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hold, has the same vices. It is a great expense to the nation, chiefly for the sake of members of Parliament. It has its officers of parade and dignity. It has its treasury, too. It is a sort of corporate body, and formerly was a body of great importance, much so, on the then scale of things, and the then order of business, as the Bank is at this day. It was the great centre of money transactions and remittances for our own and for other nations, until King Charles the First, among other arbitrary projects dictated by despotic necessity, made it withhold the money that lay there for remittance. That blow (and happily, too) the Mint never recovered. Now it is no bank, no remittance-shop. The Mint, Sir, is a manufacture, and it is nothing else; and it ought to be undertaken upon the principles of a manufacture, - that is, for the best and cheapest execution, by a contract upon proper securities and under proper regulations.
The artillery is a far greater object; it is a military concern ; but having an affinity and kindred in its defects with the establishments I am now speaking of, I think it best to speak of it along with them. It is, I conceive, an establishment not well suited to its martial, though exceedingly well calculated for its Parliamentary purposes. Here there is a treasury, as in all the other inferior departments of government. Here the military is subordinate to the civil, and the naval confounded with the land service. The object, indeed, is much the same in both. But, when the detail is examined, it will be found that they had better be separated. For a reform of this office, I propose to restore things to what (all considerations taken together) is their natural order: to restore
thein to their just proportion, and to their just distri bution. I propose, in this military concern, to render the civil subordinate to the military; and this will annihilate the greatest part of the expense, and all the influence belonging to the office. I propose to send the military branch to the army, and the naval to the Admiralty; and I intend to perfect and accomplish the whole detail (where it becomes too minute and complicated for legislature, and requires exact, official, military, and mechanical knowledge) by a commission of competent officers in both departments. I propose to execute by contract what by contract can be executed, and to bring, as much as possible, all estimates to be previously approved and finally to be paid by the Treasury.
Thus, by following the course of Nature, and not the purposes of politics, or the accumulated patchwork of occasional accommodation, this vast, expensive department may be methodized, its service proportioned to its necessities, and its payments subjected to the inspection of the superior minister of finance, who is . to judge of it on the result of the total collective exigencies of the state. This last is a reigning principle through my whole plan ; and it is a principle which I hope may hereafter be applied to other plans.
By these regulations taken together, besides the three subordinate treasuries in the lesser principalities, five other subordinate treasuries are suppressed. There is taken away the whole establishment of detail in the household: the treasurer; the comptroller (for a comptroller is hardly necessary where there is no treasurer); the cofferer of the household; the treasurer of the chamber; the master of the household ; the whole board of green cloth; - and a vast number of
subordinate offices in the department of the steward of the household,- the whole establishment of the great wardrobe, — the removing wardrobe, - the jewel office, - the robes, — the Board of Works,-almost the whole charge of the civil branch of the Board of Ordnance, are taken away. All these arrangements to gether will be found to relieve the nation from a vast weight of influence, without distressing, but rather by forwarding every public service. When something of this kind is done, then the public may begin to breathe. Under other governments, a question of expense is only a question of economy, and it is nothing more: with us, in every question of expense there is always a mixture of constitutional considerations.
It is, Sir, because I wish to keep this business of subordinate treasuries as much as I can together, that I brought the ordnance office before you, though it is properly a military department. For the same reason I will now trouble you with my thoughts and propositions upon two of the greatest under-treasuries : I mean the office of paymaster of the land forces, or treasurer of the army, and that of the treasurer of the navy. The former of these has long been a great object of public suspicion and uneasiness. Envy, too, has had its share in the obloquy which is cast upon this office. But I am sure that it has no share at all in the reflections I shall make upon it, or in the refor.. mations that I shall propose. I do not grudge to the honorable gentleman who at present holds the office any of the effects of his talents, his merit, or his fortune. He is respectable in all these particulars. I follow the constitution of the office without persecuting its holder. It is necessary in all matters of public complaint, where men frequently feel right and argue wrong, to separate prejudice from reason, and to be very sure, in attempting the redress of a grievance, that we hit upon its real seat and its true nature. Where there is an abuse in office, the first thing that occurs in heat is to censure the officer. Our natural disposition leads all our inquiries rather to persons than to things. But this prejudice is to be corrected by maturer thinking.
Sir, the profits of the pay office (as an office) are not too great, in my opinion, for its duties, and for the rank of the person who has generally held it. He has been generally a person of the highest rank, that is to say, a person of eminence and consideration in this House. The great and the invidious profits of the pay office are from the bank that is held in it. According to the present course of the office, and according to the present mode of accounting there, this bank must necessarily exist somewhere. Money is a productive thing; and when the usual time of its demand can be tolerably calculated, it may with prudence be safely laid out to the profit of the hold
It is on this calculation that the business of banking proceeds. But no profit can be derived from the use of money which does not make it the interest of the holder to delay his account. The process of the Exchequer colludes with this interest. Is this collusion from its want of rigor and strictness and great regularity of form ? The reverse is true. They have in the Exchequer brought rigor and formalism to their ultimate perfection. The process against accountants is so rigorous, and in a manner so unjust, that correctives must from time to time be applied to it. These correctives being discretionary, upon the case, and generally remitted by the Barons to the Lords of the Treasury, as the best judges of the reasons for respite, hearings are had, delays are produced, and thus the extreme of rigor in office (as usual in all human affairs) leads to the extreme of laxity. What with the interested delay of the officer, the ill-conceived exactness of the court, the applications for dispensations from that exactness, the revival of rigorous process after the expiration of the time, and the new rigors producing new applications and new enlargements of time, such delays happen in the public accounts that they can scarcely ever be closed.
Besides, Sir, they have a rule in the Exchequer, which, I believe, they have founded upon a very ancient statute, that of the 51st of Henry the Third, by which it is provided, that, “when a sheriff or bailiff hath begun his account, none other shall be received to account, until he that was first appointed hath clearly accounted, and that the sum has been received.' Whether this clause of that statute be the ground of that absurd practice I am not quite able to ascertain. But it has very generally prevailed, though I am told that of late they have began to relax from it. In consequence of forms adverse to substantial account, we have a long succession of paymasters and their representatives who have never been admitted to account, although perfectly ready to do so.
As the extent of our wars has scattered the accountants under the paymaster into every part of the globe, the grand and sure paymaster, Death, in all his
* Et quaunt viscount ou baillif eit comence de acompter, nul autre ne seit resceu de aconter tanque le primer qe soit assis eit peraccompte, et qe la somme soit resceu. — Stat. 5. Ann. Dom. 1266