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Thus, from this Table, it appears, that of the four great Westminster Hall Courts, there is not one in which the principle of taking the property of the distressed to make fortunes for Court favorites, or, in the Orator's language, to "make it the origin of families and the foundation of wealth and honors," was not applied,-not one in which the application of it is not to this very day continued. A natural question here is--how in so great a length of time it comes to have made so small a progress? the answer isthat in the hands of the King, this mine having, soon after its discovery, been worked too openly and too rapidly, the consequence was, that the thus Avorking of it received the check we hear so much of, and care so little about; and that from that time it was given up to those useful servants of his, whose professional dexterity was now become necessary to enable a man, when working under the Rose, to make a living profit out of it.
The earliest instance, of which any effect or memory is now remaining is, as the Table shows, of as early a date as the reign of Henry the Second. Soon after him came King John, whom, besides his Magna Charta, so many details that have come down to us on record, prove to have kept an open shop for the sale of the commodity which went by the name of justice, and in which the prices were not then in any sort, as at present they are in some sort, fixt. In King John's reign comes this Magna Chartu, and thenceforward, so far as concerned the sort of "public service" rendered by the Gavestons, the Spencers, and the Mortimers, this source of " manent reward to public service" was nearly dried up; and for what few drops have here and there been collected by the successors of those accomplished Gentlemen, they have been forced to enter into a sort of partnership with the Gentlemen of the Long Robe.
Had it not been for the obstruction just mentioned, the present amount of that part of the produce of the stump duties which is levied upon those who are distressed whether by or for want of the commodity sold under the name of justice would have composed but a part, and that a small one, of that part of public money which would have followed the fate of the Crown Lands, under and by virtue of the principle thus maintained by Holt and fattened upon by Somers.
I say, but a small part: for had the mine continued in individual hands, with the power and capital of the King openly employed, as under King John, in backing them, it would have continued to be worked, with that zeal and consequent success, by which labour in private, is, so much to its advantage, distinguished from labour on public account: and supposing any remnants of it, as of the Crown Lands, to be still remaining, the Percevals of the present day, instead of being occupied in the augmentation of these taxes on distress for the benefit of rich and poor together, defending inch by inch, and not always without loss, those parts of the produce which stand appropriated to the enrichment of the rich, would have been exclusively employed in the more agreeable occupation of giving additional breadth to "the foundation of wealth as well as honours" upon the plan here sketched out by Edmund Burke, and with as little reserve or mystery as was found necessary by King John, in the halcyon part of his days.
In the Court of Chancery there exists a set of men called from their number the sixty clerks, whose situation is something compounded of or intermediate between, that of an officer of the court and that of an attorney.
They are officers of the court, inasmuch as, through an intermediate nomination, they are nominated by a subordinate judge of the court (the Master of the Rolls) and inasmuch as in every cause the parties on each side are obliged to employ one or other of them; they are attornies, inasmuch as they are agents of the parties, and, on each side of a cause, the party or par
§. 4. Concerning Title to Reward.—Proposition 4.
In the course of the disposition thus made of the whole property of Government, with the growing addition of the whole property of the people, the plea of its having for its use and object the furnishing a reward to public service, ought never to be any other than a false pretence: at any rate nothing ought ever to be done to prevent its being so.
Proof. (Observations.) Four modes of disposing of the public money, under the notion of reward for public service-extraordinary public service-all of them in frequent use-lay open to the Rhetorician's view. 1. Remuneration by Act of Parliament. 2. Allowance out of secret service money. 3. Pensions granted by the Crown without concurrence of parliament. 4. Sinecure offices granted by the Crown without concurrence of parliament.
ties, through the medium of their respective attorneys, (called here solicitors) have their choice which of them to employ.
In the same court there exists another set of men called the six clerks, whose situation seems to be purely that of an officer of the court. To each of these six clerks belongs the nomination of ten out of the sixty clerks; which nominations be either sells or gives, whichever mode of disposition happens in each instance to be most for his advantage.*
Of these six clerks, the nomination belongs to the master of the rolls for the time being: which nomination, like the Lord Chancellor and Chief Justices of the King's Bench and Common Pleas, he in like manner either sells or gives, according to the mode of disposition, that happens to be most to his advantage.
The greater the annual value of a sixty clerk's place, the greater the value of the place of a six clerk who has the gift or sale of it. The greater the value of a six clerk's place, the greater the emolument of the place of the Master of the rolls who has the gift or sale ofit.
By order of the Court of Chancery, dated 26th February, 1807, signed by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Erskine, and by the Master of the Rolls, Sir William Grant, by whose advice and assistance he states himself as acting therein, a new" schedule of fees" is established and authorized to be taken by each one of those sixty clerks :-fees described in so many articles, 43 in number, and the amount avowedly increased in the instance of each article. A prior instance had been found in which in like manner, viz. by a law enacted in the same way by the joint authority of the two judges, bearing the same offices, money had in this way, about the middle of last century, been levied upon those children of distress called suitors without consent of parliament. Coupled with power, sinister interest begets precedent, and precedent begets, or rather precedent is law.
Of the two modes in which, without consent or privity of parliament, law is made by the sole authority of the King's nominees in the character of judges, this (it must however be confessed) is beyond comparison the least mischievous; it not involving, as the other does, the attribute of uncognoscibility, and the tyranny of an ex post facto law.
Ilarrison's Chancery, I. 61. Ord. Can. 83.
In the case of Remuneration by act of parliament, every thing is open to view; every thing is open to discussion; 1. The nature and reality of the service supposed to have been performed. 2. The part taken by the person in question in the rendering of that service. 3. The importance of the whole service and of the part taken by him in the rendering it. 4. The magnitude of the proposed reward.
In the case of remuneration out of secret service money all these particulars are left in darkness; and in time of war, and thence at all other times (since there are none in which the approach or danger of war may not be imminent) it being necessary that in the hands of the administration there should exist means of purchasing services, such as under any apprehension of disclosure would be unobtainable: hence a fund for this purpose ever has been, and ever ought to be, on foot.
In the case of Pensions some of the above four particulars are open to discussion: two of them, and two only, are open to view; viz. 1. The person on whom so much of that matter, viz. Money, which is in use to be applied, and in this case is applied, to the purpose of remuneration, has been bestowed. 2. The quantity of that matter thus bestowed. What is not open to view is whether it is under the notion of his having rendered any public service, that the money has been bestowed; --much less whether such notion, supposing it really entertained, he m any degree just or no.
4. In the case of Sinecures, he saw all these helps to misapplication having place, and as compared with the case of pensions, acting in much greater force. In the case of a pension, what is bestowed constitutes a new article, put upon an already existing list: a list, which if not already public, is liable to become so at any time; -a list, which in the mean time, whether made known or not to the public, cannot but be kept constantly in view by various members of administration, if it were only lest the fund on which it is settled should be overloaded;—a list such, that no fresh article can ever be placed on it, without producing a fresh sensation, as constituting a manifest addition to the mass of public burthens; and in relation to which it is impossible, but that to many persons the question must occur-on what grounds, and with what propriety, has this addition been made ?
In the case of sinecures, not one of these spurs to attention had, in his view, any more than they have at present, any existence. Sinecure list, none: no, nor so much as a future possibility of making out any such thing, without a course of intricate inquiry, such as even now in the fourth year of the sitting of a second Finance Committee, has not been completed. A sinecure office falling vacant, the vacancy is in case of this inefficient, as in the case of any efficient sort of office, filled filled up in course; up
under no other impression than the general one, viz. that in the list of offices, as often as one name drops out, another must according to usage be put in the room of it.
In two different situations, he saw the same set of hands, viz. those of the servants of the Crown, habitually employed in disposing of the property of the public, whether to the purpose, real or supposed, of remuneration, or to any other purpose. In two different situations, viz. out of parliament and in parliament; in parliament, since without their concurrence, even in parliament, no such power, can under the established rules be exercised. Of this difference, what is now, what in his view could have been, the consequence? Disposed of in parliament, the money had never been disposed of, but that to the misapplication of it there had been some check, though how far from being so effectual a one as might be wished, is but too notorious. Disposed of, out of parliament, as in the shape of a sinecure emolument, the misapplication of it had never experienced, nor in the nature of the case was capable of experiencing, any check whatever. It is in this shape that we see him defending it.
Of this state of things, the consequence was and is as obvious and natural as the existence of it is incontestable. When, at the expense of the people, on the ground of service rendered to the people, a case can, it is supposed, be made, be it ever so weak a one, recourse is had to parliament, and parliament is the hand by which the favour is bestowed.When no such case can be madewhen the very mention of public service might be regarded as mockery and insult, when the annihilation of the precious matter thus bestowed would be a public blessing, a secret band acting out of parliament, is the hand occupied in such service: windfalls are waited for, Tellerships are bestowed.
Whatever you want in force of reason, make up in force of assertion. Whatever is wanting in merit, make up in eulogy. Maxims these the use and value of which are perfectly understood by sophists of all classes.
Our Rhetorician goes on. "It is indeed" (meaning by it the principle which prescribes the dividing the substance of the people among great families, and families that are to be made great by such means)" it is indeed the only genuine, unadulterated origin of nobility." Peculation the only genuine and unadulterated origin of nobility! What a character of nobility! What a plea for the House of Lords! What a lesson to the people!
"It is" (continues he)" a great principle in Government; a principle at the very foundation of the whole structure." O yes, such a principle exactly as a running stream would be, running under the foundation of a structure erected on a quicksand.
§. 5. Concerning virtuous Ambition, Gratitude, and Piety. Propositions 5, 6, 7, 8.
Proposition 5. When ambition is virtuous, nothing but money is capable of acting with effect as an incitement to it; power in whatever shape-power of management--power of patronage; dignities, konours, reputation-respect, by whatever cause created, are all without effect..
Proof." Indeed no man knows" (continues the Rhetorician) "no man knows when he cuts off the incitements" ("the incitements," i. e. the sole incitements)" to a virtuous ambition, and the just rewards of public service, what infinite mischief he may do his country through all generations. Such saving to the public may be the worst mode of robbing it."
"The incitements;" meaning those alone which are composed of money. For thereupon comes a panegyric on the virtue of money; an eulogium composed of a string of phrases, which in the common place book of a university poem-maker, might, if the subject of the poem were the virtues of money, perform the sort of service performed to genius in the bud in that useful manual called the Gradus ad Parnassum, under the head of synonyms or phrases.
"The means for the repose of public labour "-" The fixed settlement of acknowledged merit "-" A harbour into which the weather-beaten vessels of the state ought to come; a retreat from the malice of rivals, from the perfidy of political friends, and the inconstancy of the people."
How pitiable under this view of it, must be the condition of every man, who without a certainty of raising a family into overgrown opulence at the expense of the people, employs his time, or any part of it, in any branch, at least in any of the higher branches, of the public service!of every member of parliament, at least (for to honorable gentlemen of this description do the regards of the Rhetorician appear on this occasion to have confined themselves) of every member of parliament who ventures his bark in any such stormy latitude, without the certainty of a "harbour" in the shape of an auditorship, or a cut down Tellership at least!
Storms and tempests forsooth! Yes, such as we see on canvas at Covent Garden, and hope to see again at Drury Lane. Labour as severe almost as what is undergone on the Cricket Ground, or at the Card Table, and standing about as much in need of remuneration at the expense of the people: labour such as, without receiving the value of a farthing from any hand that did not itself cheerfully take the money out of its own pocket, Mr. Gule Jones and his company would have undergone, and continued to undergo, if the Honorable House could have prevailed upon itself to suf