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auditors, Mr. Thomas Gibbes, one
1ike additions fince the 5th of October last. It was not in the power of the auditor to comply with our first requisition, nor were we able by any means, to discover either what the particular asditions were, or at what times any of them were entered upon the account prior to the 5th jo. last ; for the entries upon the account are without date, and no memorandum or minute of the time, or subject matter of the entry is kept in the offices cither of the auditor or of the paymaster-general. It has been usual for the pay-office to leave, in different parts of the body of the account blanks for sums not ascertained when the account is first drawn out, and to fill them up afterwards at such times when they take the book back to the office. It was in the power of the auditor to answer our other requifition ; for all the additions since the 5th of October, were entered together at the end of the charge in the account. He returned to us a state of them ; but the entries of these articles being also without the material circumstance of dates and authorities, we annexed a copy of this return to a precept to the payoffice, requiring an account of the times when, and the warrants and authorities by which, the sums contained in that return were respectively paid into the hands, or placed to the account of the paymastergeneral of the forces, with the dates of such warrants, and by , whom granted. They returned to us this state completed as we desired; it confists of a variety of articles which may be classed under five heads: sums paid to deputies of Lord Holland, amounting to 19,255l. 6s. id—two articles of profit on remittances, 9,518l. 4s.
7d—Stoppages made by deputies. 20,025l. 19s. 5d.—the two articles pointed out by the auditor, 13681. 9s. 3d. — and the three articles added the 12th of February, 7741. 7s. 3d. the total of these additions is 5 o,9421. 7 s. 5d. The dates of all of them, except the two discovered by the auditor, are comprehended between the year 1758 and 1765 inclusive ; several of the sums are direéted to be paid to, and most of the stoppages to be made by the deputies, pursuant to warrants of commanders in chief; for the payment of others of them no authotity appears. All the articles that were charges upon Lord Holland, have been several years ago selected from his lcdger accounts, and at different times all inserted in his book of account : the additions which were entered about Christmas last, and the three entered the 12th of February, complete the charge against him. It rested now with Mr. Powell alone to explain to us the reason why near 90,000l. the diffe
rence between his balance in Sep
tember 1780, and the present balance of the account in the office of the auditor, was not included in his return to our precept upon the 27th of September 1780; and for this purpose we required his attendance. Upon our informing him, at his defire, of the subjećt we intended to examine him upon, he begged the indulgence of a few days for confideration. Upon his next attendance he delivered to us, in writing, a request, that his examination might be deferred ; alledging, that he was informed it was under confideration, whether a criminal prosecution should not be commenced against him, on account of his examination upon
oath, taken by us in February and March 1781, lest questions should be put, the answers to which might tend to accuse himself. Upon producing to us, at his next attendance, a copy of an extract of a minute of the lords commissioners of the treasury, dated the 27th of February, and being informed by William Chamberlayne, esq. the solicitor to the treasury, that a criminal prosecution was in their contemplation, we postponed the examination of Mr. Powell. But we did not desist from pursuing such other means of information upon this subject as were within our reach. We had recourse to the official books of the paymattergeneral of the forces (now declared by the legislature to be the property of the public) in the payoffice of the army. We directed the attendance of Mr. Powell, Mr. Bembridge, and Mr. Colborne, at the pay-office, that they might not be ignorant of our proceedings, and might be ready to give us such information relative to the accounts, as we might think proper to require : in their presence we inspected those books of Lord Holland's accounts, from whence the articles added to the charge in his final account, and included in the return made to us from the payoffice, had been extracted. From this inspection, and from the examination of Mr. John Colborne, we find, that such of those articles as contist of payments made to deputy - paymasters, had long ago been entered in the proper books belonging to each respective deputy, as charges against him. It is usual for the deputies abroad to return to the pay-office in London, as often as they have opportunity, accounts of their receipts and Payments, down as low as to.
the date of their accounts, with the vouchers. The accounts are immediately examined in the office, and entered in the books of each respective deputy ; and when the account of the year to which these receipts and payments belong, is made up for the auditor, these articles are posted to their separate accounts in the ledger. The two articles stated in the return as profit on remittances, were made up, one of them about the year 1764, under the direétion of Mr. Nicholls, the then accountant of the payoffice; the other, about four or five years ago, under the direétion of Mr. Powell. The stoppages are taken from the accounts of the deputies, and entered in their respective books. All the articles composing the sum of 20,025l. 19s. 5 d. the amount of the stoppages, were posted into the ledger, to the accounts of the proper deputies, previous to the year 1772, when the final account was sent to the auditor, and one of these articles in this list is 68; 41.7s.6d. confitting of stoppages by Mr. Powell," as deputy-paymaster at Quebec. All the deputies mentioned in this return are dead; and all their accounts have been long since made up, except that of Mr. Barrow, and that appears now to be finished. We required a state of the balances of the deputies to Lord Holland, as they now stand between such deputies and the acting cxecutor of Lord Holland. By this return, the sum now due from them amounts to 41,626l. 19s. 4d. but for which the atting executor is
answerable to the public. The circumstance in this inquiry that materially concerns the interest of the public, is their claim upon the estate of the late Lord Holland ; this claim is much greater ter than it was conceived to be : according to Mr. Powell's account (whose duty it was, and who, as accountant in the pay-office from June 1765 to March 1776, and cashier ever since, and as the o acting executor of Lord Holland, must be presumed to know with precision) the total debt to the public upon the 27th of September 1780, was 256,456l. 2s. 4d. What the balance of the account in the office of the auditor might be at that time, was totally immaterial; the debt to the public was the same, however incomplete that account was, or whatever entries might be wanting to the charge or the discharge. After the payments into the exchequer in the year 1781, this debt was reduced to 23,940l. 17s. 8d. In February last the account in the auditor's office states an increase, in consequence of an agreed and pencilled balance, and . additions (except in two small articles) voluntarily made to the charge in the pay ğ. to 14,7361. 6s. iod. In March last Mr. Powell paid into the exchequer in part of his balance 20, oocl. which reduced it to 94,736l s. 16d. a sum to which the public has at this time confessedly an undoubted right : but this sum too may be varied by two articles not yet decided, the one in the charge, the other in the discharge. In the charge upon the final account of Lord Holland, there is an article of 29,656.1. 1 s. 6d. profit on exchange made by Peter Taylor, esq. his deputy in Germany. In order to check this article, the auditor has frequently required from the pay-office the materials from whence this sum was computed and made out. He was furnifled about Christmas last with a book dated the 12th of May
1764, under the fignature of Peter Taylor, intituled, “Account of profit and loss to the public on all payments made by Peter Taylor, deputy-paymaster in Germany.” The auditor has examined this book, and discovered in it variety of errors to the amount of 8,5771. 13s. rod. in favour of the public: he sent his observations upon these errors to Mr. Powell the 23d of February; in consequence of which, some of the articles objected to, have been examined on the part of Lord Holland, and found to agree with the computations of the audiditor : the . are as yet un-examined. In the discharge, the article of 2-151. 1 s. tod. is under the consideration of the lords of the treasury : they have not decided, whether they shall admit or reject the claim of Mr. Powell to be a lowed this sum among his payments. Should this article be
that an account so long depending, and of so remote a period, should be brought to a conclusion, we are ef opinion the doubtful articles should forthwith be examined and decided upon, and the balance struck between the public and the accountant, and this account be presented for declaration. In the states of the accounts of the paymasters-general of the forces, in the office of the auditors of the imprest, the accounts standing next after the final account of Lord Holland, are those of the right honourable Richard Rigby. It appears from these states, that two of his accounts, the one for half a year ending the 24th of December 1768, the other for the next year ending the 24th of December 1769, are balanced and attested. An objection made by the auditors, relative to omissions in the civil list dedućtion, retards their declaration. Since the 16th of November 17 So, four more accounts of the four succeeding years have been delivered into the auditors office : they are under examination, and in different stages towards their completion. The auditor does not appear to have received any account from the pay-office of a year o to that of 1773. He proceeds upon the pay-office accounts as soon as they are sent to him. When objećtions arise from mistakes, omisfions, articles that require expla. nation, or want of vouchers, those objections are transnitted to the pay-office to be corrected, explained, or supplied. Answers are returned, sometimes shortly after the observations are sent, sometimes not until long after; and the auditor is retarded in completing the accounts for want of a regular attention to his applications. The first step must certainly be taken by the
pay-office, that is, the delivery of the account to the auditor, with the vouchers. By the dates of the delivery, as they are stated by him, they have not been sent to him until long after the year of the account has been elapsed. The accounts of the years i768 and 1769 were not delivered until ten years after. We do not, therefore, find that the imputation of delay lies in the office of the auditor. The pay-office seems lately to have been more attentive to this duty: we see by their list of accounts delivered into the office of the auditor, that five accounts, down to the year 1769, were delivered in the year 1779; two, for the years 1770 and 1771, in the year 1780; and two, for the years 1772 and 1773, in the year 1782. Considering the account, as drawn up in the pay-office for the purpose of being examined and checked in another office, there seem to be, in the state in which it is transmitted to the auditor, some defects that require correction. The entrics of many of the articles are without dates and authorities : these are the distinguishing marks of fimilar articles, and the omission of them tends to confound the auditor, and may be the means of fraud or concealment. Every article both of
receipt and payment, should be
entered, with its date and the authority which directs it, in the account of the year in which the sum is actually received and paid. It is not the account of the year it purports to be, unless it comprehends all the known receipts and payments of that year. Can any good reason be assigned, why sums, received by the deputies and entered in the books of those deputies in the pay-office, in the year 1758, should be left out of their proper. place,