Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 8, 1640-41. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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The Ninth Day. Wednesday, March 31. 1641.
The Tenth Article.
And in the Ninth Year of His now Majesties Reign, he having, then Interest in the said Customs (to advance his own gain and lucre)did cause and procure the Natives Commodities of Ireland, to be rated in the Book of Rates for the Customs, (according to which the Customs were usually gathered) at far greater Values and Prices, than in truth they were, worth,(that is to say) every Hyde at Twenty shillings, which in truth was worth but five shillings; every Stone of Wool at Thirteen shillings four Pence, though the same were really worth but five shillings, at the utmost Nine shillings; by which means the Custom, which before was but a Twentieth Part of the true value of Commodity, was Enhanced sometimes a Fift Part, and sometimes to a Forth, and sometimes to a Third part, of the true value; to the great Oppression of the Subjects, and Decay Merchandise.
Mr. Maynard Proceeded to the 10th Article, saying, They had shewed what my Lord meant to do, what be threatned, what he did concerning the Lives of His Majesty's Subjects, what advantages he found to order their Tongues, to cut off their Heads; but he rested not there, Their Lordships have heard how he Executed one without Law; The subsequent Articles were under colour of Law, to take away the Subjects Lands, to distribute them in a way of Justice; and yet they come to his own profit. Now the 10th Article charges him, that he did procure to Farm to his own Use, the Customs of Ireland, that he Inhanced those Customs, procured a Book of Rates to be made, and Goods Valued Treble to the worth of the Commodity; Instancing in two Particulars, Wools worth 5 s. the Stone or at most Nine, rated up to 13 s. 4 d. and a Hyde Valued at 20 s. which was in Truth worth but 5 s. That these High Values were put upon them to Increase the Customs. That my Lord of Strafford in. his Answer, pretends it not to be done for his own Benefit, but for the Advantage of His Majesty, and gives some Colours, which are left to himself to open and Prove. That they shall Prove the Fact to be done for his own Advantage, to the great Deceit and Disadvantage of His Majesty.
His Majesty King James did, in the 16th. Year of his Reign, Lease to the Duke of Buckingham, the Customs of Ireland, for 10 Years: In which Lease there were Exceptions and Agreements of Defalcations, as the Custom of Wines, which were Leased to my Lord Carlisle, at the Rent of 1400 l. Per Annum to the Crown; and on this Lease was Reserved 6000 l. a Year Rent, and half the Clear Profits above the Rent; which half did Amount to 3700 l. a Year. There was a Second Lease made to the Dutchess of Buckingham, being in the time of 7 Car. who was to have a certain Sum out of the Lease, but the Profit was for my Lord of Strafford and his Partners. Mr. Maynard Observed the Difference of the two Leases; and shewed, that it was not only a Bargain of Loss to His Majesty, of what he had, but also a Bargain by way of Advancement of that which was, not by Inhancing the Values.
Which he Demonstrated thus; The King out of the first Lease to the Duke 6000 l. and 3700 l. that is, 9700 l. by the latter Lease 11050 l. so at first view, 1350 l. gain, besides the Fine pretended to be paid; But in lieu thereof, the Lease to my Lord of Carlisle was procured to be surrendred, upon the which the King had 1400 l. a Year Rent, before the Dutchess, that is, now my Lord of Strafford Lease, was Sealed; which 1400l., a Year, is not reserved in the, said latter Lease, the surrender being 21 Max. the Demise 24. Max. So that 1400 l. a Year is swept away by my Lord of Strafford, instead of the 1350 l. by way of Advance.
Beside the Surplusage of the Profit of the Farm of Wines, Demised to my Lord of Carlisle, Amounted to 3400 l. a Year; sometimes an odd 500 l. sometimes 200 l. but Communibus annis, it was above 3000 l. And this being by Surrender, drawn into my Lord of Straffords Purse, but out of the Kings Purse, and that not only by way of Gift; for this Surplusage above the 1400 l. Per Annum on the Wines, was to be made good out of the 11050 l. So that out of the 11050 l. there is drawn from His Majesty 4500 l. instead of an Advance of 1350 l. And it rests not here, for besides these, the Customs of London Derry, and Colerane, worth 1500 l. a Year, and the Customs Knockfergus and Strangford (reserved in the Dukes Lease) are stollen, out by way of Defalcation in the Earl of Straffords Lease.
Besides, whereas the Duke of Buckingham had a Moiety of the Kings Moiety, of all Seizures in Case of Mens concealing Custom, or Landing Goods at Unseasonable times, the Statute allowing to His Majesty in some such Cases a Moiety, in some Cases the whole, my Lord of Strafford by his Lease, must have all that belonged to the King.
And whereas the Duke of Buckingham had, for Merchants Goods that came in by way of Prize, an Allowance of Custom. By the Lease of my Lord of Strafford, whether they be the Kings Goods, or his Subjects, Custom must be paid by His Majesty, to his own Subjects.
Mr. Glyn Observed also a strange Clause in the new Grant, which is to the matter of Opposition and Subversion of the Laws, That this Grant shall hold, whether it be Repealed by Parliament or not: And further, the Rates are Inhanced when they come to my Lord of Straffords Grant, in 12 Particulars; so that the Customs which at that time were presented as worth 12000 l. a Year, fall out on Proof to yield, seldom less than 40. sometimes near 60000 l. a Year; all which Gain hath gone out of the Kings Purse, and is in my Lord of Straffords, and his Partners.
The Lease to the Dutchess of Buckingham was next read, dated 24 Mar 7 Car. from the several Parts whereof, Mr. Maynard Observed the Inhancing of the Rates; The Grant of the Wines, the Payment of the Customs for the Kings Prize-goods, the Clause touching the Repeal by Parliament, the Defalcations, the Allowing the Part of the Kings Moiety of the Seizures, so formerly opened, to be fully manifested.
And first, Witnesses were produced to Prove, that by the Duke of Buckinghams Lease, 3700 l. Per Annum, was Answered to the Crown for the Moiety of the Surplusage of Profits, over and above the 6000 l. Yearly Rent thereupon Observed.
Answered, That he was a Partner in the Farm in the time of my Lord of Faulklands Government in Ireland, and on the Lease there was reserved to the King, over and above the 6000 l. a Surplusage of the Profits, which came to 3700 l.
Answered, That in 1635. the late Earl of Carlisle sent him into Ireland, to settle his Affairs there, where he stayed almost 12 Months; and then he received a Years Account of the Wines, which he hath to produce Under the Hand of the Auditor of that Kingdom, which is the Money received for the Profit of the Wines.
A Collection of what the Impost of Wines Amounted to, according to the old Rates for the Year ended, March 1635. in the several Parts following, wherein all Wines discharged out of Foreign Bottoms, are Rated as Strangers, viz.
Sir James Hey further said, That 1636. my Lord of Carlisle Dyed, and he will not Depose for that Years Accompt, but he conceives it is an Accompt sent over from the same Party: And that he had a Letter from an Officer of the Custom-house at Dublin, wherein he mentioned the Impost to amount to 5000 l. and upward, either 1638. or 1639. but he is not certain which.
He Answered, That the Customs received in the Town of Colerane, In gate and Out-gate, from 25 Mar. 1634 till 25 Mar. 1939. being for the Space of five whole Years, as appears by the several Accompts thereof, is 1079 l. 6 s 1 d. ½. That the Total of the Customs of London-Derry, where he Collected himself In-gate and Out-gate, from the last of Febr. 1634. till Michaelmas 1639. as appears by the several Accompts thereof made by His Majesties Commissioners for the City and County of London-Derry, is 5348 l. 11 s. 10d. That he shall acquaint their Lordships with the full Truth. These were not Collected according to the Book of Rates but at an under Value. That all the Book of Rates 1634. and so forward to the last Book, do value Beef at 16 l. a Tun But because Beef is sold in Derry and Colerane, for 6 or 7 l. a Tun at utmost; therefore he was directed by the City of London to take 6 s. after the Rate of 6 l.
Then for Hydes, these Books of Rates value a Hyde at 12 s. and where he should have taken 6 d. he Received by Direction of the City but 2 d. at the Infancy of the Plantation, and for the good of the Place, which the City tendred.
Answered, That he was directed from the Committee to come hither: That he went into the Exchequer-Office, and took notice of some Books there, presented to him by one of the Officers of the House, and he Collected these Four Years 1636, 37, 38, and 39. and as they came to his Hands he put them down, 1636. they came to 39936 l. 1637. 38889.l. 1638. 57380 l. 1639. 55582 l.
And in their Parts they ordinarily give 50 l. a Last, which is 200 Hydes and then they have ordinarily 30 or 40 Hydes on the Last to make them full Hydes. For Wooll there is of 3 s. 4 s. 5 s. 8 s. 9 s. and that's the highest Price he ever paid, or knew any of his Neighbours to pay, he living in Waterford.
He Answered, That all he knew of it is this, about Christmas last he called on the Remembrancer of the Office of Exchequer, that keeps the Books of the Customs, he desired a Note of the Value of the Customs for Three or Four Years back, and the Officer gave him a Note 1636, 37, 38, 39, which Note he hath, but forgot to bring it with him this Morning. But to the best of his Remembrance the Value of the Customs for these Years is thus, 1636. either 38 or 39000 l. and some odd Hundreds, 1637. 39000 and odd, 1638. is the greatest Year, and then it was 57000 l. and 1639. 55000 l.
Answered, That he hath bought Hydes at 4 s. 4 s. 6 d. 5 s. and 6 s. the most that ever he knew any pay for Hydes; for Wooll there is a course Irish Wooll not worth 4 s. some is worth 6 s. some 7 s. 8 s. but 11 s. is the most that ever he knew paid for Wooll.
To which my Lord of Strafford made Defence, in substance as followeth:
I shall, under Favour, proceed to make a just Defence of myself, as to this Impeachment of Treason brought against me by the Honourable House of Commons, for that is the thing in Question, and which I shall only Answer unto, as being Charged with nothing else.
If the Dutchess, by her Grant of 24. March, 7 Car. had more Priviledge than the Duke of Buckingham had for the 10 Years preceding; yet by their own shewing, here is 20000 l. Fine, an Increase of 1350 l. a Year Rent, so that there was a Consideration for it.
That these Twelve Commoditis were raised, and the Values inhanced, on that Consideration 24. March, 7 Car. but the Lease wherein himself was Partner bears Date 21. April after; So that the Book of Rates was not raised by me, but by them that had Care of the Business between the King and the Dutchess of Buckingham: And this being set by the King's Officers, to whom it was proper, in the 7th Year of the King, it falls very short of what is Charged in the Article, that I should do it in the 9th Year of His Majesty's Reign. If they can shew a Book of Rates raised the 9th, it may be said he hath raised the Book for his Advantage, for then he had a quarter Part of the Farm, and the King hath 5/8 Parts to himself; and these things have been tumbled and tossed over and over again, and fully Answered in another Place, and I shall be well able to Answer it still, that the King hath had as great a Service done in this Particular, as may be in this Matter. But that is not the Question of the Day. I am Charged with raising a Book of Rates in the 9th Year of the King, and if there be any such Book, it is more than I ever saw, I know of none but that which was settled in my Lord of Portland's time, before I had any Interest in the Farm, which I think will go far to my Clearing in this Point.
Whether these Rates be indifferently set or no, is a Business for Merchants, and Matter of Proof, and if it should be Charged on me as a Crime, I hope your Lordships will allow me time to examine Witnesses, and likewise Council. But I conceive it can be no way conducing to me as a Crime, and as a Treason I think your Lordships Judgment's will clear me, and that's my Answer as to the Book of Rates, and I think a clear one.
For the Values, your Lordships may be pleased to consider, that it may be a Loss to the Farmer, and consequently to the King, who hath Five Parts of Eight. But it can be a Crime to no Body, and I hope your Lordships will give time to prove the Point of Value.
Your Lordships may suppose I know not the Price of Hides, and Wooll, and Tallow, being out of my Calling; but their Worth will appear to be such, that the Duty is but taken according to the Articles of Tunnage and Poundage, that give this Duty to the Crown, For Tunnage and Poundage in Ireland is of another kind than in England, for here it is given Temporally, but it is an Inheritance to the Crown in Ireland, being 15 H. 4. given to the King and his Heirs; and producing the Book of Rates, his Lordship said, That nothing is taken but what is justly due by that Book. And if Merchants (who speak for their own Advantage) be rested on for the Price of Things, the Customs will be little. But this Book of Rates, was set by the Lord Treasurer that then was, and justly and fairly I think, and accordingly Customs have been taken; and when it shall be laid to my Charge in a proper Way, I shall give such Satisfaction, as to clear my- self of the least Fraud or Deceit to my Master, and in the mean time I know your Lordships are so just, as not to prejudice me in this Matter.
I will now shew how I came into the Business of Farming the Customs, not voluntarily, or upon my Suit, nor did I ever intend it, but was commanded and enforced to it, and came in meerly for the doing of the King a Service; and if it prove a Bargain of Advantage, I never knew the making of a good Bargain turned on a Man as Treason. It was justly, fairly, and honestly procured, and prove it never so beneficial, that can never make it a Crime.
His Majesty hath been from time to time acquainted with the Increase of this Business most exactly and truly, it rising indeed beyond all Imagination; the Customs, when we entred on them, being but 12000 l. per Annum, and now your Lordships fee what is proved, and may judge with what Truth they inform, in the Remonstrance, out of Ireland, that Trade is decayed.
On their own shewing, by the Testimony of my Lord Renula, and others, it appears, that when they were Farmers, there was 6000 l. paid to the King, and a Dividend of the other Moity, which came to 3700 l. So the whole Value of the Customs was then 13400 l.
Lord Cottington being asked, Whether in the Seventh Year of the King, there was not a Bargain concluded by the late Lord Treasurer, the Earl of a Witness. Portland, with Captain Williams, Captain Henshawe, and others, for the Customs of Ireland, Paying 15500l, Rent, and 8000 l. Fine.
His Lordship Answered, That he conceives my Lord of Portland rested satisfied, that he had made the Bargain for the Rent and Fine, and that he so understood it, as to acquaint His Majesty with it, and understood it to be a very good Bargain.
His Lordship Answered, That he well Remembers he did refuse it, and he thinks he refused it, because Hensbane was the Chief Man in it, and he died, and thereupon Williams flew off. And that my Lord of Portland was very much troubled, because Williams, and the rest fell off, as he remembers.
He Answered, It is very true, Sir Arthur Ingram, and divers Partners, by his Procurement, paid 100 l. more Rent, and, as he, takes it, the same Fine, but for a quicker Time; for the First Men were to have Time, and Sir Arthur Ingram was to pay it all in Ready Money.
My Lord of Strafford here added, That Hensbane, and the rest, having given over the Bargain, himself went to my Lord at Rohampton, and found that these other Partners that had it afterwards, would undertake the Farm, if he the Earl of Strafford would be a Partner with them, which was a Thing he never intended, but refused.
Therefore on his Lordship's Motion.
Lord Cottington was further asked, Whether being moved by my Lord of Portland come into the Farm, he the Earl of Strafford did absolutely tell my Lord of Portland, that he would not meddle therewith, not knowing how it would be interpreted; that he being the King's Deputy should be a Farmer.
His Lordship Answered, That he well Remembers my Lord of Portland did conceive that to draw in these latter Farmers; it was very necessary, and all the Succour they had to have my Lord of Strafford a Partner in it; because they conceived they should thrive in the Bargain, if he, having so great a Power, were a Partner; so it lay on my Lord of Portland to perswade him to yield to it; and my Lord of Portland told him, That if my Lord of Strafford would do the King that Service, he should not lose by it. And though my Lord of Strafford was unwilling to come in for a Part, yet at last he did, and his coming in, drew in the rest, as he the Lord Cottington thinks. And further, that my Lord Portland told the King of it, and prepared the King to Command him for the making of the Bargain, depending on his taking of a Part.
My Lord of Strafford here Observed, That he humbly conceived the Goodness and Grace of the King, and the Love of my Lord of Portland was such at that time, that they would not have brought him into a Business that should be laid to his Charge as Treason.
He Answered, He conceives there was a Bargain made by my Lord Treasurer and my Lord Cottington, with Williams and Hensbane for 15500/. a Year, and, as he conceives, 8000/. Fine, and this was under their Hands in Writing, as he heard.
That he conceives Williams did clearly refuseit after Hensbane's Death, what other Reasons he had he knows not; That he cannot tell, nor doth remember, that my Lord of Strafford used Means to perswade Williams to stand to that Bargain; but certainly Williams was perswaded much by my Lord of Portland.
He Answered, That he was several times offered to come into that Farm, and from time to time refused it: That Williams pressed him exceeding much, and others before him; and he was moved to it by one Cogan, but refused it.
That the Truth is, his Son Arthur Ingram was Partner in it, and there came in my Lord Mountnorris, Sir George Ratcliffe, one Cogan, that they laboured much he should take the Farm, and he had much ado to be brought in.
He Answered, It will appear on the Warrant to the then Attorney, Sir Robert Heath, that they paid 15500 l. Rent, and 8000 l. Fine; and whereas the Officer should have paid it at six and six Months, these were to pay Ready Money.
He Answered, that he doth not remember he ever said so, but be might much encourage him to come in, if my Lord of Strafford were a Partner, But he the Examinant had no such great Cause to desire it, for he was not in Three Years, but his Son was put out again; when it came to Matter of Profit they were gone.
And so, I hope, I have cleared how I came into the Bargain, and that I cannot be Charged with Procuring the Book of Rates, it being Printed 10. March and my Lease began 21 April after, and that the Right being in the Crown, your Lordships will not conclude it, till you have heard it for the King, it being his Loss in 5/8 Parts, which was intirely His.
And whereas I am Charged with Raising the Book of Rates (though done before my time) yet I was taught here in England that they might have been Raised to a much higher Rate than they were, and to that Purpose there came a Letter from His Majesty, whereby in 1637. a Proposition was made of Raising the Rates, the Book being conceived not to be so high as it ought to be.
His Majesty's Letter was read, Mr. Slingsby Affirming it to be a true Copy, and that he saw it compared with the Original. Importing, That His Majesty finding the Impositions set, on Merchandize of all Ports, to be well accepted, and to have ready and free Passage, had Resolved, That such Impositions be laid in Ireland as be fit for that Kingdom, and to that End had caused a Book to be drawn, with fit Considerations of the Difference of Trade in both Kingdoms, which was sent to my Lord of Strafford, to advise of the Particulars, who, if he found that any may bear a greater Proportion, he may add what he will; if he find any over-rated, he may deliver his Reasons to be considered, and regulated by His Majesty's Committee here, Dated the 10th. of July, 1633.
My Lord of Strafford Observed, That at the Date of this Letter, he had an Interest in ¼ Part of the Farm, and desired that my Lord Dillon might be asked, How my Lord of Strafford carry'd himself in it?
He Answered, That he was at the Board when the Original of this Letter was read, as he takes it, for there was brought with it a Book of Rates, that he remembers not the particular Words of my Lord of Strafford; but he is sure, by the whole Board, the Entertainment of those Rates was dis-advised. And it was Resolved a Letter should be written to dis-advise but he remembers not when the Letter was written.
Whence it may be Observed, That I was not very tender of my own Profit, which laid to the other, I hope, will clear me of this Article, wherein there is nothing of Treason; and nothing can be imputed to me, unless that the Kingdom of Ireland is under the King's blessed Government, an increased and growing Kingdom, and the Trade enlarged to such a Proportion as makes the Customs of far more Value than they were heretofore, should be turned on me as a Crime. And as for Treason, your Lordships see no Complexion towards so soul a Crime, and for all Things that may reflect on me as Misdemeanors, in due Time and Place, I trust, I shall clear myself from that as well as I do from this Charge of High-Treason.
Mr. Maynard Replyed thereunto in Substance as followeth:
That whereas my Lord of Strafford says, That to prove the Matter of Profit to himself, of Loss to His Majesty, is impertinent: They Charge, that what he did was for his own Lucre. He Answers, That what he did was for His Majesty's Profit. Therefore whether it be for his Lucre or not, is in Issue, and that they have proved; and that which he puts in Issue is not to the Purpose, nor proved.
Whereas, he says, This Article is not Treason, yet look to the whole Body of the Charge, his taking away the Property of the Subjects, his inducing this by Subtility, by Force or Advice, to bring to pass, if these be proved, their Lordships will be of Opinion with the House of Commons, That it is a high and a great Treason. Therefore let him not say this or that Piece is not Treason, let him Answer it if he can, That the subverting of the Fundamental Laws be not a great Treason.
My Lord takes Advantage, that the Patent to the Dutchess concerns not him, for it is granted in March, and his 21 April following; but if the Times be observed, it will Answer itself, for the 10th of March 7 Car. the Rates are raised, 21 March my Lord of Carlisle's Patent is surrendred, 24 March, the Dutchess Patent Dated, and 21 April 8 Car. some 30 Days after my Lord of Strafford's Lease is passed. If this had been intended for the for the Dutchess, she would have kept it, but she keeps it not to pay a Day's Rent, or receive any Profit.
But this will intrench on my Lord of Strafford's Answer, on the In genuity of which he stands so much, for he says, There were Propositions to raise these Rates, and he was acquainted and intreated to go on, and thereupon he enters into the Bargain: We desire your Lordships to mark the time, that if there were these Propositions to raise the Rates, and this Lease must be drawn on the raising of the Rates; then was he interressed in the raising of the Rates, before he was interressed in the Lease. And then there is the Execution of a Design carried in several Hands, which tend to one Purpose, for he enters into it the Seventh Year, and his own Lease is the Eighth; and therefore it was on his own Design and Counsel, and for his own Profit.
My Lord instanceth, That the Article lays the Book of Rates to be raised 9. whereas this was done 7. Mr. Maynard Observed, Time is not material; had they Charged him to have made a Book of Rates such a Date, it had been something. But if an Offence be laid in one Year, and it appears to be done in another Year, he must be punished for that now which he did at any time.
To the Tunnage and Poundage, being the Inheritance of the King, it is so in Ireland; but the Point is the Oppression of the Subject, when he makes that three which is but one; and so instead of giving the King his Due, to extort from the Subject what he ought not to pay.
If he says, Proofs could not be had to prove a greater Value of the Commodities, he had time to produce a Witness out of all Ireland. The Commons have produced them that speak of the highest Value, and there is great Difference between Three, Four, Five, the highest is Six, and Twenty.
What occasioned Williams to relinquish the Bargain is not material: But in what Case is the Subject of Ireland, that when the Bargain is to be set at the highest, he that is to be their Governor and Judge, to whom all Appeals must be made, shall enter and in his Authority to make a Bargain that none else would take. The Subject is like to have good Justice, when the Judge most Lose by the Judgment he gives in the Cause; when the Deputy of Ireland must be both Judge and Party.
It is said Williams first entertained it, and left it; but though my Lord be not the first that Projected it, he is the Man that first put it in Execution, the first that took it under the Great Seal, and first brought it to be a Grievance to the Subject, and that he is Charged withal. It might be fit for Goldsmiths, and such to prosecute it, but not for them that are imployed in Administration of Justice, and in great Designs to follow such a Design.
Mr. Maynard added, That my Lord of Strafford, in his Answer, gives it as a Justification of himself, that he did not hold it fit to take such a Bargain from the King, wherein there was not 1000.l. to be got.
But though he thought it not fit to take, when he could get but 1000 l. yet he held it fit to take such a Bargain from the King, where, in holding it Eight Years, he gets 30000 l. He thrusts out Sir Arthur, and why not himself. And there is no Wonder, that he that gained so much, would seem to Interest His Majesty in Part, that his Share might remain more intire; surely it was the more Injustice in him to retain the Bargain, when he had stept into it.
For the Letter of July, 1637, there was a Proposition, shewing His Majesty's Care for His Subjects in Ireland what to inhance, no, to inhance if there were Cause. My Lord pretends he was loth to make an Inhancement, but that was the Opinion of the Board: It is to be wondred that he took them not down rather.
And so he concluded, That they proved the Charge; that he hath procured the Customs to be advanced, they were not advanced till he entred. And their Lordships were desired not to let one thing pass without Observation. That from 7 Car. to this time such Gain hath been made, that there is come to his Purse and his Partners 300000 l. if the Depositions be to be Credited, and it must be four more, if the succeeding Years hold Proportion. That here is not only an Inhancement of Rates on the Subject, by way of Extortion, but this is soaked out of the Kings Purse. That is the 1400 l. a Year Rent for the Wines, the Surplusage of the Wines, the Defalcation of Colerane, London-Derry, Knockfergus, and Strangford. And besides their Lordships may observe the Clause in the Patent; the Grant must be good, though there be an Act: of Parliament against it, and the King must pay for His own Prize Goods, which is left unto their Lordships Judgments.