His chief innovation was the introduction of payment from the public treasury for state service.
The Italian treasury at once honored all the papal drafts, and thus contributed a first instalment of the 3,225,000 lire per annum afterwards placed by Article 4 of the Law of Guarantees at the disposal of the Holy See.
On the death of Southampton, Ashley was placed on the commission of the treasury, Clifford and William Coventry being his principal colleagues.
The excess expenditure caused the Post Office during two or three years to make temporary application of Savings Banks' balances to telegraph expenditure, an expedient which was disapproved of by both the Treasury and the House of Commons.
From every dispute which he had with the central authorities at Paris he emerged victorious; and he took care to assure his ascendancy by sending presents to the Directors, large sums to the nearly bankrupt treasury and works of art to the museums of Paris.