General Description of the Papers.
The Collection of Treasury Papers, of which the following is the first portion of a calendar, consists of:—
I. Such written applications as were from time to time presented to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury for recompense of services rendered to the State, for grants of moneys and pensions, appointments to offices, remissions of fines and duties, and for the relief which in various ways could be afforded by a Board having such extensive powers:
II. The reports made to their Lordships by other boards of commissioners, or by individual officers, to whom, from their special knowledge, their Lordships referred the matters contained in those petitions or memorials; with these are joined affidavits, certificates, letters, and other documents in support of the applications:
III. Schemes, estimates, accounts of expenses, and proposals of various kinds brought under their Lordships' consideration.
The papers described in this volume extend from the year 1556–7 to the year 1696.
They all fall under the great divisions Domestic, Irish, and Colonial, and comprise all the papers thought worthy of preservation by this administrative department, at least those which have come down to us. Although they relate to one department only, it was of all others the one which was continually brought into communication with almost every other; for as most transactions of Government required money for their accomplishment, those who were engaged in them could not proceed far without coming to the spring from which the money flowed, viz., the Treasury.
These papers have this advantage over private communications, that for the most part they are more intelligible. A petition to be laid before a board of commissioners for its deliberation would naturally be more carefully prepared than a hastily written communication from one friend to another; consequently it is rare to find their meaning obscure.
As to their value, the late Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, in his seventh report, p. 4, founding his observations on the report of Mr. Black (who had been deputed by the late Master of the Rolls, on 19th January 1842, to examine and report on the whole mass of Treasury Records), thus states:—
“They are of the highest historical interest and curiosity, throwing light on a variety of civil and political events; the progress of the Revenue, the Crown lands, the Colonies, the public transactions of the office, and many of the private affairs of persons of every class; and afford evidence of the rights, both of the Crown and of the subject, of a peculiar and very valuable description.”
The sixth report (dated 3rd June 1862) of the Committee appointed to examine, &c. the papers of the administrative departments of the Government, made to the Lords of the Treasury, states that these papers “teem with every variety of subject,” and that,—
“Every subject, whether of an administrative or fiscal nature, whether relating to public transactions or to private interests, [was] brought before the Board of Treasury, and consequently its documents must offer the richest mine of information on all subjects, pre-eminently above any other public office, whose business must necessarily be restricted to one special channel.”
Exclusively of the information the papers themselves afford, they will often give a hint to the intelligent inquirer to search in various series of books of the Treasury now happily open to the public, such as letter, warrant, order, and money books, where further particulars may not unfrequently be found.
The petitions which were addressed to their Lordships, in addition to the dry details of the wants of the petitioners, frequently contain minute particulars nowhere else recorded; and although it may not unfairly be supposed that the petitioners made the best of their case, yet generally they stated the truth (at all events viewed from their side of it), knowing that before they obtained anything from their Lordships a searching investigation would be made.
The papers dated before the Revolution are not very numerous, and many of them are copies. One of the earliest original papers, as well as the most curious and interesting, is a petition of David de Grange, His Majesty's limner in Scotland, for 76l. for work done by him and delivered to persons of quality by the King. It will be found at length at p. xxiv. of this preface.
Of the copies, the one which stands first deserves special mention. It is a copy of a petition of John Dee, gent., bewailing the subversion of the religious houses and their libraries, and proposing to borrow such works as were valuable to have them copied. His scheme extended to the Vatican and other libraries on the continent, and he further proposed the erection of a library for the preservation of such works. (See Vol. I., No. 1.)
The following also deserve mention:—
(1.) Papers relating to discoveries by Oates and others in 1678, as to the estates of the Jesuits (Vol. I., 45). Oates' petition runs thus:—
“To the Right Honble the Lords Comrs of His Maties Treasury.
“The humble petic[i]on of Titus Otes, Dr in Divinity.
“Most humbly sheweth,
“That yor petr did on the 28th of Septembr 1678, discover to His Maties most Honble Privy Councell, that ye priests & Jesuits of the Church of Rome had ingrossed to themselves an estate of 10,000li p[er] annu[m]; and that ye Jesuits had 100,000li in ready cash and that they had severall leases of houses and ground rents in and about London, particularly in Queen Street, London:
“That Richard Langhorne, of the Temple, lately executed for high treason, was trustee for most of their estates, and did act for them in their concernes, of wch yor petr did informe ye Councell in the moneths of Septr and Octobr, and the Houses of Parliamt which met the 21th of Octobr 1678; and upon yor petrs evidence in refference, Langhorne's writings and papers were secured, after the Councell had searched for papers which might have relation to ye plott:
“That Mr. Savage and Button never did appeare discoverers till the yeare 1680, and then had informac[i]on from yor petr as to Langhorne's concernes:
“Therefore yor petr prays yor Lopps that hee may have leave to be heard before yor Lopps, and that yor Lopps would not dispose of any such money to Button or Savage or any other till heard by yor Lopps.
“And yor petr shall ever pray, &c.
“(Signed) Titus Otes.”
(2.) Papers relating to the making of farthings and halfpence of tin and not of copper. (See Vol. I., 49.)
(3.) Papers and letters of the Earl of Bath, 1686 to 1688, respecting the Stannaries in Cornwall and Devon, about which a Convocation or Parliament was held in the autumn of the year 1686, at Lostwithiel, the Earl of Bath having issued his precepts to the “four Cornish mayors,” to choose their respective “Stannators.” (See Vol. II., 16 and 17.) A similar convocation was to be held in Devonshire, and a further Parliament was held in 1688. There are several of these papers, and they contain important historical information touching the Stannaries, as well as the history of this country at a very critical period. In one, dated 23rd Oct. 1688 (Vol. II., 58), the Earl states that on the 11th of that month,
“the Convocation mett at Saltash according to their adjournment, when I thought we should have nothing to doe, but to signe the lawes, and ratify the agreement for the farme, which was before concluded of, and was in this meantime ordered to be engrossed; but instead thereof, I found the influence of the tymes (fn. 1) had soe wrought upon their tempers that some were growne peevish and suspitious, and started new jealousyes and difficultyes, which engaged them in disputes till Saturday afternoon.”
The Earl further says His Majesty had commanded him to take care of the city of Exeter, and to raise some part of the militia, to secure the peace thereof, under such officers as he could put no confidence in. The present mayor, who was major of the militia of Exeter, was a person in whom he could place no confidence, as he had often faithfully acquainted His Majesty. The rest of the officers had tendered to the Earl their commissions, and desired to be excused from serving under him.
To a large extent the papers are capable of classification. The following would be some of the more prominent subdivisions in which they might be placed, viz., papers relating to—
|Army or Paymaster.||Sick and wounded.|
Many of the papers relate to the settlement of claims of military men, and this could hardly be otherwise in the time of William the Third, so large a portion of whose reign was given to war; but by far the largest class consists of reports of the Commissioners of Customs, rendered to the Lords of the Treasury, on petitions transmitted to them by command of their Lordships, in relation to questions arising out of the customs revenue. As they are so numerous they deserve special notice.
These reports of the Commissioners of Customs will be found to throw great light on the working of the navigation and other laws affecting imports and exports, on manufactures, on the exercise of patronage (ever a fruitful source of dissatisfaction, see Vol. IV., 63; V., 11 and Vol. XX., 42), and on the authority exercised by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise over their subordinates. (See Vol. III., 59; IV., 52; and V., 27.)
The Commissioners were often the means of softening the effect of the various enactments touching imports and exports, in fact they were the regulators which made it safe to work the engine under the high pressure put upon it.
The duty of both the Commissioners of Customs and the Lords of the Treasury evidently was to see that the revenue was made as productive as possible, but the rigid exaction of the law would have been, in many instances, manifest injustice. For example, an Act was passed raising the duty on certain goods, the additional duty to take effect after a given day; a merchant had goods of the species referred to in the Act consigned to him in ample time, in ordinary circumstances, to arrive before that day, but from adverse winds or other causes the ship did not complete her voyage until after the date, whereby the larger duty was incurred (see Vol. X., 24); or take another example, an Act was passed rendering it imperative that ships of this country should be navigated by at least three-fourths English sailors; the master of a vessel thereupon departed hence with his full number of English mariners, but whilst abroad his men ran away or died; as he must have a sufficient number of hands to navigate the vessel, he engaged foreigners, but when he returned to England the ship and cargo were, from such a casualty, forfeited. The Commissioners of Customs, under those circumstances, advised the Lords of the Treasury to grant relief, but in doing so respected the rights of the officer who seized the goods, to whom the petitioner had to make compensation for his share of the forfeiture.
It would appear from a report of 21st April 1692 (Vol. XVIII., 22), that the officers of the Royal Navy, who should have been the guardians of law, were a source of trouble to the Commissioners, for they report on some India goods imported from Holland contrary to the Navigation Act:—
“That it seems to us that the whole carriage of this buisnes (as well the importation from Holland as the conveyance up the ryver) was by some one of the ships of warr and the boates that attended her, for that the greatest part of the goods were found on board a hired ketch belonging to the ship Northumberland, and were brought on board the said ketch by the said ship's pinnance, which gives us occasion again to reflect (as frequently we have been constrained to doe) upon the unwarrantable proceedings of the men-of-warr, and their ungovernable carriage in relation to the customes.”
Again, in a presentment of 30th May 1696 (Vol. XXXVIII., 28), the Commissioners state that the carrying out of the kingdom the coined money and gold and silver bullion (which they had done what they could to prevent) was chiefly done by the men-of-war and yachts passing between England and Ireland and England and Holland.
Duties of the Treasury Board.
As these are materially illustrated in this body of papers they claim some attention.
The Commissioners appointed to inquire into the fees, gratuities, &c. received in the several public offices, reported, on 20th June 1786, that the business of the Board of Treasury was:
“To consider and determine upon all matters relative to Your Majesty's Civil List or other revenues; to give directions for the conduct of all boards and persons intrusted with the receipt, management, or expenditure of the said revenues, to sign all warrants for the necessary payments thereout, and generally to superintend every branch of revenue belonging to Your Majesty or the public.”
A century earlier they appear to have been much the same.
It has been ascertained that the following were the modes of proceeding adopted by their Lordships in the discharge of the duties committed to them.
On the presentation of a petition to their Lordships the usual course was to refer it to the particular department with which it was connected, or to some person whose special knowledge could guide them in coming to a proper decision: thus, if it were a matter affecting the payment of customs, they would refer it to the Commissioners of Customs, or, if a legal opinion were wanted, to the Attorney General. Similar endorsements to the following are common on the petitions:—
“The Lords Comrs of their Mats Treasury are pleased to refer this petition to the Commrs of their Maties Customs, who are desired to consider the same, and certify their Lps a true state of the petitioner's case, together with their opinion what is fit to be done therein.”
Upon such a reference as the above the Commissioners of Customs would take the petition and corroborative documents into consideration, and if they were satisfied as to the proper course to recommend, they would return a report to their Lordships, but if not, they sometimes took another step. They, in their turn, placed it in the hands of some one in whom they could confide, to make a report on the case. The papers were then returned to the Lords of the Treasury, and if there were no further difficulties attending the case their Lordships made an order as to what should be done.
This order or minute is often endorsed on the papers by the Secretary of the Treasury, and very frequently these minutes are the only record of what was done. This is more especially the case from March 1690 to April 1695, for the four volumes numbered 2 to 5 of the Minute Books (where some of these minutes might be recorded) are not known to be in existence.
Their Lordships held their sittings at the Treasury Chambers, Whitehall, until 4th January 1697, when those Chambers were burnt down; they then temporarily assembled at the house of Mr. Lowndes, “near the west end of the abbey in Westminster,” until the 17th of February (see Minute Book, Vol. VIII., p. 85, et seq.), when they removed to the Treasury Chambers at the Cockpit, for on that day there is the following note in the Treasury Minute Book, Vol. VIII., p. 112:—
“Memd, on the 17th day of February 1697, the Lords Comrs of His Mats Trea[su]ry had their first sitting at the new office in the Cock pitt.”
In the earliest Minute Book, 30th May 1667, it is stated:—
“That the ordinary times of the Lords Comrs meeting be upon Tuesdayes & Thursdayes at 3 of the clocke in the afternoon & upon Wednesday and Fryday at 8 in the morning.”
In the year 1689, there are frequent instances in the Minute Book of then attending at eight o'clock in the morning.
An attempt was made by them to assign a day to particular duties, for in the Minute Book, Vol. VI., p. 303, 16th May 1696, is the following:—
“On Wednesday in every week, in ye afternoon, my Lords will read peticions, and ye dores to be shutt, none to come in unless Comrs of Excise or Customs be sent for.”
Closely connected with the duties of their Lordships were the duties of their secretary, and the following order, entered in the earliest Minute Book (27 May 1667), illustrates them as well as the nature of the Treasury Minute Books:—
“Ordered that the Secretary Sr George Downing, Knt & Baronet attending this Commission, should keepe a booke singly for registring the breife notes he should take for framing any orders upon, or pursuing other their Lopps directions, wch notes at their next meeting, and before they entered upon any new buisnes, he should acquaint them with, & what was done thereupon, and so from time to time what progresse was made, upon any directions then unperfected, that he should enter the names of the Comrs present at every meeting & constantly observe this method.”
The minutes on the backs of these papers were principally made by Wm. Lowndes, even for some time before he was made Secretary to the Treasury. He also kept the Minute Book in 1695 and for many years afterwards. His appointment on ta April is thus recorded (Minute Book, Vol. VI.):—
“Memd, this evening the King was graciously pleased to bestow on maya the place of Secretary to the Treasury, for whch I kisst his hand, and His Maty at the same time approved the table of fees for the office. W. Lowndes.”
History of the Papers.
As regards the history of these papers, it may be gathered from what hereafter follows that they have been in a chronic state of confusion and disorder, and the wonder is that for the most part they are in a good state of preservation. There are, however, many of them which have suffered from damp.
They seem to have been difficult to produce in former as in more recent times from the following extract from a letter, dated 15th December 1696 (Vol. XLI., 53), of one David Williams to Mr. Glanville, respecting his two petitions which were lost or mislaid. He says:—
“I pray, good Srs, endeavour to find these two petitions, for we shall be undone if they are lost; else lett Esqr Lowndes make me keeper of his petitions, & I will be bound in ten thousand pounds not one shall be lost while I live; now I have waited above 3 quarters of a year, & now my petition is mislaid.”
These missing petitions of Williams will be found described in Vol. XLII., No. 42.
He also mentions that Mr. Charles Nevell's petition was not forthcoming.
When the Treasury Chambers (where the papers seem to have been kept), with other buildings, were burnt down the papers were rescued, see Minute Book, Vol. VIII., p. 85. The following is the entry:—
“Memd, on the 4th day of January 1697 a fire happened in a private lodging near the stone gallery at Whitehall, at 3 or 4 of ye clock in the afternoon, wch continued till 6 or 7 of ye clock in the morning, during wch time the rooms of state, the King's chappell, the counsell chamber, the offices of the principll Secry of State, the Treasury Chambers (wch latter were blowne up about 9 of ye clock, after all ye books & material papers were preserved), and severall other buildings were consumed.”
Henry Nelson was the first person specially appointed as keeper of the papers and books at the Treasury Chambers by Royal Sign Manual of 2nd June 1726. The papers and books were then described as being in bags and presses in a disordered condition for want of proper places to deposit them and fit and able persons to collect, sort, digest, and put them in order. See Notes of Materials for the History of Public Departments, 1846, p. 6.
Many of the papers have no doubt been lost, and on this subject Mr. Black in his report (printed in the Seventh Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, App. II., p. 22), gives the various reasons which discouraged him in entertaining the hope that documents would turn up from the time of the Restoration; he thus expresses himself:—
“First, that many of the papers in the loft were examined, and the bundles broken up some years ago for the purpose of making a collection of ‘Select Papers;’ second, that a serious purpose was long entertained to destroy a large proportion of the old papers, and selections to a great extent were made with that view; and third, that the loft was, until recently used as the laundry of the building, and the disordered state of the papers piled up against the stack of chimneys was such as led me to suspect that some of them had been taken to light the fires of the stove and copper boiler which formerly were fixed there until they were deemed unsafe for the building.”
The abstraction or destruction of the earlier papers must have been great, for in the reign of James II. there are only about 50 or 60 remaining.
Mr. Black further says in relation to these papers (App. II., p. 23 to the above report),—
“Before the civil wars the papers appear to have been either acted on and left in custody at the Exchequer, or retained (as in the case of the Burghley Papers at Hatfield, and elsewhere) in the possession of the Lord Treasurer. After the Restoration, when the Lord Treasurer, or the Commissioners representing him, had a permanent official place of business apart from the Exchequer, all letters, memorials, petitions, contracts, and other documents relative to Treasury business were lodged at the chambers and descended to succeeding administrations.”
The principal part of the papers included in this calendar were removed from a back kitchen in the Treasury Chambers in June 1856.
On 25th August 1835 the Lords of the Treasury by their minute in relation to the Treasury Board Papers, ordered a selection of the useless papers to be made with a view to their destruction, and another minute of 1st February 1839 states that the operation of the Minute of 1835 was suspended after certain progress had been made. Their Lordships then ordered the Superintendent of the Registry and Record Department, to take immediate steps for carrying into effect the provisions of the former minute, viz., to make a selection of such as they deemed valueless, with a view to their destruction, in order to make room for modern accruing papers. This selection was carried on for a long period, and many were removed to the Record Office in 1816; there they remained until the years 1862 and 1863, when the Committee appointed to examine, &c. the records of the Administrative Departments of the Government again condemned the greater portion of them, upon which they were eventually destroyed.
The same committee advised the preservation of all the papers prior to the year 1700.
The Dates of the Documents.
Many petitions, unaccompanied by a report, as well as other documents, are without date, but they not unfrequently have one or more minutes on the back which are dated. The date which appears nearest that of the document is the one under which it is placed in the Calendar as an approximate date. Thus an undated petition may have been received on 1st January, read on the 3rd of the month, and nothing may have been done on it until the next month or the next year, and even sometimes until several years had passed. The date of the reception of the document would in that case be taken, failing that, the date of the reading, and failing both, the date of the minute.
The papers coming from abroad with a double date, being the old and new styles, are placed under the earliest, as if they had been written in England; thus 16/26th October 1694 would be put under 16th October. They consist chiefly of letters from Mr. Blathwayt, Secretary-at-War. The names of the places where they are dated are also given, as (to some extent) furnishing materials for an itinerary of William the Third in his campaigns abroad.
If the following order in the Minute Book, of 20th April 1689, had always been acted on there would have been no difficulty as to the dates of the documents:—
“Order'd that when petitions are brought in, the day on wch they are exhibited be entered on the back thereof.”
There are many enclosures not now with their papers relating to disbursements, the period of the accounts only being given; when they were rendered does not appear. In such cases they find their place in the Calendar under the last date.
The Construction of the Calendar.
The Calendar has been prepared in accordance with the Instructions to Editors of Calendars, issued by the Master of the Rolls, as far as they are applicable to these papers, viz.:—
“The Master of the Rolls considers that, without superseding the necessity of consulting the originals, every Editor ought to frame his Calendar in such a manner that it shall present, in as condensed a form as possible, a correct index of the contents of the papers described in it. He considers that the entries should be so minute as to enable the reader to discover not only the general contents of the originals, but also what they do not contain. If the information be not sufficiently precise, if facts and names be omitted or concealed under a vague and general description, the reader will be often misled, he will assume that where the abstracts are silent as to information to be found in the documents, such information does not exist; or, he will have to examine every original in detail, and thus one great purpose will have been lost for which these Calendars have been compiled.
“As the documents are various, the Master of the Rolls considers that they will demand a corresponding mode of treatment. He therefore recommends the following rules:—
“1st. That all formal and official documents, such as letters of credence, warrants, grants, and the like, should be described as briefly as possible.
“2nd. That letters and documents referring to one subject only should be catalogued as briefly as is consistent with correctness. But when they contain miscellaneous news, such a description should be given as will enable a reader to form an adequate notion of the variety of their contents.
* * * * * *
“5th. Striking peculiarities of expression, proverbs, manners, &c. are to be noticed.
“6th. Original dates are to be given at the close of each entry, that the reader may know the exact evidence by which the marginal dates are determined.
* * * * * *
“8th. The number of written pages of each document is to be specified, as a security for its integrity, and that readers may know what proportion the abstract bears to the original.
“9th. The language of every document is to be specified. If, however, the greater part of the collection be in English, it will be sufficient to denote those only which are in a different tongue.
“10th. Where documents have been printed, a reference should be given to the publication.
“11th. Each series is to be chronological.”
Following these instructions the general plan pursued, with papers which appeared to possess little interest, has been to shorten the description of them as much as was consistent with those instructions; but in cases where the papers are of considerable interest much fuller abstracts have been given.
It having been thought advisable by the Lords of the Treasury that the minutes to be found in the Minute Books should be added, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls, a search was made through those books to the end of 1699, and the minutes touching upon any of these papers have been appended, and are a valuable addition to the Calendar.
In some instances where the paper calendared rendered it peculiarly desirable that what could be discovered in relation to it should be given, the Letter Books and Money Books have been searched and the information obtained from them has been also added to the Calendar, together with the reference where it might be found.
In an early stage of the progress of the Calendar a portion of it for one year was forwarded, with the sanction of the Master of the Rolls, to the Lords of the Treasury, who by their Secretary were pleased to approve of the plan adopted for its compilation.
Many of the papers which were originally inclosures had been separated from the reports to which they belong. It has been difficult in every instance to reunite them. The index, however, will prevent any inconvenience arising from their separation.
The papers will be found to furnish information, amongst other things, on—
|Arts (Fine Arts).||Manufactures.|
|Coinage.||Rights of Property.|
|Colonies (our administration|
|Finance.||Trade and Commerce.|
|History of England.|
Ireland (affairs of).
|Travelling and the State|
of the Roads.
And extracts and copies of documents, as well as some remarks under these heads, are here given as showing more fully the nature of the papers.
Arts (Fine Arts).
The following interesting documents are given entire, as showing the treatment experienced by His Majesty King Charles the Second's limner, previously referred to in the general description of the documents, before the Revolution. (Vol. I., 25.)
His Majesty admits that the services of the petitioner were acceptable. He seems, however, to have allowed the old man to want, and had not paid him for his labour for 20 years, and even then did not promptly relieve his pressing necessities, but referred him to the Lords of the Treasury; whether he obtained anything from them has not been discovered.
“To the King's most Excellent Majty.
“The humble petition of David de Grange.
“That he served Yor Majty faithfully & diligently before yor restauration as yor limner in Scotland, on accompt of wch service there became due to yor petr ye summ of threescore & sixteen pounds for several pieces of work by him done & delivered to sundry persons of quality by Yor Majties own hands or yor express order, a particular whereof is hereto annexed:—
“That of ye said threescore & sixteen pounds yor petr recd only 40s, sent from Yor Majty when he lay ill at St John's-town, & 4li afterward of Sr Daniel Carmichel Yor Majties deputy-treasurer, being in all six pounds.
“That being now old & infirm, & his sight & labour failing him, he is disabled thereby from getting any subsistence or livelyhood for himself & impotent children, & forced to rely upon ye charity of well-disposed persons:
“And therefore humbly prays Yor Majty to be graciously pleased to ease & relieve ye pressing necessities of himself & miserable children, by your royal order to ye Lords Commissioners of Yor Majties Treasury to make payment of what is due unto yor petr in such manner as their Lordships shall think best & most speedy to preserve him & his from perishing.
“And your petr as in duty bound shall ever pray, &ca.”
“At the Court at Whitehall, 11th November 1671.
“His Maty, well remembring upon this petition ye antient & acceptable services of ye petr, & considering with a gracious compassion the poor and necessitous condition whereunto he and his family are reduced in his old age, which without His Majties just relief must inevitably leave them to the cōmon charity of well-disposed people, is graciously pleased to refer him to the Right Honble the Lords Cōmissioners of His Majties Treasury, to take such speedy & effectual course for payment of what remains due to ye petr upon the annexed schedule of work for His Majty by him done, that he perish not for want of satisfaction for what His Majty hath been graciously pleased to honor others withall.
“Peticion of David de Grange, Yor Majties limner in Scotland, to whom 76li, due for several pieces of work by him there done, & delivered to sundry persons of quality by Yor Maties own hands or express order;
“Nothing since recd by ye petr but 40s sent him by Yor Majty when he lay ill at St Johnston's, & 4li afterward of Sr Daniel Carmichel, yor deputy treasurer.
“Some gracious order for payment of the residue to relieve ye pressing necessities of himself & miserable children, his sight and labour failing him in his old age, wrby he is enforced to rely on ye charity of well disposed persons.”
“of work done by David de Grange, entertained limner to Yor Majty, during yor royal abode at St Johnston's, in Scotland.
“One picture of Yor Majty in small, delivered to the French marquess who came to Yor Majty at St. Johnston's in 1651 pretending raising a troop of horse for Yor Majty, whom Yor Majty rewarded also with an 100li, & recōmended by a letter drawn by Dr Massinet.
“One to Mr. Oudart, secretary to ye Princess Royal.
“One to Mr. Seymour of Yor Majties bedchamber, which Mr. Chiffinch received of me for that use ye 2d of December 1651.
“One to the Lady Balcarris, on ye 13th ditto.
“One for ye Lady Annandale to Mr. Chiffinch on ye 20th.
“One to Major Boswel, who went to ye Highlands, which Yor Majty gave with yor own hands.
“One to Mr. Harding, attendant upon Yor Majty, given the same night.
“Three to Sr James Erskin, comonly called Lord of Scotscraig.
“One to my Ld of Newburgh, at Dumferling.
|“One to my Lady Tullibardin &
“One to Mr Rainsford, employed
in a message to Yor Majty
|on ye 6th of July 1651.|
“The value of ye original at 10li having been paid me by Mr. Chiffinch, he by Yor Majties order contracted with me for the above-said at 6li p[er] piece, which being thirteen amount to 78li sterling, whereof received 40s from Yor Majty when I lay sick at St Johnston's, & 4li afterwards of Sr Daniel Carmichel, Yor Majesties deputy treasurer, so thereupon.
“remains but 72li if Yor Majties bounty in my sickness be included as part of ye debt.”
Under this head attention may be drawn to a collection of paintings of the Earl of Melfort, secretary to King James II., who was outlawed for high treason; they were valued at 813l., and there is an inventory of them. See February 10th, 1690–1, Vol. XIII., No. 7.
King William the Third declined to sign the warrant for the arrears of salary to Sir Godfrey Kneller, but signed one drawn by Mr. Blathwayt for his salary. See letter of the latter, dated at the “Camp at Becelaer, 7/17 June '95,” Vol. XXXIII., No. 38.
Information on the history of the art of engraving and coining is afforded by a report of three officers of the the Mint, dated 2nd July 1689 (Vol. IV., 25), as well as incidents in the life of the family of one of the principal engravers at the Mint. The following particulars are obtained:—The family of Roettiers, consisting of three brothers, had a patent as engravers for the Mint from the year 1669. (fn. 2) Of these three brothers, one removed to the Mint at Paris, and another to the Mint at Brussels; but the eldest, who was the best artist, remained in England. He contemplated retiring to Brussels in 1689, having lost the use of his right hand; he had however brought up two sons, who were proficients in their father's art, and had, without his assistance, engraved the great seal, and made the puncheons and dies for the coronation medals and for the coins of gold and silver which had hitherto been prepared. One of the sons (James, as appears by papers of a subsequent date to those in this Calendar,) continued in the employment of the Mint as engraver until 1697, when by order of a Committee of the House of Commons he had all his puncheons, dies, and tools seized, and was turned out of his house in the Tower, and the officers of the Mint sought their Lordships' directions as to whether the father should still be allowed a habitation there. On a reference to the Minute Book (Vol. VII., p. 93, 26th February 1696–7), it appears that Mr. Harris was to carry on the service, and Mr. Roettiers was to be turned out. James Roettiers shortly after petitioned their Lordships to grant an order to Mr. Harris and himself, that they might show the difference of their art.
Valuable materials are afforded in these papers for the compilation of memorials of the lives of some of our public men. They tell many a tale of sorrow and of hope deferred, and many an incident, long forgotten, which looked at from this distance may not be much heeded, but which at the time to the persons concerned was of considerable moment.
There are various notices of Isaac (afterwards Sir Isaac) Newton. Amongst them is one complaining to the Lords of the Treasury that his salary was only 400l. per ann. with a house of 40l. per ann., and his perquisites only 3l. 12s. per ann. for fee coals; and that it was insufficient to support his office. That of the master and worker was 500l., with a house and great perquisites; also that the duties were increased, &c. The following was their Lordships' minute thereon. (See Vol. XXXVIII., 48.)
“Read, 16 June '96. My Lords at the end of the coynage will give him a consideration extry, suitable to his trouble & proporcionable to the increase allowed to the other officers for this extra coynage. But this to be done out of ye coynage mo[ney].”
The oath taken by him not to reveal the new invention of rounding the money and making the edges of “them with letters or grainings,” is among these papers, dated 2nd May 1696. (Vol. XXXVII., 53.)
Amongst the men of his day perhaps few were more fully occupied or displayed more ability in their profession and good sense out of it than Sir Christopher Wren. He was required to give his opinion on the building progressing at Hampton Court in the year 1689, which the King thought was in a bad condition. Sir Christopher suggested that they should have the opinion of practical unbiassed men, “bricklayers, carpenters, and masons who had left off their aprons.” There was evidently a professional quarrel on this subject between him and a Mr. Tallman, another officer of the works. Their Lordships thought they would never agree, one would say one thing and the other another (Vol. VI., 37). An angry petitioner complains of Sir Christopher not returning certain drafts, and being himself impotent to do him much harm, he magnifies the “contempt” of Sir Christopher to His Majesty and his disobedience and “insolence” to the Board (Vol. VII., 78).
Sir Christopher complains in a petition reported on about the 13th of July 1691, (Vol. XIV., No. 55) that he had spent the greater part of his life in the service of the Crown faithfully and laboriously and had not served himself. The report on his petition shows that there was 2,213l. 12s. 4d. due to him, viz., for five years' allowance at 325l. 11s. 2d. per ann., for his riding charges when he travelled, at 7s. 10d. a day, for his salary out of the Exchequer, at 45l. 12s. 6d. per ann. for four years, 182l. 10s., and 25l. 11s. 8d. out of the Great Wardrobe. It is stated that he had no other fees, that the riding charges, settled in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, were not a third part of the charge of that age, and the livery from the wardrobe was the same as was allowed in the reign of Henry VIII. Also that the office was a place of skill, trust, and perpetual attendance.
There can be no doubt that the office of Secretary to the Treasury was one of a very onerous character. It was ably filled by Mr. Lowndes, who was admitted to it on 24th April 1695, as previously stated. He appears to have been employed in the Treasury as early as 1679, and perhaps earlier (see Vol. I., 33). The fees of the persons employed in the Treasury were settled monthly, and Mr. Lowndes' share of them in 1696 approached to 2,400l. (Vol. XLII., 13), and he perhaps occasionally received presents for special services, when he lent a helping hand to those whose affairs required it with their Lordships; at least Mr. Charles Thomas on 24th July 1696 (Vol. XXXIX., 17), writing from Barbados, thanks him for the favour done him in getting his patent to be receiver general of the casual revenue in that island, and he adds, that he had sent a few sweetmeats in the “Bristol,” and had designed to send him all sorts of sauces of that country, but the fleet sailed so soon. He would, however, send them by the next. Mr. Lowndes occupied the office until his death, which occurred on 20th January 1723–4, as appears by the Treasury Fee Book.
There are many papers bearing on the state of the coin which, previous to the measures which were taken in 1695, was in very bad condition. The Commissioners of Excise, on 13th October 1696, state (Vol. XL., 42) that they—
“had directed their collectors and receivers in the countrey, not to be scrupulous in receiving such puncht money as the late Act for remedying the ill state of the coyne describes and allowes of, since which severall of the said collectors have advised us that, pursuant to ye said directions, and to prevent the clamours of the people, and for the clearing their arreares, have received for the dutyes of excise, severall sūmes in sixpences, not clipt within the innermost ring, and shillings and halfe-crownes, that have the greatest part of the letters, which they cannot get to passe from them in payment for bills of exchange or otherwise, whereupon they directed them to make affidavitts, that the money soe received by them are (sic) the very same money they soe received for ye duties of excise, & that they made noe advantage or proffit thereby to themselves, and to send up the same in specie, sealed up, numbered, and weighed, to ye Excise Office, which they have accordingly done, and the said moneys having bin refused to be received by the cashire generall as lawfull money, now lye deposited in the Excise Office.”
And they prayed their Lordships' directions.
The following report of the Commissioners for the Revenue (Ireland), dated 19th June 1696, inclosed in one by the officers of the Mint of 4th July 1694 (Vol. XXVIII., 65), also shows the state of the coinage in that country:—
“May it please your Lordpps.
“Since, ours of the 5th of May, wherein we laid before your Lordps, the last Lady day quarter's account, there has arose agreat inconvenience by the refusall of the white halfpence and farthings, occasioned by their not passing in England.
“This has given a great disturbance to the revenue, arising by the hearth money and inland excise, in which the poorer sort are most concern'd, who generally make their payments in white, or copper halfpence. The people begin to scruple copper halfpence; if they should also be refused, or a failure in changing them, the revenue will suffer greatly.
“The plate mony has for some time been sent away privately into England to save exchange, by which means scarce any silver is left, except duccatoons at 6s a piece, and all payments under them are generally made in halfpence, and not so many of these duccatoons left, as amount to a sufficient cash to maintain a trade.
“The guineas are the chief coyne in which payments are now generally made for customs and quit-rents. They pass here at 23s a piece. We are inform'd they are currant in England at 22s or thereabouts. Exchange is lowe here at present, but if (for want of an export trade) it should rise, the guineas will also soon be gone.
“The poor people in the country that have no otherwaies to support themselves and familys than by brewing and selling ale by retayle add very considerably to the exise, yet are seldom able to change a duccatoon or cobb upon the spending of a 1s or 18d, by which it's evident that a small coyn to be made currant here, by public authority, would be of great use.
“We therefore submit it to your Lordps consideration, whither the value of fifty thousand pounds of silver mony, consisting of threepences, groats, and sixpences, may be coin'd for the use of this kingdom, at the rate of £10 per cent. under the standard, which we hope would in a great measure obviate the mischief we apprehend may fall on the revenue for want of convenient change.
“Custom House, Dublin, 19 June 1694.”
There is also a paper relating to standard pieces of gold and silver which were wanted for the mint in Scotland, dated 7th April 1687 (Vol. II., 29).
Among the papers relating to the colonies is a letter of Col. Stede, who was receiver of the casual revenue of Barbadoes, in which he says there had been such a plentiful crop of all things which the island produced, that it was of little value for want of conveyance to send it to market. It must be shipped off whenever ships could be had, for it was not possible to consume any considerable portion of it there. The letter affords other interesting matter. (See 19th Sept. 1690, Vol. X., No. 11.)
The merchants inhabiting New York set forth that that colony had been under the government of England, since 1664, ever looking on themselves as free-born subjects of England, and they had defended themselves against all attempts of the French. The report of the Commissioners of Customs on their petition, dated 9th April 1691 (Vol. XIII., 52), expressed the opinion that they should have the like privileges with natural-born subjects, and not be called to pay alien duties; which recommendation was agreed to.
An interesting paper under date 25th November 1691 (Vol. XVI., 20.) will be found entitled “A discourse how to render the plantations [of America] more beneficial and advantageous to this kingdom.”
The finances in the reign of William the Third were in such a deplorable condition that the wonder is that the affairs of Government could have been carried on. Any one studying the Treasury Papers of this reign must come to the conclusion that a more difficult task could not be assigned to any set of men than was imposed upon such bodies as the Commissioners for sick and wounded seamen, the Navy, Ordnance, and other boards, having large payments falling due, and little or no money with which to meet them. The urgent memorials from those boards are too frequent and too circumstantial to be considered exaggerated. Poor sick seamen and prisoners were continually in imminent danger of starving in the streets, for lack of money to pay the “quarterers,” and this continued through months and years. A glance at the index under “Sick and wounded” will fully bear out these remarks.
The memorialists had so often pleaded the abject state of poverty of the creditors to the Crown without any result, that on one occasion they tried the effect of a little mixture of grim pleasantry. They state that one of those applying for relief was reduced to that low ebb, that (if not kindly prevented) he would in mere despair of receiving his share have “liquidated all his accounts in the river of Thames.” (See 30th August 1692, Vol. XIX., 40.)
In another they state as follows, viz.:—
“That unless we be enabled to pay the 470l. 14s. 4d. to clear the arrears of the Savoy (with which your Lordships have been so often troubled) and we dayly perplext, severall of the poor people to whom it is due, do protest they will lay their children at our doors.” (See 28th September 1692, Vol. XIX., 62.)
The miserable state of arrears of these Government departments was participated in by a large body of individuals who had the misfortune to be employed by the State. A very curious document entitled, “An Account of Fees and Salarys payable by his late Majesty, with the sums due thereupon at Xmas 1701,” fully bears out these remarks, and will be found in an appendix to Mr. Hardy's preface to the Syllabus of Rymer's Fœdera.
It would appear from some of the petitions that the Lords of the Treasury did not always keep faith with the contractors for various supplies, for they complain that they were solemnly promised ready money for their articles, and could only obtain tallies, which had to be discounted at a fearful loss; but this by no means proves that the promises were not made in good faith.
The following is a specimen of how their Lordships' orders to pay were sometimes honoured (Vol. XXVI., 60):—
“My Lords, “Dublin, March ye 6th, '93.
“I brought a letter from yor Lpps to the Lords Justices, directing them to pay mee two yeares pay on the accot of my arreares as brigadier, wch I soe firmly relyed upon that I made use of most part of ye 4 months pay wch I receaved at London for my officers, and proposed to satisfye them out of my pay as brigadier, wch by yor Ldpps letter I expected I was imediately to receave heare, there Lordpps positively tell mee they have not money to answer any part of yor Lordpps directions in that matter; I must therefore most humbly beg yor Lordpps farther and speedy directions in that perticuler, otherwise I shall be utterly disabled, boath myselfe and officers, to performe the service His Matie may expect from us. Wt favor yor Lordpps will bee pleased to sho in removeing this present disapointmt shall ever bee most thankfuly acknowledged by me, who am,
Your Lordshipes' most humble and
In 1694 the officers of the royal regiment of horse under the command of the Earl of Oxford were paid part of their arrears in tallies, which they had to part with at 25 and 30 per cent. loss. (Vol. XXX., 19.)
In a memorial of the officers of ordnance, dated 27th June 1694 (Vol. XXVIII., 59), is the following:—
“The condition of our gunmakers is such as it well deserves some short memoriall by itselfe. By the encouragement yor Lordspps gave them of 500l. weekly paymts, they were so well supported, whilst ye same continued, as that (depending thereon), they lookt upon themselves as perticularly provided for, but yt course of paymt haveing bin so interrupted yt they have in the whole not yet recd more then 16,000l. in part of 30,000l. promised by yor Lordspps, and they having since entered into new contracts wth our office, and thereupon delivered great quantitys of armes, whereby their debt is now prodigiously encreased, they are reduced to the utmost extreamity imaginable, many of them being throwne into prison, and divers more forced to leave their habitations and abscond ymselves for debt; we must therefore earnestly intreat yor Lordspps to take their condition into serious consideration, and renew the said weekly payment for the [...]uture, and likewise advance them at least 100,000l. in part of their arrears, wch possibly may keep their company together in this so necessary service, wthout wch their Majts must have armes from abroad; the great ill consequence wch must attend the not supporting these poore people is a sufficient argumt by itselfe to induce yor Lordspps consideration of their circumtances.”
In another, dated 25th September 1694 (Vol. XXIX., 39), they finish by saying:—
“Your Lordships have bin alwaies so kind as to pardon our troublesome addresses, when their Mats affaires have not permitted you to assist us, but we are now brought to such a pinch, in point of credit, for carrying on our business, that a small chiding and a round sum would please us better.”
Mr. Blathwayt writes by the King's command from Breda, on 4th June 1696, N.S. (Vol. XXXVIII., 22.), that our credit in those countries was so very low, and the wants of the army so great, that unless their Lordships sent a speedy supply for the forces they must infallibly come to ruin.
It must have been utterly discreditable to a Government to allow persons in its employ to remain for long periods, without payment for their services. That they did so remain, will be seen in what follows.
Mr. Aaron Smith, the Treasury solicitor, and a very busy man, as is apparent by the frequent notices of him, complains on 21st June 1694 (Vol. XXVIII., 46.) that his credit had become bankrupt, he had no money and was in most miserable condition without it, and his salary was above three years in arrear.
John Phelips, Esq., one of the seven auditors of the revenue, had received no salary for 15½ years. (See Vol. XXXI., 43.)
The birds and beasts in St. James's Park were fed for seven years by William Story, who received nothing all that time for their food or his salary. He claimed 511l., and perhaps was glad to get the 200l. ordered him in full of all demands. (See Vol. XXXI., 47.)
The persons employed for the “extraordinary service” about the King's gardens had waited for payment for their work and for goods supplied above six years. (See Vol. XLII., No. 570.)
It was no uncommon thing for persons so circumstanced to look about for some one in trouble whose lands or goods were forfeited, or who were fined as Popish recusants, and having made themselves masters of the particulars, to apply to the Treasury to allow their claim to be taken out of the lands or goods. Rymer's case (see Vol. XXVIII., No. 10) is one of several, and has been especially alluded to in Mr. Hardy's preface to the Syllabus of Rymer's Fœdera before mentioned.
It is not within the province of this preface to discuss the question of the desirability of a national debt as a means of consolidating a government by attaching to it a large number of persons who have a money stake in the due administration of the laws, and who would naturally prefer rulers who would keep faith with them to those who, having nothing to lose, would be glad of anarchy and confusion in order to gain something in the scramble; but a funded debt appears to have become a question of necessity rather than of desirability. Under the circumstances, an honourable nation having been supplied with the various commodities needful to carry on expensive wars, which had been undertaken by its rulers with its own consent, was driven to entail a debt upon posterity which no taxation short of confiscation, could pay off at once.
It will be seen above that the different departments were put to considerable inconvenience, in fact, they were at their wits' end to provide for the public service. The clever Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Montague, solved the difficulty by the expedient of exchequer bills and public credit was systematized and came to play a far more important part in our finance than it had hitherto done.
The following affidavit relates to the preparations that were making by the French fleet, which was afterwards engaged at Bantry Bay. It was made 1st May 1689 by the master of a ship at Southampton, who swears that he came out of Camerit in France, on 28th April, where—
“Hee, with all the English that were there and at Brest, were deteyned 7 daies untill such time as the French fleet, consisting of 20 saile of capital ships, 7 fire ships, and 7 victualers and tenders, should be ready to saile, as all these reported and pretended, for Ireland; hee farther maketh oath that hee was at Brest, and saw the said fleet, and believes they carried off about one thousand Irish souldiers, and that Friday the 27o of Aprill he saw the said fleet put to sea, the wind being then at east, and supposes they sailed for Ireland.” (See 7th May 1689, Vol. III. No. 34.)
In a letter dated Guernsey, 15th May 1689, from Andrew Cotton, commander of the “Charlotte” yacht, to the Commissioners of Admiralty, after the fight, at Bantry Bay, he states:—
“The news that I hear is that ye French fleet that was at Ireland got into Brest on the 8th or 9th inst, but very much batter'd, and they say all ye ships in France is fitting out, & they will have 40 saile out of ye Mediterranean; it is likewise said that ye French has taken 5 Dutch West Indiamen that came from Cuiresoe, also a very rich Spaniard that came from Portabello; likewise there is between 40 or 50 sail fitting out of St Maloes, from 10 guns to 40 guns, all to cruice (cruize) ye Channell, but if there was 10 saile of good friggetts, 3 fire ships, and 2 boom vessells, I would not question but to destroy there ships and burn there town.” (See 25th May 1689, Vol. III., No. 55.)
The petition of Gideon Godet, a French Protestant refugee, is not without interest. He states that he had served three different envoys extraordinary of the crown in the court of France as French secretary. He enumerates several spies and pensioners he had detected, viz., Christian, a spy who received 100 crowns a month from Mons. Louvois [Secretary of State to the King of France], who was seized on the petitioner's information, and his papers deciphered; the Chevalier de Beaujen; Mazot; “an English gentleman (whose name must be concealed), who received a pension from France;” and the Jesuit Abercrombe, going from France into Scotland. (See Circa, 7th June 1623, Vol. XXII., No. 46).
Among the letters which incidentally contain news is one of 21st November 1694 (Vol. XXX., 57), of Mr. John Taylor [of London, merchant], to Henry Guy, Esq., at the Treasury Chamber. It states:—
“This week arriv'd here [? London] a fleet of Sweeds ships from Gottenbro, where they left Sr Cloudesly Shovell the 9th instt, with about 70 sayl of ships under his convoy, he having 3 or 4 days before receiv'd orders from the King to join the Dutch fleet, wch consisted of between 3 & 400 sayl, & were at Elsinure wth 8 or 9 frigatts; these ships say that Sr Cloudsly did imediatly send a leutent to hasten the Dutch to him; & they suppose that they joynd in 24 hours after their departure; the winds having been favourable & continuing so, we hourly expect their arrivall, these ships tell me they did not see one privateer in their voyage.”
This must have been some time after the unsuccessful expedition against Dunkirk, referred to by Schomberg in his Naval Chronology, Vol. I., p. 92, who says:—
“Early in September Sir Cloudesley Shovel received instructions to undertake an expedition against Dunkirk,” &c.
Various petitions for recompense of services rendered in Ireland at the time of the reduction of that country to the rule of William the Third will be found among this collection, as well as others on behalf of Protestants who sought to possess themselves of the estates of the Papists. The readiest means of satisfying the claims of the petitioners seems to have been to encourage them to present to the Lords of the Treasury lists of estates belonging to Papists, which had previously not been discovered, whereupon their Lordships appear to have dealt out the lands to them.
Among the documents more particularly worthy of notice is one showing the condition of Londonderry, dated 28th June 1691 (Vol. XIV., No. 47), and another showing the sufferings endured whilst the struggle was going on in that country. Sarah Butler, widow, complained that she had lost her husband and three sons at the fights of “Agrum and Arklone;” that the French and Irish kept garrison in her house nine months, and burnt it when they could keep it no longer; they took her daughter, about 14 years of age, cut her hair off, and afterwards killed her, and when she came to the child's rescue, they cut her in three places and took her prisoner to Limerick, where they kept her 15 months; she sought for payment of arrears due to her husband and sons. Her papers to prove her claims were lost, but Mr. Fox was ordered to pay her 5l. (See 2nd November 1693, Vol. XXIV., 59.)
An allowance of 40s. was made to Mr. Savage, the clerk of the Crown, for each person outlawed. Viscount Sydney, the Lord Lieutenant, thought this incentive to the industry of that official had lasted long enough, for on 24th October 1692, he informed the Lords of the Treasury that he had put a stop to it, as there were already 4,000 persons outlawed, and the number was daily increasing; and a great part, if not the greatest, of that number consisted of people so poor that there would not come 40s. a man from their forfeitures to the Crown; and yet there must be so much paid the officer for that service for each of them. (See Vol. XX., 14.) The Lords of the Treasury however granted him a custodiam of lands until he should receive 4,000l. (See 21st October 1696, Vol. XLI., 3.) The Lords Justices also represented his case on the 20th March 1698–9, and recommended him for a pension, and stated that the number outlawed amounted to 5,373; but there is a minute of 1st November 1699 that the King was not pleased to grant him a pension.
A petition under date 19th October 1694 (Vol. XXX., 1), states that the “sept” of the “Brenans” was very numerous, and a great terror to the English inhabitants in Ireland, and frequently committed many great robberies and “murthers,” and they were in arms for the late King James. They seem more particularly to have been connected with the county of Kilkenny.
There are various papers in the years 1694 and 1695 relating to the affairs of Mr. Francis Babe, who had been appointed to the office of surveyor-general of Ireland, then deposed, and afterwards reinstated. He made various complaints against the Commissioners of Revenue in Ireland, and more particularly against Mr. Carlton, one of that body (whom he charged with carrying on a trade with France), and there are many interesting particulars of the proceedings of the Commissioners in relation to him. They characterize him as a man void of all sincerity, and only bent upon mischief. He was reprimanded on his knees in the Irish House of Commons for a breach of privilege.
In a report, dated 5th July 1695, of the Lord Lieutenant as to the state of the forfeitures, he says that upon inquiry into the books kept by the Commissioners of the forfeited estates, it was found all things were in disorder; that the Commissioners of Inspection had not taken due care in preparing rent rolls or regular charges to the collectors; that they had called few if any of the collectors or subcommissioners to account in a right manner; that they had generally allowed all encumbrances upon the forfeited estates, without inquiry whether any part of them was paid; that they had set few leases under the Exchequer Seal, as their Commission directed; and that, in effect, their chief business had been to get in their own salaries. It appeared they had received of the King's money 1,800l., of which they paid themselves 1,700l. He recommended the Commission to be superseded. (See Vol. XXXIV., No. 8.)
Historical particulars of the campaign in Ireland in 1688 and 1689 are found in papers touching a proposed grant of the forfeited estate of Dudley Bagnall, Esq., to Sir James Caldwell. (See 7th December 1695, Vol. XXXV., 25.)
The Lord Lieutenant reports, on 24th March 1695–6 (Vol. XXXVII., 4), that the forts and fortifications were generally out of repair, the guns unmounted, the palisadoes wanting, and some of the breaches not sufficiently made up; and other works, especially for Galway, had been begun but not finished.
There are numerous lists scattered through the Irish papers of forfeited properties in Ireland, showing the names of the proprietors, the denomination of the property, the quit-rents, &c., after the reduction of that country.
These papers eminently illustrate the working of various legal enactments, more particularly such as related to revenue. The prayer for a nolle prosequi is frequent in the petitions.
A paper of 20th February 1694–5 (Vol. XXXII., 33), shows the manner of renewal of a 40 years' lease from the Hospital of St. Bartholomew, near Rochester, Kent.
In a paper dated 12th April 1693 (Vol. XXI., 73), (more fully noticed under the head Travelling at p. lii,), it is stated that the hundred in which a robbery had been committed was discharged [from its liability to make good the amount stolen] by the capture of one of the robbers, who was shot.
In a similar robbery the hundred of Broadwater was sued for 776l. (the money lost). The matter being referred to Chief Justice Treby, he awarded 520l. to the [plaintiff]. (Vol. XXXIX., 35.)
There is an opinion illustrative of the King's right to derelict land, and how the lord of the manor might have the same by prescription, in the report of Sir Edw. Ward, the Attorney General, dated 4th August 1684. (Vol. XXIX., 5.) On this subject see an amusing account of the taking an inquest (the jury for which were drunk) to ascertain whether certain land in Sussex was derelict or not (Minute Book, Vol. VII., pp. 230–234). Amongst the assertions made is:—“Mr. Northey (afterwards Attorney General) saies it is not derelict land unless ye sea flows and re-flows every tide.” (See also the paper for 15th August 1696, Vol. XXXIX., 39.)
Bells could not be exported from this country by Stat. 33 Hen. VIII. c. 7, and 2 & 3 Edw. VI. c. 37, and so the Lords of the Treasury were memorialized to allow one to be sent to Barbadoes. In particular cases permission had been granted, and in this case their Lordships assented to the prayer of the memorialist. (See October 1694, Vol. XXX., 24.)
A presentment of 28th June 1689 (Vol. IV., 19,) contains information on the manufacture of tobacco from that of German growth, with some leaves of Virginian to cover and wrap over it. There were principally two sorts of rolled tobacco, one bright and fair and made up with little moisture, the other very dark and mixed with great quantity of syrups.
In a proposal for the prevention of frauds in the shipment of tobacco, supposed to be about the year 1694 (Vol. XXXI., 23), is the following:—
“In December 1693 there was a great quantitie of haye and horse dung spun together at a place called Minehead, near Bridgwater, in imitation of tobacco, and there shipt off by debenter as tobacco, but was afterwards accidentally detected by an officer of the Customs.”
An undated petition, placed at the end of 1694, shows that the potters, or manufacturers of painted earthenware, considered their craft in danger by the importation of “delph” redwares or counterfeit china wares and gally tiles. (See Vol. XXXI., 58.)
The following particulars have been principally gleaned from presentments and reports of the Commissioners of Customs, and are illustrative of the exercise of patronage, and of the authority of the Commissioners over their subordinates.
On the 8th of August 1689 they present that they were surprised to receive two warrants to establish two persons in place of two surveyors of the landwaiters, without any charge made against them since their approval by the Board, which left the Commissioners in suspense as to naming others. The dismissal of these persons from their employment, after their approval by the Board, which was always looked upon as the immediate judge of the officer's behaviour, occasioned much discouragement and might prejudice their Majesties' service, by setting them loose from their dependence on the Board, whose business it had always been to instruct and direct, as well as to punish and correct them, by suspension, dismission, or otherwise. The choice of the officers was one of the most essential parts of the duty of the Commission. All former Commissions had the power of constituting as well as dismissing the officers until the year 1671 (and the Commisioners of Excise still retained the same authority), and though this Commission obtained warrants from the Lords of the Treasury for the constitution of deputed officers, yet the general course had been not to grant such warrants except upon the presentment or approbation of this Board. (See Vol. IV., 52).
The method of examination as well as the number of candidates for a vacancy is here illustrated (22nd August 1689, Vol. IV., 63):—
“May it please yor Lordpps,
“In obedeince to your Lordpps comands, signified to us by Mr. Jephson by his letter of the 21th instant, for the reason of our displaceing Mr. Francis White, wee humbly acquaint yor Lordpps, that having before us the examination of about 30 landwaiters that were in possession, and of about 200 petitioners, that were referred unto us by your Lordpps, for vacancys in the said place; although wee did call before us every one of the said persons, as well those in possession as those that were petitioners, and did examine the fitness or defects of the one, as well as the quallificac[i]on of the other; yet the numbers being soe great, we could not set downe the distinct character of each, but having taken our owne private notes upon each person, as the examination past, the Board agreed in their dissatisfaction as to Mr. Francis White; and that was the ground of their presentment for his being dismist.”
* * * * * *
[One Mr. Pollard was recommended for the first vacancy.]
In the Minute Book of 4th Sept. 1689 is shown the manner in which the Board of Customs exercised its patronage:—
“His Matie was pleased to tell their Lops he had received information that many places in the custom house were sold, and that the Comrs of the Customs did take their turns in disposeing of places vacant; and order'd their Lops to enquire into this matter, and to take the best care to prevent such practices, and that the persons to be presented by the Comrs for places should be agreed upon at that Board by the majority: these & no particular commissioner to have a nomination by turne, as His Matie had been inform'd they have of late practiz'd.”
The answer to this charge is amongst these papers (Vol. V., 11), and is here subjoined:—
“May it please your Lordpps,
“Wee being greatly sencible of the reflections which have been cast upon our management before His Matie, wherewith your Lordpps were pleased to acquaint us at our last attendance on your Lordpps, which seeme to draw in question as wel the integrity as the discretion of our conduct; and having since, by your Lordpps order, received from Mr. Jephson a paper conteyning part of what your Lordpps were pleased to signify to us, wee take ourselves obliged to offer something in vindication of ourselves, and the method of our proceedings, and crave leave humbly to animadvert upon the whole matter, as followeth:—
“That by the law it is so penal to buy or sell any offices in the Customs, that it not only incurrs a forfeiture of the office, but also an incapacity, in the person offending, for any other office in the revenue; but the imputac[i]on of this kind now charg'd upon the whole Commission, is too genll to affect any one of the Commrs, who doubtless (if guilty) would bee unworthy of that trust.
“The inference that is made from the method of offering persons (to fill up vacancyes) by the Commrs in turns (as if that should give opportunity for the selling of offices if any of the Comrs should incline so to doe) will not bee found unanswerable, when it shall bee considered that this method has been in use many yeares in King Charles's time, and since, without any such inconvenience p[re]tended hitherto. And it was designed for the King's service in genll, by saving the time of the Board (taken up daily with things that relate to the more urgent and weigthy parts of their management), and in particular, by alotting a share equally to each Commr of the care and difficulty of finding out persons fitly qualifyed to supply the vacancyes that happen; in judging whereof, each one of them takes himself ingaged to bee very cautious, least on the future miscarriage or unfitnesse of such officer (discovered on tryall) the Commr that propos'd him to the Board (which is registred) bee rendered in some sort lyable to the censure of the rest. And it is to bee observed, that a single Commr hath only the care of finding out and proposing the person to the Board; and he is never presented to the Lords of the Treasury but by the agreement and approbac[i]on of the Board, after a competent inquiry into the qualification of the person.
“Now each Commr may reasonably bee supposed to concerne himself for the service of the revenue, and for the honor of the whole Cōmission, as wel as for his owne, and it is not probable that the management can go on well (without which the King's service must suffer), or that they can bee able to give a good account of the trust, unlesse able and fitting officers bee imployed under them; so that it is the interest of each of them, and of all together, to procure such. But after all, though it hath been heretofore judged for His Mats service, and long practiced, yett if His Matie shall not thinke fitt to approve thereof, but shall direct any other method, the Comrs are very ready to submit to His Mai[es] pleasure therein.
“All which is humbly submitted to your Lordpps considerao[i]n.
“Custom House, London,
17th Septembr 1689.”
“17th September 1689.
“Presentment from the Comrs of the Customs in vindication of their method of proceeding in putting in officers each in his turn, &c.”
“For the King.
“The King cōmands that the Comrs Customs shall not present to places vacant in their turns, but by the majority of the Board, according to His Maties comands at Hampton Court the 4th Sept 1689.
“See the minute of that day.”
On 16th October 1689 the Commissioners state that it was one of the standing rules of the Board “to advance those who have well deserved in an inferior station.” (See Vol. V., 27.)
The Commissioners of Ordnance give their opinion that a petitioner, one John Harris, having applied himself in the manner he had done after a refusal to appoint him, was the highest contempt imaginable put on them. (See 12th Dec. 1692, Vol. XX., 42.)
On the 19th of October 1692 (Vol. XX., 9) the Commissioners of Customs state that—
“The constant opinion and practice of this Board has been by all meanes to discountenance and discourage any private agreement for the surrendering or obteyning any of the places upon the establishment, that ye filling up ye same may be without any other consideration besides the fitnesse of the person presented.”
On the 23rd of July 1694 (Vol. XXVIII., 78) the Commissioners of Customs repeat the same, adding,—
“But for patent offices, the Commrs have alwayes look't upon them as bountyes in the hands of the Crowne or yor Lordpps, being generally bestowed upon persons, with power to execute by deputy; and therefore the Commrs have alwayes been passive and easy in the transactions of those grants, when their Lordpps have been pleased to referr them to this Board; not thinking it became them to enter into the consideration of the meritts or services for which they were bestowed, nor to concerne themselves soe much about the qualification of the person as to make provision for good deputyes, who are to execute those offices; and especially for such of the patent offices as have been held for life, this Board has been alwayes forward to make way for those surrenders, believing it greatly for the advantage of the Crowne and the ease of the management to take in those grants, and give out others for pleasure.”
The following, although a little later than these papers, occurs in the Minute Book, Vol. VIII., p. 177, on 25th May 1698, and as they are closely allied to this subject are here given:—
|“His Mats rule upon the death
or removall of an officer.
|The King is pleased to make this rule. That upon the death|
or removall of an officer payable quarterly, he be paid by ye day to the day of his death or removall. That if there be an interval before another officer is admitted, the salary during that intervall be saved to the King. And that the salary of the officer who succeeds be computed by the day, from the date of his comission, grant, or constitution, till the next quarter day, and from thenceforth quarterly, and be paid accordingly, saving the usuall allowances of those wch administer any governmts in remote parts frō the death of any governor till a new appointment be made by the King.”
In regard to the allowance to those who supplied the place of governors in the West Indies until new appointments were made, the following is entered in the same Minute Book, p. 188:—
“Whereas His Majesty has thought fit that for the better support of the Government in ye severall plantations a sufficient allowance be set apart for such as shall be lievtenant governor, or commander-in-chiefe residing there for the time being, upon the death or during the absence of a governor-in-chief. In order whereunto His Maty is pleased to direct that one full moiety of the salary, and of all perquisites & emolumts wtsoever wch would otherwise become due or are allotted unto the said governor-in-chief, be paid and satisfyd unto such lievt governor, or commander-in-chief who shall be so resident upon the place, for his better maintenance and support of ye dignity of ye Governmt. His Maty is further pleased to declare & appoint that the said half salary shall not upon any accot whatsoever be diverted for the future from such lievtenant governor, or commander-in-chiefe, and that the governour-in-chief appointed or to be appointed for any of His Majesty's plantations do not pretend to receive or take to himself upon any accot whatsoever any part of the said half salary, perquisites, or emolumts due or accruing to the said leivtenant governor, or comander-in-chief, during the absence of such governor-in-chief or until his arrivall upon the place. His Majesty likewise reserving unto himself the disposall of the other moiety of the said salary from the date of the cōmission of such governour-in-chief untill his actuall arrivall within the Government. And hereof an entry is to be made in the books of the Treasury and in other offices where it may appertain.”
[The above regulation was prepared by Mr. Blathwayt, and read and approved by their Lordships. See Ib.]
Rights of Property.
There are numerous papers which touch on this subject, amongst which the Surveyor-General's reports are not the least important.
The right to clippings of coin was claimed by the sheriffs of London and Westminster under ancient grant. (See Vol. XXXIX., 38; XLI., 16.)
There are many papers relating to the King's right to tin in Cornwall from 1686 to 1688. (See 15th May 1686, Vol. II., 10, &c.)
In a proposal for duty on cattle (undated, but probably about 1690, Vol. XI., 47,) London, Westminster, the suburbs, &c. are estimated at one-fifth of the population of England, and to consume as much meat as the other four-fifths.
A paper under date 5th April 1692 (Vol. XVIII., 4), states that:—
“Since Henry the 8ths time the vallue of money as to things bought therewith, is not now above the 4th part of what it was then, as for example, a person could buy as much hay, corne, cheese, &c. in K. Henry 8ths time for 1s as he can now for 4s, as is apparent from the statutes of those times.”
Land in the Isle of Thanet had fallen in 1693 from 20s. to 16s. an acre. (See Vol. XXII., 17.)
Land in the neighbourhood of Scotland Yard, Westminster, was, in 1694, valued by the Surveyor-General at 7s. 6d. a foot [? frontage], per annum, &c. (See Vol. XXVII., 6.)
A memorial dated 21st November 1694 (Vol. XXX., 50) of the Commissioners of Customs of Ireland states that 20s. a day was allowed as travelling charges to two of their number, as had been continually done since there was any commission for managing the revenue in Ireland, and as was then practised in the Commissions of the Customs and Excise in England, at the rate of 40s. per diem or more.
Scattered among the papers will be found some that throw light on topography, more particularly as to Westminster. Thus there is a petition and other documents in 1694, of Mr. Joseph Craigg, about property in the northwestern corner of Scotland Yard. He is described as having buildings adjoining, with an open court before them, on the north side of the premises. (See 12th March, Vol. XXVII., 6, and 5th July 1694, Vol. XXVIII., 66.) It seems more likely that Craig's Court took its name from him than from the father of Secretary Craggs, as supposed in Cunningham's hand book for London, Vol. I., p. 243.
Cunningham also says that “Storey's Gate, Birdcage Walk, St. James's Park, was so called after Edward Storey, who lived in a house on the site of the present gate, and was employed by Charles II. in the improvements which he made in St. James's Park,” and there are two papers in this collection which seem to confirm his account of its origin, for William Storey who was evidently resident thereabouts, says in his petition that his deceased brother and himself had been keeepers and feeders of their Majesties' birds and beasts in St. James's Park, ever since the Restoration. (See 18th May 1693, Vol. XXII., 25, and 1694, Vol. XXXI., 47.) The house of Lord Chancellor Jeffreys was next to that of Storey. (See 25th June 1691, Vol. XIV., 45.)
In an extract from a patent accompanying one of Sir Chr. Wren's reports (7th March 1694–5, Vol. XXXII, 44), it appears King James I. granted to the inhabitants of the parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields an acre of ground to make a new churchyard. It recites that in Henry the Eighth's time, they had on parish church, but resorted to St. Margaret's, and thereby were forced to carry their dead by the court gate of Whitehall, which the said King Henry misliking, caused the church to be built.
There is an interesting paper in relation to the town and harbour of Rye, and the lands adjacent to the River Rother. It contains some historical particulars of that place. (See 18th Aug. 1692, Vol. XIX., 36.)
Trade and Commerce.
The reports of the Commissioners of Customs afford a good deal of information as to our trade.
The one dated 2nd April 1692 (Vol. XVIII., 3) is an instance. It states that the trade of the kingdom was generally carried on by men of substance and reputation; that the very nature of the trade had altered from the time of Charles I., for in those days there was no trade to the East and West Indies, or any plantation, and at that time it was chiefly driven by merchant strangers, but at the time of the report it was entirely in the hands of English merchants. Their report concludes with the following remark, viz.: “that the freer and more easy trade is in any place, the more it flourishes.”
Travelling and the State of the Roads.
In 1689, the receiver-general of the aid for the county of Hereford petitioned for 110l. for bringing up to the Exchequer at London 6,500l. in two journeys, having employed 14 horses and 10 men. (See 13th Nov. 1689, Vol. V., 42.)
John Phillipps, one of the collectors of excise, in his petition states,—
“That on the 9th day of Augt 1691 your petr collected the duty of excise then ariseing within the district or division of the markett towne of Endfeild, in the county of Midx, and in bringing to London the money he there received, att five of the clock of the evening of the same day, he and the supervisor & supernumerary were sett upon neare Edmington, and was by six highwaymen or robbers on horseback robbed of 198li 2s 7¾d. That yor petr and the said officers defended themselves against the said robbers for a considerable time, and in the skirmish shott one of the robbers, who was afterwards taken, and soone after dyed of the shott he received.
“That yor petr caused hue & cry to be duely made, but none of the said robbers have been aprehended, save only him that was soe shott, by the takeing of whome the hundred by law are discharged as yor petr is advised.
“That in makeing up yor petrs account for the halfe yeare ended at Mich. 1691, your petr is returned in arrear the said 198li 2s 7d,” &c.
The Commissioners of Excise reported on the case, and advised that he should be allowed the amount of which he was robbed. (See 12th April 1693, Vol. XXI., 73.)
The customary charges of the royal messengers are given in a paper dated 6th July 1694 (Vol. XXVIII., 70); 30l. was charged for journeys to Edinborough, Dublin, or the Hague, 6d. a mile on post journeys, and 2s. for every stage of 10 miles, and 10s. a day for every day they were out.
In a paper dated 9th October 1695 (Vol. XXXIV., 66) it is reported by the agents of taxes that in December 1691, the receiver for the county of Worcester, having sent up 6,500l., the waggon, at a place near Gerard's Cross, Bucks, was robbed of 2,343l., upon which he sued the hundred, but the verdict was against him. Their Lordships, however, allowed him 2,500l. for his loss and charges.
Again, Mr. Francis Johnson, the collector of excise in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, in conveying the money from Biggleswade to Hoddesdon, was robbed of 776l. (See 12th Aug. 1696, Vol. XXXIX., 35.)
Miscellaneous Observations and Extracts.
One of the most frequent arguments brought forward by the petitioners was that they were Protestants, and that they had suffered from the Popish rule. If by any means they could make it apparent they had been instrumental in forwarding the revolution, the little circumstance, whatever it might be, had a prominent place assigned to it in their memorial to the Treasury.
One man says he had always opposed the Popish and arbitrary designs of the kingdom's enemies, and especially by voting for such men to serve in Parliament as were friends to the Protestant religion and the rights and liberties of the people, and that he had appeared in arms on the King's arrival. (See 23rd April 1689, Vol. III., 20.)
The following shows that the vocalists had a grievance which did not extend to their instrumental brethren. (Vol. XXII., 27)—
“To the Rt Honble the Lords Comrs of their Majts Treasury.
“In obedience to your Lordships' order of reference of the 19th instant, with relation to the annexed petition of their Maj. … vocal musick, I humbly report to your Lordships that the vocal and instrumental musick were join'd together in the late reigns of King Charles and King James, at the allowance of forty pounds per annum a piece, and at their present Majts accession to the Crown my Lord Chamberlain swore them indifferently into their places pursuant to the methods of former establishments, and yr Lps were pleas'd to direct the payment of them all to Lady Day [1690,] since which time the instrumental musick only have been [paid,] without any provision for the vocal.
“Which is most humbly submitted to your Lordships.
“24 May 1693. J. Richards.”
King Charles the Second's physician in ordinary (who was also professor of botany) appears not to have been much better dealt with than his portrait painter, for his widow, Margaret Morrison, complains in 1693 that his salary was 4,400l. in arrear. Their Lordships had examined the claim, and ordered 200l. a year to the widow, but she had received nothing (except a tally for 100l.) for five years. She obtained the unsatisfactory reply to her application for continuance of the pension, “It cannot be done at this time.” (See About, 17 August 1693, Vol. XXIII., 46.)
The subjoined petition of Walter Butler, supposed to be about 1693 or 1694 (Vol. XXV., 38.), shows how good offices were bargained for by persons having, or who were supposed to have, the opportunity of soliciting their Majesties' favour. It runs thus:—
“The humble petition of Walter Butler,
“Humbly sheweth that yor petr, being importuned by Major McGullycudy and severall others of the Irish officers, whoe came off at the capitulation att Limberick, to solissitt thire Maties, in thire behalf, for a compedency to keep them from starviug, and in consideration thearof the said officers promised yor petr two shillings & sixpence out of eatch pound that should be allowed them by thire Maties, which they gave yr petr under thire hands, with an assignment upon any paymaster whatsoever to stop and pay to yr petr the afforesaid two shillings & sixpence, which is redy to produce, the said officers alleaging to yr petr that theare was not above 20 of the said officers to truble thire Maties, giving ye petr a list of thire names, whoe weare all found upon record as paid last yeare, and returned soe by Mr Danchford. Now soe it is that one Mr Courtny, being refused to be put upon the said list, it being filed up before, givs information against severall of the said officers, to make roome for himselfe and his cohearants, after wch he confesed if he had beene put upon the said list, he would make noe such discovery, thogh now he givs out it is to prevent the King's being cheated, which he winct at the last two years that he was upon the list and receaved the King's mony, when the King paid six times the number that petitions His Matie now,—
“Yor petr thearfore humbly prays yr Lordships will be pleased to order the number of twenty officers, wheather them that contracted with ye petr or those that informs against them, and gets the benefitt of yr petrs labor, to pay ye petr the said halfe croune in the pound out of thire Maties bounty, if any theare be, and that the same may be stopt for ye petrs use in the hands of any paymaster that shall be ordered to pay them, in consideration of his pains and labor in obtaineing thire pretentions to be broght to this issue, the rather because they imployed Mr Killegrew to sollissitt for them last yeare, and never paid him.”
It is stated that in the reign of King James the Second a year's pay was the settled equivalent for the loss of a limb, but there was no such provision made in the subsequent reign. (See 1st August 1694, Vol. XXIX., No. 2).
The records of the county of Chester were spoiling by the rain, owing to the state in which the building was in which the courts were held. (See 22nd April 1690, Vol. VIII., 10.)
A paper of the date of 18th January 1691–2 (Vol. XVII., 14), speaks of tea “of the goodness of what is used in coffee houses for the makeing of single tea,” and it sold at 12s. a pound, the duty being 5s.
The following occurs in a petition of the Countess Dowager of Clancarty, who states that,—
“There was a custome (tho' an inhuman pastime) in that part of Ireland to toss men in blanketts, that ye country people would come freely to offer themselves to be tossed for halfe crowne a piece, yt the said butcher [whose widow made a claim on the Countess] was unfortunately tossed, and for want of care [died] soon after.” (See 1st December 1693, Vol. XXV., 1.)
The following illustrates the frauds practised against the customs' laws. It is found in the proposal referred to before at p. xliii. for the prevention of frauds, supposed to be about the year 1694 (Vol. XXXI., 23):—
“In November 1692 the shipp “Anne and Margaret,” of Bristol, burthen about 40 tonns, the said William Beard master, [bound] for Ireland, being about a third part laden with tobacco in trusses, he that was supercargo of the ship, went down privatly into the hould and pulled a plugg out of the ship's bottom, which was contrived for that purpose, and when the said ship had abt four foot water in the hould, one William Smith, mar of the same vessel, called a trough, which had layn ten daies waiting for the said ship, took in all her tobacco, and runn it ashore at Callicote, and left the said ship to sink in the river. This fraud was, by accident, detected in the action.”
Mr. Vernon, on 16th May 1696, communicated to the Lords of the Treasury the wishes of the Lords Justices that Signior Coronelli, geographer to the Republic of Venice, should have a gratification of 100 guineas, he having presented to them, in the name of His Majesty, and for his use, some of his geographical works. (See Vol. XXXVIII., 5.)
In our own time not unfrequently complaints have been made of the roundabout way in which official bussiness is conducted; but the Commissioners for registering Seamen are a good specimen of the same thing in 1696, for they had to propose that the Lords of the Admiralty would please to move the Lords Justices to direct the Lords of the Treasury to order the Custom house officers not to permit vessels to be cleared without giving bond for payment of 6d. per month out of their wages. (See Vol. XXXIX., No. 37.)
The previous pages, it is hoped, will sufficiently indicate the nature of this valuable body of papers, the contents of which hitherto must have been but little known.
Public Record Office,
7 December 1868.