PP/GC/LE/52 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, about the payment of messengers and the expected government revenue deficit, 8 January 1856
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Chancellor of the Exchequer], Downing Street, [Whitehall, London], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: Lewis has received a directive from Palmerston's private secretary that the Prime Minister's messengers should be put on the same footing with respect to pay and allowances as the messengers of the Secretaries of State. He has retained the letter for a few days, until he has the opportunity of speaking to Palmerston on the subject. Lewis encloses a list [not present] which sets out the state of the establishment of employees, and their pay, for the Treasury. "Trevelyan, who has enquired into the subject, objects to the existing regulations respecting the Queen's messengers. He says that the regulation is of old standing, that it refers rather to the time when they really were the messengers of the King, and that the allowances are so arranged that they make a profit by their travelling. He maintains that their salaries ought to be fixed at proper amounts, and that they ought to make no profit by their travelling. He says that this principle was either laid down, or contended for, when the War Department was created, and it was understood that the allowances for the messengers of that department were only approved provisionally." Lewis knows nothing of the subject; he thought that Palmerston should hear Trevelyan's views before anything final was done. On 1st April 1856 there will be an excess of two million pounds beyond the estimates in expenditure, and a deficit of two million below the estimates in the revenue. "This will make us four millions worse off than the calculation." In order to meet the deficiency, it will be necessary to make the loan in February. Then the first instalment can be paid in March and it will be applicable to the deficiency in the current financial year. A loan act must be passed before Easter, and the budget opened in the middle of February. "The failure has been in the customs and excise - in spirits, sugar and tea. Ever since the great increase of prices of food in the autumn they have fallen off with regard to new taxes, it is clear that an addition must be * paid * \ made / to the..." [The sentence is incomplete. A word or possibly a page is missing.] He has finished the first volume of Macaulay. "It is very delightful and also instructive reading. He is particularly strong upon ecclesiastical affairs - and very good in all he says about Ireland. I think however that he will fail in introducing a new style of writing history - and if other attempt to paint in the same Venetian style, and to decorate their works with the same profusion of detail, they will fail." 8 Jan 1856 The letter is docketed, "Sir G.Lewis. Regarding the placing First Lord's messengers on footing of Secretaries of States' messengers, in respect of travelling allowances." Letter PP/GC/LE/53 also refers to the payment of the Prime Minister's messengers.
For the Chancellor of the Exchequer's financial statement see HANSARD, third series, volume CXL, p. 1228 and 1229.
Three papers
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William Law, secretary to the First Lord of the Treasury
Sir Charles Trevelyan, assistant secretary to the Treasury
Thomas Babington Macaulay: volume iii of his HISTORY OF ENGLAND, published (with volume iv) in December 1855
Loan to Piedmont-Sardinia
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