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The Ninth Report Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites Ireland

31/01/1810

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The Ninth Report Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites Ireland

Date of Article: 31/01/1810
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civ ( Ireland.) SUPPLEMENT to the Ninth Report of the [ Poft- Office.] than the amount of his fixed income; fuch we cannot prefame to have been the intention of Government, and yet all the calculations made by the Secretary of the Poft Office, proceed upon the notion of charging them with their grofs profits; Appendix ( A) the terms net profits and grofs profits are ufed by him indifcriminately as meaning N° a— 14. the fame thing, and though fome enquiry was made as to the expence of managing the bufinefs of the refpe^ rive Roads, it appears to have been intended that an Account lhould be made up as between the Clerks and the Public without any reference thereto, or to the lolfes that might have been incurred in conducting their bufinefs, although credit having been allowed them for fuch lofi'es in their original Accounts, they would be entitled to the fame in any fubfequent Account to be made up againft them. There appear to be < mly two ways, confidently with the arrangement of 1802, of framing fuch Accounts, the one bv continuing toftate Accounts of receipt and expenditure, charging the Clerks with the balance as the amount of their profits; the other to make them up on the principle adopted by the Clerks, a mode, fuppofing the original Accounts to be correct, much more beneficial, as we conceive, to the Public than the preceding, as by it a rate of profit being fixed and afcertained beyond which the Public could not be chargeable, in order to protect the Revenue againft fraudulent claims, it would Only have been neceffary to fee that the number of Papers ifhied were truly accounted for: whereas if they had been required to ftate in each year, Accounts of receipt and expenditure, it would, we apprehend, have been extremely difficult to have checked fuch Accounts, fo as to have guarded againft the frauds that might have been pratfifed not only by the Clerks themfelves, were they fo difpofed, but by the perfons whom they necefi'arily employed, and at the fame lime prevent the extenfive loftes that might be incurred in confequence of neglect and inattention. It may be faid, that by the mode of accounting adopted by the Clerks, the Public was precluded from participating in any increafe that might take place in the rate of profit, while by its augmentation they would be receiving, contrary to the declared intention of Government, compenfation out of the Revenue and an increafed income in the ordinary way. We do not, however, confider thepafi'age in Mr. Marfden's letter here alluded to, ns referring to an augmentation © f the rate of profit, which, fo long as the bufinefs of the Roads was managed in the fame manner, and under the fame circumftanee as it had been previous to this arrangement, could not be expected to be confiderable, but that he intended to contraft the mode of compenfation fuggeflcd by himfelf, with that propofed by the Poftmafters General, and which if acceded to would have fecured to the Clerks a permanent income charged on the Revenue, while if by an increafed demand for Neivspapers, the number circulated fhould exceed its former amount, they would be receiving compenfation and an increafed income in the ordinary way. But admitting that the incomes of the Clerks might, by the mode of ac- counting they adopted, be increafed, without the participation of the Public therein, we think it was for the benefit of the latter to allow them fuch a contin- gent advantage, as otherwife having no intereft in the produ& ivenefs of their Roads, they might negleft their management; whereas the profpect of an augment- ed income, consequent upon a careful and attentive management of their bufinefs, would induce them to endeavour to increafe the circulation of Newspapers, and thereby proportionably relieve the Revenue from the charge impofed upon it, at the fame time that the certainty of their being obliged to fuftain any lofs that might occafion a reduction of the rate of profit would, it might be expe& ed, infure at the ieaft as much attention in managing their Roads after the arrangement, as they had exercifecl before it. it may, however, be fuppofed, from the lownefs of the fixed rate of profit, that this mode of accounting has in fa£ t been greatly to the difadvantage of the Publ IC ; but, on the contrary, it appears that their computed profits in the feven years ending 5th January 1809. as ftated in their annual Returns taken together, have exceeded their a& ual profits in the fame period, by the fum of ,£. 74. 17. v. o\ d. only. Therefore, were it now depending on the 18 decif, on of the Poftmafters General, we are of opinion that it would be moft 7 ' advifable to leave the Clerks to manage their Roads at their difcretion, and to require that they fhould account for their profits according to a fixed and afcer- tained rate, per Paper, and though we have been prevented by the infirm ftate of . Sir John Lees's health, from afcertaining the grounds on which, a& ing for the Public, he approved of the Account returned by the Cierks, we think it highly probable that he was influenced by confiderations fuch as we have ftated. But whatever may have been the motives that induced an acquiefcence in their mode of accounting, they feein to have uniformly adhered to it, and to have confidered it
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