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and of the sum too be claimed for the loan of the present year; which, at the same rate, upon 15,000,ooo perpetual annuities, and 8o,oool. a year long annuities, is 95621. 1 os. the addition of these two sums makes the total of this charge for the present year 134,2911. 13s. 1d. As the public debt has increased, this expence has increased with it; and as by far the greatest part of the annuities have been transacted at the bank, their share in this allowance is great in proportion; it will amount this year to-1 i 2,2521. 4s. 4d. exclusive of the 4oool. part of the roo,oool. originally granted to them; which, being allotted by the proprietors as a compensation to their governor, deputy, and directors, is not confidered as an allowance for management : it is therefore included in the column of annual interest in the slate of the public debt. This allowance is intended as a recompence to the public companies for their trouble, and the expences they incur for buildings, clerks, stationary, and various other contingencies, and as a compensation for the losses they are liable to sustain. It is a bargain between them and that branch of the administration to whom the conduct of the finances is intrusted ; and the rate at which the bank are paid has not varied fince the year 1742. Whether this is an equal bargain between the public and the com. panies, depends upon a variety of circumstances, the discussion of which would employ much time, and probably to no effectual purpose. The sum allowed is of magnitude, and so is the undertaking, 181,000,oco of redeemable annuties, and 1,098, oool. of annuities for years, are transferrable at the bank of England. The board in
exchequer, and William Lowndes, esq. secretary to the treasury, concerning allowances to be made to the auditors of the imprest on passing accounts ; in which report there is this article – “ Lottery pensions. For every year's account of the payment of the lottery penfions, commonly called the Million Lottery, hereafter to be declared, the sum of tool. and in that proportion as aforesaid, during the continuance of the said pensions.” These lottery pensions were annuities granted in the year 1694, by the act of the 5th of William and Mary, chapter the 7th, for raising 1,000,ood : they were for fixteen years, at the rate of 141. per cent. An officer was appointed for the payment of them at the exchequer, who was to pass his accounts before the auditors of the imprest. tool. being thus allowed for auditing the annual account of these annuities, amounting to 140,000l. a year, purchased with 1,000,ooo, the annual allowance to the auditors has ever since been calculated at the rate of lool. per million on the capital. Hence this payment has kept an even pace with the public debt : it amounted, upon the bank accounts for the year 1781, as appears by an account of them procured from the bank, to 14,833l. 7s. 4d. and will amount this year, and continue for every succeeding
year, if no alteration is made in the
annuities, to 19,682.l. 3s. 8d.
to be applied to certain public purposes, an account should be passed of that money, that the public may know and be satisfied as to the application; but circumstances may create exceptions to this, as well as to every other general rule : the trust may be so well guarded by the mode of execution, as to render a misapplication or abuse hardly practicable ; or the expence of taking the account may be so heavy, as to outweigh every possible advantage to be #: from it. A sum equal to a half year's annuity is issued from the e-chequer to the bank, to be divided among the proprietors of that an: nuity, in proportion to the interest of each in the capital, the making this division is the trust which the bank engage to execute : the manner in which they execute it, we learn from the information of Mr. William Edwards, deputy accountant of the bank. When the transfer books of any annuity are shut, for the payment of the dividend, the share of every proprietor in the capital stock is extracted from his account in the ledger, and set opposite to his name ; a dividend warrant is filled up for each proprietor, with his share in the capital, and annuity attending it : a dividend book is formed, comprehending the name of cwery proprietor, the folio of his account in the ledger, his share in the capital and annuity, and the number of his warrant : a duplicate is made of this dividend book : the original, duplicate, and warrants are all compared together: that the warrants may be correct, and correspond with the dividend books, they undergo various formalities and examinations by different clerks; and, after being signed by the proper officer, they are de1786. .
posited in the office where the an. nuity is transacted, until the proprietors apply for payment. The person receiving it signs the dividend book, opposite the name of the proprietor, and the reccipt at the bottom of the warrant, which is witnessed by the clerk who delivers it. The teller pays it, enters it in his book, and cancels it : after which it is entered in a cash book in the dividend warrant office, and in the check ledger in the check office; where all the paid warrants are ranged in numerical order, and the total of them compared with the total of the unpaid list made out at the annuity office: from thence they are transmitted to the auditor of the imprest. This transaction is fimple;—the
mess is merely a comparison of the different entries of the same sums, and casting up a number of articles the employment of inferior clerks: he is a check upon the formality of the warrant, and the accuracy of the casting; and for this the public are to pay, if the present system of accounting is continued, near zo,0ool. a year. Since then this trust reposed in the public ...; fimple in its nature, and guarded in its execution, is not, as appears to us, open to abuse; nor the public money issued for this service liable to misApplication; we are of opinion, that the public derives no benefit whatever from the examination of the bank and South Sea annuities in the office of the auditors of the imprest; and, consequently, that fuch examination ought to be discontinued, as a heavy and unnecessary expence to the public. We are warranted in this opinion by usage in a fimilar instance: no account of the old and new South Sea annuities is rendered at the exchequer: being originally part of the capital South Sea stock, they were, as such, exempt from account: the annuities paid by government upon all the capital trading stocks, the bank, the South Sea, and the East India stock, are issued from the exchequer without account : the reason seems to be this;–the annuity is granted to the company in their colle&tive capacity, as a body corporate, and paid to them as one entire debt to one person: after the officer appointed by them has received it, government has no more to do with it, it lies upon those to whom the company have entrusted the direčtion and management of their affairs, to take care that a just divifion of it is made among their inembers; but upon the separation