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The professed object of the Sinecure Pension Bill was to make up to the 1
Crown the loss of patronage it sustained by the abolition of sinecures. But the Finance Committee, in framing their Bill, have dealt as freely with the power of the Crown as the money of the people; they have taken all into their own hands; they have taken upon themselves to select the proper objects of the royal bounty; and they have estimated the precise value of their services. Secretaries of State are put down as worth exactly so much a head; and all the other high and low efficient public men have, in like manner, their price, the only conditions imposed upon the trade is that they
shall have served their time. * 1
Lord Sidmouth is one of “the high efficient public men,” who has become entitled to pensions for life under the Sinecure Pension Bill. · His
Lordship receives £3000 a year for his “high and efficient" public services. X
One of the offices reduced is that of Clerk of the Pells, which office Lord b. Sidmouth had taken for himself, or for a younger and better life, as a reward ! for his public services. The same Lord Sidmouth now enjoys the double
advantage of holding, at the same time, the office of Clerk of the Pells, in the name of his son, and the graut of £3000 a year pension, under the 57th of the late King. The office of Clerk of the Pells is at least £2000 a year, and the public is, at the same time, loaded both with the ancient sinecure and the modern pension, amounting in the whole to £5000 a year, besides Richmond-park Lodge, (and pensions granted to relations,) as the reward of the Sidmouth Circular, the letter of thanks to the Manchester magistrates, and other “high and efficient public services” of Henry Viscount Sidmouth.
“ So shall the brave in arms be crown'd!” Government is a famous job, after all, and no wonder it has so many zealous supporters; no wonder at the zeal of Scotch advocates; no wonder at the squabbling, intriguing, and fighting for the loaves and fishes;” no wonder at the de tion of the Bulls, the Beacons, and the Sentinels : verily they have their reward.”
We come to another Job—the Grenville Sale, which is worthy to be chronicled in THE BLACK BOOK.
Reformers are constantly accused of impụting sordid motives to public men; now, we ask, what else can they make of such a job as this? Here is a knot of politicians, gorged with plunder before, who transfer themselves by regular contract to Ministers. The sale is announced in the newspapers ; the price, at so much per head, stated; and the whole bargain as notorious
* See an admirable pamphlet, published by Ridgway, entitled “ Remarks upon the last Session of Parliameni. By a Near Observer."
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as the sale of a prize-bullock, or drove of cattle in Smithfield. Then, what are the terms? Why, on one side, it is stipulated, they shall sell themselves to the devil without reserve; they shall forswear all their former opinions; they shall say that taxes are blessings from heaven; that the Salt-Tax ought to be continued, because it neither injures the poor nor the rich; that Catholic Emancipation is premature; that Reform is Revolution mand that Castlereagh is the only man who possesses wisdom and ability to preserve existing establishments : on the other side, it is bargained to pay them, out of the public taxes, £5000, £4000, and £1500 a year, according to their zeal and talents for mischief.
This is no fanciful description. The Windsor Express announced the sale, about the 17th of December last, in terms to the following effect:That part of the Grenville family were immediately to join the existing Ministry; that the Marquis of Buckingham was to be created a Duke; Mr. Charles Wynn to be President of the Board of Controul; Mr. Freemantle and Dr. Phillimore to have places; and Mr. Henry Wynn “ to fill a high diplomatic mission on the continent.” All which happened as foretold ; the Grenvilles obtained lucrative places. So far the bargain was complete on one side, and it only remains to show how the Grenvilles have observed their conditions of the contract in renouncing their opinions. We will take the Salt-Tax, and begin with the learned Dr. PHILLIMORE.
On Mr. Calcraft's motion, in March, 1819, for a return of the salt delivered duty-free, &c. the learned Dr. PHILLIMORE declared his conviction, “ that the tax ought to be abolished altogether, because the existence of such a tax is repugnant to the primary principles of Political Economy," &c. In the same session of Parliament, on the 25th of April, the same learned Dr. PHILLIMORE himself, in the absence of Mr. Calcraft, moved for the gradual reduction or entire repeal of the salt duties; Mr. Calcraft afterwards acknowledging that he should not have gone so far. On this occasion, the learned Doctor said " it was a decided tax on the necessaries of the poor-one which affected every article of their subsistence: in short, it operated with immense hardship upon them, the bushel of salt being taxed forty times its value. No tax operated more upon their morals; and it had been found that, wherever it prevailed, it was the sure forerunner of crime."
Hansards Debates, vol. 39. So much for the learned Dr. PHILLIMORE in 1819. In 1822, the learned Doctor, having obtained a lucrative appointment, votes for the continuance of that tax which he had described as impolitic, unjust, odious, and " the sure forerunner of crime.”
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The learned Doctor's fellow apostate, the Right, Hon. Charles Watkin Wynn, "has rexhibited similar abandonment of principle: while out of place Mr. Wynn voted for a repeal of the Salt Tax; being made President of the Board of Controul, be votes for its continuance. In 1812 and 1813, Mr. Wynn voted against the Double Postmaster-General; in 1822, he made a speech in defence of the Double Postmaster-General. In 1816, Mr. Wynn was of opinion that the “ Peace Establishments should be reduced 'below what they were after the American war;" in 1822, he joins an Administration, bent on supporting a peace establishment treble the amount
of 'that period. In 1816, he avowed his determination to oppose the Alien ch
Bill, so long as is his bodily strength would hold out;" in 1822, he joins
tually making it the perpetual law of England. The same right honourable 1.
gentlenian, same year, spoke-against the office of President of Board of Controul ; in 1822 he accepts the office of President of Board of Controul. The right honourable member used to declaim against the foppery introduced into the uniform of the military; but we have heard nothing on the subject last session. He used to contend, too, that the Colonies should support themselves, and not burthen the mother country with the maintenance of a large military force in their defence. But it will be best
to quote the honourable gentleman's words; the following is an extract T from his speech on the Alien Bill:- Mr. Wynn was of opinion, that the
* Alien Bill was a measure for which no necessity whatever existed : that "" he had always been taught to think that the moment any man touched
British soil he became entitled to his liberty. Such had ever been the doc*** trines of all constitutional writers, and such was his decided opinion.” So energetic was the right honourable gentleman in 'his opposition, that he
declared his intention of dividing on every possible occasion, so as to #force an adjournment; and pledgerl himself to persevere as long as leis po bodily strength would hold out.” On which the late Lord Castlereagh
Temarked, with Walpolian suavity, “ that the appeal of Mr. Wynn to his po own strength was apparently very formidable."-May 20th, 1816. On
the colonial subject he said, “ with reference to our colonial possessions, it *« was said that it became our duty to protect those who were transferred to
our power: it certainly did, but not to an extent incompatible with the so interests of our population at 'home. The defence of the colonies we should rest on our maritime strength; and if it was 'necessary.to y maintain in addition an unusual establishment of force for their pro*v tection, it would then be a question witether the advantages derived
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“ from their possession were equal to the expense of maintaining them.”. March 8th, 1816. On the military, he said, in the same year,
" that he • did not believe that there was a gentleman in that house who thought “ that the ridicule was not justly and properly directed against the dress " by which that noble class of men (the soldiers) had been disfigured. “ He would ask any gentleman if he believed that the fooleries and “ fopperies of some regiments of dragoons were the wish of their officers ? “ The ridiculous trappings which meritorious officers had been obliged
to appear in, had never been brought forward with the view of ridiculing " the officers, but those who exposed them to appear in such a disguise.” -Mr. Wynn having got £5000 a year has said nothing more on such uncourtly subjects.
Mr. Wynn's brother, HENRY Wynn, was also included in the bargain : it was stipulated this young gentleman should be envoy to the Swiss cantons, at a salary of about £4000 a year. This was the most wasteful item in the contract. In 1791, the Charge d'Affaires to Switzerland had a salary of £250"; from that sum it was raised, to Mr. Stratford Canning, to above £1000, and lately it stood at £1500 ; but HENRY Wynn, on account of the high and efficient services” of his family, is to receive £4000 a year.
The Wynns, it will be reinembered, are the nephews of Lord Grenville, the sinecure auditor of the Exchequer, and cousins to the Marquis of Buckinghani, who it was stipulated should be made a duke.
The price of lawyer PLUNKET appears to have been the AttorneyGeneralship of Ireland, rated in the late Parliamentary Return at £4000 a year, and fees.
We shall be rather brief in noticing the lawyer's apostacy. The subject on which his apostacy is most conspicuous is the Catholic question. Having obtained a lucrative appointment he thinks the present not a proper time to bring forward their claims.
Every one, however, must see through the paltry subterfuge. Good God! to talk about the present not being the proper time! when could the Catholic claims have been introduced under more favourable auspices? — The prejudices against them were never at a lower ebb; the “no popery” howl is hushed --the Empire at peace-no war abroad-nor political feeling at home; Ireland alone is agitated-agitated because she is oppressed and persecuted; why then not concede to her the boon of religious liberty? -But the right honourable gentleman says it is not the time! when the question has gained by every discussion when he is in office and partaking of the influence which he inust derive from his connexion with the administration it is not proper to introduce the subject.-Oh, lawyer PLUNKET! lawyer PLUNKET!
lawyer PLUNKET! you may declaim against the reformers; you may talk about the sacredness of church property; but there is nothing so sacred you apparently would not abandon for the wages and emoluments of corruption.
So much for the Grenville Sale : Mr. Freemantle and one or two more were included in the bargain, but the present are sufficient for illustrao tion. That the Reforiners have reason for imputing sordid motives to public men we think, will be admitted. When men receive honours and places, and contemporaneously abandon their principles, who can help concluding one has been exchanged for the other, and that such men are devoid of honour, indifferent to the public welfare, and studious only of private emolument? This we confess is no new discovery; it is not peculiar to the Grenvilles, but extends generally to the Collective Wisdom. There are doubtless exceptions, but this is the general character; they are mostly vendible; and judging from the example of the Copleys and Warrens, and, more recently, the Grenvilles, one cannot help concurring with Sir Robert WALPOLE that all the honourable members have their price, and that the most noisy opponents of ministers may be conciliated by a suitable distribution of places and pensions.
Another subject of interest was, last session, the avowal of Mr. Robinson in the debate on the Joint Postmasters General, that the retention of useless offices is necessary to support the influence of the Crown. If the Grenville Sale illustrates the practical working of this system, the avowal of Mr. Robinson shows its theoretical iniquity. There is nothing new, however, in this doctrine; like the famous declaration, that the sale of seats was as “notorious as the sun at noon-day;" it merely avows publicly a notorious truth. The influence of the Crown consists in useless offices; in offices overpaid, in pensions, grants, and an enormous revenue expenditure. These are the government; it is not a constitution of nicely-balanced powers, but of patronage and emolument, depending on the enormous gains of he judicial classes, on an overgrown church establishment, and profusion in all public departments. While the system continues, these things are essential to its support. But the question is, ought a system resting on such a basis to be endured ? Could not a better be devised in a period of public distress and embarrassment? Is it not possible to establish one more economical, more rational, and conducive to the general welfare, than one depending on useless offices, barracks, and a large standing army?
The reasoning by which the increased influence of the Crown is defended is, the increased intelligence of the People; the people having become more enlightened, more capable of discovering the defects of the systein it