Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers, Volume 1, 1729-1730. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1897.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
The present volume of the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers is continuous in date from the last volume published in 1889, but differs widely from that and preceding instalments in scope and plan. The portion of the Calendar hitherto published comprises six volumes, covering the years 1557–1728. But that portion is not, even in a restricted sense, a calendar of Treasury Records. It is entirely a calendar of one particular and single class of Treasury Records, viz. Treasury Board Papers. The general description of this class, Treasury Board Papers, is given by Mr. Redington in the preface to Vol. I. of the Calendar and need not be repeated. But it will be clear from that description how restricted is their official range when regard is had to the whole routine of Treasury work. In order to produce a correct impression or to give a proper account of each year's work at the Treasury, it would be necessary, in the first place, to record the resolutions of the Treasury Board, viz. from the Treasury Minute Books. Such resolutions do not appear on the Treasury Board Papers, save exceptionally and accidentally in the way of endorsement on particular papers. The proportion of papers among the Treasury Board Papers bearing such endorsements of Treasury Board Minutes is very small. Secondly, it would be necessary to take account of that class of Treasury work which, originating in other departments or with the King himself, came before the Treasury Board for final decision. From the King came letters patents, Privy Seals, royal sign manuals, or warrants under the royal sign manual, granting commissions or salaries or pensions and gifts of royal bounty, or directing particular payments or expenditures, as, e.g. presents to foreign princes. From the Admiralty, Paymaster of the Forces, Board of Works, Lord Chamberlain, and Officers of State, the Board of Trade and Plantations, and the various Commissioners of Customs, Excise, &c. came demands for the established allowances, or extraordinary demands or extraordinary propositions for work or expenditure implying demands. The record of all this mass of matter and routine work is contained in the King's Warrant Book, Lord Chamberlain's Warrant Book, and in a more scattered way in the Treasury Minute Book, Customs Book, Affairs of Taxes, and other books, and not at all, or quite fractionally and incidentally, in the Treasury Board Papers. It may be safely stated that for one communication of the nature just indicated which has strayed into and survived among the Treasury Board Papers (say, an original letter of demand from the Master of the Horse or the Paymaster General), there are hundreds such preserved in these subsidiary or departmental records, and there alone. Again, and in the same way, the actual executive work of the Treasury Board—its decisions as to expenditure or work involving expenditure, its warrants or endorsements of warrants for payments or appointments, and so on—all this is to be gathered from the Treasury Minute Book, the Money Book, Order Book, and Public Disposition Book. It would be perfectly futile to look for it in the Treasury Board Papers. If the large class of departmental reports—reports on reference from the Commissioners of Customs, Excise, Taxes, Admiralty, &c.—and the much smaller class of draft accounts or estimates—were weeded out from the Treasury Board Papers, there would be left little more than private memorials, petitions, letters, &c. of a most insignificant and unhistorical nature.
In view of this fact, therefore, that the single class of Treasury Board Papers is not for a moment representative of the whole circle of Treasury work, and that the more consistently and connectedly historical side of that work is of necessity contained in quite other and different classes of Treasury Records than the Treasury Board Papers, it has been determined by the Lords of the Treasury to depart from the plan of the calendar hitherto followed, and to institute a Calendar of “Treasury Books and Papers,” or of Treasury Records proper, such records, i.e. as contain an account and produce a fairly complete impression of the work at the Treasury year by year.
Of such a calendar the present is the first and experimental volume.
The mass of records classed as Treasury Records and now preserved at the Public Record Office is very large. An account of them was drawn up in 1845 by Mr. W. H. Black, Assistant Keeper; and two complete MS. Record lists are also in existence at the Record Office. For the purposes of a calendar it would be quite impossible, as well as undesirable, to include all these records. They are too large, and also, in part, irrelevant in subject matter. It has been necessary, therefore, to make a selection. The principles guiding such a selection may, it is hoped, justify the fact and necessity of it. The main purpose throughout has been to produce a true and proper representation of each year's work at the Treasury. For such a purpose it would be of little use to preserve and calendar the proceedings of extraneous and non—related bodies, e.g. of the Royal Africa Company, whose records are preserved among those of the Treasury. The same remark applies to the records of temporary and expired commissions, the ultimate preservation of which at the Public Record Office may be doubtful. Further, the date of most of these commissions is posterior to that fixed upon as the limit for calendar purposes. Under the head of Treasury Records rejected for calendar purposes, for this double reason, would come the following (the dates being approximately those over which the records in each case ran, not the dates of the particular subject matters—claims, and what not—contained in them respectively):—
Royal Africa Company, 1662 and 1672–1822.
Metropolitan Buildings Office, 1844–55.
Slave compensation, 1817–1832–1847.
French claims, 1818–1838.
Danish claims, 1834–41.
Spanish claims, 1838–41.
American Loyalist claims, 1784–1812.
Port of London Compensation Commission, 1799, 1805–24.
East Florida claims, 1785–9.
Caledonian Canal Commission, 1807–25.
Royal Military Canal and Road Commission, 1805–35.
Commissioners of Danish, Russian, Ottoman, Ragusan, Tuscan, Roman, and Ionian prizes, 1808–14.
Scottish Harbour Commission, 1807–24.
Highland Roads and Bridges, Commissioners of, 1803–1822.
Holyhead Harbour Commission, 1810–23.
Commissioners of American ships and cargoes condemned as prize, 1812–18.
Berbice Commissioners, 1812–17.
Courts of Justice Commission, 1815–24.
Courts of Law Commission, 1838–42.
Committee of Inquiry into Fees of Public Offices, 1836–1837.
Committee of Inquiry into Fees of Officers on Civil List Establishments. 1836–7.
Royal Gardens, 1838.
Municipal Corporations and Parliamentary Boundaries Commission, 1831–2, 1835–6.
Oxford University Commission, 1854–60.
Education Commission, 1858–61.
Irish Reproductive Loan Fund, 1822–55.
Revenue Inquiry Commission, 1830–1841.
National Debt Office Records.
The second large class of material which it is undesirable to treat in a Calendar of Treasury Papers is the varied series of revenue and establishment books—books of accounts, pure and simple. It is quite impossible, as well as unnecessary, to present such material in calendar form; and there is a further objection in the fact that the most succinct and authentic statement of such accounts occurs in the Exchequer Records or, in fine, in the declared accounts in the Pipe and Audit Office.
This decision would remove from the province of a calendar the following sets of records:—
Miscellaneous Revenue books (Customs and Excise, England and Scotland).
Quarterly Revenue books.
Statements of imports and exports.
Auditors' declarations of accounts.
Pell's declaration books.
Pell Office account books.
Civil List books.
Navy accounts and Victualling Office papers.
Tin coinage books.
Establishment books, Treasurer of Chamber.
Establishment books, Great Wardrobe.
Establishment books, Groom of Stole.
Establishment books, Inland Revenue.
Establishment books, Excise (Scotland).
Establishment books, Customs (quarterly).
“Public Funds Books.”
It may create surprise and protest to include in this list of documents to he rejected as unsuited for calendar purposes the small series of folio booklets described as “Lowther's accounts”
This series, comprising eight thin folio books covering the years 1714–40, contains an account of one of the departments of the Secret Service expenditure. The volumes are in tabular or account form merely, the debtor side stating sums received by Thomas Lowther at the Receipt of the Exchequer for His Majesty's service (all of which sums will be found entered in Table II. of the present Calendar year by year), the creditor side giving the sums paid by him by order of the Lords of the Treasury pursuant to His Majesty's directions, together with the recipients' names. Many of the items there occurring correspond to entries in the Minute Book, Money Book, or King's Warrant Book, where payments of so much for such a purpose to such a person are directly ordered “out of the King's money in Mr. Lowther's hands.” Where they so occur these entries are recorded in the following pages in Table II. as coming from such source. But to calendar Lowther's account books themselves is impossible. Such a course would involve a literal transcription, and the transcription would not reveal anything occult. The majority of the items refer to Treasury or Exchequer fees attending the issue of particular sums of money, fees for letters patent, or Privy Seals or bills, and so on. The remaining items consist mainly of payments of pensions and royal bounty, in which nothing is specified beyond recipients' names. It would therefore be as useless as it would be contrary to the theory of a calendar to include these accounts in the present volume. The following extract — taken at random — may serve to justify and explain this decision.
|1728–9||January 2||Paid fees and 6d. per £ for 50l. being Christmas salary for Mr. Fane as keeper of the books and papers belonging to the Treasury.||3||19||0|
|Paid 6d. per £ for 187l. 10s. being Christmas salary for the under clerks of the Treasury.||4||14||0|
|Paid for Costain's course of exchange for one year due the last day of December 1728.||2||8||0|
|January 7||Paid Mr. William Wilson an allowance of 6s. 8d. per day for 30 days' November 30 to December 30.||10||0||0|
|Paid Mrs. Elizabeth Levett, bounty||10||0||0|
|Paid Treasury and Exchequer fees of 3,000l. for His Majesty's Privy Purse as per bill.||81||15||0|
|Paid Treasury fees of 500l. issued to me for His Majesty's service as per bill.||27||7||6|
|January 18||Paid Treasury and Exchequer fees of 1,000l. as His Majesty's bounty to several indigent persons as per bill.||52||7||6|
|January 20||Paid Sir Robert Adams, bounty||21||0||0|
|Paid Mrs. Mary Chevalier, bounty -||20||0||0|
|Paid Lady Fitz Harris, bounty||20||0||0|
|Paid Mons. Magnus Du Blare, bounty.||20||0||0|
|Paid Mrs. Mary Winter, bounty||20||0||0|
|Paid Valentine Magniac, bounty||15||0||0|
|Paid Elizabeth Peak, bounty||10||0||0|
|Paid Anna King, bounty||5||0||0|
|Paid William Newell, bounty||10||0||0|
|Paid Elizabeth Brown, bounty||5||0||0|
|Paid Ann Watkins, widow, bounty||5||0||0|
|Paid Ann Powell, bounty - -||10||0||0|
|Paid Mrs. Anne Watkins, &c. bounty.||5||0||0|
|January 29||Paid Treasury and Exchequer fees of 6,830l., issued to John Scrope, Esq. for His Majesty's secret service, as per bill.||348||4||6|
In the whole of the two years 1729–30 treated of in the present volume, there are only the following four entries in Lowther's accounts of any interest, and not occurring in the Treasury Minute Books or other sources:—
It is important to remember, and it will be evident from the above, that such books as Lowther's accounts are not Secret Service Books in the real sense, or rather that they represent only one of the less important branches of the Secret Service expenditure. They are more like a Privy Purse account, the objects of the various payments being restricted largely to office fees and small pensions or gifts of bounty. The Secret Service of England during the period under review in this volume, 1729–30, can be traced in quite another direction, viz. the periodic payments of so much to the Secretary of the Treasury, John Scrope, or to either of the Secretaries of State (mostly to Holles, Duke of Newcastle) of so much for Secret Service. (fn. 2) But as to the items or method of disbursement of these latter sums there is no account known to exist. Presumably the Secret Service fund of the Secretary of State was intended for foreign negotiations, services, diplomatic gifts, &c. while that of the Secretary of the Treasury was devoted to parliamentary bribery, pensions, &c. &c. The only traces of secret agents yielded in the present volume are contained possibly in the applications of “Le Connu” (q.v. in Index) for salary. But there are no traces of the Duke of Newcastle's expenditure, and as to John Scrope's Secret Service moneys, the tradition that Walpole subsequently destroyed all record of such expenditure is an extremely probable one in itself.
After the elimination of the above material there remain as fit for the purposes of a Calendar of Treasury Records the following series:—
1. Treasury Minute Book. — This noble series of volumes commences in 1667, and after three breaks, 1670–1, 167½–1689, and 1689–95, continues to the present day without the further loss of a single volume, although there is a lacuna between 1722, April 28, and 1724/5, January 13.
The general question of the origin and development of these Minute Books has been illustrated by a long series of extracts by Mr. Black in the report above quoted (Deputy Keeper's Report VII. Ap. II. pp. 14 and 66–97). The system of Minute Books, and with it a good deal more that is characteristic of our modern Treasury system, began in 1667 as a result of putting the Treasury into commission after the death of Southampton. The early Warrant Books of the time of Charles I. which cover the year when the Treasury was in commission under Laud and others, and also the period of Juxon's High Treasurership, bear only a slight resemblance in form to a Minute Book. The first surviving volume is entitled a “General Entry Book of Warrants, Resolutions, Orders, and other Transactions of the Lords of the Treasury” 1635–6. The entries in this volume and in the succeeding volumes relating to the same period frequently contain the full text of warrants or orders. Petitions are entered sometimes in full, sometimes in brief, and the resolutions thereon are occasionally entered rather in the terms of an order or a letter than of a minute. At other times a form more nearly approximating to that of a Minute Book is adopted.
This mixed species of Entry Book or Warrant Book and Minute Book proper is still preserved in 1660, but from the latter date up to 1667 a process of transition can be partially traced. The “Early Money and other Warrant Books” series contains a miscellaneous set of 14 volumes, covering this transition period and affording a clue to the later bifurcation. In Vol. I. of this series (extending 1660, June 22 to November 22, and thus covering the period June 19 to September 8, when the Treasury was in commission under Sir Edward Hyde and seven others, and a slight portion of Southampton's High Treasurership) there are entered without discrimination warrants relating to land and warrants for money, the long verbal text of orders relating to appointments, petitions in full, and reports also in full made on reference. Certificates and royal sign manuals, all in full, are mingled with brief minutes proper of resolutions of the Lords of the Treasury or of the Lord High Treasurer Southampton. But the form of the book is preponderatingly that of an order book or entry book of orders, as is to a certain extent indicated by the MS. title given to it by a contemporary hand, “Perticuler persons orders touching the Exchequer.”
Vol. II. (November 20, 1660, February 28, 1660–1) is an Entry Book pure and simple signed by Southampton from beginning to end. The few minutes which occasionally appear in Vol. I. as recording resolutions of the Lords Commissioners necessarily disappear. The entries comprise orders of reference upon petitions, reports in full upon such reference, letters in full, royal sign manuals, warrants touching money, land or appointments.
Vol. XIV. is labelled “patents” and covers 1660, November 26, to 1661, October. It opens with seven pages of briefs of letters patents relating to payments of money, but almost immediately, from December, 1660, becomes a Money Book proper, i.e. a book of entry of money warrants from the Earl of Southampton to Sir Robert Pye, authorising him in quite the usual form to draw orders or pass debentures for such and such payments.
Vol. III. is labelled “money” and covers 1661, October, to 1662, October. Like Vol. XIV. it contains the verbal text of the High Treasurer's warrants addressed to the Auditor of the Receipt, Sir Robert Pye or (Sir) Robert Long, or to the Commissioners and Farmers of Customs, or as otherwise necessary, together with royal sign manuals and royal warrants for money.
Vol. IV. and V. like Nos. XIV. and III. relate to money, and cover November 20, 1662, to December 18, 1663, and December 14, 1663, to July 24, 1665.
Vol. VI. lettered “C.” extends from 1660, September 12, to 1661, June 11. It is an Entry Book parallel or partly synchronous with No. XIV. and is labelled “Lands.” It contains in its earlier portion reports and warrants relating to Crown land leases, Privy Seals dormant as to salaries, letters patent as to appointments, royal warrants as to trade with France, warrants as to money, the pay of the army in Scotland and pensions. But from about November 1660, the volume relates almost entirely to lands, Crown land leases and grants, Commissioners for sale of lands, &c.
Vol. VII. (fn. 3) lettered E. covers 1661, July 11, to 1061–2, February 24. It is labelled “warrants of several natures,” and with the exception of a few private petitions and reports thereon and warrants for appointments, consists entirely of entries of warrants, &c., relating to the Crown lands, exactly in the style of No. 6.
Vols. VIII. IX. X. refer to Customs. VIII. covers 1660, June 22, to 1661, May 21. Lettered “perticuler persons orders touching the Customs.” Page 1. “At the meeting at the Council Chamber at Whitehall of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. Thursday, June 22, 1660.” Then follow such minutes as refer to Customs, and appended to the minutes are such letters, warrants or orders in full as were written or made in pursuance of such minutes. From August 28 the minutes as such cease, and after September 8 the warrants, letters, instructions and orders of references pass in the name of Thos. Earl of Southampton.
Vols. IX. and X. cover 1061, May 24 to 1601, November 1, and 1661, October 30, to 1667, April 23, both volumes concerning Customs and signed throughout by Southampton.
Vols. XI. XII. refer to Excise. XI. covers October 27, 1060, to April 30,1663. All the entries, comprising warrants for appointments, quarterly allowances, letters, orders of reference and reports, are signed by Southampton and there are no minutes.
Vol. XII. covers April 30,1663, to February 12,1666–7, and is exactly like XI. At the commencement of the volume there is the following memorandum, “all business proper to this book from the 1st of July to the 19th of February 1665, is entered in the book entitled ‘The Progresse Book.’”
Vol. XIII. is the “Progress Book”thus referred and covers July 1665 to Lady Day, 1666, during which period the Treasury was removed to Nonsuch and Southampton's orders are signed from Aps Court or Stratton. The entries relate alike to Customs, Excise, land and money, and the book was evidently a general entry book for all Treasury business daring the recess in plague time.
The concatenation of the sets of documents just surveyed may be graphically illustrated thus:—
From a survey of the records covering this extremely important interim period, 1660–7, therefore the following conclusions are deducible.
1. That at least three parallel sets of books were in use at the Treasury, viz. Excise, Customs and General, the latter splitting up into Money Book and Land Book from September 1660.
2. That for the few months during which the Treasury was in commission under Hyde and others, and before Southampton's treasurership, regular minutes were taken. But instead of being entered in one book specially reserved for a “Minute Book”the various minutes were scattered through the three or more parallel sets of books, according as such minutes referred to the business of now the one and now the other set; and to these minutes thus scattered and divided amongst three or more parallel sets of volumes were appended irregularly records of the, or some of the, subsequent acts which were taken upon the instruction of the minute, e.g. the letter written or the reference ordered, or the report made after reference, or the order or warrant made out and so on.
3. With the commencement of Southampton's treasurership the need of a formal resolution of a board disappeared, and with it the minute itself. But the course of Treasury business remained the same with certain developments. Instead of the minute of approval of a certain appointment, or of a quarter's salary bill in the Customs, the appointment or the bill is entered with Southampton's approval or confirmation in the Customs Book. So for matters relating to Excise. So for matters relating to Crown leases. While in the matter of money warrants the separate Money Book emerges from at least December 1660. That is to say, the minute of resolution implied in the Lord High Treasurer's decision is scattered through the parallel sets of volumes in just the same way as the minutes of the preceding Commissioners had been.
From 1667 the Treasury was again put into commission by letters patent of May 24, 19 Car. II. the Lords Commissioners being George Duke of Albemarle, Anthony Lord Ashley, Sir Thos. Clifford, Sir Wm. Coventry, and Sir John Duncombe. As a matter of course the need of some record of the formal resolutions of this body at once emerged. Instead however of going back to the old system of scattering the minutes among various parallel sets of volumes, according as such minutes related to the subject-matter of any one of those sets, and then attaching to the minute thus deposited the record of subsequent steps taken upon it, the innovation was made of having a book “singly to register the brief notes to be made by the Secretary to the Lords Commissioners.”
The first meeting of these Commissioners was held on the 25th May 1667, and was devoted to the reading of the commission. The second was held two days later on the 27th, and the first resolution then recorded was as follows:—
“Ordered that the Secretary Sir George Downing, Knight and Baronet, attending this commission should keep a book singly for registering the brief notes he should take for framing any orders upon or pursuing other their Lordships directions, which notes at their next meeting and before they entered upon any new business he should acquaint them with and what was done thereupon, and so from time to time what progress was made upon any directions then unperfected. That he should enter the names of the Commissioners present at every meeting and constantly observe this method.”
From this date 1667 to the present, with the exception of the lacunæ already referred to, the system and record of these Treasury Minute Books is unbroken.
With regard to the subject-matter and method of these Minute Books, however, considerable changes are noticeable after certain lapses of time, changes due to some or other alteration in the methods of Treasury work or book-keeping. At the first the minutes are exceedingly full, recording and noticing all kinds of Treasury business. But at a later period they become much more meagre and attenuated.
The following is a copy of one day's proceedings of the Treasury Board as recorded in the early Minute Books:—
May the 30th, 1667, Thursday.
The Duke Of Albemarle, Mr. Comptroller, Lord Ashley, Sir William Coventry, Sir John Duncomb.
That Mr. Vice-Chamberlain considers whether past debts of the Navy for the war may not be paid out of moneys received by him on the eleven months' tax, except the 380,000l. for seamen's wages.
Done, and Ld Berkshire's 8,000l. to be in Sir Stephen Fox his name, and to be in his hands.
That His Majesty be spoken unto by their Lordships about the particulars of the sums in the Privy Seal for repaymt of His Majesty's 200,000l. borrowed on his Customs for the Navy out of the eleven months' tax.
Sir Robert Viner being called in was assured of all punctuality from the Commissioners as to what was borrowed of him before their time and of what shall be borrowed of him and his partners and was desired to acquaint them therewith. Alderman Blackwell came afterwards and had the like said to him.
That the Treasurer of the Navy be acquainted that the victualler complains he wants 62,000l. assigned to him and that he give the reason thereof.
Letter written to them, June the 1st.
Sir George Downing to speak with the farmers of the hearth money to pay Mr. May 20,000l.
That Mr. Vice-Chamberlain and Alderman Blackwell be here about the accompt of the business of the tin in Flanders to-morrow at eight in the morning, and that Mr. Vice-Chamberlain bring such persons and papers as he thinks necessary.
Also that Mr. Sherwyn and Mr. Beale be sent to attend then about this business.
Granted, and order given to the secretaries to observe it.
That application be made to His Majesty that before any warrant be signed by His Majesty for issuing money or charging the revenue or making any grant of any part thereof the Lords Commissioners be aquainted with the address made to His Majesty concerning it and make their report of their opinion to him of the matter of fact and of the condition and present state of the revenue.
That His Majesty be moved on the behalf of Sir Edward Pooley, that he may be considered out of the first places that may fall in the Exchequer.
A minute to be drawn and laid daily before the Lords Commissioners of anything in which they are to move the King.
A warrant to Sir Robert Long for Sir Stephen Fox, for an order of what was due to the Guards to the 11th of May instant.
That His Majesty be moved whether the mace shall be used by the Commissioners in the chamber.
Written to about it.
Sir Robert Long to send a list of all Privy Seals since His Majesty's return which are unpaid in part or in whole.
That the ordinary times of the Lords Commissioners meeting be upon Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 of the clock in the afternoon and upon Wednesday and Friday at 8 in the morning.
[Treasury Minute Book I. p. 6–7.]
The marked change from the fulness of entry and wide variety of subject-matter which thus distinguish the earliest Minute Books to the meagreness of detail and subject-matter of the Minute Books later than 1689, is to be attributed to change in official routine or in the system of Treasury book-keeping. This will become apparent in a moment in the account (below) of the Reference Books and Register of Papers. It was a simple process of reference or simplification of Treasury routine or book-keeping. (1.) So much matter as could fall automatically under special heads, e.g. money (the making out and signing of warrants); Customs and Excise (the referring of petitions for report, the confirmation of an appointment, the approval of a quarterly salary or incidents bill); land (the ordering of a survey, particular or constat, the granting of a lease or release), would be left to be recorded in the books of the various offices or officials concerned. (2.) Private petitions, memorials, or letters not falling under the above-named special heads were frequently passed on with the resolution of the Lords Commissioners endorsed upon them as a minute, and such minutes may, as often as not, be searched for in vain in the Treasury Minute Books. If recorded at all they were recorded in skeleton lists of “documents read with resolutions thereupon.”
The one process of development evolved the Money Books, Customs Books, Crown Lease Books, Tax Books; the other evolved the Reference Books and Registers of Papers.
With the development of these subsidiary departments and of the series of Reference Books and Registers of Papers the process of weeding down the actual record of Treasury minutes became pronounced and, in a way, systematised, so that in the years 1729–30, the years covered by the present volume, the Treasury minutes are still quite meagre as compared with those of 1667. A correct idea of the executive function of the Lords Commissioners during those two years, 1729–30—of the warrants for money which they signed or for expenditure which they authorised,—must be gleaned from the Money Books, Order Books, and Disposition Books, rather than from the Minute Books. Again, the list of private papers with their Lordships' resolutions thereupon, as contained in the Treasury Minute Books, is still more incomplete, and must be supplemented with the lists in the Reference Books, Register of Papers, and Treasury Board Papers, not to mention the references to private papers in the Tax Books and Customs Books. Again, in another direction, the record of the ordinary Scotch and Irish business which the Lords of the Treasury transacted was relegated almost entirely to the North British and Irish Books respectively, appearing in the Treasury Minute Book only quite exceptionally. On the other hand, so devoid of any perceptible plan is the general system of these Minute Books, that it would be quite wrong to assert that the Minute Books represent the residuum left after the subtraction of all the above routine or departmental matters. Minutes of the signing of warrants for money do occur in them, though in quite a fractional quantity as compared with the number of money warrants preserved in the Money Books proper; entries of private petitions and of orders of reference, or otherwise, thereupon also occur, of such a nature as to be quite undistinguishable from those recorded in the Registers of Papers or Reference Books; minutes relating to Irish and Scotch affairs occur, as also to Customs, Excise, taxes, and Crown land business, and yet, under all these heads, the entries form a small proportion only of the total entries preserved in the various separate series of records, Irish Books, North Britain Books, Customs Books, and so on. I have been quite unable to detect the principle which guided the selection of certain entries for the Treasury Minute Books and the relegation of the rest to subsidiary or departmental books.
By the side of the Minute Books stand three sets of documents. (1.) Reference Book. (2.) Registers of Papers. (3.) Letter Book; the former two in a much closer and more organic connexion with the Minute Books than the latter.
The Reference Book series begins in 1679–80, and from 1684 extend in an unbroken series to 1819. They contain notices of such papers as, after being presented to the Treasury Board and there read, were referred by their Lordships to some official or department for report and advice. In the earliest Minute Books, Vols. I. to IV. extending from 1667–72, such entries of reference are recorded in the Minute Book itself. The innovation of adopting a separate set of books for minutes of reference must have been made between 1672 and 1679. Owing to the loss of the Minute Books of this period a more precise date cannot be fixed. There is, however, faintly visible on the back of Vol. I. of the Reference Books a figure 2, which may imply that Vol. I. had a predecessor. If so, allowing a period of two or three years for each volume, the system of reference books may have been adopted in 1676. The earliest surviving volume (not numbered in the continuous series) extends from 1679–80, January 22, to 1681–2, February 18. Quite frequently petitions are entered in full, followed by the orders of reference thereupon. At other times simply a brief note of the petition, presentment, or whatever it was, is prefixed to the order of reference, e.g.
The succeeding volumes of Reference Books (numbered I. and dating 1684, May 16, to 1684–5, February 23, and so onwards) are entirely on the same lines, save that papers are more fully entered, though this fulness again was subsequently departed from.
With regard to duplication, the Reference Books duplicate occasionally, but very seldom, with the Treasury Minute Book. They duplicate with the Registers of Papers frequently, but oftener in cases of petitions from private people (e.g. concerning lottery annuities, demands for proclamation rewards, or for stay of process of Exchequer, &c.) than in those of memorials from departments or officials asking for pay or arrears, &c.
Registers of Papers stand in closest relationship to Treasury Minute Books after the Reference Books.
The earliest form of “register of papers” is contained in four folios of “alphabetical registers” which cover the years 1702–11 (Vol. I. 1702, May-July; Vol. II. 1704–5, March,to 1706, September; Vol. III. 1709, June, to 1710, August; Vol. IV. 1710, August, to 1711, June), and precede the later series of Register of Papers proper.
In these alphabetical registers the notices of papers and references, &c. thereupon are entered alphabetically, and not, as in the Registers of Papers proper, according to date. Each of the four volumes has its edges cut away ledgerwise so as to form an alphabetical index. The method of entry is the same throughout, the name of the person petitioning, &c. in the left-hand column and the order thereupon in the right-hand, but without headings to the columns.
A single extract will suffice for illustration:—
It is quite possible that this system of alphabetical registration began much earlier than the date indicated here. As already observed throughout Vols. 1–4 of the Treasury Minute Books, the records of private petitions state the substance of the resolution thereupon. But in Vol. V. beginning with 1689, the Treasury Minute Books become exceedingly meagre, entries or minutes of private petitions, &c. hardly appearing at all. It is therefore probable that before this date, 1689, the system of preserving minutes, of private papers, other than those marked for reference and so preserved in the Reference Books, in a separate book or register had been adopted. An order of date 1689, April 20 (Treasury Minute Book, Vol. V. p. 7), “that when petitions are brought, in, the day on which they are exhibited be entered on the back thereof,” may indicate some step in the process of change of method.
But whatever the date of the origin of the alphabetical register system, it was almost certainly superseded in 1711, the last date preserved as above, by the alternative system of a chronological register, a register book in which papers presented were entered under the date of each meeting day of the Treasury Board, together with the minutes thereon.
The earliest existing volume of this second and proper series of Registers of Papers begins in October 1713, but it begins in so brief and business like a way as to render it very probable that a preceding volume has been lost which would cover 1711–13.
In this earliest existing volume the Registers of Papers adopt the ordinary minute book form. The following is a copy of the first day's records:—
Volume II. commencing with 1717, June 6, departs from the minute book form used in Vol. I. and adopts that of a table with three columns respectively headed:—
|Petitions and Memorials, &c. this day read.||The directions.||To whose hands the said Petitions, &c. were delivered.|
This form continues until about the middle of Vol. VI. when, from about January, 1726–7, the 3rd, last, column here noted is left blank, only the title of the paper or report read and the directions thereupon being preserved. Thus from being a subsidiary Minute Book standing parallel with the greater series of Treasury Minute Books, the Registers of Papers had sunk by 1717, and more distinctively still by 1726, to the character of a register or list merely. The change must have been systematic or indicative of a system, and for the years 1729–30, here calendared, can hardly be attributed, as it has been, to the expansion of the Minute Book, seeing that the Minute Books of 1729 are so meagre by comparison with those of 1667.
The later developments of the Register of Papers lie outside the scope of this introduction. They have been traced by Mr. Black ubi supra, p. 24. It only remains to add that, as far as duplication is concerned, the “registers” in the period covered by this volume duplicate (but only partially) with “Affairs of Taxes” and apparently with no other concurrent set of records.
During at least the years 1705–23, by the side of the Reference Books and Register of Papers there existed a third set of books, springing from and intimately related to the Minute Book, viz.: Appointment Book, i.e. books in which were entered appointments of the Lords of the Treasury with various persons to attend the Board. Of these books, however, only two volumes now exist at the Treasury, covering respectively 1705, November 28 to 1709, May 17, and 1714, October 18, to 1723, June 14.
They do not therefore enter into the plan of this Calendar. Further, a glance at the Treasury Minutes in the present volume shows that in the years 1729 onwards appointments are entered in the Minute Book in part, and possibly in whole.
After the Reference Book, Registers of Papers and Appointment Book, the series of records which stand in next closest relationship to the Minute Books is the Letter Book. The essential difference is that Letter Books are not, like the Minute Book and its two adjuncts, a record of proceedings or of papers received and referred, but are exclusively entry books of letters written and signed by the Secretary of the Treasury as a result of the instructions or orders delivered by the Lords of the Treasury at their meetings. The subject-matter of such letters covers the whole circle of business centreing in the Treasury Office, all departmental work, English, North British or Irish, in which reference to the Treasury was necessary or had been made, legal business of the Crown or Treasury, Exchequer and revenue matters, including establishments, pensions and bounties, private matters arising on memorials, petitions, &c. &c.
The adoption of the Entry Book for Letters dates from the same period, 1667, which saw the evolution of the main features of the modern Treasury system. The early Warrant Books still preserved relating to the Treasury in the time of Laud and Juxon contain letters, but they also contain minutes, copies of orders, warrants from and petitions to the Lords Commissioners or Lord Treasurer. They cannot therefore claim any relationship with a Letter Book system proper, i.e. an Entry Book of letters emanating from the Lords of the Treasury and written by their secretary. The question whether there was any intermediate form between the miscellaneous Warrant Book of Laud's time and the Letter Book of 1668 must be left for further consideration. But certainly there are many letters of a miscellaneous nature in the years 1660–7, entered in the series entitled “Early Money and other Books” already described, implying the absence of anything corresponding to a Letter Book during the years of Southampton's treasurership. During these years, 1660–7, the system would seem to have been to enter letters referring to Customs, or land, or money in separate books devoted generally to Customs, or land, or money matters and so on. And it was probably only when a Minute Book began to be kept that the secretary logically followed up that innovation by keeping an Entry Book for all letters which he was called upon to write in accordance with the minutes of their Lordship's determinations at the Board.
(fn. 4) Of the Letter Books still preserved Vol. I. begins quite abruptly and without any memorandum or exordium (implying possibly that some other volume preceded it), as follows:—
A report hath bin made to the Lds Comrs of the Treary by Sr John Duncombe that you are desirous not to be receiver for the one month and eleavan months tax. Notwithstanding whereof the place as yet is not disposed of though in case you quitt it they are resolved to whom to give it. But Sr John Duncombe hath desired me to lett you knowe that he would advise you not to quitt it and the Commission will be delayed till I heare from you, wch pray let be with the soonest.
I am Sr
Yor very affe humb: servt
2 of January 1667 [–8.] G. Downing.
The last letter in the volume bears date 24th March 1668–9 (with two or three entries of July and August 1671), and the letters throughout are entered in full.
Vol. II. extends 1669–70, March, to 1671, July.
Vol. III. extends 1671, October, to 1673, April (with the letters all in full, but also containing some entries that should be in the Reference Books).
Vol. IV. extends 1679, March 27, to 1680, June 7. Besides letters entered in full, it contains copies of a few other documents, proclamations, informations, &c.
Vol. V. extends 1680, June 7, to 1682, July 29. With the succeeding volume the enumeration recommences at No. 1, though quite needlessly, as No. 1 of the “general” Letter Books, from which the enumeration of the present series of Letter Books takes its inception, is continuous from Vol. V. of the preceding miscellaneous series, that volume ending in July 1682, and No. 1 in the present enumeration of the “General” Letter Books beginning in the same month.
From this date the series of General Letter Books is quite unbroken.
Turning to the executive side of the Treasury work, the record of the actual signing and issue of warrants and orders for payment of money is preserved in three parallel sets of documents—Money Books, Order Books, and Disposition Books.
Money Books contain entries of warrants emanating from the Lords of the Treasury, and addressed to the Auditor of the Receipt, authorising that official to draw an order or to make forth and pass debentures for paying so much to such a person for such a purpose. The form of this warrant was usually as follows, mutatis mutandis.
The authorisation for this warrant might arise by letters of Privy Seal, letters of Privy Seal dormant, royal sign manuals, or warrants under the royal sign manual, or by determination of the Lords of the Treasury on their own mere initiative: and the clause of direction might contain the specification of some particular fund, or the more general words “out of any money remaining in the Receipt of the Exchequer applicable to the uses of His Majesty's civil Government” as that out of which the prescribed payment was to be made, e.g.:—
“Let this be paid out of monies to be paid into the Exchequer by Sir Richard Otley and Col. Scriven upon their Fire-hearth Account for Shropshire” (Money Book II. p. 153,1669, May 11).
The origin of the Money Books during the period 1660–7 has been already traced. According to the present enumeration the regular series begins with No. 1 in 1676, and continues to modern times. But some portion of the intermediate period, 1667–76, is covered by a subsidiary or miscellaneous series of “Early Money and other Warrant Books,” consisting of 15 volumes, numbered 1 to 15, with another volume containing a general calendar of entries.
This series is very important historically, and merits description.
Vol. I. covers 1667, May 31, to 1668, April 2. Contains warrants in the quite regular form addressed to the Auditor of the Receipt authorising him to draw orders or else warrants addressed to the farmers of the Customs authorising payments.
Vol. II. covers 1668, April 3, to 1671, July 15. Exactly like No. I.
Vol. III. covers 1671, September 30, to 1673, June 17. Is labelled “General Money Book except Customs and Excise.” Contains warrants to the Auditor in the usual form.
Vol. IV. covers 1668, April 3, to 1668–9, February 17. Is labelled “Warrants on the Hearth Money.” With the exception of this difference as to the clause of direction the warrants are to the Auditor and in the usual form.
Vol. V. covers 1669, March 30, to 1671, June 26. “Hearth Money Book.” Exactly like No. IV.
Vol. VI. covers 1668, April 4, to 1669, May 6. Is labelled “Warrants on the lesser branches of His Majesty's revenues, viz. tenths, tin, alum, receivers of land revenues, sixpenny writs. Post Office, wool farms, salt, issues of jurors, tin at Ostend, Alienation Office, wine licences.” With these various differences as to the clause of direction the warrants are, as usual, to the Auditor of the Receipt.
Vol. VII. covers 1668, April 9, to 1671, August 31. Is labelled “Money Warrants upon the One and the Eleaven Months' Tax.” Warrants as above (No. VI.).
Vol. VIII. covers 1668, May 18, to 1671, November 10. Is labelled “Warrants upon the Country and London Excise.” Warrants otherwise as above (No. VI.).
Vol. IX. covers 1671, May 23, to 1671, July 13. Is labelled “New [and] Additional Excise.” In reverse order in this book are entries of petitions of the Farmers of Excise proposing securities, and minutes of approval of same or otherwise, extending 1671, May 17 to June 30.
Vol. X. covers 1670, April 29, to 1671, July 27. Is labelled “Warrants upon the loans in the Wine Act to be registered in course.”
Vol. XI. covers 1670, April 22, to 1671, September 26. Is labelled “Warrants to be registered in course on the monies arising by the fee farme rents.” Concludes with an order to the following effect:—“Notwithstanding former Privy Seal of 28 August 21 Car. II. our direction thereupon for registering of orders on the proceeds of fee farms, such proceeds shall be paid in future first to discharge all orders on such loans, then for orders registered upon that revenue for the use of the Navy, Ordnance,” &c. &c.
Vol. XII. covers 1670, July 13, to 1671, September 19. Is labelled “Warrants charged on the new farm of the Customs commencing September 29, 1671.”
Vol. XIII. contains various dates, 1679–92. Is labelled “Warrants for Money out of the 206,462l. 17s. 3d. granted for disbanding the army.” It relates mostly to the period 1679, May 15 to June 30:—
Page 1. “The warrants whereof the underwritten are docquetts are entered at large in the general Money Books in the several pages mentioned in the margent.”
Pages 50 +. Same (for officers), 1679, May 22 to May 30.
Pages 100 +. Same (for quarters) to May 31.
Pages 150 +. Same (for clothes), 1682, May 24, to 1687, November 2, and a few later entries extending to October 1692.
Vol. XIV. covers 1667, June 19, to 1668–9, February 12. Is labelled “Abstract of all warrants for money charged on the several branches of His Majesty's Revenue, 1667 and 1668.” Is in tabular form.
Vol. XV. is labelled “Abstract booke of all warrants for monies to the Trear. and Victualler of the Navy and other grand payments from the first of January 1669[–70] to” [no date]. Is in ledger form and alphabetical, according to the various accounts open.
Vol. XVI. is labelled “Generall Callandar of all entries.”
It is impossible to say how much of the preceding 15 volumes or any others are indexed or covered by this last volume.
Following on this early series comes the general series of Money Books. Vol. I. covering 1679, April 1, to 1679–80, February 16, and so on to modern times.
The warrants are all addressed to the Auditor of the Receipt, and, as will be gathered from the present volume of Calendar, concern every branch and species of Treasury payments, quarterly bills for all departments and establishments, Navy for shipbuilding, Ordnance, royal bounty, pensions from whatever fund previously payable, Privy Purse, Wardrobe, &c. &c.
Of the three parallel sets of money or account books kept by the Treasury, viz. Money Books, Order Books, and Public Disposition Books, the first are undoubtedly of the greatest value, intrinsically, because the entries in them are longer, more circumstantial or detailed, and also more numerous than those in the Order Book; and extrinsically because they supply gaps in the lists of Treasury warrants in the Pell records, which are very defective from 1712, and which cease in 1757. Among the Exchequer records the Treasury Money Books are represented by the Auditor's Warrant Books.
Order Book.—On the receipt of the Treasury authorisation, contained in the warrants just described, to draw an order for a particular payment, the Auditor of the Receipt drew such an order in the prescribed form and remitted it to the Treasury for the signature of the Lord Treasurer or the Lords Commissioners.
This order ran usually in the following form mutatis mutandis:—
“Order is taken this xxv. day of February 1684 by virtue of His Majesty's letters of Privy Seal dated the 24th instant that you direct and pay of such His Majesty's treasure as remains in your charge unto Anthony Lord Viscount Falkland, Treasurer of His Majesty's Navy or his assigns the sum of two hundred thousand pounds upon accompt for the use and service of His Majesty's said Navy and the victualling thereof. And these together with his or his assign's acquittance shall be your discharge herein.”
The reciting clause is frequently as follows:—
“By virtue of His Majesty's general letters of Privy Seal bearing date … and in pursuance of the warrant under His Majesty's sign manual dated …”
Generally orders are made by virtue of letters of Privy Seal, dormant letters of Privy Seal, letters patent, or general dormant letters patent, and even occasionally “by Act of Parliament,” and this authorisation is recited in the Treasury money warrant on which the Auditor drew his order and which served as the intermediate step between the Privy Seal and the Auditor's order.
When signed by the Lord Treasurer or three of the Lords Commissioners the Auditor's order was forwarded to that one of the Tellers of the Exchequer on whom it was drawn. On this order, after it had been entered in the Order books of the Pell Office, and after the further formality of the letter of direction, the Teller paid the money, taking the payee's receipt.
The record of all the Auditor's orders thus drawn as above and countersigned by the Lords of the Treasury is contained in the Order Books. It is to be distinctly understood that this is the Treasury record of the Auditor's orders. On his side, the Auditor kept his own independent account of these orders, and a third parallel account of them was kept in the Pells' Order Books, both these latter representing the Exchequer side of the same sets of transactions. On the Exchequer side also, the original orders themselves are preserved in parcels or bundles entitled “Modern Tellers' Vouchers.” But with the possible exception of these latter, which are comparatively unworkable for the historical student, the Treasury series of Order Books is of much greater continuity and extent, and consequently of greater value than the parallel Exchequer sets.
With regard to the period of origin of the Treasury series of Order Books there can be little doubt. The two append pp.xxxiv or 34 parallel and corresponding sets of Order Books on the Exchequer side, viz. the Auditor's Order Book and the Pells Order Book are earlier in date of origin than the Treasury series. The Pells Order Books extend from 1597–1698. The Auditor's Order Books cover 1621–78 and 1697, while the original orders preserved among the Modern Tellers' Vouchers extend from; 1560–1669 and 1701–1834. The existence of such Order Books on the Exchequer side does not necessarily imply the contemporary existence of a parallel series on the Treasury side. The whole of the Treasury machinery and organisation is to be regarded as an offshoot and aftergrowth from the Exchequer system, and therefore as later in all the details of development. The earliest extant volume of Order Book on the Treasury side begins in 1667, and it is quite apparent from the manner of its commencement that it marks a departure in the method of Treasury business or bookkeeping. Previous to this the treasurer must have contented himself with his Money Book without keeping any record whatever of his signature of orders. The volume begins with a formal recital of the same minute of 1667, May 27, which has been already noted as having led to the inception of the series of Treasury Minute Books, supra, p. xv. On the face of it, the wording of that minute would seem to refer to an Order Book as well as (if not rather than) a Minute Book. The inference that this minute marks the commencement of the series of Treasury Order Books as well as the Treasury Minute Books is practically confirmed by the immediately succeeding entry in Order Book I. as follows:—
29th of May 1667.
Present. (fn. 5)
The Duke of Albermarle, Lord Ashley, Sir Tho. Clifford, Sir Wm. Coventry, Sir John Duncombe.
All met as aforesaid and signed these several orders following, viz.:—
Then follows the text of an auditor's order in full. succeeded by a brief of other like orders in this form:—
And 11 other briefs of orders in exactly the same form.
Then follows a heading “Certificate,” the classification implying an Auditor's order as before, but with the recital of a certificate or of certificates under the hands of such and such officers or commissioners as to the due delivery of goods, &c. for which payment is in question. Following the text of this “certificate” order there are briefs of 30 others the like.
Then succeeds another heading:—
“Orders for the Treasurer of the Navy for salary and wages for officers, seamen, and mariners.”
The first order is given in full, and an entry list of briefs is then made of 48 like orders for different sums.
The list of orders signed at the succeeding day's meeting is again headed with the date of the meeting and the names of the Lords of the Treasury present. Now this is not at all the method and system of an Order Book proper, and shows distinctly that on the Treasury side the Order Book system was only just emerging and shaping itself. When, in the later volumes, the Order Book has attained its proper form, it pays no attention to minutes of meetings, or dates of meetings, or names of commissioners present, or to any attempt to list the orders under heads. It simply enters, or is an entry book of, orders all treated alike in method of compression or docqueting in entry, and in a continuous, but by no means chronological series. The development of this system from the more inchoate system perceptible in Vol. I. just described, can be traced through the few succeeding early Order Books.
Vol. I. extends from May 1667 to 8 October 1668.
Vol. II. extends from 1668, June 5, to 1670. At first it adopts the minute book or journal form, like Vol. I. giving the dates of meetings and the names of commissioners present, and with the orders drawn up more in the form of a list than in docquet form. But only partially following out this method, the volume concludes with orders classified under the head of the revenues on which they were charged. The volume is lettered on the outside “Book of orders for payments out of branches of the revenue.”
Vol. III. 1669–70, January 1, to 1671, June (?) has lost the minute form entirely, and gives throughout lists of orders classified according to revenues charged, like the second half of Vol. II.
Vol. IV. 1679, April 8, to 1682, April 27. Consists of money orders generally without either the minute book form or the above classification as to funds.
On page 12 there is the following instance of a letter (or clause) of direction added in the margin at the side of the order to which it refers (see infra, p. xxxviii.):—
“Thus directed.—Let one hundred pounds in further part of this order be satisfied out of the 6,000l. which Richard Kent Esq. Receiver General and Cashier of His Majesty's Customs and New and Additional Duties, Monies &c. is to pay into the Receipt of the Exchequer this week upon his account.” (4 signatures.) 27 May 1679.
The volume concludes with 20 or more pages of tabulated “Orders registered on the sum of 206,462l. 17s. 3d. for paying off and disbanding the forces raised since 29 September 1677 pursuant to an Act of Parliament made in the 31 year of His Majesty's reign,” and a list of orders payable out of loans on the same.
Vol. V. 1682, May 8, to 1684–5, February 6, opens with the copy of an order of 1664 which has led to the wrong dating of this volume in the lists.
The whole of the volume is exactly in the style of the later order proper—the Order Books calendared in these pages for example. Further, this volume forms the direct predecessor to Vol. I. of the present enumeration of Order Books which begins, see below, in February 1684–5.
The succeeding four volumes, which make up the set of early miscellaneous Order Books and intercept between Vol. V. of that series and Vol. I. of the new, general or modern series, are stray volumes of miscellaneous character and date and ought not so to intercept.
They are as follows:—
Vol. VI. 1692–3, March, 1695–6, February, lettered “Order Book for Loans,” consists of lists of orders upon loans on various funds, classified and scattered through the volume under certain heads, according to the funds charged.
Vol. VII. 1695, April, to 1697, July, lettered or headed “Loans in the Exchequer in General,” but in reality is classified exactly in the style of Vol. VI.
Vol. VIII. 1696, December (?), to 1699, December (?), is exactly in the style of VI. and VII. 1741, February and March.
Vol. IX. 1741, February and March, lettered “Order 1742,” almost blank.
Present series (new enumeration “General” Letter Book).
Vol. I. 1684–5, February, to 1686, December, and so on through succeeding volumes to modern times in the form already described under Vol. V. supra.
Public Disposition Book (referred to in the present Calendar as Disposition Book). This series is continuous to modern times in one enumeration. It presents much more difficulty than either of the two parallel sets of Money or Order Books.
After the despatch of the Auditor's order to the Teller of the Receipt a further formality of a letter of direction came to be essential to the completion of a transaction involving payment of money from the Receipt of the Exchequer. Theoretically the Disposition Books contain the entries of such “letters of direction.” During a certain period in and subsequent to the reign of Charles II. and up to the time of the consolidation of the nation's revenue and debt, some direct indication from the Lords of the Treasury was needed as to the particular fund out of which any prescribed payment was to be made. This indication was contained in the “letter of direction” which was forwarded from the Lords of the Treasury to the Auditor of the Receipt.
An inspection of the list and contents of the “Early Money and other Warrants” above, p. xxix.–xxxi. will afford some idea of the variety of funds on which payments might be charged and some justification for this device of a letter of direction. The substance of such a letter of direction, added in memorandum form to the record of the originating money warrant, has been already noted, p. xxxvii. and p. xxviii. But in the period covered by the present volume of Calendar, there is no trace in either the Money Book or Order Book of such separate letter of direction, the Auditor's order generally running for the payment of such a sum “out of such His Majesty's treasure as remains in your charge,” while the text of the Money Book warrants generally runs … “out of any money in the Receipt of the Exchequer applicable to the uses of His Majesty's civil Government.” In the case of payments out of particular revenues, e.g. the revenues of South Wales, the warrants in the Money Books are directed to the auditor of that particular revenue, who in his turn has to make forth debentures on the receivers of that revenue, “and you and the receivers of South Wales are hereby required to make immediate payment thereof out of such money as shall remain in your hands more than sufficient to pay and discharge all other demands on the said revenues of South Wales.” (fn. 6)
At other times the substance of the letter of direction is incorporated in the Treasury warrant in some such form as the following:—
“And let the said order or orders be satisfied by weekly or other payments out of the moneys arisen or to arise at the Receipt of the Exchequer of or for the particular duties, revenues, funds, and other provisions appropriated for that purpose … (fn. 7)
“And let the said order be satisfied out of the arrears remaining in the Receipt of the Exchequer of His late Majesty's Civil List Revenues.” (fn. 8)
“And let the said order or orders be satisfied by and out of the sum of 4,000l. set apart for that purpose, in the distribution of the Aggregate Fund for the Bank and others at Michaelmas last.”
Quite corresponding to this is the form adopted in 1667, where again it occurs, as in this instance, as a clause in the Treasury warrant, and not as a separate “letter of direction” … “That you deliver and pay of such His Majesty's treasure in your charge, that is to say, of the last 10 months' tax of the 11 months' tax for 1,256,347l. 13s. granted to His Majesty by an Act of the late Session of Parliament”
A detailed examination of the earliest existing volumes throws some additional light on this system.
Vol. I. covers 1678–9, March 1, to 1680, September 20. Lettered on side “entering Lres for disposeing money ate the Exchequer.” Page 11 is headed:—
“The distribution of the 11,000l. paid by Mr. Duncombe on Custom, &c. loans.” Then follow the names of 10 recipients of different sums, totalling 11,000l.
“The distribution of the 800l. to bee paid into the Exchequer out of the surplus of the Excise over and above the 20,000l.”
Then follow names as above. Each memorandum or form of account is signed by Hy. Guy and directed to Sir Robert Howard, Auditor of the Receipt, and dated. Then follow two or three pages devoted to payments from Hearth money in a list form.
From pages 21 onwards there succeed the full texts of letters of direction in the following style:—
All the subsequent entries in this volume are in the form of such letters entered according to date, i.e. the arrangement is not that of a classification according to funds, but that of a chronological entry of letters. The most general style of letter is as follows:—
Vol. II. covers 1680, October 5, to 1684, September 24. It opens in a different form from that of Vol. I. Two sides of the book are employed.
|Privy Seal dormant of such a date, for so much.||Payments charged thereon, and exhausting same.|
Roughly, this form continues to page 25, when the chronological series of letters of disposition or direction recommences. Almost all are directed to Sir Robert Howard, but a few are found directed to the Commissioners of Customs or Excise containing schemes for the disposition of, say, a particular (past or coming) week's Excise, as below.
Vol. III, as before, opens with two pages of dormant Privy Seals of such and such dates with the payments charged thereon. Then succeeds a fresh pagination with the recommencement of the chronological series of letters of disposition, as before.
This volume should be numbered IV. as it covers 1684–5, February 20, to 1686, July 1, The following are instances of letters of disposition directed to the Commissioners of Excise or Customs.
Vol. IV. covers 1684, September 30, to 1684–5, February, and contains letters of disposition as before.
This volume should be numbered III.
Vol. V. covers 1686, July 1, to 1687, April 19. Letters of disposition as before, with letters of direction as to weekly disposition of Customs.
Vols. VI. and VII. follow Vol. V. in an exactly similar way, but from Vol. VIII. (1689, April, to 1690, August) onwards the majority of the letters prescribe payments “out of any money remaining in the Exchequer not appropriated.”
The vast majority of entries, for example, in Vol. XXIX. (the volume of the Disposition Books dealt with in the present instalment of Calendar) are of this nature, being letters of direction for payments of particular sums out of unsatisfied orders, or “out of any money in the Receipt of the Exchequer applicable to the uses of His Majesty's civil Government.” In addition to these there are, but in smaller proportion, letters directing payments out of certain surpluses detailed, or out of particular sums in Exchequer bills, say, on malt, placed as so much cash in the Teller's Office at the Exchequer, or out of money remaining in the Exchequer of the Sinking Fund, or out of “the sum appropriated for the discharge of the 1710 lottery annuities” or out of loans on land tax and so on.
The subsequent history of the Disposition Books may be given in a sentence. The series is continuous and uniform to 1763, at which time a bifurcation took place by the institution of a separate Disposition Book for the Civil List, and the general series came to an end in 1834 with the abolition of the old Exchequer system.
The difficulties which the Disposition Books present throughout their whole period are (1) the uncertain duplication with Money and Order Books, including the apparent existence of letters of direction or disposition which have no Treasury money warrants or Auditors' orders corresponding thereto; (2) the uncertain aspect of some of the letters, i.e. as to their regarding the debtor or creditor side of the particular fund or transaction, e.g. a letter of direction as to the disposition of an ensuing week's Excise may be regarded from some points of view as instituting debtor, and not creditor items; (3) generally the fact that the precedent Treasury Money Warrant addressed to the Auditor contained a clause of direction which would imply all that was needed in a letter of direction, making the subsequent letter of direction appear an useless duplicated formality, unless that letter of direction is to be looked upon as a rough method of checking expenditure by revenue week by week or month by month, in which case it would relate as much to revenue as to expenditure; (4) the survival of the system of Disposition Books beyond the period of the consolidation of the national revenue and expenditure.
Money matters, however, though forming the chief part of the Treasury work, do not exhaust the whole account of Treasury routine or records. And in the classes of miscellaneous books and business other than relating to money, there is noticeable the same process of growth and sub-division which has been already referred to. One large class from which several later developments spring is that of “Warrants not relating to money.” Preceding the general series of folios bearing that title and which extends unbrokenly from 1679 to modern times there is still preserved among the Treasury records an earlier series of 12 vols. As in several cases already noted, these earlier volumes contain the key to much of the later developments in more miscellaneous classes of Treasury Books, and deserve a detailed examination.
Vol. I. is labelled “mixt entries” and opens unceremoniously with letters dating from 1667, June 18, but instead of being signed by the Secretary, these letters are signed or initialled by the Lords Commissioners themselves. Then follow petitions with Treasury minutes and orders of reference and reports thereupon, warrants for the release of prisoners and for stay of process, letters about legal proceedings, bonds, covenants or leases, warrants for money, orders for extent, letters relating to the Act of Navigation, loans from the East India Company, or for passing leases through offices without fees, orders of suspension of officers, orders to the Master of the Mint and so on. The last entry is dated 8 September 1671.
Vol. II. covers 1667, June 6, to 1670, July 13. It is lettered on the side “Royal aids, poll and 11 months' tax,” and contains warrants against receivers for detaining sums on the royal aid, and letters as to same or as to hearth money.
Vol. III. continues Vol. II. being concerned with the royal aid, and covering 1670, July 18, to 1671, September.
Vol. IV. covers 1667, June 6, to 1671, September 26. It is lettered “Hearth Money Book,” and contains warrants and letters as before, signed by the Lords Commissioners on fire hearth money.
Vol. V. covers 1667, June 21, to 1670–1, January. It is lettered “Lands and fee farms,” and contains warrants and letters as before, addressed to the Auditor of the Duchy of Cornwall, and leases, letters concerning the royal woods and crown revenues, and constats and particulars as to values, addressed to the Receiver of the King's Revenues and the Surveyor General of Woods, together with, orders of reference of petitions for leases and reports thereon. This volume therefore forms one of the broken links in the chain connecting the early Treasury documents of Charles II.'s reign with the later Crown Lease Books. This particular volume, however, is a miscellaneous Entry Book of letters and warrants as well as leases, rather than, like the later Crown Lease Books proper, a book of crown leases purely and of particulars, constats and reports concerning leases.
Vol. VI. covers 1670–1, January, to 1671, September, and like No. V. is labelled “Lands and fee farms,” but it shows some development and advance upon that volume in being almost entirely like the later Crown Lease Books, i.e. in being restricted to reports, particulars, constats and warrants relating to royal leases.
Vol. VII. covers 1667, July, to 1671, July. Is lettered on the side “J. Samper, first fruits, issues of jurors, butlerage, alnage, faculties, Tenths.”
The entries are mostly of warrants signed by the Lords of the Treasury, but the volume is almost entirely blank; about 20 pages at the end are devoted to receivers of the tenths, and cover the above-mentioned date. The warrants and letters are as above, i.e. none of them are money warrants.
Vol. VIII. covers 1668, May 19, to 1671, September 7. It is lettered “Warrants on the Acts for impositions on wines,” &c. There are some letters and commissions relating to appointments in the volume, but most of the warrants are for payment of money pure and simple.
Vol. IX. covers 1668, July 7 to 21, Charles II. Is lettered “Book of entries of the business of the Alienation Office.” The volume contains only yearly accounts of the Alienation Office expenditure. (fn. 9)
Vol. X. covers 1669, September, to 1672–3, February. It is lettered “Affaires relating to His Majesties revenues late in joynture to the Queen's mother.”
The volume begins with two royal warrants, then follow Treasury warrants, some of a general nature, but most concerning payments, and letters signed by the Treasury Lords, but most of the volume consists of royal sign manuals countersigned by the Lords of the Treasury for payments out of revenues late in jointure to the Queen mother, deceased.
Vol. XI. covers 1671, October, to 1672, May. It is lettered at the side “General booke of warrants not relating to money (16), 71, 72.”
The entries in this volume are of warrants relating to borrowing of money, custody of persons, securities of receivers and officers, stay of process in the Exchequer Court, instructions to officials, grant of wood out of royal forests for bridges, &c. letters relating to hearth money, appointments of land waiters, sales of fee farm rents, orders for arrests, orders to the farmers of the Customs to forbear payments to certain persons, petitions with references, reports and warrants thereon, and so on. This is therefore an Entry Book proper of “Warrants not relating to money,” and so the direct precurser of the general series bearing that title.
Vol. XII. covers 1684–5, February, to 1686–7, January, and contains only various royal warrants (not Treasury warrants at all) of the reigns of Charles II. and James II. mostly the latter.
To these volumes succeed the general series of “Warrants not relating to money, beginning with a fresh enumeration.
Vol. I. covers 1679, March 29, to 1681, August 20, the succeeding volumes presenting an unbroken series to the present day.
Besides the general matter of these volumes which will be found illustrated by the present Calendar (including, e.g. Excise matters, warrants relating to the appointment and superseding of receivers, gifts of timber felled for particular purposes, methods of charging Commissioners of Customs with money, stay of Exchequer process, warrants for sale of tin, instructions for forests, and so on), the earlier volumes of this general series contain directions to the Surveyor General for taking particulars of leases and entries of such particulars and constats and warrants of lease just in the manner of the later Crown Lease Books.
This examination of the early series of “Warrants not relating to money” reveals therefore the fact that at least two later series take their origin from them, viz. Crown Lease Books and Tax Books; and that for a time also the same series comprised what would otherwise have been expected to occur as a separate set of documents, viz. Excise books.
Crown Lease Book.—Vol. I. of this series of records opens with an entry of date 1726–7, January 23, and together with a portion of the succeeding volume covers the period treated of in the present instalment of Calendar. It is possible that Vol. I. is not the first specific Crown Lease Book, as it opens without memorandum of any kind; but whether so or not, preceding entries relating to crown leases up to about the year 1726 are to be looked for in the series of “early Money and other warrants” (see pp. x.–xiii. supra) and of “Warrants not relating to money” (see p. xlv. supra). The later history of the series is given by Mr. Black in his report (Deputy Keeper's Report VII. App. II. p. 18). In the volume of these records treated in the present Calendar (Vols. I. and II.) there is an interesting and apparently complete set of entries relating to the sale of the French lands in St. Christopher; all these entries occur in situ in the following pages.
“Taxes,” “Affairs of Taxes,” or “Tax Book.”— This series originated as a separate one in 1703–4. Previous to this date subject-matter similar to that of such books is to be looked for as above indicated (pp. xii. xxx. xlix, supra), i.e. mostly in the series of “Warrants not relating to money.”
Vol. I. covers 1703–4, January to 1710, July, and contains commissions to surveyors of taxes, &c. and dormant warrants from the Lord High Treasurer for surveyors' salaries, petitions from proposing receivers, reports from agents of taxes on the securities offered by such receivers and warrants from the Lord High Treasurer to the Queen's Remembrancer in the Exchequer to take such securities.
Vol. II. covers 1710, April, to 1723, April, is labelled “Taxes, Customs, securities, warrants, references,” and is entirely like No. 1 in subject-matter.
Vol. III. covers the period of the present Calendar. As already noted the petitions of receivers of taxes are occasionally entered in the Register of Papers, leading to a duplication of that series with the Tax Books.
There remains for consideration five very important series of records, which have a less close and intrinsic connexion with the Treasury than the various series hitherto described. This arises from the fact that they represent or record business originating not with and in the Treasury, but with the King himself, or with some department, or otherwise generally outside the Treasury. Undoubtedly the most important of these is the series of King's Warrant Books. This magnificent series of records is practically unbroken from 1679, when Vol. I. of the present enumeration begins, to the present. The volumes contain letters patent, Privy Seals, royal sign manuals or warrants under the royal sign manual relating to commissions, or salaries, or pensions, or payments of money to ambassadors, colonial governors, &c. or by way of royal bounty, royal charity to London poor, to the Universities, to provincial boroughs, or royal presents to foreign potentates and so on.
The subsequent history of these records is given by Mr. Black, ubi supra, p. 15. But the opinion there expressed that the series took rise in 1671 is refuted by the existence of a single volume which precedes Vol. I. of the general enumeration as above. This volume is lettered “Privy Seals and King's Warrants,” and covers 1667, June 10, to 1670, June 14. It contains Privy Seals addressed to the Lords of the Treasury to make payment of money, Privy Seals for pensions, annuities, for the free passing of ambassadors' wines, for loans upon Customs farms, warrants for the Privy Purse, or for revoking leases or for granting lease of the coinage duty or pre-emption of tin, Privy Seals dormant, Privy Seals for registering orders on the Excise, royal sign manuals, &c. But the vaster proportion of the volume is taken up with royal orders, &c. relating to money, and to all intents and purposes the volume is a King's Warrant Book equally with any of the series from the enumeration of which it is excluded, pointing conclusively to the fact that the King's Warrant Books equally with the Treasury Minute Books, and the Order Books and others originated in the same period, 1667, which saw the birth of practically the whole later Treasury organisation.
Customs Book.—Exactly the same remark as above applies to this series of records. The “general” series of Customs Books begins with Vol. I. in July 1681, and continues unbroken to present times, being styled “Customs” up to 1801, and thenceforward “Customs and Excise,” matters relative to the Excise during the intermediate period, 1681–1800, being entered in the “Warrants not relating to money.” But equally here there is in existence an earlier series serving to cover the period 1667–81, intermediate between the systematic organisation of the Treasury and the first volume of the general series and showing that like the King's Warrant Books and others, the Customs Books originated in 1667.
This early series is as follows:—
Vol. I. covers 1667, May 30, to 1671, September 13. It is lettered “Customs,” and contains letters to the farmers of the Customs all of general import, letters to collectors, warrants for the seizure of prohibited goods, warrants for horses, for ambassadors' wines, for seizures under the Act of Navigation, and so on, almost entirely in the style of the Customs Book calendared in these pages.
Vol. II. covers 1669, August 13, to 1691, August 29. This is a Money Book proper, and contains only money warrants from the Treasurer or Lords of the Treasury to Sir Robert Long or other Auditor of the Receipt, or to the Farmers of the Customs.
Vol. III. covers 1675, April to December. This is a Customs Book proper, quite in the style of Vol. I. just described, and of later volumes, with the single exception that it contains entries of a few crown leases.
Vol. IV. covers 1679, March 27, to 1681, June 28. Is also a Customs Book proper as before, but contains a few documents relating to the Navy Commissioners.
Vol. V. covers 1667, May 30, to 1671, August 23. Relates entirely to Excise.
Vol. VI. is almost entirely blank, containing only two indentures relating to the lease of the London Excise, 1 September 1670, and the Commission of Excise of the 4th September of the same year.
Lord Chamberlain's Warrant Book. — These volumes possess a curious interest, quite out of proportion to the size of the series as a series. There are only four volumes altogether, covering from 1715 to 1834, of which Vol. I. extends to April 1734. They contain entries of warrants from the Lord Chamberlain to the Master of the Great Wardrobe for the provision of furniture to the royal palaces, for the painting of the staircases at Windsor, or for the provision of necessaries attending the King's removal from one place to another, and so on. On account of their curiosity these entries are generally given in full in the following pages. From 1834 onwards the business of the Lord Chamberlain's Department is recorded in the General Letter Book (Fourth Division).
Irish Book.—The general series of these books begins with Vol. I. in March 1683–4, and extends unbroken to modern times. The volumes contain entries of warrants, letters, and miscellaneous documents relating to Ireland, petitions, with reports and documents thereon, from the Lords of the Treasury to the King, or from the Lord Lieutenant to the Lords of the Treasury, letters from the Secretary of the Treasury in London to the Commissioners of Revenue, Ireland, or to the Lord Lieutenant, warrants for pensions on the Irish Establishment, or for the free importation of arms for regiments, or for exemption from certain taxes, and so on. Antecedent to Vol. I. however, there are three surviving volumes of an earlier period, lettered 1a-c, which serve to carry back the general series to near the year 1667.
1a covers 1669, June 23, to 1671, June, with one or two entries of 1675, October, and contains entries relating to the lease of the Customs farm, reports to the King from the Lords of the Treasury concerning proposed pensions, drafts of warrants, orders in Council touching Irish arrears, letters to the Lord Deputy, docquets of warrants containing commissions, and so on.
1b covers 1679, May, to 1682, August. It contains petitions, references and reports, allowances of payments by the Lord Lieutenant, minutes of the Treasury Board relating to Irish matters, and so on, most of the volume being taken up with petitions and copies of papers relating to them.
1c covers 1682, August, to 1683–4, March, and is therefore directly antecedent to and continuous with Vol. I. of the general series. Its contents are exactly like those of 1b and of 1 of the general series, viz. preponderatingly petitions rather than letters, though there are also entries relating to establishments, pensions, ships, military and civil affairs, and instructions for the Commissioners of the Revenue.
North Britain Book.—This series originated, as a matter of course, at the Union, with the establishment of a Scottish Exchequer like the English, but subject, in matters of revenue, to the Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain.
Vol. I. covers 1707, April, to 1708–9, January, and the series is unbroken to modern times. The volumes contain entries of letters from the Secretary of the Treasury, or, on occasion, from the Lord High Treasurer, to the Commissioners of Customs in Scotland, reports or replies thereto, petitions for places, or exemptions from feudal dues in Scotland, with references thereof to the Barons of the Exchequer there, and reports from them, commissions for the Commissioners of Customs and Excise in Scotland, royal sign manuals and warrants for appointments there or concerning the Equivalent, accounts of crown rents in Scotland, petitions from Scotch officials with documents, warrants for the pay of the forces there, establishment bills, (salary and incidents) for Customs, Excise, and Salt, &c. abstracts of imports from North Britain into England, and so on. The entries are, fortunately, more numerous and extensive than those in the Irish Books.
The general series here described is preceded by two volumes standing outside its enumeration and lettered 1a and 1b. These two books, with any others of like nature the existence of which may be hypothecated, should probably be looked upon as King's Warrant Books for Scotland rather than as Treasury North Britain Books. And they may have sprung by a natural process from the King's Warrant Books, general series, though it would be difficult to say at what time. They are as follows:—
1a covers 1690, October 9, to 1691, December 15. It contains royal letters to the Privy Council in Scotland, almost all signed by Melville, to almost any effect, but chiefly administrative, e.g. ordering reprieves of persons, or the continuance of the adjournment of Parliament, warrants for the Royal Commissioners to the General Assembly, or to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury of Scotland, ordinary payments, royal warrants for gifts of offices, docquets of warrants for gifts of patents of honour, petitions and King's letters thereupon, commissions to officers of the army, docquets of warrants for gifts of non-entry, &c.
1b covers 1692, October 27, to 1695–6, February, and is exactly like 1a.
A reference to two smaller and quite subordinate classes of Records, viz. “Treasury Fee Books” and “Statements of Surpluses,” will conclude this survey of the materials of the present Calendar.
Treasury Fee Book.—These volumes contain lists of all the office fees charged in the Treasury Office for the drawing, &c. of warrants, &c. The fees are entered consecutively through each month, and at the end of it summed up and divided among the recipients entitled to them. (See p. 13 of this Calendar infra.) In the present Calendar entries from these books (totals merely) will therefore be found at the end of each month. Vol. I. opens in 1711, June; and the origin of the series as a series is explained by the following memorandum prefixed to Vol. I.:—
"June 11, 1711.
“Memd.—Mr Lowndes this day acquainted me that Thomas Harley, Esq. was joined with him to attend my Lord Treasurer in the office of Secretary of the Treasury, and that from this time the office fees on all warrants to be signed (warrants signed before and now to be confirmed for issuing money, and upon which no issues had been before made, excepted) were to be divided as to the secretaries' two-thirds thereof, share and share alike, between the said Mr Lowndes and the said Mr Harley, the other one-third to the 4 clerks as usual.”
Statements of Surpluses.—These volumes contain tabulated accounts or statements as to certain funds established by divers acts of Parliament for answering the payments under several heads of public expenditure. The form of the accounts, which are six-monthly, is quite stereotyped. They concern only the Aggregate Fund, the South Sea Company's Fund, and the General Fund, and conclude with a statement of the account between the Exchequer and the Sinking Fund (see p. 144 infra of the present volume).
The series consists of only five volumes, extending from 1717 to 1787, of which Vol. I. covers 1727–30. The first yearly account is for the year ending 1718, Michaelmas. The first half-yearly return is for 1723, Lady Day. They are here calendared in brief (totals only being given) because there appears to be nothing corresponding to them in the Exchequer records, or in the Pipe or Audit Office accounts.
Besides these larger classes or series of Treasury records, there are two sets of miscellanea, a proper account of which would find place in a Treasury list when printed rather than in this Introduction. Further, in the present instalment of Calendar, none of them have fallen to be considered. They will be described ambulando as they arise for consideration and calendaring.
The object of this Introduction has been first and foremost to describe the materials from which the present Calendar is compiled and to which it serves as an index, and by implication at the same time to give some account of the state of organisation of the Treasury machinery and book-keeping as it existed in the years covered by the present instalment. This latter purpose would involve, and has involved, something of a retrospect to carry back the lines of Treasury growth to the important year 1667, when it was practically first established in anything like completeness of organisation. Such a retrospect and account of the growth of the official machinery and system of the Treasury would be in itself of great interest to the historical student, but besides being of too special a nature and too large in itself to be fitly treated in an Introduction to a volume of Calendar, dealing with a colourless period such as 1729–30, there is the further impediment that it is too difficult a work to be properly accomplished in the absence of a Calendar of all of the above described material, which covers the period of that growth. For the period of Laud's and Juxon's Treasury administration, and again for the period 1660–1728, there is a mass of material amongst these records as valuable as it is vast, valuable in itself historically, especially in the series extending into the reigns of Charles I. and II. and valuable further for this special purpose of tracing the development of the Treasury system from what is practically its birth time. All this material from 1631–1728 is as yet untouched, the existing Calendar, up to the date at which the present volume begins, dealing only with the class of Treasury Board Papers.