Minute Book: September 1710, 11-20

Pages 51-68

Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 24, 1710. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1952.

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September 1710

Sept. 11. Present: all the five Lords.
Petitions are read and the [minutes of my Lords' decisions and answers] are [endorsed] upon them.
[Send word] to the Commissioners of Customs to attend next Tuesday sevennight instead of to-morrow.
[Send word] to the [Principal] Officers of the Mint to be here this afternoon. Ibid., p. 207.
Sept. 12. Present: all the five Lords.
[Write] to the Gentlemen of the Bank that my Lords desire to speak with some of them to-morrow at 11 o'clock.
Mr. Bridges [is] called in and his papers are read. My Lords direct him to write to Mr. Morris (in case the communication between Spain and Portugal be open) to send to Mr. Stanhope with all expedition (provided it is with a safe conveyance) any sums of money not exceeding at present 100,000l. and to draw upon Mr. Bridges for the value at such usance as that the bills may not fall due till the end of January. But this is not to serve as a pretence [or excuse to him Morris] to break into any part of the 100,000l. lately directed to be [by him] kept entire. Treasury Minute Book XVIII, p. 1.
Sept. 13, forenoon. Present: all the five Lords.
The Governor, Deputy Governor and several Directors of the Bank are called in. The minute of 30 June 1710 concerning 120,000l. advanced [by the Bank] to Mr. Bridges on tallies and orders for 130,000l. is read. My Lords desire that the said advance may be continued for three months longer by the Bank making a new loan to Mr. Bridges in Exchequer Bills by 30,000l. a week beginning from this day at the same rate of interest and upon the same security. And my Lords on her Majesty's behalf do agree that these Exchequer Bills shall be converted into money [discounted] at the Queen's charge by the hands of Mr. Thomas Carbonel (whom their Lordships do appoint for that service) [and to whom they will imprest money to meet the said discount] and that the money [so advanced by the Bank] shall be applied (as fast as it shall be so raised) to repay to the Bank the said first advance of 120,000l.
The Gentlemen [of the Bank promise my Lords that they] will lay this before the Court of Directors.
The [Principal] Officers of Ordnance are called in. They will come again on Friday morning.
Mr. Crawford [is] called in. He presents an abstract of the last musters [of her Majesty's Forces] in Portugal and Gibraltar importing that they are complete to 24 June 1710: which is read. Mr. Crawford will be here again on Monday. Ibid., p. 2.
Eodem die.
Present: the Queen: all the five Lords.
The [weekly paper or summary of the] remains of the public funds is read.
The paper of cash [in the Exchequer arising on the branches of the revenue allocated] for the Civil List is read. The Queen orders 6,000l. in further part of last Xmas quarter for the Household.
The paper as to the remains of public money unappropriated is read.
Mr. Methuen's petition to be discharged of 2,319l. 7s. 11d. due upon his declared account [of money for the service of the war in Portugal] is read. [My Lords say] it is public money and cannot be discharged.
Ordered that the following sums due to the Sheriffs concerned (being for overpayments on their respective accounts) be satisfied out of the Civil List money viz. 12l. 3s. 0d. due to Mr. Young, late Sheriff of Sussex; 83l. 9s. 3d. to Sir Francis Charlton, late Sheriff of Hereford; 89l. 17s. 0d. to Mr. Forder, late Sheriff of Southampton.
On a representation of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts 150l. is ordered, according to Mr. Blathwayt's report, to build an house, chapel and fort for the Sachems.
Mr. Walpole's report in the case of Major Jennings is read and agreed to: but the 200l. is to be paid out of money to be provided by Parliament unless the King of Spain's minister here will agree to have it deducted out of that King's appointment [subsidy grant] from the Queen.
On Mr. Le fevre's memorial [the Queen] ordered 30l. "but tell him it will be the last money he is to receive, and pay it when he is ready to embark."
The petition of Col. Phillip Howard is read. Her Majesty will consider of it.
The memorial of Mr. Bendyshe is read for 2,500l. (for which he stands bound) to complete 25,854l. 15s. 8d. due on charter parties for transporting Palatines to New York. The Queen orders this remainder to be paid by 500l. a week. Ibid., p. 3.
Sept. 14,
Treasury Chambers,
Present: all the five Lords.
See what is due to Lord Lowden [Hugh, Earl of Loudoun] at the Exchequer.
The Duke of Kent is to be discharged by a privy seal from the [liability to return into the Jewel Office the] plate which was delivered to him as Chamberlain of the Household.
[Send word] to Mr. Crawford to bring with him on Monday the copies of all the orders relating to the musters [of her Majesty's Forces] in Portugal.
[Send word] to the Postmasters General to be here to-morrow morning.
The Auditors [of Imprests] and [the Queen's] Remembrancer who were to attend in course to-morrow afternoon are not to attend till to-morrow sevennight in the afternoon. But the Agents [for Taxes] are to come to-morrow with Mr. Weston and Mr. Mason.
Mr. Gold, Deputy Governor of the Bank, and Mr. Gore, one of the Directors, are called in. They say their Court of Directors ordered them to acquaint my Lords that they have taken into consideration the proposition of advancing money on a deposit of tallies and have agreed to a loan of 100,000l. in Exchequer Bills upon a deposit of tallies to their satisfaction (they could not pick the tallies out of the list sent them because they do not know to what Offices the money will be applied by their Lordships): this loan to be made for two months only at the rate of 4 per cent. per an. interest and to be advanced by 25,000l. a week but to be repaid in [ready] money.
They also say that the 120,000l. mentioned in the minute of yesterday is to be continued only for two months. Ibid., p. 4.
Sept. 15,
Present: all the five Lords.
The Postmasters General are called in. Write to them for a state of the Post Office revenue by a medium of the gross product for three years ended at Midsummer [last] with a list of the pensions or annuities charged thereupon and a computation of the charge of management by the year.
Mr. Vanburgh and the clerks of the Cheque [to the Messengers of the Chamber] are to attend on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Hoare and Mr. Lambert [are called in and] propose to supply letters of credit for Antwerp for 40,000l. (part of 350,000l. which they agreed for at Amsterdam at 2, 2½ and 3 months) and that the bills for this 40,000l. shall be payable at sight in consideration of the difference of current money at Amsterdam and Antwerp: which [proposal] is agreed to [by my Lords]. These bills are to go [by post] as soon as my Lords direct the use [or service to which they are to be applied] and not sooner.
And my Lords order that they [Hoare and Lambert] shall furnish the remainder of the 350,000l. according to such directions as they shall receive in writing from my Lords' Secretary expressing the uses to which every part shall be applied.
The [Principal] Officers of the Ordnance are called in [and their weekly paper of demand for money is considered: and my Lords] ordered that 80,000l. in tallies and orders viz. 61,460l. 14s. 6¼d. on the General Mortgage anno 1710 and 18,539l. 5s. 5¾d. on the General Mortgage anno 1709 in the hands of the Treasurer of the Ordnance be deposited as a security [for any loans which he may arrange] for payment of two quarters to the [Ordnance Office] Course dated 1708 Dec. 31. And my Lords agree on her Majesty's behalf to redeem the said tallies and orders by payment of the sum of 75,000l. in money or Exchequer Bills within four months' time to be reckoned from this day: and interest is to be allowed on the orders from 29 Sept. 1710.
Mr. Bridges [is] called in. Treasury Minute Book XVIII, p. 5.
Eodem die,
Present: all the five Lords.
Mr. Colby of the Transport Office has leave of absence for a week.
Mr. Weston is called in with the Agents for Taxes. Mr. Weston's petition is read. My Lords will take it into consideration.
The Agents [for Taxes] come in with Mr. Colby and Mr. Mason. Mr. Colby exhibits a paper of Mr. Mason's balance as it now stands amounting to 5,797l. 10s. 3d. Mr. Mason exhibits a state of his own accounts whereby his balance would be 3,021l. 18s. 8d. to which he would add a surcharge of 654l., making in both 3,675l. 18s. 8d.
Mr. Clayton says Mr. Mason is indebted on account of Mr. Newels 7,500l.
Mr. Mason proposes to bring in as many bills on the Course of the Transports as will pay his Transport debt. My Lords think that very irregular.
Mr. Clayton says the debt upon account of the Newels will be tried the next term.
My Lords tell him [Mason] he must immediately pay the balance of his Transport account.
[Send word] to the [Queen's] Remembrancer or his deputy to attend here on Monday next in the afternoon concerning the recovery of the debt owing to the Crown from Charles Mason, Esq., and his sureties.
Mr. Taylor who was deputy to Mr. Lloyd, late Paymaster of the Works [is called in]. He says the fees [and charges in the passing of said Lloyd's accounts] will come to above 1,000l.: he says he is not security [to said Lloyd for his due accounting] but, for [the sake of] his credit, will pass the accounts if he may be discharged of the fees: he owns he has all the papers necessary for passing these accounts and says he'll deliver in the final account within _ months. [My Lords order their Secretary to] direct Sir Christopher Wren and Mr. Taylor to attend here on Monday afternoon at five o'clock.
Write to the Gentlemen of the Bank desiring that 40,000l. (part of the 100,000l. lately agreed to be lent by them) may be advanced to John How for the service of the Guards and Garrisons upon a deposit of 44,000l. in tallies and orders on the General Mortgage for the year 1710, to be redeemed according to the minute of yesterday's date. Write to Mr. Meriel to attend on Tuesday to take direction for applying the said 40,000l. to the said Forces.
Write to the Gentlemen of the Bank that 22,000l. in further part of the said 100,000l. may be advanced to the Treasurer of the Navy for wages, upon a deposit of 24,000l. in like tallies and orders, to be redeemed according to the said minute of yesterday. Direct the Navy Treasurer or his deputy to go to the Bank for the same. Of the said sum 18,000l. is for turned over men and 4,000l. for one monthly payment for ticquets.
Whereas the Bank of England did on this day [? yesterday] agree to advance for the public service the sum of 100,000l. in Exchequer Bills upon a deposit, of tallies on the General Mortgage anno 1710 for 110,000l., to be repaid within two months in specie with interest at the rate of 4 per cent. per an. from the time of advancing to the time of repayment, my Lords do now direct the Paymaster of her Majesty's Guards and Garrisons to deposit with the said Bank 44,000l. of the tallies and orders in his hands on the said General Mortgage ([issued]for the service of the Guards and Garrisons) as part of the said 110,000l., upon their [the Bank's] advancing to him 40,000l. in Exchequer Bills: and their Lordships consent on her Majesty's behalf that the said Paymaster do sign an instrument that in case the said 40,000l. be not repaid with interest as aforesaid by the end of the said two months it shall and may be lawful for the said Bank to sell and dispose of the said tallies for their satisfaction, accounting for the overplus to her Majesty's use.
Whereas the Bank of England did on this day [&c. as above] my Lords do now direct the Treasurer of her Majesty's Navy forthwith to deposit with the said Bank 24,000l. of the tallies and orders in his hands on the said General Mortgage ([issued for the service of the Navy) as part of the said 110,000l., upon their advancing to him 22,000l. in Exchequer Bills; and my Lords' consent on her Majesty's behalf that he sign an instrument &c., ut supra. Ibid., pp. 6–7.
Sept. 18. Present: Earl Poulett; Chancellor of the Exchequer; Mr. Paget; Sir Thomas Mansel.
Mr. Crawford, called in, says he has no particular order about the musters but my Lord Galway gives directions to the Com[missaries] there; of which [directions] he presents a copy. [My Lords direct that] Mr. Crawford is to write to the Deputy Com[missaries of Musters] there [in Portugal] to give an account of the effective men in every Regiment, Troop or Company in her Majesty's pay there, notwithstanding any direction he may have had from any person there to the contrary.
Petitions and reports are read and the answers [and directions of my Lords thereupon are endorsed] upon them. Ibid., p. 8.
Eodem die,
Present. the same.
Mr. Butler [is called in and] says that the process in the Remembrancer's Office goes every issuable term [as a matter] of course. He will direct the [Remembrancer's] Deputy to attend my Lords.
Sir Christopher Wren and Mr. Thomas Taylor are called in. Sir Christopher appoints the first Tuesday next month to examine and sign Mr. Lloyd's accounts [as the Paymaster of the Works] and make a list (as usual) of what remains unpaid.
Sir Christopher will send the Rules concerning the Works [for them] to be confirmed [by my Lords].
Mr. Vanbrugh and two clerks of the Cheque are called in about the messengers [of the Chamber and their bills for custody expenses]. Mr. Vanbrugh says four men were kept in the common gaol, at 2s. a day a piece and the messengers were allowed at 6s. 8d. a day by order of Lord Sunderland. He names the prisoners Gordon [and] Fitzgerald in the hands of Fortune Barton, Butler in the hands of Wilcox, Cranburne in the hands of Hill; but they are now all discharged. There were others that were prisoners at large, Lake committed to Chancey, Morphew committed to the same, Hurst committed to Elcock, Benjamin Brag committed to the same, Barker to the same. These were at 3s. 4d. a day because they did not find them diet. Ashurst, an extra messenger, was employed with Hill, the messenger, in a journey into Sussex by Capt. Baker's order, whereas no extra men were [according to the regulations] to be employed. Mr. Vanbrugh thinks he cannot pay these [bills of charges] without my Lords' direction. He says the Secretaries [of State] sign the bills [for messengers of the Chamber for custody charges &c.], the Under Secretaries examine them and the clerks of the Cheque sign them.
Mr. Atterbury says that each of the clerks of the Cheque examines and certifies the bills of 20 [out of the total 40] of the messengers; and he exhibits a paper to be read; which is read accordingly. They lay every month an account before the Secretaries of State of the persons in custody and how long in custody. One of these accounts is read and another [paper] setting forth the greatness of the charge. He refers to the Order of Council of 10 April 1703 directing the clerks of the Cheque to examine and sign.
Henry Ashurst was by my Lord Sunderland's warrant of 23 July 1709 made messenger extraordinary to attend Henry Baker in Rumney Marsh and three or four others have been made in this reign.
Ordered that the messengers allowance for the prisoners whilst they are kept in a gaol be disallowed.
As to the prisoners at large, they were under Mr. Sharp's examination and he represented their cases to Mr. Hopkins, who insisted that for these the messengers should have the fee of 3s. 4d. per diem, in all 161l. 6s. 8d. They were not discharged till May last. The messengers keep prisoners in partnership. Both sides agree that is troublesome to the clerks of the Cheque and [to the] Comptroller [of the accounts].
My Lords [declare that they] will allow no fee for the prisoners at large for the time they were at their own houses after their examination.
Direct the clerks of the Cheque to allow nothing [for prisoners at large held as above by the messengers] in partnership.
Desire some of the Bank to be here to-morrow morning. Treasury Minute Book XVIII, pp. 8–9.
Sept. 19,
Present: all the five Lords.
Mr. Meryel presents a memorial [for Mr. How as Paymaster of Guards and Garrisons] for disposition of 40,000l. part of 100,000l. agreed to be advanced by the Bank.
My Lords agree to the disposition thereof accordingly.
The [Principal] Officers of the Ordnance are called in. As to the 70,000l. [required] for their Course, if these gentlemen can raise money for their artificers my Lords are willing to allow them interest for the money [so to be borrowed or] advanced but think it will be an ill precedent to allow interest to the artificers upon the [head of the Ordnance Office] Course. These gentlemen say they shall want 20,000l. to answer several pressing occasions of their Office for bills of exchange [and for] carrying on fortifications &c.
Desire Mr. Gibbons to be here to-morrow.
Mr. Gold and other Gentlemen of the Bank are called in. My Lords desire [them] to propose to their Court on Thursday next the advancing of another 100,000l. which is very necessary, particularly to pay the wages of the [sea]men turned over to go with the Turkey [convoy] fleet and for other occasions.
Mr. Walpole [attends] with several letters from the Navy Board and the Victuallers which are read [as follows] viz.
14th Sept. 1710 [praying money] for the Course.
13th Sept. 1710 [for ditto] for the flag officers and for commission and warrant officers superannuated.
13th Sept. 1710 [for ditto] for the Course, for Yards and for Wages.
13th Sept. 1710 for 29,850l. 2s. 6d. for the Victualling.
4th Sept. 1710 for 6,000l. on the head of Wear and Tear for bills of exchange.
9th Sept. 1710 for 25,000l. or 30,000l. for the men turned over to the Turkey convoy.
18th Sept. 1710 for the superannuated officers; to explain the former letter.
18th Sept. 1710 for the said 6,000l. for bills of exchange.
18th Sept. 1710 for money to transport Mr. Lowther's equipage to Barbados, 367l.
and he leaves ten other letters from the Navy Board for demands comprehended in an abstract presented 30 August last.
My Lords agree that Mr. Walpole do dispose of 3,000l. in tallies and orders on the General Mortgage for 1707 [in return] for money and to allow a retrospect of interest as may be equal to a discount of 5 per cent.; and that he dispose of 6,000l. more in the like tallies and orders to Mr. Ferne [the Customs Cashier in return] for Exchequer Bills and [hereon my Lords similarly agree] to allow him a retrospect of interest equivalent to a discount of 4 per cent.: and that he apply 3,000l. of this for wages [of seamen]. Ibid., p. 10.
Eodem die,
Present: all the five Lords.
The Customs Commissioners are called in. Their papers are read and minutes [of my Lords' answers and decisions thereon are endorsed] upon them.
These Commissioners withdraw and are called in again [about Daniell Richardson]. My Lords direct that two of them that are first in this [present] Commission of the Customs do attend here to-morrow morning at nine of the clock and that Daniel Richardson be brought here at the same time: and that Mr. John Bligh, Mr. Smith and Mr. Paul be then here: and that Mr. Paul do bring the book of incidents and ledger for the year 1706.
The Solicitor of the Customs is to take care of bringing up the prisoner and the Secretary of the Customs is to give notice to the officers who are to attend as abovesaid. Ibid., p. 11.
Sept. 20,
Present: Earl Poulett; Chancellor of the Exchequer; Mr. Pagett; Mr. Benson.
Mr. Godolphin and Mr. Newport [two of the Commissioners of the Customs] (according to the order of yesterday) are called in with Mr. Carkesse, the [Customs] Secretary, and Mr. Brydges, the Solicitor of the Customs. Then Mr. Daniell Richardson (who has been a clerk in the [Customs] Comptroller's Office) was also called in.
My Lords tell him they have sent for him to give him an opportunity to make a full confession and if he conceals anything he will only add to the weight of the guilt and his punishment.
Richardson says all he can think of at present is contained in a paper which he offers and if he can remember anything further he will discover it.
The paper of his confession is read in these words: viz.
the true confession of Daniell Richardson touching such frauds as he hath been concerned in, mentioned in their Honours' minute of the 18 Sept. 1710.
that in Xmas quarter 1706 Mr. Bowers, the collector at Weymouth, charged in his incidents several articles amounting to about 20l. for settling his account with the Comptroller General, which [articles] were often tendered for allowance but as often rejected and lay so unsettled. Some time after when Mr. James Mattison, late of the [Customs] Secretary's Office, met me and asked whether Mr. Bower's articles were yet passed I replied they were not neither did I believe they would. Whereupon he desired he and I might drink a glass of wine together the first opportunity; which we accordingly did at the Vine Tavern; where having made some enquiry into the nature of my business he said he knew that Mr. Mason [collector] of Hull had an allowance on the like occasion and he doubted not but to get it [Bower's claim] passed in case Mr. Bowers would promise to give six guineas and I not to mention his name under any other title than of a friend and acquaintance and that neither Mr. [Customs] Secretary Savage nor Mr. John Savage should be acquainted therewith: and then enjoining me to take no further notice we parted. I wrote to Mr. Bowers, who consenting, I gave Mr. Mattison on his request the account which in a few days after he gave me again signed and on my acquainting Mr. Bowers therewith he returned the six guineas to me, two whereof I had for my civility as was then pretended and the other four he [Mattison] kept for himself.
Some time after as I was coming to the office the said Mr. Mattison met me in Cannon Street and asked me to drink a pint of wine, when he made a particular enquiry into my salary, perquisites and private circumstances and said that if I would be ruled by him he could make my business very advantageous and profitable and that if I would let him know when any difficult articles were to be passed he would assist me: to which I then gave no other reply than that I did not apprehend what he meant and so parted.
Till after Xmas 1708 I did not hearken to any more such discourses (though often offered) on our frequent meeting about a bond he had of a friend of his, to be paid by me for an acquaintance of mine. Between Xmas 1708 and Lady day 1709 (to the best of my remembrance) Mr. Knackston the collector of Ipswich (from some sayings of mine to Mr. Newby, then collector at Aldeburgh) wrote to me that he was informed I could be serviceable to him on his Coal [Duty] account (at which time some of my creditors made me so uneasy that I found notwithstanding I had quarterly given them a full third or better of my salary purely for their forbearance I must either quit my place or go to gaol). I showed Mr. Mattison the letter and after consultation and an oath of secrecy given to each other and some measures proposed (which were afterwards followed) to prevent all suspicion it was agreed that I should find out the means and to give credit and he to get the allowances: whereupon a letter was drawn up in answer to Mr. Knackston that in case he would allow half of what should be obtained I believed I had a friend and acquaintance that could get him the [allowance of] three halfpence per chaldron for his inspecting the Coal meters from the commencement of his collection: to which he with some difficulty agreed and performed by paying 60 guineas to me, 40 whereof Mr. Mattison had and 20 myself according to agreement, which were divided at the Mitre Tavern in Stocks Market.
These successes and some very pressing debts were the only inducements which engaged me in those notorious practices which have brought these heavy though deserved afflictions I now undergo. For some time after[wards] we contrived such villainous letters as have been lately discovered. The matters therein inserted were our own mere suggestions, having no intent therein but to amuse such as we could impose upon. However we attempted but two collectors only viz. Mr. Kent of Lynn and Mr. Bligh of Padstow, the first for 600l. the other for 300l., to which proposal they both after many difficulties consented; and immediately after the articles were sent up they were entered to their credits, those for 600l. in [the accounts for] Xmas quarter 1706 and those for the 300l. in the four quarters for that year which made [necessary] some alterations in the Comptroller General's books as by the said books may appear. This was done to prevent them being excluded from that year's balances which were to be given among the rest to Mr. Langston; and on my advising those collectors that they had credit for those sums the half was remitted to me and equally divided at several times between Mr. Mattison and myself.
When Mr. Kent's articles were brought to me as passed (which was not until some time after on pretence those articles would require more hands to them than one, which would be difficult to get) I was wonderfully surprised to see them so signed and then asked why he had drawn me into so great a mischief as would on discovery be the utter ruin of us both. Yet upon his persuasion, the danger of loosing my place and the scandalous reflections I should always lie under, I let them pass in silence and afterwards at my seat he shewed me how he did it: the which practice I never intended to follow.
Hitherto I do not remember that any other collector whatsoever was wrote to on this or the like occasion nor since (though often requested thereto by the said Mr. Mattison in his life time, whose circumstances as he often confessed were very urgent and uneasy) till of late, when some other pressing occasions of my own put me upon the endeavouring to go through the same practice by myself (Mr. Mattison being before dead). In order thereto I wrote several letters (the particular numbers whereof I cannot affirm but must refer to the letters themselves) to the collectors of Poole, Lyme and Ipswich whose answers made me conceive that at length my ends might be answered. But upon a due consideration of what I was going about I desisted and returned no answers to their last letters, nor ever intended any, being further resolved to pursue that matter no further with any of them. But to Mr. Blighe to whom I had wrote before somewhat to the same purpose I confess I did proceed further even to the drawing up the articles and promise of getting the same passed. Yet I solemnly protest I had no sincere intention of performing but intended to drill it off till he was gone out of town as I had done from time to time since his coming to town. And when gone I concluded to send a letter to him to acquaint him that the matter would by no means bear: and this method I proposed to myself to prevent his suspecting my designs of not doing it, assuring myself I could much easier convince him (that the matter would not bear) when he was at that distance than while in town: which once done I declare before God Almighty that I never more intended to harbour the least thought of any such practices but to have become a true penitent for all my faults.
The scandalous and abusive reflections inserted in my letters against the Honble. Commissioners [of the Customs] I own to be groundless and false and were only insinuation, invented purposely to make the contrivance have its intended effect and [I] do declare I do not know or believe that any of the Commissioners sits at half pay or are any ways guilty of or abetting or consenting to any practices whatsoever prejudicial to the revenue much less to such notorious one as I have most basely and falsely accused them of: for the which I am sorry from my heart and as the best and only atonement I am able to make I most humbly offer to acknowledge my barbarous fault and ask their Honours' pardon in such a manner as to them shall seem most requisite. I most humbly beg their Honours will not make the confession I drew up at the Board a charge against me, that being done in my great confusion when I knew not well what I either said or did: but that they will be so favourably pleased as to admit of this [confession] as being to the very best of my knowledge and remembrance the whole truth and account of all my transactions with any person or persons whatsoever upon this occasion: of all which I am ready to make oath if their Honours shall require it and most humbly throw myself at their Honours' feet imploring their mercy, pity and compassion on me and my poor distracted family, whose future happiness or misery are wholly in their Honours' disposal.
The continual concern and trouble I now labour under, together with my close confinement, have already much impaired my health, and without the comfortable support and consolation of their Honours' great goodness and clemency my days will within a very short time have an end.
signed Dan. Richardson. Sept. 20 1710.
Mr. Godolphin [one of the Customs Commissioners says] he refers to a clerk now dead. We would ask this question whether he has done nothing in this matter since Mattison's death?
Richardson: no not with any person whatsoever.
Godolphin: we have letters of yours to produce since Mattison's death.
Richardson: those letters are mentioned in my Confession. Mattison died in the spring.
Mr. Newport: he does not tell ye how Mattison got the account of Mr. Kent of Lyn passed.
Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer: I would know whether the treaty with Bowers was the first fraud of this kind.
Richardson: it was the first: it was in 1707: it was the first fraud of this kind or any other.
Mr. Chancellor: was Matterson the first man made the overture to you for this fraud?
Richardson: the first and only man.
Mr. Chancellor: how did he introduce it?
Richardson: he said the account had been often tendered to the Board and it would not pass. He invited me to drink a glass of wine and told me Mason of Hull was a precedent.
Mr. Chancellor: did he tell you who got Mason's passed?
Richardson: he told me nothing of that: but said it was entered down at the Board and said he would undertake to get the bills allowed at the Board: I was not to do that part, he was to do it. I had only two guineas out of the first and because I looked upon it that these allowances [in the collectors' accounts] were unreasonable Mr. Mattison undertook to get them passed.
Here being asked how it was done Richardson said that Mattison forged [the Commissioners' signature necessary for] Kent's allowance.
Richardson: Mattison showed me how he forged the Commissioners' names with a black lead pencil. I believe he forged all the hands. I am sure there were two hands [or signatures of Commissioners] that were not then at the Board.
Mr. Kent's account [as collector] of Lynn for 1706 is produced signed by four Commissioners.
Mr. Newport: it is like my hand and I remember there was objections to those extravagant allowances.
Richardson: Mattison showed me how he did this. This was done in 1709 when Clark was dead and Hall was out of the Commission. The year 1706 was put [in] only to disguise and conceal the matter and I suppose all the rest are in the same manner.
Godolphin: how can you satisfy my Lords that this was done in 1709?
Richardson: this account was not sent up till 1709. I saw Mattison do the like by an order at my desk with a black lead pencil.
Mr. Chancellor: how was it done in the case of Mason of Hull?
Richardson: that was allowed by the Commissioners.
Mr. Chancellor: how do you know that Kent's account did not come up till 1709?
Richardson: I wrote to Kent and he came up to me in 1709. He will own it.
Mr. Chancellor: what answer did Kent give when you wrote to him?
Richardson: his answer was that he would come up to town himself. We met at Nando's Coffee House; afterwards at the King's Head: he asked me about my letter and I told him his bills would be passed by a friend and acquaintance. Kent promised to give me half: I had 150l., Mattison 150l. and Kent 300l. It was remitted before Kent went to Scotland. All this was done in the year 1709. As to Mason of Hull in case the account could appear you would find that was allowed by the Commissioners. I was not at the passing of Mason's account. Bower's account was but for 20l. or there-abouts.
Mr. Chancellor: now spake [speak] to [the case of] Knackston, collector of Ipswich.
Richardson: I did nothing in 1708: Knackston's was done for about 100l. in 1709.
Mr. Chancellor: but there was an oath of secrecy: who were present and who adm[inistered] it?
Richardson: only Mattison and myself were present at the oath of secrecy at the Mitre Tavern in Stocks Market.
Mr. Chancellor: how did you take it?
Richardson: we made several asseverations not to discover.
Mr. Chancellor: what were the words?
Richardson: I cannot justly remember the words but they were as I hope to be saved or the like. Mattison proposed the oath to me.
Mr. Chancellor: you used some tremendous words: but divines will tell you that keeping such an oath is the vilest [struck through] worst thing in the world.
Richardson: I cannot tell the particular words.
Mr. Chancellor: what introduced that oath of secrecy?
Richardson we were to go halfs. It was between 1708 and 1709.
Mr. Chancellor: what were the measures taken upon the oath of secrecy?
Richardson: we should seem at the Custom House to be strangers to one another.
Mr. Chancellor: was the 1½d. allowed upon coals to Knackston?
Richardson: that was done by the Commissioners above. I wrote to Knackston if he would allow ½d. I had a friend and acquaintance to get his bills signed.
Mr. Chancellor: why did you pick out these particular collectors more than any other?
Richardson: I was talking to Mr. Newby who was Knackston's friend but I did not let Newby into the cheat or make any offer to him.
Mr. Godolphin. it will be necessary for Richardson to set down all this matter in order of time for there were actions antecedent to the oath of secrecy and since Mattison's death there was a transaction with Bligh.
Mr. Benson: you say Mattison counterfeited: who counterfeited after his death?
Richardson: Mattison was to get the allowances passed.
Mr. Chancellor: why had Mattison 40 guineas and you but 20 in the case of Knackston?
Richardson: I had three guineas more: Knackston has only his ½ [penny] and knew nothing of the method.
Mr. Newport: who else was concerned with you?
Richardson: no more were concerned with me than are named in my paper.
Mr. Newport: by the paper it appears that more persons have been concerned since Matterson?
Richardson: there was a letter from Mr. Hare, collector of Lynn. Mr. Hare had charged in his account 3 per cent. for him and the Comptroller [of Lynn port] for the first 1,000l. collected on the Coal Duty and afterwards [after the 1st 1,000l.] 1 per cent. more. Mr. Kent had [that allowance on] the first 1,000l. Then Mr. Hare craved the same again but was denied.
Mr. Chancellor: you said in your paper: then "we" contrive[d] those villanous letters. Who were they?
Richardson: Matterson and myself: we both contrived those letters at several places where we met. We contrived them to induce the collectors, for though they were to have half they would have a probability that they should get the allowance.
Mr. Chancellor: how many of these villainous letters did you write to collectors?
Richardson: I have named them in my paper, Mr. Bligh and Mr. Kent only [struck through]. 600l. allowed to Mr. Kent was entered of Xmas 1706 though not sent up till 1709. It was in the summer time.
Mr. Chancellor: do you not keep private accounts of your own?
Richardson: I received the money of Mead the goldsmith upon bills sent in a private letter from Kent on two bills one of 250l. and the other 50l. I paid Matterson at the Bull Head in Cannon Street by giving him a bill on Mead: one bill was drawn by Kent or a gentleman of Lynn on a brazier in Fleet Street, he lives over against Water Lane in Fleet Street: the 50l. bill was on Eliz. Norton at the Bull Inn in Bishopsgate Street. [She is a] Cambridge carrier [who] inns there; which she paid to me. I went to the brasier for the 250l. and he sent his servant with me to Mr. Mead who paid it. I believe that bill was payable to me or bearer. I never received any other money of that brasier. I think one Mr. Tailer of Lynn drew the bill.
Mr. Godolphin: my Lords can now draw up a whole history without your confession and therefore it concerns you to tell them the whole truth with the circumstances without troubling my Lords with many questions.
Richardson: there 'tis under my hand (pointing to the paper before delivered).
Mr. Chancellor: which of the collectors is next in course?
Richardson: Poole, Lyme and Ipswich and Mr. Bligh.
Mr. Chancellor: had you any success at Weymouth?
Richardson: I never tried Weymouth after the 20l. out of which I had six guineas. Bower's account was tendered to the Board, but it would not pass. I believe Bower's allowance was counterfeit because it being but a small sum there were only put two letters of the Commissioners' names.
Mr. Chancellor: you said you were surprised to see Kent's accounts signed.
Richardson: I wrote him word it was allowed only to get the money; but it was not allowed then.
Mr. Chancellor: do you keep a letter book?
Richardson: no.
Mr. Chancellor: had you no apprehension from Mr. Holt's inspection or inquiry?
Richardson: I knew he could not look into all our businesses.
Mr. Godolphin: you gave Kent credit. Does the Comptroller look on your Book or see the vouchers?
Richardson: he rarely looks on the Book and never sees the vouchers, but trusts us. He knows the Auditors examine the vouchers and the Comptroller would expect them to be returned back if suspected. I wrote to Poole, Lyme and Ipswich: they returned answers and seemed to comply but I never answered them.
Mr. Chancellor: William Chamberlain, collector of Poole, did he seem to comply with you?
Richardson: I never passed his accounts and had no money from him.
Mr. Chancellor: he of Lyme?
Richardson: he seemed to comply but I had no money of him.
Mr. Chancellor: he of Ipswich?
Richardson: he seemed to comply but I had no money from him. 'Twas I that desisted. I found it would not do. There was another way if I had a mind to do it myself. I could have added more figures after the Commissioners had signed [the accounts].
Mr. Godolphin. the sums in the accounts are in figures, but in the vouchers [they are] in words at length.
Richardson shews my Lords how it might be done, but says he never did it and resolved never to do it but desisted: but that Mr. Bligh being in town "is" thought to carry it on with him.
Mr. Chancellor: where did you meet Bligh about the articles?
Richardson: he lodged at my house. There were articles drawn up: I drew them up: he copied them: he has my part of them: Bligh's part were in my desk.
Being asked the time of first entering into the business with Bligh, Richardson answered thus, after Bligh came to town about a month ago he asked whether those articles would do: I told him I believed they would: I was to have half and he to have half. I never had any money from Bligh.
Note: here he explained himself by saying "not now" and that he had owned what was before.
Mr. Chancellor: do you know one Coleman?
Richardson: I do. Mr. Coleman never had any credit given him: he was let in so far that I told him articles were drawn and I believed his bills might pass and he might get money by it. I think it was at a Coffee House within two or three months. I was telling him there would be some collectors would have very considerable allowances and if credit were given we might make a sum of it. I promised him 10l. or 20l. in case it went on. I did not tell him the particular method. He is clerk of the incidents and therefore I proposed it to him.
Mr. Chancellor: how far did you go with Coleman in this?
Richardson: Coleman said if the Commissioners would allow them he would give credit for them. I told him if the accounts could be brought back again signed by a Commissioner he should have a share and I told him there were articles drawn up with Mr. Bligh. I discoursed this with Mr. Coleman at the Coffee House at the Custom House at two meetings. I was to bring them signed by a Commissioner and he was to give credit for them.
Mr. Chancellor: did not Coleman make some proposition how this was to be done?
Richardson: I do not remember.
Mr. Chancellor: did you read to Coleman the articles?
Richardson: I did not shew them to him or read the contents.
Mr. Chancellor: what do you say [as] to any other clerks?
Richardson: I spoke to Gregory as I did to Coleman at the same time and they both agreed in the same manner. Gregory and Coleman are in Mr. Langton's office. I could not give the credits without taking these two in.
Mr. Chancellor what did you mean by saying you could best dissuade Bligh at a distance?
Richardson: I desisted in August and when Bligh was not here I knew he must take what I wrote and not ask me any questions. I proposed this matter to him first but afterwards he pressed me.
Mr. Godolphin how far did you proceed with Gregory and Coleman?
Richardson: I told them all the contents of the articles and told them about Bligh.
Richardson withdraws.
John Bligh, collector of Padstow, is called in.
My Lords direct him to give a full and particular account.
Bligh: I have delivered in the utmost I can say to the Commissioners of Customs, all that I know of the matter.
Mr. Chancellor: if it do not contain all that you know don't let it be read: consider whether this be a paper you'll stand by.
Bligh: I will stand by it.
His information upon oath is read.
Bligh: I never saw or knew Richardson before April 1709 and had no transaction before that of the articles.
Mr. Chancellor: did you take an oath of secrecy?
Bligh: no: I promised secrecy.
Mr. Chancellor: had you never any other money allowed you?
Bligh: none but what is mentioned and was pursuant to the articles. (The articles are produced of Richardson's writing). I copied the articles and sent the same to him at the Custom House.
Mr. Chancellor: who did he say was concerned in it?
Bligh: he did not say anybody but one at the other end of the town.
Mr. Chancellor how came you to give him 10l.?
Bligh: because he said he was to pay the 150l. to other people: he said he gave a note to one at the other end of the town and he must have the 150l. from me because he was to go and take up the note.
Mr. Godolphin: when was the 150l. remitted and upon whom was the bill drawn?
Bligh: there was an Exchequer note of 100l. and the bill was for 60l., but I forget on whom it was drawn and have forgot the time and refer to my letter [now] before the Board.
Mr. Chancellor he first proposed to you, but you pressed him afterwards.
Mr. Godolphin: he lodged at Richardson's house.
Bligh I do own that I heard him say, and he wrote me too, that the allowance was applied to my credit and he has told me so since I came, but I never knew that it was. My Exchequer note and bill were sent in 1709. He shewed me the articles since I came to town last, about a fortnight ago.
Mr. Chancellor: do you know Mr. Paul?
Bligh: he is a clerk in the Comptroller's Office. I never had but one letter from Paul which no way related to this business but only to a surcharge upon me. I never wrote to him but once to answer that letter.
Mr. Godolphin: did you never ask who had the other 150l.?
Bligh he told me it was some of the Honourable Board. He told me so since I came to town. He told me some of the Board would sign it and the others would acquiesce and that it would be a means to get me into a better place.
Bligh's letter of the 11th July 1709 was read: he says Richardson told him he could not get the allowances signed till the money was sent and that it was to be paid to one at the other end of the town to whom he had given his note.
Richardson's letter to Bligh of 2 July 1709 is read.
Bligh: by the coal vouchers are meant the poundage and meatage [meterage or measurage] money.
Richardson is called in again and Bligh withdraws.
Mr. Godolphin: you wrote to Bligh that it was actually placed to his credit.
Richardson: the first sum of 300l. was placed to his credit.
Being asked about Mr. Paul, he answers, Bligh never wrote to me about Paul nor I never wrote to him about Paul unless it was to present his service or about some other business; nothing concerning this.
And being asked about the method of giving credit [he] answers, Mr. Paul takes the total implicitly from me without enquiring whether I have any vouchers.
Mr. Godolphin: what did you mean by the note that was to be taken up?
Richardson: that was only a delusion.
Mr. Godolphin. for whose use was the 150l. to go?
Richardson: for Matterson's.
Mr. Godolphin: who was to divide with you after Matterson's death?
Richardson: nobody.
Mr. Godolphin: who was there to be a voucher after Matterson's death?
Richardson: if it had gone forward (as it did not) it 'twas to be done by adding figures. He owns he did write to Jans of Lyme but nothing was done upon it.
My Lords give him time to make a plain and full narrative of all persons and circumstances relating to these matters and he is to put into his paper the method of managing his office and to send it hither in writing by to-morrow at eleven of the clock.
Bligh is called in again.
Bligh: Richardson told me that some of the Commissioners knew it and some of them would sign the allowance. He said that Mr. Godolphin and Sir John Werden were to have no advantage: he did not know Mr. Newport was to have any: Mr Culliford was to have some: the rest he did not know. He said this to me more than once, once going to the Custom House from his own house.
Richardson: I do not remember it.
Bligh: the last time was in a little alley going to the Custom House, and he told me I should be satisfied of it. He said he must enter into a note at the other end of the town to answer the 150l. and when I did remit him the money he would go and take up the note and get himself freed from that note. He did oblige me to secrecy, not by an oath: he said some of the Honourable Gentlemen [Commissioners of Customs] were concerned in the matter and if it broke out I could never make him amends for it and I told him I would not reveal it.
Richardson: I do not remember I named Mr. Culliford or anybody else, but if I did it was only an amusement to carry on the thing.
He will bring his narrative by to-morrow eleven a clock.
Mr. Paul, chief clerk to the Comptroller [of the Customs] is called in. He owns the leidger of his keeping. He says Mr. Richardson made the alteration in his book: that he Mr. Paul did not discover it till some time after it was done and he [Richardson] said 'twas to make it agree with Richardson's own book: that he Mr. Paul made a Q [query] before the account was balanced in order to enquire to be better satisfied and now the time is come. Being asked how he came to balance the book before he was satisfied, answers 'twas balanced on another occasion. Richardson told me there were further allowances and 'twas made right in his book and this alteration was made to make my book agree with his. I make up my book from his: I take the sum from his book and if my book agrees with his book 'tis all that is required of me. I never look into any of the vouchers unless I have a suspicion. There be four clerks and I post all their accounts. I take it from his book and if his book agrees with mine I am right. The Comptroller General can't do all the business of his office himself and for part he relies entirely on Mr. Richardson, but then the Auditors of the Imprests are a cheque upon the incidents and nothing else.
Mr. Chancellor: there is a piece of a letter from Richardson to Bligh which mentions a letter to be writ to Mr. Paul.
Mr. Paul: the entry in my book was made about three years ago: the alteration was since.
Mr. Chancellor: did you not take it as a great presumption for another clerk to come and make an alteration in your book?
Paul: I complained of it to Mr. Machin and I intended to tell Mr. Holt but did not before this discovery. I put the Q when I first discovered it about a year and a half ago. The balance was made up about a year ago. _ was the sum before the alteration which was taken from his own book. I own the balance is wrong. I wrote to the Comptroller about this since the discovery. Richardson altered my book for Kent of Lynn. There I enquired and I found there was a voucher which satisfied me. I reprimanded Richardson the first time for altering my book.
Then Mr. Paul being asked why he did not inform the Comptroller when he did it the second time answers both alterations were made much about the same time.
Mr. Paul leaves a paper signed by him.
Mr. Paul takes back his own Leidger and Mr. Richardson's Incident Book.
Mr. Carkesse takes back Mr. Kent's account, Bligh's letter of 11 June and Bligh's Confession. Treasury Minute Book XVIII, pp. 12–16, 23–26.
Sept. 20
Present: the Queen: all the five Lords.
The [weekly] paper shewing the [undisposed] remains of the funds for public services is read.
The same [weekly] paper shewing the cash [available in the Exchequer] for the Civil List is read.
[The Queen] ordered 11,919l. 0s. 1¼d. [to be issued to the Cofferer] to clear Christmas quarter 1709 to the Household.
Mr. George Erskin going chaplain to Jamaica is to have 20l. when he is ready to embark; upon the Bishop of London's letter.
Mr. Alexander Scot going [as same] to Virginia [is to have the like].
Lord Staire's [memorial is read]: to be paid part next week.
[The petition is read of] Eliza[beth] Fisher for 1,600 dollars on a bill of the Prince [of] Hesse. [The Queen orders it] to be laid before the Parliament [her Majesty observing that] paying it now will not be a good precedent.
Warrants signed by her Majesty:
(1) Dame Latitia Russell for 2,855l. 1s. 2½d. out of quit rents in Ireland.
(2) Sir James Montague for 1,000l. per an.
(3) John Anstis for 550l. for the 12th volume of Rymer ['Foedera'].
(4) Mica[jah] Perry for 150l. for a chapel for the Indians.
[Her Majesty] ordered 2,000l. [to William Lowndes] for secret services.
likewise 1,000l. for Col. Harrison above [or exclusive of] the fees [in the Exchequer &c. on the receipt thereof]. Treasury Minute Book XVIII, p. 17.