Dickens on executive privilege

Good to see some things never change.  This from Dickens’s short sketch, “The Election for the Beadle.”  The captain and the overseer lead opposing factions in the local parish; the overseer represents the vested interests, the captain instinctively opposes them:

Then the captain . . . boldly expressed his total want of confidence in the existing authorities, and moved for ‘a copy of the recipe by which the paupers’  soup was prepared, together with any documents relating thereto. ‘  This the overseer steadily resisted; he fortified himself by precedent, appealed to the established usage, and declined to produce the papers, on the ground of the injury that would be done to the public service, if documents of a strictly private nature, passing between the master of the workhouse and the cook, were to be thus dragged to light on the motion of any individual member of the vestry.

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