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Anno 9. Geo. 11. to a felect Committee ; and yet it cannot be alledged, that 1735 36
the smallest part of this Debt was unnecessarily contracted, or that the Publick was in the least defrauded by any of thofe Estimates. I fall likewise grant that we ought to look narrowly into all Eftimates laid before us, but when those Estimates are plain, this may be done without sending them to a select Committee ; and let a private Gentleman's Eftate be never so much mortgaged, I shall have no Opinion of his Prudence, if he fate half a Year poring over an Account, which a School-boy might fully examine in half an Hour.
• As for new Offices, Officers, or Salaries, I have not heard of any lately erected, and if any of them should ever appear in the Eftimates delivered into this House, it will then be Time enough to inquire particularly into them. As for the late Promotion of General Officers, I hope no Gentleman will find Fault with it ; both because there was no additional Expence thereby brought upon the Nation, and because it was absolutely neceffary to give our Officers that Rank, which their Services have intitled them to, in order that they may be upon an equal Footing with their Cotemporaries in the Service of those Foreign Powers with whom we are in Alliance ; otherwise, in cafe we should find it neceffary to join our Forces with any foreign Power, an Officer in the British Service, by not being promoted foon enough to the Rank he deserved, might find himself under a Neceffity of submitting to be commanded by a foreign Officer of not neas so long standing in the Army ; for every one knows, that in Detachments from confederate Armies, the Officers generally roll, first according to their Ranks in the Army, and nexe according to the Dates of their Commiffions.
• To conclude, Sir, if there were any very new and extraordinary Articles in the Estimate of the Navy now under Consideration, if Gentlemen could fhew any doubtful Articles in it, which could not be immediately set in a clear Light, there might be some reason for agreeing to che Motion now made to us ; but as there is no Charge in it but what is usual, I therefore cannot think there is any Occafion for our referring it to a fele&t Committee.' .To this it was replied by the fame Members who were for the Motion as follows :
The honourable Gentlemen are much in the Right not to Walter Piumer. difpute wliether there was ever such a Custom, as that men.
tioned by the honourable Gentleman who made you the Motion, because it would be immediately determined by referring to the Journals of the House ; it muft therefore
nd admitted, that there was once such a Method of Pro- Anno 9. Geo. 11. ding, but how it came to be laid afide is a Question of a
1735-36. y different Nature. I shall agree, that a Custom once blished is never laid aside without some Reason ; but that ason is often very far from being a good one : In the present e, it is to be presumed, that this Custom of referring pub
Accounts and Estimates to select Committees, was found e very troublesome to Ministers; and this was the true son for its being laid afide ; but this was fo far from bea good Reason for laying it afidé, that it will always be fong Reason for re-affuming that laudable Cuftom.
We are told, Sir, that the reviving of this Custom will e People fuspect, that some very great Frauds have been y committed in the Management of the publick Treasure: I am of Opinion, that the Nation will be much more ned, at least I am sure they'll have much greater Reato be alarmed, if they see their Representatives in Parliat every Year receiving Estimates for most prodigious Sums loney, and granting all the Sums desired by such Etis, without ever making the least Inquiry into any one em ; for in private Life it is most natural to suppose a Man will be cheated by his Servants, if he should al
pass fuch Accounts as they are pleased to bring in, withver examining into any one ; and it is not to be fuppohat the Servants of the Publick are honester, or lets ini to pilfer, than the Servants of private Men. The Duty we owe to his Majesty, ought never, Sir, to ought into any Debate in this House ; but it was never improperly brought in, than it is now by the Gentleon the other side of the Question ; for as this House is grand Inquest of the Nation, we ought to inquire for Cing as well as for the People: We are in some Manner lajesty's Trustees, and ought to take Care, that neither I his people be cheated by the Servants or Officers ploys ; and therefore it is inconsistent with that Duty we to his Majesty, to pass any Accounts, or agree to Cftimates presented to us by his Officers or Servants, till ve strictly examined the Truth of every Article. "he new Articles lately introduced into our Estimates, hot perhaps be very considerable, but the Charge upon
and the additional Charge upon all the old Articles, nt yearly to a very considerable Sum ; and I confess I was so clear-fighted as to see at first View, that all additional Charges were absolutely necessary for the -k Service. The Gentlemen fay, that the several As
in our Estimates are all well known, and that the je upon each is likewise known, because it never exwhat it was in the present Year, without some manifest
Anno 9. Geo. 11. Reason : This, Sir, might be some Satisfaction, if any 1735-36.
strict Inquiry had lately been made into any of our Eti. mates; but as no Inquiry has been made for many Years, we do not know but Frauds may have been introduced several Years since, and continued to this very Day ; therefore, it can be no Satisfaction to any Man, who has never examined any of those Articles, to find that they do not exceed the Charge upon the fame Articles for several Years past. But, Sir, I will take upon me to affirm, that most of the Articles in all our Estimates ; especially that of the Navy, are of such a Nature, that it is impossible to say whether they are overcharged or not, without examining into them every Year: This every Man must be convinced of, who will but look into the several Articles of the Estimate of the Navy now upon our Table. Can any Gentleman determine how much will be necessary for maintaining fuperannuated Sea Officers, or for paying Pensions, without inquiring yearly into the Number and Quality of such Officers or Pensions ? Can any Gentleman determine how much will be necessary for Half-Pay to Sea-Officers, without inquiring every Year into the Number and Rank of such Officers It is impossible ; because by the very Nature of the Service, it muft vary every Year; and most of the other Articles of the ordinary Eximate of the Navy will be found to be of the fame Nature ; therefore, I am surprized to hear it said, that the Charge upon any of these Articles can be well known to any Member of this House, or that its not exceeding the Charge upon the same Article in former Years, can be an Argument for the Juftness of the Charge in any Time to come.
I have, Sir, many Questions to ask, which I think neceffa. ry for my Information, in relation to every Article of this Éximate ; but it would be ridiculous to expect the proper Information from any Gentlemen in this House, were he never so well acquainted with the Affairs of the Navy, because every Article of the Estimate refers to a long particular Account, which ought to be examined, before any other Gentleman can have that Satisfaction, which we ought to have as Trustees both for the King and the People. It is impossible for Gentlemen to discover the Fraud of any Article in an Eftimate, or to state their Objections in any regular Method, without examining Persons, Papers, and Records, which cannot be done but by referring the Estimate to a Select Committee, with proper Powers for that Purpose. If this be done, I shall think it worth while to ask such Questions as are necessary for my Information ; and I fall be glad to find the Suspicions I at present entertain, are without any Foundation.
: What • What was contained in the Eftimates of late, yearly laid Anno 9. Geo. II. before us, or whether they contained an Account of all
1735-36. the annual Charge that could be foreseen, I cannot deter: mine ; for there is so little Satisfaction to be
perufing Accounts at our Table, that I never gave myself the Trouble ; but this I can say, that if they contained an Account of all the Charge then necessary, it is very extraordinary, that our Foresight should run above 100,000 1. in Debt yearly upon the Article of the Navy only. This I cannot believe, and therefore I am afraid that these Estimates were made deficient on purpose to conceal, for some Time, from the Nation the Expence our Measures had made necessary ; because, as our Navy is a favourable Article, it was expected that the Parliament would readily agree, without any Inquiry, to make that Deficiency good, whenever it should be thought neceffary to make Application for that Purpose. I am likewise at a Loss to determine whether there was, every Year; laid before Parliament an Account of the Deficiency of the Grants for the former Year with respect to our Navy: But if fuch an Account was regularly laid every Year before Parliament, it is with me a very strong Argument for referring every Account and every Estimate to Select Committees; for the Disadvantages attending our running into a long Arrear are so evident, that I am sure this Houfe would not have allowed that Arrear to remain so long unsatisfied, if proper Notice had been taken of the Account of those Arreass, which, 'tis faid, were yearly laid upon our Table. This shews that moft of the Gentlemen of this House expect no Satisfaction from a Perusal of any Account at our Table, and therefore never give themselves the Trouble to look over them, which proves the Necessity of referring all fach Accounts to be examined by Select Committees.
· I am convinced, that if the ancient Method of inquiring into all Accounts and Estimates, by Select Committees, had been constantly observed, the Debt the Nation now labours under, would never have risen to fo large a Sum, Dor would fo small a Part of it been paid off in above twenty Years profound Peace. The great Hafte made in contracting it, and the flow Steps in paying it off, is another Argument for our beginning to look a little more narrowly into our Affairs, which can be done only by reviving that ancient Method of Proceeding, which the honourable Gentleman has NON moved for, with respect to the Efimates of the Navy for this Year.
• What the honourable Gentlemen may mean by Myfteries in Accounts, I do not know ; but to me every Article in the Eftimate now before us seems a Mystery, and must continue a Mystery to every Gentleman, who has never seen VOL. IV. R
Amo 9 Geo. 11. the particular Account to which each Article refers. Can 1735 36.
any Gentleman understand the very first Article, which is
• I hope, Sir, a Negative will not be put upon this Question ; for it will certainly give too just an Alarm to the People of this Nation ; they will imagine, that there must bę Errors, and even Frauds, in the Estimates and Accounts delivered into Parliament, when the very Gentlemen who deliver them, or at least those who are principally concerned in the making them up, prevent any Inquiry into the Juftice of them : Therefore, if Gentlemen are resolved to disagree with the Motion, I hope for their own Sakes, and for the Honour of Parliament, they will put the previous Question, instead of putting a Negative upon the Question now before us.'
The Question being then put upon the Motion, it was
carried in the Negative by 256 to 155. Debate on a Mo. tion, to address the
Jan. 29. A Motion was made, That an humble Address King for a farther be presented to his Majesty, to acquaint him with the Rea
of the Forcas, diness
, wherewith his faithful Commons had agreed to the Continuance of the extraordinary Expence, which he had thought necessary in the present Juncture ; in which Refolution they had concurred with the greater Chearfulness, as a grateful Return to his Royal Goodness, in ordering fo confiderable a Reduction of his Forces both by Sea and Land, as soon as the present Posture of Affairs would permit; and in full Confidence, that it was his Royal Intention, as foon as there should be a more perfect Reconciliation among the
several • In the ordinary Estimate of the Naty, for the Year 1736, 28,06: L 14 s. 1d. is charged for Commisoners of the Navy, with the Secretaries, Officers, Clerks, Inftruments, and contingencies relating tbereto.