§ MR. HUME
called the attention of the House to a clause in this Bill, the effect of which would be to permit alterations and variations in the appropriation, in direct contravention of the spirit of the Bill itself. When he last put the ques- 502 tion as to the existence of such a clause, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave him an assurance which had then appeared to be satisfactory; but he had since made inquiry, and found that by the 24th Clause of this Bill the fullest possible license in the application of the fund would be given to the Treasury, This, no doubt, was a great advantage to that office; but the House voted distinct sums to different departments; and the intention manifestly was that the money so granted should be expended in the one particular way, and no other. The same power, it appeared, had been granted sub silentio in the Bill last Session, and from some unknown cause had escaped the attention of many hon. Gentlemen. The right hon. Gentleman now wished to continue the Bill in the same shape, and in effect the Legislature thus empowered the Treasury to limit the appropriation in whatever way they pleased, provided only they did not exceed the aggregate amount agreed to.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
was understood to say that the measure which had been brought forward in the course of the last Session by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, for the better auditing of the public accounts, had rendered it indispensably necessary that some such license as that contained in the Consolidated Fund Bill should be intrusted to the Treasury. Under the old system, the greatest inconvenience had been found to result from the prescribed mode of dealing with the balances which were left each year, invariably, unappropriated; and as now the whole amount voted by the House could not in any case be exceeded, no evil could arise; and the clause to which the hon. Gentleman referred, would operate as a restriction rather than as a license.
§ Bill read a third time.