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whole subject of army and navy appointments, and have adopted the conclusions of this committee, whereby the principle of abolition of all sinecures is announced ; and they propose to abolish prospectively all sinecure garrison appointments, and to substitute a scale of rewards for distinguished services, the amount of which is fixed at 8,0001. a-year. To ensure as far as possible the best distribution of this fund, to prevent its misapplication by being lavished on favourites, instead of being the reward of veterans, the names of those on whom it is to be conferred, are to be laid annually before Parliament, so that the responsibility for the due distribution rests with the Minister, and will be open to public animadversion. All Civilians are immediately to vacate garrison appointments, except where special grounds for their not doing so can be shewn. The large income derived by the Governor of Gibraltar from local revenues, and Lord Roslyn's sinecure, are prospectively abolished. Some savings are also proposed to arise from the mode of paying for the clothing, and in the pay of colonels of regiments. The cases of many general officers, who attained in 1814 the unattached pay, without having performed services which entitled them to it, are to be reconsidered, and the staff at head-quarters is recommended to be reduced. Of the sinecures in the navy, only that of the vice and rear-admiral of England are to be retained. The lieutenant and major-general, and colonels of marines, are to be abolished, and an annual sum equal to their pay is proposed, (as in the case of the army), to be substituted as a reward for distinguished services: a strong opinion is expressed against brevets, or
the creation of flag officers, unless urgently called for by public necessity. The total amount of present saving will be about 16,8001., and the prospective saving about 47,8001.; to this may be added the saving to be deduced from the appropriation of the revenues of the Crown in Guernsey and Jersey, and that arising from a reduction of the staff at head-quarters. The amount of either the present or future savings is small, but the principle thus established by the committee is most important, and will go far towards reconciling the country to expenses which henceforward cannot be misapplied.
Even the Excise, the abuses of which seemed up to a late period to be sacred from all inquiry, were made the subject of a strict examination by the command of Ministers, who proved beyond all question that they had the determination of the downright truth alone at heart, when they appointed such a man as Sir Henry Parnell as the head of their commission for this necessary investigation. It is well known that they had already quarrelled with that honourable baronet for the austerity with which he had adhered to the dictates of his conscience.
The renewal of the Bank Charter, expressly by the interference of the government, is admitted on all hands to have been a wise measure, seeing the nature of the principles which they adopted in legislating on this intricate point. These principles were : 1st. The obliga
tion on the part of the Bank to publish their accounts monthly. 2nd. The repayment of a part of the capital. 3rd. The partial repeal of the Usury Laws, which now impede the action of the Bank, and of all other similar establishments. 4th. The annual payment by the Bank of 120,0001. in return for the privileges continued to it. 5th. Rendering the Bank of England Notes a legal tender, except at the Bank itself or its branches. 6th. The quarterly return of the amount of circulation of all other Banks;—and 7th. Certain provisions for the improvement of Joint Stock Banks.
The present bill again proved not only their ingenuity, but their extraordinary zeal for the prosperity of the country in taking the opportunity, furnished by the renewal of the Bank Charter, to establish regulations for the improvement of Joint Stock Banks. As this is a subject which deeply interests the community at large, we shall lay before the reader a short popular explanation of its bearings, from the able and thoroughly informed author before us.
• Established after the panic of 1825, at a time when all the evils of banking were attributed to one single cause, the limitation of the number of partners, the sole remedy was sought for in withdrawing that restriction. The formation of large companies was encouraged, on whom, as on private bankers, the privilege of issuing bank notes was conferred, without any other security to the public than that which was derived from the increased number of partners. Many highly respectable establishments were formed, others of an equivocal nature sprang up. To secure to the country the advantages which joint stock banking companies are capable of conferring, and to give them higher claims to public confidence, was the object of the government.
• It was proposed by Lord Althorp to relieve them from certain restrictions to which they are at present subject, and to empower the crown to grant them charters on complying with certain conditions, of which the most important was to pay up their capitals, and lodge a portion, as security, in the public funds. These were conditions which it was conceived no respectable establishment could have any difficulty in acceding to; which several had applied for as a protection, and which were calculated to restrain the proceedings of those whose hopes of profit are derived from encouraging a spirit of reckless speculation, and who impose on the public by appealing to the magnitude of a capital which exists only on paper.
'Such were the measures proposed by the government-such the objects which they had in view; and it is not saying too much to assert that the plan, when announced, received, as to its essential provisions, very general approbation. To that part of the measure affecting the joint stock banks, opposition, however, began to manifest itself. The country bankers took the alarm. The immediate substitution of Bank of England paper was declared to be the necessary consequence of limited liability, and the extinction of the country banker the inevitable result. The government, desirous that no unnecessary alarm should be excited, and that a complete conviction of the utility and necessity of these provisions should be felt, consented to postpone them till another session, leaving the subject before the public, that a more decided opinion might be pronounced on its merits. In the mean time an act has been passed, by which joint stock banks are permitted to render their notes payable in London, and to draw bills on London under 501.'-pp. 40, 41.
Although this portion of the Act was delayed, that part of it which related to the Bank was carried into a law, and we may now reckon upon the happy circumstance that the principles of a sound system of paper currency have been laid down for the observance of the Bank, and from the triumphant manner in which any attempt to depreciate the currency was discountenanced by a resolution of the House of Commons, in the last session, we are satisfied that the hopes of some narrowminded (to speak of them with charity) political economists will be completely disappointed.
The results of the ministerial arrangements respecting our East India possessions are most gratifying in every point of view, and in no respect are they more worthy of admiration than in their effect of destroying the anomalous and pernicious union in one body of functions so truly inconsistent as those of imperial authority and economical superintendance. So effectually has the ministry reformed the system of the East India Company, that India is now thrown open to European enterprize, and European capital. The legislative power of the Supreme Government has been strengthened. A commission has been established for the purpose of ascertaining, digesting, and as far as may be, assimilating those conflicting and undefined laws; the diversity and vagueness of which are among the heaviest grievances of India. The patronage, which has been bestowed by favour, is henceforward to be placed under restrictions which will ensure to India a constant supply of the most intelligent servants. In the constitution of the Board of Control changes hare been made which, whilst they increase the efficiency of that department, diminish the parliamentary influence of the ministers; and finally, every office under the Company has been thrown open to every British subject, without distinction of colour, descent, caste, or religion. We may add further, as connected with the great inroad made on the East India monopoly, that another Bill has been carried in the late parliament, whereby facilities have been given for opening to all persons the trade with China, and which also has reduced the tax on tea. Up to the period of their enactment the sale of tea has been confined to one place, the port of London. Under this Bill, the importation will be permitted at every port of any importance throughout the United Kingdom. The merchant of Liverpool, of Hull, of Glasgow, or of Cork, will, in future, import his cargo, or his parcel of tea, at his own wharf, and lodge it in his own warehouse. The dealers in Manchester, and Leeds, and Paisley, may supply themselves at the nearest port, and have no longer occasion to resort to London, to await the periodical sales of the Leadenhall Street Company. On the other hand, tlie duties, from ad valorem sums of 1001. per cent. have been changed to moderated duties according to the quality of the tea, which is divided into three classes, laying, respectively, Is. 6d., 2s. 2d., 3s., affording, according to the sale of prices of the last year, a reduction in duty, upon this important article, of from fifteen to twenty-five per cent.
The duties on soap, raw cotton, marine insurances, and advertisements, have been reduced, whilst the customs on more than one hundred and fifty small articles of importation have been con, siderably diminished, the duties on upwards of three hundred such articles having been lessened by the same ministry in the former session. The result has proved most successful in increasing the consumption of these materials which have now been applied to various new purposes.
The principle of Reform was carried by ministers with especial advantage into the laws which relate to commerce, so far as their simplification at least is considered, so that the whole commercial laws of the empire, its navigation laws, its warehousing system, the laws relating to its colonial possessions, the registry of shipping, the regulation of the customs, and the duties spread over one hundred acts of parliament, have been consolidated and brought into one volume, to the great convenience both of the merchant and the revenue officer.
Another law passed this year is that which allows sugar, from any country, to be imported into this to be bonded for refining; thus the skil land capital of our manufacturers in the refinement of sugar will not any longer be confined to the produce of our colonies for the European markets, at the same that the monopoly of the West Indian colonists remains as it was,
Whilst these decisive steps have been taken, the government was sufficiently alive to the duty enjoined upon it of preparing the way for further improvements. With the view of influencing France to join with us in adopting the principles of the liberal policy upon which we have been long acting, the government, directed by the new ministry, has sent a commercial mission to France which has been attended by the most prosperous results. The removal of the prohibition on the export of raw silk from that country, an object declared last year, before a committee of the House of Commons, to be of vital importance to our silk manufactories, has been already carried into effect; but what is of far greater consequence, a change of public opinion, throughout the whole of the French empire, upon this great subject has arisen, which promises the most beneficial results to both countries.
The wisdom of the late Factory Bill, and the proceedings of the government upon the whole of this subject, are by far the most equivocal of the transactions of last session. They were induced to refuse the lopping off of two hours a day, as proposed by Lord Ashley, from the period of labour in the factories for no other reason apparently, than because they thought that it would affect the productive powers of the country; they therefore inquired, by a commission, and substituted a bill of their own which
certainly reduces the daily labour of children; and what is of equal importance, provision is made in it for the education of the children of the manufacturing classes, and this too in a form which invites and admits of the co-operation of benevolent persons of all religious sects. Inspectors will be appointed to give effect to the measure, and their exertions, if successful, will procure for the next generation the advantage of a manufacturing community of increased intelligence and morality.
Amongst the Reforms effected by the Grey ministry for which the country has to be grateful to the government, none can be deemed of more importance than these in the law.
We shall specify some of the amendments. Judges authorized to make regulations as to pleadings, so that the parties may know the exact question at issue, instead of being left to search for it in the maze of the record, and then obliged to bring up witnesses at a vast expense, to prove facts which are not intended to be disputed; security given against unjust demands, by reducing from twenty years to ten the period in which an action might be brought upon a bond, except the creditor be under a legal disability, or there should have been a written acknowledgment, or part payment of the debt during the interval-many legal fictions and scholastic sophisms are destroyed. Pleas in abatement limited and regulated; executors and administrators of a deceased person no longer protected from actions by those whose real or personal property he may have injured-juries allowed to give interest in actions for goods or money: variances in pleadings are to be judged by their real importance, and not by condemning the unfortunate suitor to pay the penalty of an error which is wholly immaterial, by the loss of his action. The arbitration of suits facilitated, by making the submission of the parties to the arbitrator final, whatever may be their disposition to revoke it, and the attendance of witnesses before the arbitrator is enforced,--SO that proceedings in arbitration are relieved from the objections which have been held to counterbalance their cheapness and convenience.
These acts relate merely to the common law courts, from which the spirit of reform had the audacity to carry itself in the precincts of the Chancery Court, and there commit such ravages
as would have made the Thurlows and Eldons sink with grief. The regis-, trars and the masters were the first to give way before the advance of the champion of reform. The offices of these two have suffered terribly from the intrusion, for it seems that the registrars derived their emolument from the drawing up the decrees of the court, and were paid according to the length of the decree. No one doubted that five-sixths of the decree, in the form in which it was drawn, was superfluous; but the suitor was obliged to take it, at the call of the registrar, who derived from it the remuneration for his labour. The time of the registrar and the money