Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers, Volume 3, 1735-1738. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1900.
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The materials used and the method followed in the present volume of “Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers” are exactly the same as in the preceding volume. No further word of general guidance, therefore, as to either material or method is necessary. The Calendar proceeds regularly year by year. In each year all the entries from the Minute Book, without exception, and also every other entry of greater historical importance or interest, whether in the Entry Books or in the Treasury Board Papers, are thrown into the text: all entries of minor historical importance or interest, whether in the Entry Books or in the Treasury Board Papers, are thrown into table I.: all entries of warrants, &c., relating to payments of money, are thrown into table II.: finally all entries, &c., relating to appointments are thrown into table III. This order of (a) text, (b) table I., (c) table II., (d) table III., for each separate and single year is followed throughout. Any inconvenience from such an arrangement (which is the only possible one in the case of matter so miscellaneous, of so varied and unequal interest, and, in many cases, e.g., money warrant entries, of so purely departmental or routine or official a character) will, it is hoped, be found to be obviated by the method and fulness of the index, on which special care hits been bestowed.
After the previous introduction to the preceding two volumes of this Calendar, nothing further than this is now needed by way of recapitulation as to material and method. As, however, some doubt has been expressed with regard to the correctness of the decision to exclude from the materials used here, the series of accounts known as Lowther's Accounts, it may be well to raise the question once for all, with the object of obtaining a final pronouncement upon it. The impression used to prevail, and apparently, in places, still prevails lingeringly, that Lowther's Accounts are Secret Service books, or represent one department of Secret Service expenditure. A careful examination will reveal that this is not the case, and will, it is hoped, by contrast, disclose the real nature of the Secret Service system under George II., and at the same time prove the substantial correctness of the description of those documents given in the preface to vol. I. of the present Calendar of “Treasury Books and Papers” (Preface 1729–30 pp. vi.–viii.).
Let it be premised, however, once again and for all, that whatever the nature of the items of payment revealed in “Lowther's Accounts,” as they are mere books of account they could not possibly enter into the scheme of a calendar, any more than could the Quarterly Establishment books, the Civil List books, &c., &c. (described in the above quoted preface, p. v.), of which there exist literally thousands of volumes amongst the records of the Treasury.
(1) The “King's Money,” the fund or account of which Thomas Lowther acted as Paymaster, was instituted primarily (a) to provide for the payment of clerical fees at the Treasury and (or) Exchequer in the case of such payments as it was thought fitting should be made without any deduction for fees or poundage; and (b) to provide for payments of small bounties in cases where there were either no means of or no justification for the more formal placing of a person on the establishment payable by the Paymaster of Pensions.
(2) Such payments out of this fund of the “King's Money” as are not of the above perfectly justifiable description, such payments, that is, as partake or seem to partake of an occult nature, will be found almost invariably accounted for in some one or other of the Treasury Records which are calendared in the present calendar. In a preponderating number of cases, the items of expenditure will be found to be “vouched” or authorised by a direct resolution of the Lords of the Treasury at their Board meeting, and as such will be found in the Minute Book.
This fact alone will serve instantly to differentiate these items from true Secret Service items. Nothing is more remarkable than the rigid silence which all the existing Treasury records preserve, with regard to the expenditure of the Secret Service money proper. Periodically, moneys, to large amounts, appear as voted into the hands of the Secretary to the Treasury for [his] Secret Service, or into the hands of the two Secretaries of State for [their] Secret Service. But of the expenditure of that money there is not a word—neither actual vote in the Minute Book, nor warrant in the various money and other books, nor even scattered and accidental reference in the Treasury Board papers. When, therefore, we find, as we do in the Minute Book, sums of a few hundred pounds voted by the Treasury Lords to be paid to the proprietor or printer of, say, the “Free Briton,” for writing and printing, and that that sum should be paid by Mr. Lowther out of the King's Money into his hands, the very fact of the entry thus openly appearing in the Minute Book is per se evidence that the item was not considered a secret service item. In the index to this Calendar all such items are brought together under the head of “newspapers” (subsidising of); but such a description is not to be taken as implying necessarily a subsidising of newspapers out of secret service money. That it was a subsidising, and therefore of an occult nature (an actual payment for ‘writing’ or editorial, and not merely for actual copies supplied to or distributed for the Government) there can be no reasonable doubt. But it was apparently not of so occult a nature as to necessitate the employment of the Secret Service system. It is of course not impossible that further and still more occult subsidising of the newspapers was conducted, out of the quite other and separate Secret Service fund, but as this is hidden from us it is useless to conjecture. Certainly the total spent on more open support of newspapers through the means of the “King's Money” fund does not seem large. In 1735, for instance, the total was £6,797 18s. 4d.—a sum which has to be divided between at least five newspapers.
The third fact which will emerge from a close examination of Lowther's Accounts is that the bounty list is a genuine petty bounty list—not a secret service list. This will appear instantly from the character of the recipients, from the sums named, and from the prima facie probability that such bounties were given (and apparently given annually) by the King mero motu or even by the Treasury Lords on their own initiative as a preferable expedient to swelling the list of established pensions. For instance, on the 17th June, 1735, the Treasury Lords order that “Sarah, widow of Thomas Thurkettle, is to be inserted on the next bounty list” (text infra p. 30). Thurkettle had been a messenger of the Treasury Office, and had apparently died so poor that the Treasury Lords felt themselves compelled to pay his funeral expenses. In addition, they here appear as making an eleemosynary provision for his widow by way of bounty without the more formal establishing (voting and rendering permanent) of a pension. Probably many of the other items in the bounty list are susceptible of an equally open and unimpeachable explanation, if all the local circumstances were known. These small items which constituted the regular petty bounty list and the additional petty bounty list do not anywhere appear in the ordinary Treasury records. There is no counterpart to or duplicate of them in any of the Entry Books which form the materials of the present “Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers.” In order, therefore, to afford some evidence of the recurrence of the items— of the payment of the same bounty to the same individual one year after the other—two complete years of Lowther's accounts are given infra. From this it will be seen that this petty bounty list (and additional petty bounty list) formed a fairly stable item, making up a total in 1735 of 1,347l. 5s. 6d., and in 1736 of £1,411l. 0s. 6d.
In addition, however, to the recurring petty bounty list thus described there are certain (few) largish items of royal bounty which appear out of place in Lowther's accounts—payments not of 2l. or 10l. to a decayed widow, but of larger amounts and to men, e.g., the payment of 100l. to John Mun, infra pp. xxxvi. and 41. This was, doubtless, a payment for service. Mun was in some confidential employ. He had accompanied the Princess of Orange to Holland on her voyage thither after her marriage. He had also been selected as an envoy to the Netherlands (and possibly to France) to discover the secrets of the illicit Irish wool export trade. Now the payments to Mun will be found noticed in the ordinary Treasury records (infra pp. 7 and 51). It is, therefore, in reality one of a class of larger royal bounty which is of quite a different nature from that of the petty bounty list contained in Lowther's accounts. It belongs to the class of what may, for distinction's sake, be styled royal bounty proper, large or largish sums paid by direction of the King in the first place with the consent of the Treasury in the second place, and out of any general funds in the Exchequer in the third place (therefore not out of the King's Money), and, as a rule, in the fourth place, paid as a complimentary present to an ambassador on his taking leave, or to a corporation for a specific purpose named, or to an individual for, presumably, service rendered or expected, or simply as an act of grace on the part of the King. Now all such items of royal bounty proper occur rigorously and of necessity in the regular and usual Treasury Records. The order initiates with the King, and is, therefore, found in the King's Warrant Book. It is executed direct by the Auditor of the Receipt, and therefore, the duplicate entry is (usually) found not in the Money Book but in the Order Book. In most cases, to all appearances, countersigning or sanctioning by the Treasury Lords was hardly more than formal, but if they did actually debate and formally sanction (or even initiate) a grant of royal bounty, then the entry will appear in the Minute Book.
From all these sources they are gathered into the present Calendar, and will be found focussed in the index under “Royal Bounty.” Now, most certainly, if there is anything of an occult or secret service nature in any of the royal bounty items (and as a rule there is not) it would be contained rather in such items than in the petty bounty list of Lowther's Accounts.
The total items in Lowther's Accounts, which appear to be of the nature of the larger royal bounty proper, rather than of the petty bounty list, amount in the year 1735 to £371. They all occur in the regular Treasury records, and the duplicate reference in the present volume of Calendar will be found stated in the extract infra. The page of the Calendar in which this duplicate occurs is stated in the right hand column.
Why the Treasury should have chosen to saddle the ‘King's Money’ with these particular few items, amounting to £371, rather than, as usual, to direct their payment out of any of the funds in the Exchequer, is not capable of explanation. It may have been a matter of temporary cash expediency.
By way of résumé, therefore, it would appear plain, (1) that the main item of expenditure in Lowther's Accounts is that of Treasury and Exchequer fees mostly ‘unvouched’ for by the Treasury Lords, but whether ‘vouched’ or not, entirely devoid of historical interest or importance; (2) that the items of payments to newspapers are all accounted for in the present calendar; (3) that Lowther's bounty list is a petty bounty list of a purely eleemosynary character, and that whatever items are not of that character will be found to be small, and to be accounted for in the present calendar.
The further few items of petty expenses, petty wages, rent of houses, &c., contained in the accounts form altogether a negligeable quantity, and the general description of them as such will suffice. The items are small, both in number and in amount, they bear a bonâ fide stamp, and wherever they have any importance at all they will be found to appear in the body of the present volume of calendar, and to be therefore ‘vouched’ by the Treasury Lords themselves.
To the general statement, outlined above, of the nature of the payments revealed in Lowther's Account, there are two items of exception which appear to militate against the view set forth, viz., the two following payments out of the year 1735:—
|August 28. Paid Samuel Buckley, Esq., for sundry charges and disbursements on his Majesty's service||980||14||0|
|Sept. 6. Paid Mr. John Peele for several charges and disbursements by him made in his Majesty's special services||1750||0||0|
The first of these two items is satisfactorily accounted for in the body of the present calendar (see infra p. 43), and the entry is, therefore, probably similar in nature to (i.e., the fact of its occurring in Lowther's Accounts, and of the money being ordered to be paid out of the King's money in his hands is due to the same cause as in the case of) the entries of royal bounty proper, which have been already discussed.
That the same was also the case with the second of the above two entries there can be little doubt, but the remarkable and quite mysterious fact is that there is no record of this particular payment in the general Treasury Records, and, therefore, none in the body of the present calendar. The fact is inexplicable, and if it should be asserted that the entry is a secret service item, there would be no way of disproving it. But whatever the nature of this particular transaction, it will not in the least alter the general view established as above as to the real petty nature and non-secret service nature of the series of Lowther's Accounts.
Having thus from internal evidence established the real nature of ‘Lowther's Accounts’ a further question arises as to their origin and as to the first employment of a separate fund for Exchequer fees and small bounties, &c., under the specific title of ‘King's Money.’
(3) Therefore in all probability the institution by George I. of the separate ‘King's Money’ fund was an attempt to remedy the extraordinarily chaotic state of Queen Anne's Civil List, and at the same time was an attempt at retrenchment.
To take point (2) first in order. It is evident that under William that there existed no separate fund for the discharge of Exchequer or Treasury fees, and that where it was thought desirable from reasons of policy to order a payment to be made without deduction or fees, then a separate order had to be made for the separate issue of a sum equal in amount to the deduction or fees, or for separate allowance of them in account. Apart from the general Exchequer practice, this may be specifically inferred from the terms (italicised) of the following King's Warrant (fn. 1)—
1690, Oct. 22. Royal Warrant to the Auditors of Imprests to allow in the accounts of the Earl of Ranelagh, Paymaster of the Forces, two sums, viz., £1,533 7s. 6d. and £917 19s. 6d., being Exchequer fees on three payments of respectively 172,340l., 282,000l., and 10,000l., the said three payments having been ordered to be paid without deduction, “and that you alsoe allow unto him upon his said accompts such sums as the Exchequer fee amount unto for all other moneys which he hath paid or shall pay by our direction without deduction.”
In the following year a similar warrant occurs directing one of the Auditors of Imprests to allow the said Earl of Ranelagh a sum of 1,399l. 13s. 2d., being the deduction of 12d. per £ on sums by him paid, and on which he himself by direction made no poundage deduction. (fn. 2)
With regard to the second type of payments subsequently provided for out of the ‘King's Money,’ viz., petty bounties, the following entry proves the existence or the tendency to the existence of a separate organization for them.
1707, Sept. 27. (fn. 3) Royal warrant to the Auditor of the Receipt for the issue of 476l. 2s. 11d. to Thomas Lowther in satisfaction of so much which has been paid to several persons by the Queen's directions as of her royal bounty.
The curious point is that there is no further trace of Lowther either before this date or after it until he emerges under George I. as the established Paymaster of the King's Money. But an examination of Queen Anne's Civil List will serve partly to explain this fact. For it will be at once apparent that whilst Spencer Compton (or previously Edward Nicholas) was at the time Paymaster both of Pensions and of Royal Bounties great and small, such a chaos prevailed in the civil list that there were numerous other and simultaneous channels through which gifts of royal or petty bounty could be conveyed, and for one of those side channels Lowther or any other subordinate may well have been employed as a useful nominee or substitute for Compton.
In the three following accounts I give in succession extracts from the Civil List Accounts of Queen Anne for 1706 and 1712, and of George I. for 1715. The extracts are only of such items as relate to pensions, bounties, and secret service and similar or like items, and are in each of the three accounts distinguished by the letters A, B, &c., for the purpose of facilitating comparison.
I. Account of the Civil List, 1705, March 25, to 1706, March 25. (fn. 4)
II. 1712, November 18, an estimate of the Charges of the Civil Government. (fn. 5)
III. Civil List payment, 1714, August 1, to 1715, August 1. (fn. 6)
|A||Pensions and annuities at the Exchequer, Excise, and Post Office||43,309||0||8½||6,690||19||3½|
|B||Ditto, lately payable by Edward Nicholas, Esq. (including 7,120l. per an. for several French and foreigners), not yet settled but by estimate will amount to||30,000||0||0|
|C||The usual annual bounty to the poor French Protestants||15,000||0||0|
|D||Bounties in gross sums at the Exchequer||15,207||15||0|
|Q||Ditto, and other payments by Mr. Lowther||4,607||10||0|
|E||Secret service for 3 Secretaries of State||7,250||0||0|
|R||Presents to Ministers from Foreign Courts, including the charges on receiving it at the Exchequer||3,470||8||8|
|F||Contingents of divers natures, as liberates of the Exchequer, printers' bills, surplusages of accounts, rewards for services and many other particulars||10,980||7||0¾ (fn. 7)|
In account No. 1 it would not be easy to decide from which item petty bounties could be paid. They could be paid either from D or F. But this point is apparently decided in the next account (No. 2) by the words italicised and emboldened under F. These words make it clear that as a rule casual or petty bounties were paid out of contingencies, and were as a rule paid either by the regular Paymaster of Pensions or directly at the Exchequer.
In No. 3 account the swollen and suspicious total of Queen Anne's ‘contingencies’ item (108,000l.) disappears. It is replaced by a more modest item of 10,980l. 7s. 0¾d., whilst two new items emerge marked Q and R, viz., a small sum of 4,607l. 10s. 0d. for ‘bounties and other payments’ by Mr. Lowther, and an equally insignificant sum of 3,470l. 8s. 8d. for presents to foreign Ministers.
A comparison of the first Civil List Account of George I. therefore with the two accounts of Anne (one of which was practically of the year but one preceding) reveals the fact that a double change had been instituted, one of economy, the other of arrangement. The suspicious and evasive item of ‘contingencies’ was sharply cut down, and in the second place a new item or fund (as yet unnamed, but later to be designated the King's Money) was instituted to serve for the payments of such casual and petty fees and bounties as had previously been paid direct from the Exchequer and as had been thought fit to be preserved and provided for after having been separated from the ‘contingencies’ item.
The first warrant for a payment to Lowther for the purposes thus outlined was as follows:—
George R. (fn. 8)
Our will and pleasure is that by virtue of our General Letters of Privy Seal, bearing date the 29th day of Sept., 1714, (fn. 9) you issue and pay, or cause to be issued and paid out of our Treasure or Revenue in the Receipt of our Exchequer, applicable to the use of our Civil Government, unto our trusty and well beloved Thomas Lowther, Gent., or to his assessors, the sum of 1,000l., without any account, imprest, or other charge, the same being by him to be paid and applied to such acts and services as we have directed, and for so doing, this shall be your warrant. Given at our Court at St. James's, the 6th day of December, 1714, in the first year of our reign.
By his Majesty's command,
Wm. S. Quintin,
To the Commissioners of our Treasury.
Mem.: The 7th Dec., 1714, their Lordships signed a warrant pursuant to the aforegoing sign manuall.
Having thus explained the nature and origin of the King's Money’ or of ‘Lowther's Accounts’ it remains only to show briefly their subsequent history up to the time treated of in the present instalment of Calendar. This will be best done in the abstract which is appended hereto pp. xx. seq., but as far as the mere growth of the fund or item is concerned, the following may be stated in briefest résumé as to the issues made on account of it.
It must be left to the general historian to estimate what, if any, constitutional importance attaches to the growth of this yearly item. The object of this preface is only to show the origin of it, and the real use to which it was put, and to set at rest, it is hoped completely, any idea which may still remain, that the King's Money was a Secret Service Fund.
To make this preface and demonstration complete, there is here added a skeleton abstract of the whole of Lowther's Accounts so far as they have been preserved, and an absolutely faithful transcript of two years out of these accounts, the two years (1735 and 1736) being chosen which coincide with the first two years calendared in the present volume.
The transcript is furnished with an extra column on the right hand (which, of course, is not in the original), in which is stated the page of the present vol. of calendar in which the particular transaction can be traced. Failing this, if it is desired to investigate the items de novo and piecemeal, it will be easy to do so by working the general index to the present volume.
Booklet (1) An account of money issued to Mr. Lowther at the Receipt of his Majesty's Exchequer, and by him paid by order of the Right Hon. the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury, in pursuance of his Majesty's directions, from his Majesty's accession to the Crown to the 29th of Nov. 1717.
32 pp. and 8 blank pages.
Prefixed. On the front page is the following order of reference.
Whitehall Treasury Chambers, 11th January, 1717–8.
The Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury are pleased to refer this book to Thomas Jett, Esq., who is to examine the same with the vouchers to be produced by Mr. Thomas Lowther, and make his report thereupon to their Lordships.
Accordingly there is attached to the said front page the said Auditor Jett's report, dated 1718, June 27, and further a certificate by the Earl of Halifax, Auditor of the Receipt, of the sums issued at the Exchequer to Lowther from the King's accession in 1717, Nov. 29, to be by the said Lowther “paid and applied to such use and services as his Majesty hath directed, by virtue of the General Letters of Privy Seal, dated the 29th of September, 1714, and upon the particular orders and sign manuals of the dates, and for the sums” detailed.
This certificate and Auditor Jett's report agree in stating the sums issued to Lowther during said time at 13,607l. 10s., against which Auditor Jett allows Lowther credit for 13,628l. 11s. 7d. for payments as detailed in said Lowther's book—thus leaving a surplusage or balance due to the accountant of 21l. 1s. 7d.
The report continues:
“I have carefully examined and cast up the particulars as well on the credit as debt side, and find the same to be exact. He hath likewise produced to me vouchers for the severall payments, except for fees paid at the severall publick offices for Privy Seals and Patents, and at the Exchequer for the money issued to him there: in which cases he hath only produced his own bills, the particulars whereof are hereunto annexed, amounting in the whole to the sum of 4,072l. 12s. 3d.; and after comparing them with other bills of the like nature, I find them to be as customary.
But it does not appear to me by what authority or direction the said payments were made otherwise than by the allegacon of the accountant that the greatest part of them were pursuant to minutes of the Treasury, and others by verbal order of some of their Lordships there for the time being or their secretaries.”
With only two exceptions (viz., Fol. 4, several petty expenses as per bill, 20l. 16s. 0d.: Fol. 8, ditto, 3l. 11s. 6d.), these unvouched payments are entirely of the nature of fees paid to clerks, &c., at the Treasury on the obtaining of money warrants, or at the Exchequer on the actual receipt of the money. The first page of this appended paper of such unvouched papers is as follows. It will serve as a complete exemplification of the whole:—
Prefixed (ut supra).
(a) Treasury order of reference, dated 1719–20, January 12, referring the said account to Auditor Jett for examination. (b) Said Auditor Jett's report thereupon, dated 1720, 6 June, and certificate by the Earl of Halifax, dated 1719, December 18, all ut supra.
The account shows payments to Lowther of 12,309l., and payments by him of 12,349l. 12s. 9d. (5,318l. 1s. 6d. thereof being unaccounted for by vouchers ut supra), leaving a surplusage or balance due to accountant of 40l. 12s. 9d.
Prefixed (a) Treasury order of reference ut supra, to Auditor Thomas Jett, of date 1722, May 5.
(b) Certificate by the Earl of Halifax, of date 1721–2, March 10, and report by said Jett, of date 1722, Sept. 18, all ut supra.
The account shows payments to Lowther of 26,000l., and payments by him of 26,009l. 15s. 5d. (11,999l. 1s. 2d. thereof being unvouched for by warrant ut supra), leaving a surplusage or balance due to accomptant of 9l. 15s. 5d.
Prefixed (a) Treasury order of reference ut supra, of date 1730, March 10, to William Lowndes.
(b) Certificate by the Earl of Halifax, dated 1725, Sept. 22, and report by Auditor William Lowndes, dated 1732, June 15, all ut supra.
The account shows payments to Lowther of 44,000l., and payments by him of 44,004l. 6s. 2d. (of which 27,350l. 4s. 2d., not accounted for by vouchers, ut supra), leaving a surplusage or balance due to accomptant of 4l. 6s. 2d.
Prefixed (a) Treasury order of reference, of date, 1741, July 31.
(b) Report by Auditor Lowndes, of date, 1741, Sept. 22, and copy of certificate, dated 1732, Oct. 2, by the Earl of Halifax, all ut supra.
[Booklets 5 and 6 are duplicate, differing only in the facts that No. 6 has preserved in it the Treasury order of reference and Auditor Lowndes's report, and the Earl of Halifax's certificate, while No. 5 has preserved in it the said Earl of Halifax's certificate, but not the order of reference nor the report.]
Prefixed (a) Treasury order of reference, ut supra, of date 1741, July 31.
(b) Report by Auditor W. Lowndes, of date 1741, Sept. 22, and copy of certificate by the Earl of Halifax, Auditor of the Receipt of date 1735, Sept. 22, all ut supra.
The account shows payments to Lowther of 62,000l., making with arrears, a total charge of 62,063l. 2s. 11d, and payments by him of 62,003l. 13s. 1d., leaving an arrear or balance due from accomptant of 59l. 9s. 10d. (corrected to 47l. 5s. 4d.).
Prefixed (a) Treasury order of reference, ut supra, dated 1741, July 31.
(b) Report by Auditor William Lowndes, dated 1741, Sept. 22, and certificate by Lord Robert Walpole, Auditor of the Receipt, dated 1740, May 16, all ut supra.
The account shows payments to Lowther of 79,000l. (making with arrears a total charge of 79,047l. 5s. 4d.) and payments by him of 79,004l. 16s. 7d., leaving an arrear or balance due from accomptant of 42l. 8s. 9d.
It will be noted that between Booklets 4 and 5 there is a gap, and that the accounts from 1725, Sept. 14, to 1727, June 24, are missing. It will be further noted that in all three succeeding accounts (booklets 5–8) the order of reference is in every case dated 1741, July 31, and the report of Auditor Lowndes likewise in each case 1741, Sept. 22—indicating the absence of any systematic audit of Lowther's accounts from the accession of George II. to 1741.
|Date.||Purpose or Nature of Payment.||Amount.||Page of the present Volume of Calendar where the transaction is referred to.|
(fn. 10)June 7
|Received at the Receipt of Exchequer for his Majesty's service||1500||0||0||
|Received at the Receipt of Exchequer for his Majesty's service||1000||0||0|
|July 2||Received at the Receipt of Exchequer for his Majesty's service||1000||0||0||259|