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" and even promote a general inquiry into those abuses, of the "existence of which the peuple are impressed with so firm a con"riction, would be attended with danger paramount to any that " can be suggested by the apprehensions of those gentlemen who " oppose the motion of the noble lord.*
With respect to the justice of the charges brought against the people by Mr. PONSONBY, we beg leave to refer to the resolutions entered into at the numerous popular meetings, the details of which form so important a part of our public prints. Those resolutions may tend to throw some light on the question-Who is most liable to fall under the charge of uttering " most foul, impudent, bare"faced, and infamous calumnies ?"-Certain gentlemen within the house, or the people out of doors? The latter so far from “ ma“ king no distinction in public men, and deeming ALL the members " of the hon, house knaves and rogues alike,” have assembled for the purpose of expressing their difference of opinion respecting those members; and although they have not adopted the polite phraseology of the right hon. gentleman, they have in plain and firm language expressed their decided disapprobation of the conduct on one side of the house, and their warm approbation of the conduct on the other side, and have thanked the honourable minority.
As to the “ readiness and avidity with which the people have u received every charge against the house," we may appeal to the language held for these twenty years past (that is till within these few weeks) by the gentlemen in opposition. With what energy and eloquence have they warned the people against placing that implicit confidence in the house of Commons; and the bouse itself against placing that implicit confidence in ministers which both have been in the habit of doing? What charges of corruption have not these very gentlemen insinuated against ministerial majorities? But now the people, after the blaze of evidence which has flashed conviction on their minds of the absolute necessity of a radical reform in the different departments of government, declare their sentiments and feelings not only with the calmness, but with the firmness becoming freemen, and express their disapprobation of the conduct of a majority of the house on a recent notorious occasion, they are, truly, to be told by the gentlemen in opposition, that all their.er pressions of suspicion respecting the purity of any of the parties in the house of Commons are “most foul, impudent, barefaced, in« famous calumnies !"
But Mr. PONSONBY must not be greatly surprised, if the leaders of parties, and more especially of a gentleman in his predicament, at the very bead of the Outs, who when in place, took due care to
Report of the Debate of Friday, April 21, in the Statesman.
secure to himself, for the service of a few months only, a pension for life of FOUR THOUSAND a year ;—the right bon. pensioner inust not be surprised if his conduct, with that of his party, who after such an exposure of abuses as has taken place in a recent inquiry, are determined to resist every motion for a general inquiry into such abuses, should be watched with increasing suspicion and vigilance ; or if the people should not be perfectly ready to echo the proud language of the right hon, pensioner respecting liis own perfect disinterestedness, integrity, and purity!
The pretence for negativing Lord FOLKESTONE's motion on ac, count of its “not specifying the abuses to be inquired into," although urged not only by ministers, but by the leaders in opposition, is, more particularly in our present circumstances, equally insulting, not only to the feelings of the people, but to reason and common
His lordship in reply to these objections, stated—“That his “ motion referred entirely to the evidence that was taken before a “ committee of the whole house :" alluding to the evidence brought forward in support of the charges against the late commander in chief;—" out of this evidence," his lordship added, “ I propose to " refer particular points to the consideration of a committee.” If his lordship, however, had not proposed to confine himself to this qvidence, we conceive his motign ought still to have been agreed to. Our leading statesınen indeed, appear possessed of feelings wonderfully acute when the shadow of suspicion is cast upon their characters. Mr. PONSONBY, as we have seen, declares it as " his firin “ opinion, that there is not a more disinterested, upright, honest " map in all his Majesty's dominions than himself;" and such is his unsuspecting disposition, so good an opinion has he of ALL men in office, of the whole 600 members of the House of Conimons, that he declares" I do not see the smallest reason why I or any other " member of this house should hesitate, for one moment to repel " this unmerited and general stigma of suspicion of impure motives.” Mr. Secretary CANNING declares himself equally shocked at a mation which, “ if adopted, would go the length of throwing suspicion
on every class of public men;" and he adds, “no prospect of pe“ cuniary advantage would hereafter induce any man with the feel** ings of a gentleman, to subject himself to such suspicion by ac“ cepting any place of public trust." The coalition of sentiments and feelings on this subject between the right hon. leader of the Ins, and the right hon, leader of the Outs, reminds us of that famous 'coalition recorded by Hudibras.
“ This shows how perfectly the Rump
“ And Commonwealth in nature jump!" At the same time one might be almost tempted to imagine, that in the present instance, the right hon. gentlemen must have supposed
the people to have lost their senses. At a time when the most fagrant abuses have been proved, by evidence the most incontroverti, ble, to exist in the army,* the navy, the church, the India-house, in the disposal of the public property (the sale of prizes &c.t) when these abuses are brought home to the highest ranks in society; to
It is not only the abuses in which the Duke of York has been so im, plicated, as to occasion the resignation of his office; but the abuses in the managenient of Chelsea hospital, which now begin to appear in a late grant to one of the principal friends of the duke, Col. Gordon, who has obtained a lease of a piece of land for 501. a year, for which lạnd with the exception of a quarter of an acre, the public had paid 5000l. Does not this abuse warrant a farther inquiry into the application of the funds of the hospital?
+ In pursuance of an act passed in 1795, a commission was issued on the 13th of June in that year, appointing James Crawfurd, John Brickwood, Allen Chalfield, John Bowles, and Alexander Baxter, Esqrs. Com.. missioners for the management and sale of Dutch property then detained in British poris. The commission has continued to the present day, and these gentlemen, who state that no rate of compensation for their services was fixed by governnient, have appropriated to themselves a commission of 5 per cent. on the gross proceeds of the sales, which, together with brokerage and interest upon balances in their hands, make a sum of 114,9411. the amount of profits wbich they have actually received : a fur. ther sum for interest makes the amount 123,1981. and they expect still a further commission of about 10,000l. making a sum total of profits received and expected of about 133,1981, !!!Thus have these gentlemen been appropriating to themselves near 10,0001. annually of the public money for near 14 years. The knowledge of this transaction has been oblained from the fourth report of the committec on the public expenditure. By this it has been discovered, that these commissioners were not satisfied with this salary, but that they also availed themselves of the opportunity of rendering the large balances tbey constantly bad in hand productive of profil to themselves. “A part, (says the report) they nivested in exchequer bills, a part in India bonds, and a small part, in the very exceptionable article of bills of exchange on private individuals, which they have discounted for their own emolument." But the most curious feature of this affair, is contained in the following extract from the report.-" Your committee have learnt by their inspection of the minute
book of the commissioners, that on the 25th of February, 1796. infor"mation was asked on the part of Mr. Pilt, whether any, and what sum " then in band arising from the disposal of Dutch property, could be paid “ into the exchequer for the service of the current year, and that the "' commissioners replied, that no payment of consequence into the bank
according to the act of parliament could be made, unless the treasury • should brst move the lords of the privy council to direct the India com"pany to pay a sum (amounting to about 118,9001.) then due from the
company to the commissioners. At the tinic of thiş application, the 4 balance in hand, the amount of which appears not to have been stated to " the treusury, was about 199,0001. and it was never so low as 150,000l. in the clergy, as well as to the laity; when one of his Majesty's ministers (Lord CASTLERE AGH) is charged with abusing the patronage of the India house;-when his lordship in his examination before a committee of the House of Commons confesses----"'I was induced to
place a writership at Lord CLANCAR TY's disposal, and certainly “ the impression under which I did it, was, that his lordship's coming " into parliament might be thereby facilitated !"--When the same noble lord bas been repeatedly charged in the House of Commous, with having used the most corrupt means for bringing about the union with Ireland;--When the assertion, publicly nade, that 78 members of the House of Commons are in the receipt of 178,0001. of the public money annually, stands uncontradicted ;-When the traffic in places is publicly advertised, and at length carried to that scandalous pitch, that even the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for common decency's sake, is compelled to introduce a bill into parliament to diminish in some partial, trifling degree, such traffic; When seats in the llouse of Commons have for many years past been in the same manner openly advertised in the daily prints, and bave in consequence been bought and sold as publicly as “cattle at a “fair” ;-When the people in general are bending under the weight of taxation, tripled within these twenty years; when the lower classes are crouding the workhouses; when the poors rate is doubled ; when the middle classes are deprived of the fruits of their honest industry by the oppressive burthen of the assessed taxes, and the intolerable pressure of the odious, inquisitorial income tax :--When the influence of the crown, in consequence of our enormously increased expenditure, now amounting to eighty millions annually, arising principally from our wars, equally unjust, unnecessary, unsuccessful and ruinous; when this influence threatens to swallow up the small remains of public virtue:- When the mean and profligate tricks of public men to acquire and to preserve their places, and their sinecures, are so notorious ; when their delusions, their falsehoods, (the cry of No Popery, &c. &c.) their sudden dissolutions of parliament, * the course of the next 15 months : (the sum usually transferred at one « time into the bank under the act.")
It appears that these commissioners with nearly 200,000 pounds in their hands could not spare 50,0001, for the public service.
The committee it seems have recommended that these commissioners be obliged to disyorge some of their plunder, about 60 or 70,000 pounds, Ought they not to be made to refund every stilling they have received of interest for the public money!
Mr. John Bowles previous to bis appointment, had secured himself a goud place-One of the Commissioners of Bankrupts. Who now can doubt of the purity of the motives of this pious, zealous anti-jacobin, whose abuse of the friends of reform has been unwearied ever since he was in placo !
are so apparent to the whole nation:
When the corrupt governments on the continent are affording us such awful warnings, and we are, year after year, witnessing their dissolution :- With the vast mass of evidence arising from these considerations, forcing conviction on the mind of every thinking, impartial man in the kingdom, of the indispensible necessity of radical reform; at such a period, to tell the people there is no occasion for a general inquiry on the subject of abuses; that even the expressions of suspicion of the purity of statesmen are“ most foul, impudent, barefaced, and infamous ealumnies;" and (such paragons of public virtue are these statesmen) that even the suspicion of their being influenced by corrupt motives "would drive them all from public office!”-For statesinen to use such language at such a crisis, they must presume that the people are sunk below the rank of rationality, and are scarcely endowed with even the instinct of brute beasts!
The people of this country were not always thus insulted. Acte have been passed, and commissions of inquiry set on foot, of the most general nature, and although no particular abuses were specified. To refer to one precedent only, and that not in the purest times of the constitution; in the reign of CHARLES II. an act was passed for the purpose of a minute, as well as a general inquiry into the expenditure of the different departments of government, in which the commissioners were furnished with the most ample powers. They were charged to take an account, amidst a variety of other concerns, of all the revenues brought into the exchequer; of all monies in the hands of the receivers of the land tax, customs, and excise ... Of any briberies or corruptions in any persons concerned in the receiving or disposing of the public treasure! The commissioners were authorised to call before them, and examine upon oalli, the officers of the excheqaer, the secretary of war, the paymaster of the forces, the commissioners of the navy and ordnance, and all persons whatever, employed in and about the treasury. The preamble to the act states the reason of its being introduced :-" That " the nation may be satisfied, and truly informed, whether all the "monies granted by parliament, have been faithfully issued and ap"plied to the end for which they had been given, and that all loyal " subjects may be thereby encouraged, more cheerfully, to beor the " burikens laid upon them.” : We will venture to predict that the people cannot be thus insulted much longer. Either GENERAL REFORM or GENERAL, RUIN must inevitably be onr fate. The old government of France, after obstinately persisting in abuses from century to century, and using the language of despotic insult to every man, or body of men who presumed to hint at the necessity of reformation, was at length egnvinced of that necessity. The letter of Louis XVI. for convo