Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Friday, the 23d of April, 1652.
Capture of Barbados.
Mr. Thomas Challoner reports, from the Council of State, a Letter from Sir George Askue, from the Barbados, of the 26th of February 1651; with the Articles made upon the Rendition of the Island of the Barbados to the Forces of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England: Which were this Day read.
Grant to Nicholls.
Ordered, That Captain Richard Nicholls have the Sum of One hundred Pounds bestowed on him for his good Service: And that it be referred to the Council of State, to see the same forthwith paid to him accordingly.
Colonel Wauton reports, from the Council of State, concerning the Office of the Ordnance, and the Officers and Labourers belonging to the same: With Reasons for the Settlement of that Branch of the Office of the Ordnance that respects the Navy, in the Commissioners of the Navy.
1. THE Transaction of the Service of the Navy, in Two Offices, under distinct Commands, and in several Places, doth necessarily expose the State to the Expence of more Time than is needful, or otherwise would be expended, if the whole Business were settled in one Commission, and dispatched at one and the same Time, from one and the same Persons and Places.
2. Upon the Loss of Time for want of Gunners Stores depends oft-times the Loss of a Service, and the Opportunity of a fair Wind; and always the unnecessary Charge of Victuals and Wages to a Ship full-manned, till the Gunner be supplied; and, after that, till the Wind turns: Which, together with the Subjects Loss, for want of Convoy and Guard in the Seas, hath been no small Damage to the State in Ten Years past.
3. In the Case of a Fleet going to Sea, the Want of Guns, or Gunners Stores, for one Ship, may beget the same unnecessary Charge to the State of Victuals and Wages to the whole Fleet, till those Stores be provided and supplied.
4. If this Business were settled in the Commissioners of the Navy, all that Trouble and Care that now attends the Council of State, Committee of the Admiralty, Committee of the Navy, or their Secretaries, in writing double Warrants, for one and the same Service, to distinct Officers, would be avoided: And for want hereof, it falls out too often, that the Commissioners of the Navy receive their Warrants, and finish half the Service required from them, before the Officers of the Ordnance know of any such Service, or have any Warrant for the same.
5. As the Service is now acted, the State knows not where to lay the Blame, in case of Neglect; the Commissioners of the Navy excusing themselves by the Default of the Officers of the Ordnance; and they, by the Default of the Commissioners of the Navy: And, between both, the State suffers; and oft-times those in whom the Fault is not do bear the Blame: All which would be remedied, if the Service were settled in One Office.
6. Divers petty Provisions are, at present, supplied by the Commissioners of the Navy to all Gunners; for which they neither indent to the Commissioners, nor yet account for to the Officers of the Ordnance; being not included in their Indentures in that Office.
7. Many Wastes and Imbezzlements are, and more might be, discovered, by the Commissioners of the Navy, and their Instruments, if the Gunners were under their Command: But in regard they do not indent with them, can account to them for their Stores, they neither do nor can perform that Service to the State, in finding out or punishing the Gunners Abuses, as otherwise they both might and ought.
8. All Breeching and Tackles for Guns are now made of new Hemp, and bought at 28s. the Hundred-weight, or thereabouts, to no small Charge to the State: Whereas, if the Service were settled in the Commissioners of the Navy, they doubt not to save a great Part of that Charge, by new-working the State's old Junks into Breechings and Tackles: And for want of such a Vent for the State's Junks, or old Cables, they are forced to sell them by the Candle, at low Rates.
9. Hereby the Salaries now given to the Officers of the Ordnance for this Duty, may be saved to the State; and yet the Service as equally well, if not far better for the State, executed by the Commissioners of the Navy, without any Addition to their Number, or present Salaries.
10. All, or most Part of, the Travelling-Charges, expended yearly by the Officers of the Ordnance, their Clerk, and other Instruments, to survey Ships Stores, balance Gunners Accompts, and re-supply Stores, may be saved, both at Chatham, Debtford, Woolwich, and Portesmouth; where constantly some one or more of the Commissioners of the Navy do attend all Pays; and where the Clerks of the Survey are already resident: Who, for a small Recompence, or Augmentation to what they now have, both may and will as equally execute that Service that respects the Gunner and his Stores, as they now do the Service that respects the Boatswain and his Stores.
11. The Charge of Transportation of Guns, and all Gunners Stores, excepting Powder, to and from Chatham, Woolwich, and Debtford, may, for the most Part, be saved by the Commissioners of the Navy's Care in this Business; there being Conveniency of Wharfs for the Guns, and Storehouses for all Provisions, excepting Powder, in all Yards; without further Charge to the State, than the bare Delivery on Shore, and Receipt on Board, of the said Provisions.
And also additional Reasons, given by the Officers of the Ordnance, against the Transporting that Branch in the Office of the Ordnance, which respects the Navy, to the Charge and Care of the Commissioners for the Navy.
According to Order of the honourable Committee for the Ordnance, the Officers of the Ordnance do humbly offer these additional Reasons, why, in their Opinion, it can neither be for Safety or Advantage to the State, to transport that Branch in the Office of the Ordnance, which respects the Navy, to the Charge and Care of the Commissioners for the Navy; viz.
THE Parliament have been pleased very much to enlarge, unto the present Commissioners, the Powers which were or have been granted unto any former Commissioners for the Navy; that, by that Means, they are at present vested with a Sufficiency, in the several Particulars following:
4. In Drawing-forth any Quantity of Victuals from the Victuallers for the Navy, by Warrants under their own Hands, for such Numbers of Men, as have been by them imprested, to be borne upon those Ships either already in, or fitted up for, present Service.
In all which Trusts, if the Treasurer for the Navy do agree, there can be no Check or Controul kept upon them, other than the Admiral of the Fleet; who are not, nor can be, so far acquainted with their Actings at all times, until the Service be performed; nor can therefore the Parliament, or Council of State, be fully informed, from any Hand other than their own, how far they have executed, or exceeded, their Commands, in a Service of so great Importance.
Now, although the Officers of Ordnance do not present any Thing that may tend towards raising of Jealousy against the present Commissioners, whom they do judge to be of very great Integrity to the State; yet they do humbly offer, whether, if Authority, in times past, did branch forth the forementioned Trusts into particular Duties, which were lodged upon the several and particular Commissioners for the Navy, for which they should be thereunto each of them, severally and apart, responsal; and, that, besides all this, the Office of Ordnance and of Victualing were kept distinct, and were therefore collateral Checks upon that Occasion; whereby, if Defection from the State had been made by the one Office, yet no considerable Disadvantage could befal it, without the Concurrence and Assistance of the other; which was not only distinct in Person and Command, but in Place also, it might be adjudged advisable to add this Power of arming all Ships with military Stores; in the Managing whereof, all Articles of Peace or War with foreign States will be very much promoted or abated, upon Three or Four Hands acting jointly in One Office; and may be more probably therefore, in Ages to come, be corrupted, to sacrifice the Welfare of this whole Commonwealth for private Interest, before they can be so seasonably discovered. All which, as they humbly, conceive, may more rationally be provided against, by a double and distinct Trust, as now it stands: The Reduction of which Charge could never contribute any thing of Recompence, if the Whole should be, in time to come, so far endangered.
That the Officers do conceive, the Reasons before offered may abundantly counterpoise what hath been said in the first Three Arguments of that Commissioner; wherein he doth only assign a general Charge, during the last Ten Years, without making any particular Thing to appear, nor, as the Officers are confident, ever can: But if so, yet it may be very easy to reduce the same to that Constitution it was in before those last Ten Years; and so rendered serviceable without Demolishment. All which, and whatsoever else of Disadvantage could be objected, was, as they humbly conceive, sufficiently provided against in that Model formed by the Committee for Martial Affairs.
To the Fifth; That, the Difference of Stores military and naval being so great, if any Neglect should arise concerning the same, by the Persons trusted with either, it might be as conspicuous who was in that Fault; and the State know thereby where, and how, to require it.
To the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th; The Officers do believe, that as well the other Four of the Commissioners of the Navy, as the Persons that have any Reference to the naval Service, are sensible, that so great an Affair doth already incumber their Hands, that they need not grasp more, lest the State suffer.
And, for Imbezzlements, the Officers do think, that it is easily made appear, the greatest they assume to be discovered by the Commissioners, or their Instruments, were, in truth, found out and pursued by the Officers of Ordnance: Besides that divers Persons who are no Commissioners for the Navy, do usually discover Imbezzlements of Rigging, &c.
To the 10th and 11th; The honourable Committee for Martial Affairs did, on their late Model, provide for the Cutting-off of all Travelling-charges, and made Provision for that Service another Way; to which the Officers do refer.
And, lastly, the said Officers of Ordnance do humbly offer, That if such a Translation as is propounded should be admitted, it would necessarily engage the State in a far greater Charge than it is at present at, as Affairs do now stand; for that there will be a Necessity of repeating the same Offices and Officers in the Navy, for Execution of such a Service, as are at present under Pay of the State, in the Office of the Ordnance.
1. AUTHORITY, in precedent Ages, did avoid to commit so great a Trust, as the Managing of all Naval and Martial Affairs is, unto the Hand of any one in Subordination to itself; but did therefore direct the Government and Ordering of all such Ships and Stores, as were to abide in Harbour, to one Commission; and the Equipage and Habiliments of War, both for Sea and Land Service, to another: Whereby if the one Officer should have made Defection, yet could not do any considerable Disadvantage to the State, without the Concurrence of the other; who was not only distinct in Person from him, and Command, but in Place also.
3. The Loss of a Ship, or Fleet, as well as of an Army, depends on the Sufficiency of military Stores; and it is not probable, that the Commissioners for the Navy have either Skill to judge, or Time to learn, what is sufficient, or what is defective, in those Stores.
4. The Stores of Powder, and all other Ammunition, cannot, with so great a Safety, lie in any Place, at least in these distempered Times, as in the Tower of London; where a strong Guard is Night and Day for their Preservation.
5. Upon Return of any Ship from Sea, when the Reasonableness, or Unreasonableness, of the Gunners Expence is to be allowed, or disallowed of, it may, probably, be better performed by the Officers of the Ordnance; who should be best acquainted with Proportions of Powder and Shot, &c. to the Guns, than the Commissioners for the Navy's Clerks; upon whom it must be cast, if those Stores be removed.
And the said Officers, finding, by Experience, the common Roughness of Seafaring-Men, do humbly conceive, they may be better awed by an Office that is daily acquainted with those Expences, than by any inferior Instruments that shall be appointed thereunto; whereby the State may be very much abused in those Stores.
He also reports, "That the Parliament having been pleased to confer on Major General Harrison, the Office of Lieutenant of the Ordnance, in the Ordnance-Office in the Tower of London, with all the Fees and Perquisites thereof, the Council hath paid over several Sums unto him; to be issued, by their Warrant, for the Providing of Stores unto such Artificers, as should furnish Provisions: That the Monies by him issued, upon particular Orders, amount to the Sum of 122,629 l. 8s. 6d. the Poundage of which, at Six-pence in the Pound, being one of the Fees of the said Office settled upon him, amounts to the Sum of 3,065 l. 14s. 6d.; which he hath not received of the particular Artificers, to whom the Money was paid: By Reason of which, the Provisions, contracted for in the said Office, have been served in at much lower Rate than formerly, and to a greater Advantage to the State than the Value of the Poundage. Which the Council have taken into Consideration, as also that there is due unto the said Major General, as Lieutenant of the Ordnance, for Salary, upon the Quarter-Book in the Ordnance-Office, the Sum of 366 l. all which amounts unto the Sum of 3,431 l. 14s. 6d.; they have thought fit humbly to offer the same unto the Consideration of the Parliament, that such Order may be given therein, as they shall judge meet."
Ordered, That the several Papers touching that Part of the Report which concerns the Settlement of that Branch of the Office of the Ordnance, which respects the Navy, in the Commissioners of the Navy, be referred to the Council of State, to take the same into Consideration; and to deliver their Opinion therein, and report the same to the Parliament.
Resolved, That Lands of Inheritance, of Delinquents Estates, forfeited to the Commonwealth for Treason, of the Yearly Value of Five hundred Pounds, be settled upon Major General Thomas Harrison, and his Heirs.
Resolved, by the Parliament, That Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, of an Estate of Inheritance, of the clear yearly Value of Five hundred Pounds, or to the Value of Lands of Inheritance of the clear yearly Value of Five hundred Pounds, out of Delinquents Estates, forfeited to the Commonwealth for Treason, be settled upon Major General Thomas Harrison, and his Heirs or Assigns.
Resolved, That the said Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, so to be settled, be out of the Lands and Estates already exposed to Sale by the Act, intituled, An Act for Sale of several Lands and Estates forfeited to the Commonwealth for Treason: Or out of the Lands, of the Value of Ten thousand Pounds a Year, formerly appointed to be settled by the additional Act for Sale of Delinquents Estates, to make up the Security upon the First Act; which Lands of Ten thousand Pounds a Year shall accordingly go to supply what shall be so settled, in pursuance of this Vote, or shall be wanting on the former Security.
Resolved, That the Trustees for Sale of several Lands and Estates, forfeited to the Commonwealth for Treason, be authorized and required to convey Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, of or to the Value aforesaid, to the said Major General Thomas Harrison, and his Heirs or Assigns, accordingly.