Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 3, 1620-1628. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Mercurii, videlicet, 12 die Maii,
Ld. Treasurer re-capitulates his several Charges.
His Answer, touching the Wardrobe.
As for the First, "That his Omission of an Accompt in the Wardrobe did neither add nor diminish to the Charge the King was at; and that, although his Lordship omitted to serve some of the Lord Chamberlain's Warrants, amounting to a Matter of Seven Hundred Pounds, yet he had laid out in the Extraordinaries of that Office (which he was not bound to do) about Six Thousand Pounds; and that the good Service which he had done His Majesty in that Office is well known.
Touching the Bribes received of the Farmers of the Customs.
"Touching the Two Bribes (termed Disguised Corruptions), howsoever the Farmers of the Customs presented the same, he could not know their Thoughts, but by their Words and Deeds; and his Lordship protested that he received the same no otherwise than for his Interest in Part of the Great Farm of the said Customs.
Composition for Grocery.
"As touching the Lease for Sugars, he will say no more than formerly he had spoken, nor for the Compositions for Grocery, save only this: That his Lordship had sent Barrett's Son unto Mr. Serjeant Crewe, to satisfy him that Barrett had formerly collected the said Compositions, by virtue of the Warrant of former Treasurers.
Touching the Affairs of the Ordnance.
"As touching the Office of the Ordnance, his Lordship would speak no more touching the Provision for Arms and Gunpowder than he had done; but, as touching Dalison's Business, his Lordship said, it began originally before he was Treasurer; he therein settled the King's Debt unto the Officers, and hath departed with that Estate which he had from them in Dalison's Lands within a Month after he was Treasurer; yet, if the Second Bargain made with those Officers prove not as beneficial unto them as the First should have been, they have his Word to make it as good, which he would perform. And his Lordship further proffered, that any One should have Dallson's Land against at a far less Sum than it cost him.
"Then hehumbly desired their Lordships to take into their Consideration his Disability to answer, the Ability of those that did oppose him; and, if he had been as well able to speak for himself as they that spake against him, he doubted not but that he should have given their Lordships very good Satisfaction.
"He acknowledged, That the King had been a good and bountiful Master unto him; and avowed that he had been a good and faithful Servant to His Majesty, not for Impositions, for (those Two only excepted, which are presented by the Commons) he ever stood against them; terming them a Partition-wall between the King and the Subject.
"That his Service hath been in Reformations; videlicet, of the Household, of the Navy, of the Wardrobe, and of the Kingdom of Ireland; which are Things of that Nature that they beget Enemies. And if, in doing Service to His Majesty, he hath procured to himself many Enemies, their Lordships will not impute that to him for a Fault.
"His Lordship also affirmed, That he had done His Majesty good Service in the Palatinate, by advancing the Exchange of the King's Money thither; wherein he saved the King Threescore Thousand Pounds; and affirmed, That he had advanced the Profits of the Crown at the lease Fourscore Thousand Pounds, not by Impositions; those he meddled not with, the other Two excepted; and they were agreed unto by the Council Board. The Ships indeed were in the River; but the Vintners were sent for, and made to pay what was imposed on the Merchants.
"That he was offered to pay the Arrear due for Ireland, a Third Part from the One Deputy, and the One Half from the other; wherewith he acquainted His Majesty, and turned it all to His Majesty's Profit.
"And as for the Offence taken Yesterday against him touching the King's Counsel (whom he ever loved well), he knew them to be of that loving Nature, that he doubted not but they would impute it to his Rashness, and forgive him.
"Then he craved Pardon of their Lordships, if he had omitted any Thing, or spoke aught that might discontent their Lordships." And so, with humble Thanks for their Favour to hear him, he concluded his Speech.
Answered by the Lord Keeper.
The Lord Treasurer having ended his Speech, he was answered by the Lord Keeper, "That the Council Table disavowed the Imposition on Wines to begin from them; it came from his Lordship, as belonging to his Place of Lord Treasurer; the Matter was his alone: The Manner also was contradicted by the rest of the Council; for that the Merchants Ships were then in the River; only they gave Way to it upon his Lordship's undertaking that the Merchants would yield thereunto, and that they should be no Way prejudiced thereby."
Ld. Treasurer's Reply.
Charge against him, touching the Wardrobe.
And their Lordships having duly considered of the Crimes objected against the Lord Treasurer, for not entering into a Book of Accompts the Warrants and Emptions (as he ought to have done), whereby the Settlement and ancient Institution of that Office is altogether broken, and for not serving the Warrants directed unto him for the King's own Person, though he was often urged thereunto; nor paying divers of the Creditors for such Stuff as they served in, although he received Twenty Thousand Pounds per Annum, by Way of Imprest, for the Ordinary Charge only of that Office, which a far less Sum would have fully defrayed; and for that he had not performed that good Service which he pretended unto His Majesty; but, under Pretence thereof, had procured unto himself great and large Gifts from His Majesty, and a Pardon of divers great Sums of Money;
To be censured for his Behaviour in it.
Ld. Treasurer's Charge, for the Bribes from the Farmers of the Customs.
Mr. Attorney read that Part of the Charge against the Lord Treasurer, which concerned the taking of Five Hundred Pounds of the Farmers of the Wines and Currants for a Bribe; and of Five Hundred Pounds of the Farmers of the Great Farm of Customs, for a Bribe; and for exacting of a Hundred Pounds of the said Farmers of Wines and Currants.
His Answer to it considered.
And their Lordships took into their Consideration the Lord Treasurer's Answer unto the said Two Bribes: videlicet, "That he accepted of a Thousand Pounds paid him at One entire Payment by the Farmers of the Great Customs, upon a Bargain for his Four Thirtytwo Parts of the Great Farm; and it appeared plainly unto them, by the Examinations of divers Witnesses as well of those taken ex parie Domini Regis as of those taken ex parte Domini Thesaurarii, That Five Hundred Pounds of the said Sum was given by the Farmers of the Wines and Currants (called the Petty Customs), to procure his Lordship's Warrant for Defalcation of a Thousand Pounds per Annum of their Rents, for Nine Years and a Half, in Recompence of their Losses, according to his Lordship's former Agreement with them on the King's Behalf, upon His Majesty's Reference unto his Lordship; and that the other Five Hundred Pounds was given by the Farmers of the Great Customs, to procure his Lordship's Warrant unto the King's Remembrancer, to take Security for Payment of the Rent to His Majesty of the Four Patentees of that Farm, in Lieu of Five Partners who had relinquished their Parts therein; and that his Lordship had not reserved unto himself any Parts of the said Great Farm, as his Lordship pretends; and, if he had, it had been a great Deceit unto His Majesty for the Lord Treasurer of England to contract with others for His Majesty's Customs, and secretly to reserve Parts therein unto his own Benefit: And whereas his Lordship affirms that he received the Hundred Pounds of the Farmers of Wines and Currants for a New Year's Gift; it appeared also by the Examinations, that the said Farmers did present his Lordship with a Tun of Wine for his New Year's Gift; and his Lordship exacted the Hundred Pounds of them afterwards; which divers of their Lordships conceived to be Extortion."
To be censured for his Behaviour in it.
Charge against him, touching the Farm of Sugars.
The House being again adjourned ad libitum; Mr. Attorney General read that Part of the Charge against the Lord Treasurer, which concerned his Lordship's procuring of George Heriott to surrender his Lease of the Farm of Sugars, which he held upon a Rent of Ten Thousand Marks per Annum to the King, and for procuring a new Lease thereof immediately unto Two of his Lordships's Servants (to his own Use), at Two Thousand Pounds per Annum; and for denying the Merchants, upon their Exportation of Sugars, the Imposts paid therefor upon the Importation, as his Lordship ought to have done, by the Directions of His Majesty's Letters Patents of 5 Dec. Anno 8° Jacobi.
Message from the King.
Upon Reading whereof, the Lord Keeper signified unto their Lordships, That he had received a Message from the King, touching this Charge: videlicet, "That His Majesty did freely give unto the Lord Treasurer Four Thousand Pounds per Annum, out of the said Lease of Sugars, the same to begin presently after the Date thereof."
Their Lordships taking into their Consideration that this was the King's Free Gift, they did not think it fit to censure the Lord Treasurer for the same, although his Lordship had unduly informed His Majesty of good Services done in the Office of the Wardrobe (which his Lordship performed not), for which this Lease of Sugars was given him; neither did his Lordship inform His Majesty (for aught appears), That a Debt of Seven Thousand Pounds was installed upon that Lease, the which his Lordship (fn. 1)transferred to the Farm of Tobacco.
And as touching the Denial of the Impost unto the Merchants upon the Exportation of Sugars, for that his Lordship affirms that the Under Farmers of the said Sugars from him are liable to the Re-payment of the said Impost (if any be due), their Lordships did not think it fit to censure the Lord Treasurer for the same.
Not to be censured for this Charge.
Charge against him, touching the Composition of the Out Ports for Grocery.
The House was again adjourned ad libitum; and Mr. Attorney General read that Part of the Charge against the Lord Treasurer, which concerns the Composition for Grocery Ware, in the City of Bristol, which City had refused to yield unto any Composition for the same; and yet the Lord Treasurer had given Warrant to levy the same against their Wills, and to stay the entering of their Goods until the same were paid accordingly.
And, for that it appeared that the Lord Treasurer Dorsett's Letter, dated 1610, for levying the same Composition, agreeth with the Letter written by this Lord Treasurer; and for that divers of Bristoll had paid the like Composition; and for that it did not appear, that the Lord Treasurer did thereby seek any Benefit to himself, their Lordships did not think him fit to be censured for the same.
Not to be censured for this Charge.
Charge against him by the Officers of the Ordnance.
The House being adjourned ad libitum again, Mr. Attorney General read another Part of the Lord Treasurer's Charge; videlicet, "That his Lordship, for these Two Years and a Half (since he was Lord Treasurer), hath not observed the Two Proportions, or Establishments, for the Ordinary, and Supply of the Office of the Ordnance, neither that which was settled for the Supply thereof by Privy Seal, Anno Sexto Jacobi, for the Ordinary of that Office, nor that in Anno 1620, set down by his Lordship and the other Commissioners of the Navy, for the present Supply thereof, whereby the Stores are in Effect wholly unfurnished; and that his Lordship, since he was Lord Treasurer, neglected and kept not the Contract, made by himself and other Commissioners, with Mr. Evelyn, for Gunpowder, to the Hazard of the Kingdoms, and Prejudice of the King; and that he made unlawful Bargains for the Lands of Sir Roger Dalison, contracting to procure Payment of old Arrears of Debt; which he performed when he became Treasurer; and to procure the making of Baronets, and a Suit to the King for compounding with His Majesty's Copy-holders of Wakefeild, which he valued at Two Thousand Pounds; and for using indirect Means, and the Power and Countenance of his Place, to wrest Sir Richard Smith and Sir John Davye out of a Lease which Sir Roger Dalison had passed unto them."
And their Lordships having fully discussed the great Neglect of the Lord Treasurer to issue the King's Money for the furnishing of the King's Store of Munitions with Armour and Powder, and that yet he paid the Arrear of Debts to that Office for his own particular Profit, upon a Contract with the said Officers; and having considered his Lordship's great Misdemeanors in the Bargains for the said Lands of Sir Roger Dalison, extended for that Debt; and his Lordship propounding, for Part of Payment thereof, the making of Baronets, and a Suit for the compounding of His Majesty's Copy-holders of Wakefeild, and his Lordship's Answer unto this: videlicet, "That he preferred this Suit unto the King, in Pity of Sir Thomas Mounson's Estate (a Man heretofore of good Account in his Country, and now decayed);" which their Lordships thought most sordid for a Lord Treasurer to make Use of to his own Benefit; and it appearing unto their Lordships, that the said Lord Treasurer had set on Foot an old Outlawry, upon a Debt long since paid by the said Sir Roger Dalison; and that his Lordship, upon Pretence of a Debt to the King where there was none, procured a Revocation of Letters of Administration granted of Sir Roger Dalison's Goods, and had written his Letter unto the Judges of the Common Pleas, for the countenancing of this indirect Course to wrest the said Lease from the said Sir Richard Smith and Sir John Davy, formerly granted unto them by the said Sir Roger Dalison. All these being fully debated, the House was resumed; and it was put to the Question,
To be censured for his Conduct in this Matter.
Charge against him touching the Court of Wards.
The House was again adjourned ad libitum; and Mr. Attorney read the rest of the Charge against the Lord Treasurer: videlicet, "That the Lord Treasurer, being Master of the Wards, did, in Anno Domini 1622, cause the Instructions set forth by His Majesty in Anno 1618, for the Well-ordering of the Court of Wards, to be altered, against the Will of the Officers, by the Misinformation of His Majesty; whereby he hath taken the Petitions from the Clerk of that Court, and appropriated them unto himself and his Secretary; and that, his Lordship having to himself concealed Wardships, he may easily make Wardships concealed by the Course of the said new Instructions; and that his Lordship hath doubled the Fees for Continuances of Liveries, and made a Stamp, and delivered the same to his Secretary, who hath stamped therewith, in the Absence of the Master, Tenders, Continuances, Warrants to the Great Seal, Grants of Wardships and Leases, Indentures of Liveries, etc."
And their Lordships, considering that it was not proved by the Examination of Witnesses that the Secretary was appointed to take any Fees for the said Petitions, either for himself, or for the Lord Treasurer, nor that the Lord Treasurer had made any Benefit to himself of concealed Wards, by virtue of the said new Instructions; therefore, their Lordships thought his Lordship not censurable for those Two Points of this Charge: But as touching the doubling of Fees of Continuances of Liveries, they thought his Lordship worthy to be censured, both in respect of the Grievance of the Subject, and of his Lordship's Answer unto the same: videlicet, "It is the King's Grace to the People; let them pay for it."
And for that he delivered a Stamp unto his Secretary, whereby he committed the great Trust reposed in him by His Majesty unto his Servant, not deigning to sign the Petitions. Liveries, and Warrants to the Great Seal, with his own Name; their Lordships thought him worthy to be highly censured for the same.