Page images

impressions are well known to be the most his predecessors, who had seen him 'resopowerful, and, therefore, we are not to won lutely refuse to introduce into the act, conder, that those whose attachment to Mr. Pitt stituting that Commission, any clause similar was founded on his conduct‘at the outset of to that under which Lord Melville has taken his political career, should, especially if they shelter, alleging, that" innoceinte stood in had not been very attentive observers of his “ need of no such protection ;' those, who, progress, have continued that attachment, upon that occasion, had heard him exclaim: (proceeding from their high opinion of his « What! inquire into and correct trifling purity) to the very eve of Lord Melville's “ abuses, while those of a more covert, a disgrace. How was it possible for those “ more dangerous, and a more extensive nawho remembered to have heard him implor ture are left to the ordinary control of the ing the House of Commons to reform itself, ço establislıment! For my part, I can see no and to banish from its constitution the means reason for passing over even the most triof corruption ; who remembered to have “ fling abuses, except laziness and pride; heard him, on the 7th of May, 1782, con

" and these are obstacles which, I hope, will gratulate the House upon his Majesty's

now never stand between me and my duty. having a ministry (consisting of Lord Rock “ Nor can I conceive how, in the present ingham, Mr. Fox, and others) " under " situation of this country, any person or " whom the corrupt influence of the crown “ persons, to whom the care of its interests " would not be exerted; but, at the same are entrusted, can justity to themselves to "time, beseeching the House to provide for “ omit any exertion, that may tend, even in " the future, and to take care that in no the most minute particular, to promote ” time this secret and dark system should be “ that economy, on which the recovery of 5 revived, to contaminate the fair and ho “ the state from its present depressed situa“ nourable fabric of our government; this « tion so much depends." Those who had “ influence being of the most pernicious heard this; those who had received and long " kind, and, having at all times been point entertained the impression which sentiments " ed to as the fertile source of all our mise like those above quoted were calculated to

ries, had, of late, been substituted in the give to the mind; those persons, especially, "' room of wisdom, of activity, of exertion, it, as was before observed, they had not been w and of success.

It was," he said " but very attentive observers of political occur"too naturally connected with the exten-rences, might be' naturally expected to repel, " sive limits of our empire, and with the with indignation, the idea of Mr. Pitt's be“ broad and great scale upon which its ope coming the advocate or the apologist of Lord " rations were conducted. It had been truly | Melville; what, then, must have been the " said of this corrupt influence, “ that it disappointment, what the astonishment and " had grown with our growth and confusion, of these persons at witnessing the

strengthened with our strength};" but, recent conduct of Mr. Pitt? At seeing him " that, unhappily for this country it had not endeavour to edge into the resolution of cer

decayed with our decay, nor diminished sure a phrase, evidently designed to lead the “ with our decrease.” Those who remem world to believe, that Lord Melville bad not bered to have heard this, and who still re understood the intention of the law that he tained the impression made by the eloquent had violated ? At hearing him assert, that expression of his abhorrence of the vile traf the public had sustained 10 actual loss in fie carried on, as he, in the same speech, it consequence of the naval money having been leged, between the Treasury and the mem diverted to, and employed for, purposes of bers of parliament; bis abhorrence of the private emolument? Af perceiring him laWretches, who “ claimed to themselves the bour to persuade the public, that, because " right of bringing their votes to market, no personal corruption was positively proved, who held out their borough to the best the conduct of Lord Melville was not cor

purchaser, and whó, in fact, belonged rupt? At observing his strenuous efforts to " more to the Nabob of Arcot than they | maintain, that, by the vote of censure, Lord "did to the people of Great Britain." Those Melville was sufficiently punished, and that who remembered this, and who, on the 4th every thing beyond it was persecution, and of March, 1792, had heard him assert the must proceed from party and vengeful mopower, the right, and the duty of parliament tives ? At listening to the grounds upon which to punish delinquent ministers, « let their he resisted any further parliamentary inquiry " rank be what it might." Those who had into matters that were to become the subject seen him, on the 8th of March, 1785, when of legal investigation? And, finally, at withe was become minister himself, instantly nessing his contrivance, and hearing his des appointing a Commission of Inquiry into the fence of, the mode which has been adopted abuses of office during the administration of for selecting the committee, appointed to

examine into his own conduct? At hearing contrary to the intention of the law," in and seeing all this, and that, too, in the lieu of “ a gross violation of the law?" space of one month, what, again I ask, must All of the links of the chain of facts and hve been the feelings of those, whose at-; circumstances are complete. First the per tach rent he had gained by the professions ple, in 1780, groaning under the accumu. cf his youth, and who, without much in- Lated burdens heaped on them by a lavish quiry or observation, had remained attached expenditure, petition the parliament, to reto him to the present day-That, to forin treuch that expenditure; secondly, we find a contrast between his former professions, the House of Commons appointing commnis and his present practice, will now be an easy sioners to inquire into the means of effecting matter to his disappointed and mortified ad- such retrencement; thirdly, we see the herents, there can be little doubt; but, ta House of Commons passing, in:1783; a te king the above points in the order they lie solution that the Treasurer of the Nasy and before me, I shall, even at the hazard of the Paymaster of the Forces should be saki wearying by repetition, offer to the reader fered to derive no profit from the use or in such materials, for this purpose, as have pre terest of the public money ; next, the salacented themselves to me. The resolu ries of those officers are greatly augmented tion, expressive of the censure of the House by a warrant of His Majesty, in order to of Commons on Lord Melville, and passed compensate them for the loss of what they on the 8th of April, is worded as follows: formerly made by such use or interest; there

Resolved, that the Right Hon. Lord Mel comes the act regulating the office of the “ ville, having been privy to, and having Paymaster of the Forces, which act has been

connived at, the withdrawing from the duly executed from the moment it was in “Bank of England, for the purpose (as force, io 1782, to the present time; after “ stated" by Lord Melville) of private this we find the Commissioners of Accounts " emolument to Mr. Trotter, sums isa recommending a similar act for the regula"sued to Lord Melville as Treasurer of tion of the Office of Treasurer of the Navy'; " the Navy, and placed to his accouat at to give this recommendation the greater " the Bank, according to the provsio nis weight, and to satisfy the people, that His ir of the 25 Geo. III. c. 31, has been Majesty and his ministers are sincerely soll

guilty of a gross violation of the law, citous to guard the public treasure from and a high breach of duty." In lieu being misapplied, the King, in his speech of the words «.

gross violation of the law, from the throne, in 1785, calls the alteri" and a high lreach of duty,' Mr. Pitt tion of the Commons to the subject; the proposed to insert the words, “ contrary to Commons, in a Committee of the whole * the INTENTION of the law.Now, who House, (on the 17th of Feb. 1985;) take would not suppose, that this law was not, the matter into their serious consideration, in the opinion of Mr. Pitt, misunderstood by the minister clearly describes the intention Lord Melville ?, Every friend of that gens of the bill about to be submitted, the bill is tleman, every one who still esires to de submitted (directly afterwards) by the fend him, must, I think, wish for some person who is immediately to put it into thing to prove, that he might really believe, execution; and, after all this, that very that Lord Melville had not clearly compre person begins to act, and for sixteen years hended the meaning of the law that had been continues to act, eractly contrary to the it violated. What, then, can those friends tention thus solemnly promulgated. And, possibly say, what excuse can they find for when the daring violator of the law is at the conduct of Mr. Pite, when they have last detected; when a motion of carsute now seen that the letter of the law is as on him is proposed in that saroe asserably, plain as that of the lesson of an infant; that where, with professions of superior purit the law was framed ly Lord Melville him- and of dişinterested zeal for the public serself, le being even then in the office to vice, he first stood forward vrith the draft of which it related ; and, that Mr. Pitt him that law, then is an attempt made to give self, then the colleague of Lord Melville, to the sense of the House such an expression did, at the tiine tliat he moved for leave to as to induce the world to believe, that he bring in the bill, clearly describe it as being has disobeyed the law merely because he died principally intended to prevent ihe naval mo not understand its intention. To this didertill it was actually wantedfor naval

. ney froin ever being drawn from the Bank ma, however, are those who take this ground

reduced, - and this is the point to which vices: What, then, are we to think of wish to rivet the attention of the reader: his attempt to soften down, to fritter away, either the intention of the law and of its to destroy, in fact, the censure finally passed-framer was such as it was described by Ms. by that assemby, by substituting the words Pitt in the speech above referred to, or it wada


uot. If the former, then has the law been actual loss to the public. The fallacy of this wilfully as well as grossly violated : if the position is so glaring, that little reeds be latter, iben was the law intended to deceive said in answer to it; fur, the reader has only the people;- the parliament, and the king, to consider himself having large, concerns and, under the garb of reform, do copiar este af steward, who, instead of calling upon his

managed by Lord Melville and Mr. Pitt may choose, is master for money no to me, vand, I believo, to the public, in ge wanted, takes care to call for a sain

always neral, a matter of perfect indifference; but, before-hand, and constantly to keep out at Que of the two it is impossible for them to interest, for his own emolument, a sum that avoid: Aud; upon this part of the subject, would otherwise be kept out at interest for it only remains for me to observe, and for the emoluinent of his master. If, at the end the reader well to remember, that it is a of several years of such practice, the master, question to be determined by the select com were to call bim to account, wliat would mittee of the House of Commons now sit such master think of the person who should ting, whether Mr: Pire himself, he being tell him, as Mr. Pitt now tells the public, first Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor that, the steward having paid in the balance of the Exchequer, did not connive at the of the principal remaining in his hands, he, withdrawing of the naval money from the the master, las sustained no actudi luss. But, bank of England for purposes of private it is my object to show, that Mr. Pitt himself emolument, and, of course, u hether he also could not be sincere in this assertion, and Iras-nut been « guilty of a gross violation of th's I shall do by a reference to the speech the law, and a high breach of duty.". which he made, on the 17th of Feb. 1785,

2. Mr. Pitt asserted, in the debate of upon introducing the very law that has been the 8th of April, that the public had sus violated, and in which speech he had occasion tined no actual loss, in consequence of the to touch upon the subject of the balances paval. "

mopey having been diverted to, and that it had been customary to retain in the e employed for, purposes of private emolu hands of the Receivers Genrral of the Land

mebt." It, has been clearly shown, and, I | Tax, who, it will be observed, defended the am persuaded, that there is not one man out custom upon the ground of the insufficiency of a thousand, who is not convinced, that, of their salaries, “ The Commissioners," otving to the malversations of Lord Melville said he, “ are induced to think, that, the and Trotter, the actual loss of the nation “ Receiver General of the Land Tax is not bas apiounted to many millions. It lias been “ warranted" (though, obserte, there was shewn, that the contracting of the accomo no law against it] "in the detention of the dating powers of the bank of England; the public money, either by the difficulty of eflect which the possession of such vast sums "procuring bills, or by the insufficiency of must bave had upon the public funds; the " his salary. These practices have been encouragement to mal-practices amongst all “ considered by the Commissioners in a tise anmerous persons entrusted with the re proper point of view; for admitting that cipt and payment of money in the several “ the allowance is not adequate to his pains, brzaches under the Treasurer of the Navy, yet this is not sufficient to justify him in striking instances of which encouragement his detention of a cousiderable lalance. The and practices are exhibited in the affair of community at large ure greatly hurt by the defaulter Jellicce, as well as in that of “this mode of transacting business." Then, & person kept in office under Lord Melville as to the degree in which the community atter he had been detected of fraud ; and in are hurt, the following was his statement. the well known fact of the non-payment of " The Commissioners of Accounts have enacceptances when they became due, in con " deavoured to for some computation of sequence of which the articles and labour " the loss sustained by the pablic from the obtained for the naval service must of neces “ detention of the money by the Receiver, sity, have been considerably enhanced in w General, and, for that purpose, they called prices. It has been shown, that, in all these « für an account of the quarterly returns ways, the malversations of Lord Melville, “ irrade by him to the tax-office, whence it and Mr. Trotter must have produced actual appears, that the average amount in his bass to the nation. Yet, because Lord Mel. “ hands from the 5th of July, 1789, to the ville was not what is called a defaulter; be «6th of July following, was 331,0611. the cause he, at going out of office, paid over " interest of which, ät only 4 per centum,, tolüs successor the mere balance that lie had " being 19,3621. a year; and this is the in fiis lands; because this was the case, Mr. "s sum, unich, it is imagined, the public hus, Pilt contended, that there had arisen, from paid for tant of the use of their money. ths inisap, dication of the public money, no This was the doctrine of Mr. Pitt in 17851

Let the reader judge, then, of the motive, “ toms here : of you can procure that place whence has proceeded that which he has “ for me," for my own use and Benefit, I now'advanced. All his principles 'appear to " will give you 2,000!. and also give a bond haye undergone a total change. One would wito keep thie business secret. Your ahalmost béliere, that he is not the same man "swer will oblige, yours, &c. Philip Hox. that bore the name of William Pitt twenty


20th Oct, 1801."*This man tas years ago.

3. Mr. Pitt endeavoured to fined 1001. and imprisoned three months, persuade the public; that, because no per soon after the expiration of which he diel. sonal corruption was positively proved; that I do not pretend to say, that the termina is to say, because there was not positive tion of his life was at all hastened by his proof of Lord Melvilles "Having absolutely sentence ; nor do I say, or think, that his pocketed part of the gains made by Trotter, sentence was too severe. Could I have in the conduct of Lord Melville was not cor will, a' much heavier punishment should fall rupt. If this be admitted, there may still be upon every reptile who is so base as to be harm in taking bribes, but none in giving třay

country in this


who is willing, them; and, supposing it were possible for the not only to wink at, but to pay tribute to, votes of one third part of the members of great public robbers, so that he may be perboth Houses of Parliament to be purchased mitted to share, though but in the crumbs by a minister, he would still be, according of the plunder. But, I cannot forbear to to this doctrine, innocent of corruption remark upon the wide difference between the Burke justly observes, that < it is by bribing, punishment of this ignorant man and that of « and not so often by being briled, that wicked i Lord Melville and Trotter. He tendered a “politicians bring ruin on mankind.” And, bribe ; hé, too, would have been a briber. indeed, the case is so plain, that there wants He did not, however, ask for a bribe. He neither authority nor argument to enable even was not, and did not want to be, a recriter. those the least accustomed to think, to form a Yet we see, that no stach lenient doctrine as correct opinion upon it, and decidedly to re that now set up in behalf of these great ject the doctrine inculcated by Mr. Pítt

. The.. culprits, was ever attempted to be set up for notion of confining the criminality of corrup- | him. The affidavits stated him to be a pe tion to those who are the receivers appears to nitent sinner ; that he was forty years of arise from the blackest and basest of all pas age ; that a severe judgment would ruin sions, envy; and enty, too, of the basest both himself and his family; that he wa sort; envy of the success of those who barter totally ignorant that he was committing a their honour and their conscience for money. crime. And, indeed, when we consider Of late years, there has not, in spite of all that there are miscreants who publicly adthe patriotic efforts of Mr. Pitt to discover vertise places under government for sale; corruption in the conduct of his predeces- and that no one is ever punished for such sors in office, been, till now, any minister acts, need we wonder that a TINMAN should of state, in England, publicly and seriously liave supposed, that to offer to purchase was charged with that crime; and, therefore, we not a criine ? It was nevertheless, à crime, have no opinion of his to refer to, on the sub and one that deserved punishment; but, ject, unless we were, which would not be li- what, then, does the crime of Lord Melberal, to revert to his loose and declamatory ville and Trotter deserve ? The Attorneycharges against Lord North, who should, General, who said, upon the trial of Hamwith aji submission to the will of Providence, LIN, that " he thought it due to the age have lived till the present day! Yes, Lord “ in which we lived, to state, that there North should have lived to see and to hear never was a period in the history of this what is now to be seen and heard! But, country, or any other, in which the though we have no opinion of Mr. Pitt upon “ characters of persons in exalted stations record, we have the practice of the other “ of public life were so free from all sasPremier, his partner in the ministry. We picion of this species of offence as at the have the records of the Court of King's present moment," further stated, aš the Bench to inform us as to the principles, grounds of his demanding judgment, in this regard, upon which Mr. Ad " Mr. Addington disregarded the matter, 25 dington (now Lord Sidmouth) acted. “ far as related to private feeling, but that One HAMLIN, a TINMAN, at Plymouth, “ he thought it was his duty to bring the case knowing that the place of surveyor of the “ before the court for the sake of pullit customs for that port was become vacant, example." Perfectly proper; and, not wrote to Mr. Addington, then prime ini- withstanding the jeers of the young friends," nister, a letter as follows.

Sir, this day upon the occasion, I have always believed, a place became vacant, by the death of and do still believe, that the motive of Mr « Mr. A. Hill, landing surveyor of the cus- Addington was perfectly sincere. But, surely,

the utility of public example cannot be con ed) to other public services, with the knowtined to the poor and the ignorat! Surely ledge of Mr, Pitt, such application being a such a principle of action is not calculated gross violation of the law; to inquire upon to diminish the prevalence of corruption, what grounds the writ of privy seal excusing nor to inspire the people with those notions Lord Melville from paying the 24,000l., due which they ought to entertain of the admi for Jellicoe's defalcation, was obtained by nistration of justice! Lord Melville and Mr. Pitt from the king; and to inquire wheMr. Trotter are not to be exposed to a crimi- ther Mr. Pitt participated with Lord Melville ral prosecution. They are only to be sued in the connivance at the withdrawing of the for the recovery of what they have crimi- Naval Money from the Bank and employing ually taken from the public. They are both, it for purposes of private emolument. These not only at large, but rolling in wealth. are the mattters, to inquire into which this Lord Melville still occupies very high offices; committee is appointed; and, it need hardhe is still in the receipt of about eight thous- ly be observed, that Mr. Pitt is the person and pounds a year from the public purse ; most deeply concerned. Well, now marks he is still one of His Majesty's " most hono his conduct with respect to the choosing of rable privy council," and still sits in the the persons to compose this committee. Mr. House of Peers !

4. Mr. Pitt re Whitbread proposed a list of independent sisted any further parliamentary proceedings men: that was rejected, and Mr. Pitt made as to matters that were to become the subject and carried a motion for choosing the comof investigation in the courts of law. "He mittee ly ballot; of doing which this is the contended, that it was unjust to proceed fur- mode. Every member in the House, or, at ther by the house as touching any matters | least every one that pleases, in:kes andgires that might be afrerwards agitated in those in at the table a list of names equal in nimcourts; and, upon a division of the house, ber to the number fixed on for the commita majority voted with him on these grounds, tee. These lists are then analysed, and, it. This point needs occupy us no longer, Mr. the committee, as in the present case, conPitt himself having, in his speech of 19 sists of twenty-one members, the 21 porsons May, 1793, upon the case of Powell and chosen are those whose names occur orienest Bemubridge, furnished us with an answer so upon the lists. Of course the minister, if complete as to leave us nothing to desire. he chooses to fix upon the persons to com“ He took," says the reporter, “ particu- pose a committee is sure to have them in "lar notice of the argument, that, because it, because, by sending round a list to his " a criminal prosecution was about to be in friends, who are a majority of the House, "stituted in the courts of Westminster hall, they all put in the same list, and, therefore, "therefore Messrs. Powell and Bembridge's the 21 names that he has fixed on must occur "conduct was not a fit subject for inquiry oftenest. On the 29th of April, it having “ in that house. Such doctrine, he said, been found that a list had been sent round " went much farther than gentlemen were to the friends of the minister, Mr. Whit

It nearly amounted to a llow at bread complained of 'it, read the list, and " the constitution, and, if admitted to any moved, that to send round lists of this sort,

extent, went to the annihilation of some and, for such a purpose, was a breach of of the most useful and valuable functions the privileges of the House ; but, there was

of that house." There needs not a word a majority against him, and, it was, of course, by way of comment upon this. If there determined, tłnt to send round the list in does

, let those who are still his adherents question a'ns justifiable ! On the 30th of furnish it.—-—-5. Mr. Pitt proposed, April, the result of the ballot being reportdefended, put to the vote, and carried, the ed, and the 21 names appearing to le made of forming, by ballot, the select com exactly the same as those upon the circui mittee, now appointed and sitting to enguire lated list, read by Mr. Whitbread the diya into his own conduct. The reader will re before, he proceeded to move for the escollect, that, since the vote of censure a punging of certain of the names for reasous gainst Lord Melville on the 8th of April, a assigned by him as follows. The names lie motion bas been made in the House of Com- párticularly objected to were, SIR WILLIAM mons, for prosecuting Lord Melville and Scott, Judge of the Adiniralty; Sir La Trotter criminally, which motion has been LIAM GRANT, Master of the Rolls; LUN 1 rejected, and it Ísas been determined to in- Dunlo, a member of the Board of Control; stitute only a civil suit ; that another motion LORD CASTIEREAGH, President of the Boari has been inade to form a select committee, of Control; and Mr. Foster, Chancellor of to inquire further into the matter of the the Exchequer' for Ireland. To all of these Tenth Report; to find out when and how he objected as helding offices under the goe the naval money was applied (as is pretend-vernment, the latter three being at all tin:45



[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »