Pages v-xxxi

Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 32, 1718. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1962.

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The previous year had seen friction with Sweden, the fall of Townshend and Walpole, the settlement of the National Debt on a 5l. per cent basis and the collapse of the Impeachment proceedings against the Earl of Oxford. The year 1718 on the other hand is comparatively devoid of incident at home except for a new quarrel between the King and the Prince of Wales over the baptism of the latter's son. The Prince had designed the Duke of York, Bishop of Osnabrück, to be a Godfather, but at the ceremony on 28 November 1717 the Duke of Newcastle stood Godfather with the King, not as a proxy for the Duke of York, but in his own name. The Prince later expressed to Newcastle his resentment, upon report of which the King ordered him first to keep his own apartments but shortly afterwards to quit St. James's, whereupon he withdrew to Albemarle Street; his children remained at St. James's; it was made known that all persons who should go to see the Prince and Princess should forbear coming into the King's presence (Parliamentary History or Cobbett's Parliamentary History, Vol. VII, p. 500, footnote).

After successive prorogations on 15 July, 12 August, 11 September and 9 October 1717 Parliament met again on November 21. The chief controversies were over Army Estimates and the Mutiny Bill. A vain attempt was made to reduce the Land Tax to 2s. The Royal Mint engaged the attention of both Houses; Sir Isaac Newton was faced with the problem of the proper value of the gold coinage against silver and with the need for a new copper coinage. The Session ended early as Parliament was prorogued on 21 March 1717–18.

Lord Stanhope had professed no desire to serve at the Treasury and on 18 March 1717–18 he was able to effect an exchange with the Earl of Sunderland, whereby he became Secretary of State for the Northern Department; Sunderland became First Lord of the Treasury with John Aislabie as Chancellor of the Exchequer; James Craggs the younger became Secretary of State for the Southern Department, replacing Joseph Addison; James, Earl of Berkeley, remained as First Lord of the Admiralty; Christopher Wansford (Lord Castlecomer) succeeded the younger Craggs as Secretary at War; Richard Hampden became Navy Treasurer; the elder Craggs remained as Postmaster General (Basil Williams, The Whig Supremacy (Oxford University Press, 1939) ). Addison was a man of literary gifts but ‘singularly ill-qualified for the rough work of political warfare’ (W. M. Torrens, History of British Cabinets, (W. yH. Allen amp; Co., 1894), Vol. I, p. 160). His successor Craggs was equally unlikely to dispute the supremacy of Sunderland and Stanhope; the Government was in effect a duumvirate, Sunderland to direct Home Affairs and Stanhope for Foreign Policy; unfortunately, both being Peers, Finance was too largely left to others who were to prove unequal to the task. Of the Opposition the displaced Whigs under Walpole proved the more effective half; the Tories were still suspect as Jacobites and ‘honest’ William Shippen's outspoken comments on the King's Speech led to his committal to the Tower during the session.

In foreign affairs a Quadruple Alliance was effected; on 2 August 1718 the Emperor, Great Britain and France became parties to an agreement to which the United Provinces afterwards acceded. Thereunder the Emperor renounced all claims to Spain but was to be granted Sicily in lieu of Sardinia, allotted to Victor Amadeus of Savoy and Piedmont. In spite of an offer of the retrocession of Gibraltar, the King of Spain haughtily refused to surrender his claims to the Emperor's dominions in Italy and the Netherlands or to withdraw his troops from Sicily. Stanhope had negotiated in person at Madrid; his departure thence was the signal for war; the French advanced; on August 11 Admiral Byng destroyed the greater part of the Spanish Fleet at Passaro near Syracuse; in return the goods of English merchants in Spain were seized; but it was not until 17 December 1718 that war with Spain was formally declared.

The Mint

Devaluation of the Guinea

On 12 August 1717, Sir Isaac Newton was instructed by the Treasury to report on the ratio of the values of gold and silver. There was at this time a great demand for silver and silver coin; quantities of silver were being wrought into plate and unworn coin was being melted down for this purpose; there was also a large export of silver chiefly to the East Indies. Newton's opinion was that ‘gold is now become our standard money and silver is a commodity which rises and falls here in price’. He wished the weights of silver coin to be reduced. His suggestions, however, were not acceptable. On 21 December 1717 the Government came to a decision that the value of the guinea was to be reduced by 6d. from 21s. 6d. to 21s. and Newton was told to draw up a table of proportionate reductions. (Sir John Craig, Newton at the Mint (Cambridge University Press, 1946), pp. 102–109; The Mint (same author and publisher, 1953), pp. 215–219). A fuller account of the proceedings in Parliament is given below on pp. xiii–xv.

A Silver Mine in Scotland

In March or April 1716 two Scots brought up to London samples of ore from two veins of silver on Sir John Erskine's property at Alva near Stirling. A German physician, Justus Brandshagen, was sent North to have a look at these mines; after a dangerous voyage to Edinburgh the party spent four months in Scotland and another three in London before delivering a report (Craig, Newton at the Mint, pp. 103–104).

Dr. Brandshagen had first to clear the mine (which had been opened before the 1715 Rising) and to get the furnaces built for assaying. On 2 January 1716–17 in the presence of the Earl of Lauderdale, Haldane of Gleneagles and William Drummond of the Edinburgh Mint the Doctor with Thomas and James Hamilton went to the mine and broke off six several pieces. The ore was in a flat vein between two crusts of spar, part roughly horizontal, part leading steeply downwards; the samples taken varied in breadth from fifteen inches at the junction of the two parts to two inches at the beginning of the ‘sole’. The Doctor found traces of sulphur, arsenic, copper, tin, iron and lead but only the silver was to be regarded as workable (‘Newton Papers’ at the Royal Mint, Vol. III; Treasury Miscellanea Various (T.64), Vol. 235).

Copper Coinage in England

An account of this will be found in Newton at the Mint, pp. 95–101, and in The Mint, pp. 219–222.

The licence to a company to get copper struck by the moneyers ran out in 1701 and for the next sixteen years no halfpence or farthings were issued. In 1713, however, the Government decided to start a new copper coinage. Newton summarised the principles; the total should be spread over a considerable time and limited to the needs of circulation; the coins should be of pure copper; six-sevenths of each issue should be in halfpence; the limit of legal tender should remain at 6d. The first coins made, however, possibly owing to an unauthorized admixture of tin, proved unsatisfactory; operations were suspended and any genuine Queen Anne farthings and doubleheaded halfpence are probably strays from Newton's experiments.

By 1717 the scarcity of copper coins was causing grave inconvenience; tenders were accordingly invited on 30 April 1717 for raw copper fillets, i.e. copper already rolled down to coin thickness. An offer was accepted on August 27 and on September 13 a Royal Warrant authorised the details of coinage. This Warrant authorised Newton as Master and Worker of the Mint to receive fine British copper in bars and fillets, which when heated red hot would spread thin under the hammer without cracking and which should be of a due size or thickness, and out of the same to coin halfpence and farthings at 46 halfpence or 92 farthings to the lb. avoirdupois, small accidental errors excepted; the importers were to receive not more than 18d. per lb. of copper supplied, half in money on receipt of the copper, half in money and ‘scissell’ (the copper left over after the round blanks had been cut); the coins were to bear on the obverse the King's effigy with Georgius Rex and on the reverse a Britannia sitting on a globe, a spear in her left hand and a myrtle in her right, with the inscription Britannia. Provisions were also included for the assay, for the employment and duties of ‘the King's Clerk’, for Audit etc.

In January 1717–18 coinage started and on 15 February 1717–18 new halfpence and farthings bearing the date 1717 began to issue. Difficulties again arose and processes had to be changed. In 1719, after some 6,000l. had been issued, the Treasury suspended operations for a time; presently, however, coinage was resumed and by January 1724–25, on completion of the period of seven years originally agreed, 30,288l. 17s. 2d. had been issued (Calendar of Treasury Papers, 1720–1728, p. 355; T. 1/253/28, pp. 143–146). (fn. 1)

The End of the Tin Affair

A brief account of the Tin Affair will be found in Newton at the Mint, pp. 57–61. Up to the beginning of Queen Anne's reign the royal interests in the Cornish Tin Mines had been leased out but, by a contract between the Queen and the Convention of Tin Miners, it was then agreed that all tin was to be sold to the Queen; each year for seven years she would buy 1,600 tons stannary weight from Cornwall and 50 like tons from Devon: the tin was to be consigned to the care of the three Principal Officers of the Mint, the Master, the Warden, and the Comptroller. The miners were to get, in lieu of their previous rate of 45l. a ton stannary weight a new and greatly enhanced rate of 69l. 10s. per ton (or 70s. a cwt. less tare); a fixed price of 76l. a ton was charged to merchants in England; this was supposed to do no more than cover the first cost and that of transport, handling and clerical expenses; small quantities of tin were sold locally at 73s. or 74s. per cwt. Arrangements were also to be made for sales abroad through Sir Theodore Janssen and others in Holland, Germany and Genoa at 4l. per cwt. avoirdupois.

Unfortunately the amount of tin purchased by the Mint was far in excess of the merchants' demand. In fact little was sold during the first two or three years of the contract because merchants and pewterers had time to provide themselves beforehand at cheaper rates. Nevertheless in 1710 not only was the contract renewed but the Mint actually promised to take an extra 200 tons annually as soon as the War was ended; the rate to the tin-miners, however, was reduced to 65s. a cwt. (besides the Coinage Duties payable to the Receiver General of the Duchy). (fn. 2)

In the new reign the royal rights in tin reverted to the Prince of Wales as Duke of Cornwall; on 1 June 1717 the existing arrangements were terminated, and on July 18 a Treasury Minute ordered that a Warrant be prepared to the several Officers for Tin in Cornwall and Devon that their salaries be allowed them no longer than Midsummer then last past and directing them to bring in their Accounts to be passed (Calendar of Treasury Books, Vol. XXXI, Part II, pp. 30, 31).

The Agents, having received no reply to a previous Representation of August 8, forwarded a further Memorial on December 5. They had then almost completed the despatch of tin and had attended at Truro to settle their accounts but, although since the expiration of the Contract their fatigue had been more than before, they had been unable to secure payment of their salaries (ibidem part II, p. 714). That they eventually received them is evidenced by Anthony Nicoll's Account (A.O. 1/1668/483; ibidem part I, p. cd).

The task of disposing of the accumulated stocks of tin was entrusted to John Francis Fauquiere (or Fauquier) as Warehousekeeper of Tin. Fauquiere, a Director of the Bank of England, had been appointed Deputy Master by Thomas Neale at the close of the seventeenth century and remained under Newton. He died 22 September 1726 (Historical Register, Vol. XI, Chronological Diary, p. 37).

The tin had now to be sold at the best prices obtainable and as appears from Fauquiere's Account (see below, p. ccclxxxv) the rates realised, even allowing for the difference between stannary and merchants' weight, were at best little more than those paid the tinminers, allowing nothing for costs of handling nor for that very serious item, the locking up of capital.


The King's Speech

The King's Speech was delivered into the Lord Chancellor's hands from the throne and read.

The King hoped that the early meeting of Parliament would be both a benefit to the Public and convenience to Members.

Having always at heart the security and ease of his people he had never kept up Troops save for their protection and had taken every opportunity to disband as many as he thought consistent with safety; the Army had been reduced to very near one-half since the beginning of the last Session of Parliament; and lessened to such numbers as to be neither a Burthen to his subjects nor an Encouragement to his Enemies; in spite of all attempts ‘to disturb the Peace of Europe and of these Kingdoms’ he hoped that his good offices to preserve the public Tranquillity had not been altogether unsuccessful.

The Commons must be well pleased to find that their endeavours for lessening the National Debt had, at the same time raised the public Credit; this success must chiefly be attributed to the regard they had shewn to Parliamentary engagements. The extraordinary Supply granted last Session had been so far effectual that they now had a much better Prospect than before; an Account would be laid before them of the very small part thereof which, as yet, had been expended; any further Issues therefrom would also be laid before the House; every part would either be employed for their Service or be saved to the Public. A state of the Deficiencies of the present year, and the several Estimates for the Service of the next, would be laid; which they would find considerably diminished; the King relied on the House making the necessary Provision. Several Arrears of Pay and Subsidy, incurred before his Accession, were claimed by foreign Princes and States; these must be laid, examined and stated; which would much tend to the Nation's Honour and Credit.

The King heartily wished the strengthening of the Protestant Interest; the Church of England, as its main Support and Bulwark, would reap the Benefit of every Advantage accruing by the Union and mutual Charity of all Protestants. He was determined to encourage all those who, with sincere Zeal for the just Rights of the Crown and the Liberties of the People, acted agreeably to the Constitution of his Kingdoms.

The eyes of Europe were upon them at this critical Juncture; it was their Interest and therefore his, that his Endeavours for Peace should take effect, to which end nothing could so much contribute as the Unanimity, Despatch and Vigour of their Resolutions for the Support of his Government (Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. XVIII, hereinafter referred to as C.J., p. 627).

It was resolved to present the usual Address of Thanks; a Committee was appointed to draft the same, from which Lord Hinchinbroke reported on November 22; after an Amendment to safeguard the legal position of the Church of England (described as ‘the Bulwark of the Protestant Interest and the truest Support of the Throne’) had been negatived, the Address was agreed to (C.J., p. 630).

Estimates Laid

No time was lost in agreeing that a Supply be granted and in ordering an Account of Deficiencies on the Grants for 1717 and Estimates for the coming year to be laid before the House; the House was also anxious to consider the State of the Nation, in relation to the National Debt (C.J., p. 631).

On November 28 Admiral Aylmer presented the Ordinary Estimate of the Navy and an Estimate of the Navy Debt as on 30 September 1717; James Craggs, Secretary at War, likewise presented an Estimate of the Charge of the Guards, Garrisons and Land Forces; and William Lowndes a State of the Supplies for 1717 and Accounts of Deficiencies of Funds and Grants. The next day Lowndes presented a State of the Supplies for 1717; the Commissioners of Customs presented at the Bar of the House their statutory annual Return with the Accounts of prohibited East India Goods and Naval Stores imported from Russia; Edward Ashe presented an Estimate of the Charge of the Office of Ordnance. Further Army Accounts were ordered to be laid; this was done on December 2. Details will be found under Accounts and Estimates below (C.J., pp. 631–655).

Strength of the Army: Debate in Committee of Supply

On December 4 the House resolved itself into Committee of Supply. On the Motion for maintaining the Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain for the Year 1718 according to the Estimate, at a total strength of 16,347 men, a great debate arose. The motion was opposed by William Shippen, Sir William Wyndham and Robert Walpole. The last-named complained that the true number of men was still above 18,000, which was a third part more than the Land Forces in Britain formerly maintained in time of Peace; that there was no due proportion either between the number of Horse, Dragoons and Foot, or between the number of the Officers and soldiers; insomuch as out of 8,000l. for the pay of a reduced Regiment, nearly 7,000l. would go to the Officers and 1,000l. only to the private soldiers; that the keeping up so great a number of Officers, was, in effect, the maintaining of an Army almost double of what was intended; that the pay of the General Officers, which amounted to above 20,000l. was a needless and unprecedented expense. To this the Secretary at War answered that the Security of the State was the rule chiefly to be regarded; that the King had in fact consulted not only the safety but likewise the ease of his People; that the number of 18,000 included Chaplains, Surgeons, Officers' widows ‘and such harmless, inoffensive persons’; that there were not much above 4,000 men more now in Great Britain than were kept up after the Peace of Ryswick, a very moderate number ‘considering that the embers of an unnatural Rebellion lately extinguished, were still warm, and the discontents industriously fomented by the enemies of the Government; that Parliament had ever been content merely to fix the numbers of the Forces, leaving to the Crown the manner of reducing and modelling that number, and that it was no less a piece of justice than a matter of prudence to keep up as great a number of Officers as possible, gentlemen who had no other way to subsist and provide for themselves and families’.

Craggs was backed by Aislabie, Hampden, John Smith and others; Sir Joseph Jekyll insisted on keeping up 16,000 men at least one year longer; Sir David Dalrymple urged that in Scotland the discontents ran as high as before the late Rebellion. Walpole, Bromley, Freeman and General Erle on the other hand urged that 12,000 men were sufficient.

As the Question was about to be put, Shippen made a lengthy speech in which he said that the chief argument against a Standing Army was not its expense but that the civil and military power could not long subsist together; a Standing Army in time of Peace must impede the free execution of the Laws of the Land. The fallacy of the reductions had been sufficiently exposed by a gentleman (i.e. Walpole) who was better informed of the secret of this affair than himself and who was equally unafraid of being called a Jacobite. He considered that keeping up the number proposed, so far from being necessary for the protection of His Majesty's good subjects, would be inconsistent with their safety and an excessive burthen upon them; he knew that these assertions interfered with what was laid down in the second paragraph of the King's Speech but that Speech must be considered as the composition and advice of his Ministry; the House was therefore at liberty to debate every proposition therein; a ‘especially those which seemed rather calculated for the Meridian of Germany, than of Great Britain. It was the only infelicity of His Majesty's reign that he was a Stranger to our Language and Constitution’. So long as the Standing Army were continued, so long was the whole Constitution suspended, or at least in the mercy of those that Parliament had armed against it. Several members, and more particularly Nicholas Lechmere who had taken Shippen's words down in writing, took violent offence at the reference to the phrases italicized as ‘a scandalous Invective against the King's person and Government’; after some argument it was decided ‘Tha t the words taken down in writing were spoken by Mr. Shippen’ and Mr. Chairman Farrer was voted out of the Chair. The Speaker having resumed the Chair, Farrer reported from the Committee ‘That Exceptions having been taken to some Words spoken in the Committee by William Shippen, Esquire, a Member of the House, the Committee had directed him to report to the House.

That William Shippen, Esquire, speaking of the King's Speech, said these words ‘That the second Paragraph of the King's Speech seemed rather to be calculated to the Meridian of Germany than Great Britain’ and also ‘That the King is a Stranger to our Language and Constitution’. Thereupon Shippen was heard in his place and withdrew; by 175 voices to 81 it was resolved ‘That the Words spoken by William Shippen, Esq., were highly dishonourable to, and unjustly reflecting on, his Majesty's Person and Government; and it was ordered accordingly that for his said Offence he be committed Prisoner to His Majesty's Tower of London’ (Parliamentary History, pp 506–511 and for a short account of William Shippen, p. 312; C.J., p. 653). He remained in the Tower until the prorogation in March 1717–18. On December 5 a further Debate in Supply arose in the course of which the member for Droitwich, Jeffries, delivered an historical disquisition going back to Richard II. On December 7 the Committee of Supply reported to the House twelve Resolutions to which they had come on the previous day; the First of these, fixing the number of the Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain and the Channel Islands at 16,347 men (including Officers, etc.) only escaped recommittal by 170 voices to 125; the Second and Ninth, dealing respectively with the cost of the said Guards and Garrisons (estimated at 681,618l.) and with the Charge of Half-Pay to reduced Officers of the Land Forces and Marines (130,361l. 5s. 5d.) were recommitted; the remaining Resolutions were agreed to (C.J., p. 655).

On the First Resolution, among others who spoke against it, Sir Thomas Hanmer contrasted the boastings of the Government over the success of their foreign policy, whereby the Empire, France and Holland were all become fast friends and allies of Great Britain, with the language used over any proposed reduction of the Forces, as though the country were in the weakest and most insecure position imaginable. Their situation was their natural protection; the Fleet was their protection; and a good agreement between King and People would be such a protection as none of their enemies could break through. The numbers contained in the Estimates made an Army formidable enough to enslave the nation; out of 32,000 men, 13 Regiments only had been disbanded; so that these were the Corps, now subsisting of more than 25,000 men, which might be filled up to their entire complement at the pleasure of the Government without notice taken. He entertained no doubt of the King's just and gracious intentions but there was a general suspicion interwoven in the Constitution that too much power lodged in the Crown would at sometime or other be abused. Hitherto Englishmen had enjoyed their estates, their lives and their liberties as their rights; it would be a sad change to make them only tenants at will.

On the Second Resolution Walpole again urged that by the method followed the Nation was being put to an extraordinary and needless charge; by reducing the Army in another manner, the full number of Land Forces might be kept up, and yet near 100,000l. saved to the Nation, besides the pay of the General Officers; Sir Joseph Jekyll then declared his opinion for the recommittal, which was carried without dividing.

On December 9 the Second Resolution was reconsidered in Committee; Craggs, Aislabie and others contended that, having agreed to the number of Troops, it was but reasonable for the House to grant the Sum necessary for their maintenance without entering into particulars of the Regiments; to which Walpole replied that the best way for the Commons to acknowledge the King's most gracious intentions was to point out the means of rendering them effectual; he suggested the disbanding or dismounting of eight or nine Regiments of Dragoons; by this and some other reductions a considerable Sum might be saved; as well as by taking off the pay of the General Officers.

Some General Officers, having said That for their own parts, if having no pay could contribute to make the nation easy, they readily acquiesced, were taken at their word. On Question put, That a Sum not exceeding 650,000l. be granted for 16,347 effective men, the same was carried by 172 against 158 (Parliamentary History, pp. 505–523). On December 10 the revised Resolution was reported to the House, read a second time and agreed to (C.J., p. 656).

The Resolution on Half-Pay was reconsidered on 24 January 1717–18; Hutcheson and Walpole insisted that the Officers of the 13 Regiments reduced in Ireland should have been placed on the Irish Establishment; it was agreed to strike off minors under 16, several Warrant Officers, the Officers of the Regiments reduced in Ireland and the Chaplains not provided for. In this way the Government's Estimate was reduced from 130,361l. 5s. 5d. to 115,000l. but the opposite party pressed for 80,000l. only; a compromise suggested by Walpole of 94,000l. was readily accepted; a proposal to supply vacancies in the Guards from Half-Pay Officers was negatived by 164 to 156 (Parliamentary History, p. 535).

The Chairman then reported to the House That the Committee had directed him to move, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, That all Vacancies which shall happen in the Troops upon the British Establishment, be supplied by Half-Pay Officers, or Officers reduced, in Great Britain of the same Rank, except in the Horse and Foot Guards, and Horse Grenadiers.

It was ordered accordingly.

On January 27 the Committee's Resolutions as to Half-Pay were reported and agreed to by the House (see below, pp. xxv–vi).

The fight was resumed over the Mutiny Bill; the ‘Bill for Regulating the Armed Forces’ was presented on 20 January 1717–18 and the ‘Articles of War’ on February 4.

The House on that day resolved itself into Grand Committee under Gyles Erie ‘a Gentleman of bright parts, and equally well versed in civil and military affairs’; it was contended by Walpole and others that a Court-Martial in time of Peace was unknown in England; Lechmere, however, pointed out that the Court of Admiralty was allowed in times of Peace as well as of War: the Clause relating to Mutiny and Desertion was at length agreed to by 247 to 229: on February 12 the engrossed Bill was read a third time and passed by 186 to 105, Walpole voting with the Government. The Mutiny Bill then went to the Lords where on February 12 a further debate ensued. The Bill was then debated in Grand Committee on February 21; it was read a Third Time in the Lords on February 24 and passed by 88 to 61.

The Gold and Silver Coinage

On 21 December 1717 Lowndes presented to the House several Papers relating to the Gold and Silver Coins (C.J., pp. 664–666); these were considered and committed to a Committee of the Whole House (21 December 1717, 13 and 16 January 1717–18); further Accounts were ordered and laid on January 18 (C.J., pp. 666, 668, 669, 671, 674, 681, 682, 690, 695).

The first Paper then presented was a Report by Sir Isaac Newton of 21 September 1711; a lb. Troy of gold, 11 oz. fine, 1 oz. alloy, was cut into 44½ guineas while a lb. Troy of silver, 11 oz. 2 dwt. fine, 18 dwt. alloy, was cut into 62 shillings; according to this, with a guinea at 1l. 1s. 6d., a lb. of fine gold was worth 15 lb. 6 oz. 7 dwt. 5 grains of silver money; but at the normal rate for export of Silver in bullion a guinea would be worth but 1l. 0s. 8d. In Spain on the official coinage basis gold was worth 16 times the value of silver of equal weight and alloy, at which rate the guinea would be worth 22s. 1d.; but in fact this rate kept gold in Spain and Portugal and carried away Spanish silver into all Europe; when a Plate Fleet arrived, the premium was small, but, as silver became scarce, so the premium rose and was most commonly about 6per cent, making the guinea worth 1l. 0s. 9d. In France fine gold was put at 15 times its weight of fine silver, which would value the guinea at 20s.d. On the basis of the ducats which commonly passed in Holland, the guinea was worth 20s.d. In Italy, Germany, Poland and Sweden, a guinea was worth from 20s. 7d. down to 20s. 4d.; in Sweden gold was lowest in proportion to silver, hence silver was abundant there. In China and Japan 1 lb. gold was worth but 9 or 10 lb. in silver; in East India perhaps 12; hence an export of silver from all Europe.

So, by the course of trade, the ratio of fine gold to fine silver was 144/5 or 15 to 1; and silver flowed to those places where its value was lowest in proportion to gold. The demand for exportation had raised the price of exportable silver about 2d. or 3d. an oz. above that of silver in coin and had thereby created a temptation to export: to discourage this, 10d. or 12d. should be taken off the guinea; but, if only 6d. were taken off at present, it would diminish the temptation to export, or melt down, silver coin … If things were let alone till silver money were a little scarcer, the gold would fall of itself; people were already backward to give silver for gold, and would, in a little time refuse to make payments in silver without a premium as now in Spain; this premium would be an abatement in the value of gold; the question was whether gold should be lowered by the Government or left to fall by the want of silver money. Silver in the form of plate was safer from exportation than silver money; therefore Newton was not for coining plate till the temptations to export silver money were diminished. (The original letter and a copy thereof will be found under the Public Record Office reference T.1/208, p. 204 and p. 207 [Nos. 43 and 43a].)

In a second Report of 23 November, Newton gave an Account of all Gold and Silver coined in the last fifteen years. The Graver of the Mint had been hard at work in making embossments and puncheons for the Half-Pence and Farthings. From 1 January 1701–02 to 20 November 1717 there had been coined:

in gold moneys 145,00l lb. 2 oz. (7,127,835l.)
in silver moneys 25,901 lb. 10 oz. 12 dwt. (66,952l.)
in silver moneys from plate 46,156 lb. 11 oz. 2 dwt. (143,086l.)

The plate was brought in for coining in 1709 and 1711; also in 1704, of 4,007 lb. of silver coined, 3,602 lb. 5 oz. 7 dwt. (13,342l.) was from wrought plate, being Prize from the Vigo Expedition; of the 66,952l., 45,732l. was coined from silver extracted from the Country's own lead ore and 21,220l. chiefly out of old plate melted down by Goldsmiths; and some of it from pieces of eight. Gold coinage had been heaviest in 1715 (39,090 lb.); none had been coined in 1704.

The House, according to Order, resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to take into Consideration the State of the Nation in relation to the Gold and Silver Coins of the Kingdom.

Mr. Farrer, the Chairman, reported from the Committee and the House agreed ‘That an Humble Address be presented to His Majesty, That he will be graciously pleased to issue his Royal Proclamation, to forbid all Persons to utter, or receive, any of the pieces of Gold called Guineas, at any greater or higher Rate than One-and-Twenty Shillings for each Guinea; and so proportionably for any greater or lesser Pieces of Coined Gold’ It was further ordered that leave be given to bring in a Bill to take off the Obligation, and Encouragement for coining Guineas for a certain Time (C.J., pp. 665, 666; Parliamentary History, pp. 525–530).

As a result of these measures the Mint dropped 11l. on its small holding of guineas; other Government Departments lost more; owners of gold coins were resentful; there followed a large, though short-lived, export of gold to Holland; the home price of gold rose to 4l. 0s. 6d. and there was some disturbance of the exchanges; the reduction did not apparently lower the price of silver nor bring an ounce of silver to the Mint; in fact silver was hoarded in hopes of a further change in the relative values. The House adjourned from 23 December 1717 to 13 January 1717–18; the Commons on meeting again at once passed a Motion ‘That this House will not alter the Standard of the Gold and Silver Coins of this Kingdom in Fineness, Weight and Denomination’; and it was resolved that the Committee of the Whole House should ‘meet again to consider the State of the Nation, in relation to the Gold and Silver Coinage’ (C.J., p. 668; Parliamentary History, p. 530 footnote). On January 16 the Committee asked for further Accounts to be laid by the Goldsmiths' Company and by the Master of the Mint and that Officers of the Company and of the Mint should attend the House. Accounts of the Charge for Coinage of Gold and Silver from Christmas 1710 to Christmas 1717 were laid accordingly on January 18; on 20 January Chetwynd, from the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, presented an Account of the value of Foreign Coin and Bullion exported from Christmas 1698 to Christmas 1715; this showed East India to be far and away the biggest purchaser. On January 21 the Goldsmiths produced an Account of silver plate of the old and new standards marked at Guildhall 1693 to 1697 and 1714 to 1717–18 respectively; Mr. Carkesse, Secretary to the Commissioners of Customs, presented an Account of the weights of foreign Coin and bullion entered for exportation from Ladyday 1710 to 16 January 1717–18, distinguishing gold from silver; Holland and Ireland were the chief recipients of gold (C.J., pp. 669, 671, 674, 681, and 682).

On January 16 the Bill for taking off the Obligation to coin Guineas was presented and read: it was read a second time the next day; thereafter, though repeatedly considered in Committee, it appears to have made no further progress in the House (C.J., pp. 669, 671, 675, 690, 701, 708, 720, 728, 737). The Committee ‘to consider of Methods for preventing the Waste of the Gold and Silver Coins of the Kingdom’ likewise sat but without apparent effect.

The matter was also debated in the Lords in Grand Committee; Lord Bingley called attention to the prejudice to Trade occasioned by the scarcity of Silver; Lord Stanhope ascribed this to several causes:

1. The increasing luxury in relation to silver plate;

2. The vast exports of bullion and other plate to the East Indies;

3. The clandestine exportation of silver and importation of gold to and from Holland, Germany and other parts.

In 1717 the East India Company had exported near 3,000,000 oz. of silver, far exceeding the imports of bullion in that year. The Administration could not remedy this evil without the interposition of Parliament; the most effectual method had been already used, viz. the lowering the price of gold, which would in great measure have been successful but for the covetousness and malice of those who, by hoarding silver, thought either to make considerable gains, or to distress the Government; so that no fault on this score could be found with the Treasury; on the contrary the public credit never ran so high, since the Government could borrow great sums at 3½ per cent. The Earl of Oxford and others spoke on the occasion but further consideration was postponed to Saturday January 25 when it was resolved ‘That no alteration should be made in the standard of the Gold and Silver Coins of this Kingdom in fineness, weight and denomination’; the Resolution was reported and agreed to by the House and, after the Officers of the Mint and of the Goldsmiths' Company had been examined, it was ordered that a Bill be brought in to prevent the melting down of the Coins of the Kingdom (‘Parliamentary History’, pp. 532–534).

Trade With Sweden

Among other matters discussed in this Session was the re-opening of the Trade with Sweden. On 13 February 1717–18 a Petition of several merchants and shipowners was offered; the House declined to have it brought up on that day but on February 19 it was read; it was resolved to consider the Petition and to hear the Petitioners, if they chose; papers relating to negotiations with the States General were asked for and a Return of Ships taken by the Swedes; further Petitions were received the next day from the Cutlers' Company of Hallamshire, from merchants etc. of Stockton-on-Tees, from the Corporation and traders of Leeds and from ironmongers etc. of Birmingham and of Ipswich, all complaining of the scarcity of iron. The Petitions were heard on February 22 and Mr. Jackson, the Resident at Stockholm, was called in and presented a translation of his Memorial to the Swedish Chancery of 16 July 1714 relative to the detention of British Ships. Kingston-upon-Hull also petitioned (February 24). The House considered the Matter again on February 27 when a debate arose. Resident Jackson attended; he considered that the re-opening of trade might be detrimental as the Swedes, being short of corn and salt, were inclined to facilitate to Great Britain, underhand, the purchase of their iron; one of his expressions aroused resentment but Walpole made excuses for him and he withdrew. The merchants on the other hand contended that they now had to buy iron through the Dutch at 4l. per ton dearer than before; a gain of 50,000l. per annum from the trade with Sweden had been turned into a loss of about 90,000l. James Craggs, however, refused to accept these figures. It was moved that an Address be presented to his Majesty to take into his consideration the State of Trade with Sweden; ‘and that such Measures may be taken, that his Majesty's Subjects, and those of his Allies, may carry on the said Trade in the same Manner’. Craggs represented that this Address would be a reflection on the King and his Government and, on the other hand, would be needless as his Majesty's wisdom would apply all proper remedies to the evil complained of. Sir William Wyndham observed that, the fear of an invasion being removed, it would be no reflection to take off the prohibition; the Swedes had ever been the support of the Protestant interest and a nation which by Treaties Great Britain stood obliged to defend; but, by 201 Votes to 111, it was resolved to adjourn the debate for a month (C.J., pp. 729, 745, 749, 750, 756; Parliamentary History, pp. 548–550).

Export of Bark

On 28 January 1717–18 the shoemakers of Hereford petitioned about the scarcity of leather due to exportation and prayed that the drawback on leather exported be taken off and Irish hides and calfskins be allowed to be brought in. On February 1 a new series of Petitions against the exportation of bark was presented from the tanners of Boston, Cardiff, Southwark, Denbigh, York (city), Lincoln (city), Monmouth (town), Plymouth and ‘Plymton’, Launceston and Newport, Berkley and Wotton-under-Edge, Pembroke, Drayton (co. Salop), Montgomery, Shrewsbury, Grimsby, Reading, ‘Tottness’ and Ashburton, Kendal, Chester, ‘Huntington’ (county), Pembroke (borough), Brecon (county), Leominster, Okehampton, Bristol, Denbigh and Ruthin, Helstone, Carmarthen (county and borough), Ross, Canterbury, Haverfordwest and Lincoln (county); most of these asked that the exportation of bark be prohibited, others prayed for a Duty or for such Relief as the House should deem meet. On February 3 like Petitions were received from Carmarthen, ‘Knutsford Middlewich, and Frodsham’, ‘Stockport, Altringham and Sandbatch’, ‘Namptwich’; and the upper parts of the County of Buckingham; on February 6 from Gloucester (city), ‘Newcastle under Line’ and ‘Yeovill’; on February 8 from Leeds and Wakefield, Newbury, Malmsbury, Tavistock, ‘Winton and Alesford’ [Winchester and Alresford], and Wantage; the Shoemakers of Bridgnorth desired the drawback on leather exported to be taken off and Irish hides and skins to be imported; on February 10 Petitions were received from Leicester (town and county), Monmouth (county), Bedford (corporation), Maidstone, Essex, Bradford, Halifax and Otley, Beverley, ‘Leverpool’ and Preston, Richmond, Middleham and ‘Beadhall’ [Bedale], the West Part of the County of York and Cambridge (town); on February 17 from Cumberland, Andover, Warrington, ‘Presteet and Ormskirke’, Pontefract and Durham (city); on the other side on February 20 the Proprietors and owners of wood in ‘Brathey, Skelwith and Monk Conistone’, in ‘Grisdale, Satterthwaite, Dale Park, Graithwaite, Whaithead, Rusland, Slot Parke, Plumb Green, Finstead and Haverthwaite, in Cartmel Fell in Cartmel and in Great Langdale and Loughrigg, all in North Lancashire or Westmorland, protested that the County produced far more bark than the English tanners could ever use and that most of the Proprietors lands were ‘so mountainous, rocky and barren’ as to produce ‘little besides Wood’; prohibition of importation into Ireland would be their ruin and that of many families of labouring people. On February 27 a further Petition from Suffolk was presented but on March 1 the Corporation of Appleby protested that a law to prevent exportation would result in the Tanners having bark at their own price to the great discouragement of the planting of oak; the inhabitants of Windermere and ‘Undermilbeck’ likewise claimed that the North End of Lancashire and the neighbouring parts of Westmorland produced more oakbark than all the tanners of the country had occasion for. The shoemakers of Ipswich asked for the removal of the drawback on leather exported and that no bark be transported to Ireland. The tanners of Brecon (county borough) presented their Petition on March 7 saying that unless a speedy course were taken their hides and skins would not be worth the tanning in England. The Petitions were allowed to lie on the Table and no action was taken (C.J., pp. 692, 701–704, 706, 717, 720, 721, 722, 723, 735, 745, 755, 758, 762).


On 1 February 1717–18 the King agreed to become a Governor of the South Sea Company (C.J., p. 706).

The proposal to make Exeter into a port for the importation of Irish yarn caused some protest (C.J., p. 707 et seq.). The rights of the button-makers against the tailors were also considered and became a matter for legislation; smuggling and frauds on the Customs aroused attention.

On 10 March 1717–18 it was resolved that Notice be given to the Governor and Company of the Bank of England That this House will, at Ladyday 1719 redeem the Annuity of 76,830l. 15s. payable to them for circulating Exchequer Bills. Notice was given accordingly on March 17 (C.J., pp. 763, 764).

On the same day a Message from the King was received that, having received information from abroad which made him judge that it would give Weight to his Endeavours to secure the Welfare of his Kingdoms and the Tranquillity of Europe, if a Naval Force were employed, he trusted that, in case he should be obliged to exceed the number of men granted for Sea Service, the House at their next Meeting would provide for such Exceeding. The House resolved that an Humble Order be presented, thanking the King for his unwearied Endeavours … to preserve the Tranquillity of Europe and to assure him that the House would make good such Exceedings as, in his Royal Wisdom, he might find necessary (C.J., p. 767).

On 21 March 1716–17, after the King had given his Consent to a number of Bills, Parliament was prorogued (C.J., p. 774).

Accounts and Estimates

Allusion has already been made to these, particularly the Papers laid concerning the Army and the Mint.

The Navy

The Estimate for the Ordinary of the Navy was presented on 28 November 1717 and is ‘bound up with the other papers of the Session’. An Estimate of the Navy Debt on 30 September 1717 showed:

£ s. d. £ s. d.
Wear and Tear: before this Reign:
Freight of tenders and stores delivered into the Yards
446 17 8
Half-Pay to Sea Officers 2,935 15 0
since this Reign:
To discharge all Bills entered on the Course of the Navy
353,189 2 4
Freight of tenders etc. 21,462 6 0
Yards and Rope Yards 293,179 0 0
Half-Pay 26,338 6 3
697,551 7 3
Seamen's Wages: before this Reign:
Men unpaid on the Books of Ships paid off since the Revolution
104,073 6 1
Ships in Sea-Pay on 30 September 1717 8,000 0 0
since this Reign:
Men unpaid on the Books of Ships paid off
19,306 15 4
Ships in Sea-Pay 296,575 0 0
To discharge Bills entered in Course, for pilotage etc. 3,927 8 2
431,882 9 7
Victualling Debt: before this Reign:
Short Allowance
81,810 18 5
Bills in their Course etc. 4,061 5 11
since this Reign:
Short Allowance
12,243 2 9
Bills in their Course etc. 178,688 1 3
276,803 8 4
Sick and Wounded: before this Reign:
Quarters and Cure of Seamen sent ashore; and Contingencies
357 18 8
since this Reign:
ditto; ditto
4,950 14 7
5,308 13 3
total (before this Reign 201,686l. 1s. 9d.; since this reign 1,209,859l. 16s. 8d.) £411,545 18 5


Towards satisfying the above, there was remaining in Money, Tallies and South Sea Stock:

£ s. d. £ s. d.
In the hands of the Executors of Sir Thomas Littleton 10,773 7 2
Less sums certified to have been paid etc. 9,014 5 9
1,759 1 5
In ditto of Charles Cæsar 8,085 18 3
In ditto of James Aislabie 471,381 18
£481,381 18 10¼
Whereof for Wear and Tear 22,046 11
for Seamen's Wages 29,785 0
for Victuals 12,770 17
for such Uses as the Treasury might direct 416,624 8 10
481,226 17 10¼

A similar Statement of Navy Debt as at 31 December 1717 was presented 21 January 1717–18, but contained some mistakes; a corrected Account was accordingly presented on January 29 which showed:

£ s. d.
Wear and Tear 562,039 2 11
Seaman's Wages 334,593 18 8
Victualling Debt 249,178 7 4
Sick and Wounded 6,617 4 5
total (before this Reign 187,774l. 9s. 7d.; since this Reign 964,654l. 3s. 9d.) £1,152,428 13 4
against which:
In the hands of the Executors of Sir Thomas Littleton
1,759 1 5
In ditto of Charles Caesar 9,067 1
In ditto of John Aislabie to 31 December 1717 65,996 17 11
76,823 0
Received to complete the Proportions for the Year 1717 311,517 8 11½
£388,340 9 5
The net Debt was therefore 764,088l. 3s. 11d. The Treasury had directed:
Out of the 400,000l. Annuity Stock:
To be paid the Treasurer of the Ordnance
26,000 0 0
To be paid the Cashier of the South Sea Company 51,081 8
On Wear and Tear: the Course 83,400 0 0
Victualling: the Course 65,518 11 84
£226,000 0 0
And out of Money and Tallies:
For Wages
50,000 0 0
For Sick and Hurt 1,174 18 11
For the Ordinary and Wear and Tear 42,488 0
For the Victualling 6,731 9 11
To redeem the like sum in Tallies on the Land Tax 1716 2,000 0 0
£120,394 8 11½ (fn. 3) [sic]

There was also presented on January 21 an Account of what the Navy Treasurer had received out of Moneys voted for the year 1716 and 1717; amounting to 624,045l. 0s.d. for 1716 and to 1,220,946l. 17s.d. for 1717 together with 188l. 10s.d. and 223,923l. received but unapplied to any particular Head.

£ s. d.
An account of Rebuildings and Extra Repairs to Ships etc. showed:
For Works of the Ships
9,950 6
For completing their Rigging and Stores 1,991 3
For Completing Rigging and Stores of Ships supposed to be in good condition 5,498 10 7
For extra buildings 1,958 3
9,398 4
This was divided among the Yards as follows:
3,580 19 9
Woolwich 2,231 12 3
Chatham 4,457 19 9
Sheerness 305 7 11¾
Portsmouth 6,696 1
Plymouth 2,126 2 11
£19,398 4
(C.J., pp. 633–634, 678–681, 696, 697.)

Accounts and Estimates of Extraordinary Repairs, presented on 12 December 1717 and Accounts of Ships employed, presented 16 January 1717–18 were ‘bound up’ (C.J., pp. 657, 668).

Also ‘bound up’ were Accounts of Naval Stores from Russia (C.J., p. 641); and of the Production of ditto in America with the Premiums paid for such Stores and the quantities of Pitch and Tar imported thence and bought for the Navy (C.J., p. 698).


An Estimate, presented 29 November 1717, of the Charge of the Ordnance for the Year 1718 showed for Land Service:

£ s. d. £ s. d.
The ordinary of the Office 38,835 7 6
The Establishments of Mahon, Gibraltar, Annapolis, Placentia and North Britain 9,962 3 9
Half-Pay of Officers and Chaplain 2,230 1 8
For building Barracks: in North Britain 9,300l.; at Portsmouth 2,000l. 11,300 0 0
For Fortifications: at Mahon 8,000l.; at Gibraltar 2,000l. 10,000 0 0
For Repairs and Barracks at Placentia and Annapolis 1,000 0 0
22,300 0 0
£73,327 12 11
(C.J., p. 641.)


The Army Estimates were presented on 28 November 1717 but the House asked for further Accounts. The Estimates showed:

£ s. d.
For the Land Forces in Great Britain:
Horse: for four Troops of Guards, Two Troops of Grenadier Guards, the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards and three Regiments of Horse (Lumley's, Pitt's and Wade's)
172,018 8 4
Dragoons: for the Royal Regiment of Dragoons and thirteen other Regiments of Dragoons 157,175 1 8
Foot: for three Regiments of Guards and seventeen Regiments of Foot 280,934 8 4
General and Staff Officers; Garrisons; Contingencies 71,490 1 8
£681,618 0 0
For the Forces in the Plantations etc.:
In the Plantations: two Regiments, eight Independent Companies
33,172 8 4
The Garrisons of Annapolis Royal and Placentia 2,593 16 8
In Minorca: the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and three Regiments 51,458 18 4
Officers of the Garrison 6,154 16 3
In Gibraltar: three Regiments 35,633 2 6
Officers of the Garrison 3,749 12
Provisions for Col. Phillips's Regiment at Annapolis and Placentia 1,558 17 1
Provisions for the three Regiments at Gibraltar 13,551 9 5
147,873 0 10½
For Ordnance Stores; Providence and the Bahamas 1,946 0 10½
For Provisions for the Independent Company at Providence 912 10
£150,731 14
(C.J., pp. 635. 636.)

On 30 November 1717 the Secretary at War presented:

An account of the Numbers of Men in each particular Regiment of the Guards and Garrisons;

an Account of the Disposition of 23,929l. 8s.d. granted last Session for General and Staff Officers;

an Estimate of the Charge of such Officers for 1718; an Account of the Disposition of 28,245l. 9s. 2d. granted last Session for Garrisons etc. in Great Britain:

an Account of 2,758l. granted for Fire and Candle, part of the said 28,245l. 9s. 2d.

The Account of the Numbers showed:

Horse 2,071 men; Dragoons 2,898; Foot 11,378; Total 16,347.

On the General and Staff Officers 2931. 14s.d. had been saved; against 23,635l. 14s. 2d. spent in 1717 the Estimate for 1718 amounted to 22,496l. 7s. 6d.; nothing in either year was allowed for the Captain General; the Generals were reduced from three to two; the 5 Lieut. Generals, 6 Major Generals and 11 Brigadiers remained. Of the 28,245l. 9s. 2d. for Garrisons etc. in Great Britain the Abstract showed:

£ s. d.
Berwick 868 15 10
Blackness 665 0 0
Calshot Castle 136 17 6
Carlisle 346 15 0
Chester 456 5 0
Clifford's Fort 109 10 0
Cinq Ports 1,585 10 0
Dumbarton Castle 665 0 0
Edinburgh Castle 1,796 10 0
Gravesend and Tilbury 820 2 6
Guernsey 413 13 4
Hull and the Blockhouse. 868 15 10
Hurst Castle 182 10 0
Holy Island 36 10 0
Jersey Island 401 10 0
Landguard Fort 346 15 0
St. Maws 191 2 6
Pendennis Castle 295 10 0
Plymouth and St. Nicholas Island 2,067 15 10
Portland Castle 130 15 10
Portsmouth 1,334 3 4
Sheerness 911 7 6
Scilly Island 365 0 0
Scarborough Castle 52 10 0
‘Sterlin’ Castle 1,659 12 6
Tynmouth Castle 573 15 0
Tower of London 3,344 9 2
Upnor etc. 492 15 0
Fort William 655 17 6
Windsor 1,328 10 0
North Yarmouth 73 0 0
Isle of Wight 1,750 2 6
Small Payment 560 12 6
Fire and Candle 2,758 0 0
£28,245 9 2
(C.J., pp. 642–650.)

An Account of Land Forces disbanded since the beginning of last Session was also presented; it was ‘ bound up’

On December 4 the Estimates and Accounts were referred to the Committee of Supply (C.J., p. 652).

Accounts relating to Half-Pay Officers and Irish Halt-Fay Officers were presented on 16 December 1717 and on 16 and 21 January 1717–18 but were ‘bound up’ (C.J., pp. 659, 669, 675).

An Estimate of the extraordinary Charge of Chelsea Hospital was presented 25 January 1717–18.

£ s. d.
The Reductions of the Forces would result in a decrease of the Funds of the Hospital (out of the Deduction for Poundage and Day's Pay) of 12,500 0 0
The Disbandment of 1372 Invalids would involve an Addition for their Allowances as Outpensioners of 10,478 11 8
Additional Outpensioners found qualified as such on the Reduction of the Forces, would cost about 2,021 8 4
£25,000 0 0
(C.J., p.689)

A State of Demands of several Foreign Princes for arrears of Subsidies was presented on 17 February 1717–18:

£ s. d.
By the King of Denmark, for an arrear of Subsidy (whereof 48,437l. 10s. to the day of Separation) 75,000 0 0
By the King of Prussia, for arrears for the 8,000 men which served in Italy; at 50,000l. per annum for all pay and extraordinaries 25,000 0 0
By the Landgrave of Hesse, for arrears of the First Subsidy (whereof 7,440l. to the day of Separation) 12,000 0 0
For additional Subsidy to the two Regiments of Horse which served in Italy (whereof 3,000l. to the day of Separation) 15,000 0 0
total (whereof 58,877l. 10s. to the day of Separation) £127,000 0 0

There were other claims from the King of Portugal and the States General.

Similar demands for arrears of Pay:

£ s d £ s. d.
By the King of Prussia for his 5,000 men 12,883 13 5
by ditto, for his Troops of Augmentation, to the day of Separation, and march money 14,095 4 8
by ditto, for agio, bread and forage for the 12,000 men under Count Lottum 24,358 4 0
51,337 2 1
By the Landgrave of Hesse, for an arrear to the day of Separation, march money and notice money 37,944 0 0
By the Duke of Saxe Gotha, for arrears, extraordinaries and notice money 12,253 11 4
£101,534 13 5
The Grisons had likewise a demand for a Regiment which served in Spain:and there were other demands for Extraordinaries.
(C.J., pp. 736, 737.)

Deficiencies etc.

Accounts of the Navy Debt have been noted above.

On 28 November 1717 William Lowndes presented a State of the Supplies for the Year 1717; this showed:

Navy: granted 947,560l. 5s 3d., Paid 610,042l. 16s.d.; remains 337,517l. 8s. 11¼d.

Ordnance: granted 73,077l. 9s. 3d.; paid 38,000*. 0s. 0d.; remains 35,077l. 9s. 3d.

Army etc.: granted 1,273,910l. 9s. 6d.; paid 1,039,476l. 18s.d.; remains 234,433l. 10l.d.

To enable the King to concert Measures with Foreign Princes [against Sweden]: granted 250,000l. 0s. 0d.; paid 3,000l. 0s. Od.; remains 247,000l. 0s. 0d.

To the Navy Treasurer to make good the South Sea Company's Fund: granted 166,502l. 5s.d.; paid 43,490l. 17s.d.; remains 123,011l. 8s.d.

The Commissioners of Army Debts: granted 6,500l. 0s. 0d.; paid 3,250l. 0s. 0d.; remains 3,250l. 0s. 0d.

To make good losses and damages by Riots: granted 5,579l. 15s.d.; paid 5,579l. 15s.d.; remains nil.

Total: granted 2,723,130l. 4s. 11¾d.; paid 1,742,840l. 7s. 11¼d.; remains 980,289l. 17s. 0d.

(C.J., p. 637, 640.)

An Account of the Deficiencies of the Grants for the Year 1717 showed:

£ s. d. £ s. d.
Supplies granted in Parliament:
The Land Tax
1,410,000 0 0
The Malt Act ultra 143,494l. 10s. 1d. transferred 556,505 9 11
1,966,505 9 11
The Produce of the Funds for the South Sea Company over and above the Sum estimated, about 107,211 8
£2,073,716 18
Against which:
The Navy
947,560 5 3
The Ordnance 73,077 9 3
The Army etc. 1,273,910 9 6
To concert measures with Foreign Princes against Sweden 250,000 0 0
To make good losses etc. by Riots 5,579 15
To the Navy Treasurer to make good the South Sea Company's Fund 166,502 5
To the Commissioners of Army Debts 6,500 0 0
£2,723,130 4 11¼
Deficiency of the Grants £649,413 6 11
(C.J., p. 638.)

Deficiencies of several Funds payable at the Exchequer:

£ s. d.
Deficiencies of several Funds payable at the Exchequer:
On the 135,000l. per annum for the Lottery 1710
174,138 0 0
On the 160,000l. per annum to the East India Company 123,490 14
On the Duty on Hops, besides Interest 8,590 16
On the Loans on Malt 1716, ditto 92,063 7 0
£398,282 18 6
(C.J., p. 639.)


The Accounts of Bullion exported etc. have been mentioned above (C.J., pp. 674, 681, 682).

East India Company

On 21 January 1717–18 Sir Charles Cooke from the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations presented a Copy of a Representation to the King relating to the East India Company's Exports; this showed:

For the years Michaelmas 1702 to April 1708 388,083l. 8s. 9d. in goods and 1,733,169l. 7s. 1d. in gold and silver; total 2,121,252l. 15s. 10d.

For the years April 1708 to Michaelmas 1714 738,691l. 8s. 6d. in goods and 2,025,824l. 10s. 5d. in gold and silver; total 2,764,515l. 18s. 11d.

Total for 12 years: in goods 1,126,774l. 17s. 3d.; in gold and silver 3,758,993l. 17s. 6d.; total 4,885,768l. 14s. 9d.

Yearly average for 12 years: in goods 93,897l. 18s.d.; in gold and silver 313,249l. 9s.d.; total 407,147l. 7s. 10¾d.

Of the Manufactures exported the bulk was of broadcloths etc., with 64,166l. of lead, 10,859l. 13s. 5d. of tin and 189,044l. 9s. 7d. of iron, stores and charges.

(C.J., p. 676, 677.)


On 27 November 1717 it was resolved ‘That a Supply be granted to his Majesty’; the House asked for Accounts and Estimates accordingly (C.J., p. 631).

The Estimates having been duly presented the Committee of Supply sat on December 2 to consider the Ordinary Estimate of the Navy (C.J., p. 651) and reported next day when the House agreed to the Committee's Resolutions:

£ s. d. £ s. d.
That 10,000 Men be allowed for Sea Service for the Year 1718, beginning from 1 January 1717–18, That, for maintaining the 10,000 men for 13 months, including the Ordnance for Sea Service, a Sum be allowed not exceeding 4l. per Man per Month 520,000 0 0
That, for the Ordinary of the Navy for the Year 1718, including Half-Pay, a Sum be granted not exceeding 224,857 14 11
Accounts and Estimates of Extraordinary Repairs having been presented on 12 December 1717, the House on 31 January 1717–18 agreed to the following Resolution of the Committee of Supply (C.J., p. 700):
That for the extra Repairs of the Navy for the Year 1718 a Sum be granted not exceeding
165,317 0 0
910,174 14 11
In accordance with Edward Ashe's Estimate presented on 29 November 1717, the House on December 7 agreed to the Committee's Resolution No. 10 (C.J., p. 655):
£ s. d.
That, for the Charge of the Office of Ordnance for Land Service for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 73,327 12 11
The fight over the Army Estimates, presented 28 November 1717 has already been described; on December 7 the Committee of Supply reported twelve Resolutions of which the first nine dealt with the Army:
1. That the Number of effective Men … for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Jersey and Guernsey, for the Year 1718 be 16,347 including Commission and Non-Commission Officers.
The House agreed to this only on a Division.
2. That, for defraying the Charge of the said 16,347 … Men … for the year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 681,618l. 0s. 0d.
The House recommitted this Resolution.
3. That, for maintaining the Guards and Garrisons in America for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 35,766 5 0
This and the following five Resolutions were agreed to.
4. That, for maintaining the Forces and Garrison in Minorca, for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding
57,613 14 7
5. That, for ditto in Gibraltar, for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 39,382 14
6. That, for Provisions for the Garrison in Gibraltar for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 13,551 9 5
7. That, for Provisions for the Garrisons at Placentia and Annapolis, for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 1,558 17 1
8. That, for Ordnance Stores, and Provisions, for the Independent Company in the Islands of Bahama and Providence, for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 2,858 13 10
But the next Resolution was recommitted:
9. That, for the Charge of Half-Pay to the reduced Officers of the Land Forces, and Marines, for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 130,361l. 5s. 5d.
The Second and Ninth Resolutions having been further considered and on December 10 the House agreed to a revised Resolution (C.J., p. 656):
£ s. d.
That, for defraying the Charge of 16,347 effective Men for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, Jersey and Guernsey, for the Year 1718, a Sum be granted not exceeding 650,000 0 0
and on 27 January 1717–18 to the following relating to Half-Pay (C.J., p. 692):
That, no Person shall be intitled to Half-Pay who was a, Minor, under the Age of 16 Years when his Regiment, Troop or Company was reduced;
That no Person shall be intitled to Half-Pay except such Persons who did actual Service in Some Regiment etc.;
That no Person having any other Place or Employment of Profit, Civil or Military, under his Majesty, shall be intitled to Half-Pay;
That no Chaplain … who has any Ecclesiastical Benefice or other Preferment in Great Britain or Ireland, shall be intitled to Half-Pay;
That no Person shall be intitled to Half-Pay who has resigned his Commission and has had no Commission since;
That no Half-Pay shall be allowed to any Person, by virtue of any Warrant or Appointment, except to such Persons who would have been otherwise intitled thereto as reduced Officers;
That Half-Pay shall not be allowed to … Officers of the … Regiments … lately disbanded in Ireland, except to such as were taken off the Establishment of Half-Pay in Great Britain;
That, for Half-Pay to reduced Officers of the Land Forces and Marines, for the Year 1718, upon Account, a Sum be granted not exceeding
94,000 0 0
On 31 January 1717–18, in accordance with the Estimate presented on January 25, the House agreed to a further Resolution of the Committee relating to Chelsea Hospital (C.J., p. 700):
That, for the extraordinary Charge of the Royal Hospital, and Outpensioners, for the Year 1718, over and above the Poundage and Day's Pay, a Sum be granted not exceeding
25,000 0 0
919,731 14

Deficiencies and South Sea Company

The last two of the Twelve Resolutions of 7 December (C.J., p. 655) were agreed to by the House:

£ s. d. £ s. d.
That, to enable the Treasurer of the Navy to make good the Payments, which at or before 24 June 1718, may be demanded of him,… for completing the … 608,000l. per annum payable to the South Sea Company, a Sum be granted not exceeding 29,645 8
That to make good the Deficiency of the Grants for the Year 1717, a Sum be granted not exceeding 581,196 8 0
610,841 16
To these Sums the Treasury Yearly Account adds certain Statutory Charges:
Unsatisfied Loans
86,173 11 7
The Commissioners for Army Debts 6,500 0 0
The Commissioners of Equivalent for two years 7,960 0 0
100,633 11 7
Total £2,614,709 10 10¾

Provision had also to be made out of the Income by Forfeitures for allowances to the Families of persons whose Estates had been forfeited, for the salaries and expenses of the Commissioners, for charges of Prosecutions and for Schools to be erected and maintained in the Highlands.

Ways and Means

A Land Tax Bill was ordered on 12 December 1717, read December 13 and read a Second time and committed December 14; it was ordered to be Reported on December 16, Reported and ordered to be engrossed on December 17; read a Third time and passed on December 19; it was agreed to by the Lords and received the Royal Assent on December 23 (C.J., pp. 657, 658, 659, 661, 667). In spite of an attempt to secure a reduction to 2s. in the 1l., the rate remained at 3s. [4 Geo. I, c. 1],

The Malt Duties Bill was ordered 16 January, 1717–18, read January 17, read a Second time and committed January 18, 22, 27, 31, February 5, ordered to be reported February 10; reported, read a Second time and ordered to be ingrossed February 11; read a Third time and passed and agreed to by the Lords, February 19 [4 Geo. I, c. 3]. (C.J., pp. 669, 671, 672, 684, 692, 701, 716, 724, 725, 743.)

On January 18 there were referred to the Committee a Petition from the Merchants and Traders of Bristol, complaining that Exporters of Cyder had been compelled to pay Duty on their Exports, likewise a Petition from Dealers in English Bone-lace who protested against being classed as Hawkers and Pedlars (C.J., p. 670); the Committee was empowered to receive a Clause for the Petitioners' relief, also a Clause of Credit and a Clause for renewing Exchequer Bills etc. lost, burnt or destroyed; on January 21, however the Committee was discharged from consideration of the Petition from the Dealers in Bone-lace which was referred to a specially constituted Committee who reported in the Petitioners' favour on January 23 (C.J., pp. 675, 685).

On January 31 the Committee on the Malt Duties Bill was instructed to consider a Petition of the Maltsters of Bridport, who complained that they were being undersold by their neighbours; on February 3 a similar Petition was referred to the Committee from Basingstoke (C.J., pp. 701, 707).

According to the Treasury Yearly Account (p. xciv below) the Land Tax was estimated to yield 1,410,000l., the Malt Duties to raise 700,000l.; thus against grants in Supply etc. of 2,614,709l. 10s. 10¾d., the Revenue granted in Ways and Means amounted only to 2,110,000l., leaving an Estimated deficit of 504,709l. 10s. 10¾d.

Some Acts of the Session

Land Tax. 4 Geo. I, c. 1. An Act for granting an Aid … by a Land Tax … in Great Britain for the Service of the Year 1718.

This Act provided for raising 1,529,514l. 3s.d. in Great Britain whereof 1,493,548l. 12s. 4d. in England. Personal Estates etc. to pay 3s. in the 1l. Clause of Loan at 5l. per cent.

South Sea Company. 4 Geo. I, c. 2. An Act to enable his Majesty to be Governors of the South Sea Company.

To vote by the Sub-Governor or Deputy Governor acting under Royal Warrant. On receipt of a Message from the King on February 1 the Bill was passed through all its stages in the Commons on the same day and received the Royal Assent on February 3 (C.J., pp. 706, 708).

Malt Duties. 4 Geo. I, c. 3. An Act for continuing the Duties on Malt … for the Service of the Year 1718 … and for appropriating the Supplies.

This Act continued the Malt Acts to 24 June 1719. Clause of Loan at 5l. per cent. The Principal Sums lent on the Malt Act 1716 were directed to be paid out of the first moneys advanced under this Act.

Appropriation, after repayment of Loans on the Land Tax, Malt Duties etc., of all the Money granted in this Session:

£ s. d.
Navy 744,857 14 11
Ordnance 73,327 12 11
Land Forces 919,731 14
Deficiencies 581,196 8 0
To the Navy Treasurer, to make up the South Sea Company's Fund 29,645 8

with a Saving for the South Sea Company, for the Commissioners of Army Accounts and for the Commissioners of Equivalent.

New Churches. 4 Geo. I, c. 5. An Act for finishing the Tower of the Parish Church of St. Michael Cornhill, London, out of the Duties … for building Fifty New Churches.

The Act arose from a Petition presented on 25 January 1717–18 (C.J., p. 688) on which a Committee reported on February 1 (C.J., p. 704). The Bill was presented and read a first time on February 3, read a second time and committed on February 8, ordered to be reported on February 10, reported and ordered to be engrossed on February 11, passed by the Commons on February 14 and agreed to by the Lords on February 25 (C.J., pp. 708, 721, 724, 725, 731, 753).

Bone-lace. 4 Geo. I, c. 6. An Act for the Relief of the Wholesale Traders … in English Bone-lace, by obviating several Doubts in the several Acts for licensing Hawkers and Pedlars. Such Traders need not be licensed.

The Petition presented on 17 January 1717–18 was referred first to the Committee of Ways and Means considering the Malt Duties but later to a special Committee; the Bill was presented on January 24, read a second time and committed on January 27, reported and ordered to be engrossed on February 1, read a third time and passed on February 3; it was returned from the Lords on February 27 with a slight amendment, to which the Commons agreed the next day (C.J., pp. 670, 672, 675, 687, 691, 706, 708, 756, 757).

Buttons and Button-holes. 4 Geo. I, c. 7. An Act for making more Effectual an Act [8 Anne c. 11].

The object of these Acts was to encourage the use of Mohair and Raw Silk by the prohibition of buttons or button-holes made of, or used, or bound with cloth etc. There were Petitions from various button and button-hole makers that the provisions of the earlier Act were being evaded. (C.J., pp. 675, 676, et seq.).

Forfeited Estates, Trustees for the Sale of. 4 Geo. I, c. 8. An Act for vesting the Forfeited Estates in Trustees to be sold for the Publick. …

Estates vested in the King for the use of the Public under 1 Geo. I, st. 2, c. 50 and 3 Geo. I, c. 20 were to be vested in Commissioners and after 25 March 1718 were to be sold to Protestants; a sum of 20,000l, was appropriated for erecting Schools in the Highlands and the remainder, after payment of allowances to the families of forfeiting Persons etc. and of the salaries etc. of the Commissioners, was to be applied for discharging the Public Debts. In the course of Debates in the Lords on the Bill on 4, 5, and 11 March 1717–18 (see Parliamentary History, pp. 550–554) it was objected that by making the determination of the Trustees final the Bill set aside the Courts of Judicature in North Britain and even the authority of the House of Peers as Supreme Judges in all Civil Causes; also that the Public would get little or nothing by the Forfeitures. The Commons were in some fear that the Lords might seek to amend a Money Bill, but eventually the Bill was passed by 82 to 76.

Commissioners of Public Debts. 4 Geo. I, c. 9. An Act to appoint Commissioners to take … the Debts due to the Army; and to examine … the Demands of … Foreign Princes.

This Act continues 1 Geo. I, st 2, c. 24 and 3 Geo. I, c. 17. The demands related to Troops which after 6 July 1712 had refused to separate themselves with the Duke of Ormonde but had continued with the Allies.

Dividends on Annuities. 4 Geo. I, c. 10. An Act for making the Divident of Subscribed Lottery Annuities … payable half yearly at the Bank of England.

This substituted half yearly for the quarterly payments under 3 Geo. I, c. 7. The closing of the transfer-books for some two-thirds of the year to adjust the shares and to make out the dividend warrants was causing grave inconvenience (C.J., p. 683, 695)

New Churches. 4 Geo. I, c. 14. An Act to impower the Commissioners … for building Fifty New Churches to direct the Parish Church of St. Giles in the Fields to be rebuilt instead of one of the said … Churches….

This was a controversial measure (see C. J., pp. 698, 704–705, 715–716, 723, 731–732, 736, 763).

The late Dr. Shaw's Work on the Treasury Calendars

This volume is the last of this Series for which the text was prepared by the late Dr. Shaw. A brief account of his official work by the then Deputy Keeper of the Records was inserted in Volume XX, part I; the following is an attempt to survey more particularly the scope of his Introductions.

When in 1895 Dr. Shaw came as an Editor to the Public Record Office, Joseph Redington, a former Assistant Keeper, who retired on 31 December 1891, had already prepared a Calendar of Treasury Papers from 1556–7 to 1728; these were published in six volumes between 1868 and 1889 but covered only the Treasury Board Papers (T.1) of which a general description appears in the Introduction to the first volume. Dr. Shaw obtained the then Deputy Keeper's approval for a more extended Calendar to cover other Treasury Records. An explanation of the nature of, and reasons for, this change appeared in the Introduction to Dr. Shaw's first volume of the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers, which was published in 1897 and covered the period 1729–30. He concluded that a correct impression of the functioning of the Treasury required knowledge of the decisions of the Board to be found in the Treasury Minute Books (T.29); again much of the work of the Department never appeared in the Board papers, but must be gathered from other Classes, such as the Money Books (Warrants relating to Money, T.53), Order Books (T.60), and Disposition Books (T.61). The chief Classes judged unsuitable for the new Calendar were the records, preserved among those of the Treasury, of such extraneous bodies as the Royal African Company (fn. 4) or of temporary and expired Commissions and also the various series of Revenue and Establishment Books, which were mere books of account.

Between 1895 and 1903 five volumes of these Calendars of Treasury Books and Papers were published; Dr. Shaw's Introductions to Volumes I, III and IV were directed to the examination of Treasury method in the discharge of the Department's main executive function, the issue of money out of the National Exchequer; in his last volume, however, he dealt with the question of Treasury control over the preparation of the National Estimates.

It was originally intended to continue the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers to the death of George II, but after the series had been carried to 1745 it was decided to go back to the Restoration and to complete Redington's Calendar for the years 1660 to 1728 by a Calendar of Treasury Books. The first volume of this new series appeared in 1904; it covered the years 1660–1667 prior to the keeping of a regular Minute Book. The Introduction dealt with the financial situation on the King's return and drew upon the Statutes and the Journals of the House of Commons; no attempt was made systematically to abstract the Declared Accounts but the second and last Account of James Nelthorpe and John Lawson, Commissioners for disbanding the Army (A.O.1/47/8), (fn. 5) will be found on pp. x, xi. Tables of (A) Annual Receipts from the Fixed and Hereditary Revenues of the Crown, of (B) Annual Revenue derived from Extraordinary Parliamentary Grants, of (C) the National Expenditure, and of (D) Yearly Payments into the Exchequer and Yearly Expenditure, together with (E) An abstract of the actual as compared with the estimated yield of the King's hereditary revenue, are given on pp. xxx–xxxiv. As explained in Volume II, p. xiii, these tables were calculated largely from the half-yearly Declarations of Accounts, drawn up by the Auditor of the Receipt and the Clerk of the Pells (both forming part of E.405); fair copies of these Declarations were submitted to the Treasury (T.33 and T.34); there are thus four possible sources of information but for some years about this time no Declarations at all exist. (fn. 6) The next volume for 1667–1668 appeared in 1905 and again gave on pp. xii and xv Statements of Income and Expenditure; in the absence of half-yearly Declarations Dr. Shaw had recourse to the Pells Issue Book (part of E.403); several Declared Accounts were given in a highly summarised form on pp. xvi–xxxiii. In this volume Dr. Shaw also devoted several pages (xxxiv–lxxxvi) to the Parliamentary Commission of Accounts.

In Volume III, part I (1908) Dr. Shaw carried the story up to the ‘Stop of the Exchequer’ in 1672; again he found the Declarations very defective, which led him to give further details from the Declared Accounts on pp. xv–xv; similar statements were included in Volume IV (1909) on pp. xx–xxxv, together with details of pensions etc. on pp. xlvii–lii and in Volume V, part I (1911) on pp. xi–xxxiv (this Volume also contains on pp. liv–lx details of the Forces and the Garrisons in 1678); again in Volume VII, part 1 (1916) on pp. xli–lxxxviii, covering the period from 1679 to the death of Charles I; and in Volume VIII, part 1 (1923) on pp. xxvi–xciii, for the reign of James II.

With the accession of William III the Treasury Yearly Accounts (Treasury Accounts, General, Yearly, T.30) began and Dr. Shaw's Introductions took on a new form; the Accounts formed a separate part of the Introduction and were no longer embodied in his general survey. Thenceforward this became the invariable plan. The Introduction to Volume IX, part I (1931), which covered also the period of Volume X, devoted pp. xvi–cx to Parliamentary Proceedings for fixing the King's Ordinary Revenue, pp. cx–cli to the Provision of Supply for War purposes, pp. cli–clxxiv to the Commission on the Public Accounts, pp. clxxiv–cxcvi to Appropriations of Supply and pp. cxcvi–cci to a financial summary of the first seven years of William's reign. The Accounts of Revenue and Expenditure and the Declared Accounts followed (pp. ccii–cccxiv); and a short conclusion ended this Introduction. There is one Introduction only in a separate volume to Volumes XI–XVII (1934), embracing the second half of the reign of William III; a Table of Contents is given; the subjects dealt with on pp. v–ccxxiv include the Civil List, the Land Bank Project Deficiencies, the Great Recoinage of 1696, Exchequer Bills, the Public Accounts Commission, Annuities and Lotteries and the National Debt. The Revenue and Expenditure Accounts are given on pp. ccxxvi–cccxxv and the Declared Accounts on pp. ccccxxvi–dciv.

Each volume, however, for Queen Anne's reign has a separate Introduction; in Volume XIX (1936) will be found details of the provision for the Queen's Civil List, of funds for meeting deficiencies and of provision for the War; the Accounts, covering one year only, take up pp. xlviii–cxcii. In Volume XX (which, owing to Dr. Shaw's death, to the War of 1939–44, and to subsequent printing difficulties, was not published until 1952), details were given of the Agreements with Foreign Princes, without which the Declared Accounts of the Army would be unintelligible; the Accounts cover pp. lxvi–cccxxxviii; in this and subsequent volumes the Introductory matter, including the Accounts, has been published in separate Parts, which can be studied independently of the Calendar proper. Volume XXI (1952) gave details of Supply and Ways and Means etc. in 1705. As by this time the Introductions were lagging behind the Text of the Calendar Dr. Shaw decided to include two year's Accounts in Volume XXII (1952) but his Introduction dealt with, the year 1707 only and his account of the financial basis of the Union of the Kingdoms was deferred to Volume XXV; Volume XXIII (1949) gave further agreements with Foreign Princes; Volume XXIV (1952) described Godolphin's dismissal and Volume XXV, the last volume for which Dr. Shaw had prepared an Introduction, not only dealt, as stated above, with the financial basis of the Union, but brought the history of Queen Anne's finances down to the South Sea Company Act of Robert Harley.

The necessity for the continuance in some form of the Introductions has been explained in Vol. XXVI, part I. The present Editor's object has been not to summarize nor to give any account of the records abstracted in the body of the Calendar but rather to supplement them by adding some account of the Department's relations with the Administration and with the House of Commons, particularly in the matters of Estimates, of Supply, and of Ways and Means and of Legislation.


  • 1. The Account annexed to Fauquier's Report is substantially the same as that in A.O. 1/1635/281 abstracted on pp. ccclxxxvi–vii of this volume.
  • 2. A Memorandum will be found in the Treasury In Letters under Public Record Office reference T. 1/208 p. 147 (No. 30).
  • 3. The figures given add up to 102,394l. 8s. 11½d.
  • 4. For the Records and History of this Company see K. G. Davies, The Royal African Company (Longman Green & Co., 1957).
  • 5. Their first Account is under references. E.351/310 and A.O. 1/47/7.
  • 6. The Pells and the Auditor's sets are not identical in their lay-out but should and normally do give the same totals.