HC Deb 26 January 1821 vol 4 cc138-9

On the order of the day for going into a Committee of Supply, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, that the Speaker do leave the Chair.

Mr. Creevey

said, he would not detain the House, at any length, from the important question about to be brought forward, but begged to call their attention, for a few moments to the motion now made. This was the first stage of an annual parliamentary process, called a Committee of Supply; a process by which, once or twice every week, hundreds of thousands on hundreds of thousands, and millions on millions, of the public money, were voted in that House, in the presence of not more than a dozen persons, exclusively of the ministers of the Crown. He hoped, however, that things would now go on better. The public seemed to have taken a noble attitude; by their efforts, they had prevented her majesty from being overborne by superior power—they had prevented the laws and the constitution from being subverted by the ministers of the Crown. He trusted they would now turn their attention to the protection of their own property in that House He did not know whether it was true, that an illustrious individual had declared that a public meeting in this country was a farce. If it was true that such an expression had been used, he would say of it, that it was not a British sentiment, but must have been imported from Troppau; the royal politicians assembled at which place, no doubt, thought every thing a farce but their own plans of conquest and tyranny. A farce! If he wished for a farce, re- commend him to a Committee of Supply. Some years ago a dissection was made of the component parts of the House of Commons, by which it appeared that 72 members of that House had the good fortune to enjoy among them, about 170,000l. a year, out of the taxes. Now these 72 gentlemen, or some of them, were the gentlemen who generally formed a committee of supply: they, and very few else, voted away all the money of the country. He should, in the course of the session, move for certain documents by which another and a new dissection of the House of Commons would be laid open to the country. He trusted, that the public would support him in an alteration which he aimed at effecting in committees of supply. As affairs were managed at present, he was not surprised at independent men not attending on these committees; neither did he blame them for their absence from them, as the estimates were so complicated, and so overloaded with items, as to be perfectly unintelligible. He hoped that the public would attend closely to this matter; for, if they did, they would either make their representatives mend their manners, or would be compelled to speak to them in a language which could not be misunderstood.

The House resolved itself in the said committee, in. which, the Chancellor of' the Exchequer moved, "that a supply be granted to his Majesty." The motion was agreed to, and the House resumed.