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corded decision of the House of Commons, that Indian patronage, ļike the collection of the English revenue, is just and lawful prize to members of the House of Commons, and that it is to be used by them for whatever purposes they chuse, whether of private emolument or public corruption, without the slightest attention to the complaints or remonstrances of their constituents. Can any man think of this last mentioned case, and at the same time doubt, that the House of Commons is changed in its nature from what it formerly was; or can he doubt that this enormous Indian patronage, so divided as it now is with the Crown, is one of the many and great causes that has produced this fatal change in the practice of our Constitution?' pp. 7, 8.
We certainly do not mean to diminish the weight of this statement, when we observe, that the existence of the Company, with all the evils and anomalies which it occasions, recommends itself as a benefit in the choice of evils, to every one who regards the freedom and stability of the Constitution. It operates injuriously in a mercantile point of view; and the whole scheme is extremely anomalous in its nature.-- But let us only reflect in whose hands the undivided patronage of India must be, were the Company's government subverted, and the territory vested, like Jamaica or Ceylon, or the Cape, in the Crown. At present, the Directors have a large share of the patronage uncontrouled by Government; and Ministers are obliged to rest satisfied with a comparatively moderate proportion. Were the Company abolished, the whole patronage must of necessity vest in them. The arrangement to which our author refers in the passage last cited, had the effect, probably the purpose, of transferring a part of this patronage from the Directors of the Company to the Ministers of the Crown. In this respect, it exactly resembled all the other reforms introduced into the practice of the Constitution by Mr Pitt, and which we described more at large in a former Number (April 1810). It carried the long arm of the Treasury into the subordinate department, and increased, pro tanto, the Ministerial patronage. Our author has shown how this may be used in swaying the House of Commons.
He next proceeds to the list of places held under the Crown by members of Parliament; and it appears from the Third Report of the Finance Committee, a body selected by the Ministers themselves, though nominally voted by the House of Commons, that seventy-six members hold places, the salaries of which are 156,6061. a year.
• Under these circumstances,' he asks who can wonder at the separation in interest which we so evidently perceive between our representatives and ourselves? Fancy to yourselves the ordinary occupa
pp. 8, 9.
tion of a day in London by most of our representatives. During the morning you may find them at the Treasury in pursuit of appointments in the revenue in favour of their brothers, or cousins, or friends, and parliamentary supporters; or at the Board of Controul, or India House, soliciting writerships and cadetships for their sons and nephews. In times of war, the Admiralty and Horse Guards are equally beset by these parliamentary visitors, for commands and commissions. Follow the same persons in the evening to the House of Commons, and there see them joined by that solid body of reserve, the seventy-six placemen, who have 156,0001. divided amongst them; and now let me ask you, if in a company thus composed, the Minister of the Crown should be pleased to propose a tax upon malt, or any other article in which we (the people) are deeply interested -what chance, I say, do you suppose we have of escaping this burthen, however unanimous our voices may be against it? We know, to our own sorrow, and to the shame of our representatives, that we should have none. Who can wonder that it should be so, after what I have stated to you?
Next follows the great fund, called, in common parlance, the Droits of Admiralty, but made up of various perquisites of the Crown chiefly during war. These perquisites were originally vested in the Sovereign, to enable him to provide for the expense of defending the realm, and clearing the seas of pirates, That this was the original destination of the fund, requires but little proof either from reason or authority. But the former being obvious, as all such revenues must, in the nature of things, have had this condition annexed to their enjoyment, a few examples of the latter may suffice; and we advert to this point the rather, because it did not fall in with our author's plan to dwell at all upon it. Lord Coke says, that wreck (one of the droits of Admiralty) is the Crown's at common law, and that the stat. of West. 1. is only declaratory; but he admits that this reason for it has been given, namely, because the King is • bound to clear the narrow seas of pirates, and that wreck is to
defray the expense thereof.' 2. Instit. 167. Holborne, in his Argument on Shipmoney, lays it down as clear and known law, that the King hath the natural profits of the sca, as royal fish, s and all others if he would take them, for guarding the seas; 6 and so of laters of marque, prizes and impositions.' 3. Howell's St. Tr. 1004. Mr Justice Crawley (in the same great case) holds the customs to be clearly for the expenses of defence; and only gives as a reason why the fish are not, because they are too small an article for such a purpose (ib. 1081), his Lordship not having lived to see the droits swell in one reign to the enormous sum of above nine millions. Further, it may be remark$d, that whatever is laid down respecting Prize, applies equally
to Droits; these being merely incident to right of prize, and prize being, by law, as completely vested in the Crown as droits; in so much, indeed, that before the usual grant and prize acts at the beginning of each war, all prize vests in the Crown exclusively—that, if not voluntarily or parliamentarily granted, it continues in the Crown—and that, even after the grant, the Crown may release any prize property, without the consent of the Captors, even after adjudication in the Courts of Admiralty, and up to the last moment of appeal, before final judgment. For the proof of these positions, we refer to the well known cases of Home v. Camilen, in Dom. Proc. by error from C. P. 2. H. B. 359. and Elselu. Maas. 5. Rob. 182. Now, what do the learned Judges lay down of the right of prize? We cite Sir William Scott, no very strenuous opposer of the Royal prerogative, nor a specimen of what Bacon calls that • odious thing, a popular Judge.' • Prize,' says he, is the
creature of the Crown,-according to all writers, “ Bello parta cedunt reipublicæ.”_" It is given for this purpose, that the power to whom it belongs to decide on peace and war, may
it in the most beneficial manner for the purposes of both.' - It is not held' (he afterwards says) • by the Sovereign him• self as private property.' 5. Rob. 182. Again-Old Stores form another branch of the droits; and were always held as such until the 45 Geo. III. transferred them to the service of the Navy. Yet what says the law on that branch of the fund in question ? A grant of them having been made by James I. to the Earl of Devonshire under the Privy Seal, (the Report says, but it appears to have been the Sign manual), he sold them and died, and his executors were sued in the Exchequer for the value. The matter was referred to the two Chief Justices and the Chief Baron, whose opinion is thus delivered by no less a reporter than Lord Coke. « The King's treasure, -the ligament of
peace, the sinews of war, the preserver of the honour • and safety of the realm, and his other valuable chattels-are • so necessary and incident to the Crown, that they shall go ! with it to the successor of the King, and not to his executor ; " and the only warrant sufficient to issue any treasure, must be • under the Great or Privy Seal.' 11. Rep. 91. 6. Lord Clarendon relates an opinion given by himself to Charles II., when he appointed Lord Ashley, afterwards the famous Shaftesbury, as treasurer or receiver of the proceeds of the Dutch prizes, by warrant under the Sign manual, and made him only accountable to himself. • If,' said the Noble Historian, your Majesty's • treasurer hath the keeping of this fund without the most för• mal account, you may be abominably cozened—nor can it in
any other way be prevented.' And afterwards, to the Lord
Ashley himself he said, that as it was an unusual and unna: • tural privilege, so it never would be allowed in any court of ' justice, which would cxact both account and discharge; and • if he (Lord A.) depended on the exemption in the grant, he would live to repent it.'
In truth, no lawyer could in those days hold otherwise, or form to his mind any idea of a separate and private property in the Crown. The principles of the law, from time immemorial, have been fixed on this cardinal point, that the King of England is altogether a publick person, and has no property but what he holds jure Corona. • All the lands the King • hath' (says the first legal authority), are his, jure Coros
and are called sacra patrimonia and dominica Corona.' Co. Litt. 1. 6. So those he was seised of in his private capacity, before the Crown was demised to him, become his, jure Coronæ, on his accession.—Per Holt. Skin. 603.-Pl.Com. 213. 6. And so of such as he inherits from his mother, and of such as are granted him by a statute not mentioning that they are to be parcel of the Crown.-Ib. 105.-see, too, the venerable authority of Lord Hale.
• The King is a corporation; and purchases made by him vest in him in his poļitick capacity. As to
acquisitions by conquest, as Man, the plantations on these are • annexed to his Crown, as his purchases are.'--Hale, MSS. Ap. Harg. Co. Litt. 15. 6.
So stood our law until Mr Pitt, by his act of 39 Geo. III. for the first time gave the King a several and private estate which he might give and devise and bequeath in all chattels and lands purchased by him with his savings, or with monies coming from any source other than that whence the Crown shall descend, and in all property of whatever sort coming not with the Crown. Contrary to every idea of Eng. lish law, 'he is even enabled to take copyhold tenements, and, by means of trustees, to be tenant to a subject; that is, to have, as far as the equitable estate is concerned, a lord over him, to whom suit and service shall be due. Surely, if any Reformer had propounded such a scheme, the whole law department would have been up in arms; and the least of the charges brought against the daring innovator, would have been, that he showed an utter ignorance of the principles of our jurisprudence, and a contempt of the dignity of the Crown. The last statute which had been passed upon the subject in the better days of the Constitution, was the Civil-List Act of Queen Anne; and it afforded a remarkable contrast to its immediate successor. By that. act, the sovereign was restrained from granting, alienating, or letting any of the crown lands, for a term exceeding three lives; or one-and-thirty years.
It clearly follows from all these things, that the funds in question never were private property of the Crown, but stood on the same footing with all the other branches of the hereditary revenue; that, like them, it was to be taken by the Crown cum onere, and enjoyed by the performance of the condition annexed; that when the other branches were relieved from the burthen of supporting the national government and defence, this was relieved too, and that, when they were, in consequence, transferred to the country, whose funds were thenceforth to bear the whole weight of the publick expenditure, the fund in question ought to have been conveyed over along with the rest. Parliament and the Crown have, however, willed otherwise ; and the Droits remain a separate and peculiar fund in the Sovereign, without any direct controul of the House of Commons, and only liable to be examined from time to time in that place. As no vote of Parliament is required to raise it, so no consent of Parliament is ever asked before applying it. The representatives of the people only know from time to time how much has been raised, and how much has been expended.
In consequence of these occasional examinations, we are enabled particularly to state its amount. From 1760 to the present time, it reached the large sum of 9,562,6141.; and, if we add to this the other sums received by the Crown upon a similar title, and equally independent of Parliamentary controul, namely, the four and a half Leeward-Island Duties, 2,116,4841.-Surplus Gibraltar Revenues, 124,2561.-Surplus Scotch Civil List, 207,7001.-Escheats, 214,6477.— Aliens Property, 108,7771.Sales of Captured Lands in the West Indies, 106,3001.- Revenues of Conquered Colonies, 159,816., and Casualties there, 104,8651., -we shall have a total of 12,705,4591.From this, it is said that there are to be made several deductions to a considerable amount, chiefly for expenses of meritorious captors; but as even these payments are altogether voluntary, much influence is derived from them; and therefore, in the point of view in which we are at present regarding this fund (as a source of influence), no such deduction can be considered. Indeed, the instance of its operation which we are presently to cite from the Tract before us, abundantly shows the accuracy of this remark.
The manner too in which the fund arises, deserves peculiar attention. It comes in large masses, and occasionally. Thus, we should form a most imperfect idea of its nature and operation, were we to average the late reign, and reckon the droits as an income of 170,0001. a year to the Crown. In fact, nearly the whole fund accrued during thirty years of war--and by large sums at a