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offices, but this could not be urged as any sufficient reason for invading private property. As well might it be said that the Chancellor should be deprived of the large emoluments arising from bankruptcies, because in modern times they had been so greatly augmented.
Mr. Wilberforce wished, before the House came to any decision, that all the facts connected with the two Tellerships of the Exchequer should be brought before it. He was desirous of knowing whether these offices were in reality to be deemed private property, or whether they were held under any qualification or condition ?
Mr. Tierney felt it necessary to state distinctly his opinion upon this question, that he might sustain his share of the unpopularity which would attach to a complete concurrence with his right honourable friend (Mr. Ponsonby). He objected to the time when this subject was introduced, because ihe House had now before it a Sinecure Bill, which would in all probability be passed here, but thrown out elsewhere, and lie was unwilling that any additional argument should be afforded for such a vote, because it would be contended, and with great fairness, that the Commons, having passed a Bill conditionally against sinecures, emboldened by their success, were now proceeding a step further, and were even attempting to invade and destroy a vested interest, which he insisted was the situation in which these offices must be contemplated, since they were so recognised by the laws of England. Another reason why he could not concur in the motion was, that the noble personages now occupying those places were far advanced in life. He recommended that if the question ought to be decided, it should be formally tried in a court of law. He maintained that a purchaser of the life interest of either of these Tellerships for a valuable consideration, could not be ousted in any court of judicature, after the Act of 1782, in which the vested interest of the holder was acknowledged by Parliament.
Mr. Creevey declared his intention of not dividing the House on his original Resolutions, but on the Amendment of his honourable friend.
Mr. Brand moved his Amendment, which was, “ that a Committee be appointed to inquire into the precedents which exist as to the deduction from, or suppression of, any fees payable to the Tellers of the Exchequer for monies issued out of the same."
After a remark from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the House divided upon Mr. Brand's Amendment. For the Amendment
38 Against it
108 The original Resolution of Mr. Creevey was afterwards negatived without a division.
The Marquis of Tavistock, in pursuance of notice, moved for leave to bring in a Bill which would have the effect of amending the state of the Representation of the People in Parliament. His lordship was making some remarks upon the augmented influence of the Crown, declaring that by means of it the Sovereign was enabled to retain in his service Ministers whose conduct had his approbation, though their measures were universally condemned by the people, who loudly called for their exclusion from power.-(Hear!)-It would not be denied, he apprehended, that the votes of Parliament were sometimes in direct opposition to the sentiments of the nation at large; and he believed that it would be equally readily admitted that some reform was necessary. He did not mean to say that it would be proper, in the first instance, to adopt one general or violent measure, to attempt an immediate Reform; on the contrary, he thought the only wise and prudent mode would be to proceed, step by step, until at length the object so much desired was attained—a full, fair, and adequate representation of the people in Parliament. (Hear, hear!) The accomplishment of the design would be much more probable, if the House advanced with caution, tban if it at once resolved to overthrow existing and long established rights. The purpose he had in view by the Bill be should afterwards submit to the House, was to limit, to a certain extent, the expences of County Elections. (Hear, hear!) In the first place, he should endeavour to prevent the great inconvenience to which freeholders were subject in travelling to the town where the election was to take place; and in the next place, to put an end to the corrupt practice of giving money to voters under the pretence of defraying the charges they had incurred in coming to poll. He should suggest that the electors should be allowed to give in their votes in the bun
dred in which they resided, and that one day be appointed for renewing suffrages in each hundred. He should add to this the establishment of a Special County Court for the nomination of candidates. His lordship then moved for leave to bring in a Bill " for regulating the Election of Knights of the Shire to serve in Parliament."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that he did not rise to oppose, in its first stage, a measure which had in view so desirable an object as the limitation of the expences of county elections. He wished it, however, to be distinctly understood, that he was giving no pledge of approbation to any of the provisions the noble lord might deem it expedient to introduce. He begged also explicitly to declare, that in not opposing the introduction of this Bill, he was not admitting that either that or any other measure was necessary to diminish what was termed the overgrown influence of the Crown, by means of which the noble lord had asserted that the Sovereign had it in his power to continue any Administration, however impotent or obnoxious to the country. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was convinced that the assertion was not well founded. In the present state of the Constitution, it was not in the power of the Crown to retain in its service any Administration that, in the judgment of the people, was unworthy of, or inadequate to the situations they occupied. (Hear, hear, hear!) The Sovereign, however, had authority sufficient to continue his confidence to those individuals who, anxious for the well-being of the empite, bad conducted its affairs with as able a judgment and as firm a hand as any of their rivals. (Loud cheers.) If the noble lord or any other Member, should think it prudent to throw out any challenge upon this ground, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) should be always ready to meet and to answer it; for he conceived the remark to have been made by the noble mover with reference to the present Administration. (Hear, hear!) If the contrasti were pressed upon him, he would venture to assert, that the other side of the House could not adduce a single instance from the transactions of the late Administration, which, either in point of vigor, of wisdom, or of success, could for a moment be put in comparison with the exertions and achievements of the present. (Hear, hear! and laughing.)
Mr. Brand inquired whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer would allow tliat the Bill should be printed and circulated before he gave his decided opposition to it, in case he should feel it right to resist it?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied in the affirma, tive. He meant to have expressed it in the remarks he had made.
GENTLEMAN USHER OF THE BLACK ROD. Mr. Bennett rose to move that there be laid before, the House a Copy of the Appointment of the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, together with a Return of the Emolaments of that office for the last ten years. He was induced to bring forward this motion, from an understanding that these profits were very large, amounting, in the course of ! the last year, to 35621. 18s. 2d. He had been likewise informed, that they aroše in some measăre from the sale of offices; and in every point of view seemed to call for the regulation of the House.
After some conversation between Mr. Perceval, Mr. Tierney, Mr. Wynne, and Mr. Baker, as to how far the motion might infringe on the privileges of the Lords, Mr. Bennett agreed to limit his motion to the production of the Copy of Appointment, which was carried.
Sir John Newport gave notice, that on Thursday next he should submit a motion, the object of which would be to relieve that class of Protestant Dissenters in Ireland, known by the name of Seceders.
The other orders of the day were then disposed of, and the House adjourned.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
FRIDAY, MAY 8.
ROXBURGH PEERAGE. In the Committee of Privileges on the Roxburgh Peerage, the Resolution moved by the Lord Chancellor, that Sir James Innes Ker had made good his claim to the titles of Duke and Earl of Roxburgh, &c. was agreed to; and at the meeting of the House the Report of the Committee was ordered to be taken into consideration on Monday.
The Marquis of Wellesley presented fourteen Petitions from different bodies of persons in the metropolis connected
with the East India Trade, praying that that trade might continue to be confined to the Port of London,
The House resolved itself into a Committee on the Orders in Council, when several witnesses were examined; after which the House resumed, and the Committee was appointed to sit again on Monday.
GENTLEM Ata, USHER OF THE BLACK ROD. Earl Grosvenor moved for a copy of the Appointment of the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, and a Return of the Emoluments of the Office, distinguishing from what sources derived. His lordship stated his baving heard that a similar motion had been made elsewhere, and observed it was highly proper that House should be made acquainted with the nature and amount of the emoluments of this office, the gentleman who now held it being in a precarious state of health, and it having been rumoured that the emos luments of the office were greater than they ought to be.
The motion, after a suggestion from the Earl of Liverpool, as to whether the mode of obtaining the desired inforination might not deserve consideration, was agreed to.
Earl Grosvenor then made some observations upon the expediency of adopting some proceeding (he thought perbaps the best mode would be to address the Prince Regent), in order that, in case the office became vacant, it might not be filled up pending the consideration of any regulations respecting its emoluments, which it might be deemed expedient by the House to make.—This produced some conversation between his lordship, the Earl of Harrowby, Earl Grey, the Earl of Liverpool, and Lord Holland, as to the mode of proceeding, but no notice was given.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
FRIDAY, MAY 8.
NIGHTLY WATCH. Mr. Home Sumner brought in a Bill for regulating the Nightly Watch in London and Westminster, and the parishes adjoining.-Read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time on Tuesday.