The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 5, 1713-1714. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Election for the Town of Buckingham adjudged for Dr. Ratcliff, and Mr. Chapman.
The 13th, Mr. Winnington, from the Commissioners of Public Accompts, presented to the House, a Report from the said Commissioners, appointed to take, examine, and state the public Accounts of the Kingdom, and to determine the Debts, due to the Army, &c. with some Observations by them made, and a State of the Expence of the late War, which was as follows:
Report of the Commissioners of public Accompts.
Your Commissioners have proceeded with their utmost Care in taking the public Accompts, and humbly present a State of the Receipts and Issues of her Majesty's Exchequer from Michaelmas 1703, to Michaelmas 1704, (which immediately succeeds that laid before the Parliament by the last Commission of Accompts,) as also a State thereof from Michaelmas, 1712, to Michaelmas 1713.
We have been obliged, in Obedience to an Order of the late House of Commons, to spend some Time in examining several Extraordinaries demanded from Parliament, together with the Facts contained in the Report of the Commissioners sent into Spain. However, we have detected some Mismanagements in the Cloathings of the Army; and, having yet represented nothing on that Head, we here offer them to your Consideration.
We do not take Notice, that there are great Sums paid by the Contractors to the Colonels, on cloathing their respective Regiments, sometimes (as we are informed upon Oath) to the Value of One thousand four hundred Pounds on a single Contract; because the Practice is so notorious and universal that it wants no Representation. But the following Instances have, in our humble Opinion, something more extraordinary in them, and not unworthy the Notice of Parliament.
There was a Contract made by Sir Joseph Tredenham, and Arthur Moore, Esq; Comptroller of the Accompts of the Army, in the Year 1706, for cloathing six French Regiments of Foot then raised. Your Commissioners, observing the Expence of this Cloathing, which amounted to Seventeen thousand sixty-one Pounds, eighteen Shillings, was answered, pursuant to a Direction of the Treasury, by an immediate Payment from Mr. Brydges, and not by a regular Assignment of the Off-reckonings of those Regiments, enquired into the Reasons of this Proceeding.
We found by the Books of the Comptroller's Office, that one Richard Hallam was the Contractor; but on Examination could get no other Information from him, than that he was only a Nominee in this Affair. For he deposed 'That tho' his Name was used in a Contract, made the 27th of April, 1706, by Sir Joseph Tredenham, and Arthur Moore, Esq; then Comptrollers of the Accompts of the Army, for cloathing the six French Regiments then to be raised, under the Command of the Earl of Liffard, Count Paulin, Count Fran. Nassau D' Auverquerque, Mons. Sibourg, Mons. De la Barth, Mons. de Montargis, he was not the real Contractor, but employed only as an Agent for the said Sir John Tredenham, and Arthur Moore: That he received only a Gratuity from them, for the Trouble they had given him in this matter, but could not recollect the Sum: That he had not seen the Accompts of this cloathing for some Years, and therefore could not be more particular.
About ten Days after this Deposition had been made, the Deponent brought the under-written Letter to your Commissioners.
'When I was summoned before your Board, I could not remember the Particulars, about the cloathing the six French Regiments, which was almost seven Years since, and I understand that the Contract and Business of the Colonels, are entered in the Comptroller's Books. I still own that I was but an Agent, and paid for what I did, and a Gratuity for my Trouble, which I received from Mr. Harnage, who also furnished the whole Cloathing; for what I bought he gave me the Money to pay for the same, the Contract made by the Comptrollers, being by me assigned over to him. This, upon Re collection and Examination, is the Truth of that matter.'
We perceiving this Letter to be a Contradiction to the Deposition, apprehended the most probable Method of knowing the Truth, would be to send for Mr. Harnage, who is here said to be the Contractor. We accordingly summoned him, and the Effect of his Examination on Oath, was in a great Measure a Confirmation of the Fact, as it stands stated in the Letter. He deposed, 'That Sir Joseph Tredenham, and Arthur Moore Esq; Comptrollers of the Accompts of the Army, being appointed to contract for the Government with Persons to cloath the six French Regiments of Foot raised in 1706, under the Command of the Earl of Liffard, Count Paulin, Cout Francis Nassau D' Auverquerque, Monsieur Sibourg, Mons. De la Barth, and Mons. Montargis; That he proposed in the Name of himself and Mr. Churchill to undertake the same; but his Proposals were refused, and one Hallam (a Person he did not know) was accepted as Contractor; That Hallam some time after was recommended to him, to the best of his Remembrance, by the Comptrollers of the Accompts of the Army; that he was prevailed upon to furnish the Cloathing himself, and to imploy Hallam in buying some of the Clothes, that he was unwilling to do it, Hallam being a Man, as he was told, in mean Circumstances; that received on this Contract only Thirteen thousand six hundred and eleven Pounds, ten Shillings, besides One hundred Pounds given to Hallam for his Trouble, tho' he believes the Government paid several Thousand Pounds more, but does not know to whom; that he believes he had no Assignment of the Contract from Hallam, and that there was not any Instrument or Contract, but that entered in the Comptroller's Books; that to the best of his Remembrance, he and Mr. Churchill went to the Comptroller's Office, where the Comptrollers produced Mr. Hallam's Contract, out of which several Defalcations were made, and the Comptrollers agreed with them to furnish the Goods mentioned in the Contract for the remaining Sum, which was Thirteen thousand six hundred eleven Pounds, ten Shillings; that he was assured at the Pay-Office he should receive the Money, it being known there that he provided the Cloathing.
Mr. Churchill being named in this Deposition, we examined him likewise: But he said, 'That, on settling his Accompts, about three Years before with Mr. Harnage, with whom he had been concerned in cloathing other Regiments as well as these six, he had burnt all his Papers relating to these Accompts; that therefore he could only tell us in general, that he was concerned with Mr. Harnage in this Cloathing; that one Hallam, a Man he never saw, had first contracted for it with the Comptrollers of the Army, and that they took the Contract from him.'
The Case remained thus represented for some time, and your Commissioners had no further Opportunity of getting any further Information concerning it, 'till, on Inspection, into the Accounts of some Cloathings, we had Occasion to send (amongst others) for Mr. Moore himself, who gives the following Account of this Contract:
'That about March 1705, the Duke of Marlborough directed the Comptrollers of the Accompts of the Army to contract for Cloathing and Accoutrements for six French Regiments of Foot, which her Majesty had raised, or resolved to raise, and to lay the Proposal before the Lord Treasurer. The Comptrollers thereupon received Proposals from several Persons, and at the same time imployed some others to enquire the lowest Rates, at which such Goods might be furnished; and they particularly imployed in this Enquiry Mr. Richard Hallam, a Packer, who informed them, that the same might be done for ready Money at One thousand Pounds a Regiment cheaper than the usual Contracts, and very considerably cheaper than of any othe Proposals laid before the Comptrollers, although they offered to contract with the Proposers to be paid in one Month after the Delivery of the Goods. All which the Comptrollers laid before the Lord Treasurer, and had his Lordship's Directions thereupon. The Comptrollers received Orders for the Contractors to allow to each of the Colonels Three hundred Pounds, in regard so much more would be saved by this Way, than if they were themselves to contract as the other Colonels of the Army did. And in their Report to the Lord Treasurer they represented, That on the six Regiments there was at least Six thousand Pound saved, besides what was given to the Colonels, the Rates being compared with what was given by other Regiments at that Time for the like Cloathing and Accoutrements. The Comptrollers being desirous to shew what Service might be done by that Office, prevailed upon Hallam to execute the Contract, assuring him at the same Time, that the Goods should be furnished by some other Persons, whom the Comptrollers should appoint; and that they wou'd take Care that who ever performed the Contract should employ him in his Way of Trade, and gratify him for his Trouble. That after the Contract was signed the Comptrollers got Mr. Harnage and Mr. Churchill (who they knew had a very great Stock of such Goods on their Hands) to accept of the Contract; and they inform'd Mr. Hallam thereof, and that the Contract was to be for Mr. Harnage and Mr. Churchill's Use, and that they were to provide the Goods, receive the Money from the Government, and reward him for his Trouble. This, he says, upon inspecting the Comptroller's Books, is what he can recollect of this Matter, only that he is certain, the Comptrollers always imagined they had done the Government a very eminent Piece of Service in this Affair.
This Contract, we see, was at first undertaken by Order of the Duke of Marlborough, and afterwards concluded by the Direction of the Lord Treasurer Godolphin. But by what particular Warrant those noble Lords acted, does not appear to your Commissioners, and we cannot conceive them empowered by the General Authority of the great Posts they then enjoyed, thus to dispose of the public Money.
If we consider the Case in View, Mr. Hallam's Deposition puts it, we must always be of Opinion, that tho' there is no Charge of Bribery or Corruption, yet it is an irregular Practice, for any Person employed to contract for the Government, to be himself secretly concerned in such Contract on any Pretence whatsoever; because, could we suppose a Contract so made beneficial to the Public, there is an Appearance of Collusion, and a Ground to suspect what may not be true; which ought to be avoided by al Officers concerned in the Disposal of Public Money.
If we take it as explained by Mr. Harnage and Mr. Churchill, then there remains no Imputation on the Comptrollers of the Accompts of the Army: For they say, That they performed the Contract; that they received Thirteen thou sand six hundred and eleven Pounds, ten Shillings; that Hallam was their Agent.
If we allow Mr. Moore's Representation, he removes the chief Difficulty, which naturally occurs in this Case, That it was extraordinary the Comptrollers should accept Proposals from one unable to perform so great a Contract, and reject those offered by sufficient and wealthy Persons. He is so far from apprehending any Thing in the Transaction blameable, that he thinks the Method taken in employing Hallam was the very Occasion of reducing the Contract so low, and making it advantageous to the Government.
Besides the Thirteen thousand six hundred and eleven Pounds, ten Shillings, which Mr. Harnage is said to have received, we find there was paid by Hallam,
|To each Colonel||For his own Use —300 l.||1,800:||0:||0|
|For Cloathing his Servants, 208 l.||1,248:||0||0|
|For eighteen Colours||120:||0:||0|
|For Package and incident Charges||182:||8:||0|
Which Sums, with the Gratuity of One hundred Pounds given to Hallam, make up the Seventeen thousand sixty one Pounds, and eighteen Shillings, charged by Mr. Brydges in this Account.
'Tis not pretended these remaining Sums were under the Direction of Mr. Harnage, and therefore we are at a Loss to know whose Agent Hallam was in the Distribution of them; or by what Authority he made a Deduction (as Colonel La Barth swears he did) of Thirty-four Pounds from each Colonel in Consideration of prompt Payment; nor do there appear any Reasons why so much Countenance should be shewn to the Gratuities, given by Contractors to other Colonels on Cloathing their Regiments, by allowing such Sums to these Colonels in lieu thereof; as if those Gratuities were become legal and established Perquisites. Nor why the One hundred Pounds bestowed on Hallam, who was but a private Agent, should not rather have been paid out of the Profit of the Contract, whoever received it, than have been charged to the Public.
There is a Circumstance which seems very unintelligible, if we are to suppose, that Mr. Harnage executed the Contract, and that Hallam was only his Agent; 'tis that Hallam assigned over the Money due on this Contract to John Mead, Goldsmith, in Consideration of a competent Sum to him paid by the said Mead, who afterwards by Virtue of that Assignment, received the whole from Mr. Brydges. Now Mr. Harnage on a second Examination, hath deposed, 'That, to the best of his Knowledge, he never employed Mr. John Mead Goldsmith, deceased, as Agent for him at the Pay-office in receiving Money, on Account of any of the Cloathings, he hath been concerned in: Nor ever knew of any Assignment made to him on that Account; but Mr. Nathaniel Jackson was the Goldsmith he constantly employed.'
Mr. Mead being dead, we thought we had no other Way of explaining those Difficulties than by requiring his Widow and Executrix, to let us know whether it appeared by her Husband's Books, for whose Use the Money was received. But she desired to be excused from giving us any Satisfaction of that Kind. because it might be a Prejudice to her Affairs; and she thought herself only obliged to do it to those who had Accounts depending with her Husband. We cannot therefore draw any certain Inference from this State of the Fact, but must leave the whole to the House, who will best judge of the Nature of it, consider the Disagreement of the Evidence, and determine where the Proof lies.
But your Commissioners have a further Reason for relating this Matter at large, which is that we find by Mr. Brydges's Accompts, there hath been no more than Six thousand five hundred eighteen Pounds, nine Shillings, and seven Pence Farthing, repaid by the Off-reckonings of these Regiments, and that consequently there hath accrued a Loss to the Public of Ten thousand seven hundred and forty-three Pounds, eight Shillings, and four Pence three Farthings.
There are two Contracts for Cloathing Guiscard's Regiment of Dragoons, wherein Mr. Harnage and Churchill were likewise concerned, and wherein there is an Appearance of a Breach of Trust, and a great Expence brought upon the Government.
The first of these Contracts was made by the late Earl of Rivers, in behalf of her Majesty, with Mr. Harnage and Churchill for Six thousand seven hundred and twenty seven Pounds, which was to be advanced by the Public. Mr. Harnage declares on Oath, 'That in the Accompts of this Cloathing betwixt him and Mr. Churchill, there were One thousand Pounds, or Guineas, charged for a Gratuity, which Mr. Churchill, (who transacted the whole Affair) told him was given to the late Earl of Rivers, in consideration of their being admitted into that Contract.'
The other was made in 1708, by Mr. Le Bass, with the said Mr. Churchill and Harnage: For which Mr. Harnage deposes, 'There were likewise One thousand Pounds or Guineas charged in the Account thereof, as a Gratuity, which Mr. Churchill informed him were given to the Marquiss Guiscard; and also a farther Sum of One Hundred Pounds, or more, to Mr. Le Bass.
What we have to say on the first Contract is, That this Regiment being raised in June 1706, and reduced in July 1708, the Off-reckonings did not amount to near the Sum contracted for. But, notwithstanding this apparent Loss to the Public, a Warrant was obtained from her Majesty, countersigned by the Secratary at War in November 1708, for Payment of Seven hundred and seven Pounds, six Shillings, and four Pence, allowed for Interest till the whole Sum could be raised out of the Off-reckonings, which by this Warrant were continued for some Months, after the Reduction of the Regiment.
We make no Remarks on the Money given on this Occasion, because the noble Person, who received it, is since dead.
As to the second Contract, it is thus represented to your Commissioners by Mr. Le Bass, who hath deposed, 'That Mr. Churchill and Harnage sollicited the Secretary at War, to have his Name put into a Warrant, empowering him to contract for a full Cloathing for Guiscard's Regiment of Dragoons, commonly called Laffabriques, in the Year 1708, and to assign over the full two Years neat Off-reckonings for the same; that soon after he contracted with the said Mr. Churchill and Harnage for furnishing the said Cloathing; that he understood they gave Monsieur Guiscard Seven hundred Pounds (which Mr. Harnage says was a Thousand Pounds in Consideration of their being imployed in this Contract; they gave this Deponent about an hundred Pounds for making Use of his Name, and the Trouble he had on this Account.
Now it is submitted, whether it is not extraordinary, that a second Contract should be entered into before the first was satisfied, in Favour of a Foreigner, who, by his Religion, was incapable of being admitted into her Majesty's Service, and who, besides the Profits of this Regiment, received the Pay of a Major-General, with other great Advantages from the Public: Or whether this Power ought to have been granted to Mr. Le Bass on the Sollicitation of Mr. Churchill and Harnage, who were known to be the Persons intending to contract under it; or whether the Secretary at War (who recommended the Warrant to her Majesty and countersigned it) had not executed his Trust, with more Caution, at least if he had for that Reason declined doing it, since it was in Effect empowering them to contract with themselves?
Mr. Le Bass further deposeth, 'That in the Year 1708 or 1709, he promised Mr. James Taylor, chief Clerk to the then Secretary at War, that he would give him a Present in Case he was made Agent to the Regiment of Dragoons whereof Balthazar de Foisac was Lieutenant-Colonel, and to the several Regiments of Foot, whereof Constatine de Magny, John Trepaud, Anthony la Columbire, were LieutenantColonels; that afterwards he was appointed Agent by the major Part of the Field-Officers and Captains, and had a Warrant granted him and countersigned by the Secretary at War for confirming the same; that thereupon he, some time after, made the said Mr. Taylor a Present of Two hundred and fifty Pounds; that in the Year 1709, he procured a Warrant, countersigned also by the Secretary at War, for the Subsistence of several Officers in Guiscard's Regiment of Dragoons after it was reduced, and gave the said Mr. Taylor a further Gratuity of twenty or thirty Guineas, he does not remember whether.
Besides those already mentioned, Mr. Harnage and Mr. Churchill have been concerned in several Contracts made by Persons employed by the Government, amounting to the Sum of One hundred ninety thousand nine hundred fifty-five Pounds, nineteen Shillings and two-pence.
We pass over their Agreements with Colonels for Cloathing their particular Regiments, being very numerous, and not within the Intention of our present Representation.
We having Reason to believe, as well from the Prices allow'd in these Contacts with the Public, as from other Circumstances, that there were as considerable Gratuities given for obtaining them, as for those above-stated; we examined Mr. Harnage on Oath, and proposed the following Questions to him,
Whether any Money was given, and to whom, for procuring any of these Contracts?
Whether any Person or Persons were concerned with him except Mr. Churchill and Mr. Craggs?
Whether all the Money due on these Contracts were received?
Whether any Allowance was made for the Prompt Payment?
To which he declined making any immediate Reply, but desired Time to have Recourse to his Books, and some Days after brought the following Answer in Writing:
Richard Harnage faith, 'That he, having been concerned in great Variety of Dealings, and with great Variety of Persons cannot affirm any thing upon Oath that doth not appear in his Books, or some authentic Papers of Transactions. So long ago passed, and having no such Papers, cannot take upon him to charge any Person whatsoever to have had any Share of the Profit of any such Contract, except the Persons who were concerned with him; that he does not remember any Sum or Sums given for the procuring of any of those Contracts, or any Money brought to Accompt for that Purpose. The said Richard Harnage further faith, 'That he can say nothing positive concerning the Receipt of the Money, it being received several Hands, and that he never kept Accompt of it, neither hath any Papers that give him any Light into that Affair And he further faith, That he does not know of any Sum of Money given to any Person for Prompt Payment; and that he cannot of his own Knowledge say, that any Person was Partner in the said Contracts, but Mr. James Craggs, Mr. William Churchill, and himself.
This Answer seeming to be drawn up in general and uncertain Terms, particularly that Part where it is said, That he cannot take upon him to charge any Person whatsoever, to have any Share of the Profit of any such Contract, except the Persons who were concerned with him, we pressed him to explain that Sentence, and to declare whether any Persons besides those he called Partners, were concerned with him, or had any Share of the Profit: But he refused giving any other Answer than what was contained in the Paper here recited. We are unwilling to complain of any Disregard shewn to the Power reposed in us: but we think ourselves obliged to take Notice, that if Persons contracting with the Government, shall be permitted to refuse answering Questions, which may discover the real Considerations on which their Contracts are made, there will be no probability of detecting public Mismanagements for the future, and all Enquiries of this Nature will be rendered ineffectual.
We likewise summoned Mr. Churchill, but understood he had a little before left England, and not returning till after the Expiration of our Commission for taking the public Accompts, by Virtue whereof this Examination was begun, we have not proceeded further in it.
We have discovered some Instances (and have ground to believe there are many more not yet proved to us) of Cloathings which have been supplied out of her Majesty's Magazines to Regiments abroad, and for which no Accompt hath been rendered to the Public
The Instance that hath already come to our Knowledge is of a Cloathing delivered out of her Majesty's Stores in the Year 1708, to Colonel Bladen's Regiment in Portugal, by Order of the Earl of Galway.
John Philip de Claple, who hath been a Captain in this Regiment, from the Raising to the Reduction of it, deposes, 'That the Regiment received a full Cloathing from Colonel Bladen, which was taken out of her Majesty's Stores in Portugal, by the Earl of Galway's Order, though sent over thither for another Regiment, which were then Prisoners.'
We examined Mr. Edward Strudwick, who (we were informed) was concerned in this Affair, and he deposed, 'That Colonel Bladen's Father, desired leave to make Use of his Name in an Assignment, made by Colonel Bladen, bearing Date the 10 March, 1709 / 10, of the Off-reckonings of his Regiment, till the Sum of Two thousand eight hundred thirty nine Pounds, seventeen Shillings, and six Pence should be paid, which he granted; but never furnished any Cloathing, or received any Money, or gave any Receipts on Accompt of the the said Assignment, that he afterwards assigned over the said Assignment, and thinks it was to Colonel Bladen's Father.
We summoned the Colonel's Father, who confirmed the Truth of what Strudwick had sworn, and declared on Oath,
'That he knew no more of the Matter than that he sollicited at the Pay-office for the Money, and received Tallies, all which he gave to his Son.'
Thus it appears that an Assignment was made, and the Money actually paid by the Public; but we cannot find that a Cloathing was ever provided in Consideration thereof. On the contrary, it further appears (besides what is alledged in Capt. Clapie's Deposition) by the Accompts of Mr. Medlycott, Commissary of Stores in Portugal, that a great Quantity of all Species of Cloathing, except Serjeant's Coats and Waistcoats, were delivered to Mr. Treplien, for the Use of Colonel Bladen's Regiment, which if there was no other Proof, would entitle her Majesty to a Proportion, at least of the Off-reckonings assigned on this Accompt: For we have it on Oath, from seve ral Captains of this Regiment, that there was no more than one Cloathing delivered during the Time of Colonel Bladen's Command.
Nor does the Colonel himself give us any Satisfaction in this Matter: For in his first Representation of it, he takes no Notice of what appears by the above-mentioned Accompt, to have been delivered out of the public Magazines: But he says, 'He made an Assignment of the Off-reckonings for sixteen Months, amounting in Value, to the Sum of Two thou sand eight hundred Pounds or thereabouts, which said Sum has since been discharged in Candle-Tallies, and South-sea Stock; that, in Consideration of the said Assignment, he did cause a good and sufficient Cloathing to be delivered to the Regiment in Portugal; and having hereby, as he humbly conceived, discharged his Duty to the Queen and the Regiment, he did not keep any Papers by him, nor can he find any upon diligent Search, relating to the Particulars of the said Cloathing, that therefore he is entirely incapable of giving any Accompt of the Distinction between Species and Prices, because the said Cloathing, though made of English Manufactures, was almost all of it provided abroad.
On further Recol ection, he says, 'That he believes his Agent might receive out of the Stores at Lisbon, some remaining Part of a Cloathing that belonged to the Earl of Gallway's Spanish Regiment of Foot, who were then Prisoners. But that it is impossible for him to say what this Remainder consisted of, or whether his Agent paid for the same, because he is, since this Transaction, become a Bankrupt, and retired into a Convent for Protection, with his Regimental Papers in his Hands; and, though there are still Accompts depending between them, he hath not heard from him some Years. But he hath been inform'd, and does believe, that the said Spanish Regiment, when they were taken by the Enemy at the Battle of Caia, were about three hundred and fifty Men under Arms, compleatly cloathed, without accompting for those that might have deserted before that Day. He hath also been inform'd, and doth believe, that one of the Regiments of Dragoons, raised in Portugal after the Battle of Caia, was likewise cloathed out of the Remainder of the said Spanish Cloathing, before any Part thereof was deliver'd to his Agent. Therefore he does presume the Remainder, after these Deductions made, could not be very considerable. But he is ready to pay for whatever his Agent may have received in his Behalf from the Store-keeper, if the same be not already accompted for. He further adds, in Proof of his providing a Cloathing, that such Part of it as was provided in England, was bought of one Peter.
He hath also produced to your Commissioners a general Certificate from some Captains of his Regiment, to this Effect: 'That he did in the Year 1710 deliver to them, and to every Captain, a good and compleat Cloathing for each of their respective Companies; that, whilst they were under his Command, he did, upon all Occasions, do Justice to them, and to all the Officers and Soldiers in the Regiment.' This Certificate is signed, amongst others, by Captain de Clapie; but it does not contradict the Assertion in his Deposition, That the Cloathing was taken out of her Majesty's Stores in Portugal by the Earl of Galway's Order; for it is agreed on all hands, that a good and full Cloathing was furnished to the Regiment. But, as is said before, it does not appear that it was furnish'd at the Colonel's Expence, or consequently, that he had a Right to all the Money he hath received on this Accompt; especially when it is understood that Robert Peter (who is the Person said to have furnished that Part of the Cloathing which was bought here in England) hath sworn, that he never had any Dealings with the Colonel for more than the Value of two hundred nineteen Pounds nineteen Shillings; and that, in the Accompts thereof, we find several Articles no ways relating to the Use of the Regiment. As to that Part which is said to have been provided Abroad, we can observe nothing, but that there is no Proof of it; and how satisfactory the Reasons (given by the Colonel for his not being able to produce any Accompt) are, must be entirely left to the Determination of the House.
We have had another Irregularity in Cloathing under our Examination, which relates to Major General Handasyde's Regiment.
The Case is this: 'Mr. John Mac Colloch, in the Year 171 0 / 1, provided a full Cloathing for General Handasyde's Regiment, for which he received Three thousand and thirty Pounds. In the Year 171½ he contracted for half a Cloathing for the said Regiment, and had an Assignment of the Offreckonings amounting to sixteen hundred Pounds, which he paid to General Handasyd's Son, by Order of the General, but did not provide any Cloathing. In the Year 171⅔ he contracted for another full Cloathing for the said Regiment, and had an Assignment of the Off-reckonings, amounting to two thousand three hundred Pounds, or thereabouts, which he received, and paid also to the General's Son, though no Cloathing was then provided. But the same was altered, and he received five hundred and fifty Pounds for the Alterations; after which, part of the Cloathing was sent to Jamaica. But there are two hundred and forty Suits now remaining in England, which, with one hundred and thirteen more, are to serve for the Cloathing the said Regiment for the Year 1714.
Mr. Mac-Colloch hath sworn all these Particulars, and his Evidence is confirmed by the Oaths of Mr. Boulter, a Laceman, and of Mr. John Osheal, who was employed in making and altering these Cloaths.
'Tis further supported by Captain Robert Gardiner, who was empower'd by a Letter of Attorney from Major General Handasyd in February 170¾, to contract here for Cloathing his Regiment, and who gives this following Account on Oath, of his Transactions in this Affair, 'That, pursuant to his Authority, he made several Assignments of the Off-reckonings of this Regiment, to the Value of fourteen thousand six hundred sixty-eight Pounds, the last of which was made in April 1710, to Messieurs Man and Mac-Colloch, for three thousand and thirty Pounds, twelve Shillings and ten Pence; that he believes the Cloathing provided on this Assignment, was not sent over to Jamaica, but detained in England.'
These Facts are not contradicted by what the General says concerning the Cloathing of his Regiment. For he alledges, 'That some time since a Cloathing, which he expected from England for his Regiment in Jamaica, not coming thither, he bought a French Cloathing, which was taken off of Martinico by a Privateer. That he can give no particular Account of the said Cloathing, but he remembers that it was very bad, and did cost only ten Shillings a Coat and Breeches; that there were several Shirts, Shoes, Stockings, and Cravats, the Number of which he does not remember; that soon after a Cloathing arrived from England by the Packet-Boat, which he deliver'd to his Regiment.
But he can't swear to the Truth of these Circumstances, because he says, 'His Memory will not serve him to recollect whether the Cloaths were deliver'd in the Year 1710 or 1711; nor what the Quantity or Quality of them was, having had only a Sight of a Coat and Breeches, and they being deliver'd out at Port-Royal, fifteen Miles Distance from the Residence of the Govornor of Jamaica; which, at the Regiments coming home, when required, will be made appear: But that he would rather refund the Money, than take any Oath concerning this Matter.
From all these Accounts, it appears, that there hath been only one Cloathing (for the French Cloaths bought in Jamaica are not pretended to be worth much) provided for this Regiment; though there have been Assignments made to the Value of six thousand nine hundred and thirty Pounds.
Another Instance of Mismanagement in disposing of the Offreckonings of Regiments, is in that of Colonel Watkins. Mr. Potter, Agent to this Regiment, did, by virtue of a Letter of Attorney from Colonel Watkins, make an Assignment, dated the first of April, 1706, of two Years Off-reckonings (amounting to the Sum of three thousand nine hundred sixty Pounds, or thereabout) to Mr. Robert Peter, Clothier. The next Day Mr. Peter re-assigned the whole Assignment to Colonel Watkins. Some time after he furnished Cloaths to the Value of eight hundred twenty-three Pounds, and was paid for them by Mr. Potter. But he deposes, that he never received any other Sum on Account of Cloathing this Regiment; nor does Mr. Potter know of any other Cloaths furnished to it, during the time of Colonel Watkins's Command.
The Colonel made another Assignment, dated December 31, 1706, to Mr. Luke King, of the Off-reckonings of this Regiment, amounting to Eleven Hundred Seventy Eight Pounds, or thereabout. But Mr. King declares on Oath, 'That he never knew that any Cloaths were furnished to the Regiment; that his Name was only made use of in the Assignment; that by Colonel Watkins's Order, he transferred the Assignment to Mr. Jackson a Goldsmith, and only received Six-pence per Pound.' Nor can your Commissioners be informed, that any Cloaths were supplied, on this second Contract.
Colonel Watkins alledges for himself, 'That his Regiment never complained for want of Cloathing; that to the best of his Remembrance he took care, that every Man in his Regiment, should be furnished with Cloathing, according to the Custom of the Army: But that he can give no Account thereof, by Reason of the Distance of Time.
Since the Colonel pretends not to offer any Proof sufficient to confront or weaken the Evidence above-stated, we are left to suppose, that out of these two Contracts, he hath applied above Four Thousand Pounds to his own private Use.
These Particulars are only a few of the many Instances which might be given to the indirect Practises in cloathing the Army. But they are sufficient to prove, that the good Husbandry and Oeconomy, so much pretended to, in carrying on the late War, hath been as defective in this Article, as in any of the other public Expences.
This may be further demonstrated to the House, by an Account of the Cloathings furnished by the Public, for the Use of Her Majesty's Forces, which is as followeth.
By this Account the Government hath disbursed the Sum of 244,298 l. 18s. 7d. And your Commissioners have, notwithstanding what hath been said as to some particular Cases, Reason to believe, that the Contracts in general, pursuant to which it was paid, were not always made with the greatest Caution. But besides any Loss, which may have accrued by that Means, we find in the Accounts we have requir'd for our Information in this Matter, that there yet remains above Fifty thousand Pounds unanswer'd to the Public, even allowing the Sum of 66,990 l. 4 s. 2 d. chargeable to the King of Spain's Account, to go in Part of Repayment; which perhaps may be thought a Concession without Reason, when it is known, that there was no Treaty betwixt her Majesty and the present Emperor; and that the Sum annually granted by Parliament, for carrying on his Successes in Spain, cannot be consider'd as a Subsidy due to that Prince, but as Money voluntarily advanc'd; and which therefore was, or ought to have been under the same Management with the other Public Money given for that Service. There is not above the Sum of 87,689 l. 14 s. 9 d. ½, pretended to be accounted for by the Commissary of Stores.
As this is a considerable Loss to the Public, so it must have arisen from Mismanagement some where. For, if, on advancing these Sums, there was not a Prospect of repaying the Public, then it will be difficult to account why the Advances should ever be made, or why the Directions were given for making proper Deductions from the Regiments to whom they were deliver'd. If the Money was advanc'd on just Grounds and good Computations, then it is reasonable to suppose, had due Care been taken, that the Government could not have suffered so egregiously.
This Method of Cloathing at the Public Charge was one of the many exorbitant Expences, which attended the Spanish and Portugal War; and the Contracts for Corn, transported from Genoa, and other Places for that Service, have been likewise an excessive Burthen to the Public. But these latter Contracts have not yet been so distinctly laid before us, to enable us to state any Account thereof.
We are sensible it may be expected we should here offer some Observations on the Account of the Pay-mastergeneral, and we take leave to acquaint the House, that we have examined, with the best Care we could, those which are already laid before us. But, when it is understood that he hath not yet exhibited his final Account, nor Vouchers for any of his Payments further than the Year 1707, we humbly conceive it will be allowed, that few Remarks can be made, but such as may possibly admit of a full Answer, when this final Account, and all his Vouchers are produced, and such therefore as ought not to be offered to the House.
Mr. Brydges hath been frequently pressed for this final Account, and so lately as the 27th of February last, he gave the following Reasons why it cannot yet be made up, and laid before us.
'The final Account and Vouchers of some of the DeputyPay-masters abroad, being but very lately transmitted over, and some not yet arriv'd, and those Accounts return'd, not being yet fully examin'd, are the Reasons why my final Account for the eight Months ending the 24th of August, 1713, cannot yet be made up, and laid before the Honourable Commissioners of Public Accompts in the same particular Method, as my Accompts ending at Christmas, 1712, have been deliver'd in to them; so that what can be done at present, is to lay before the Commissioners my Cash Accompts, to the last Day of February, 1713, which will be ready in a few Days, in the same Method with those already deliver'd to them, to the 14th Day of September 1713.'
Feb. 27, 1713-14.
Nor can we receive better Satisfaction from the Accompts of the Deputy Pay-masters. For Mr. Morice being dead, we cannot take any Personal Examination relating to his Accompts, which were but lately laid before us, and in so very general a Manner, that little can be collected from them.
Mr. Mead (thro' whose Hands most of the Money remitted for the Spanish Service passed) hath exhibited his Accompts to us, without mentioning the Dates and Species of his Payments, which he declares on Oath, he cannot do, because several of them were made by Persons at a Distance from him, who return'd him no such Distinction. He further declares, He found no Necessity for keeping any such Accompt, not having any Instruction for that Purpose from Mr. Brydges. To supply this Defect, we desir'd a Sight of his Cash-Book, but he refus'd to submit it to our Examination, because, he says, it contains his own private Affairs, as well as the public Accompts.
However, though, for these Reasons, it is impossible for us to give a particular State of the Accompts of the Army, yet we conceive a general Computation of the Annual Epence on this Head, as well as on that of the Navy, for Twelve Years last past, may not be unacceptable to the House, in that it will give a View how heavy the Maintenance of the War was become to England, and howinsupportable the Continuance of it would have proved.
A State of the Expence of the late War.
Transports from the 21 of March 171½, to the 2d of March 171¾.
Tis obvious, that the Commencement of some of these Accompts precedes the actual Declaration of the War: But the Grand Alliance being then settled, we apprehend they must be allow'd as Part of the Expence.
Some of them are carried beyond the Time of the Determination of the War. But those Charges have been Consequences of it. The Troops in Flanders were continued there, pursuant to an Address of this House. The Ships in the Mediterranean have been employ'd in Services relating to the War. Many Payments made since have been in Consideration of what was perform'd during the War.
Besides the Arrears here mention'd to be due by Estimation, considerable Demands are every Day brought into the PayOffice, and more are expected.
In this Accompt is comprehended the whole Money issued to the Fleet and Army. But there ought to be a Deduction of the necessary Expence on those Heads in Time of Peace; and if it be computed for Twelve Years last past, according to the Establishments made since the War, it will amount to 12,930,461 l. 17s. 4d.
Your Commissioners take leave just to mention a Proceeding in relation to the buying and selling Commissions in the Army.
There is an Article in some Regulations of the Army, dated May 1,1711, directing, that on the Sale of any Commission, Twelve Pence in the Pound should be paid both by the Buyer and Seller, which Money was to be applied to increase the Fund for Maintenance of Chelsea-College.
This Money not being brought to the Accompt of the Hospital, we examin'd Mr. Francis Lyon, (who was appointed Receiver of it;) and he deposed, 'That he received 425 l. 7 s. 3d. on this Account, which he kept some Time in his Hands, but that, since our Enquiry, he had paid it to Mr. Merril for the Use of the Hospital:' He further said, 'He acquainted Mr. Merrill a Year since, that he had this Money in his Hands; which Mr. Merrill owns he did.'
Your Commissioners think it extraordinary, that this Practice of buying and selling Commissions, should receive so great Countenance, as to have a public Office erected for the transacting it. They further observe, that eighteen Colonels, who were all that appeared to have bought or sold Regiments during the Time this Regulation subsisted (which was from May 1, 1711, to April 1, 1712) were excused the Payment of this Twelve-pence in the Pound, by particular Warrants, and the Burthen fell on the inferior Officers only.
There have been general Directions given by the Treasury, that the Receivers of Taxes, and other public Officers, should transact their Affairs with the Bank of England.
By which Means the antient Method of paying Money in Specie into the Exchequer hath been much laid aside, and a great Part of the Revenue of the Kingdom receiv'd in BankNotes.
How far this new Practice may prove fatal to the Public, if the Bank shall ever be oblig'd, on any Exigency of the Government, to stop their Payments, we know not: But we are of Opinion, it is worthy your Consideration.
Your Commissioners were inform'd, that the Sufferers in the Islands of Nevis and St. Christophers had agreed to give considerable Præmiums for obtaining Relief from the Public for their Losses; and, on Enquiry into the Matter, we find, That in the Year 1709, Mr. James Campbell was employ'd by Mr. Stephen Duport, Agent for those Islands, to sollicit this Affair; That he was to have Two and a half per Cent. for all the Money the Sufferers should receive from the Public; and some Time after an Act passed for giving them One hundred and three thousand and three Pounds, eleven Shillings and Fourpence: That on the 3d of July, 1712, the greatest Part of the Agents for the Sufferers agreed to give him One per Cent. more: That in October, 1712, they came to another Agreement, which was to give him Five per Cent. more for all the Money receiv'd from the Public on this Account: If the Debentures should at any Time before the first of July, 1713, be sold for more than 76 per Cent. By which Increase the whole Præmium was advanc'd to Eight and a Half per Cent.
Whether Negotiations of this kind are allowable where Money is given by the Public, tho' for private Uses, we are not to determine: But this Matter being now under your Examination, we thought it not improper to mention this Circumstance.
There is a Transaction relating to the Customs in Scotland, whereby her Majesty hath been considerably defrauded; and so much as we have been able to discover thereof, we here lay before the House.
In the latter End of May, 1707, the three following Ships, (viz.) the Neptune of Glascow, the Eagle-Galley, and the May-Flower of Glascow, arriv'd in the Road of Greenock, loaded with Brandy from France; and the Ship, called the Recovery of Dowart, arriv'd likewise about the same Time on the West Coast of Scotland; but no Entry was made, or Customs paid, for any Goods on board the said Ships, though it appears that the same Goods were landed in Scotland.
But the Fact will be most fairly stated, and best understood by reciting the Substance of some of the Depositions taken on this Occasion.
Archibald Maclean, Tide waiter at Port Glascow, deposed, 'That he and another Waiter were sent by John Kaltsoe, Surveyor of the said Port, on board the Eagle, which he saw loaded with Brandy; That he went likewise on board the Neptune and May-Flower, which were then unladen, but was told by the Waiters on board that they had likewise been loaded with Brandy; that the said Deponent was order'd by Kaltsoe, a Surveyor, to continue on board the Eagle, till she arriv'd at the Isle of Man, or some Part of Ireland; that as soon as this Ship was under Sail, she begun to unlade into several Lighters, which came to her Side for that Purpose; and that the Deponent and the other Waiter were shut up, and kept in the Cabin during the Time of their unlading.'
William Semple and James Ronald deposed, 'That, being Waiters at Port Glascow, they were sent on board the Neptune by John Kaltsoe Surveyor, and were told by the Sailors, that she was loaded with Brandy from France; that they were threatned and commanded by the Master and Ship's Crew to betake themselves to the Cabin, where they were shut up and kept, during the Time the Goods were unloaded.' Semple further deposed, 'That whilst he was on board the Neptune, he saw several small Boats about the May-Flower and EagleGalley.'
Thomas Kennedy, Land-waiter at Port Glascow, deposed, 'That he saw several of the Lighters which transported the Brandy from the Eagle, Neptune, and May-Flower, in their Course from the said Ships, and coming into the Key of Port Glascow; that James Thompson, Master of one of those Lighters, which carried the Goods from the said Ship to Port Glascow, told this Deponent that he was loaded with Brandy from one of the said Ships, and produc'd to this Deponent a Permit for the same, sign'd by Daniel Campbell, then Collector at Port Glascow; that he was told by Robert Robinson, that he, and others concerned in the Goods of the said Ships, had agreed to pay ten Pounds per Ton for the said Brandy, and that he the said Robinson, had actually paid to the said Campbell, above five hundred Pounds in Money and Brandy, for the Duties of the said Robinson's Share of the said Cargoes.'
The said Semple and Ronald likewise deposed, 'That, while they were Aboard, they saw in the Cabin of the Neptune several Blank Permits, signed by Daniel Campbell, Collector at Port Glascow.' And the said two Deponents, as also the aforesaid Maclean, declared, 'That, after they returned ashore from the said Ships, their superior Officer demanded no Account of them, nor did they pretend to make any, believing that their superior Officers at that Port were in the Knowledge of, and conniv'd at, what had happen'd with Respect to the unlading the Neptune and Eagle Galley. But that the said three Deponents and another Waiter having been turn'd out of their Offices on that Account, applied to the said Daniel Campbell for some Acknowledgment of their Services, that the said Campbell referr'd them to Richard Murray his Clerk, for an Answer, who gave to each of the said Four, ten Pounds over and above their Salaries, which Sum was never demanded of them till the Morning on which the said Deponents made this Depostion, that the said Murray then told them, they must repay it to him.'
Robert Noble, Tidesman at Port Glascow, deposed, 'That he knew the greatest Part of the Ship Neptune, and all her Cargoe, did belong to the said Daniel Campbell and his Partners: That he had the Management and Direction of the same; that he believes the said Campbell signed Permits for unloading the Cargoes of the aforesaid four Ships; that he had seen one of the said Permits.'
William Gillhagie Merchant, in Glascow, deposed, 'That Daniel Campbell was Proprietor of the Neptune; that he the Deponent had a Share of the Cargoe with Thomas Smith, Merchant in Glascow, and others; that he knew of no Money that was paid for Customs; but that Thomas Smith and Thomas Clark, as Managers of the Neptune's Cargoe, detain'd from those concern'd, a large Quantity of Brandy, which he believes was for the most Part for Daniel Campbell's Use,' This Deponent, Arthur Park, and John Hill Merchants, further deposed, 'That they had seen several Transires sign'd by Daniel Campbell for the Brandy of the said Ships.'
William Miller, Collector at Fort William, deposed, 'That he heard Thomas Clark, Merchant in Glascow, say in a public Company, that fifty Pieces of Brandy of the Neptune's Cargoe were set apart for a particular Person's Use; and, as a Fund for the common Charges in getting the Brandy landed, that he heard the said Clark acknowledge that he had sold a Parcel of Brandy to a considerable Value, and taken Bills and other Security for the Money, payable to Daniel Campbell, Collector at Port Glascow, or to the said Clark for Cambell's Use.' The aforesaid Kennedy further deposed, 'That he heard some of the Merchants, concern'd in Cargoes of the said Ships, exclaim against the said Daniel Campbell for having exacted the Duties, and not accompted for the same to Her Majesty; that they threaten'd to sue him for Recovery thereof; that when Sir Robert Dixon, one of the Commissioners of the Customs, came to Port Glascow to enquire about the unlading the Ships, (which made a great Noise in the Country) this Deponent was informed, that the said Daniel Campbell sent two Waiters in all Haste to the Isle of Bute (where the Ships had sail'd after unlading) to give Notice thereof to the Masters of the said Ships, and to advise them in all Haste to sail out of the Kingdom, lest their Ships should be arrested.' The said Semple and Ronald deposed, 'That whilst they were at Anchor at the Isle of Bute, one Duncan Mackarty came on board the Neptune with a Letter to Dugal Campbell, the Master, and immediately, on the Receipt of this Letter, the Neptune, Eagle, and May-Flower, weigh'd Anchor and sailed, and the Deponents, and other Customhouse Officers, were dismissed, and sent ashore.' The said Ronald further deposed, 'That the said Dugall Campbell, Master of the Neptune, told him, That this Letter was from Daniel Campbell, Collector at Port Glascow, and gave Occasion to their immediate Sailing.
By other Depositions (which with those above abstracted, your Commissioners are ready to produce to the House) it appearing that the said Ships were laden with Brandy, which was landed in Scotland without paying any Duties; that Thomas Smith, Merchant in Glascow, was, with others, concern'd in the said Brandy on board the Ship Neptune; that he was employ'd in over seeing the unlading the Brandy in the Neptune and Eagle, and hiring Lighters for Transporting the same: We examin'd him on Oath, Whether the Ship Neptune arriv'd at the Time aforesaid, and brought any Brandy into Scotland? What Duty was paid, and to whom, for the Goods in the said Ship? Whether any Part of the said Goods were sent from Scotland to London? Whether any Transires were granted importing the Payment of the Duties, and what those were? He refused to give us any Satisfaction, and said he did not apprehend himself obliged, to answer such Questions.
We likewise examin'd Mr. Daniel Campbell, Collector at Port Glascow; and in answer to a general Question about the Arrival of those Ships, he swore, That he knew nothing of any Goods which were landed out of them in any Port either in North-Britain or South-Britain.
But being further interrogated, Whether he knew of any Brandy or other Goods landed out of those Ships, or brought into the Port of Glascow by any Lighter or other Vessel from on board them, between the first of May, 1707, and the first of August following, he declin'd answering so particular a Question.
Tis humbly submitted whether these Depositions are sufficient to prove, that the Brandy on board the Ships was landed without paying any Duties! And whether they do not charge Mr. Campbell with an high Breach of Trust in agreeing for Ten Pounds per Ton, and detaining the same for his own, and his Partner's Use.
We presume not to offer any other Remarks on this Fact, than, that if we suppose the Ships to be fully loaden, as it is most probable they were, the Quantity of Brandy would amount to about Three hundred and forty Ton.
That had it been seized, the Duties (as French Brandy) would have amounted to Twenty-eight thousand one hundred eighty-six Pounds or thereabouts.
Your Commissioners have been entirely disabled from stating the Debts due to the Army, and have only employed themselves in some previous Examinations, which would have been useful to them, could Mr. Brydges have sworn to the Accompts of the several Regiments under his Care of Payment. But being required to do it, he still insists on the Reasons given us the last Year, and declares on Oath, 'That, for want of Muster-Rolls, and Establishments, he cannot yet attest the Credits of any one Regiment.
We represented these Difficulties to Parliament in a former Report, and a Clause was brought into a Bill, in order to remove them, by directing the Payment of the Arrears, accord ing to such Establishments or Warrants, as had been or might be made by by her Majesty, and such Muster-Rolls as could be obtained, and were Muster-Rolls were wanting, according to the Lists of Effectives, to be attested on Oath. But this Clause not passing, the Inconveniencies still remain, and it is again submitted to the House in what manner they are to be remov'd.
Your Commissioners can only say, That, in the present Circumstances, the Accompts of the Army can never be regularly made up; nor could your Commissioners, appointed for that Purpose, proceed to any Determinations with Certainty or Justice, as will be evident to those, who will be pleased to consider the Nature of their Commission.
12 April, 1714.
This Report, (with other Papers, laid at the same Time before the House) was orderd to lie on the Table.