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robes exist, when that of groom of the stole is a sine cure, and that this is a proper object of his depart ment?
All these incumbrances, which are themselves nuisances, produce other incumbrances and other nuisances. For the payment of these useless establishments there are no less than three useless treasurers : two to hold a purse, and one to play with a stick. The treasurer of the household is a mere name. The cofferer and the treasurer of the chamber receive and pay great sums, which it is not at all necessary they should either receive or pay. All the proper officers, servants, and tradesmen may be enrolled in their several departments, and paid in proper classes and times with great simplicity and order, at the Exchequer, and by direction from the Treasury.
The Board of Works, which in the seven years preceding 1777 has cost towards 400,0001.,* and (if 1 recollect rightly) has not cost less in proportion froin the beginning of the reign, is under the very same description of all the other ill-contrived establishments, and calls for the very same reform. to seek for the visible signs of all this expense. For all this expense, we do not see a building of the size and importance of a pigeon-house. Buckingham House was reprised by a bargain with the public for one hundred thousand pounds; and the small house at Windsor has been, if I mistake not, undertaken since that account was brought before us. The good works of that Board of Works are as carefully concealed as other good works ought to be: they are perfectly invisible. But though it is the
* More exactly, 378,6161. 10s. 11d.
perfection of charity to be concealed, it is, Sir, the property and glory of magnificence to appear and stand forward to the eye.
That board, which ought to be a concern of builders and such like, and of none else, is turned into a junto of members of Parliament. That office, too, has a treasury and a paymaster of its own; and lest the arduous affairs of that important exchequer should be too fatiguing, that paymaster has a deputy to partake his profits and relieve his cares. I do not believe, that, either now or in former times, the chief managers of that board have made any profit of its abuse. It is, however, no good reason that an abusive establishment should subsist, because it is of as little private as of public advantage. But this establishment has the grand radical fault, the original sin, that pervades and perverts all our establishments : the apparatus is not fitted to the object, nor the workmen to the work. Expenses are incurred on the private opinion of an inferior establishment, without consulting the principal, who can alone determine the proportion which it ought to bear to the other establishments of the state, in the order of their relative importance.
I propose, therefore, along with the rest, to pull down this whole ill-contrived scaffolding, which obstructs, rather than forwards, our public works; to take away its treasury; to put the whole into the hands of a real builder, who shall not be a member of Parliament; and to oblige him, by a previous estimate and final payment, to appear twice at the Treasury before the public can be loaded.
The king's gardens are to come under a similar regulation.
The Mint, though not a department of the house
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, -- as 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 together 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