Crown, stand, with respect to the performance of the duties attached to them; and that they should also
be required to suggest such a plan for the future regulation of these offices, as shall provide for the respective duties being discharged in person, at such salaries as shall be deemed a just and reasonable compensation to the individuals discharging them.
An act of the legislature will be necessary to give effect to any plan which may be suggested by the commissioners; it will therefore be competent to Parliament to adopt generally the suggestions made by the commissioners, or to depart from them according to their discretion.
In the supposable event of a vacancy occurring in any of these offices before the commissioners make their report, it is of course understood, that a temporary arrangement will be made for the performance of all the necessary duties, which shall not in any way interfere with the immediate regulation of the offices, on the principles above recommended.
MODE OF REWARDING HIGH AND EFFICIENT POLITICAL SERVICES.
Your committee would have found themselves under considerable difficulty in submitting to the House any specific plan for enabling the Crown to reward high and efficient political services, if they had not taken for their guidance the principles and regulations established by the bill so often referred to, as the basis of the suggestions which they have to offer under this head.
After an attentive consideration of the mode proposed in that bill for enabling the Crown to recompense the faithful and meritorious discharge of high and efficient
civil offices, your committee cannot but entertain an opinion that, consistently, as they trust, with this important object, it will be practicable to make the new means of reward which it is proposed to grant to the Crown less extensive, and, at the same time, to place the power of conferring those rewards under limitations more restrictive than had been provided by the regulations of that bill.
Retaining the list and classification of offices according to that bill, your committee are of opinion, that it would be expedient either to limit the total sum, which should in no case be exceeded, or to proceed, in another mode, towards attaining the same object :
1st. By limiting the number of pensions which could be granted, and in operation at any one time in each class. 2dly. By providing that the power of granting such pensions should be called progressively into operation at stated intervals, affording a reasonable probability, that at least an equal saving will have been effected by the falling in of the salaries or emoluments of some of the offices to be regulated or abolished, instead of commencing at once upon the vacancy of the first of such offices as might exceed 2,000l. a year, or at any one given period. 2dly. That the provision of the bill which would have made it lawful for his Majesty, when any person should have served in more than one of the four classes, to grant such pension as is annexed to the highest class in which he may have been employed (without any reference to the duration of his service in that class) should be so far amended as to require from
any such person a certain period of service in the higher class.
With reference to these principles of modification, your committee submit, that the number of pensions in each of the four classes should be limited as follows:
1st Class-First Lord of the Treasury, First Lord of the Admiralty, Three Secretaries of State, Chancellor of the Exchequer six pensions of 3,000l.
2d Class-Chief Secretary for Ireland, Secretary at War-three pensions of 20001.
N. B. The Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland was included in this class in the Bill of 1813.
3d Class-Two Secretaries of the Treasury, Principal Secretary of the Admiralty-6 pensions of 1,500l.
4th class—Under Secretaries of State, Clerk of the Ordnance6 pensions of 1,000l.
That the Crown should have the power of granting one pension in each of these classes, except the second, at the end of two years from the adoption of this system by the legislature, and so in succession at intervals of two years, until the expiration of twelve years, when it shall be lawful to the Crown to grant the whole number of pensions proposed in each class. With respect to the second class, it is proposed that the power should not commence till the expiration of four years, so as to come into complete operation at the same period of twelve years, as in the three other classes.
Your committee conceive that the offices of the President of the Board of Control, and Secretary to that Board, come within the description
description of effective, civil, and political offices, so far as to entitle them to be considered in any general system intended to be laid down with regard to such offices; but they leave it to the wisdom of the House to determine whether, as their salaries are entirely drawn from another quarter, and not from public revenue, these offices ought to be included in the provisions of any bill which may be framed upon the recommendations contained in this report, or to form the subject of some other legislative measure.
The regulations of the bill, with respect to length of service in each of the four classes, your committee are of opinion might be amended in the following man
1st Class-not less than two years' service in one or more of the offices of that class: 2d and 3d classes either five years' service in one of the offices of that class, or three years in that class, and not less than five years in some of the offices of the other classes, so as to make, in that case, at least eight years' service; but in the whole 4th class, at least ten years' service.
The only further alteration which it has occurred to your committee to recommend in limitation of the regulations of the bill, is, that the pensions of each class should, in all cases, be limited to the smaller sum specified in the bill, viz. 3,000l. for the first class; 2,000l. for the second; 1,500l. for the third; and 1,000l. for the fourth; without any progressive increase depending upon length of service; and that one half of such pension should abate
upon the grantee being appointed to any civil office or employment under the Crown of equal or greater amount.
It has occurred to your committee, that circumstances might possibly arise, though of occasional and rare occurrence, in which it might be highly expedient for the Crown to possess the power of granting one pension in the first class, without reference to any specific period of service in the person to whom it might be granted; and although there might be nó actual vacancy in the class. They therefore submit to theHouse, whether it might not be expedient to grant such a power, subject to any regulations in the mode of exercising it which may be thought necessary, and subject also to a provision that any such grant should be held to be supernumerary; so that, upon any subsequent vacancy arising in the first class, it should not be filled up, except in favour of the person holding such extraordinary pension; who from that time would be considered as forming one of the limited list of six.
Although it may be objected to the limited number proposed by your committee for each class, that circumstances may arise in which, from the whole number of pensions in any of the classes having been previously granted, the crown might for a time be debarred from remunerating a person, who, by long and meritorious services, might be entitled to such a reward; such an inconvenience, they apprehend, could only exist for a short time; and on the other hand, your committee are of opinion that, without some such limita
tion, the saving, which they contemplate as one of the inducements for substituting this mode of recompensing public service, for that which is now at the disposal of the crown, might be ultimately disappointed.
March 28, 1817.
SECOND REPORT FROM THE SELECT
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE.
[Ordered by the House of Commons
to be printed, March 29, 1817.] The Select Committee, appointed to inquire into, and state, the income and expenditure of the United Kingdom for the year ended the 5th of January, 1817, and also to consider and state the probable income and expenditure (so far as the same can now be estimated) for the years ending the 5th of January 1818, and the 5th of January, 1819, respectively, and to report the same, together with their observations thereupon from time to time, and also to consider what further measures may be adopted for the relief of the country from any part of the said expenditure, without detriment to the public interest, have proceeded to investigate the principal establishments of the country, beginning with the army.
In this department the first object that presents itself is the numerical amount of force.
Your committee are deeply sensible of the extreme difficulty of ascertaining the precise point at which our military establishments should be fixed, on account of political considerations, and others of a still more delicate nature, which must necessarily involve
themselves in the question. In taking into consideration the peace establishments of the country, it must be remembered, that if on the one hand they are proposed to be kept in a state of complete preparation, with a view of affording entire security to the nation both at home and abroad, the continued expense must bear so heavily upon the resources of the country, as to preclude all hope of relief from the burdens of taxation, and the load of debt incurred during a long series of protracted hostilities: on the other hand, if they should be reduced too low, the temporary gain in point of economy might be more than counterbalanced by the hazardous situation in which this kingdom, together with its numerous and distant dependencies, might eventually be placed upon the breaking
out of an unforeseen or sudden war; for which such a state of
deficient military preparation might possibly offer no small temptation.
It is rather, therefore, for the executive government, acting on their responsibility, to propose, and for the wisdom of the House to judge of, a matter of this high importance, than for your committee to offer an opinion; but they observe, in the mean time, with satisfaction, that upon a comparison between the estimates of the two last years, and those for the present year, much will appear to have been effected in the way of reduction, both as to numbers and as to expense; and they entertain a confident hope, that such further reductions will continue to be made, as may be found consistent with all the true interests