Imatges de pÓgina

He was ready to admit, that it was might not be realized in the present less favourable than had been antici- year, which laboured under some cir. pated, but he contended that the fail. cumstances of depression too obvious ure was not so considerable as to ex- to require particular notice, he by no ceed ordinary fluctuations, or to jus- means saw reason to doubt that it tify the alarms which had frequently would be speedily completed. One been expressed. The finance com- indispensable requisite, indeed, as mittee, in April 1819, had estimated well to all financial prosperity as to the total income of the United King- every effective economy, and to all dom at 54,000,000l. ; its actual pro- encouragement of industry, was the duce had been very near 53,000,0001., complete and permanent establishof which, however, 500,0001. had ment of tranquillity and good order arisen from taxes imposed since the among the people. When that great committee had made their report. point was effectually secured, he felt The diminution, therefore, of reve- the greatest confidence of the rest. nue, which arose almost wholly in the Having completed this part of his October quarter, and in the branch of statement, he adverted, in a subsecustoms, might be taken at 1,500,0001. quent explanation, to the mode by They had estimated the clear excess which the charges of the loan were of income beyond expenditure at to be provided for. The principle about 2,000,0001., to which would which he adopted was that of the have been added the amount of any act of 1813. It had been at that time taxes afterwards enforced. The ac- explained, though not positively entual excess, estimated in various ways, acted, that a sum of 100 millions might be taken from one million to ought in time of peace to be reserved a million and a half; and, though in the hands of the commissioners, certainly much less than was desir- as a resource for the first exigencies able to secure the prosperity of the of any future wars. That sum had country in the time of peace, yet was been now completed, and there was sufficient to complete the gloomy a considerable excess in the hands of observations which were frequently the commissioners. The sum now acthrown out of a great existing defi. tually standing in their names amountciency.

ed to about 144,000,0001. He should In the present year it appeared, therefore propose to provide for the from the accounts on the table, as charge of the present loans by cannearly certain as any estimate which celling the excess of stock beyond could be formed, that the new taxes 100,000,0001. in the names of the enforced in 1819 would produce at

commissioners to such an extent as least the estimated sum of three mil. was necessary for providing for the lions. There would therefore be a expense as it arose, and so as to leave sum of about 2,500,0001. to add to the sum of at least 5,000,0001. as a the surplus of income beyond expen- clear sinking fund for the present diture in 1819, making a clear im- year. provement in our situation, in the Although another subject (to be present year, of about three millions speedily introduced) had now almost and a half. It is true that this sum falls exclusively occupied public attention, considerably short of the 5,000,0001. yet some observations were made on of clear income which were last year this exposition of the financial state intended to be provided by Parlia- of the country. Mr A. Baring having ment : but although that estimate made an inquiry about the consoli

dated fund, the Chancellor of the Es than gold.-Mr Huskisson, admitting chequer admitted that it was last year how important it was that the consothree millions in arrear. This defi- lidated fund should be out of arrears, ciency had arisen before the new and that there should exist an effec. taxes became productive, and also tive sinking fund, expressed his hope included the charge of two loans. that the latter would soon amount to Mr Grenfell here deprecated the sys- 5,000,0001. The debate here closed. tem of the government being depen- The opposition, during the present dent on the Bank of England for the session, found only one opportunity means of meeting the deficiency on to exercise their function of watching the consolidated fund. It did appear the minor steps of ministerial proto him an unsecmly and odious blot ceeding, and advancing charges of on its character, to be unable to pay blameable profusion of the public the public creditor except at the will money. This charge, which excited and pleasure of that corporation.- considerable interest, was founded on Mr Ricardo insisted, that, unsatisfac- the filling up of the situation of fifth tory as the statement of the Chancel. Baron of Exchequer, after a commislor of the Exchequer had been, it was sion, appointed to inquire into Scots still more favourable than the truth courts of justice, had reported their that instead of any the smallest opinion that the number four would sinking fund, there was an actual de- be sufficient Lord Archibald Haficiency.--Mr Maberley, after draw- milton, who stood now as head of the ing an almost equally gloomy picture whig interest for Scotland, introduof the state of the finances, concluded ced this subject to the notice of Parby recommending a property tax, as liament on the 15th of May. He bethe least objectionable and only ef- gan with stating the proceedings out fectual mode of placing affairs in a of which the report arose.

It was more favourable state. This hint was now six years since his right honournot ill received by Mr Vansittart, able friend (Sir J. Newport) comwho expressed his belief that the menced his exertions for an inquiry country would at last feel the neces- into the courts of justice, with a view sity of this or some other equally ri- to their improvement. His motion gorous financial measure. Alderman for the appointment of commissioners Heygate deprecated the system of for that purpose was made and agreed loans in time of peace, and conceived to in 1814. Now it would scarcely it unworthy of a country like Eng- be believed, that after the lapse of six land to be eternally changing her years not one arrangement was made plans of finance. He hoped the de- for carrying into effect the recomficiency, if any, of next year, would mendation of the commissioners. The be met by more vigorous and effec- report giving an account of the Court tive measures. He ascribed much of of Exchequer in Scotland, called the the distress of the country to the re- sixth report, was laid upon the table cent diminution of 5,000,0001. in the last year, and two other reports had issue of Bank of England notes, and been since presented. He should 4,000,0001, in those of country banks, quote the very words of the commisin all 9,000,0001., about a sixth part sioners upon the appointment which of the currency of the country. There was the subject of his motion. They could be no pretence for a further di- were as follows : “ We think it our minution of the circulating medium; duty here to express our opinion that indeed paper was now more valuable the provisions made in respect to an English baron are no longer essential him, to order him to make out his reor requisite. With the exception of port, of which they disapproved or one of our number, we concur in approved. When they had given their thinking, that five barons are one more approbation or disapprobation, their than necessary, and that the business labour was at an end. Now he would of the Exchequer might be conducted beg leave to contrast the duties which with equal advantage by four, as in they thus performed, with the duties the Court of Exchequer in England, performed by the Barons of the Court and without adding to the duties and of Exchequer in England. The Barons labour of these judges.” If the House of the Exchequer Court of England did not concur in the recommenda- went the circuit; the Barons of Scottion of the commissioners, the eight and performed no part of this duty. Reports which they had already pre. The Court of Exchequer in England sentedwould beuseless paper, and Par- performed the duties of a Court of liament would neither do its duty by Equity; in Scotland no such duty dethem nor by the country. He would volved upon the Barons. In England, now state the duty of the Barons, and other suitors could apply to the Court he begged it to be observed, that the of Exchequer besides the suitors of account was not that of an enemy, but the Crown ; in Scotland only the was supplied by these judges them- suitors of the Crown. The Barons selves. They stated, as was to be of England took their turn at the found in the 10th page of the Report, Old Bailey, and performed other that there were four terms; one be- parts in the administration of justice; ginning on the 24th of November, in Scotland they had no similar laand terminating on the 20th Decem- bour. In England the Barons had to ber; another beginning on the 15th decide on references from Parliament; of January, and ending on the 3d of in Scotland they had to do nothing February; a third beginning on the similar. There could, therefore, be 12th of May, and ending on the 2d no comparison between the labour of June; and a fourth beginning on performed by the four Barons of the the 17th of June, and ending on the Court of Exchequer in England and 5th of July. The Court, it was re- the five of Scotland. He would beg marked, did not usually meet on Mon- to know, as connected with this subday, except it was the first or the last ject, what was the opinion entertainday of' term. Thus, then, the Barons ed of the appointment of the present were not employed in their judicial Chief-Baron of the Exchequer (the duties more than two months in the late Attorney-General of England, year, and this, be it remembered, was Sir Samuel Shepherd.) Did he contheir own account of their employ- sider himself, or was he considered ment. The average number of causes by his friends, as going to perform a set down for trial did not exceed a laborious duty, or going to fill an easy hundred. They likewise acted as a situation, if not a sinecure office ? board of treasury, and the average The late Chief Baron (the Right Honumber of petitions, memorials, and nourable Robert Dundas) held his ofother applications disposed of by them fice three years, while he never apin that capacity, amounted to 1300. peared in court; he was in Italy two In point of practice, the disposal of of those years from bad health, and this part of the business belonged to when he returned he was unable to the Remembrancer; it was their duty attend to business. The present Lord only to transmit these memorials to High Commissioner of the Jury Court of Scotland, though almost unac- not offices of business. With regard quainted with the laws of Scotland, to the individual appointed, (Sir Paand going down to establish a new trick Murray) he was scarcely known court, and to perform the laborious as a lawyer, and had seldom entered dnties of a new appointment, was yet the courts, unless from curiosity. The able to execute the functions of a Ba- only argument which could be urged ron of the Exchequer in addition to his for the number five was, that if four other avocations. Indeed, when it was were equally divided, there might be proposed in the last Parliament to want of a deciding voice; but the exgrant retired pensions to the judges, it perience of England shewed how litwas contended by some hon. members, tle room there was for this apprehenthat such pensions ought not to be al- sion; and it would be strange to inlowed to the Barons of the Exchequer, cur the expense of an additional judge as they were already in a state of re- for the mere purpose of inequality. tirement. He could not refrain from The Lord Advocate had indeed prodenouncing a scandalous appoint. duced a paper, purporting to contain ment, alike injurious to the character the opinion of four judges, the heads of Parliament and to the credit of the of the courts in Scotland, and which courts of justice. The opinion of the was unfavourable to the discontinucommissioners had been unanimous, ance of the fifth Baron. Lord A. conwith the exception of Sir llay Camp- ceived that the judges, from their very bell, wliose nomination had been ob- situation, were liable to bias, and that jected to, on the ground that nothing their whole authority was destroyed had been done regarding appoint- by one assertion contained in this paments in courts of justice for the last per. In opposition to the recomhalf century, but by his advice. The mendation of the commissioners, that opinion of no person in Scotland could the duties of the two clerks of bills be of less weight, as, without mean-should be devolved on the principal ing, any personal disrespect to him, clerks of session, it expressed an opihe had protected all the abuses that nion that the last office was sufficient had prevailed for the last fifty years, to occupy the whole time and attenand might say of them, quorum pars tion of any individual. What would magna fui. The next name that he the House think, when it understood found subscribed to the report was that Sir Walter Scott was one of the that of Sir James Montgomery, who principal clerks of Session? Could they had been Lord Advocate of Scotland. believe that his whole time was enHis authority, he did not hesitate to grossed by the duties of that office ? say, weighed as much with him as The paper containing their opinion that of the learned lord or of the did not carry conviction to the people Lord Register opposite. Mr Robert- of Scotland; it did not carry convicson Scott, and Mr Threipland, were tion to all the judges ; it did not, he every way qualified for their appoint- was assured, carry conviction to the ment by character and knowledge. bar. As the paper could not carry He came to Mr Glassford, though conviction, so neither could the vote last not least, whose opinion deserved of that House, if a vote of confirmathe greater credit, as he had written tion, carry conviction to the country. a book upon the courts. That gen- “ The time may soon come,” contitleman had said in his publication, nued his lordship, " when I shall that the appointments of the Exche- meet with this appointment in the quer were sources of patronage, but, mouths of persons in the disturbed district with which I am connected, 1799 till last year, except one year whom I may be called upon to re- that he held an office in London. He press. With what consistency can I, was by this means better fitted for as deputy lieutenant or justice of the the ministerial and judicial functions peace, put down at the point of the of a baron than he could have been sword those whom distress has goad- by the longest practice as an advoed to madness, and who from time to cate in the Courts of Justice. As the time are outraged by acts of this English law is the law of the Court kind?” The noble lord concluded by of Exchequer, a barrister liad to learn moving, that the House concur with all the forms and rules of the Court the commissioners, that five Barons when appointed to preside in it as of Exchequer in Scotland were un- one of the Barons. The noble lord necessary, and that four were suffi- had said that he had performed his cient for all the business of that court. office by deputy, but he (the Lord

In reply to these observations, the Advocate) knew that he had perfordefence of the measure was under med it personally, since 1799 till last taken by Sir William Rae, Lord Ad- year, except the year that he had an vocate. On him it naturally devole office in London. Nor was such an ved, both as holding an office usually appointment of an inferior officer withsupposed to include that of minister out precedent, for Baron Moncrieff for Scotland, and as having taken an had been deputy King's Remembranactive part in forwarding the appoint- cer for 25 years before he was apment. The constitution, he obser- pointed one of the Barons. Another ved, of the Court of Exchequer, was remark he begged leave to make here, founded upon the national contract respecting the selection of the indiat the union of the two countries--a vidual. By his appointment a very union which proved satisfactory to the considerable saving was occasioned, people, and promoted the interests of because the office of King's Rememthat part of the country, for more brancer ceased, on its becoming vathan a century.

That contract was cant, by an act of an honourable memnot to be wantonly broken in upon. ber on the floor. The saving hence The appointment took place in con- arising amounted to one halt the sasequence of a circumstance connect- lary of one of the Barons of Excheed with the trial by jury, lately intro- quer. By the statute of Anne it was duced into Scotland. Mr Adam, Lord enacted, that the number of Barons Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court, should not be fewer than five. The and to whose zeal, talents, and good expression was, “should not exceed management, the success of the ex. five;" but this, he contended, in Parperiment was mainly owing, found liamentary language, iinplied the same his duties as Baron of Exchequer in- thing. "We always have been accompatible with due attention to the customed to five,” said his lordship; business of that court. He therefore “you have always been accustomed to resigned the former, that he might be- four; we prefer five, according to what tow on the latter his undivided atten- we have been accustomed to ; you tion. With regard to the choice made prefer four, according to your cusof a successor, an individual better tom." The nature of the business fitted for the situation could not have required an admixture of Scotch and been found. He had held the office English lawyers; of the former, there of principal Remembrancer in the could scarcely be fewer than three, Court of Exchequer from the year or of the latter than two. If there

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