Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 31, 1717. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1960.
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The Introduction to the previous Volume dealt with the aftermath of the ill-led Rising of 1715. The Whigs were now more firmly than ever in the saddle, but rivalries were developing within the party and a cleavage arose between Walpole and Townshend on the one hand and Stanhope and Sunderland on the other. The year is marked by extreme tension with Sweden, by a clash over Estimates, which resulted in Townshend's dismissal and Walpole's resignation, by an endeavour to reduce the National Debt and by the collapse of the impeachment proceedings against the Earl of Oxford.
On 26 June 1716 Parliament was prorogued and on July 7 the King left for Hanover. About this time the Duke of Argyll and his brother, the Earl of Islay, were dismissed from all their offices; this unexpected step was popularly attributed to the King's belief that the Duke had been instigating the Prince of Wales, whose Groom of the Stole he was, to claim the title and office of Regent during the King's absence abroad. This demand the King had refused but had appointed the Prince Guardian of the Realm and Lieutenant with restricted powers; these were communicated to him in a personal letter of instructions, an English version of which will be found in Archdeacon William Coxe's Memoirs of Robert Walpole, octavo edition, 1816, Vol. 1, p. 281. (The original in French is there stated to be with the ‘Sunderland Papers’ at Blenheim.)
In December Lord Townshend was removed from his office of Secretary of State to become Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The immediate occasion was a sudden burst of resentment by the King; while in Hanover both the King and Stanhope had been much exposed to the influence of the Earl of Sunderland and of the King's foreign advisers, Bothmar, Bernsdorf and the French refugee Robethon; there were difficulties over the disposal of the lands at St. Christopher's, from the sale of which the Duchess of Kendal (the Baroness of Schulenburg) had hoped to profit, over the payment of the Saxe-Gotha and Munster troops engaged to quell the Rising and over the Hanoverian conflicts with Sweden as to Bremen and Verden and with Russia as to Mecklenburg; it was easy to insinuate that Ministers in England were paying too much court to the Prince of Wales and were over friendly with the ‘two brothers’, Argyll and Islay. Townshend at first declined the new appointment; the matter was held over until the King's return; then, mollified by the King's solicitations, he accepted but remained in England and assisted at Cabinet deliberations (Coxe: (quarto) Vol. I, pp. 101–106, Vol. II, pp. 139–165; (octavo) Vol. I, pp. 189–201, 307–321).
Meanwhile the financial position at home was excellent; Walpole in a letter to Stanhope dated 28 September/9 October 1716 (Coxe (quarto) Vol. II, pp. 93–97; (octavo) Vol. I, pp. 293–298) stated that the Revenue was then in so good condition that, although there was a deficiency of above 600,000l., it would be possible to carry on the subsistence of the Army and all essential services of the Navy till after Christmas; payments of clearings and off-reckonings could be made good out of next year's Supplies. The branches of the Civil List had for the last four months surpassed all expectations so that the whole List was cleared and paid up to Ladyday last and there was about 80,000l. in hand in the Exchequer towards the Midsummer quarter, a better condition than the Civil List had ever been in for many years. The Aggregate Fund for the Bank etc. had now made itself good; everything had been paid up to Michaelmas and there was a surplus for the growing quarter of 4,000l. Credit was in a flourishing condition and stocks were high. ‘Give me leave to be so vain as to inform you that we have not given above 4l. per cent. interest upon any of our Land or Malt Tallies although the Parliament allowed us 6l. per cent.’: this would mean a saving in the year of more than 40,000l.
Walpole added that he was now very busy in projecting and forming a scheme for paying the debts of the Nation and that, in case all things remained quiet and there were no disturbance nor alarms from abroad, he did not despair of being able to propose what should be effectual for this purpose.
The King returned to England about the middle of January. Shortly after his return relations with Sweden, with which nation Hanover was already at war, became critical. On the night of January 29–30 Count Gyllenborg, the Swedish Minister, had his house secured by Lieutenant-Colonel Blakeney with a detachment of Foot Guards; Major-General Wade and Lieutenant-Colonel Blakeney then entered and found certain papers in a writing desk. Shortly afterwards Baron Görtz was likewise seized in Guelderland. The impounded correspondence, which showed at least the existence of intrigues with the Pretender's Court, was interpreted as an attempt to promote a new Rising, supported this time from the North.
Meanwhile Parliament had been further prorogued on August 7, September 18, October 16, November 20, January 8, January 17 and January 24; but on 20 February 1716/1717 the King came to the House of Lords and delivered his Speech into the Lord Chancellor's hands to read on his behalf; its substance was as follows:
The King had hoped that the success in defeating the Rebellion would have secured to the Nation peace, plenty and tranquillity. Many defects in the Treaties of Utrecht had been rectified to the benefit of trade, and it had seemed reasonable to expect a situation which would have afforded an opportunity for an Act of Grace, had not the obstinate and inveterate rancour of a faction prompted them to animate foreign Powers to disturb the peace of their native country.
The King had ordered to be laid before Parliament copies of letters between the Swedish Ministers, which contained a certain account of the projected invasion. He had hoped to have made a considerable reduction of the Forces but these preparations from abroad obliged him to ask such Supplies as the Commons should find absolutely necessary for the defence of the Kingdom. They were all sensible of the insupportable weight of the National Debt, but, if no new disturbances should plunge them again into ‘streights’ and difficulties, they might turn their thoughts towards reducing, by degrees, the debts of the Nation (Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. XVIII, hereinafter referred to as C.J., pp. 473, 474; Parliamentary History of England, Vol. VII, pp. 395, 396).
The Lords made an Address of Thanks expressing their satisfaction that the gross defects and pernicious consequences of the Treaties of Utrecht were being remedied and their horror and indignation at the discoveries concerning the intended invasion.
The House of Commons voted a similar Address and it was ordered that a Bill should be brought in to authorize the King to prohibit commerce with Sweden during such time as he might think necessary. The Bill was introduced accordingly on February 23, was passed quickly through all its stages and received the Royal Assent on February 27, becoming 3 Geo. I c. 1 (C.J., pp. 477, 478, 480, 481, 482, 486).
On March 4, in Grand Committee of Supply, it was moved to take into consideration the Estimates relating to the Land Forces; Sir Robert Davers and others attempted to postpone the affair in the hope that the counties of England might soon be eased of the ‘grievous burthen of quartering soldiers’; after nearly two hours debate the motion that the Chairman (Mr. Farrer) leave the Chair was defeated (Parliamentary History, VII, p. 423).
On 3 April 1717 after various resolutions on Supply had been considered, Stanhope acquainted the House that he had a message to deliver, signed by the King. Being desirous not only to secure his Kingdoms against the present danger from Sweden but likewise to prevent the like apprehensions for the future, his Majesty thought it necessary that such measures should be early concerted with other Princes and States, as might conduce to that end; as this might require some expense, he hoped that the Commons would, by their assistance, enable him to make good such engagements ‘as might ease his people of all future charge, and apprehensions, upon this account’ (C.J., p. 524). The House took the King's message into consideration next day and a motion was made ‘That a Supply be granted … to enable his Majesty to concert such measures … as may prevent any charge or apprehensions from the designs of Sweden, for the future’ (ibid.). Upon this the Tory William Shippen protested that ‘it was a great misfortune that so wise and so excellent a Prince’ was as little acquainted with Parliamentary usage as with the language of the country; such a message was unprecedented; it must have been penned by some foreign Minister and translated into English; he could not believe that new alliances and new measures secured purely by money could ever bring national happiness or security; ‘for, whenever foreigners came to taste the sweetness of English money’, their adherence would last ‘no longer than we continued to supply their necessities’. After further criticisms had been offered, Stanhope gave great offence by suggesting that none would refuse compliance with the King's message but such as were not the King's friends or distrusted the honesty of his Ministers. Horatio Walpole backed the motion, but Robert was silent. On April 8 in Committee of Supply it was again urged by Shippen and others that it was unparliamentary to grant a Supply before the occasion was known and an Estimate laid before the House; the King's message was so unprecedented that even his Ministers seemed divided about it; with a standing army in Great Britain and a considerable fleet at sea, with security at home after the suppression of the late Rebellion and by conclusion of the Triple Alliance, it was not easy to comprehend the need for new alliances. Stanhope answered that the discovery of the late conspiracy sufficiently evinced the necessity of a standing army, that the Treaty had met with great opposition in France and could only be depended on so long as it was in the French interest to observe it; it was the King's prerogative to enter into such alliances as he might judge necessary without endangering negotiations by premature disclosures. Even the Speaker, Spencer Compton, and John Smith, a Teller of the Exchequer, though not against the Supply, yet against its being thus demanded, proposed that part of the Army should be disbanded, and the money thereby saved be applied towards the making good such new engagements as were thought necessary. ‘George Caswell, goldsmith’, closed the debate by saying ‘that, for his own part he would rather pay others for fighting than fight himself’; his ‘smart speech’ was much applauded.
The motion was carried in Committee by 164 ‘voices’ to 149. On April 9, Mr. Farrer, according to Order, reported from the Committee of the whole House; the motion was read. On the second reading Shippen, Hungerford, Hutcheson, Smith and others insisted again on the ‘unparliamentariness’ of asking and granting Supplies without an Estimate. On this occasion both Robert and Horatio Walpole opposed Spencer Compton's motion but it was clear that their support for the provision proposed was by no means whole-hearted (Parliamentary History, Vol. VII, pp. 435–439; Collection of the Parliamentary Debates in England, printed 1741, VI, pp. 460–468). On the question being put ‘That the House do agree’, the House divided; the motion was only carried by 153 to 149 ‘voices’ (C.J., p. 530).
That same evening Stanhope conveyed by letter to Lord Townshend that the King, while thanking him for his past services, had no further occasion for them as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Coxe: (quarto) Vol. II, p. 168). The King hoped that this would break the ‘growing knot’ of dissentient Whigs ‘by the removal of the person who was the centre of their Union’ but that he would still be able to retain Robert Walpole as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Walpole, however, ‘resolved to prevent that which he imagined would infallibly be levelled against him’; and accordingly on April 10 he profferred his resignation which the King accepted with the greatest regret (Coxe: (quarto) Vol. II, pp. 169, 170).
In the Commons Paul Methuen, Secretary of State, and William Pulteney, Secretary at War, and in the Lords the Duke of Devonshire, Lord President of the Council, and the Earl of Orford, First Lord of the Admiralty, resigned their places. The Administration was reconstituted; Stanhope became First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer; the Earl of Sunderland and Joseph Addison, Secretaries of State; the Duke of Bolton, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Chamberlain; the Earl of Berkeley, First Lord of the Admiralty; the Duke of Kingston retained his post as Lord Privy Seal, to which he had been appointed in December 1716. The other Commissioners of the Treasury were Lord Torrington, John Wallop, George Baillie and Thomas Micklethwaite. Charles Stanhope became coadjutor to William Lowndes, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Joseph Micklethwaite became Secretary to Stanhope. In July 1717 Stanhope was created a Viscount, the last instance of a Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Lords (Parliamentary Debates VI, pp. 468, 469; Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 439, 440; Coxe: (quarto) Vol. I, pp. 106, 107; (octavo) Vol. I, pp. 202–205; Stirling Taylor: Robert Walpole (Jonathan Cape 1931, reissued 1933), pp. 155–157; Basil Williams: The Whig Supremacy (Clarendon Press 1939), p. 161).
Walpole's resignation came just as he was endeavouring to place the Public Debt on a more satisfactory footing. As explained in the Introduction to the previous Volume (Calendar of Treasury Books, Vol. XXX, part I, pp. x–xvii) money had been borrowed at varying rates, in general ranging from 6l. per cent. to 8l. per cent.; part of the debt was redeemable, part irredeemable; the former could be paid off or new terms offered but for the long or short term annuities nothing could be done without the absolute consent of the proprietors. Already on March 5 he had been attempting to borrow up to 600,000l. at 4l. per cent., repayable out of the first Aid of the Sessions; although the loan was for a short term only, this proposal aroused apprehension, voiced by Nicholas Lechmere on behalf of the ‘monied men’, that he intended to put the whole of the National Debt on a 4l. per cent. basis. Walpole, however, had explained that he was not prepared to break faith with the holders of irredeemable securities. On March 14 an Account of the Public Debts had been presented and on March 23 a series of resolutions adopted. A Bill had been introduced on April 10 (to be superseded after its second reading and committal). Stanhope, Walpole's successor, ingenuously owned his incapacity for the affairs of the Treasury, which were so remote from his studies and inclination, that therefore he would fain have kept the employment he had before, which was both more easy and more profitable to him, but that he thought it his duty to obey the King's commands (Parliamentary History, VII, p. 459). Nevertheless, he was able to carry out Walpole's proposals with a few amendments, and in June three Bills were presented and duly passed into law, one for the Bank of England's allowances, a second for those payable to the South Sea Company and a third for redeeming the Lotteries. (See below, pp. xxxvi–xxxviii).
On April 12 the Commons went into a Committee of the whole House to consider Supply; ‘and Mr. Secretary Stanhope having made a motion for granting to his Majesty the sum of 250,000l. to enable him to concert measures against Sweden, there was for a minute or two a great silence in the House’ Pulteney expressed his surprise; while he had been in the immediate service of the Crown he had not been free to oppose a motion that came from the Court, but, having resigned his place, he could not forbear declaring against the granting a Supply, in a manner altogether unparliamentary and unprecedented; he could not persuade himself that any Englishman advised his Majesty to send such a message. He was seconded by Lord Finch, who feared also a quarrel with the Czar. Stanhope answered that the coldness between the King and the Czar had arisen from the former's tenderness not to engage the Nation in foreign quarrels by guaranteeing the latter's conquests; in relation to Sweden the King's conduct had been worthy of the highest commendation; the haughtiness and obstinacy of the King of Sweden were alone to blame; the King, as Elector of Hanover, had purchased Bremen and Verden from the King of Denmark (who had reconquered them from Sweden) but he had no thoughts to engage Great Britain in a war to support that acquisition. John Smith stated that he had already declared his reasons for opposing the granting of this Supply; he did not pretend to be thoroughly acquainted with affairs abroad but, if comparison were to be made with the Ministry's conduct at home, he was sure that they were not faultless; he suggested various ways in which the Ministry had failed to preserve peace at home and had created divisions even among the King's friends. On one point, however, Stanhope was able to reassure him, by stating that an Act of Indemnity was in preparation. After other speeches ‘Robert Walpole, who brought up the rear, said That having already spoken for the Supply, he would not refuse the Court his vote, and, the sum being named, he was for granting it’. The motion was then carried without dividing (Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 443–447; Parliamentary Debates, VI, pp. 467–475).
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That a Sum, not exceeding Two hundred Fifty thousand Pounds be granted to his Majesty, to enable his Majesty to concert such measures with foreign Princes and States, as may prevent any Charge, or Apprehensions from the Designs of Sweden, for the future.’
After the Serjeant at Arms had been despatched with the Mace into the Court of Requests and places adjacent to summon Members to attend the service of the House, the resolution was read a second time. An endeavour was made to secure its recommittal, on which course, after the House had been cleared of all strangers, ‘Mr. Shippen insisted’ ‘He was seconded by Mr. Hungerford, Sir Thomas Hanmer, Mr. Herne, and Mr. Lawson; but the other party called for the Question’ (Parliamentary History, VII, p. 447; Parliamentary Debates, VI, pp. 475, 476). ‘And a Motion being made and the Question put “That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution” … it was resolved in the affirmative’ by 153 voices to 132 (C.J., p. 537).
Parliament was adjourned from April 16 to May 6. On its reassembly the King delivered into the Lord Chancellor's hands a Speech which the latter read to both Houses. The King had received certain advice that the Fleet was safely arrived in the Sound, which, by God's blessing, would secure these Kingdoms against any immediate danger of an invasion. He had by this means an opportunity of making a very considerable reduction in the land forces and had given orders for the immediate reducing of 10,000 men. An Act of Grace was in preparation. He promised the Commons that the Supplies which they had given would be employed for the uses for which they designed them and he would order faithful accounts to be laid before them next Session; without the Supply granted, the Nation must unavoidably have incurred a much greater expense. The Commons were recommended as before ‘to take all proper methods for reducing the public debts, with a just regard to Parliamentary credit’. An Address of Thanks was drawn up; on the second reading an amendment trusting that the King would make a further reduction of the Army and ‘continue only such a number of forces as hath been usually thought, in a time of peace, to be sufficient for the security of this Kingdom’ was defeated by 80 voices to 188 (C.J., p. 542).
In May it was decided to proceed with Lord Oxford's impeachment, which had been delayed by the Rising of 1715; after debate in the House of Lords, more particularly as to whether an impeachment was superseded by a prorogation of Parliament, June 13 was appointed for the trial. The Commons appointed a Committee to consider the state of the impeachment, whence on June 12 Lawrence Carter reported to the House that more time was needed; the Lords accordingly agreed to defer the trial to June 24 and on June 14 it was ordered by the Commons that ‘Managers be appointed to make good the Articles of Impeachment’. On June 24 it was resolved that the House of Commons would be present at the trial as a Committee of the whole House; the managers were to precede the other members to Westminster Hall. The managers accordingly went to their places and after the Speaker had left the Chair the other members followed; Richard Hampden made an opening speech, but, before Sir Joseph Jekyll could proceed to make good the first article, the Lords and Commons adjourned to their own Houses. The Lords, after debate on a motion by Lord Chancellor Harcourt, resolved that the Commons should first proceed to make good the articles of High Treason. Sir William Thompson, Solicitor General, on behalf of the managers, protested; they could not proceed further without directions from the Commons; the Lords accordingly agreed to defer the trial to June 27. On that day the Commons, while maintaining their right to proceed after the method adopted by the managers, asked for a conference with the Lords to which the Lords agreed. The managers attended accordingly the next day; the Duke of Newcastle represented that the Lords had the rights of every Court of Justice to settle their own procedure; proceedings in cases of High Treason differed from those on other charges; they must therefore insist on their resolution. The trial was deferred to June 29. The Commons asked for a free conference but this was refused. On July 1 a motion ‘That this House doth acquiesce in proceeding on the Trial . in the manner prescribed by the Lords’ was negatived by the Commons.
Finally at 7 o'clock of that evening the Lords went down to Westminster Hall where three several proclamations were made for the accusers to appear to make good the articles of impeachment. The Commons not appearing, the Earl was formally acquitted (C.J., pp. 570, 590, 591, 593, 596, 604, 605, 611–615; Parliamentary Debates, VI, pp. 476–519; Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 462–466, 475–495; and for the whole proceedings Howell: State Trials, Vol. XV, pp. 1046–1195).
All that the Commons were able to obtain was the King's assent to the Earl's omission from the Act of Grace. They would thus still be at liberty to introduce a Bill of Pains and Penalties should they think fit (C.J., pp. 615, 616; Parliamentary Debates, VI, pp. 519–520; Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 496–498).
Coxe suggests that the quarrel between the two Houses was a feigned one by Walpole's connivance; in any case it is clear that Walpole, now out of place, had no desire to press the impeachment of which he had originally been a prime mover (Coxe: (quarto) Vol. I, pp. 111, 112; (octavo) Vol. I, pp. 212, 213). In the Lords, Lord Townshend had supported the resolution to take the articles of High Treason first (Parliamentary Debates, VI, p. 504).
On June 4 there was a debate in Committee on the transportation of the Dutch troops to and from Britain, for which Lord Cadogan was responsible and over which it was alleged by Pulteney that there had been large embezzlements; Walpole contended that the papers laid before the House revealed ‘an apparent fraud’. Lord Cadogan was equally warmly defended by ‘the Court party’ and finally the motion that the Chairman leave the Chair was carried by 204 against 194 and the matter was dropped (Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 466–468).
On March 5, Walpole had moved that whosoever should lend a sum not exceeding 600,000l. for the public service should be repaid the same with interest at 4l. per cent. per annum out of the first Aid to be granted in the Session.
Lechmere had expressed the alarm and uneasiness, especially among the moneyed men, engendered by this proposition, which might prove to the detriment of the public credit, to prevent which he moved ‘That this House will, on all occasions, maintain, in the most strict and inviolable manner, all Parliamentary engagements’. Walpole had immediately answered that, the King having recommended from the Throne the reduction of the debts of the Nation and the Commons having promised in their Address to apply themselves to that great and necessary work, they ought to appoint an early day for consideration of the matter; no regard was to be paid to the several schemes published by private persons for reduction of the National Debt but certain proposals would shortly be laid before the House which he hoped would give them satisfaction and gain their approbation; he therefore moved as an amendment ‘That this House will effectually make good the deficiencies of all Parliamentary engagements’, which was carried, and it was further resolved ‘That this House will, upon this Day Fortnight, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to consider the State of the Nation, in relation to the National Debt’ (C.J., pp. 492, 493; Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 424–426).
On March 8, while the House was in Committee of Supply, Lechmere took notice that the late vote for a loan at 4l. per cent. was likely to prove ineffectual as only 45,000l. had been subscribed in three days time toward the loan of 600,000l. on the Land Tax. He moved that a day be given to consider the matter. Walpole seconded this motion; some stock-jobbers were alleged to have formed a combination to ruin the public credit; Lechmere, however, protested against this suggestion, holding that it was rather from fear that Parliament might not honour its engagements, especially in the matter of the Annuities; Walpole denied any design to use any compulsion with regard to these; an alternative might be offered to the holders to accept or reject as they pleased; the redeemable funds, however, could be dealt with without any breach of public faith (Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 425–427).
Accordingly on March 14 ‘a Person from the Earl of Halifax, Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer’, presented at the Bar of the House an account of the public debts amounting to 46,603,100l. 11s. 2½d. and entailing yearly payments of 3,118,448l. 0s. 10½d. (C.J., pp. 497–507).
These consisted of the several Lottery annuities; the Bank annuities, the Bank's allowance for circulating Exchequer bills; the East India Company's allowance; the South Sea Company's allowance; and annuities for varying periods under the several Acts which established them.
Of these the Lottery annuities could only be redeemed with the consent of the holders; the Bank annuities could be repaid at a year's notice (after 1 August 1708); the Bank's allowance for circulating etc. Exchequer bills was also redeemable at a year's notice; the East India Company was entitled to three years' notice (after Michaelmas 1711), and its privileges were to continue at least to Ladyday 1726; the South Sea Company was to continue for ever, but the Company's allowances, amounting to 608,000l. per annum, were to cease upon a year's notice.
The, 10l. Lottery anno 1710: for 9l. per cent. annuities; secured on the Coal duty of 3s. per chaldron and the Additional duty on Houses for Windows [8 Anne, c. 10]. Original principal, 1,500,000l. (1,000,000l. on C.J., p. 498 seems to be an error); term remaining 25¾ years; yearly fund 135,000l.
The 10l. Lottery anno 1711: for 6l. per cent. and repayment of principal; secured by the duty on Goods exported, by the Coal duty of 2s. a chaldron and by the Additional duty on Candles [9 Anne, c. 6. To raise 1,500,000l.]. Original principal 1,928,570l. whereof 262,500l. paid off; term remaining 26¾ years; yearly fund 135,000l.
The Class Lottery anno 1711; for ditto; secured by the 700l. a week from the Post Office, by the Leather duty, by the new stamp duty on Bills of Lading etc., by the duties of 5s. a week on 800 Hackney Coaches and of 10s. per annum on 200 Hackney Chairs, and by the duties on Cards and Dice [9 Anne, c. 18 To raise 2,000,000l.]. Original principal, 2,602,200 whereof 76,230l. repaid; term remaining 26¾ years; yearly fund 186,670l.
The 10l. Lottery anno 1712: for ditto; secured by the 1d. a lb. duty on Soap, by the 15l. per cent. duty on foreign printed etc. Linen, by the duties on Silks, on Calicoes, and on Linen printed etc. in Britain, by the duties on Paper etc. and by stamp duties on Surrenders, Transfers, Newspapers etc. [10 Anne, c. 18. To raise 1,800,000.]. Original principal 2,341,740l. whereof 83,220l. repaid; term remaining 28 years; yearly fund 168,003l.
The Class Lottery anno 1712: for ditto; secured by the Additional duty of ½d. a lb. on Leather, by 12d. a lb. on Coffee, 2s. a lb. on Tea and 20l. per cent ad valorem on Drugs, by the duties on Gilt and Silver Wire, and by the Duty on Policies of Insurance [10 Anne, c. 19. To raise 1,800,000l.]. Original principal 2,341,990l. whereof 29,925l. repaid; term remaining 27¾ years; yearly fund 168,003l.
The Civil List Lottery anno 1713: for 4l. per cent. and repayment of principal; secured on the Civil List Revenues (12 Anne, c. 11 and Letters Patent of 13 October 1713 thereunder [Patent Rolls, 12 Anne, Part III, No. 7, P.R.O. reference C.66/3491]. To raise 500,000l.) Original principal 633,010l., whereof 33,820l. repaid; term remaining 28¾ years; yearly fund 35,000l.
The Lottery Act 1714: for 4l. per cent. on prizes and 5l. per cent. on blanks and repayment of principal; secured by Soap duties (1d. a lb. on foreign, ½d. a lb. on British Soap), by an Additional duty on Paper etc. and by a duty on Coals exported; the balance to be made good from unappropriated moneys [13 Anne, c. 1 amended by 1 George I, st. 1, c. 2. To raise 1,400,000l.] Principal money (blanks at 5l. per cent. 1,157,360l., prizes at 4l. per cent. 719,040l.) 1,876,400l. whereof 64,300l. paid off; term remaining 29¾ years; yearly fund (as amended) 116,573l. 12l.
The Act 5 & 6 W. & M. [c. 20], for raising 1,200,000l., charged five-sevenths of the second Additional 9d. per barrel Excise; all persons were at liberty to subscribe up to 20,000l. in one name; from 1 August 1694 to 1 August 1705 an annuity of 100,000l. was to be paid i.e. 8l. per cent. per annum on 1,200,000l. with 4,000l. per annum allowed for management; the subscribers were to be incorporated as the Governor and Company of the Bank of England; after 1 August 1705 upon a year's notice and repayment of capital the Corporation was to cease.
By a further Act 7 Anne [c. 30] the Bank lent 400,000l. more without additional interest, i.e. the yearly interest was reduced from 8l. per cent. to 6l. per cent., which on 1,600,000l. with 4,000l. for management filled up the 100,000l. annuity; the whole sum of 1,600,000l. must be paid off before the Corporation was dissolved.
By the Act of 5 Anne [6 Anne, c. 21] for raising 1,500,000l. by the issue of Exchequer bills, the duty on Houses for Windows [7 & 8 Wm. III continued by 8 & 9 Wm. III, c. 20 and 1 Anne, c. 7] was made perpetual; the Bank undertook to circulate these bills for a consideration of 4l. 10s. per cent. per annum. By the above-cited Act 7 Anne [c. 30] it was enacted that the Bank should pay off and cancel all Exchequer bills before extant, amounting to 1,775,027l. 17s. 10½d.; for which an annuity of 106,501l. 17s. 6d. was to be allowed the Bank (i.e. 6l. per cent. per annum) until the principal should be paid off at a year's notice; the annuity was secured on sundry duties (Wines and Vinegar, 1 Jas. II, c. 3; Tobacco, 1 Jas. II, c. 4; East India Goods, 2 W. & M., st. 2, c. 4; Additional Impositions, 4 W. & M., c. 5; Whale Fins, 9 Wm. III, c. 45).
By the Act 1 Geo. I [st. 2, c. 12] the fund for these Exchequer bills was absorbed into the Aggregate Fund; the yearly sum to be provided was now 328,561l. 18s. 6½d. or 7l. 4s. 0¾d. per cent. on the 4,561,025l. outstanding.
By 9 Wm. III [c. 44] the Additional duties on Stamped Paper and Parchment under 9 Wm. III [c. 25] and a duty of 28d. a bushel on Salt were given for a Fund of 160,000l. per annum to raise by subscriptions 2,000,000l. at 8l. per cent. per annum; the subscribers were to have the sole liberty of trading to the East Indies; redeemable upon payment of the principal and three years' notice after Michaelmas 1711.
The Act was amended by 6 Anne, c. 71: the East India Company was to pay into the Exchequer 1,200,000l.; the rate of interest was to be cut to 5l. per cent. per annum; in return the Company's privileges were to be continued to Ladyday 1726 and the 3,200,000l. must all be repaid before the Company could be determined.
Under these Acts 600,000l. per annum was charged on several duties etc. for paying interest to the South Sea Company on 10,000,000l. at 6l. per cent. per annum, with 8,000l. per annum for management; the Company was to continue for ever, but the annual sum of 608,000l. was to cease upon a year's notice after 25 December 1716 and on repayment of whatever might be due.
The Acts 4 and 5 W. & M., c. 3, 6 & 7 W. & M., c. 5, 9 Wm. III, c. 5, 11 Wm. III, c. 3, and 1 Anne, st. 2, c. 5 (described as the Acts 4 Will. & Mary, 7, 9, 10 and 11 Will. III and 1 Anne) granted 9d. per barrel Excise upon Beer, Ale etc. for 99 years. Principal 149,639l. 6s. 10d.; term remaining 75 years, yearly cost now 124,866l.
The same 9d. was charged, with a further sum, on the benefit of survivorship, till the number of survivors should be reduced to seven; and then the share or seventh-part of each of these, as they died, was to revert to the Crown [4 W. & M., c. 3]. Principal 108,100l.; yearly cost now 7,567l.
The Acts of 5 W. & M., 7, 9, 10 and 11 Wm. III and 1 Anne granted two-sevenths of a 9d. per barrel Excise to subscribers, for raising 300,000l. in annuities at 14l. per cent. per annum on one life, 12l. per cent. per annum on two lives, and 10l. per cent. per annum on three lives; this originally involved an annual charge of 37,732l. 4s. 10d. as from 29 September 1694; afterwards the full term of 96 years was given to the purchasers and the reversions of one life were made up to that term, producing an extra 61,229l. 8s.; the contributors of two or three lives did not purchase the remainder and in 1702 565l. per annum was thus fallen in, which, sold at 15 years' purchase, produced 8,475l.; by the death of contributors for two or three lives the annual charge had been abated by 1,662l. 2s. 7d. leaving a present annual charge of 36,070l. 2s. 3d. on a total principal received of 369,704l. 8s. (300,000l., 61,229l. 8s. and 8,475l. as above) [5 & 6 W. & M., c. 20; 6 & 7 W. & M., c. 5; 9 Wm. III, c. 5; 9 Wm. III, c. 24; 11 Wm. III, c. 3; 1 Anne, st. 2, c. 5].
The Act 12 [& 13] Wm. III [c. 12] had charged the same 3,700l. a week with Bankers' annuities at 6l. per cent. per annum redeemable by Parliament on payment of a moiety of the principal. Principal 664,263l.; yearly cost 39,855l. 16s. 0½d.
The Act 4 Anne [& 5] Anne [c. 18] granted one third Additional Customs of Tonnage and Poundage and the third Additional 9d. per barrel Excise for 99 years. Principal 2,885,761l.; term remaining 88¼ years; yearly cost 184,242l. 14s.
The Act 5 Anne [6 Anne, c. 2] granted duties on Low Wines from 23 June 1710 for 96 years; additional duties on Stamped Paper etc. from 31 July 1710 for 96 years; the duty on Hawkers and Pedlars from 23 June 1710 for 96 years; the duty on Sweets etc. from 24 March 1707 for 99 years; and the additional Customs of Tonnage and Poundage granted by 4 [& 5] Anne [c. 18] continued for one more year; the overplus of the Annuity Fund, granted by 4 [& 5] Anne [c. 18] for 99 years. Principal 1,155,000l.; remaining term 89¼ years. Annual cost 72,187l. 10s.
The Act 6 Anne [c. 48] charged one moiety of the old subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage [12 Chas. II, c. 4, continued by 6 Anne, c. 27] from 31 July 1712 for 96 years; the intermediate interest being supplied out of the purchase money and from unappropriated duties. Principal 1,280,000l.; remaining term 90½ years; yearly cost 80,000l.
The Act 8 Anne [c. 12] charged new Excise duties, new duties on Pepper etc. from 6 February 1709/10 for 32 years. Deficiencies to be supplied from the duty on Coals and the Window tax. Principal 900,000l.; term remaining 25¼ years; annual cost 81,000l.
The Acts 1 Geo. I, st. 2, c. 12, c. 19 and c. 21 charged the General or Aggregate Fund, after the interest and allowances to Exchequer bills, and after 120,000l. for the King's Civil Government, with these annuities payable at the Bank of England, at 5l. per cent. per annum redeemable by Parliament. Principal 1,069,000; annual cost 54,600l.
The statement showed for each of the above items the Acts of Parliament which authorized them, the rates of interest or number of years purchase, the nature of the several debts and the revenues which were charged to meet them, the date when granted, how long it was since they were granted and what term remained, how much the principal money was, how much had since been paid off and how much remained unpaid, and what annual sums were at present required (C.J., pp. 497–507).
The yearly payments due on the above amounted to 3,118,448l. 0s. 10½d. (Lotteries 944,249l. 12s., the Bank by annuities 206,501l. 17s. 6d., ditto by Exchequer bills 328,561l. 18s. 6½d., the East India Company 160,000l., the South Sea Company 608,000l. and Annuities 871,134l. 12s. 10d.). This account was ordered to be laid on the Table ‘to be perused by the Members of the House’ (C.J., p. 508).
On March 19 the House resolved itself into Committee to consider the National Debt in the light of this information. Some progress was made and on Saturday, March 23, the Committee's Report was presented in the form of a series of resolutions.
1. All Public Funds redeemable by law which now exceeded 5l. per cent. per annum were to be redeemed or, with the consent of the proprietors, converted into 5l. per cent. annuities redeemable by Parliament.
3. The Bank of England's annuity of 106,501l. 13s. 5d. per annum, payable out of House money (the tax on Houses for Windows), as interest on 1,775,027l. 17s. 10½d. advanced, was likewise to be redeemed or, with the Bank's consent, converted into an annuity, not to exceed 5l. per cent. per annum, redeemable by Parliament.
5. New arrangements were then to be made by the Treasury for circulating Exchequer bills at a rate not exceeding 4½ per cent. per annum for interest, exchanging and circulation, on the security of that part of the Aggregate Fund so redeemed.
10. The proprietors of orders on the said Lottery Acts were, within a limited time, to make their election, either to accept 5l. per cent. per annum annuities redeemable by Parliament out of the General Fund or to be paid so much as remained due to them on their orders.
11. Where the proprietors chose to have their principal, the 5l. per cent. per annum saved thereby was to be made another fund towards answering sums to be advanced, by loans or other securities, towards discharging the said principal.
12. Voluntary subscriptions were to be invited from persons entitled to irredeemable annuities for the residue of the respective terms of 99, 96, 89 or 32 years, to exchange their rights for perpetual annuities, redeemable by Parliament; the holders of the long term annuities might have the option of 19 years' purchase at 4l. per cent. per annum or of 17½ years' purchase at 5l. per cent. per annum; the 32 year annuities might be redeemed at the option of the holders either at 14½ years' purchase at 4l. per cent. per annum or at 13½ years' purchase at 5l. per cent. per annum.
13. All savings upon any of the present funds arising by these proposals were to be applied first to make good deficiencies thereon, if any, and thereafter to the discharge and reduction of the National Debt.
On April 10 Walpole speaking in the House of Commons for the first time since his resignation presented pursuant to Order ‘a Bill for redeeming the Duties on Houses [for windows] and charging the same with a lesser incumbrance; and for redeeming so much of … the Aggregate Fund as related to the present Exchequer Bills; and for circulating Exchequer Bills at a less charge to the Public …’ This Bill was read the first time; on May 6 it was ordered to be read a second time which was done on May 14; the Bill was then committed to a Committee of the whole House (May 14, 20, 22, 24, 31) but on June 6 was superseded by a new Bill to meet the Bank's proposals (C.J. p. 531, 541, 548, 560, 564, 566, 576).
The South Sea Company had asked that their capital stock of 10,000,000l. be increased by 2,000,000l. to 12,000,000l. by subscription or otherwise; the 2,000,000l. to be paid by four equal instalments into the Exchequer to redeem principal and interest on the four Lotteries of 1711 and 1712 and the Annuities of 3l. per cent. payable for the Bankers' debt in Charles II's reign; that the present yearly sums of 600,000l. and 8,000l. payable to the Company in respect of the 10,000,000l. be continued to 24 June 1718 and that for the additional 2,000,000l. an annuity at 5l. per cent. per annum be allowed from the times of payment into the Exchequer until 24 June 1718; that thereafter an annual sum of 600,000l. be payable at 5l. per cent. per annum for the whole 12,000,000l.; that the present duties and revenues, charged with the payments of the 600,000l. and 8,000l., with such duties and revenues as should be redeemed by the new additional 2,000,000l., be continued as a fund for payment of the annuities hereafter payable to the Company, the surplus to be devoted to paying off other national debts; that the sums unpaid, charged on the General Mortgage 1710, part of the Company's present funds, be paid out of the Aggregate Fund, out of savings; that all transfers of the Company's stock be free from any additional duties and that the Company's capital and stock in hand be tax-free; and that, on a year's notice on any quarterday after 24 June 1725 and on payment of the capital sum of 12,000,000l., together with any arrears due, the said annual sums of 600,000l. and 8,000l. be redeemable by Parliament.
The Bank of England had proposed that the original fund of 100,000l. per annum payable to the Bank, in consideration of 1,600,000l. advanced for the Government's service, should remain secured to 1 August 1742 and a year's notice. The Bank would be content to receive an annuity of 88,751l. 7s. 10½d. in lieu of their present annuity; that is to say 5l. per cent. on the principal of 1,775,027l. 17s. 10½d.; with effect from 25 March 1718; subject to redemption by Parliament on a year's notice after 25 March 1723 and repayment of the principal with arrears. With regard to Exchequer bills standing out, amounting to 4,561,025l. principal money or thereabouts, the Bank would accept an annuity at 5l. per cent. for the sum of 2,000,000l. subject to redemption on twelve months' notice after Michaelmas 1722; and for the remainder of the said bills the present allowance of 3l. per cent. per annum, the interest on such bills to be reduced to 1d. per cent. per diem from and after 29 September 1717 and interest to cease while such bills lay at the Exchequer etc.; the said Bills to be redeemable only on 12 months' notice from 29 September 1724 and repayment of principal and arrears; the allowances of 45,000l. and 8,000l. to the Bank for making Exchequer bills specie to continue to 25 March 1718; no more Exchequer bills to be issued, without the Bank's consent, until such redemption be made; the Bank would be willing to advance 2,500,000l. to the public to redeem the Public Funds at 5l. per cent., as might be necessary, before 25 March 1718; the Five-Sevenths Excise, House Money and duties of the Aggregate Fund to be settled to answer these payments, in preference to all others; the Bank to retain its existing privileges, etc.
The Bank also asked for most favourable treatment in the matter of notice of redemption; that the annuities for paying off the lotteries be made transferable and payable in the Bank; and that their privileges be secured and no further duties laid upon them (C.J., pp. 583, 584).
Robert Walpole criticised these proposals, particularly that of the South Sea Company; he was supported by Hutcheson, Hungerford, John Smith and Pulteney; money could be had at 4l. per cent. on good securities and the public should not pay a higher rate of interest than any private man; particular objection was raised to the grant of a term of years; a year's notice of repayment ought to be enough (Parliamentary History, VII, pp. 454–461).
2. From and after 24 June 1718 the Company to receive, by weekly payments, an annual sum of 500,000l., i.e. 5l. per cent. on the said capital stock of 10,000,000l.; together with the present allowance of 8,000l. per annum; until redeemed by Parliament.
3. The duties and revenues now chargeable with the payment to the Company of the present annual sums of 600,000l. and 8,000l. to be continued as the fund to pay the revised annuities of 500,000l. and 8,000l.; any surplus to await the disposition of Parliament.
4. The said annual sums of 500,000l. and 8,000l. to be made redeemable by Parliament upon a year's notice on any quarter-day after 24 June 1723, and upon payment to the Company of the said 10,000,000l. with any arrears of the said annual payments.
6. The Company to advance such further sums up to 2,000,000l. as the Treasury might call for, at any time or times before 24 December 1717, at interest not to exceed 5l. per cent. per annum, such interest to be secured on the surplus of the duties and revenues payable for the present annuities and also on the duties redeemed with the further money so advanced; the moneys so called for, if any, to be applied towards the redemption of principal and interest on the four Lottery Acts of 1711 and 1712 and of the annuities of 3l. per cent. per annum charged on the Hereditary Excise.
8. After that date the said yearly fund to be reduced to 88,751l. 7s. 10½d. being after the rate of 5l. per cent. per annum on 1,775,027l. 17s. 10½d.; redeemable by Parliament, on twelve months' notice after 24 June 1718.
10. An annuity of 100,000l., i.e. 5l. per cent. per annum on 2,000,000l., to be secured to the Bank on its undertaking to deliver up as many of the present Exchequer bills as shall amount to 2,000,000l. to be cancelled; the said 100,000l. to commence from 25 December 1717, redeemable by Parliament, on twelve months' notice and repayment of the said 2,000,000l. and all arrears of the said annuity.
11. For undertaking to circulate, and exchange for ready money on demand, the remainder of the said Exchequer bills, computed to amount to 2,561,025l., the allowance of 3l. per cent. per annum to be continued and secured to the Bank; from and after 25 December 1717 the interest on the said remaining bills to be reduced to 1d. per cent. per diem; no interest to be payable while the said bills should lie in the Exchequer or in the hands of any public officers; the said bills to be redeemable upon a year's notice, after 29 September 1717.
The first six of these resolutions dealing with the South Sea Company's stock were read a second time but postponed; the rest were agreed to and a Bill was ordered to be brought in accordingly; a motion to adjourn consideration of the postponed resolutions was defeated and they in their turn were agreed to, but it was to be an instruction that the Bill should provide ‘That after 24 June 1723 the Principal Money due to the South Sea Company shall be redeemable by payments of not less than one Million at a time’ (C.J., pp. 582–585). (It must be remembered that the Bank was a Whig creation, whereas the South Sea Company was a Tory scheme and therefore at this time less popular.)
On June 8 William Lowndes presented a Bill for redeeming the Bank Funds and for securing the Bank new Funds and Allowances; and for obliging the Bank to advance further sums not exceeding 2,500,000l. at 5l. per cent.; and for other purposes. The Bill was then read a first time (C.J., pp. 588, 589); on June 12 it was read a second time and committed to a Committee of the whole House, by whom it was considered on June 14; it was ordered to be reported on June 17, 19 and 21; on June 21 leave was given to introduce an amendment relating to Sheriffs' accounts. Amendments were read and considered on June 22 and again on June 26 when it was resolved ‘That the Bill do pass’ It received the consent of the Lords 12 July and became law as 3 Geo. I, c. 8, An Act for redeeming several Funds of the Bank of England and for securing to them several New Funds redeemable by Parliament; and for obliging them to advance further sums. (see below, p. xxxvi). (C.J., pp. 591, 594, 596, 598, 602, 607, 623.)
A Bill for redeeming South Sea Funds, now at 6l. per cent. per annum, and settling on the Company a yearly fund at 5l. per cent. per annum and to raise a sum not exceeding 2,000,000l. for an annuity at 5l. per cent. per annum etc. was presented by William Lowndes on June 13, read on June 14 (C.J., pp. 592, 593) and committed to a Committee of the whole House on June 19 (C.J., p. 598). The Committee's amendments were agreed to and a new clause accepted as to the method of giving the statutory notice of redemption; the Bill was then ordered to be engrossed; it was read a third time on June 28 when it was resolved ‘That the Bill do pass’ The House of Lords signified their concurrence on July 12 (C.J., pp. 600, 604, 605, 611, 623). The Bill became law as 3 Geo. I, c. 9 (see below, p. xxxviii).
On June 26 William Lowndes ‘presented to the House, according to Order, a Bill for redeeming the Duties and Revenues which were settled to pay off Principal and Interest on the Orders made forth on Four Lottery Acts, passed in the Ninth and Tenth Years’ of the late Queen's reign; and for redeeming certain annuities payable out of the Hereditary Excise by Stat. 12 & 13 Wm. III, c. 12, p. 24 and for establishing a general yearly fund both for the future payment of redeemable annuities and also to raise money for such proprietors of the said orders as should choose to be paid their principal, and arrears of interest, in ready money; and for making good deficiencies etc. It was then read a first time; on June 27 it was read a second time and committed to a Committee of the whole House, considered in Committee and amended June 28, reported and ordered to be ingrossed on June 29 and on July 1 read a third time, when it was resolved ‘That the Bill do pass’ (C.J., pp. 607, 610, 612, 613, 614). The assent of the House of Lords was notified on July 12 (C.J., p. 622) and the Bill became law as 3 Geo. I, c. 7 (see p. xxxvi).
Thus the credit of the Nation was firmly established on a 5l. per cent. basis; a lower rate had proved impracticable for the time being; but hope of a 4l. per cent. basis was still cherished and the competition between the Bank of England and the South Sea Company was in a few years' time to lead to the ‘South Sea Bubble’ and Walpole's return to the Treasury.
On 27 February 1716/17 some of the Commissioners of Customs presented the usual yearly accounts of prohibited East India goods and of naval stores imported from Russia; these were ordered to be bound up with the other papers of the Session and so are not given in the Journal (C.J., p. 481).
Mr. Lowndes presented the next day an account of the deficiencies of all the Lottery annuities and other funds payable at the Exchequer; these included the funds for the Lottery 1710, for the Class Lottery 1711, for the 10l. Lottery and the Class Lottery 1712, the yearly sum payable to the East India Company, loans on Low Wines 1705 to 24 June 1714, loans on Candles to 1 May 1715, loans on the fourth 2s. Aid, loans on the Hop duties, loans on Malt 1715 and deficiencies on grants 1716; amounting in all to 1,593,767l. 15s. 2¼d. (C.J., pp. 484, 485).
On March 28 ‘Mr. Secretary Stanhope presented to the House the Treaties with the Bishop of Munster, and the Duke of Saxe Gotha, for six Battalions of then Troops taken into His Majesty's Pay’. A translation is given in full. The Bishop was to furnish four battalions of Foot of 525 men each, exclusive of Staff officers; to be employed in the Dutch garrisons to replace those which the States General might send to Great Britain; they were to receive full pay and subsistence according to the Dutch Establishment with effect from 15 January 1716 (N.S.) terminable at three months' notice, with an additional six weeks' payment pursuant to an Establishment annexed, to cover the expense of completing, clothing and furnishing the said battalions; with douceurs has allowed to their own Troops by the States of the United Provinces. The Duke of Saxe Gotha was to furnish two battalions of Foot each of 500 men at present, to be raised to 640 each by 15 January 1716 (N.S.). They were to receive pay and subsistence in the same manner, from the same date, terminable at three months' notice, with pay for ‘two short Marching Months more’; if needed for service in England they would be required to take an Oath of Fidelity to the King and would receive English pay from embarkation to the day of their landing again on the Continent, when they would again be paid as Dutch Foot (C.J., pp. 517–520).
On May 14 ‘Mr. Sloper, from the Pay Office, presented “an Account of the Disposition of the money given for payment of the 6,000 Dutch Troops taken into the King's service during the late Rebellion.”’ Out of the sum of 126,033l. 14s. 9d. voted by Parliament there had been paid 119,949l. 12s. 4d.; the saving of 6,083l. 12s. 5d. had been deducted in the estimate given in for the pay of the six battalions of Munster and Saxe Gotha.
An account of the distribution of the extraordinaries and contingencies for services in North Britain during the late Rebellion amounted to 40,843l. 16s. 10¼d. Full details of both accounts are given in the Commons Journal (C.J., pp. 548–554).
|To 2¼ years Interest, 25 December 1714 to Ladyday 1717 at 6l. per cent. per annum||13,221||9||6|
|(C.J., p. 593.)|
The account of the Public Debts at the Exchequer (C.J., pp. 497–507) and the proposals of the South Sea Company and of the Bank of England for reducing the National Debt (C.J., pp. 583, 584) have already been given on pp. xiii–xvii and xix–xx above.
The estimate of the Ordinary of the Navy was presented by Sir Charles Turner on February 27 (C.J., p. 484) and, as stated above, an estimate of 200,761l. for extra repairs was presented on March 5 (C.J., p. 492).
On March 25 ‘Mr. Merrill from the Secretary at War's Office, attended and, at the Bar, presented to the House an Account of several Services. incurred, and to be incurred’, for the years 1716 and 1717, not provided for, and also an estimate of the charge of the half pay of reduced officers of the Land Forces and Marines for 1717: these were ‘bound up with the other Papers of the Session’ (C.J., p. 513).
On May 27 Mr. Craggs, Secretary at War, presented an estimate of the charge of Half Pay for the officers of the late regiment of Foot commanded by Brig. James Dundas, and Sir James Wood, late in the service of the States General, from 25 April to 24 December 1717. The title was read and the estimate laid on the Table; it was ‘bound up with the other Papers of this Session’ (C.J., p. 570).
|That, for the Extraordinary Works and Repairs of His Majesty's Navy and furnishing such Sea Stores as are necessary, for the year 1717, a sum be granted, not exceeding||200,761||0||0|
|(C.J., p. 494.)|
|That, for the Charge of the Office of Ordnance for Land Service for the year 1717 a sum be granted, not exceeding||73,077||9||3|
|That, for maintaining Guards, Garrisons and other His Majesty's Land Forces, in Great Britain, Jersey and Guernsey, for the year 1717, a sum be granted not exceeding||959,943||1||10½|
|(C.J., p. 492.)|
|That, to enable His Majesty to concert such measures with foreign Princes and States, as may prevent any Charge or Apprehensions from the Designs of Sweden, for the future, a Sum be granted not exceeding||250,000||0||0|
|(C.J., p. 537.)|
|That to enable the Treasurer of the Navy to make good the Payments which in the year ending at Xmas next may be demanded of him to complete the Funds of 608.000l. per annum payable to the South Sea Company, a Sum be granted not exceeding||166,502||5||7¾|
|(C.J., p. 495.)|
on 21 June 1717:
That such Deficiencies as, at the End of any Year, shall appear to be in the Funds of the South Sea Company to answer all the Annuities which are to be payable out of the same, shall be made good, from time to time, out of the Moneys to be raised on the General Fund, to be established in this Session of Parliament, for redeeming the Lottery Orders and Annuities now payable out of the Hereditary Excise or, else by Annuities of Five Pounds per cent., redeemable by Parliament, to be paid, and transferable, at the Bank of England. (fn. 1)
(C.J., p. 600.)
For the two Resolutions of 5 March 1716/17 that loans be accepted for the Public Services up to 600,000l. repayable with interest at 4l. per cent. per annum from the first Aid of the Session and ‘That this House will effectually make good the deficiencies of all Parliamentary Engagements’, see above, p. xii.
That, towards raising the Supply granted … the Sum of 3s. in the 1l. and no more, be raised, in the year 1717, upon all Lands etc. in England, Wales and … Berwick upon Tweed; and that a proportionate cess be laid upon Scotland.
It was ordered that a Bill be brought in, which was done the next day; on March 14 the Bill was committed: on March 20 the Committee was empowered to receive a clause or clauses for calling the Collectors of Land Taxes to account for moneys detained in their hands, and another to transfer to the said Act the deficiency of the loans and interest on the fourth 2s. Aid: also to receive a clause of credit; on March 23 the Committee was empowered to receive a clause for the relief of the owners and tenants of houses in Limehouse lately destroyed by fire; and another to transfer to the Register of the Act all loans made upon the resolution of March 5 (see above, p. xii). On 27 March 1717 the Bill was reported with amendments and certain Commissioners' names were added; on March 28, after a clause for relief of the inhabitants of Limehouse had been negatived and a clause relative to the distribution of 3,000l. among Chaplains of the Fleet during the late War accepted, the Bill was ordered to be engrossed. On April 2 the Bill was read a third time and passed; on April 20 the Lords signified their agreement without amendment and the Royal Assent was accorded that day (C.J., pp. 496, 497, 509, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516–17, 531 [3 Geo. I c. 3]. See Acts of the Session below.)
The Bill was accordingly presented on March 19; on its second reading on March 20 the Committee was empowered to receive a clause transferring to the Register of this Act the deficiencies on the Act to Midsummer 1716, and also to receive a clause of credit. The Bill was further considered in Committee and on instructions from the House various additions were incorporated of a somewhat miscellaneous nature. The Bill was reported to the House, and on June 3, after one amendment (relative to the application of Fire and Candle Money to the towns where the forces were quartered) had been negatived, was ordered to be ingrossed; it was read a third time and passed by the House on June 5; on June 22 the Lords passed the Bill without amendment and the Royal Assent was accorded the same day [3 Geo. I c. 4].
On May 16 the Inspector General of Customs had presented an account of British woollen manufactures exported from England to Germany, Christmas 1702 to Christmas 1716; also an account of ‘Lint-seed’ imported into England, Christmas 1714 to Christmas 1715. These were ‘bound up’ Together with accounts of Irish linen exported and of ‘Hamborough’ Linens re-exported, they were referred the next day to the Committee of Ways and Means and on May 22 the Committee was instructed to consider the laws for laying duties on ‘Lint-seed’ imported (C.J., pp. 555, 558, 563). On June 6 (by the sixteenth and seventeenth resolutions given above on p. xxi of this Introduction) the Committee recommended that both duties be taken off and a clause was inserted accordingly in the Act for redeeming the Lottery Funds, 3 Geo. I, c. 7.
‘Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That so much as will discharge the principal Sum of 61,707l. 3s. 2d. resting unsatisfied on the Low Wine Act, which expired the 24th of June 1714, and the Interest thereof, be raised, for that Purpose upon the Lottery-Funds, and such Annuities as are intended to be redeemed by Parliament, by any Act of this Session, by granting Annuities, not exceeding the Rate of Five Pounds per cent., per annum, for the same, redeemable by Parliament’
‘That so much as will discharge the principal Sum of 314,219l. 11s. 2¼d. resting unsatisfied upon the Duties on Candles, by the Act which expired the First Day of May 1715, and the Interest thereof, be raised, for that Purpose, upon the Lottery Funds, and such Annuities as are intended to be redeemed by Parliament, by any Act of this Session, by granting Annuities, not exceeding the Rate of Five Pounds per cent. per annum for the same, redeemable by Parliament’
‘That so much as will discharge the principal Sum of 577,014l. 16s. 1¼d. to make good Deficiencies of the Supplies granted to his Majesty in the last Session of Parliament, and the Interest thereof, be raised, for that Purpose, upon the Lottery Funds, and such Annuities as are intended to be redeemed by Parliament, by any Act of this Session, by granting Annuities, not exceeding the Rate of Four Pounds per cent. per annum for the same, redeemable by Parliament’.
‘That so much as will discharge the principal Sum of 24,195l. 18s. 2d. resting unsatisfied upon several Bills of Exchange drawn for the Service of the late Expedition to Canada, and the interest thereof, be raised, for that Purpose upon the Lottery Funds, and such Annuities as are intended to be redeemed by Parliament, by any Act of this Session, by granting Annuities, not exceeding the Rate of Four Pounds per cent. per annum for the same, redeemable by Parliament’
‘That a Power be granted to the Commissioners of the Treasury, or Lord High Treasurer for the Time being, for creating an Interest, not exceeding Four Pounds per cent. per annum, upon such Debentures as shall be issued, pursuant to an Act of this Session, for appointing Commissioners to take, examine and state the Debts due to the Army; and for paying the said Interest out of the Funds redeemable by Parliament’.
‘Ordered, That it be an Instruction to the Gentlemen who are ordered to prepare a Bill, or Bills, upon the Resolutions of the House, for Redemption of the Funds, in order to satisfy the National Debts, That they insert a Clause, or Clauses, pursuant to the said Resolutions, this Day agreed unto, in any of the said Bills not yet brought in’ (C.J., pp. 601, 602).
On April 15 leave was given to bring in a Bill for the more easy passing Sheriffs' accounts and an account of the charges of suing out their Patents was ordered; this was presented on May 8 and referred to the Committee on the Bill for more easy passing their accounts; the charge is given as follows:
The Charge taken and received in the Court of Chancery, on account of suing out the Patents of the several Sheriffs of England and Wales that are sued out there, for each. The particulars are as followeth, viz.:
A second Bill for the better enabling Sheriffs to sue out their Patents and pass their accounts was presented on May 30, read on June 3, read a second time and committed on June 5 (C.J., pp. 571, 578, 581). The earlier Bill was read a third time and passed on June 27 as ‘An Act for the better Regulating the Office of Sheriffs; and for ascertaining their Fees …’; the second Bill was likewise read a third time and passed the next day; the Lords signified their assent to both Bills on July 10 and they passed into law as 3 Geo. I, c. 15 and c. 16 (C.J., pp. 609, 610, 611, 622). See Acts of the Session below.
Petitions were presented from widows whose late husbands' estates were forfeited by reason of the 1715 Rebellion; on June 4 from Margaret, Lady Nairn, representing that the estate of Nairn, to which she was sole heiress from her father, Robert, Lord Nairn, was never invested in her late husband except in right of a husband and that by the sequestration thereof she and her numerous family were reduced to want (C.J., p. 579); on June 5 from Margaret, the wife of James, late Earl of Panmure, who asked for such settlements as she would have been entitled to, in case her husband were naturally dead (C.J., p. 581); on June 7 from Margaret, wife of James, late Earl of Southesk, stating that the petitioner had brought her husband a considerable fortune but that, by his attainder, she and her son were reduced to want, from Marion, the wife of James Stirling, late of Keir, in like circumstances with nine young children, from Jane, wife of James, late Lord Drummond, likewise left destitute with four younger children, and from Lady Jane, wife of the late Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn, left with five children (C.J., pp. 586, 587). These cases were dealt with by three Private Acts. See Acts of the Session below.
That the duties on Hides were pressing heavily upon dressers of Spanish leather and others is evidenced by a petition of the previous year (C.J., p. 397) referred to the Committee of Ways and Means on 9 March 1715/16 complaining that shoes were being topped with canvas and ticking; but the chief grievance was the export of oak bark to Ireland, on which petitions were received on 17 and 18 May 1717 from the tanners of Southwark, of the city of Bristol and of the county of Chester, from tanners, curriers and other workers and dealers in leather in Dulverton, Bampton, Tiverton, ‘South Moulton’, Barnstaple, ‘Biddeford’, Torrington, Howlsworthy’ and Stratton in part of the counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, from tanners of hides and skins etc. in the ancient borough of Cirencester, co. Gloucester, from tanners in Exeter Collection, co. Devon, from tanners of hides etc. in the city of Hereford and places adjacent, from tanners and other dealers in leather within the corporation of Liverpool, co. Lancaster, and places adjacent, from tanners of hides and skins etc. of Ross, co. Hereford, from the Aldermen, Stewards and Company of Tanners, in the city of Chester, from tanners of hides and skins etc. in the ancient borough of Tewkesbury, co. Gloucester, from ditto within the corporation of ‘Kendall’, co. Westmorland, and places adjacent, from the curriers and shoemakers of ‘Kendall’, from tanners of hides and skins etc. in the city of Gloucester, in the city and county of Worcester, and in the city of Coventry and town and county of Warwick (C.J., pp. 556–559); these complained that whereas formerly Irish hides had been imported into England to supplement English supplies, now the Irish tanners, paying no duty, were able to supply foreign markets with leather at a lower price, whereas the English tanners had insufficient bark to carry on their trades; they wished the exportation of barks to be prohibited or at least that a duty be laid thereon.
On May 25 Mr. Onslow reported that the Committee had examined the allegations from Southwark, Bristol and Chester and had found on the examination of Joseph Eaton and others, that great prejudices had arisen to the tanning trade of the Kingdom, by reason of the vast quantities of oak-bark of late years exported to Ireland. The Committee found:
That, by such exportation of bark, the importation of raw hides diminishes; for that, now, the vast quantities of raw hides that annually used to be brought into this Kingdom, and tanned here, are mostly manufactured there with the bark they have from Great Britain:
It further appeared that the exportation of bark was increasing annually; and that the importation of raw hides was daily diminishing to the great prejudice not only of the petitioners but of the revenue and of the tanning trade in general.
Malt Duties. 3 Geo. I, c. 4. An Act for continuing the Duties on Malt … for the Service of the Year 1717; and to authorize Allowances to be made to certain Receivers; and to obviate a Doubt concerning Goods imported from the [Channel] Islands …; and to ascertain the Duties upon Sheep-skins …; and to prevent Frauds in the Duties upon Starch; and for making forth Duplicates of Exchequer Bills …; and for inlarging the Time … in several Lotteries; and for preventing Frauds in the Duties on Low Wines.
This Act continued the Malt Acts to 24 June 1718; the duties were to be raised as in former Acts. Provision was made for deficiencies under the previous Act. The clause of loan allowed interest at 5l. per cent. There were included certain miscellaneous provisions: authorizing the Treasury to make allowances to the Receivers of the Land Taxes for extraordinary charges; confirming the rights of the inhabitants of the Channel Islands to import to England goods of their own produce duty-free (but foreign goods so imported from the Islands must pay duty); fixing the duties upon sheep-skins and lamb-skins at 1¼d. lb.; providing that, after 27 May 1717, all hair-powder imported must pay duty as Foreign Starch; and for making out duplicates of Exchequer bills, Lottery tickets and orders, lost, burnt or destroyed; the time was enlarged for adjusting claims on certain lotteries; for preventing frauds in the duties on Low Wines and Spirits carried coastwise, all such wines and spirits must carry with them on pain of forfeiture, a certificate of the Excise officer of their place of origin that duty has been paid.
Lottery Funds Redemption. 3 Geo. I, c. 7. An Act for redeeming the Duties and Revenues which were settled to pay off Principal and Interest on the Orders made forth on Four Lottery Acts passed 9 and 10 Anne; and for redeeming certain Annuities payable on Orders out of the Hereditary Excise … and for establishing a general Yearly Fund … and for making good Deficiencies. …; and for taking off the Duties on Linseed imported and British Linen exported.
The Act redeemed the duties and Revenues settled under the Lottery Acts 9 Anne, c. 6, 9 Anne, c. 16, 10 Anne, c. 18 and 10 Anne, c. 19; also the annuities payable out of the Hereditary Excise by 12 and 13 Wm. III, c. 12. The proprietors of the Lottery orders were offered annuities at 5l. per cent. per annum redeemable by Parliament; alternatively they could have their principal and interest in ready money. The duties settled under the Lottery Acts were to be brought into the Exchequer; the moneys arising after 29 September 1717 were to be appropriated for annuities under this Act to make a general yearly fund of 724,849l. 6s. 101/5d.; any deficiencies were to be made good from the first Aids granted by Parliament. The South Sea Company and the Bank were each to have 5l. per cent. per annum on money to be advanced by them: the Treasury might take in further subscriptions at 5l. per cent. as required for discharging Lottery orders; the Treasury might further issue annuities at 5l. per cent to pay off 61,707l. 3s. 2d. loans on Low Wines and 314,219l. 11s. 2¼d. on Candles.
To make good the Public Supplies of the last Session the Treasury might further issue 577,014l. 16s. 1¼d. in annuities at 4l. per cent. and also 24,195l. 18s. 2d. to meet bills of exchange unsatisfied for the expedition to Canada.
Provision was made for redemption in whole or in part (by parcels of not less than 500,000l.). The excess or surplus of any quarter was to be disposable by Parliament and overplus moneys to be used for discharging national debts incurred before 25 December 1716 as might be appointed by future Acts. There were provisions that the importation of Linseed and exportation of British Linen should both be duty-free.
After moneys lent on the Land Tax up to 600,000l. and other moneys lent on the Malt Duties etc. had been repaid, the balance of all moneys granted during the Session was to be applied to the Public Services (Navy 947,560l. 5s. 3d.; Ordnance 73,027l. 9s. 3d.; Land Forces 1.273,910l. 9s. 6d.; for concerting with Foreign Princes against Sweden 250,000l.; for loss and damage suffered in the Rebellion 5,579l. 15s. 3½d.; to the Navy Treasurer for the South Sea Company 166,502l. 5s. 7¾d.)
3 Geo. I, c. 8. An Act for redeeming several Funds of the … Bank of England . and for securing to them several New Funds . redeemable by Parliament; and for obliging them to Advance further Sums not exceeding 2,500,000l. at 5l. per cent., as shall be found necessary to be Imployed in Lessening the National Debts …; and for continuing certain Provisions for the Expences of [the] Civil Government; and for Payment of Annuities formerly Purchased at 5l. per centum.…
The Act recited 7 Anne, c. 30, whereunder, from Michaelmas 1710, the Bank received an annuity of 106,501l. 13s. 5d. out of the duty on Houses [for Windows] for discharging Exchequer bills, then placed at 1,775,027l. 17s. 10½d. A further sum of 2,500,000l. in Exchequer bills was issued under that Act and 400,000l. more by subsequent Acts. By 12 Anne, c. 11 another 1,200,000l. was to be raised in Exchequer Bills to bear interest at 2d. per cent. per diem; the Bank was to receive 3l. per cent. per annum for circulating the same. By 9 Anne, c. 7 the Bank was to have 45,000l. per annum to exchange Exchequer bills for ready money on demand and by 12 Anne, c. 11 a further 8,000l. was to be paid until no more than 1,900,000l. stood out uncancelled. By 1 Geo. I, st. 2, c. 12 the above allowances of 3l. per cent. per annum for circulating Exchequer bills and of 2d. per cent. per diem for interest, together with the Bank's allowances of 45,000l. and 8,000l. per annum, were all charged on the Aggregate Fund created by that Act.
In lieu of the said annuity of 106,501l. 13s. 5d. under 7 Anne, c. 30 the Bank was now willing, with effect from Midsummer 1718, to accept one of 88,751l. 7s. 10½d., being at the rate of 5l. per cent. per annum on the said sum of 1,775,027l. 17s. 10½d., redeemable at a year's notice and on repayment of the principal sum and all arrears of the annuity outstanding; the Bank would likewise deliver up for cancellation 2,000,000l. in Exchequer bills in return for an annuity of 100,000l. per annum (i.e. 5l. per cent. per annum) from Christmas 1717 and would continue to circulate the balance of approximately 2,561,025l., the present allowance of 3l. per cent. per annum to be reduced to 1d. per cent. per annum as from Christmas 1717, redeemable on a years' notice after Michaelmas 1717 and upon full payment of principal and interest, etc. The Bank would then advance 2,500,000l. towards lessening the national debts at 5l. per cent. per annum. The Act provided accordingly for the continuance of the allowance of 106,501l. 13s. 5d. to 24 June 1718, to be replaced thereafter by an allowance of 88,751l. 7s. 10½d. payable quarterly and redeemable on one year's notice after 24 June 1718; the Bank to be paid so much as was due for interest at 2d. per cent. per diem until the bills for 2,000,000l. were delivered up and so much as at Christmas 1717 should grow due for the 3l. per cent. per annum on such bills as should remain uncancelled and so much as then should quarterly grow on the allowance of 45,000l. and 8,000l. per annum; by Christmas 1717 the Bank was to deliver up Exchequer bills to the value of 2,000,000l. in return for an annuity of 100,000l. subject to redemption on a year's notice; the Bank was to advance not exceeding 2,500,000l. by 25 March 1718 in return for an annuity of 5l. per cent. per annum redeemable on repayment of principal; after 25 December 1717 the interest of 2d. per cent. per diem was to be reduced to 1d. per cent. per diem; for circulating the balance of Exchequer bills, amounting to 2,561,025l. and for exchanging the same for ready money on demand, the Bank was to receive an annuity (at 3l. per cent. per annum) of 76,830l. 15s., redeemable at a year's notice; the said bills were to be circulated until cancelled; the annuities were to be personal estate and free from taxes; the duties on Houses and the Aggregate Fund were to be continued for ever; nevertheless, after redemption of all the annuities etc., they were to be understood to be redeemed by Parliament except for the Two Thirds Subsidy, the Coffee, etc. duties, the additional ditto and the further duties on Calicoes etc., which were needed to answer the 120,000l. for the Civil List, the 54,600l. for 5 per cent. annuities and 4,000l. for the relief of Sheriffs taking out their patents etc. The Bank was to continue a Corporation until the annuities were redeemed.
South Sea Company, 3 Geo. I, c. 9 An Act for Redeeming the Yearly Fund of the South Sea Company (being after the Rate of 6l. per cent. per annum) and settling on the said Company a Yearly Fund after the Rate of 5l. per cent. per annum, redeemable by Parliament; and to Raise for an Annuity … at 5l. per cent. per annum any Sum, not exceeding 2,000,000l., to be imployed in Lessening the National Debts …
The capital stock of the South Sea Company, as augmented by 1 Geo. I, st. 2, c. 21, amounted to 10,000,000l., whereon a yearly fund of 600,000l. was payable, with 8,000l. for management this fund being redeemable at a year's notice, the Company was willing to accept 500,000l. yearly from Midsummer 1718, together with the 8,000l. as before; the Company was to be paid all sums due up to Midsummer 1718; thereafter the yearly sum of 500,000l. would be payable quarterly out of the duties settled by 9 Anne, c. 15, the first payment to be at Michaelmas 1718. Before 24 December 1717 the Company would advance to the Exchequer a sum not exceeding 2,000,000l. whereon 5l. per cent. per annum would be payable; deficiencies to be met out of the General Yearly Fund.
The 2,000,000l. was to be applied to pay off the principal and interest on the four Lottery Funds 9 and 10 Anne and the annuities of 12 Wm. III (see 3, Geo. I, c. 7). On repayment of the 2,000,000l. the annuity would cease.
On a year's notice given at or after 24 June 1723 and repayment of the 10,000,000l. with any sums due on the yearly allowances, the yearly sums of 500,000l. and 8,000l. were to cease. Alternatively, repayment might be made in parcels of not less than 1,000,000l. But though the duties would be redeemed by such repayment the Corporation was to continue for ever.
This Act relieved the Archbishops and Bishops from the responsibility of collecting the revenues assigned by Queen Anne's Bounty for the relief of the Poor Clergy and established from 25 December 1716 one Collector or Receiver of Tenths to be appointed under the Great Seal and to pay the money yearly into the Exchequer.
The Act gave a list of the fees payable by Sheriffs, to be enforced from the first day of Michaelmas Term 1717; Sheriffs' proffers to be revised; allowances to Sheriffs on levying Crown debts; repayment to Sheriffs of the 40l. rewards on the apprehension of criminals; protection for Sheriffs delaying or neglecting to accompt; protection against obstruction and unnecessary attendances in passing accompts; repayment of surplusages; difficulties on death of a Sheriff; provision against selling the office of Under-Sheriff etc.; the oaths to be taken; Sheriffs of Counties Palatine to account in their own counties.
Whereas it was not reasonable to make Sheriffs pay the large fees demanded of them nor yet to deprive the officials and clerks of the several Courts of their reasonable reward; and whereas the whole yearly expense of passing the patents and accompts of the several Sheriffs amounted to 4,000l., a yearly sum of that amount was to be set apart in the Exchequer, from and after Michaelmas 1717, out of such fund as might be charged therewith, to be allowed to Sheriffs for their expenses ranging from 30l. to 150l. (according to a table of charges forming part of the Act) in suing out patents and in passing their accompts and obtaining a quietus for the same.
This Act gave a General Pardon for Treason etc. up to 6 May 1717 subject to exceptions, including those who were in the Pretender's service at that date; those who, having taken part in the Rebellion of 1715, had fled overseas and had returned without licence; those who had held traitorous correspondence with the King's enemies; Army deserters who should not return before 10 September 1717; persons guilty of Treason etc. while holding the King's commission; persons guilty of murder and other felonies and misdemeanours, etc.; persons of the name and clan of Mac-Gregour; persons who on 5 May 1717 were attainted of High Treason (nevertheless, those who had not escaped out of prison, unless specially named in some Act, were to be pardoned and discharged of imprisonment and execution); Robert, Earl of Oxford and Mortimer; Simon, Lord Harcourt; Matthew Prior; Thomas Harley; Arthur Moor; James Duke Crispe; Butler Nodes; Daniel Obryan; William Redmayne; Robert Thompson, late factor to the Viscount of Arbuthnot; Robert Blackburn and his fellow conspirators.
Irish Linen Cloth and Wool. 3 Geo. I, c. 21. An Act for Continuing the Liberty of Exporting Irish Linen Cloth to the British Plantations Duty-free; and for the more effectual Discovery of and Prosecuting such as shall unlawfully export Wool and Woollen manufactures from Ireland. .
Besides the above there were three private Acts (Nos. 18, 19 and 20) to enable the King to make provision for the respective wives and children of James, late Earl of Southesk, James, late Lord Drummond, the late Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn and James Sterling, late of Keir; for Margaret, wife of James, late Earl of Panmure; and for Margaret, Lady Nairn, and her children.
For the Commons Debates of this Session see also Chandler, History and Proceedings of the House of Commons, 1742, Vol. VI, pp. 107–150 and for this period generally, Dr. J. H. Plumb, Sir Robert Walpole, the Making of a Statesman (London, The Cresset Press, 1956), pp. 222–257.