Topics OF THE DAY.
LUCKY TOM MACAULAY—GOVERNMENT WITHOUT PATRONAGE.
MR. THOMAS BA.BINGTON MACAULAY has brought his flash speeches in the House of Commons, his essays in the Edinburgh .Review, and his Quinquennial Parliaments, to a very tolerable market. He is just named an Indian Counsellor, at a salary of 10,0001. a year ; and, that he may be put to no temporary incon- venience, he receives 12,0001. to pay his passage to the land of promise! Upon the whole, this must be looked upon as one of the most ,arrant jobs that has yet been perpetrated: and we shall shortly tell why it is so. For some years back, the revenue of India, chiefly in conse- quence of the exhaustion produced by the excessive taxation of previous years, has been falling off; and this has produced an ab- solute necessity for reducing salaries and establishments. Exten- sive retrenchments have been consequently carried into effect, as properly as necessarily. From this retrenchment, however, one department has been excepted; and what department does the reader think this is ? Why, the Government itself; which in de- cency ought to have set the example of retrenchment. The mem- bers of the Government in India pleaded that their salaries were fixed by act of Parliament, and could not be reduced by their own subordinate authority. When a new act of Parliament, how- ever, came to be passed in the last session, not a word was said about retrenchment of the extravagant allowances of the members of the Government. The reason of this is plain enough. The no- mination of the members of the Executive and Legislative Government of India, besides embracing the grand prizes, is the only branch of the Indian patronage directly exercised by the Home authorities; and for the most part, virtually by his Majesty's Ministers. As far as the Supreme Government is concerned, the value of the patronage is as follows—
Governor-General .E25,000 Commander-in-Chief, as such 0,000 Ditto, as a Counsellor 10,000 First Civil Counsellor 10,000 Second Ditto 10,000 Judicial Counsellor 10,000 £71,000
In this manner the Executive and Legislative Council, which heretofore cost above 60,0001. a year, is now made to cost above 70,000/. At the first charge, it is admitted to have been quite
inefficient. The point, then, to be considered is, whether the ad- dition of Mr. THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY, with his 10,0001. a year, makes it efficient. By the act of Parliament; he is expressly excluded from interfering with the executive duties of the Council, and his whole duties Will be legislative. In short, he is to be the chief instrument in making laws for eighty millions of people ; for whom his predecessors are known to have legislated in a very bungling manner. Now, is Mr. MACAULAY fit for this ? Is he the most suitable man that could be found in England to dis- charge this difficult and responsible duty ? Is he a better bargain at 10,0001. than JAMES Minn, or Joust AUSTIN, or the like, who peradventure might be had for one third of the price? Has he undergone the necessary discipline and training for it ? Is his mind of the right texture for a legislator ? Has he afforded any rational proof that he will make a decent Indian Solon or Lycur- gus ? We think nothing of this can safely be predicated of him. Mr. MACAULAY is a clever and a brilliant man ; lie is a fine writer; and, when he has time to prepare himself, a great orator. In writing and in speaking, he pours out a torrent of fine, sounding words, and often even of good and appropriate words. He is fiind of antithesis; he loves a paradox ; he is ima- ginative; and he is a thorough Whig. But all this is no proof that he is gifted with the faculties which will enable him to con- struct a code of good laws for eighty millions of people, whom he never saw, and of whose manners, institutions, and many lan- guages, he is at the present moment as ignorant as if the eighty millions in question were inhabitants of the planet Saturn. But all this may be considered by some as quite beside the question : and we are aware that it may be argued, that though Mr. MACAULAY may not be the fittest subject in the empire for the appointment, the appointment is perfectly fit for Mr. MA- CAULAY. In any case, the honourable gentleman must be looked upon as one of the most fortunate of politicians and Whigs—even in these fortunate days of Whiggery. In three short years, he has advanced from a Commissionership of Bankruptcy and 3001. a year, to the honours of Holland House—to those of Lansdowne House—to the pocket borough of Calne—to a membership of the Indian Board—to the Secretaryship of the Indian Bcard—to the representation. of the town of Leeds—and finally, to being the suc- cessor of the Indian demigod and lawgiver MENU, with 10,0001. a year, which the poor demigod never enjoyed.