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a great deal of favouritism, as also in the Sir Charles Monck noticed the sum of large sumis paid to captains of ships carry. I nearly 8,000l. charged for the creation of ing out specie. He wished to ask why cap- the late batch of Peers, comprizing so tains of the navy were paid any thing for the many gallant officers, and anong others freight of specie on government account? / of 1,5001, for the advancement of lord He observed, that captain Farquhar was Wellington to the title of Doke, together paid 2,0001. for conveying specie from with 1401. for the introduction of bis Portsmouth to Passages.

grace to the House of Peers. Upon what Mr. Croker in reply, said that the risk ground such a sum should be charged to was considerable, as the captain was re- the public, or the fees of such creation sponsible for the delivery of the whole of should be excessive, he confessed himself the specie. He recollected the case of quite unable to account. commodore Owen having a freight of Mr. Gordon expressed similar sentispecie, and having had some of it stolen, ments. when he was obliged to make good the Lord Proby said, that the members of loss, which not only swallowed up all he the Commissariat were, he understood, in received for freight, but also a part of his the habit of becoming contractors themproperty. While merchants were glad to selves; and such a practice was obviously pay 24 per cent. for the freight of specie, calculated to give rise to great abuse. government paid only { per cent.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, Mr. W. Smith could not conceive the that if any persons connected with the principle upon which a naval officer should Commissariai were capable of such a be remunerated at the public expense, for practice, they would be obviously guilty doing that which as a servant of the public of a gross breach of duty. he was obliged to do; and as to the idea Mr. Bankes supported the suggestion of suggested by the bon. gentleman, he appointing a committee above stairs to thought it quite a mockery to suppose that examine those accounts, and especially to naval officers could be rendered respon- inquire into the conduct of the Commissible for the enormous sums sometimes sariat, for the commission appointed to committed to their care.

act upon the Continent was not sufficiently Mr. Baring observed, that it was a novel comprehensive in its powers completely practice to allow our naval officers to to answer the end in view. The practice charge such commission as they thought of frauds in this department was matter of proper for the conveyance of the money public notoriety, which the return of alof merchants from foreign ports, no such most all the commissaries with large for* practice having prevailed during the for. Lunes from the Continent seemed to place mer American war. The hon. gentleman beyond dispute. It was obvious that animadverted upon several items in the such men could not accumulate such foraccounts on the table, with regard to our tunes from their mere pay and allowances; colonial expenditure, in which profusion and be trusted that the Chancellor of the appeared to run riot, especially in the Exchequer would see the necessity of Commissariat. This profusion he illus- complying with the public wish by insti. irated by referring to the case of the Cape tuting an inquiry upon this subject. If of Good Hope, in which the allowance to any gentleman should bring forward a Mr. Hill, of the commissariat, for the cur. distinct motion for the instilution of such rent year, was 173,0001., although for the an inquiry, the motion should certainly last

year it was only 69,0001., and for the Have his decided support, and he could preceding year 43,0001.; also to the cases not conceive that ministers had any inof Ceylon, Goree, Sierra Leone, and the terest in resisting it. Leeward Islands. The allowance to Mr. Mr. Newman rose to express his entire Damerum, for Jamaica, for the present approbation of what had fallen from the year, was 426,0001., although for the last hon. gentleman; and being unaccustomed year it was only 160,0001., and for the to trouble the House, he only begged preceding year 58,000l. These cases be leave to add, that he had so frequently thought sufficient to show the necessity of heard of the very profuse expenditure of inquiry by a committee above stairs ; the Commissariat, that he boped a comand concluded by observing, that if our mittee would be appointed for the purcolonial expenses should be thus enor- poses proposed by the hon. gentleman. mous, it would be quite impossible for the He should not have trespassed on the country to support the system.

time of the House, but from a sense of

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duty to his country, in which the interest Earl Stanhope observed, that he did not and character of the Government were intend to offer any opinion upon the sabmaterially concerned.

ject of this Petition. From its nature, The Chancellor of the Exchequer express- however, he thought it due to justice, and ed bis opinion that any committee ap- to the petitioner, to have the documents pointed for the purposes mentioned by to which it referred laid before their lordibe hon. gentleman, would interfere with ships, with a view to have the matter inthe proceedings of those who were ap- vestigated. Were he, indeed, a member poinied to audit the public accounts in of the Court of Session, he should be the Peninsula. With respect to the large anxious' to become acquainted with such fortunes which had been accumulated by an accusation, and to have his conduct individuals, they were the natural conse- explained. It was his intention, therequence of the very large expenditure fore, to move that a copy of the Petition which had taken place; but he did not be transmitted to the Court of Session, acbelieve they had arisen in any degree companied, however, by an order, ihat from official abuses.

the documents connected with the accuMr. Baring contended, that the exa. sazion should be transmitted to their lordmination would not interfere with the au- ships. In thus proceeding he was goditing of the accounts; and intimated verned by the precedent of Judge Fox's his intention of moving for a committee case, in which that judge being accused, on some future day.

and being properly alive to the protection Lord Proby said, that if the Chancellor of his character, petitioned himself for a of the Exchequer would compare the ex- copy of the accusation. He trusted that penses of the French and the English the Scotch judges equally valued their Commissariat, especially in the article of reputation, and would be desirous for an transport for troops, he would see good opportunity of vindicating themselves grounds for a serious inquiry.

against a charge of this nature. If the The Resolution was then agreed to. course of proceeding which he proposed The Chancellor of the Exchequer next were deemed objectionable, and that any moved, that six millions be granted on other noble lord should suggest a better account of Army Extraordinaries for the course, the noble earl expressed his dis

position to accede to it. Mr. Tierney objected to this grant: he The Lord Chancellor thought it imposthought a delay necessary to examine into sible to comply with the noble earl's mo. the accounts, for the purpose of prevent- tion. The petitioner appeared to have ing the confusion of both years.

He been committed for a contempt of court, hoped the right hon. gentleman would and he presumed their lordships would not press this Resolution to its full extent not be disposed to interfere with such a now, after a vote of twenty-one million, committal. Indeed, he should conceive as if he had caught the House in wind, it inconsistent with the dignity of that and presumed that, after such a vote, House, and the respect due to ihe Court 6,000,000l. were nothing.

of Session, to interfere at all upon this The Chancellor of the Exchequer explain. subject. No grounds were stated to jus. ed the nature of those accounts, and their tify such an interference; and he hoped connexion with the vote of credit, also the House would recollect the difficulty the great difficulty of making them com- in which it was involved in Judge Fox's pletely out, parts being still unreturned case, when, after proceeding to a certain from Spain. 'He however had no objec- extent, it was found that it could not go tion to take a vote of three millions at on with effect. The first question in this esent, and to defer the remainder. case was, whether there ought to be any

proceeding at all; and he deprecated an HOUSE OF LORDS.

interposition of this nature wiih the con

duct of judges, not so much for the sake Tuesday, April 11.

of the judges themselves, as for the sake PetitioN OP MR. Jamieson.] The of suitors, whose interest must always be Petition of Mr. W. Jamieson, one of the affected by the entertainment of charges writers to the Signet in Scotland, and now upon light grounds against those who confined in the Cannongate gaol, com- were appointed to administer the justice plaining of the circumstances under which of the country. If a judge really deserved he was imprisoned, having been read, accusation, he ought, in his view, to be

year 1815.

1

proceeded against in a much more formal known to many members of that House, and grave manner than the noble earl that at this moment there were numerous proposed.

persons in prison for debt in various parts The Earl of Lauderdale thought the bet- of this kingdom, who were spending their ter mode would be to move for all the substance in the most luxurious extravaacts of sederunt with regard to the peti- gance, and who bid defiance to those cre. tioner, because it appeared that the peti- ditors whose ruin they had promoted, by tioner was committed by an order of the becoming largely in their debt. To give Court of Session, and not by that branch creditors the power of forcing those

per of the court 10 which he bad appealed, sons to deliver up their property was, and which was competent by the late sta- | therefore, the first object he had in view; tute to commit him, bad he been guilty and all the deviation he should make from of contempt. The petitioner's committal, the Act of George the 2d, was, to extend therefore, did not afford evidence of con- its operations in an unlimited manner. tempt. But he was anxious for some in- The other part of his Bill, which was to quiry respecting those acts of sederunt ge. increase the punishment of persons who nerally, because he understood that great from their own acts of folly and impru. abuses of power were connected with dence had become insolvent, he was apthem.

prehensive would not meet with so general After a few further observations from an assent as that which he had just stated; the Lord Chancellor, who urged the pro- yet he trusted the explanation which he priety, rather of a distinct motion to settle should give would tend to remove any the law respecting the acts of sederunt difficulties that might arise. His principal without any connexion with this case, and and most anxious wish was to distinguish of lord Melville also against the motion, between the unfortunate and the fraudulent with a remark from lord Lauderdale that debtor; because he was aware that there the petitioner did not make out a case to was a species of credit that was absolutely warrant the interference of the House, the necessary; and was far from thinking, motion was negatived, as was a motion that those whose only crime was poverty also of earl Stanhope for copies of the acts should be punished. In certain cases, of sederunt with respect to Mr. Jamieson. punishment ought rather to fall on those

who think proper to trust, than on those HOUSE OF COMMONS.

who apply for credit. Yet an excess of

credit was a public injury; aod the effect Tuesday, April 11.

of the last Bill went to destroy that credit INSOLVent Debtors Bill.] Mr. Ser which was highly necessary to the public jeant Best rose, in pursuance of his notice, welfare. Amongst the middle classes, for to move for leave to bring in a Bill to example, there were persons who could amend the laws respecting Insolvent not exist without it. Men in public offices, Debtors. His intention, in bringing in officers on half-pay, and others similarly this Bill, was first, to force persons who situated, whose salaries were received only were possessed of property to give it up by the quarter, and then not precisely to to their creditors, and next, to punish a day, would be in the utmost distress but those persons who had become insolvent for this accommodation ; but the present through their own profligacy or vice. The Bill had tended to withdraw this necessary first object which he had stated he had no credit. The reason was, that no tradesman doubt would meet with the general con

could know whom it was safe to trust, currence of the House. The proposition when any man, after getting in his debt, which he should submit was founded upon and being pressed for payment, had only an Act passed so early as the reign of to warn him not to proceed against him, George the 2d, by which it was enacted, as he should in that case, give bim a bill that persons imprisoned for debt should upon lord Redesdale at three months. be obliged to deliver up their property for This state of things went to destroy the the benefit of their creditors, under the credit that was necessary, as well as that penalty of transportation. The provisions which was improper. A tradesman might of this Act, however, only extended to find himself utterly unable to carry on his persons having incurred debts under the business, if he was expected to examine sum of 1001., and his desire was, to extend most minutely into the circumstances of its operations to debts whatever might be every body to whom he gave credit. It the Bill which was called “ lord Redes: | the expense and trouble of opposing their dale's Bill” had given rise to many serious discharge, and under this impression, objections. It in fact gave the same faci- many persons got themselves removed by lity to the dishonest as the honest debtor, Habeas Corpus, from Northamptonshire, to obtain his liberty at the expiration of and other distant counties, to the prisons three months imprisonment. He was will of the metropolis, by which means they ing 10 admit that the judge who should escaped all scrutiny whatever. To obviate have to discriminate between these cases this practice, he should insert a clause, by would be placed in a very trying situation. whicb, at the desire of a majority of the In fact, the only way of separating the creditors, such persons might be removed honest from the disbonest debtor, would down to the place where their debts were be to introduce some sort of scale by which contracted, so that they might be opposed the claim to the advantages of the Act with effect, and without those enormous might be regulated. Such a scale he had expenses which, by the present system, prepared for the consideration of the must be incurred, if opposition was to be House. He had to propose, that if the made. The policy of these amendments debior was found in a condition to pay 15s. to the Bill now in force, he was convinced, in the pound, he should be entitled to his would strike every member in the House ; discharge at the expiration of three and be trusted, if he was allowed leave to months. If he should from the improvie bring in the Bill, that he should be able dent management of his affairs, be only in more clearly to establish their necessity. a condition to pay 10s. in the pound, then The learned Serjeant concluded by moving, he thought bis imprisonment should ex. “ That leave be given to bring in a Bill tend to a longer period, namely, to twelve for the amendment of the laws relating to months. Again, if the deblor, by expend. Insolvent Debtors.” ing that which he must know belonged to

It was, no doubt, well was no doubt familiar to the House that

their amount.

Mr. W. Bathurst said, it was impossible others, was unable to pay 10s. in the for those who had fully investigated the pound, such a man, he thought, ought to effect of the Bill known by the name of be imprisoned two years, twelvemonths of " lord Redesdale's Bill,” 'not to observe which, should be passed within the walls ibat it was injurious as well to public of a prison, and not as at present, in what credit as to public morals; by exciting on were called the rules. And lastly, if a the one hand a lawless extravagance, and man was entirely insolvent, and without on the other by creating distrust, and dethe hope of paying any portion of his stroying that useful credit which was debts, he considered it was but proper that essential to the existence of the country he should be kept within the walls of a as a commercial nation. He did not wish prison for two years. It would naturally 10 advert to the law as it existed before the occur, that there were many cases in passing of this Bill, yet he most fully subwhich a prisoner might be in no condition, scribed to the necessity of bringing forfrom misfortunes not originating in his ward some measure by which a distinction own vices, lo pay any thing in liquidation might be made between the unfortunate of his debts. To such an individual he by and the fraudulent deblor ; and with this no means wished the scale which he had feeling he cordially seconded the motion stated to apply; it should, therefore, be of the hon. and learned Serjeant on the open in all cases for the deblor to prove by floor, than whom he thought no man more his own oath, supported by other satisface competent to the performance of the task tory evidence, whether bis distresses were he had undertaken. attributable to imprudence or misfortune, Mr. Horner said, that from the reading and if he was able to establish the latter, of the motion which he had just heard, he then he should extremely lament his de had been released from the uncertainty tention in custody beyond the time that in which he was placed from the form of was necessary to prove the fact. It was the notice of the learned serjeant, as it likewise bis intention to provide, that the stood on the order-book, as it was there Judge of the Court should first decide stated that his intention was to move for whether a debtor was a fit person to be dis. the repeal of the Insolvent Act altogether. charged, and that then a majority of his cre- He was glad to find that he was mistaken, ditors should sanction that discharge be- and that the object of the learned serjeant fore it took place. It had been remarked, was only to amend the Bill in question. that creditors often, from being at a dis. It was not his intention to follow the hon. tance from their debtors, would not be at gentleman who had spoken last, in his

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disquisition upon public credit, as all must, frauds which were committed by persons agree that it was of the last importance assuming false appearances of respectabinot to check the credit of this country by lity, and inducing tradesmen to give credit, any enactment of law. If he understood which, under other circumstances, they the learned serjeant right, he had divided would noi bave given. It was the prevenhis Bill into two branches--the one for tion of these practices his bon. and learned enforcing the delivery of the property of friend had in view, and therefore it was the debtor to the creditor, and the other that he was anxious to fix such scales as for the punishment of the insolvent debtor. would enable a due discrimination to be With reference to the first proposition, as made be!ween the fraudulent and the far as it could be accomplished, he had honest debtor. But the Act as it now not the slightest objection, as nothing was stood was only for debauching the more just than that the creditor should principles of a debtor for two or three have the benefit of any property of which months, and then setting him at lihis debtor might be possessed. This berty, to the injury of his creditors. object, however, he apprehended, could Another defect of the Aet was, that it be obtained, as far as it was practicable, made no distinction between the debtor under the present Act. The other pro- who put his creditor to all manner of position, for the punishment of the insol. vexatious law expenses, and bim who at vent debtor, was one, however, at which once suffered judgment to go by default. he could not help expressing bis surprise, He thought, too, it was a source of great as well from the nature of the proposition regret, that there was not some mode of itself, as that it should have come from recovering small debts, of ten or twenty one so. intimately acquainted with the pounds, less expensive than the present Jaws of the country as the learned serjeant. means, by which an expense of 101. or If a fraud was committed, he would ask, 501. was often incurred. It was a fact, were there not penal statutes by which it that from every cause which was carried was punishable? Could any thing be so into a court of law, not less than thirty incongruous as the principle of ascertain persons received fees. This circumstance ing the degree of a man's guilt by the reminded him of a caricature of the inimitanumber of shillings which he was able to ble Hogarth, in which all the powers of the pay his creditors in the pound? The engineer were represented as being applied House he was sure would never accede to to draw a cork from a bottle. The hon. this principle. What was the learned gentleman said, it was strange, that in serjeant's remedy for the unfortunate preparing Insclvent Acts, nobody had said debtor? Why, to throw the burthen of a word about those debts which arose from reproof upon the debtor. This, however, some species of wrongs, called malicious was done by the present act, one half of injuries, which a man may commit against which was occupied with clauses to prevent another almost with impunity. Such were frauds. He decidedly condemned the those of atrocious battery, or breach of notion of punishing a man for insolvency, promise of marriage, for which a man, except where the fraudulent or dishonest after being convicted in large damages motives were most explicitly ascertained. and imprisoned, got free at the end of He should not oppose the introduction of three months, the same as if he owed only the Bill, because he was really anxious to a simple debt. But the greatest injury see how the learned serjeant had defined the act did to trade was, ihe putting an the cases of fraudulent and dishonest in- end to all final actions; for nobody would solvency.

think of prosecuting a man to recover a Mr. Lockhart said, that the description small debt, when he knew that the deof persons whom his hon. and learned fendant could run him to great expense, friend was desirous of punishing, were and then throw himself in prison. After not those who committed what were termed several other observations in favour of the legal frauds, and who would, of course, be proposed amendments, the hon. gentleman subject to the laws already in force for concluded, by expressing his confidencepreventing such crimes; but it should be that they would have the effect of stemming recollected that there were many frauds the tide of dishonesty amongst the mid. which did not come under the head of dling classes of society, and restore prinlegal frauds, and which it was extremely ciples of equity and justice between man desirable should not pass off with impunity. and man. of this description were those sorts of Mr. Abercrombie thought that the learned (VOL. XXX.)

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