HC Deb 01 April 1808 vol 10 cc1301-2
The Sheriffs of London

presented to the house, a Petition of the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons of the city of London, in common council assembled, setting forth, "That the petitioners have, during a long course of public events, productive of so many calamities, patiently submitted to unexampled burthens, and are still ready to make such further sacrifices as may be necessary for maintaining the honour and independence of the realm; and that these burthens have been considerably augmented by gross abuses in the management and expenditure of, the public money, and by a profusion of sinecure places and pensions, which have not only greatly added to the sufferings of the people, but created a pernicious and dangerous influence, corrupting and undermining the pure and free principles of the British constitution; and that after the enormous abuses brought to light by the various Commissions of Enquiry, it is a matter of deep concern to the petitioners that the offenders thereby discovered have not been brought to justice, and those who so grossly misapplied the public money have hitherto escaped with impunity, and the petitioners did therefore rely upon parliament that speedy and effectual measures would have been adopted to reform such abuses, and detect and punish the offenders in future; and that the petitioners viewed with much satisfaction the formation of a Committee of Finance, and hailed the introduction into the house of a Bill to prevent the granting of places in reversion as the first step towards these salutary reformations; they beheld with increased satisfaction the measures taken by the house, both during the late and present sessions of parliament, to carry the same into effect; and that it was with grief and disappointment they observed the views and intentions of the house unhappily frustrated; and they have too much reason to apprehend that the defeat of this measure has arisen from that baneful and predominating influence which such abuses must necessarily create, and which this Bill was intended to correct; and that it appears to the petitioners at all times essential that a rigid economy should be observed in the expenditure of the public money, and that no places or pensions should be bestowed but for real public services, more particularly so at the present moment, when it is declared, 'that this country is at the very crisis of its fate,' and the people are called upon for such unexampled sacrifices and exertions; they beg further to suggest to the house, the serious consequences likely to result should a disposition be evinced by either branch of the legislature, at a period so awful and momentous, not to participate with the people in their dangers, sacrifices, and privations; and therefore praying the house not to relax in their endeavours in carrying so necessary and beneficial a measure into effect, and causing enquiries to be made into the receipt, management, and, expenditure of the public money, adopting measures which may effectually guard against such abuses in future and for abolishing all unnecessary places and pensions, as well in reversion as otherwise, as the best means of consolidating the strength of the empire, and calling forth the united energies and exertions of the people at a time so necessary for the safety and security of his majesty's dominions."—Ordered to lie upon the table.

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