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fully the success of his undertaking. He told the House of Lords that he had attempted to reduce the charges of the king's tables and his kitchen. The thing, Sir, was not below him. He knew that there is nothing interesting in the concerns of men whom we love and honor, that is beneath our attention.
Love,” says one of our old poets, “ esteems no office mean, - and with still more spirit, “ Entire affection scorneth nicer hands.” Frugality, Sir, is founded on the principle, that all riches have limits. A royal household, grown enormous, even in the meanest departments, may weaken and perhaps destroy all energy in the highest offices of the state. The gorging a royal kitchen may stint and famish the negotiations of a kingdom. Therefore the object was worthy of his, was worthy of any man's attention.
In consequence of this noble lord's resolution, (as he told the other House, he reduced several tables, and put the persons entitled to them upon board wages, much to their own satisfaction. But, unluckily, subsequent duties requiring constant attendance, it was not possible to prevent their being fed where they were employed : and thus this first step towards economy doubled the expense.
There was another disaster far more doleful than this. I shall state it, as the cause of that misfortune lies at the bottom of almost all our prodigality. Lord Talbot attempted to reform the kitchen; but such, as he well observed, is the consequence of having duty done by one person whilst another enjoys the emoluments, that he found himself frustrated in all his designs. On that rock his whole adventure split, his whole scheme of economy was dashed to pieces. His department became more expensive than
ever; the civil list debt accumulated. Why? It was truly from a cause which, though perfectly adequate to the effect, one would not have instantly guessed. It was because the turnspit in the king's kitchen was a member of Parliament ! *
The king's domestic servants were all undone, his tradesmen remained unpaid and became bankrupt, - because the turnspit of the king's kitchen was a member of Parliament. His Majesty's slumbers were interrupted, his pillow was stuffed with thorns, and his peace of mind entirely broken, — because the king's turnspit was a member of Parliament. The judges were unpaid, the justice of the kingdom bent and gave way, the foreign ministers remained inactive and unprovided, the system of Europe was dissolved, the chain of our alliances was broken, all the wheels of government at home and abroad were stopped, — because the king's turnspit was a member of Parliament.
Such, Sir, was the situation of affairs, and such the cause of that situation, when his Majesty came a second time to Parliament to desire the payment of those debts which the employment of its members in various offices, visible and invisible, had occasioned. I believe that a like fate will attend every attempt at economy by detail, under similar circumstances, and in every department. A complex, operose office of account and control is, in itself, and even if members of Parliament had nothing to do with it, the most prodigal of all things. The most audacious robberies or the most subtle frauds would never venture upon such a waste as an over-careful detailed guard against them will infallibly produce. In our estab.
Vide Lord Talbot's speech in Almon's Parliamentary Register. Vol. VII. p.79, of the Proceedings of the Lords.
lishments, we frequently see an office of account of an hundred pounds a year expense, and another office of an equal expense to control that office, and the whole upon a matter that is not worth twenty shillings.
To avoid, therefore, this minute care, which produces the consequences of the most extensive neglect, and to oblige members of Parliament to attend to public cares, and not to the servile offices of domestic management, I propose, Sir, to economize by principle: that is, I propose to put affairs into that train which experience points out as the most effectual, from the nature of things, and from the constitution of the human mind. In all dealings, where it is possible, the principles of radical economy prescribe three things: first, undertaking by the great; secondly, engaging with persons of skill in the subject-matter; thirdly, engaging with those who shall have an immediate and direct interest in the proper execution of the business:
To avoid frittering and crumbling down the attention by a blind, unsystematic observance of every trifle, it has ever been found the best way to do all things which are great in the total amount and minute in the component parts by a general contract. The principles of trade have so pervaded every species of dealing, from the highest to the lowest objects, all transactions are got so much into system, that we may, at a moment's warning, and to a farthing value, be informed at what rate any service may be supplied. No dealing is exempt from the possibility of fraud. But by a contract on a matter certain you have this advantage : you are sure to know the utmost extent of the fraud to which you
are subject. By a contract with a person in his own trade you are sure you shall not suffer by want of skill. By a short contract you are sure of making it the interest of the contractor to exert that skill for the satisfaction of his employers.
I mean to derogate nothing from the diligence or integrity of the present, or of any former board of Green Cloth. But what skill can members of Parliament obtain in that low kind of province ? What pleasure can they have in the execution of that kind of duty ? And if they should neglect it, how does it affect their interest, when we know that it is their vote in Parliament, and not their diligence in cookery or catering, that recommends them to their office, or keeps them in it?
I therefore propose that the king's tables (to whatever number of tables, or covers to each, he shall think proper to command) should be classed by the steward of the household, and should be contracted for, according to their rank, by the head or cover; that the estimate and circumstance of the contract should be carried to the Treasury to be approved ; and thiat its faithful and satisfactory performance should be reported there previous to any payment; that there, and there only, should the payment be made. I propose that men should be contracted with only in their proper trade; and that no member of Parliament should be capable of such contract. By this plan, almost all the infinite offices under the lord steward may be spared, — to the extreme simplification, and to the far better execution, of every one of his functions. The king of Prussia is so served. He is a great and eminent (though, indeed, a very rare) instance of the possibility of uniting, in a mind
of vigor and compass, an attention to minute objects with the largest views and the most complicated plans. His tables are served by contract, and by the head. Let me say, that no prince can be ashamed to imitate the king of Prussia, and particularly to learn in his school, when the problem is, “ The best manner of reconciling the state of a court with the support of war."
Other courts, I understand, have followed him with effect, and to their satisfaction.
The same clew of principle leads us through the labyrinth of the other departments. What, Sir, is there in the office of the greàt wardrobe (which has the care of the king's furniture) that may not be executed by the lord chamberlain himself? an honorable appointment; he has time sufficient to attend to the duty; and he has the vice-chamberlain to assist him. Why should not he deal also by contract for all things belonging to this office, and carry his estimates first, and his report of the execution in its proper time, for payment, directly to the Board of Treasury itself? By a simple operation, (containing in it a treble control,) the expenses of a department which for naked walls, or walls hung with cobwebs, has in a few years cost the crown 150,0001., may at length hope for regulation. But, Sir, the office and its business are at variance. As it stands, it serves, not to furnish the palace with its hangings, but the Parliament with its dependent members.
To what end, Sir, does the office of removing wardrobe serve at all? Why should a jewel office exist for the sole purpose of taxing the king's gifts of plate ? Its object falls naturally within the chamberlain's province, and ought to be under his care and inspec tion without any fee. Why should an office of the