The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 4, 1706-1713. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Third Session of the third Parliament of Great-Britain.
The Queen's Speech to both Houses.
'I have deferred opening the Session until now, being very desirous to communicate to you, at your first meeting, the Success of this important Affair: It is therefore with great Pleasure I tell you the Treaty is signed, and in a few Days the Ratifications will be exchanged.
'The Negotiation has been drawn into so great a length, that all our Allies have had sufficient Opportunity to adjust their several Interests, though the public Charge has been thereby much encreased; yet I hope my People will be easy under it, since we have happily obtain'd the End we proposed.
'What I have done for securing the Protestant Succession, and the perfect Friendship there is between me and the House of Hanover may convince such who wish well to both, and desire the Quiet and Safety of their Country, how vain all Attempts are to divide us, and those who would make a Merit by separating our Interests, will never attain their ill Ends.
'And to think of proper Methods for improving and encouraging our home Trade and Manufactures, particularly the Fishery, which may be carried on to employ all our spare Hands and be a mighty Benefit even to the remotest Parts of this Kingdom.
'Several Matters were laid before you last Session, which the Weight and Multiplicity of other Business would not permit you to perfect; I hope you will take a proper Opportunity to give them a due Consideration.
The Commons being returned to their House, and their Speaker having reported to them the Queen's Speech, as usual; Mr. Pitts made a Motion for an Address of Thanks, which was carried Nemine Contradicente; and the Motion for a Clause, That the Treaties of Peace and Commerce might be communicated to the House, waved. The next Day, Mr. Pitts, Chairman of the Committee appointed to draw up the Address of Thanks, reported the same to the House, and after a small Debate, about the Words, to see accomplished, which by a great Majority were voted to stand, the Address was agreed to; and on the 11th presented by the whole House to the Queen, as follows:
The Commons Address.
'Most gracious Sovereign, we your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain in Parliament assembled, beg leave, with all Humility, to approach your Royal Person with our Unanimous Acknowledgments for all the Benefits we enjoy under your Majesty's most Auspicious Reign.
'The many and great Successes which have attended your Majesty's Arms, had left nothing to be wished, but such a Peace as might be conducted by your Councils, which now we have the Happiness to see accomplished; and as we are truly sensible of your Majesty's gracious and generous Intentions, in undertaking that great Work, so we have all possible Reason to admire your Steadiness in carrying it on, and overcoming the many Difficulties contrived to obstruct it; and it is with the highest Satisfaction, we congratulate your Majesty upon the happy Conclusion of this Treaty: for we are so much convinced of your Majesty's tender Regard to the public Welfare; and the many Instances of your Wisdom have taught us to have so perfect a Reliance upon it, that we cannot doubt but your Majesty hath procured all reasonable Satisfaction for your Allies, and established the Interest of your own Kingdoms in such a manner, as to make us not only secure for the future, but a flourishing and a happy People.
'Your Majesty can give no higher Proof of the Care you take of Posterity, than by the Concern you are pleased to express for the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, upon which the future Happiness of this Kingdom so much depends. We hope, and trust, that nothing will ever be able to interrupt the Friendship between your Majesty and that illustrious Family, since the wicked Designs of those who would endeavour to separate your Interests, must be too plain ever to succeed.
'Your faithful Commons can never enough express the grateful Sense they have of the many gracious Assurances contained in your Majesty's Speech; and after what your Majesty hath done to ease your Subjects of the heavy Burden which before lay upon them, and after your unparallell'd Goodness in demanding nothing from them for the time to come, but what they themselves shall judge requisite for their own Safety; the best Return they can make, will be a ready and dutiful Compliance with every thing you have been pleased to recommend: and they cannot fail most chearfully to set about providing the Supplies necessary for this Year's Service. Your Majesty's repeated Condescensions must in the strongest manner engage the Hearts and Affections of all your Subjects to your Majesty, and we are satisfied we cannot more truly represent them, than by contributing our utmost Endeavours to make your Reign as prosperous, glorious and easy to yourself, as it is beneficial and happy to your People.'
'Gentlemen, This Address cannot but be very agreeable to me, as it comes from my loyal Commons; and as it is a Continuation of those Expressions of Duty and Affection which you have shewn through this whole Parliament.'
Resolution for a Supply. ; Address for the Treaties of Peace and Commerce. ; The Queen's Answer.
On the 10th, the House proceeded to take into Consideration the Queen's Speech to both Houses, and the same being read by the Speaker, it was resolv'd, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, that she would be pleased to give Directions to the proper Officer, to lay before the House an Account how the Money given by Parliament for the Service of the Year 1711 and 1712 had been dispos'd of. After this, a Motion being made for a Supply, the same was put off' till the Monday following, when in a Committee of the whole House, who took her Majesty's Speech into Consideration, it was unanimously resolv'd, 'That a Supply be granted to her Majesty.' The Saturday before, the Commons order'd a Bill to be brought in to abolish Tryals by single Combat, and to prevent the impious Practice of Duelling. After which, General Stanhope moved, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, that she would be pleas'd (in due time) to communicate to the House the Treaties of Peace and Commerce entred into by her Majesty with the Crown of France and Spain;' which was carried in the Affirmative, with the Addition of the Words, in due time. This Address having been presented to the Queen by Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, her Majesty was pleased to answer, 'That she intended to communicate to her Parliament the Treaties this House desired, as soon as it was practicable:' Which the Chancellor of the Exchequer reported to the House on the 14th of April.
Accounts' laid before the House.
The Day before, Mr Lowndes presented to the Commons, pursuant to their Address to the Queen, 1. An Account of the Supplies granted for 1712, and of the Ways and Means towards raising the same, and the Deficiency thereof. 2. An Account shewing how the same Supplies were appropriated, and what Issues were made out of the same until the 10th of April 1713; and the Remains thereof. 3. And an Account of the South-Sea Stock and Dividends thereupon, and of Moneys borrowed on South-Sea Stock' till the 10th of April 1713. At the same time acquainting the House, That the Account of the Supplies granted for the Year 1711 was preparing, and would be ready in a few days. After this, some of the Commissioners of the Customs presented to the House, according to several Acts of Parliament, 1. An Account of the prohibited East-India Goods remaining in the several Warehouses in the Port of London at Michaelmas 1711; with what had been brought in since that time, what exported, and what remain'd at Michaelmas 1712. 2. An Account of the prohibited East-India Goods in the Ware-houses of the Out-Ports, during the same time. 3. An Account of Naval Stores imported from Prussia into the Port of London, from Michaelmas 1711 to Michaelmas 1712. 4. And an Account of Naval Stores imported from Russia into the Out-Ports during the said time.
Other Accounts ordered. ; Account relating to the foreign Forces.
The 15th, the House resolv'd ' to address the Queen to cause to be laid before them. 1. An Account of what Ships are now employ'd or in Sea Pay, and of the Number of Seamen borne on board them. 2. An Account of the State and Condition of the Navy. 3. An Account of what Ships have been laid up and paid off since the 25th of December 1710. 4. An Estimate of the Ordinary of the Navy for the Year 1713. 5. A State of the Debt of the Navy to the first of January 1712. 6. An Account of the Number of LandForces in her Majesty's Pay, and where they are employ'd. 7. An Account of the Forces discharg'd from her Majesty's Service since the 25th of December 1711, and at what time respectively. 8. An Account of what Number of LandForces were kept up in Scotland during the last Peace. 9. A State of the Debt of the Army to the 25th of March 1713. 10. An Account to what time the Troops in British Pay have been paid, and what has been paid for Snbsidies to foreign Princes for the Year 1712. 11. And an Estimate how much will be payable to the South-Sea Company, upon their Fund for the Year 1713, over and above the Produce of 12 Pence per Bushel on Salt.' After this, Mr. Bridges presented to the House, a State shewing what the ordinary Pay of the foreign Forces in her Majesty's Service in the Low Countries, who did not obey the Orders of her Majesty's General, and the Proportion of Subsidies payable to several foreign Princes did amount to, from the 21st of May 1712, from which time a stop was put to the Payment thereof, pursuant to her Majesty's Pleasure, signify'd by the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Bolingbroke.
Account of the Cruizers and Convoys.
The next day, Sir John Leake, from the Commissioners of the Admiralty, presented to the House, an Account of the Ships which had been employ'd as Cruizers and Convoys in the Year 1712, over and above the Ships of War for the Line of Battle, and for Convoys to remote Parts, prepared in pursuance of an Act of Parliament, entitled, An Act for the better securing the Trade of this Kingdom by Cruizers and Convoys. The same day, Mr. Shippen, from the Commissioners to examine and state the Debts due to the Army, TransportService, and Sick and Wounded, laid before the Commons, 1. The general State of the Receipts and Issues of the public Revenues of Great-Britain, between the Feast of St. Michael 1709, and the Feast of St. Michael 1710. 2. The general State of the Revenue of Great-Britain between the Feast of St. Michael 1711; and the same Feast 1712. 3. And their Report with their Remarks on the Management and Disposal of the public Revenue, and their Report of their Proceedings in examining the Debts due to the Army. Both which Reports were soon after printed, and the Substance of which is as follows.
Reports of the Commissioners of public Accompts.
'Your Commissioners, since their last Report, have finished a general State of the Receipts and Issues of her Majesty's Exchequer, from Michaelmas 1709, to Michaelmas 1710, and from Michaelmas 1711 to 1712, being two Years more of the Time allotted for their Enquiry into the Accompts of the Kingdom; which they humbly offer to your Consideration, with their farther Remarks on several Misapplications and unwarrantable Practices in Persons concern'd in the Management and Disposal of the public Revenue.
'We begin with those relating to the Oeconomy of the Army, which, in our Opinion, have greatly contributed to that exorbitant Expence with which the War hath been carried on by this Nation: And we hope what is here produced may answer the Expectation of the House, though we are forced to omit many Particulars for want of Opportunity to examine the Deputy-Paymasters on Oath, thro' whose Hands most of the public Money, issued for this Service, hath passed.
'Mr. Sweet, Deputy-Paymaster in Holland, could only give us Satisfaction as to some Mismanagements there; and we, apprehending a strict Enquiry into them of Importance to the Public, transmitted in October last, a Precept to him at Amsterdam, requiring his Attendance on us, which we understood would be no Impediment to the current Service, he having, before that time, been dismissed from his Employment: But, instead of complying with our Summons, he desired an Indulgence of six Months Stay in Holland, which being no longer than the Continuance of our Commission, and a Request grounded on Reasons not sit otherwise to be acquiesced in, we renewed our Precept, and insisted on his Appearance, with such Books and Papers as would enable him to give us an exact Account of all the public Money he had receiv'd and paid during the Course of this War. His second Answer was a Repetition of his first; and no personal Information is, we believe, to be expected from him, without the Interposition of Parliament.
'Mr. Morrice, Deputy-Paymaster in Portugal, is lately dead, and we are totally disabled from looking into his Accompts. But the Paymaster-General hath sent over a Person to Lisbon, to examine and prepare them.
'Mr. Mead, Deputy-Paymaster in Spain, is now arriv'd in England; but we have not been possess'd of any of his Papers and Books 'till very lately, and, for that Reason, do not pretend to offer our Opinions of his Accompts.
'The Paymaster-General hath returned on Oath to us, That the Regiments of Hogon, d' Assa and Dalzel, were paid by Authority of the General's Warrant only. Whereas, according to the best Information we can receive, no Regiment, Troop, or Company, ought to be paid, without being first placed on some Establishment, signed by the Crown, and counter-signed by the Lord High-Treasurer, or Commissioners of the Treasury, for the time being; and therefore the Generals could not regularly direct such Payments, unless the Crown had devolved this Power upon them, which does not appear by any Commission or Instructions to have been done. Nor can we understand how they could charge the Subsistence of several Regiments, serving in Spain, with the large Payments that have been made to a Body of Catalans, formed there after the Battle of Almanza.
'The Money given for Contingencies and Extraordinaries of the War, is by the General's Commissions subjected to their Directions, because it was impossible to settle any exact Establishments for those Expences, especially in the distant Parts of the War. But to encrease the Number of Forces beyond what was fixed by the Crown, and provided for by Parliament, is plainly raising Men, and consequently Money, without the Consent of either.
'As some Regiments have been paid which were never placed on any Establishments, so we find others paid before they were established. The Regiment of Evans received 9029 l. 3 s. 2 d. from the Time it was raised to the twenty fourth of December 1703, when it was first placed on the Establishment for Flanders. The Regiment of Pearce received Pay from the 8th of January 1705-6, when made Dragoons, to the 24th of December. The Regiment of Nassau, from the 12th of July 1706, to the 24th of December. The Regiments of Tyrrel and Fielding from April 1711, when they came from Ireland, to this present Time. The Regiment of Rochford, from the 27th of August to the 22d of December 1709. The Regiment of Dubourgay for the Year 1709. The Earl of Galway's Spanish Regiment of Foot for the same Year. But of this last Regiment we have received so very uncertain an Account, that there seems to have been an unnecessary Expence drawn on the Public, by providing for it, as well when placed on Establishment, as when not. For Captain Henry Pullein hath deposed, That he had a Captain's Commission in it, dated the sixth of April 1709, given him by the Earl of Galway; That he arrived in Portugal in June following, when he heard the Regiment were taken Prisoners: that he only found two or three Officers there, but never saw any private Men, nor never heard that any Musters were taken. The Commissary and the PaymasterGeneral have likewise both deposed, That they never saw any Muster-Rolls: But there was a List of Prisoners returned to the Paymaster, after this Regiment was supposed to have been taken by the Enemy, wherein is no more than the Name of one private Man inserted; which hath created a Suspicion, that it was an imaginary Regiment only, and never actually raised.
'Some Regiments have been placed on several Establishments at the same time; Farrington's was provided for by Parliament in the Year 1707, on three Establishments (viz.) on that of the 40,000 Men in Flanders; on that of the 20,000 Men in Flanders; and on the additional Establishment of Spain and Portugal. Mordaunt's and Maccartney's were provided for on the Establishment of the 20,000 Men in Flanders, and on the additional Establishment for Spain and Portugal. Hill's and Hotham's were put in both the Estimates for Spain and Portugal for the same Year, and twice provided for by Parliament. The Sum of 90,954 l. 19s. 2d. was given more for these five Regiments than was applied to their Use: But Mr. Bridges alledges, That so much of this Sum as relates to the Regiments of Mordaunt, Farrington, and Maccartney, was issued for the Pay of some foreign Corps.
'Other Regiments have been paid different from their respective Establishments: That of Elliot was placed in the Years 1705 and 1706, on the Establishments of the 40,000 Men in Flanders, at 44 l. 11s. 4 d. per diem, but paid by Mr. Bridges at the Rate of 39 l. 15 s. 8d. Those of Lalo, Farrington and Maccartney were in the Year 1705 and 1706, on the Establishment of the 20,000 Men in Flanders, at 42 l. 10 s. per diem, but paid at 39 l. 8s. 2d. That of Hamilton was on the Establishments of Spain and Portugal in the Years 1709 and 1710, at 42 l. 10s. per diem, but paid at 39 l. 8s. 2d. That of Mordaunt, in the Year 1707, was on the Establishment at 42 l. 10s. per diem, but paid at 39 l. 6s. 2d. That of Farrington, in the Year 1707, was on the Establishment at 42 l. 10 s. per diem, but paid at 39 l. 6s. 2 d. That of Maccartney, in the same Year was on the Establishment at 42 l. 13 s. per diem, but paid at 39 l. 8s. 2d. That of Blosset was on the Establishment at 36 l. 10s. 2d. per diem, but paid at 32 l. 10s. 2d. From whence it is observable, that there was given by Parliament a considerable Sum, more than was applied to this Service, or is yet otherwise accounted for.
'As these Regiments have received less than their Establishments, so that of Carles hath received 1819 l. 13s. 6d. more; it being placed on the Establishments for the Years 1708 and 1709, at 28 l. 18s. 6d. per diem only, and paid at the Rate of 42 l. 10s.
'A farther Charge hath been occasioned by paying Regiments on two Establishments at the same time. The whole Scotish Forces (consisting at the Union, of one Troop of Horse-Guards, one Troop of Grenadier-Guards, two Regiments of Dragoons, one Regiment of Foot-Guards, three Regiments, and three Independent-Companies of Foot, the Garrisons of Fort-William, Dunbarton, Edinburgh, Stirling, and Blackness, with the General-Officers, and ArtilleryCompanies) were paid both on the English and Scotish Establishments from the 24th of December 1707, inclusive, to the 1st of January exclusive.
'We cannot take upon us to declare, whether all or any of these Payments can be accounted for otherwise than by subsequent Authorities to justify what was at first irregular: Nor whether such Authorities, when obtained, are warrantable and legal. But here we beg Leave to state a very unusual Proceeding in relation to a Payment made to MajorGeneral Maccartney, who, as Commander in Chief of an intended Expedition to Canada, was, by the Establishment for that Purpose, to receive 10 l. per diem from the 1st of March 1708-9.
'But instead of Issuing this Pay, as it became due, a Warrant was granted the 1st of April counter-signed by Robert Walpole Esq; then Secretary at War, for the immediate Payment of 3650 l. (being the Amount of it for a whole Year) to Major-General Maccartney, or those claiming under him, tho he should die sooner in the Service.
Pursuant to which, the Paymaster, Mr. Howe, on the 7th of April paid in part 840 l. whereof 42 l. was deducted for Poundage, and 2 l. 10s. for Hospital. But soon after MajorGeneral Maccartney falling under her Majesty's Displeasure, and the Command of the Expedition being given to MajorGeneral Whetham, he refused to comply farther with this extraordinary Warrant.
'By a Writing, dated the 8th of April, Major-General Maccartney acknowledged, That Captain Robert Gardner had advanced to him and his Family, several Sums amounting exactly to 3650 l. In Consideration whereof, he assigned to Captain Gardner, or Order, all his Right and Title to the like Sum, given him by the Warrant above-mentioned; and as a farther Satisfaction, promised to procure another Warrant for the same Sum in Mr. Gardner's own Name, and for his proper Use; which was accordingly done.
'The second Warrant counter-signed by the Earl of Godolphia, Lord-Treasurer, bears date the 10th of December 1709, and is drawn in Terms agreeable to Major-General Maccartney's Promise. But is grounded on a Suggestion, that Mr. Gardner had disbursed 3650 l. for the extraordinary Services of the War, for which, as Mr. Gardner himself hath deposed, there was not the least Pretence, he having only supplied Major-General Maccartney and his Family, with Money for their own private Occasions. Besides, it is plain, by his Account of this Debt, that a great Part of the Money was lent before he, or Mr. Maccartney, had any Knowledge of the Expedition. However, he received the 12th of January following, 2854 l. 10s. without any Deductions for Poundage or Hospital, which with the 795 l. 10s. before received, made up the clear Sum of 3650 l.
'A considerale Time after these Particulars had appeared to us by the Accompts and Oaths of Mr. Gardner, and Mr. Mirrill, we received a Letter from Major-General Maccartney, writ at the Request of Mr. Gardner, which (being very circumstantial) is here transcribed at large, that the House may consider the Fact in all its Views.
THIS inclosed Letter from Captain Gardner, desiring me to acquaint your Honourable Board with the Circumstances and Considerations of a Warrant for 3650 l. now under your Examination, occasions you the Trouble of mine, to lay before you what I remember in that Proceeding.
'In December 1708, my Lord Godolphin proposed to me, the Command of an Expedition to Canada, on a Scheme recommended to her Majesty by the Commissioners of Trade, and projected by one Mr. Veich; which having, by his Lordship's Orders, considered, I returned the Papers to the Lords of the Cabinet-Council, with such Alterations as their Lordships then approving of, commanded me to attend them frequently at the Cockpit: and that I should procure all possible Intelligence and Information of the Places and Necessaries, &c. for better effecting of this Service, of which the Expence and Pains should be considered in the Establishment.
'The Pay at first proposed to me, was 5 l. per day, to which I made no Objection in View of proceeding to the Government of Jamaica, when this Expedition should be ended, and of leaving my Pay, as Colonel at home, to subsist my Family while abroad.
'Some time in January, my Lord Godolphin told me, That her Majesty having Occasion to oblige the Duke of Newcastle, by giving a Regiment to Mr. Sutton, it would be kindly taken if I could submit to the Disposal of mine then in Flanders, but that I should propose some Equivalent in Writing. Accordingly, I gave his Lordship a Memorial, of which Mr. Gardner will present you a Copy; and thereupon my Pay was augmented to 10 l. per Day, and one whole Year agreed to be advanced to me on the Considerations therein mentioned. The Warrant granted me according to this Agreement for 3650 l. I assigned to Captain Gardner, who supplied me with Money during my Attendance and expensive Preparations, and of which he received some Part before I had the Misfortune of being dismissed from her Majesty's Service.
'I again applied to the then Lord-Treasurer, and the then Secretary at War, for Redress, and the Performance of their Engagements; that since I had, at their Desire, given up my Regiment and Pay as General-Officer in Flanders, and borrowed Money to provide myself for this Expedition, my Creditors and Family ought not to starve, tho' according to Mr. Howe's Explanation of the Warrant, I was not yet dead.
'On this Application, my Lord-Treasurer promised to procure a second Warrant, which, tho for the whole Sum of 3650 l. should serve only to obtain the unpaid Remainder of the first: And I then going a Voluntier to Flanders, prayed that this Warrant might be made payable to Captain Gardner, to whom the whole Money was then due.
'If in this plain Relation, I have omitted any thing, you are desirous to be informed of, or if by waiting on you in Person, you think I may give your Honourable Board, any further Satisfaction, I will readily obey your Orders to,
'This Letter is so far from removing the Irregularity of the Payment, that it adds some Circumstances, which are more aggravating, than what hath yet appeared to your Commissioners. But, before we proceed to any Observations, we must acquaint the House, that the Memorial (which Mr. Maccartney presented to the Lord Godolphin, and of which he says we were to expect a Copy from Mr. Gardner) is either lost or withdrawn. Tis not to be found in the Treasury, nor in the Office of the Auditors of the Imprests; and Mr. Gardner declares on Oath, that he neither hath the Original, nor any Copy; which deprives us of the Opportunity of examining into the Grounds and Reasons of this Secret. But, from what hath been proved to us, the first Warrant seems to be an indirect Disposition of appropriated Money, which ought not to have been paid but for Services performed; and the Clause ordering the Advance of a Year's Pay, tho' the Major-General should die sooner, is not to be justified. If then the first Warrant should be thought blameable, the second perhaps will be judged more so, when it is considered, that it was not only grounded on a false Suggestion, and contained a Direction to exempt this Payment from the customary Deduction of Poundage and Hospital, but was procured at a Time when Major-General Maccartney was under her Majesty's high Disfavour, and when Major-General Whetham had actually a Right to the Pay, as succeeding into his Command. By which means if the Expedition had taken Effect, the Government had been put to a double Expence. MajorGeneral Maccartney might have reason to apply to the then Lord Treasurer, and the then Secretary at War, for Redress (as he calls it) and insist on the Performance of their Engagements to him, since he had at their Desire given up his Regiment, and borrowed Money: But this is no Argument, that they could at that Juncture, consistent with their respective Trusts, and without deceiving her Majesty, procure him an Equivalent, or undertake to pay his Debts out of the public Money; or that Mr. Howe had not a more strict Regard to his Duty, in refusing to comply with the first Warrant. Nor is the Advancement of the Pay, from 5 l. per diem to 10 l. to be justified by what this Letter urges. For the Account there given, is rather an Accusation of those concerned in it, as bartering away the public Money to gratify private Interests and Sollicitations.
'However, when the Pay was settled, he might with Justice, had he continued in Command, have claimed it as it became due out of the Money appropriated to that Service. But, as the Case stood, there was no Pretence whatsoever for paying the Sum in question. For he could not claim it, as Commander in Chief, because (as has been said) he was not so, when the second Warrant which took effect, was granted, and the Expedition itself was totally laid aside. Nor could he claim it as an Equivalent for his Regiment, because any such Bargain was illegal, and could by no means subject the Extraordinaries of the War to the Conditions of it. Now whether the Person, who received the Money, remains accountable to the Public for it, or whether he is not, in some sort, discharged by the Warrants, is a Question proper only for the Decision of the House.
'The Deputy-Commissary in Flanders, Mr. Marshal, hath declared on Oath, That, in the beginning of this War, he was directed by the Duke of Marlborough to muster the Troops in her Majesty's Pay there complete when defective; that he received a Pistole per Troop, and ten Shillings per Company, as a Gratuity or Perquisite, on every muster from the subject Troops; that he never mustered the Foreigners, only some Corps of them in the Year 1702, without having any Treaty or Establishment for his Guide: That he does not know of any other Person employed in that Service, except Mr. Armstrong, who was once sent (as he has heard) to Liege to view part of the Augmentation Troops; that he received Gratuities on account of the Hanover and Hessian Troops; that he applied to the Duke of Marlborough after 1702, for a power to muster the Foreigners in her Majesty's Pay, but never could obtain it. The Deputy-Commissaries in Spain have likewise declared on Oath, that, by order of their respective Generals, they always mustered the Subject Troops complete, and signed the Rolls without viewing them or knowing any thing of their Number or Condition; but that they never mustered the Foreigners. Mr. Pitt received as a Gratuity or Perquisite, on every Muster, half a Pistole per Troop and Company, during the whole time of his being Commissary. Mr. Craggs refused all Gratuities for the two first Years, after he was made Commissary, but the last six Months received a Pistole per Company, and a Moidore per. Troop.
'This Practice, we see, is grounded on the General's Orders; on the Duke of Marlborough's in Flanders; on the other Generals in the other Parts of the Service, and it is justified by the Pretence of applying the Non-Effective Money to the Recruiting the Army; which is alledged, to have been so far from proving a Disadvantage to the Public, that it hath been a loss to those Officers, who were obliged to recruit their respective Regiments, Troops and Companies, and to take it in lieu of Recruit Money. Notwithstanding which, your Commissioners think themselves obliged to take notice, that those Warrants, or Orders of the Generals, have been a direct Breach of the Law, an Occasion of great Expence to the Public, and a Detriment to the Service. First, they are a direct Breach of the Law. For by the Acts of Mutiny and Desertion, the Commissaries are joined to muster only Effectives, and that in a very precise and exact manner. If the contrary Practice had been thought serviceable to the Public, no doubt the Legislature would have prescribed it in some of those Acts, which were only Temporary, and every Year capable of receiving any Amendments. But being constantly renewed in the same strict Terms as to the Musters, tho' frequently altered as to other Points, they seem to be so many repeated Condemnations of this Practice. Nor can your Commissioners be informed that there was ever any Attempt in Parliament to make it Legal by those who directed it; and it may therefore be presumed, that they either did not think fit to own the Practice, or that they apprehended themselves under no Obligations to the Laws in this Case, as not extending to her Majesty's Forces abroad. But such a Construction can by no means be admitted, being inconsistent with the Design and Nature of Laws, intended to regulate the Army in Time of War, and to be a Rule to the Paymaster General. For if the Effect of them should be restrained to the Forces at home, which are but few, then the Troops in Service abroad, which are the greatest Part of those in her Majesty's Pay, would be under no Discipline, the public Money squandered without any Method or Rule of Payment, and all the Ends of these Acts entirely defeated. A further Proof of the Irregularity of this Practice is, that when it was judged proper to allow a Man per Company on the Muster-Rolls, for maintenance of Officers poor Widows; the Queen was impowered by a particular Clause to give such Orders to the several Commissaries. Which supposes the Crown could not otherwise have legally done it in a case that must be confess'd to be of great Encouragement to the Service. If then the Crown could not dispense with any Part of these Laws, your Commissioners conceive so notorious and open an Infraction of them will never be indulged or justified in others, on any Pretence whatsoever.
'This Practice was unnecessary, as well as illegal. For all the pretended Uses of it might have been effectually and regularly answer'd by Respites, if they had been made in the manner prescribed by the Acts. But that having never been done during this Practice, the Commissaries have so long been useless; the Officers made the only Checques on themselves with respect to the Effectives; the Crown deprived of the Right of disposing of the Money raising by Respires, and that Power transferred to the General. But it has also been an Occasion of great Expence to the Public, and a Detriment to the Service. 'The Pay-master-General (as he urges in apology for himself) was under an Obligation of paying and remitting more Money, than was sufficient for carrying on the Service. For the Troops being mustered complear, and the Muster-Rolls being his only Guide, he was constrained to make his Payments full, though he had reason to believe the Troops were at the same time not above half complete, particularly those in the more remote Parts.
'The Earl of Godolphin, when Lord-Treasurer, order'd him in 1707, to present this Method of mustering and paying the Troops complete, as a Grievance to the Earl of Galway (General in Spain and Portugal) and he accordingly did it in very pressing Terms, as occasioning great Losses to the Public.
'We are unable to explain how it came to be continued after so just a Remonstrance against it; no Reason appearing to us, why those in the Treasury shou'd retract their Opinion of the great Losses occasion'd by it. For the Earl of Galway's Return to Mr. Bridges's Representation, is no Answer to the Objections, but a Confirmation of the Truth of them. So little Regard was afterwards had to this Complaint, that in the Year 1709, on raising Six Regiments of Dragoons in Portugal, the Earl of Galway issued Warrants to the respective Colonels of those Regiments to reduce each Troop to Thirty-one private Men; and that, having that Number on the Spot, they should pass as complete, though by the Establishment they were to consist of Forty-five. On a Computation of the Pay for the Fourteen Men per Troop from the 24th of August 1709, (which was the time when these Regiments were placed on the Establishments for Portugal) to the 9th of July 1711, there appears the Sum of 25983 l. to have been sunk, or misapplied, by virtue of this Warrant. After the Earl of Galway left the Service, this Method of mustering the Troops complete, was pursued by all the succeeding Generals in those Parts, till Her Majesty, highly sensible of the evil Consequence of it, and apprehending the Expence of the Spanish War, would thereby become insupportable to Her Subjects, was graciously pleased in 1711, to send Instructions to the Deputy Paymasters there to pay none but Effectives; and then the Inconveniences of it, which had been so long submitted to, were owned and represented in their full Light. But the whole matter will be best explained by the Letters, Answers, and Memorials of the Generals and Pavmasters, and we are prepared to present attested Copies thereof, when the House should be pleased to call for them, together with the most material Depositions relating to every other Subject in this Report. Whereby it is hoped you will receive Satisfaction, that we have stated no Fact without Evidence, nor advanced any Observation without Authority. It might be added, that this Method had been a further Occasion of Expence, by supplying Provisions, Transports, Clothes, and other Necessaries, according to the full Establishments; and the Troops (as is before said) being every where defective, and in some Pares of the War not above half complete, the Loss on these Heads must be proportionable to the Deficiency.
'We cannot yet form any Representation of the Produce of the Non-effective Money, or compare it with the Expence of Recruiting; because the Paymaster General hath only exhibited to us some Abstracts thereof, return'd from his Deputies abroad, which he cannot attest as perfect Accounts. Nor can we receive any more certain Information in this Matter from Mr. le Fevre, who was Secretary to the General from the beginning in Portugal. For he deposes, that the Book, in which he kept an exact and distinct Accompt of all the Non-effectives in Spain and Portugal, was taken from this Office some time before he left Lisbon; and that the Loss of this Book disables him from giving an Account of the Non-effective Money, which he could otherwise very particularly have done. It cannot therefore be determined, whether the Loss has fallen on the Public or the Recruiting Officers: But on what side soever it hath fallen, the Practice is equally culpable, and will avail little to the Vindication of those who directed it. 'Tis highly probable the Loss hath only affected the Public, otherwise it will be difficult to account for the constant Contributions, which have been made to the Commissaries on every Muster by the Subject Troops, or for the Presents which were given occasionally by the Foreigners. For we cannot imagine that they would make Presents, or allow Perquisites, for what they found an Injury to them. However that be, the Demand, or even the Acceptance of Gratuities on Musters from the Troops by the Commissaries, if it is not to be accounted a Corruption in them, it hath at least the Appearance of it, and must be admitted to be in some degree a Breach of their Duty; or, it must be granted that (as they plead in their own Defence) they could be guilty of no Breach, because they lay under no Obligation, and received their Offices, as Offices of Form, and not of Duty.
'What hath been hitherto said relates only to Her Majesty's Subject Troops. But the Mismanagements have been vet greater and more gross, with respect to the Foreign Forces in British Pay; they never having been muster'd at all. For neither the Review made by Mr. Marshal in conjunction with the Dutch Commissary without Treaty or Establishment for his Guide, nor that reported to be made by Mr. Armstrong of a particular Corps at Liege, can be accounted Musters, no Lists thereof being returned to the British Commissaries, or Pay-masters. But if it should be insisted on, that these were Musters; it is extraordinary that (such as they were) they should be discontinued, and that the Commissaries Application to the Duke of Marlborough for an Order to muster them in succeeding Years, should be unsuccessful. The Reason given to support this Practice, as it concerns the Subject Troops, ceases with regard to the Foreigners. For they, or their respective Princes are allow'd both ordinary and extraordinary Recruit Money, besides their constant Pay; as appears by the several Treaties, Conventions and Stipulations with them; and there is not the least colour for their being muster'd complete, when they were defective, nor any Excuse for those who refused to give power for their being muster'd at all. Because the Public, paying always complete, is thereby evidently defrauded, and, in effect, pays twice for the same thing.
'Your Commissaries would not insinuate, that the Restraining the Commissary in Flanders from Mustering the Foreign Troops, was an implied or secret Article, in the Stipulation for the Deduction of Two and a Half per Cent. from their Pay. But it is very remarkable, that the Warrant for the Deduction bears Date in 1702, and that since that Year, the Foreigners in Her Majesty's Pay only have been under no Regulation, tho' we are informed, those in the Service of the States-General were constantly mustered.
'We cannot omit observing farther, that the Payments of the Extraordinaries to the Foreigners in the Low-Countries in the Joint Pay of Her Majesty and the States-General, have been made pursuant to the Certificates of Mr, Van Slingerlands, Secretary to the Council of the States, without the Examination or Concurrence of any appointed by her Majesty, till of late. Now it is in no sort evident to us how such Certificates can be received as Vouchers in passing the Accounts of the Paymaster, or how an Order of the States can charge the Public Money of Great-Britain: And yet, since the beginning of the War, no less than the Sum of 597,771 l. 17 s. 5 d. 1 q. hath been paid on this Head only.
'This Practice of mustering complete was never directed here in England: Mr. Crawford, Deputy CommissaryGeneral hath deposed, that he takes it to be illegal; and that he gave Orders not only to the Deputies in England, but to all the Deputies abroad to muster only Effectives, and the Men allowed in each Regiment for the Support of Widows and Servants to Officers. However, the Musters have been made without due Regard to the Acts of Mutiny and Desertion, or to the Instructions given to the DeputyCommissaries; some Instances of which were represented to the House the First Sessions of this Parliament by a Committee appointed for that purpose; and some others have since appeared to us. Several Persons who have long served in the First Regiment of Foot-Guards, have declared on Oath, That for the two last Years there have not been in any one Company of that Regiment above Forty-eight, and sometimes but Thirty-six Men, whereas there should have been Sixty-five besides Servants, (before they were lately reduced) that the Names of several Persons were inserted in the Rolls, who were never listed nor seen in the Regiment, and others certified sick by the Chirurgeon without his seeing them, or knowing any thing of the State of their Health. The same Irregularities have been practised in other Regiments; but we are the less particular, because they are very notorious.
'There is a pretence of mustering in Scotland, but the Rolls have always been returned complete, and by the Acknowledgment on Oath of several Officers belonging to the Regiments of Dragoons there, and of Mr. John Campbell, late Contractor for providing Forage, the Troops have ever since the Union been generally fix or seven less than their Compliments besides the Officers Servants, and two Hautboys returned in each Troop, when never any were mus ter'd, except a few in General Echlin's Regiment, and that, for a short time only. This is confirmed by the Oath of Mr. Rutherford, in whose Name the Commission of MusterMaster was issued, dated the 20th of July 1709, and who executed that Office; but by an Agreement with one Mr. Elliot, a Laceman in York-Buildings, (for whose Use this Commission was obtained) he was to receive only six Shillings and Eight-pence out of the Twenty Shillings per Day, payable to the Commissary by the Establishment, and was also obliged to give to Mr Elliot the Perquisites of Two Guineas per Troop, and Ten Shillings per Company, allowed by them on each Muster. Your Commissioners therefore are not surprized to find that the Public hath suffered by false Musters in Scotland, when the Office of MusterMaster was given to a Person unqualified for it, and he employed a Deputy (for Mr. Rutherford owns he was no more, though named in the Commission) on so hard Terms. Besides, Mr. Elliot was at that time Agent to the Earl of Hindford's Regiment; an Office not consistent, we apprehend, with that of Muster-Master. The ill Consequences of these false Musters, appear likewise in the unnecessary Expence of Forage for the Dragoon Horses. For they were very defective, as well as the Men, and the Certificates from the Officers to the Contractors, were also Compleat. Mr. Cochran confesses, that when he was Contractor, he received the Queen's Bounty-Money for near Three Hundred Horses more, than he provided with Forage:
'The Management of the Hospitals is another Grievance of the Army, and we therefore lay before you such Informations, as we have received of the excessive Charge in furnishing Provisions for them, particularly those in Spain, together with the Hardships the sick Men there have endured, by the Scarcity and Unwholesomness of the Provisions, and by the great Frauds of the Persons, who provided Beds, Medicines and other Contingences for them. Dr. La Cane deposed, that he attended the Hospitals in Spain for some time; that he, observing the Accounts of Mr. Marks, the Director, to be very extravagant, refused to sign them, which as Physician he was required to do; that, during the Three Years Mark's continued Director, each sick Man cost the Public two Shillings and Six Pence a Day, besides Five Pence deducted from the Regiments: That Marks allowed the recovering Men (which were generally one half) only five Pence per Day to provide for themselves, and charged to the Government two Shillings and six Pence for each of those Men; that this Management continued from the Year 1706 to June 1709, when Marks was dismiss'd. These Hospitals were for the Years 1706, 1707, and 1708, paid out of the poundage of the Army, being principally intended for Chelsea College, a great Debt and Expence hath arisen on that Head. In June 1709, a Contract was made with Dr. La Cane, at ten Pence per Head from the Government and five Pence per Head from the Regiments. This Contract continued above a Year, during which time the Men were very well supplied, as is proved to us, by the Oaths of M. Durette Chaplain, and Mr Hay Chirurgeon to the Hospital, though Provisions were as dear as when Marks furnished them, by comparing the Rates of this Contract, with those allowed to Marks, it is plain, that the Provisions for one half of the Men cost the Public more than double what it might have been furnished for, and that for the other half the Publick paid six Parts in seven more than the sick received
'As to the Scarcity and Unwholesomeness of the Provisions furnished by Marks, not only Dr. La Cane Physician, but Mr. Chilcot and Mr. Hay Chirurgeons, have sworn, that very often the Beef, and other Flesh, was Carrion, and that all the Provisions were generally so unsound, as to occasion a constant Mortality. Besides, Marks did not furnish half the Quantity which he ought to have done. The Allowance to each sick Man was fourteen Spanish Ounces of Br-ad per diem, and he seldom gave them more than six. The Proportion was the same with respect to other Provisions; so that on these two Heads he made as great an Advantage to himself, out of the Allowance to the poor Men, as he had in the other Articles from the Public. Dr. La Cane farther deposed, that Mr. Watkins (who was Director before Mr. Marks, received one thousand Pounds to buy Bedding for the Hospitals, of which he expended very little, that the sick Men lay on the ground, till the Magistrates of Valencia, in Compassion, supplied them with Bedding at their own Charge; that afterwards Mr. Marks received three hundred Pounds for the same purpose, but never laid out any part of it. So great a Mismanagement could not have continued so long, without the Connivance, at least, of those Persons, who were appointed by the Generals to be a Checque on Marks's Accompts; but he being now in Germany, his native Country, we cannot arrive at a more particular knowledge of that matter.
'As to the Hospitals in Flanders, we have examined Mr. Cardonnel, who audited the Accompts, and Mr. Etquel and Mr. Amiens, Chirurgeons. The first informed us, that he left all the Accompts, except those of 1711, with Mr. Sweet in Holland, and that he could not charge his Memory with any particulars. The other two said, they signed the Accompts only as a matter of Form without examining them: Mr. Hudson, the Director of these Hospitals, and Mr. Sweet, the Deputy Pay-master, can give the best Information. But one is in Flanders, and the other (as is before observed) in Holland; for which Reason, we cannot proceed in this Enquiry. The same must be said with relation to the Hospitals in Portugal. For tho' we find in Mr. Brydges's Accompts, great Sums of Money paid by Mr. Morris, to Mr. Bucknell, Deputy Commissary there, and to Mr. Keat, some time Director of those Hospitals; yet Mr. Bucknell being in Portugal, Mr. Keat at Port-Mahone, and their Papers not transmitted to England, we cannot know the exact Distribution of those Sums, or of any other issued to them for that purpose.
'But the Mismanagement in the Hospitals abroad, have not been more gross in their kind, than those in ChelseaCollege. For it appears on Oath, that a great many Persons have been received into this Hospital, who never served in the Army, as Coachmen to the Governour, and DeputyGovernour, Clerks to the Deputy-Pay-master of the Pensioners, Servants to the Officers of the House, and many more; others have been admitted by forged Certificates, of which the Instances are too numerous to be inserted here, and we will only mention two. Francis Core, Messenger to the War-Office in 1709, made public Declarations, that he could get any Person into the Hospital for Money. Whereupon abundance of poor People, Butchers, Ale-house keepers, Bakers, and Taylors, applied to him: Amongst others Salathiel Humphrey gave him Six Guineas, Nicholas Taylor eleven Guineas, John Smith ten Guineas, and were all accordingly admitted, tho' none of them qualify'd. Middleton and Dumster, Serjeants in the Hospital, took twelve Guineas from Thomas Fletcher for his Admission. Several Persons, after their Admission, have been advanced in their Pay, and without Qualification to warrant such Advancement. They are too many likewise to be mentioned; but this Practice hath very much contributed to the Charge of the Hospital. Some Persons who were fit for Service, and some, who have sufficient Substance to support themselves, have been admitted, as Evans, Holloway, Marks and Price, with many more; which is contrary to the Intention of the Foundation, and hath also created an unnecessary Expence.
'Another Abuse is the defrauding the Pensioners of a great part of their Provisions. It appears by the Depositions of Spencer, Grimes and Hardy, Pensioners there, that each Man's Allowance of Beef, when boiled, seldom weighed above six Ounces, and very often but four, which according to the establishment ought to have been a Pound, when raw. The same Persons have sworn, that the Provisions are very bad, and no ways answerable to the Contracts. The Contracts for furnishing Provisions have been made at much higher Rates than those for other Hospitals, and perhaps it is, in some measure, owing to the Presents the Contractors thought themselves obliged to give to the Governour and LieutenantGovernour. William Banks, a Butcher, deposed, that he furnished the Governour's Family with Meat, to the Value of 110 l. per Annum, and gave a Receipt for his Bill without receiving any Money. Mr. Green, the Brewer, also deposed, that he made a present to the Governour of the Hospital, of the Beer spent in his Family, which amounted annually to 20 l. or more; and that about fifteen Months since he was persuaded by Mr. Crispe, Clerk of the Hospital, to do the same to the Lieutenant Governour. The present Contracts are made on much worse Terms, than the former:
'The State of the Invalids in North Britain is this: Mr. Walter Lockhart, Intendant, by the Direction of the Lord Godolphin, paid the 23d of December, 1708, 5987 l. 18 s. 1 d. in Money to Mr. Archibald Douglas Receiver-General, and gave him Certificates for 2978 l. 1 s 9 d. more due on the Equivalent; both which Sums are a Stock to maintain the Invalids. When this Direction was given, the Money was placed out at Interest on good Security, which would in a great measure have supported them. But, since it has been lodged in Mr. Douglas's hands, no Interest has been received for it, and they are subsisted out of the Capital Stock, which in a short time will reduce it to nothing, and leave them without any Provision. There is reason to apprehend the Expence of the War has been greatly increased, by making Remittances abroad, for the Army and Navy, on Terms very disadvantageous to the Government.
'As to the Remittances for the Army in Flanders, Sir Henry Furnese was employed by the Treasury to make the best Bargains he could, and to be accountable to the Public for the Profit. We have required these Accompts, and the Auditor of the Imprests, who is possessed of them, hath acquainted us, that he hath not yet been able, by reason of their Bulk, to go through them. But we have Information on Oath, of an Advantage of one per Cent. and sometimes more, made by receiving Money at Amsterdam, and paying it in Flanders. Captain Leathes, Paymaster of the Train of Artillery, acknowledges, he received this Præmium to his own private use. But whether the Deputy Paymasters in Flanders and Holland had the same Benefit, cannot be known, unless Mr. Sweet and Captain Cartwright were in England.
'The Remittances for the Forces in Spain and Portugal have chiefly been undertaken by Contractors, and the Contracts have always been made on Conditions, much exceeding the common Rates of Exchange. The same Methods have been practised in returning Money for the use of the Navy and Victualling to Spain, Portugal, the West-Indies, and other Parts.
'The Mismanagements in the Cloathing are as great and oppressive as any in the Army; and we have not been wanting in our Endeavours to detect some Instances thereof, in order to have laid them before you. But we are not yet prepared to do it so fully and clearly, as we desire to state every thing, which we presume to offer to the House.
'We have enquired into the Execution of the several Acts of Parliament, relating to the issuing Debentures, for what remained due to Commission Officers, Non-Commission Officers, and private Men, serving in the last War; and find, that the Earl of Ranelagh, late Paymaster General, did, according to the Powers and Directions given, make out Debentures for what was due to the Non-Commission Officers and private Men, and took Security from the Persons appointed to receive them: That several of those Persons have not regularly, and on Oath, accompted for them before the said Paymaster, nor returned the unissued Debentures, as is directed by the Act. But we cannot come to any exact State of what hath been paid, or accompted for, by reason some of those entrusted with the Payment of the private Men, have declined appearing before us, tho' frequently summoned; and others with their Securities are dead, and their Executors not to be met with. What therefore we have to offer on this Subject, I from a Return made on Oath by Mr. Sloper, who issued most of the Debentures for the Earl of Ranelagh: From whence it appears, That several Persons remain still accomptable for above 60,000 l.
'That the Debentures, so issued by the Paymaster, carried Interest; and those which are not discharged by the Purchase of Irish Forfeitures, have still Interest at six per Cent. by a parliamentary Provision. That the Distance of the Place where the private Men served might be some Pretence for these Persons not accompting with them within the Year; but we can see no reason for their not doing it in so many Years, and consequently for not passing those Accompts with the Paymaster in some-prescribed time. That there is ground to believe, the private Men, to whom these Debentures were due, are either dead, or not likely to make any Claim And the House will best judge, whether such Sums should remain in the Hands of private Men, receiving a constant Interest for them without any Right whatsoever; or whether they might not rather be applied to the public Service. We also find about five hundred and eight of the Debentures, which were prepared by the Earl of Ranelagh in 1702-3, pursuant to the Certificates of the Commissioners for stating the Debts of the Army as due to the Commission Officers, have not yet been issued, nor called for; and we may presume, after so many Years, will never be claimed. They amount in the whole to 7126 l. 2 s. 6 d. which will be so much saved to the Public, unless they should be taken out by virtue of fraudulent Administrations; a Practice we have reason to suspect has been too frequent on this Occasion.
'Soon after the Commencement of our Commission, we required Mr. Whitfield, late Paymaster of the Marines, to lay the Accompts of those Regiments before us; which, after many Delays, he did, but in a very imperfect manner. We insisted on a more distinct Account, whereupon he (being then very ill) sent his chief Clerk, Mr. Sizer, to us; who deposed, That the Accompts could not be more perfect without Muster-Rolls, which Mr. Lynn, the Commissary, had not returned. In answer to this, Mr. Lynn hath declared, that he could not make up the Muster-Rolls further than the 24th of December 1709, for want of the Ships Books and the Certificates from the Agents of the Commissioners for Sick and Wounded: Which Books and Certificates could not be had from the distant States of the Service till those employed there came to England. These Difficulties prevent our stating the Accompts of the Marines. But it is obvious, That the Expence of the Navy is encreased by them. The Pay of 8000 Marines, according to the Establishment, amounts to 128,133 l. 5 s. per Annum. The Pay of 8000 Ordinary Seamen to 98,800 l. per Annum. The extraordinary Charge therefore is 29,333 l. 5 s. and how far it might be thought necessary to continue in Time of Peace, is humbly left to the Judgment and Determination of Parliament.
'The next great Branch of Expence to the Public is that of the Navy; and we here present what hath occur'd to us on this Head. First, we perceive considerable Ballances have continued in the Hands of the Treasurers, and of their Executors after the Time of their Dismission or Death; which, notwithstanding the great Necessities of the Government, have lain long unapplied to the Services for which they were intended.
'The Reasons given for this Practice are, That the Treasurers ought by their Instructions to detain Money in their hands, when they are displaced, for satisfying Defalcations, &c. and for defraying the Expence of passing their Accompts. But we cannot find the first Argument favoured by a reasonable Interpretation of the Instructions, nor is there any just Pretence, why the whole Ballances, in the hands of the preceding Treasurers, should not be immediately paid over to their Successors. On the contrary, there is very good Ground for doing it, to avoid the Charge of keeping Clerks, and other Instruments, for displaced, or dead Officers, and that the Money might be employed towards carrying on the current Service. As to the defraying the Expence of their Accompts, this is by no means a Method proper to hasten the passing them; and that Allowance, if thought necessary, might be made several ways, less prejudicial to the Public, than by the Detention of so great Sums as usually have rested in their hands. For this we have the Opinion of the Commissioners of the Navy, who, as they are the sole Examiners, so they are in consequence the sole Judges of the Treasurer's Accompts, tho' they do not finally pass them.
'We also find large Imprests granted in the Time of each Treasurer since the Revolution, whereof there remained uncleared the 31st of October 1712, the Sum of 607,851 l. For which it is alledg'd, That the Accompts have either been brought into the Comptroller's-Office, or not sufficiently vouched, or that the Accompts, or some of them, are before the Comptroller, under the Examination, or that the Parties are abroad, and have Wages due to them, which will not be allow'd till their Imprests be cleared, or that when the Treasurer brings the Imprests to Accompt in his Ledger, they are allowed him in part, or the whole; and the Parties are set insuper in the Exchequer.
'But these Allegations cannot, we presume, be admitted as sufficient. For the Accompts ought to be brought in every Year, where the Distance of Place will permit; and the large Sums, which have been imprested to the Storekeepers and Clerks residing in England from 1704, should have been long since accompted for. Whereas no effectual Care hath been taken to compel them to it, and they seem too much left at their own liberty, to the great damage of the Public. Tho' they are to be set insuper in the Exchequer, when the Imprests are allowed to the Treasurer; yet the Treasurer's Accompts are so long generally in passing, that the Parties are often dead, or insolvent, before that is done: and of those, which have been set insuper, there does not appear any considerable Sums to have been accompted for. There are some Imprests before 1702, which have neither been accompted for, nor set insuper, nor mentioned in the Treasurer's Ledger; and other Sums have been very lately repaid to the Treasurer in Money; which have been so long imprested, that the Interest would have equalled, if not exceeded, the Principal; to the great Loss of the Public, which paid Interest for that Money, as well as to the disadvantage of the Service.
'We should next lay before you the Management of the Commissioners for Victualling her Majesty's Navy; which, as it hath the Direction of so large an Article of Expence, is of great consequence. But some Instances of notorious Embezzlements and scandalous Abuses in her Majesty's Brew-House, and in the Contracts for furnishing the Navy with Beer, having been lately examined and censured by Parliament, the House wants less Information of the Frauds committed in this Office, than of others concerned in the Disposal of the Revenue of the Kingdom: However, we have not neglected to enquire farther into the Proceedings of this Commission, and find that the Pursers, in combination with the Agents and Store-keepers, have carried on their fraudulent Practices in all other Species of Provision, as well as Beer, to the Detriment of the Government, and to the Injury and Discouragement of the Seamen.
'James Essex, Purser of the Worcester, is charged with more than the full Proportion of several Species of Provisions for 280 Men, from the 18th of January 1703-4, to the 11th of April 1709. But it appears from the Musters, That at a Medium no more than 237 Men were victualled at that Time on board this Ship. He owns, that he often gave Receipts for more Provisions than he received; That he took Money for the Overplus; That he sold part of what was actually delivered to him; That this is a common Practice among Pursers: That the Agents and Storekeepers, employed at the Out-Ports, are instrumental in carrying it on, and have a share in the Profit; That he is charged both at Portsmouth and Plymouth with Provisions, which he neither received in Kind, nor was paid for by the Agents or Storekeepers. This Evidence is confirm'd by the Accompts of Victualling this Ship, wherein we find him charged at Plymouth with a considerable Quantity of Provisions on the 11th of April 1709, two Days after the Ship sailed from that Port to Lisbon. We don't undertake to make any certain Computation of the Loss to the Public on this Head. But supposing a fifth Part only of the Provisions to have been sold, (and Mr. Essex hath deposed, That he believed a much larger Proportion of Beer, and a fifth Part, at least, of all other Species have been sold or compounded for with the Agents or Store-keepers) it amounts in ten Years to more than 500,000 l. For, by a Medium of the Prices paid for Provisions during that Time, the prime Cost hath been 34 per Cent. exclusive of the Charge of Management, more than is allowed to Pursers, when they are Creditors on their Ballance, which are paid by Bills in Course without Interest. This Practice is so strictly forbidden, and provided against with so much Caution, both in the Instructions to the Officers, employed in the Victualling, and on board the Fleet, that it could not have been continued without a Combination amongst them. And we apprehend no new Method can be proposed to prevent such Abuses for the future, unless it should be thought adviseable to make it as criminal, for Pursers to sell Provisions, as to embezzle any other of her Majesty's Stores. These Frauds which have been so universally committed by the Pursers and Officers of the Victualling, must have been detected, or in a great measure restrained, if the Pursers Accompts had been duly requir'd, and well examined. But so much hath this Duty been neglected, that, when we first went upon this Enquiry, we found the Accompts of 140 Pursers out of Employment, unpassed: some of them more than ten Years standing: And of those now employed, a great many have passed no Accompts in six or seven Years. On the whole, it is submitted, Whether in any case it is reasonable to entrust the same Officer with the Expending Money, who is himself the proper Check on the Expence, or to allow him or appoint another to that Purpose? Whether any Person ought to have had the Disposition of so large a Sum, who was not constituted by the Commissioners of the Victualling, and who was under no Security for the faithful Discharge of his Trust, and the answering the Sums issued to him? Whether this Practice be not censured and condemned by the Resolution of the House of Commons, the 27th of March 1699, That the Victualling any of her Majesty's Ships, by others, than the Victuallers appointed for that Service, or their Agents, is contrary to the Course of the Navy, and may be of ill Consequence.
'We have discover'd some Irregularities in the Commission for sick and wounded Seamen. Mr. Povey was made Treasurer in the beginning of the War, and continued to act as such to the time of his Death, in 1705, when he left his Accompts in great Confusion, and they have since been under the Management of Executors, altogether unacquainted with the Transactions of this Office. In order therefore to obtain as much Light as possible, we required a State of them, not only from his Executors, but from the Commissioners; and comparing both Returns we find them agree. As to his Receipts from Sir Thomas Littleton which amounted to 135,666 l. 1 s. 4 d. 1 q. But they differ as to his Payments and voluntary Charge. These Accompts have lain a great while before the Auditor, but were not prosecuted 'till very lately. Besides the Money issued to Mr. Povey for the Service of this War, he is charg'd by Sir Thomas Littleton with the Sum of 51,281 l. 5 s. 4 d. 1 q. imprested to him for Payment of the Arrears, incurr'd on the Head of Sick and Wounded in the last War. Of this Sum his Executors declare themselves unable to give any Account. But from that, which has been long since exhibited to the Auditors, and which yet remains unprosecuted, we observe, that Mr. Povey, in receiving and applying this Sum, acted under the Authority and Direction of several Minutes of the Treasury, but made a Payment nevertheless of 2000 l. to the Commissioners, their Officers, and himself for Salaries, &c. contrary to those Minutes. That he was to obey the Orders of the late Commissioners of Sick and Wounded, one of whom was to attend him at every Port to keep Duplicates, to comptrol his Payments, and to be Vouchers to his Accompts: But it does not appear, that such Duplicates were ever kept by the Commissioners, and his Accompts stand singly upon the Credit of Mr. Povey, without any Cheque, or Oath made of the Truth of it. Mr. Savory succeeded Mr. Povey, and his Accompts have in part been under our Examination. This Office hath been negligent in obliging Persons to accompt duly for Money imprested to them. Several Sums are not yet accompted for, which were imprested in the time of Mr. Povey. Few of the Agents abroad have clear'd any Imprests, and those unclear'd on the 19th of September last, amounted to more than 36,000 l.
'What Liberty the Agents may have taken in the Application of the Money they have been entrusted with; and what Detriment the Public has receiv'd, by suffering Accompts to remain so long unsettled; may in part be collected from those Instances. Mr. Griffith, who was employ'd by the Commissioners in the Year 1708, as Agent at Port-Mahone, entered into a Contract in April 1711, for erecting an Hospital there, without any Authority but that of Sir John Jennings, then Commander of her Majesty's Fleet in the Mediterranean. Whereas, by his Instructions, he was directed, if it should be thought necessary to build an Hospital, to send over a Plan with an Estimate of the Charge to the Commissioners, in order to be laid before the Lords of the Admiralty for their Approbation. The Expence of building this Hospital, as charg'd in Mr. Griffith's Accompt, and for which he craves an Allowance, is 3600 l. It is alledg'd, in Sir John Jennings's Order, that her Majesty's former Hospital in this Port was inconveniently situated. But we cannot take that to be a Ground sufficient for his assuming a Power to engage the public Credit; especially when a more regular Method had been prescrib'd by the Agent's Instructions, and when a Treaty of Peace was not actually commenced, in which it could not be known, that a Cession of this Island would be made to the Crown of Great-Britain. Several Sums have been issued to one Stanley, a Messenger belonging to this Office, from the 5th of October 1706, to the 19th of July 1712, amounting to 6430 l. The Accompt of which appearing very extraordinary and irregular in many Instances, we examined him on Oath, and find, that he had paid 1949 l. 2 s. 9 d. 2 q. for the Taxes laid on the Salaries of the Commissioners and other Persons belonging to the Office; That he charged this Sum by Order of the Commissioners, in his Accompts of the incident Expences of the Office, under Articles of different Denominations, as Postage of Letters, Conduct-Money, &c. That, in the Accompt of his Disbursements for the half Year ending at Michaelmas 1712, (which was passed by the Commissioners) he had in like manner included 104 l. tho' not then paid, for the Taxes of that Half Year. The Commissioners own'd this to be true, and endeavour'd to excuse it, by alledging, that they had presented a Memorial to the late Treasurer to get an Allowance for the Taxes on their Salaries, and that he had promis'd to represent their Request to the Queen. But they did not pretend, that they had obtained any Warrant or Authority for what they have done. Nor have we receiv'd Satisfaction from them why Stanley was not required to accompt for any part of this Sum of 6430 l. 'till July last: Nor why his Accompts were then passed in so extraordinary a manner, and; as we have reason to believe, without Vouchers; for he could not, when required of us, produce a Voucher for any Payment; and Dr. Lawrence (one of the three, whose Names are subscrib'd to the perfect Bills made out to clear these Imprests) hath depos'd, That his Name sign'd to several of those Bills was not writ with his own Hand, that he gave leave, in some Cases, when he should be absent, to have his Name put to Papers for carrying on the Business of the Office, where more Commissioners Hands were necessary than were present, which is contrary to the 19th Article of the Instructions given to this Commission, whereby it is provided, that no Payment shall be made without the Authority of three Commissioners at least. The same Article directs them in making out Bills, to number and assign them for Payment in Course, according to the Method of the Navy. But it appears that no such Course has been observ'd, and that they have taken upon them a discretionary Power. The ill Use that has been made of this Power, and the Liberty that has been taken to give undue Preference in Payments have so plainly appeared, that no Office ought to be entrusted with the Exercise of it. The Charge which the Government has been put to in transporting British Prisoners, is another Instance of Mismanagement, and the whole Sum paid by Virtue of the several Contracts, or for Extraordinaries, hath been a Loss to the Public. For this Service might have been performed for the Pay allowed to the Contractors by the French for transporting their Prisoners. By an Account of four Voyages which Captain Robert Masters laid before us, and attested, it appears, that the Contractors receiv'd for 1661 French Prisoners transported to France, 164,610 Livres, amounting, at 15 d. per Livre, to 1038 l. 2 s. 6 d. besides the Pay for 2044 English Prisoners brought back, and that they paid the said Masters, who perform'd these four Voyages, but 669 l. 1 s. 11 d. Mr. Sikes, a Merchant of Dartmouth, offered in April 1710, to bring back 'the British Prisoners for the Allowance given by the French, without any other Pay or Demands for Extraordinaries, Demurrage only excepted. But this Proposal was rejected by the Commissioners, and Mr Pearce was continued. He is still employ'd with an Allowance of 2 s. 6 d. per Head, notwithstanding frequent Complaints have been made against him, and so fully prov'd to the Commissioners, that we find in the Minutes of their Proceedings on the 29th of June 1709, a Resolution in these Words, 'That it does appear there have been Negligences and Mismanagements in the Service of Transportation of Prisoners.' After this Resolution, the Commissioners entered into a new Agreement with Mr. Pearce, dated the 13th of October 1703, and allowed him for Demurrage 50 s. a day for a Ship of a hundred Ton, and so, pro Rata, to commence fourteen Days after the Ship was ready to sail. Which is prov'd to have been an extravagant Rate by a Charter-Party made between Captain Masters and Mr. Pearce; for the Southhampton Transport, Burthen 100 Ton, whereby the Captain was to have but twenty Shillings a Day for Demurrage. One great Cause of the ill Management in this Part of the Service, as also of the Indulgence to Mr. Pearce, hath been in some measure lately explain'd to us, by the Evidence of Mr. Mitchel, and of Mr Pearce himself; wherein it appears, that William Churchil, Esq; when a Commissioner, procured Contracts in their Names from the Board, and, by a secret Agreement with them, was admitted into half the Profit of each Contract. Mr. Mitchel deposeth, that, on making a Contract with the Commissioners for sick and wounded Seamen, William Churchil Esq; one of the Commissioners (who had recommended him to the Board) did agree with the said Mitchel to reserve half the Profit for his, or some unknown Person's Use; that he hath receiv'd what was due for the Service perform'd, pursuant to the said Contract, and looks upon himself accountable, by this private Agreement for half the Profit. Mr. Pearce deposeth, that, when he first entered into a Contract (which is still continued) with the Commissioners for sick and wounded Seamen, he agreed with his Brother-in-law, William Churchil, Esq; then a Commissioner, to be a Sharer in the Profit and Loss arising from the said Contract, that he and Mr. Churchil borrowed 2000 l. to carry on this Service, for which they are jointly bound; that the Accompts are not yet made up, but that he hath paid Mr. Churchil about 200 l. as part of his Share of the said Contract.
Both these Contracts have been prejudicial to the Government. Mr. Mitchel was discarded, because the Terms of his were declared too high to be continued, Mr. Pearce was introduc'd indeed on Pretence of Frugality, and making a better Bargain; but it is evident, by what hath been already said, that even this better Bargain hath been of no advantage. For since it was made, the Service hath been ill performed, and Methods used to advance Mr. Pearce's Profit beyond what was at first intended. On the 16th of October 1707, he made a groundless Demand for Losses; whereupon the Commissioners (Mr. Churchil being present) came to a Resolution to increase his Pay from 2 s. 6 d. to 5 s. per Head for English Prisoners; which will never pass for an Instance of Frugality and good Oeconomy in this Office. But what seems to concern Mr. Churchil in these Contracts, may be reduc'd to this single Question, Whether a Person entrusted by her Majesty to make Contracts of the Public, can be a private Partner in such Contracts, without a Breach of his Trust.
'We have received a Complaint from Captain Robert Masters, relating to Mr. Mitchel's Contract, which we cannot pass over in silence. The Substance of it is, that, pursuant to two Orders from the Commissioners, dated the 17th of August, and 14th of October 1704, he carried French Prisoners from Southamptom to St. Maloes, and brought back 680 English Prisoners, for whom, at the Rates then allowed, he ought to have receiv'd 340 l. That he perform'd this Service at his own Expence, without being under Agreement with any Person; that, after performing it, he was refused Payment by the Commissioners, being told at first, that the Money was issued to Mr. Churchil, one of the Commissioners; and afterwards, that it was paid to Mr. Mitchel. The Commissioners, in answer to this Complaint, declar'd, that, notwithstanding the sailing Orders were directed to Captain Masters, they never contracted with him for the Performance of that Service; that he had been recommended to them by Mr. Churchil, or Mr. Mitchel, and that they took him to be employ'd by one of them. Mr. Mitchel, conformable to the Opinion of the Commissioners, swears that he employ'd Captain Masters, and receiv'd the Money for the Voyages performed by him. But what countenances Captain Masters's Pretensions in this Case, is, that, at the time when he perform'd the Service from Southampton to St. Maloes, Mr. Mitchel was not under Contract for that Port, but only from Dover to Calais; that no Agreement hath been produc'd to prove him an Agent to Mr. Churchil, or Mr. Mitchel, and therefore the Money due on this account could not regularly be issued to either of them, unless some secret Covenants have been entered into, which do not yet appear to your Commissioners.
'Since these Facts were drawn up and stated, we receiv'd a Letter on the 7th of March last, from Mr. Pearce, endeavouring to soften his Evidence; which is here inserted, that nothing in favour of the Person mention'd in the Deposition may seem to be conceal'd.
'When I attended you under a Surprize, and shock'd by my Weakness, I know not whether I was rightly understood in my Expressions; therefore, recollecting as well as I can, what I then signed, beg leave to explain my self on some of the Questions your Honours were pleased to ask me, viz. Whether any Person was concerned with me in the Service of transporting Prisoners, and in what Year I made my Contract? to which I answer'd plainly, and desired to be understood, that, when I entered on the Transport Business, it was entirely my own Right, and under no Obligation of Partnership; the French, making then good Payment, enabled me to carry on the Service without being obliged to any Person for Money; but, after some Years, they entirely put a Stop to their Payments, and I found the Service wanted more Money to carry it on, than I was able to raise, I having agreed for 2 s. 6 d. for which others had always 10 s. I was forced to apply to my Brother for Assistance, who brought me first in, and voluntarily promised to reimburse him by the Profits of the said Service, if any such should be, or otherwise, for his Kindness and Assistance in this Affair; and I, having formerly made use of his Money, when I was under him as Deputy-Treasurer of the Ordnance, and at that time being incapable of repaying him, design'd to reimburse him in this manner; and the 200 l. mention'd in my Affidavit, tho' intended by me as part of such Money as should arise from the said Service, I never acquainted him with, there being great Sums due from France on that Account, and the State of the Profit and Loss could not possibly be made till the Remittances be procured, and the Debts owing on that Head are paid off, I am,
'We will not trouble the House with any Reflections on this Letter, only that it is very extraordinary Mr. Pearce could not recollect his Thoughts under a Month's time, and that your Commissioners were so far from taking his Evidence by surprise (as is suggested) that they desir'd him, after he had freely and voluntarily given it, to settle and adjust the Deposittion in his own manner, which he accordingly did, before he signed it.
'Your Commissioners further represent, That the exposing to Sale Offices, relating to the Management of the Revenue of the Kingdom, is a Practice against Law, and done in defiance of her Majesty's repeated Declarations. Two Instances of which have been proved to us by the Oaths of the very Persons concern'd.
'The first is this: Henry Meriton Esq; in the Year 1705, treated with M. Brydges, then Auditor of the Imprests, for the Purchase of his Office, and agreed to give him 4000 l. for it. After this Agreement, he applied to the Lord Godolphin, then Lord Treasurer, for his Approbation. His Lordship propos'd to make him Commissioner of Customs, or Cashier of the Excise, in Consideration of the 4000 l. he was to pay to Mr. Brydges. But he absolutely refus'd the first, and was with difficulty brought to accept the latter Office, on so hard Terms as he thought, because it was to be given during Pleasure only. However, being perswaded by Sir William Scawen, whom he had consulted and employ'd in this matter, to rely on the Lord Godolpin's Honour, and promis'd, that he should not be displaced, he paid 4000 l. to Mr. Brydges. Whereupon Mr. Maynwaring was made Auditor of the Imprests. Mr. Hall Cashier of the Excise, removed from that Employment to be Commissioner of the Customs, and Mr. Meriton made Cashier of the Excise. By which it is evident, That the Lord Godolphin was not only privy to this Bargain and Sale, but negotiated it However, your Commissioners examin'd Mr. Maynwaring himself on Oath, and he deposeth that his Lordship transacted the whole matter without his Knowledge, but that he heard a Sum of Money was given to Mr. Brydges, on his resigning his Office. As a further Confirmation of this, when Mr. Meriton was dismiss'd in 1710, from being Cashier of the Excise, he remonstrated to the Lord Godolphin, told him he could not sit down with the Loss of 4000 l. and insisted on his Lordship's Promise of continuing him in his Place. His Lordship apprehending himself under an Obligation to reimburse him, (as he was pleas'd to say for his own sake) means were found, on making Colonel Sidney Comptroller, and Mr. Pauncefort Cashier of the Excise, to raise 4000 l. for Mr. Meriton, by a cross Sale of those Offices.
'The second Instance relates to Mr. George Hutchinson, who hath also declar'd on Oath, That he bargain'd with the Lord Wharton for 1000 l. if he could make him Register of the Seizures; that his Lordship did accordingly obtain that Office for him from the Lord Godolphin, then Lord High Treasurer; That, in Consideration thereof, and pursuant to his Bargain, he paid his Lordship 1000 l. on his Admission into the Place, which he now enjoys. We cannot dismiss this Article, without observing in general, That the selling Offices belonging to the Revenue, is not only a Violation of the Law, and a Contempt of her Majesty's Declarations in Council, as hath been said, but it may be attended with the greatest Inconveniences, and every Instance of it will naturally produce some Prejudice to the Public For those who sell, will have more regard to the Sums they are to receive, than to the Qualifications of the Persons that buy. And those who buy, will prefer the Care of reimbursing themselves, to that of performing the Duty of their Offices. But whether either of these Assertions have prov'd true, in the Cases now mention'd, your Commissioners pretend not to affim. The Earl of Godolphin being dead since Mr. Meriton's Case came before us, we would not appear too solicitous in endeavouring to prove this, or any other Instance of his Management, a breach of the High Trust repos'd in him. Which, however, we cannot apprehend a Reason sufficient for us to conceal Facts from the House, otherwise deserving your Consideration. We likewise forbear making any particular Observations on Mr. Hutchinson's Case; or presuming to determine, whether 'tis an Aggravation of it, That the Lord Wharton, when he received the Sum abovemention'd, was a Privy Counsellor, and enjoy'd other Places of great Trust under her Majesty. But we must inform the House, that Mr. Hutchinson did on the 10th of March last (near five Months after the time his Deposition was taken) come to your Commissioners, and presented the following Narrative: Which we lay before you, being offer'd at his Lordship's Request, and therefore we must suppose thought material.
'I never had any Acquaintance with, or personal Knowledge of the Lord Wharton, or had ever spoken to him, till I was advised by a Friend to apply to him by means of the Lady Lockhart, his Lordship's Sister, to whom I made my Proposition, and Promise of a Present, if by her I could be recommended to Lord Wharton her Brother, and by him to the Lord Treasurer to have Leave for Mr. John Earl, my Predecessor, to resign his Office to me; aed when I was by her Ladyship so recommended to Lord Wharton, her Ladyship told me, that his Lordship was very unwilling to meddle with any thing of that kind; and that I must not expect that his Lordship would make any Steps in it, unless he found by the Lord Treasurer that I was very capable and fit for the said Employment.
'Whilst this Affair was thus transacting, the said Mr. John Earl died, upon which I told her Ladyship, I could and would make her Ladyship a better Present, if her Ladyship could prevail that I might succeed the said Mr. John Earl; her Ladyship then gave me a Letter of Recommendation to Lord Wharton, who was then at New-Market, and when I came there, and was introduced to the Lord Treasurer, his Lordship was pleased to say, that for my own sake and my Father's, and upon Lord Wharton's Recommendation, his Lordship was willing to prefer me to that Employment.
'When I had thus obtained his Lordship's Promise, the Lord Wharton, being afterwards returned to Town, told me, That, for some Reasons, he did not think proper to put the Money into her Ladyship's hands, nor make the Bills payable to her, and directed me to put the Money into a Goldsmith's hands, which I did, and made the Notes payable to my self, and endorsed them; and afterwards delivered them to a Person his Lordship (who was then gone into the Country) by his Letter appointed to receive them. And I always apprehended, from what my Friend said, who introduced me to Lady Lockhart, and likewise from what I had heard his Lordship say, that the Present I made was designed for the Benefit and Advantage of the Lady Lockhart, and her Family to whom I first made (by my Friend) the Proposition and Promise of it, and for whose Sake his Lordship undertook to do me that Favour.
'That the abovewritten Paper was drawn by the Direction of the Lord Wharton, and several Passages which I had forgot, and his Lordship put me in mind of, were added at his Lordship's Instance; particularly that relating to the Lady Lockhart, That the whole thousand Pounds were paid to one Mr. Lee (by two 500 l. Notes) by his Lordship's Order; That before his Lordship did obtain the said Employment for me, I did acquaint his Lordship I woud give a thousand Pounds for it.
'As the Disposal of public Offices for Money is not allowable, so neither can the Exemption of any of them from the Payment of Taxes imposed and specified by Parliament, admit of the least Justification. However, a considerable Instance thereof hath also occurr'd to us. Before the Year 1705, the Officers of the Houshold within the Palaces of Whitehall and St. James's, were annually taxed at 10,686 l. 5 s. 4 d. But in that Year, the Parliament taking it into Consideration, that this Tax was too low, and that those Officers ought to contribute their Proportion towards carrying on the War, as well as the landed Property of England, it was advanc'd to the Sum of 30,754 l. 6 s. 3 d. which hath been continu'd every Year since Some time after, Mr. Hume, one of the Commissioners for those Palaces, being desir'd to attend the Treasury, brought from thence an Instruction, written in Characters, which he interpretted to be a Rule, whereby all Persons having Salaries of 100 l. per Annum, or upwards, should be rated at 3 s. per Pound; of between 100 l. and 40 l. per Annum at 2 s. 6 d. per Pound, of 40 l. per Annum, and under, at 1 s. 4 d. per Pound. Pursuant to which, a Draught of an Assessment, amounting only to 19,403 l. 8 s. was prepar'd and laid before the late Lord Treasurer; from whom it was return'd to the Commissioners with a Minute on the back of the Assessment-Roll, entered by Mr. Taylour of the Treasury, by Direction of his Lordship, in these Words, viz. The Commissioners to proceed in making the Assessment accordingly. An Assessment was made conformable to this Minute for that Year, and continued for the following Years, 1706, 1707, 1708, 1709, 1710. But the Commissioners were threatned with Process in the Year 1708, for not raising the whole Sum of 30,754 l. 6 s. 3 d. Charged for the Year 1705, and 1706; and they applied to the late Lord Treasurer, who ordered a Stay of it. On the 25th of March 1710, the Arrear was swell'd to the Sum of 56,754 l. 11 s. 3 d. and the Commissioners several times urged his Lordship to satisfy it. Which, however, was never done during this Management of the Treasury. But this Matter has been since represented there with better Success. For 1000 l. hath been actually paid to the Receiver-General in Money, and a Talley is struck on Tin for 2000 l. more, towards making good the Deficiency; and we have ground to believe, that, in a short time, Care will be taken to discharge the rest.
'The better to enable the Commissioners to raise the full Sum of 30,764 l. 6 s. 3 d. for the Years 1711, and 1712, the Payment of several large Pensions have been transfer'd from the Post-Office to Mr. Compton's, which being assessed at 4 s. per Pound, and the other Pensions payable there, rated by the same Rule as the rest of the Queen's Family are, the Assessment now compleatly answers the Tax.
'The Observations arising from this Case so stated and sworn before your Commissioners, are, That, of all the Deficiencies, which have happened in any of the Taxes since the Revolution, this we believe is the only one, that hath been openly allowed under colour of any Authority, but of Parliament, and that hath received a Sanction from the Treasury. That this Order was an Attempt upon the Commons Privilege of raising Money, and must either be intended to defraud the Public or to deceive the Commissioners. If it was to be taken as a sufficient Foundation to justify the Assessment, then the Government was to be defrauded by suppressing part of the Tax. If it was not, then the Commissioners were deceived by being encouraged to act in obedience to a fictitious Authority; whereby they subjected themselves to a Prosecution, and their Estates to an Extent. That the Lord-Treasurer was the last Person, who in Prudence or Justice ought to have consented to such a Deficiency, or to have assumed a Power of comptrolling an Act for Levying Money; since, by virtue of his Office, he was to be entrusted with it, and to use all possible Means, that every Fund should answer the Sum, for which it was given by Parliament. That the directing a Stay of Process against the Commissioners for the Arrears, due on this Tax, as it was an Impediment to public Justice, and a Vindication of this Order, in itself illegal, and of dangerous Consequence; so it was a Continuance and 'an Aggravation of the first Mismanagement. That the Care, which hath been lately taken towards satisfying the past Deficiency, and to answer the full Tax for the future, is a plain Condemnation of this Order; and a Proof, that, if the same Endeavours had been formerly used, there would have been no Necessity (as is pretended) of complying with it. If this Precedent had been allowed, the same Indulgence might, with equal Reason, have been extended to any other Part of Great-Britain.
'Your Commissioners, in examining the Accompts of her Majesty's Great Wardrobe, observe, That more than two thirds of those Persons, who receive constant Pay on this Establishment, were never bred to the Trades they pretend to, nor ever did any work in the Office. That the Master and his Deputy, who are the only Checks on the Accompts, did, in the Names of their Servants, furnish great Quantities of Goods at much higher Prices than they might have been bought of Tradesmen. That the Money being received from the Treasurer by the Master and his Agents in gross Sums, and not for any particular Debt or Service, there is always room left for them, without Comptrol, to postpone others, and prefer themselves, to the great prejudice of the Credit of the Office. That 4, 5, and sometimes 6 per Cent. is paid to the Deputy by the Tradesmen (who are admitted to deal with this Office) on the Receipt of their Money. Which is one Reason, amongst many, why the Prices are 20 or 30, and sometimes 40 per Cent. dearer than those Tradesmen would have furnished their Goods to other Customers, as is acknowledged by several of them. These Practices are encouraged by the Method of passing the Accompts of this Office, which is very different from that of any other. For, if the Master be a Peer, his Declaration on Honour, if he be not a Peer, his or his Deputy's Oath is (without producing any Voucher or Receipt) an Authority to the Auditor. But what means are proper to be taken for the Regulation thereof, is submitted by your Commissioners.
'We mentioned in our last Report, the Losses then occasioned by the Insolvency of Bonds taken for Payment of her Majesty's Customs. But finding it a growing Evil, and such as, if not remedied, may in time become a great Diminution of the best Branch of the Revenue, we think it our Duty again to represent a State of them. There remained on the 31st of January, 1712, besides those delivered over to the Queen's Remembrancer;
|Bonds for the following Sums;||l.||s.||d.|
|In the hands of the Receivers General,||100,795||15||03 ½|
|The Sollicitor,||110,141||02||11 ¾|
'This large Debt is supposed to be entirely lost to the Public. But whether it hath arisen from particular Indulgencies, or from a general Neglect of prosecuting the Bonds when they became due, is not easy to judge. The ReceiverGeneral hath deposed, That the Commissioners of Customs have not, since the Year 1710, directed him to deliver over any Bonds to the Sollicitor; which hath some Appearance of Neglect. But the Commissioners alledge, that they ordered him, and their Sollicitor, to write quickning Letters to the Merchants, and to put Bonds in Suit as they became due. They add, it is their Opinion, that rigorous Prosecutions might be of more prejudice than Service, and would rather have increased than lessened this Debt. Besides this Forbearance of Prosecuting hazardous Bonds, there hath been a Neglect in receiving the whole Money due on such as were good. The principal Sum of 59,990 l. due on Bonds in the Receiver-General's hands, and the principal Sum of 262,666 l. 4s. 4d. 2q. due on Bonds in the Sollicitor's hands, have been paid, but not with Interest: Whereas the Interest for the first was computed the 13th of September last, at 7965 l. 3s. 3d. And for the Second, the 15th of December last at 5500 l. There hath been no Reason offered to your Commissioners why so considerable a Sum for Interest should be remitted by the Public. For the ReceiverGeneral hath declared on Oath, that the Principal was not paid within the Time limited by the Act for continuing the additional Duty of Tonnage and Poundage, &c. nor upon any Representation, made in favour of such Debtors, by the Commissioners of the Customs to the Treasury, as the Act directs: Her Majesty's Customs have been further prejudiced by suffering the Captains of Men of War, contrary to their Instructions, to take Merchants Goods on board in the Plantations, and other remote Places; for her Majesty's Ships not being liable to the same Cheques as Merchants Ships are, they frequently land great Quantities as Goods without paying any Duty. This Practice (which cannot be cured, unless the Captains be absolutely restrained from carrying any Sort of Merchandizes whatsoever) is a Discouragement to the Owners of Merchant-Ships, a Loss sometimes of those under their Convoy, and often a Hazard of the Men of War themselves.
'Tho' the Land-Revenue of the Crown in England, hath been extremely reduced by the Sale of Fee-Farm Rents, and by many exorbitant Grants since the Revolution; yet it is still too considerable an Article to be omitted by your Commissioners; and we take leave to remark, That we find in our Examination of the general Incomes and Issues of the Exchequer, That the Sums there brought to account of late Years are much smaller than would have arisen even from what remains of this Revenue, if due Care had been taken by those entrusted with the Management of it. For all the Payments which have been made on this Head, for eleven Years last past, in the Whole amount to but 30,557 l. 18s. 10 d. We are unable to offer any perfect State of this Revenue. The Papers and Rolls relating to it, have been kept in so little Order by the Auditors, and the several Receivers are so uncertainly charged, (some with Rents, which have been lost or unknown for many Years, others with such as have been sold or granted away) that nothing to be relied on can be collected from the Accompts as they now stand. The Methods for the Regulation and Collection of this Revenue are plainly laid down, in several Acts of Parliament, and the Neglect of them hath been the Cause of the Confusion we find in the Accompts of those concerned in it.'
The Substance of the second Report.
'Your Commissioners humbly hope, by what is offered in the preceding Report, that they will appear to have taken some Pains in Examining the Accompts of the Army, which they have applied themselves more immediately to, not only as they were obliged to use all possible Endeavours to detect any Irregularities or Mismanagements therein, but in order to enable themselves to determine the Debts due from the Government on this Head. As soon therefore as the Act passed, appointing us Commissioners for that Purpose, we directed the Paymaster-General to lay before us, States of the several Regiments under their Care; and in the first place, of those which were reduced or disbanded. We likewise required the Colonels and Agents to exhibit Accompts of all Sums of Money received by them, for the Use of their respective Regiments. Mr. Howe, in Return to our Precept, brought in Accompts of some Regiments; but in the Examination thereof, we found they had reference to other Accompts, (whilst those Regiments were in Mr. Brydges's Pay) which are unadjusted. Mr. Brydges exhibited also to us, some time since, the State of several Regiments; but alledged there were so many Difficulties in their Accompts, that he could not then settle the Credit of any one. The Colonels and Agents have returned, That, till the Credits of their respective Regiments are fixed and ascertain'd by the Paymasters, they cannot pretend to offer any Accompts. However, we have employ'd our Time in hearing the Claims and Complaints of several Persons relating to these Accompts, which, as they have been very numerous, so they will facilitate our Examinations, when the Pay-Master shall be prepared to lay their Accompts before us, in such manner, as will be a proper Foundation for us to determine upon. Mr. Brydges hath been frequently pressed to attest the Credit of the Regiments under his Care, which are the most considerable Part of the Army: But, being unable to remove the Difficulties first complained of, he hath lately delivered on Oath a Paper entitled,
Reasons why the Accompts for the Regiments under the Care of Payment of the Honourable James Brydges Esq; Pay-master General of her Majesty's Forces, acting in conjunction with the Allies, could not be closed and attested, pursuant to the Precepts of the Honourable the Commissioners appointed by Parliament for Taking, Examining, and Determining the Debts due to the Army, &c. dated March 4, 1712-13.
'Now whether these Reasons are admitted as a Justification of the Pay-master or otherwise, your Commissioners apprehend they are a sufficient Proof, that it was not in their power to proceed farther than they have done. And that if they had presumed to form any Certificates on this confused and uncertain State of the Accompts of the Army, they must necessarily have been guilty of the highest Injustice, as well as a direct Breach of the Act which constitutes their Commission. For the House will be pleased to consider, they are ty'd down by that Act to determine only according to the Establishments.
Bill to continue the Commissioners of the public Accompts.
Mr. Shippen having read these two Reports in his Place, and presented the said States and Reports to the House, the House resolved to take the same into Consideration the Saturday following, and ordered a Bill to be brought in, to revive and continue the Act, for taking, examining and stating the public Accompts of the Kingdom, and also to continue the Act for appointing Commissioners to take, examine, and determine the Debt due to the Army, Transport-Service, and Sick and Wounded.