HC Deb 25 July 1834 vol 25 cc482-98

Lord Althorp moved the Order of the Day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of Ways and Means.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that he would avail himself of the present opportunity to bring under the consideration of the House a question to which he had often adverted in the course of the present Session. The House would recollect that at an early period of the present Session, he had called for a return of the number of offices created under Acts of Parliament which had been passed, and under various commissions which had been issued, during the last Session. The delays which had occurred in making up that return, prevented him from laving before the House a complete picture of what had taken place, but he would endeavour to give the House an outline of the extent to which the creation of offices had been carried. It was necessary, by Act of Parliament, that Government should make to Parliament, every year, a statement of the increase or diminution of the amount of salaries in the several public offices, and that statement included, of course, the number of offices that had been increased or diminished in the same time. If the House should be governed by the paper which had been that year laid upon the Table, and if they should suppose it to present a real statement of the increase or diminution of offices, they would be much and grossly deceived. For it would appear from that paper, that in the year 1833 there had been an increase of 128 new offices, and a diminution of 221 old ones, leaving a balance of ninety-three in favour of the diminution of offices. But the facts of the case were very different. He would confine himself at present to the year 1833, because that was a year of which the returns were partially before the House, and to which it was only necessary that he should refer at present. It appeared that during the year 1833, nine commissions had issued, and ten acts had been passed, under which various appointments had been made. There were also other appointments, of which no returns had been made, because the time for making them had not yet arrived. Of those appointment he should take no notice, but should found his argument entirely upon the documents now on the Table. The official paper, containing a return of the increase and diminution of offices, presented, as he had already told the House, a diminution of 221 old offices, and an increase of 128 new ones. But when he looked at certain returns, which had been subsequently made, he discovered that instead of a balance of ninety-three offices in favour of reduction, as there would be, supposing that the increase had been 128, and the reduction 221, there was a balance of 332 in favour of the augmentation of patronage, as there had been 553 new offices created, and only 221 reduced. Let the House consider the effect of this in point of expense. From the official paper it appeared, that there had been a diminution of 30,000l. during the year, in the amount of salaries; but when the House looked at the whole state of the case, as it appeared upon other public returns, it would be found that, instead of any diminution, there was an actual augmentation of salaries to the amount of 85,000l. during the year, for the whole amount of salaries of the offices created in the year, was 115,000l. He would read to the House a brief abstract of the offices which had been created, 425 of which he found by the returns were not enumerated in the official paper. In this number of offices, there was one,—and he believed there was another, that held by Mr. Macaulay, but of which no return had been made. In the number of offices created, he said there was, besides that held by Mr. Macaulay, one of 6,000l. a year. Of offices of 3,000l. a-year and under 6,000l. there was also one; of offices of 2,000l. and under 3,000l. one; of offices of 1,000l. and under 2,000l. thirty-two; of offices of 800l. and under 1,000l. seven; of offices of 600l. and under 800l. four; of offices of 400l. and under 600l. eight; of offices of 200l. and under 400l. 141; of offices of 200l. and under—230; making the total of offices created, 425. This, be it observed, was in one year, and the expense of salaries was 115,000l. That expense resulting from new arrangements, was an object to which the consideration of the House might be fairly called; and it was for that reason that he had moved for these returns, being convinced that if the House were determined to pursue a career of economy, it ought to look not only to the salaries which were paid out of the funds over which it had control, but also to the salaries of offices created and paid out of funds over which it had no control. The Members of the present Government maintained that they conducted the affairs of the State with less regard to patronage, than the Members of any Government which had preceded them. He would not enter into any discussion whether that statement were true or not; but this he would say, that if any Government had been anxious to create offices for the sake of increasing its patronage, it could not have adopted a better course to accomplish that object than that which was developed in the measures of the present Ministers, for they carefully proclaimed the offices which they abolished, whilst they concealed the offices which they created so carefully, that without ferreting into every hole and corner, it was impossible to come to the knowledge of them. If patronage were the object of a government, then this mode of accomplishing it was among the best that could be devised, for classes of offices were created to suit the taste of every class of customers. Here were offices under 200l. a year for the lower classes; here were offices under 400l. a year for the middling classes; here were also other offices for persons of higher rank, who could return service of equal value for the patronage which they received from Government. Among the persons whom it must be the desire of every Government to conciliate were those connected with the legal profession. They were a class of persons whom it was important for Government to conciliate—they were well educated—they had the power of explaining and diffusing their opinions—they were in the custom of advocating causes of all descriptions, though he would not say that they were in the habit of advocating bad causes, and making the worse appear the better reason, and that therefore they must be particularly useful to the present Government. They were generally men of character; they lived among the best classes, and, from their avocations in life, had an influence over all classes. Now, how many barristers did the House imagine was included in this return? He had made a memorandum of the number, but had mislaid it. He was sure, however, that he was under the mark when he said that there were 105 barristers included in it. He knew that it would be answered to him that many of these commissions created offices of great importance, and that it was necessary that they should be created to forward the interests of the public service. Be it so. Let the House look then at the mode in which these appointments were made, and let it see whether they were made to facilitate the public service, or whether there were not grounds to support the charge which he now preferred against his Majesty's Government. He would not detain the House by going into details regarding all the offices contained in the return. He would take one or two as a sample of the whole. In the course of last Session, Parliament voted a million to be distributed among the clergy of the Church of Ireland, in order to enable them to support themselves until a definite arrangement was made respecting tithes. The sum granted by Parliament was, as he had just stated, a million. The number of parishes in Ireland was 2,500, and the number of benefices was 1,250. The applicants, then, for this fund, could not, at the most, exceed 2,500, and would, in all probability, fall short of it. In those reprobate times, which it was the fashion to call Tory times, if any member of the Government had been called upon to distribute this sum, he would have made an addition of two or three clerks to some public department to meet the pressure of the emergency, and those clerks would have been employed so long as that pressure continued, but no longer. The distribution of this money might, in the times of Toryism, have added at most a dozen clerks to the Secretary's office in Ireland. He spoke with some degree of knowledge on that subject, for he had enjoyed the honour of holding that office, and he knew, that though some assistance would have been necessary, half a dozen additional clerks would have been quite sufficient. What said the return now upon the Table? In order to give effect to the distribution of 1,000,000l. among 2,400 persons at the most, not less than 114 persons had been appointed, and a separate office had been created, under the title of "The Tithe-owners' Relief Fund Bill-office." He would not say, that his calling for this return had frightened the Irish Government, but it somehow or other happened that it went on creating two or three clerks every day up to the 10th of April, and this return of his was ordered on the 15th. What would the House think, when it found that out of these 114 appointments, 70 of them were those of clerks? He knew that in the Secretary's office, with the duties of which he was acquainted, there was great labour to be performed. It had to conduct all the correspondence of the civil Government. It had to superintend the Reports and Proceedings of the Police, and it thus required a great number of hands. He found, however, that all the business of that office was conducted by eighteen clerks. In the office of Secretary of War, which controlled all the expense of all our regiments in Great Britain, Ireland, and every other part of the world, there were not more than thirty clerks. The Secretary of State for the Home Department, with a small number of clerks, conducted all the internal affairs of the country. And yet, under a government which disclaimed all patronage, twice as many clerks were required to distribute a million among 2,500 persons, as were employed in the Home-office in England, in the Secretary's-office in Ireland, and in the office of the Secretary at War. So much for the clerks. He next came to the barristers, who had been appointed to assist the assisting barristers; and how stood the case here? In Ireland, there were thirty-two assistant-barristers,—and the present Government had appointed forty more to assist them—a man a-piece one would have thought sufficient, but the Government had appointed forty. It might however be said, that in making this comparison, there were no clear grounds on which to form your estimate. He begged pardon—there were such grounds. In the last Session of Parliament a sum of 20,000,000l. was granted as compensation to the West-Indian proprietors, and was to be distributed among them. Now, to distribute that sum over all our Colonial possessions in all parts of the world, the number of appointments, as stated in this paper, only amounted to sixty, and yet 114 persons were required to distribute 1,000,000l. in Ireland. He could not understand how the noble Lord opposite, controlling as he did the expenses of all the departments in the State, could give his sanction to such a proceeding. He had no doubt, that his right hon. friend opposite would admit that he had been guilty of "a great indiscretion" in permitting it; and though there was no occasion to ask his right hon. friend what Cabinet Minister assisted him in "that great indiscretion," he thought that there was sufficient occasion for him to ask his right hon. friend how he intended to justify it. He knew that the House was anxious to go into the Com- mittee to discuss the Budget. He thought, however, that this subject was worthy the attention of the House, and he knew no occasion when an explanation of it could be more satisfactorily obtained than the present. The House ought to exercise ten-fold vigilance with regard to the patronage over which it had no direct control; and if it found that the confidence reposed in the Government by Acts of Parliament was abused, it had a right to demand explanation.

Mr. Littleton

did not rise to reply to the general observations of the right hon. Gentleman, but merely to account for the appointment of the number of clerks and assisting barristers, who had been employed in distributing the Tithe Relief Fund granted last Session. He would undertake to show the House, that the work which had been accomplished by them, could not have been accomplished in so short a time, had not such a number been employed. He scarcely needed to repeat that one million was granted last Session for the relief of the tithe-owners. The result of that grant had been, that not less than 2,490 schedules or memorials had been presented for relief. Few of those schedules contained less than 200 names; many of them contained from 2,000 to 3,000 names. The provision of that grant was, that 15 per cent should be deducted from the claims of 1833, and 25 and 30 per cent from the claims of 1831 and 1830. These memorials were sent to the different assistant-barristers in the different counties to be adjudicated upon. It was impossible for the assistant-barristers to adjudicate upon them, as their avocations on the Sessions and their other professional duties interfered, without assistance. As they must have been paid five guineas a-day for their labour, it did not create any additional expense to appoint other barristers to assist in performing this service. Assisting barristers were, therefore, appointed; and as it was necessary to distribute this fund without delay, to prevent several of the clergy from starving, a great number was appointed. That was at once a wise and humane policy. With regard to the clerks employed, it was quite necessary that they should be so numerous, in order to calculate the reductions within a given time. Sir William Gossett, who was conversant with matters of account, had calculated that it would take one man fifty-eight years to complete the account of these reductions. It was necessary, however, that it should be completed by November last; and, therefore, it became requisite to employ a good many hands in completing it. These clerks were paid two guineas a week. His right hon. friend seemed to think, that by calling for this return, he had frightened the Irish Government from making further appointments; but so far was the Irish Government from being frightened, that it was only the other day that he had written to Sir W. Gossett to put on any number of hands he might think proper to expedite the business, so as to have it ready by next September.

Mr. Henry Grattan,

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he had not supported the Bill of last Session for distributing a million among the distressed clergymen of the Church of Ireland? The clergy asked for justice; and now, when the million was distributed, was it justice to advocate a node of proceeding which, had it been adopted, would have prevented the distribution of the grant? The assistant barristers were employed at the Sessions; and it was, therefore, necessary to appoint other barristers to perform this public service. There were thirty-two counties in Ireland, and some of them were divided into districts. Now, to these thirty-two counties, with their subdivisions, not more than forty barristers had been appointed.

Mr. Francis Baring

thought, that the right hon. Gentleman had not dealt quite fairly by Ministers on this occasion, by complaining that certain offices had not been included in the returns which were upon the Table, although he knew, or ought to have known, that it was the practice never to include them in such returns. The right hon. Gentleman, without saying so in express terms, had left it to be inferred that it was an extremely convenient mode of exercising patronage for Government to make appointments to situations which were not brought under the consideration of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman knew that the returns upon the Table had been drawn up in conformity with the practice which had existed for upwards of twenty years; and, therefore, in the imputations which he had conveyed on that account he had exhibited a spirit of political charity different from that which he had expected from the right hon. Gentleman. He begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman, and he was tempted to do so only on account of the tone of his observations, whether the Commission at the head of which was the right hon. Gentleman's own brother, was named in the returns? He admitted, that the Commission to which he had alluded had done its duty to the complete satisfaction of the public, and he referred to it only with the view of showing that the fact of certain offices not being included in the returns was not attributable to any improper motive, but solely to the cause which he had stated, namely, conformity to the uniform practice. The right hon. Gentleman had also fallen into another mistake—so he supposed he must call it—he had taken the returns made under the Act of Parliament, and said, "These show so many offices to be abolished, but here are other returns which exhibit so many offices created, and the balance against the public is so much." If this statement had proceeded from any other gentleman, he should not have been surprised at it; but he must confess, that coming as it did from the right hon. Gentleman, and recollecting the department in the Government over which he once presided, it had extremely astonished him that he should have forgotten that there were many offices abolished which were not included in the returns. He could state from his own knowledge, that by a Bill brought in last year, which former Administrations had been haggling about for seven years, no fewer than thirty offices were abolished, which had not been included in the returns, because it was not usual to do so under the Act of Parliament. He was now alluding to offices not familiar to the uninstructed ear, such as the Clerk of the Pipe. The right hon. Gentleman had made some strong observations with respect to the number of commissions of inquiry which had been appointed by the present Government; but had he pointed out any one commission which could be considered useless or unnecessary? Was there any one subject upon which a Commission had been appointed with respect to which the House had a right to say, that it was not desirable that an inquiry should take place? Let him ask the House whose fault it was that had rendered it necessary to institute all these inquiries into monopolies and abuses? If the right hon. Gentleman's friends, who had been in office for about fifty years, had during that time applied the process of reform to the institutions of the country, they would not now have to complain that so many points remained for the present Ministers to inquire into. In many instances, Ministers had actually been forced to issue commissions by the urgent representations of Committees of the House, and, therefore, the House must participate equally with the Government in the censure which the right hon. Gentleman had bestowed on the appointment of commissions; but, for his own part, he thought no blame could fairly be said to attach to either upon that ground. The right hon. Gentleman had detailed to the House the number of appointments which had been made by the present Government, stating that they were made to suit all fancies and sizes, from the small clerk up to the great gentleman. Now, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, from the experience which he had had of patronage whilst in office, it did not make a great difference to the parties who obtained offices if they were temporary instead of permanent? Following up that question by another, he would ask how many of the appointments to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded were permanent, and how many temporary. The right hon. Gentleman having made it a matter of accusation that the present Government had created a large number of offices, he (Mr. Baring) would state a few facts, which could be verified by the papers upon the Table, to show what had really been clone by the present Ministers since they had been in office. The House might remember, that just before the present Ministers came into office, the right hon. Baronet, then member for Cumberland (Sir James Graham), moved for a return of the number of persons holding offices, who were then in the receipt of salaries or emoluments of above 1,000l. a-year; and last Session a paper was laid upon the Table of the House which showed how those persons had been affected by the reductions made during the time the present Ministers had been in power. It would appear from these returns, that Ministers, to use the metaphor of the right hon. Baronet, had not aimed at the small birds, whilst they suffered the great birds of prey to escape. Perhaps it would be satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman to compare what had been done in the way of reduction during the time he was in office, and during the time that the present Government had been in power. He found, that in 1828, 1829, 1830, when the right hon. Gentleman was in office, the number of offices abolished was 909, and that the salaries and emoluments attached to them amounted to 136,177l. During the three years in which the present Ministers held office, the number of offices abolished amounted to 1,858, having salaries attached to them amounting to 259,230l. To put the matter in a clearer light, he might state, that during the former period, the average annual reduction was 35,392l., and during the latter it was 86,400l. In the former period, also the average annual reduction of offices was 303, and in the latter 450. Lest the right hon. Gentleman, with that candour which characterized his whole speech, should insinuate that Ministers had aimed at the small birds, whilst they had allowed the great ones to escape, he would state that, comparing the two periods again, the average annual amount of the salaries of the offices abolished in the former was 117l., and in the latter 190l. The right hon. Gentleman had made no attack upon Government with respect to the years 1831 and 1832, but had confined all his remarks to 1833. He did not mean to say, that the right hon. Gentleman had actually stated, that in the last year, the Government was less attentive to the public interests than in the other two years; but, from the whole tenour of the speech, that was the impression which must have been produced on the minds of his hearers. He would, therefore, state the reductions which had been made in the department of stamps and taxes, with which he was better acquainted than any other. The average annual reduction in this office in the years 1831, 1832, and 1833, was 17,242l., and in the last six months, since the termination of 1833, it was 13,037l.; being not much below the average annual reduction during the three preceding years.

Mr. Hume

expressed his surprise, that Ministers should be at all angry with the right hon. Gentleman for bringing this subject forward. For his part, he approved of the course which the right hon. Gentleman had pursued, and entertained hopes that after he had been two or three years in opposition he would become quite a reformer. It was a true observation, "When rogues fall out, honest men get their own," and so when Whigs and Tories quarrelled, one party being in office, and the other out, it was sure to tend to the public advantage. The hon. Member, after expressing an opinion that returns of all temporary offices ought to be laid before Parliament, observed, that in the papers upon the Table, he saw no mention of Mr. Macaulay's appointment in India, which he considered a most abominable one—he meant as regarded the salary of 10,000l. a-year.

Sir Robert Peel

thought, that his right hon. friend was perfectly justified in calling public attention to this subject. No person who saw from the papers upon the Table that seventy-four clerks, and thirty-two assistant barristers had been appointed for the purpose of superintending the distribution of a million of money could have avoided feeling that it was a fit subject for inquiry. Here were seventy-four clerks with salaries of 100l. a-year, and thirty-two assistant barristers, together with forty others having salaries of five guineas a day, to superintend the distribution of 1,000,000l. ! Was not this a circumstance which required explanation, and would it not have been a positive neglect of duty if, after having moved for the papers which furnished the information of the fact, his right hon. friend had not called the attention of the House to the subject? His right hon. friend, the Secretary for Ireland, had stated, that though from the arrangement which had been made to facilitate the settlement of the claims arising out of the grant, a large expenditure was taking place at the present moment, it was not greater than was absolutely necessary, nor than must ultimately have been made. For his own part, he thought that the business might have been transacted by the establishment in Dublin, aided by a few additional clerks; but if the public would be subjected to no greater charge one way than another, and if the persons who held temporary appointments would not be allowed to put forward any claim to subsequent remuneration on that account, he did not object to the proceeding. It was fitting, that Government should have had an opportunity of offering an explanation; and he was never more surprised than he had been that evening at witnessing the dissatisfaction evinced by a reformed House of Commons, not because gross and corrupt appointments had taken place, but because one of its Members felt it his duty to call for an explanation of a circumstance which wore a character of suspicion. There was nothing in the course which his right hon. friend had pursued as Chancellor of the Exchequer which made it inconsistent in him to urge economy upon the Government. Whilst his right hon. friend was in office, he established a progressive system of economy; and had he remained in power, the system which he commenced he would have continued. As to reductions, it was notorious that they had been carried to a great extent by the Governments which preceded the present. Indeed he had heard more than one of the present Ministers declare, that they were only gleaners in the field which vigorous hands had reaped before them. A word with respect to Commissions. He perfectly concurred with his right hon. friend in thinking it was necessary that the attention of the House should be steadily directed towards them. He did not believe, that they were appointed from corrupt motives, but it could not be denied, that they had thrown great patronage into the hands of the Government. That was a fact. It was true, that many of the Commissions had originated with Committees of the House, as happened the other day with respect to a Committee of which he was Chairman, and which recommended the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the salaries of officers connected with the local Administration of Justice. He could not agree with the hon. Member opposite, that appointments which were of a temporary nature were not valuable. He hoped that the hon. member for Tiverton would persevere in the Motion of which he had given notice for next Session, relative to the practice of appointing Commissions. No doubt that in some cases—for instance, where local inquiries were necessary—the appointment of Commissioners was desirable; but it was so easy to appoint Commissioners to prosecute inquiries which the Members of that House ought to perform themselves, and without doing which they could not satisfactorily discuss the measures founded upon them, that the practice of having recourse to Commissions ought to be regarded with the utmost jealousy. He apprehended that the appointment of Commissioners offered a temptation to Members to escape from the discharge of onerous duties. If it were true, that 104 offices had been bestowed upon gentlemen at the bar in one year, it was impossible to deny that the Government must be able to exercise considerable influence over the profession from which they were selected. So far from being induced to blame his right hon. friend for the course which he had pursued upon this occasion, if he were a member of the Government, he would have thanked his right hon. friend for affording them an opportunity for explanation on the subject to which he had directed attention, while, as a Member of the House, he participated in the justifiable and natural jealousy which his right hon. friend felt.

Mr. Secretary Rice

thought, that Government had no right to complain of the result of the present discussion, whatever might be thought of the tone of the speech in which it had originated. The inference which was to be drawn from the observations of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) was, that the conduct of Government was characterized by disingenuousness and mystification; but the clear and satisfactory statement of his hon. friend (Mr. F. Baring) had set the House right upon that point. With respect to the appointment of Commissions, the House should recollect that the practice had been pursued by former Administrations. It appeared from a return laid upon the Table in 1827, that from 1307 to 1829, no less a sum than 956,885l. had been expended on Commissions. In one year alone, during this period, 89,000l. were granted for the expense of Commissions. The right hon. Gentleman contended, that Commissions were of the greatest use for the purpose of collecting information upon which the House could legislate, and said that they never could have discussed the Poor-law Amendment Bill without having the reports of the Commissioners before them. With respect to Mr. Macaulay's salary, it was fixed by Act of Parliament.

Mr. Sheil

said, as Mr. Macaulay's salary was fixed by Act of Parliament, it might be reduced by the same authority. He believed, that the Irish Corporation Commission had been very properly appointed, but although that Commission had completed its labours, no report whatever had yet been produced. As to the Irish Church Commission, if an efficient Tithe Bill had been introduced by the noble Lord in 1832, the million of money which had been voted to the clergy, and all the expenses of its distribution, would have been saved to the country. He regretted, however, that economy had been too much attended to in the arrangements regarding the Public Instruction Commission; indeed, it was impossible, unless some addition were made to its numbers, that it should be at all effectual. He wished to know whether it was in contemplation to augment that Commission?

Mr. Littleton

said, the subject was under the consideration of Government, and he had every reason to think, that the number of Commissioners would be increased.

Mr. Grote

expressed his approbation of the course which Government had pursued in the appointment of various Commissions. Economy no doubt should be attended to; but there was no portion of the expenditure of the country to which he felt so little objection as that employed in obtaining the most useful and valuable information communicated to the public by means of these Commissions of Inquiry. The hon. Member particularly alluded to the various law Commissions, but more especially to the Poor-law Commission, which contained so much important and excellent information. He did not coincide with the right hon. Secretary with regard to the salary given to Mr. Macaulay, which, with all his admiration for that excellent and most gifted individual, he could not but consider extravagant.

Mr. Cobbett

altogether disagreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down as to the propriety of appointing so many Commissions. If it were necessary before Parliament legislated on any subject, to have a Commission appointed, deliberation would very soon be altogether superseded. The Ministers selected the Commissioners who thought with them on the particular subject in question, and in making their report very good care was taken, that it should not be disagreeable to their employers. It was impossible to deny that great disadvantage was felt in reference to the Poor-laws in consequence of the manner in which the Reports had been got up and submitted to Parliament. It had been said, that the Report contained the deliberate, well-studied, and clear made-up opinions of the Commissioners, and that no equal to it had ever issued from the Press. He believed that was correct. Its match never had issued, and he hoped never would issue from the Press. But the fact was, the House had passed the Bill without even having read the Reports. These voluminous Reports which they had prepared, and the expense of printing which amounted to 60,000l., had not been laid on the Table till after the Bill had been read a second time, and part of them not till after it had gone through Committee. There were some parts of those Reports which be was quite sure the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) had never himself read, he repeated he was sure the noble Lord had never read them, because one volume contained no fewer than seventy distinct libels upon him (Mr. Cobbett) personally; and if the noble Lord had read them, no doubt he would have taken care that an hon. Member of that House should not have been so improperly alluded to. Something, he thought, ought to be done in order to prevent his Majesty's subjects from being libelled in the grossest manner through the papers ordered to be printed by that House. Lord Kenyon, he believed, had laid it down as a rule that nothing should be deemed a libel which was contained in any publication or republication of what was printed under the order of the Houses of Parliament. He could not, for example, indict any one, he could not indict the noble Lord (Lord Althorp), without the sanction of the House. The Beer Bill Reports of last year contained gross libels on many individuals. He recollected that in one instance they held up a woman as an adultress, and a man as an adulterer, giving both names and their place of residence. That he thought was most improper. The Committee on petitions, he was glad to observe, had been in the habit of pursuing a very different course, taking care where there was libellous matter in petitions, that all names should be omitted. As to the Report on the Poor-laws, he thought it his duty to say, that of 1717 Magistrates, only 159 agreed with the Commissioners in the opinions which they had stated. The Commission altogether had been a hired falsehood-retailing body of men, and their production was full of lies from beginning to end.

Mr. Shaw

said, he had opposed from the very first the grant of 1,000,000l., to the Irish clergy, because he was sure it would ultimately do more harm than good. That grant had been occasioned, not by the difficulty of collecting tithes, but in consequence of the noble Lord's own declaration at the beginning of last Session, and Government finding themselves placed in a difficult situation, could not extricate themselves except by putting their hands into the public purse. They had now been shifting, juggling, and trifling with respect to the Tithe Bill, but no effectual step had yet been taken towards its satisfactory adjustment, and he very much feared they were now about to adopt the same vulgar means of getting out of their difficulties. He hoped, if a proposition to that effect were brought forward, the House would at once resist it.

The Attorney General

stated, in answer to an observation made by the hon. member for Oldham, that Lord Kenyon had never laid down the law as had been stated; he merely refused to interfere by way of criminal information, leaving the parties open to adopt any other mode of proceeding, civil or criminal.

The House resolved itself into a Committee of Ways and Means.

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