HC Deb 17 May 1820 vol 1 cc461-75
Lord Castlereagh

moved the order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a committee on this bill. On the motion that the Speaker do leave the chair,

Mr. Bennet

said, he wished, before the question was decided, to make a few observations; and, in the first place, he would state with regard to the notice he had given to move a clause in the committee for the exclusion of persons, from that House who received pensions, from the civil list, that he had abandoned that idea, and would proceed in a different way. He could not help expressing his surprise that ministers had thought proper to introduce the civil list to the House in the manner they had done; because he felt that it was neither advantageous to the Crown, nor befitting the present situation of the country. Let the House always bear it in view, that the civil list now, called for was founded on the report of a committee appointed by the ministers, of the Crown—they having, in the first; place, expressly refused the motion of his right hon. friend (Mr. Tierney), that persons, papers, and records, should be examined. The only persons, therefore, who were examined, were the ministers themselves; and now, without having any new information of any sort or kind laid before parliament, they thought fit to come down to the House and call for a civil list, exactly of the same amount, precisely in the same manner, and with the very identical machinery, as had been witnessed in 1816. He perfectly recollected the arguments used by the noble lord in 1816, and by the late Mr. Perceval in 1812. At those periods, when the different discussions on the civil list took place, ministers exclaimed, "Don't interfere with the question now; the time will come, and probably very soon, when the whole subject will be brought under the consideration of parliament." That time had come; and the way ministers now used the House was, to negative every motion for inquiry to deny every paper called for, and to refer them, forsooth, to the documents of 1816. He for one, considered the civil list as a great deal too large under any circumstances; but, under the existing circumstances of the country, it appeared to him to be so large that it must excite out of doors very unpleasant feelings. The House: would recollect that the civil list was constructed on the estimate of three of the most expensive years that had ever occurred, and during a period, when the currency was greatly depreciated. When, therefore, ministers came down, and placed in the mouth of his majesty a statement, that the Crown did not wish for an increase of the sum previously paid they seemed to have let the fact escape from their memory, that the Crown would by this arrangement actually get more. Surely they must be, aware of the change in the state of the currency, which was improved at least 25 per cent, and to that extent the Crown would be better in 1820 than it was in 1816. When this was the case, he was not surprised to hear ministers say that the system, "worked well." It did indeed work well. It made 25 per cent better for the Crown; but in proportion as it worked well for the Crown, it worked ill for the country. He conceived it would be much more becoming, if, as was done in queen Anne's time, the Crown gave up something to the people, instead of taking all that could be got. Let the House look to the, difference, between the test reign and that which preceded it. Did they not know that there was but one increase of the civil list during the reign of George 2nd, except at the period oft the rebellion? That increase arose from the nonpayment of revenues that had been separated from the Crown; and when Mr. Pelham the minister of George 2nd, called on the House for 400,000l., he pledged the civil list for the re-payment of that money What was the case in the last reign? The civil list debts were paid no less than nine times—a sum of between, eight and nine millions sterling' having been from time to time voted in aid of the civil list expenditure. The present opportunity should be taken for the examination of, the whole system of the civil list, not only with respect to the; money received, but also with reference to the manner in which it had been distributed. But, instead of such an investigation they were, it seemed, to have the ancient, barbarous, Gothic structure continued. This was not extraordinary; for though with different names, the same set of men had been carrying on the government for the last fifty years. The voice might be the voice of Jacob, but the hand was the hand of Esau. When the same body of men had, in fact governed the country for so many years, he did not wonder that they described the system as having "worked well" for them. He begged the noble lord opposite, and his majesty's minister, to consider what this country felt and suffered at this moment. If they did consider the situation of the country, they must perceive that splendor of style did not become the Crown at this distressful period, but that parsimony and strict economy in every department of the state, ought to be sedulously adopted. He recollected an expression, and a very just one, that was some years ago made use of in that House, when it was said "that it was not fitting for a country so sick at heart to look so well in the face." The sentiment was a true one; and he would observe, that it was not fitting, when the people were almost beggars, that the court should display so much grandeur. He was anxious for this opportunity of stating his opinion, because he felt most sincerely that economy at the present moment ought rather to be consulted, than that gaudy splendor which did not benefit the country. On a farther consideration of the measure which he had originally intended to propose, and which he meant to have introduced in the shape of a clause, he felt that it would be better to abandon the course of proceeding. But, after the holidays, he meant to introduce a bill to extend the principle of the act of Geo. 1st, which disqualified persons accepting of places, from sitting in that House, to those who accepted pensions from the civil list. Some time since, he had moved for an account of the number of pensions granted, with reference to England, Scotland, and Ireland. That paper had not been laid on the table. This circumstance was the more remarkable, because it was one of the very few papers which the right hon. gentleman thought fit to grant. The greater number of those moved for was refused, and those which he was pleased to grant had not been produced. In consequence, he was obliged to take the pension list, as it stood in 1817; and, on a rough calculation, the pensions paid out of the civil list, for England, Scotland, and Ireland, amounted to 257,000l.; from the consolidated fund, 87,000l.; and, from other sources, 29,000l. So that the gross amount was 373,000l. This he considered to be a very enormous sum; much more than the Crown ought to have a power over for the purpose of granting pensions. One remark he particularly wished to make with regard to Scotland. In the beginning of the last reign, there was a small surplus of revenue, of 2 or 3,000l., set apart in aid of the civil list. That sum had gradually risen to 30,000l. or 40,000l., which was appointed to the same purpose; and in 1817, 37,000l. were distributed from that surplus in pensions to the ladies and gentlemen of Scotland. Now, he was quite sure, when parliament made the settlement of 1760, it never was contemplated that the Crown should enjoy that large sum in Scotland, in addition to the provision which was then agreed to. When Mr. Burke's bill was under consideration, the continuance of that fund was not thought of. It was passed over in courtesy, under the impression that within a few years it would be done away.—He would now offer a remark in order to correct the statement of a right hon. gentleman (Mr. Huskisson) whom he did not see in his place, That right, hon. gentleman had on a former night observed, that the House had no right to call for any documents, or to require any explanation, as to the civil list, unless the Crown came down and required assistance. And, in support of this assertion, he had quoted the authority of Mr. Fox. Now, he (Mr. Bennet) was of opinion, that Mr. Fox never intended to lay down such a proposition, which was contrary to the whole tenor of his political life. He had, in consequence, looked over all the discussions that had arisen on Mr. Burke's bill; and he there found that Mr. Fox not only held a distinctly opposite opinion, but that he had avowed it in answer to an hon. member who broached doctrines similar to those held the other night by the right hon. gentleman to whom he had alluded. Mr. Fox declared warmly, in his old-fashioned constitutional tone, that it was not only the duty of the House to inquire into, but even to resume the grants of the civil list, if the distress of the country, or the abuse of those grants, warranted it in so doing. And he called on the then Speaker, sir Fletcher Norton, for his opinion, who went the whole broad length Mr. Fox had gone.* He stated this in order to correct a misrepresentation, because he conceived that it was not fair to quote the supposed sentiments of Mr. Fox against the whole course and tenour of his political life.

The House then went into the committee. The blank left for the amount of the English civil list was filled up with the sum of 850,000l. without observation. When the question was put that the blank * Parliamentary History, v. 21, p. 258. left for the amount of the Irish civil list should be filled up with 207,000l.,

Sir J. Newport

expressed a hope that some documents would be laid before the House with respect to the manner in which the civil list for Ireland was disposed of. He had called for certain data by which the judgment of the House might be guided; and, in consequence, a paper had been produced, giving an account of certain sums payable from the civil list of Ireland. He had looked into the act of 1793, in which the civil list of Ireland had originated, and there he found it divided into eight classes. Now, the paper which he held in his hand comprised no less than thirteen classes; and he would call the attention of the House to it, as the most extraordinary classification of a civil list he had ever seen. In 1793, the court a of justice formed one class; here they formed four. The Court of Chancery was divided from the Exchequer, the Exchequer from the King's-bench, and the King's bench from the Common Pleas. He could not at all understand why the old sytem was abandoned. They now went on to make a separate class of "customs officers;" "incidents" another class; and "the Admiralty, with respect to Ireland," another class. The Admiralty of Ireland consisted of a "judge," who had not been resident in that country for seven years, and was discharging his duty by deputy. Then came a ninth class, "barracks and board of works," for which there was a charge of 3,350l. This certainly formed one of the classes in the original civil list arrangement; but it then included the lord-lieutenant's and the chief secretary's house and gardens, which were not intended to be comprised in this list; and the expense of which, from 20,000l. to 30,000l., was made good by votes of that House. He could not conceive why tile board of works could not be paid, in the old manner. There was, in the class of "state officers," a clause to which he decidedly objected—he meant the lord-lieutenant's additional salary of 10,000l. per annum. In saying this, he did not intend to object to it with respect to the present lord-lieutenant, because he had accepted of the office under the provisions of the act which had passed some years ago, for increasing the salary he did however hope that, when a new lord-lieutenant was appointed, care would be taken to omit this additional 10,000l. a year. If the office were to be continued—the expediency of which was a doubtful matter—he trusted; that, for the benefit of the public at large, they would revert to the old salary, which was deemed sufficient when the lords-lieutenant were obliged to keep up a much greater degree of state and splendor than they were now called on to do. He would, when an opportunity occurred, move, that this additional allowance of 10,000l. a year be omitted. In conclusion, the right hon. baronet expressed his opinion that it would be better to recur to the classification of 1793, and to put an end to that subdivision, which only tended to render complex that which would otherwise be perfectly clear.

Lord Castlereagh

said, that, as far as; his knowledge extended, the emoluments of the office of lord-lieutenant were completely unequal to defray its necessary; expenses. One noble duke, lately deceased, who had held the situation, had crippled his fortune considerably, although the salary had been improved. Parliament, feeling that the salary was inadequate to support the dignity of the situation, had thought proper to raise it to; 30,000l. a-year, by voting 10,000l. additional. Arrangements were made that it always should be defrayed out of the civil list of Ireland; and, in truth, even with that increase, the salary was not sufficient to meet the charges. He would have stated this before, but he understood the observations of the right hon. baronet to be rather intended as a notice than as indicating a determination to bring forward any motion at the present moment. The reasons which formerly induced parliament to grant this additional 10,000l. were then considered wise, and he conceived that they were equally wise now. It was charged on the civil list, and not on the consolidated fund; which proved how desirous government were to pursue a system of economy.

Sir J. Newport

said, there was not any thing like the same degree of splendor now kept up by the lord-lieutenant of Ireland as there had been at former periods when the salary was not so large. He would state further, that since the periods when the increase was granted, a great alteration had taken place in the state of the currency; so that 20,000l. in the year 1820 was nearly equal to 23,000l. in 1810. The noble lord had said, that the increase was charged on the civil list, and not on the consolidated fund; but he should recollect that the reduction of the pension- list, which was at that time considerably beyond 80,000l. a year, had added so much to the civil list, as enabled it to bear, without any difficulty, the new imposition. He therefore again claimed some reason from the noble lord, to justify the continuance of this 10,000l. a-year. With respect to what he had before said, his desire was to discuss this particular point at a future period, if, in any particular stage, it were more by itself and less mixed with other matter; bat frothing he had said could preclude him fro proceeding now, if he pleased. As to the decision in 1812, when the currency was greatly depreciated, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the decision of the present day. If they adopted such a principle, they might always be referred to that period whenever the distribution of the civil list was brought under the consideration of that House.

Mr. C. Grant,

not having been in the House at the period alluded to by the right hon. baronet, could not express any opinion on the facts stated by him, but, from his connexion with Ireland, he felt himself called on to state, that the salary now allowed to the lord-lieutenant was not too great when they considered the dignity of the situation. It was, he believed, a well-known fact that the late duke of Richmond suffered severely in his private fortune in consequence of the smallness of his allowance. He could also state, that the late lord-lieutenant had said that the salary, though then increased to 30,000l. a-year, was barely adequate to meet the expenses of the office. With respect to the present lord-lieutenant, although he had had no communication with him on the subject, he could say, that unless his lordship's establishment was directed in the most economical and skilful manner, he must be a loser by the situation; This he stated on good authority, and he thought he could not produce better testimony as to the inadequacy of the salary, than that which might be derived from the conduct of the present lord-lieutenant, who, while he upheld that splendor and dignity which were worthy of his situation, could not be charged by any man with extravagance or profusion. Knowing the situation in which that nobleman was placed knowing the scale on which he kept up the dignity of his court, he was convinced that, if he did not proceed on the most economical principles, he would be a loser while dis- charging the duties of that great office. He was sure that no gentleman who heard him Would wish that any individual placed in a public situation should impair his private fortune in consequence. Such a principle would be extremely objectionable: the House must feel it, and therefore he would not further occupy their attention by enlarging on it.

Mr. Tierney

complained that they were called on to vote a sum of 850,000l. for the English civil list without any inquiry. They were laconically told, that the present estimates was founded on the report of 1816, and; then they were informed that no farther information could be given; but, with respect to the sum of 207,000l. for Ireland, they knew nothing whatsoever. He believed a paper which was called an estimate, containing the 13 classes of the Irish civil list> had been laid on the table, and this was all that was afforded them on the subject. He should be glad to know, if a committee of that House sat in 1816 to examine all the expenses of the civil list, why a similar inquiry should not now take place with respect to the expenses of his majesty's representative in Ireland. He did riot doubt what had fallen from the right hon. secretary. Perhaps information might be laid before the House, proving that 30,000l. per annum were not sufficient to defray the expenses of the lord-lieutenant. But the question was whether the entire expense to which a lord-lieutenant was subjected, was to be taken out of the public purse? Was his private fortune to be wholly saved while he remained in office? There were some situations he knew, in which it was expected that emolument should be made; but this was not one of them. This was not an office of profit and emolument; it was one of honour arid dignity, which always led to very high considerations on the part of the Crown. Besides this, the House should not lose sight of the patronage enjoyed by a lord-lieutenant. When the right hon. secretary said that the salary was not sufficient he would ask, whether the right hon. secretary ever knew the smallest difficulty in finding an individual to fill the situation? He had certainly heard of several persons being angry that they were not appointed to the situation, when the allowance was only 20,000l. a-year but he had never known that any nobleman had stated his feelings to be hart when appointed to the office with that amount of salary. They talked of the difference of times and circumstances. Now, in deciding this question, they ought to look to the expense of keeping up the court in Ireland, at former periods, and contrast it with the present. They ought also to consider the difference which existed between their means of defraying expenses formerly and now. It was, in his opinion, very improper to go on granting a certain sum, without stating any sufficient reason for it. Some gentlemen thought that the office was not at all necessary. On that point he would offer no opinion; for he did not know how the fact stood. But when they called on him to make a: permanent arrangement for the present, feign, he wished to know on what ground, they proceeded. Was it on the same principle as that on which the English civil list was to be settled, namely, an average estimate of four years? The whole argument, brief as it was, was contained in, the statement of that estimate; but, with respect to the Irish civil list, it was a thing of which he knew nothing; and, with the exception of his right hon. friend (sir J. Newport) and one or two others, he believed the House were as much in the dark on it as, himself. The sum of 30,000l. might not be enough for a lord-lieutenant, assuming that the whole of his private fortune must be allowed to accumulate; but he should hope that, in selecting a proper person for the situation, his majesty would look to those who cherished objects of greater importance than mere emolument. If, however, it were, merely a matter of money and nothing else, he must consider it as a money transaction, and demand a proper reason for granting a specific sum. Therefore he considered inquiry was necessary. He knew, however, that ministers wished to grant no information to the House. All they desired was, to get the matter through parliament as fast as possible, and without any debate. He had got his answer on that head the other night. He had called for inquiry, but he was told that there was no necessity to investigate the matter at all. As to fighting the bill in detail, it was utterly impossible. He could not do so, in the absence of information. If it were attempted, one; amendment would come on the back of another in such confusion that they could not proceed. This was the inevitable consequence of proposing a gross sum without examination. Whatever measure was introduced should have arisen out of the deliberations of a committee, and the grounds for it should have been clearly stated. But here was a proposition determined on without any inquiry; as if, truly, that which was good sixty years ago must be equally good now, the circumstances of the times being wholly altered. He did not wish to throw any obstacle in the way of men of high rank going over to Ireland as lords-lieutenant, but the House owed it to the public to examine what was necessary for the sup port of that office.

Sir Henry Parnell

contended, that the office of lord lieutenant of Ireland was al together as useless as it was expensive. He was of opinion that having separate governments for England and for Ireland, led to inconvenience and embarrassment. At present it was well known that a serious division existed between the members of the government of that country. To the present lord lieutenant and the right hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Grant) every thanks and gratitude were due. That right hon. gentleman had displayed both policy and liberality, integrity in his views, and conciliation in his manner; but he regretted to say that other members of the Irish government were not distinguished for similar virtues. He believed that the office1 of lord lieutenant, instead of an expence of 30,000l, cost the nation at least a sum of 100,000l. Independent of the saving of so large a sum, it would produce regularity and uniformity in the system of the government if the office were altogether abolished.

Lord Castlereagh

said, that as to the observation made, that the House had taw information; before them respecting the Irish civil list for coming to a decision, he apprehended they had. There had never been occasion to bring the civil list of Ireland before parliament with a view of calling for any supply to make up its deficiency. It had never been in debt; while the civil list of England had been several times under consideration, either with the view. Of supplying its deficiency, or with, the view of transferring some of its charges to other funds. Yet the civil list of Iceland had been brought under review. The sum of 225,000l. had been before the committee, of which the hon. gentleman on the floor (Mr. Bankes) had been chairman, when inquiry was made what offices, especially of a sinecure, cha- racter, could be abolished. With respect to the 207,000l. now granted, it ought to be remembered that by the abolition of offices of a sinecure character, or that had been subjected to regulation, 17,000l. would fall in, and in that event this sum would not be at the disposal of the Crown, but would fall into the consolidated fund. As to the 13 classes in the Irish civil list, they were so numerous, not because the expence was greater, but for the purpose of giving more information. If the right hon. gentleman wished for a specification of the expenses down to the lowest sum, he had no objection to give it to him, for he held it now in his hand; but he should be sorry that the bill should stand till the paper could be printed. The only item that appeared now to be in question was, the addition made, in 1810, to the lord lieutenant's salary. That had been: made after full consideration. This discussion upon it seemed only preparatory, and by a side wind aiming at the abolition of the lord lieutenancy, and the consolidation of the government of both countries. The hon. baronet who spoke last, had distinctly avowed this object. He thought there were circumstances in the local situation, in the internal government, in the difficulty of communication with this country, which would make the abolition of this office highly detrimental. He could not see how matters of police and revenue could be managed without the presence of a person of this importance. It was, however, a very large question of general policy, on which he would not enter further now. The right hon. gentleman had said that the currency had been ameliorated 25 per cent. He, however, was ignorant of this influx of wealth. Several articles were lowered in prices, but still he believed household expences were not much lower. If the hon. gentleman had found his wealth improved 25 per cent, he believed he was a solitary instance. The addition to the salary had not been made for the purpose of making the situation lucrative, nor was it first suggested by his side of the House. When lord Hardwicke returned from that office, he strongly represented the injury that would be done to his successor if the situation was not made better. He deprecated such an allowance to the lord lieutenant of Ireland as would prevent any from holding that office but leviathans in point of property, if none could hold it but such as the duke of Devonshire or the duke of Bedford, with all possible respect for their station and independence, he thought it would be a misfortune. He could not view it but as a great misfortune if persons of great respectability and character—if lord Whitworth, for instance, who was so well fitted for such an office by personal respectability and previous services—could not encounter its expenses without sacrificing their private fortune. The question, in fact, resolved itself into this—whether a committee should be instituted to inquire into the private expenses of the lord lieutenant? But this was foreign to the purpose of a civil list. It was not intended to regulate the expenses of the lord chamberlain or the lord steward. He knew that accounts of such expenses had been called for; but the civil list was for general services, and accounts were called for only to ascertain the debt, and to bring before the House the grounds on which any sum was afterwards to be appropriated. Particular charges were not so much the object, as the general expenses, and the manner in which the civil list was to be regulated.

Mr. Shaw

expressed his regret and astonishment to hear any Irish member; suggesting in that House, the policy of abolishing the office of lord lieutenant of Ireland. Dublin had suffered most severely by the Act of Union, and no saving that might follow the abolition of the office could be compared to the destruction which that measure would bring upon the citizens of Dublin. Every one at all acquainted with the state of Ireland, knew how much, and how severely she suffered by absentees, but if the office of lord lieutenant, the last remaining inducement for men of property to remain at home, was abolished, it would have the effect of banishing them altogether from Ireland.

Sir John Newport

said, he had never entertained the idea of the abolition of the lord-lieutenancy, and begged not to be implicated in that charge.

Mr. Wellesley Pole

said, that his late right hon. friend Mr. Perceval had brought forward the motion for augmenting the salary of the lord lieutenant, after he had ascertained that no lord lieutenant could hold the office without expending double the sum allowed. The noble duke who then held the office was not aware of the investigation, and to any inquiry of the kind he would have turned a deaf ear. It was all done without his knowledge. It was thought unjust that the lord lieu- tenant should spend 30,000l. while his salary was only 20,000l. Greater attention could not have been paid to economy than that noble duke paid, yet he could not perform his duty to the country without far exceeding his salary. There were a great number of public duties which he had to perform, and none more important than that of being at the head of all public charities; and it would be found that a very large portion of the income of the lord lieutenant was expended in charities. Nothing would give greater dissatisfaction in Ireland than the abolition of the lord lieutenancy. His hon colleague had now said it should be abolished, but he had never heard such a proposition mentioned in Ireland without exciting a high degree of dissatisfaction. He agreed with the hon. member for Dublin, that such a measure would excite great discontent, and would be as great a calamity as Ireland ever felt. Families of rank in that country would be deprived of a court—they would have no court to resort to, to which they might present their wives and daughters [a laugh]. He could assure the House that the gentlemen of Ireland were as high and as proud as could be found in any other part of the world; they would look on it as a degradation, if having communications of importance to make to the government, the were referred to the chief secretary, instead of have in a direct communication with the representative of majesty. Events had happened, and might happen again in Ireland, which might require measures of the utmost promptitude and decision. The lord lieutenant, in critical emergencies could take upon himself to act with vigour, when a person of the rank of the secretary could not venture to do so. He believed, indeed, that there was no man of respectability in Ireland who would wish to see the office of lord lieutenant abolished. As to the salary when it was settled at its present increased rate, it was never imagined that it was adequate to cover the expenses of the office, but it was intended that it should be such as to enable a man of fortune to exercise the office, without too much encroaching on his own property. No man could undertake properly to fill the office of lord lieutenant without spending 10,000l. a year of his private income.

Mr. Tierney

said, he had never lent himself to any such proposition as that of the abolition of the office of lord lieu- tenant. He had always conceived that propositions respecting the abolition of offices retained at the Union should come from Irish gentlemen.

Sir H. Parnell

wished to be understood that he had not imputed the least blame to earl Talbot. As to the propriety of retaining the office of lord lieutenant, there was a difference in his opinion and that of his right hon. friend, of the view taken of that question in Ireland; and the difference was easily accounted for. His right hon. friend (Mr. W. Pole) had spent most of his time in the Castle at Dublin, where there was not a whisper, no doubt, against such an office. He (sir H. P.) on the other hand, spent most of his time in the country in Ireland, where he often heard the opinion that a change might advantageously take place in the executive government of Ireland. It was not his wish to abolish the office of lord lieutenant without finding a substitute; but he thought the business of the police of Ireland would be mach better managed by appointing lords lieutenants of counties, after the English system. Much difficulty was at present felt from the want of authorities in the different counties, to communicate with the government, as the governors of counties did not answer this purpose. Formerly there was a strong opinion in favour of the office of lord lieutenant, but at present the general opinion respecting it was much changed.

Mr. Baring

allowed, that it was not proper for an English member to interfere to propose the abolition of such an office as that of lord lieutenant of Ireland, and he thought, that whatever little pomp remained in the capital of Ireland, should not be abolished. But, he observed, in general, that propositions for the increase of the salaries of offices passed very easily in the House, and that during all the time he had sat there, he had never known any reduction of those salaries to be made. When 10,000l. was added to the salary of the lord lieutenant, there was a sort of pretence for it, which did not at present exist, viz. the state of the currency. Though it was impossible for him to know whether 20 or 30,000l. a year was precisely the fit salary for a lord lieutenant, he protested against the doctrine, that salaries should be increased merely because it was said that otherwise only men of great fortune could fill the offices. This might lead to an indefinite augmentation of salaries. For instance, if it was asked why the governor of the Cape of Good Hope had now 10,000l. a year, or twice as much as any other governor, which was perfectly absurd, the same answer might be made, that without such a salary, only those whom the noble lord called the leviathans of fortune, could fill the office. Since the change in the state of the circulation, there was no man of any condition, whose fortune numerically in pounds sterling had not been diminished, though it was a question whether the sum they now possessed would not go as far in the purchase of the necessaries or comforts of life, as the larger nominal sum would heretofore. It therefore became, at least, a fair matter of consideration, whether the salaries of the great public officers which had been increased during the depreciation of the currency, should not also suffer reduction.

The clause was agreed to, and the House resumed.