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as containing general propositions, to be bound and pledged either to support the bill he intended to bring in, provided the House agreed to his present motion, or to any clauses it might be fraught with, but to be wholly at liberty, and as much unrestrained in that respect as if he had not voted in support of the resolutions. Before he sat down, he again earnestly pressed the House either to adopt his propositions, or to suggest some other plan equally calculated to remedy the grievance.

The House divided on the order of the day, as moved by Mr. Powys

Ayes... 293
Noes......... 149

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Mr. Potr having, on a former night, brought in a bill for abolishing fees, and establishing various regulations in the offices of the Treasury, Admiralty, Ordnance, Excise, and Stamps, and of several other offices therein mentioned, moved the House this day to resolve itself into a committee on the said bill ; which being opposed by Lord John Cavendish, on the ground of the inutility of the measure,

Mr. Pitt expressed a good deal of surprise at what had fallen from the noble lord. He would not refer the regulations to the commissioners of public accounts, and yet he intended to continue them for another year! But above all, he was surprised at hearing the noble lord say, that the heads of the different offices would be the best persons to correct the abuses, and introduce new regulations into their several departments. He said he would state a few facts to the House, which would convince them of two things; that abuses did exist in several public offices, and that the heads of these offices were not the most fit persons to correct them.

If there was any object more worthy the jealousy of parliament than another, it was to take care that the receipt and expenditure of the public money were, in all the great revenue offiées, conducted and managed with the utmost purity and fidelity. The evil consequences of a contrary practice were too obvious to need illustration. He would, therefore, proceed to shew, that abuses in offices of revenue really existed, and that to a very great and alarming amount. And first, he would say something with regard to fees, gratuities, and perquisites. To instance one office only; in the navy-office, when an enquiry was instituted by the late Board of Treasury, with a view to prepare the present bill of reform, the answer given was, that there were no fees received by that office. Upon a closer examination of the matter, how. ever, it afterwards came out, that although there were no fees, received as such, yet that money, to a very considerable amount was received by some of the officers, under the name of gifts : thus, for instance, the chief clerk of the navy-office received a salary of about 240 or 250l. a-year, and it turned out that he received no less than 25001. in gifts. Other clerks with smaller salaries received gifts in proportion. Mr. Pitt dwelt for some time on this fact, and urged, that the public were liable to have great frauds practised upon them, if those, in whose hands the means of check and controul were placed, were in the practice of receiving what certainly might be termed the wages of corruption. In the particular instances of those officers of the public yards, who were entrusted with the delivery of stores, the House must see that the practice was big with the most dangerous mischief. Mr. Pitt further stated, that in various other cases, the practice prevailed to an alarming degree, and mentioned a particular contract that had been deemed a very easy one, insomuch so, that it had been a matter of wonder how it could be fulfilled on terms so extremely reasonable. The solution of the enigma was, however, as easy as any solution could be, since it was only recollecting that the officers, who were to pass the contractor's accounts, to see that his contract was duly and faithfully executed, and to report, if they found the contrary to be the fact, were each of them in the pay of the contractor. In order, therefore, to put a stop to these abuses, and to prevent any more of this infamous traffic between the clerks in office, immediately concerned in checking, passing, and expediting the accounts of persons employed in serving the public with different articles, and those persons themselves, he said, the aim of one clause of the bill was to establish and ascertain the actual amount of all the fees hereafter to be taken, and to appoint an officer in each office to receive the fees thus established.

While he was upon this part of the subject, he took notice of what had fallen from Mr. Burke a few days since, and said, that honourable gentleman had charged the two late Secretaries of State with haviog unprecedentedly and illegally extorted enor. mous' fees for passports. [Mr. Fox and Mr. Burke said across the House, there never was any such charge made.) Mr. Pitt, observing the contradiction, said, he averred it on his recollection, that the charge was as he had declared it to be. He then explained the matter, ' by stating, that when passports had been applied for on the conclusion of the peace, enquiry was made what had been the custom and usage of the office in that particular, when the noble lords, then Secretaries of State, were each informed what the uniform practice had been, and that practice they very naturally followed. Upon the matter being complained of as a grievance, one of the noble lords had declared, he had no objection to abide by the decision of a court of law, and had in the mean time stopped the distribution of the fees so taken. So far, therefore,' had the honourable gentleman, who had moved for the account of passports granted, been from bringing forward any thing adverse to the bill under consideration, that he was free to confess his obligations to the honourable gentleman in that particular, since the honourable gentleman had thereby fortified him with a very strong argument in support of the bill, and in proof of the necessity of such a bill's passing. In order to shew that he felt the matter in that way, he declared, he meant to move for an instruction to the committee, to insert a clause to 'make the bill extend to the fees taken in the Secretaries of State's office, as well as in the others already enumerated in the first clause of the bill.

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