Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 18, 1705-1709. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Martis, 17 Februarii.
Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales præsentes fuerunt:
Scots Peers, Bill to settle the Method of returning:
Clause to settle Method of Trial of Peers, for Crimes committed in Scotland.
Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lord Chief Justice of Her Majesty's Court of Queen's Bench and the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, who are to prepare, and bring in a Bill, for settling the Return of Peers from the North Part of Great Britain called Scotland to the Parliament of Great Britain, do also prepare a Clause for settling the Order and Method for the Trial of Peers, for Crimes committed in the North Part of Great Britain called Scotland."
Killingworth & all Leave for a Bill.
After reading, and considering, the Report of Mr. Justice Gould and Mr. Baron Price, to whom was referred the Petition of Mrs. Killingworth and others, praying Leave to bring in a Bill, for the Purposes in the Petition mentioned:
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Petitioners have hereby Leave to bring in a Bill, according to the Prayer of the Petition.
Bettsworth's Report re referred.
After reading, and considering, the Report of Mr. Justice Tracy and Mr. Baron Smith, to whom was referred the Petition of Peter Bettsworth Esquire, praying Leave to bring in a Bill for the Purposes in the Petition mentioned:
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Report shall be, and is hereby, re-referred to the same Judges, to take Care that the Order of this House, of the Sixteenth of February One Thousand Seven Hundred and Five, be fully complied with.
Upon reading the Petition of Sir Joseph Alston Baronet and Dame Elizabeth Alston Widow; praying "That the Hearing of their Appeal, appointed this Day, may be respited:"
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Petition shall be, and is hereby, rejected.
Whereas this Day was appointed, for hearing of the Cause wherein Sir Joseph Alston Baronet and Dame Elizabeth Alston Widow are Appellants, and Mary Alston Widow and others are Respondents:
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear the said Cause, by Counsel, at the Bar, on Friday next, at Eleven a Clock.
Wool'en Cloths, dressing and dying, Bill.
Whereas this Day was appointed, for the House to be in a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for encouraging the dying and dressing of Woollen Cloths within this Kingdom, by laying a Duty upon Broad Cloth exported White;" and also the Bill, intituled, "An Act for the Exportation of White Woollen Cloth:"
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House shall be put into a Committee upon the said Bills; on Thursday next, at Eleven a Clock.
Robinson versus Fugill.
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear the Cause wherein Jane Robinson and others are Appellants, and Jonathan Fugill Respondent, on Monday the First Day of March next, at Eleven a Clock in the Forenoon.
Land Forces, &c. for recruiting, Bill.
The House (pursuant to Order) was adjourned during Pleasure, and put into a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for the better recruiting Her Majesty's Land Forces and the Marines, for the Service of the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eight."
After some Time, the House was resumed.
And the Lord Herbert reported, "That the Committee had gone through the said Bill; and think it fit to pass, without any Amendment."
Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for the better recruiting Her Majesty's Land Forces and the Marines, for the Service of the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eight."
The Question was put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"
It was Resolved in the Affirmative.
Ordered, That the Commons have Notice, the Lords have agreed to the said Bill, without any Amendment.
Second Report concerning Merchants Pet. complaining of Losses for Want of Cruizers and Convoys; L. High Admiral's Answer to the former Report; and Papers from the Admiralty, Navy Board, Commissioners of Sick and Hurt, &c.
The Duke of Bolton reported from the Lords Committees appointed to consider of the Merchants Petition, in Behalf of themselves and others, Traders of the City of London, to whom was referred the Consideration of the Report made the Seventeenth Day of December last, and the Papers referred to therein, and the Answer of the Lord High Admiral put in to the said Report, and the other Papers to which the said Answer refers; as also all other Papers received from the Lord High Admiral, Commissioners of the Navy, and Commissioners of the Sick and Wounded, relating thereunto, in order to make their Observations or Remarks upon the said Papers, and also their Opinion or Opinions thereupon.
Which Report, being read by the Clerk, was agreed to by the House, and is as follows; (videlicet,)
"In relation to the First Head of the Answer, which is conceived in general Terms, without being applied to any of the Particulars in the Merchants Complaints, some Things seem proper to be taken Notice of.
"1. The Answer says, "That all the Instances mentioned in the Report are in the latter Years of Her Majesty's Reign."
"The Lords Committees observe, "That an Address of the House of Lords, presented to Her Majesty in the Year 1704, did lay before Her the heavy Losses of the Merchants, which had happened for Want of Cruizers and Convoys for the Home-trade.
"Soon after the presenting of that Address, Sir George Bing and Sir John Jennings were sent out to cruize, and continued cruizing till the October following; during which Time, the English Ships were well protected, and many of the Enemy's Privateers taken; and the Lords hoped there would have been no further Occasion of Complaints from the Merchants. And all the Losses contained in the Report now before the House have happened since that Care was laid aside.
"2dly, It does appear, by the Papers sent to the House from the Lord High Admiral, That, in the Year 1706, the highest Complement of the Ships employed in The Mediterranean (supposing them manned to that Complement) did not exceed 17,373 Men; and in the Year 1707, the highest Complement of the Ships employed there did amount only to 15,590 Men; and therefore, notwithstanding that Part of the Fleet which was made Use of there in both these Years, yet about 23,000 Men of the Numbers provided for by Parliament remained, for the necessary Service of guarding and protecting the Coasts and Trade; so that it seems not possible, that the keeping those Squadrons in The Mediterranean could be the Occasion of the Cruizers and Convoys being so weak and few, and the Coast so ill-guarded.
"3dly, The Strength of Convoys is to be proportioned to the present Circumstances of the Enemy, as far as Intelligence can be had: And the many Instances mentioned by the Merchants, of Convoys attacked to our Disadvantage, shew, by Experience, that most of our Convoys have been too weak.
"The Second Head of the Answer is also general. But the Lords Committees observe, That the great Ships are the Strength of the Line of Battle; and if more First and Second Rates had been employed in The Mediterranean, instead of so many Third and Fourth Rates and smaller Ships, a much greater Number of Ships proper for Convoys and Cruizers, for the Protection of Trade in The Channel and Soundings, would have remained free for those Services; or, if there was found to be a real Want of such Ships, timely and proper Application might have been made to the Parliament, who have ever been forward in providing for the Security of Trade; and, in the mean Time, Ships might have been hired, as has been often done, rather than the whole Coast should continue in a Manner besieged by the Enemy's Men of War and Privateers without Interruption.
"2. The Want of Seamen is too well known, which proceeds principally from the many Hardships they suffer. The constant Practice now in Use, in turning over or removing them from Ship to Ship is, of all others, the greatest Discouragement: And though the paying them, at the same Time they are turned over, may have a fair Appearance; yet that being generally done when they are aboard, it tempts the Seamen to extravagant Expences, and proves, in Conclusion, the utter Ruin of their Families.
"3. Many of the Inconveniencies mentioned in this Paragraph of the Answer could hardly ever happen, in case an early Distribution was made of proper Ships for Convoys, and the Time of their Departure fixed; whereas, very frequently, Ships are appointed, when they are at Sea, and it is unknown in what Condition they will return. The Merchants say, "That this Year, One of the Convoys named for the Jamaica Trade was at that Time in The Sound."
"The Answer says, "The Queen's Ships have as often stayed for the Merchants, as they for their Convoys; of which One Instance is given in the Paper marked (A.) The Fact may be so sometimes; but the Case mentioned in the Paper is not of that Sort; for there the Merchants Ships were lying in The Downs, together with The Assistance and Dunkirk Prize, Two of the Ships of Captain Kerr's Squadron, and were ready to sail; and did sail with them to Spithead, where the rest of the Squadron lay: And though it be asserted, "That Mr. Kerr's Ships were ready the 18th of February at Spithead;" yet it appears that his Instructions do not bear Date till the 3d of March 170 6/7;.
"As to the Third Head, relating to the Want of Cruizers: The Lords Committees observed, That it is not the appointing Cruizers Yearly, which will protect Trade; but the careful and strict Observation, that the Ships appointed for that Purpose do cruize accordingly.
"Whereas it appears, in the Account of the Disposition of the Fleet laid before the House of Lords, that no Ship was cruizing in The Soundings and Channel, in the Months of June, July, August, and September last; in which almost all the Gallies and Homeward-bound Ships, whose Loss is so heavily com plained of by the Merchants, were taken or destroyed.
"In relation to the arbitrary Proceedings of the Captains of the Queen's Ships of War, in impressing Seamen out of the Merchant Ships in The West Indies, as also upon their Return to the Ports of Great Britain; the Fourth Paragraph of the Answer says, "If any such Thing has been done, it is contrary to Orders, and has never been complained of without a proper Redress." Upon reading this Passage, the Lords Committees summoned Mr. Coward, (to whose Complaint principally that Part of the Answer related:) Who attending, and being examined as to the Matter of Fact, made Oath, "That he had often complained to the Prince's Council of these great Hardships, and begged Relief from them, before he applied to the House of Lords; That he could mention many other Instances of the ill Usage he had suffered in the same Kind.
"That, Year after Year, from the Beginning of the War, not One of his Ships had escaped having Men pressed out of them; both at Jamaica and upon their Return (if there then was a Press); except such as had run through all Danger into The Downs, and so got to London."
"In particular, he swore, "That he had complained to the Prince's Council, of Captain Johnston impressing his Men out of The Somerset Frigat; and Captain Roche's impressing his Men out of The Walthamstow Galley, as also of the taking away his Men out of The Gold Frigat, and produced to the Prince's Council the Evidence he had of these several Facts; but could not learn that any of the Captains were punished or censured, or so much as once called to an Account, for their Violences."
"He also swore, "That all the Captains he had employed to The West Indies have declared to him, That they who impressed his Men at Jamaica never shewed any Authority or Consent from the Governor for so doing:" And he affirmed, he was ready to produce many Captains, who would swear the same Thing."
"He said, "If such Orders are given as is asserted in the Answer, the Prince's Council well know, by the frequent Complaints of him and others, they are not observed, either at Jamaica or at Home."
"In the Sixth Paragraph of the Answer, which relates to the Loss of the Lisbon Fleet under the Convoy of The Swistsure and Warspright, it is stated in this Manner: "This Convoy had the Misfortune to fall in with Seventeen Ships of the Enemy's, which were going directly from Brest to The West Indies, and by the greatest Chance imaginable met them in their Passage."
"And in the Paper marked (C.), (to which the Paragraph refers) after reciting an Account given by the Captain of The Swiftsure of this Action, and that most of the Merchants Ships escaped; the Paper (C.) proceeds thus, "That as there was not any previous Notice of this Squadron of the Enemy's Ships; so if a greater Strength had been added to this Convoy (which was not then to be had), it would have been but of little Advantage, against such a Number of the Enemy's Ships."
"This seems so strange a Representation of this Affair, that it is necessary to lay before the House the true Matter of Fact, as it appears upon a careful Examination of it by the Lords Committees.
"First, As to the Assertion, "That there was no previous Notice of this Squadron of the Enemy's:"
"The Lords Committees refer to the Advices concerning the French Shipping, sent to the Admiralty from the Secretaries of State the last Year (which Advices are now lying before the House); particularly to an Extract of a Letter from Mr. Secretary Harley's Office, dated at Rotterdam, the 7th of February; New Stile, and sent to Mr. Burchett the First of February, O. S. giving an Account of the Squadron of the Ships then lying at Brest; and another from the Earl of Sunderland's Office, dated at Paris, the Fourth of February, N. S. and seut to Mr. Burchett the same First of February, O. S.; as also to another Letter from Brest, of the Third of February, N. S. sent from the Earl of Sunderland's Office to the Admiralty the Fourteenth of February, O. S. giving a particular Account of the same Squadron, and the Strength of it, and that it was ready to sail; and to another, dated at Brest, of the Fourteenth of February, N. S. sent from Mr. Secretary Harley to the Prince's Council the Fourteenth of February, O. S. to the same Effect.
"Secondly, As to the Assertion, "That there was then no greater Strength to be had;" it is to be observed, That a Dutch Fleet of Nine Men of War; under the Command of Admiral Vandergoes, had lain for some Time at Portsmouth, and sailed from thence the very same Day that Captain Griffiths, who commanded this Convoy, sailed in The Swiftsurs from the same Place.
"If Orders had been given to Captain Griffiths to have kept Company with the Dutch Squadron, there had been a sufficient Strength to have saved all the Ships under his Convoy: But it appeared, by the Examination of Mr. Jacob Henckell, Mr. William Wood, Captain Francis Cooke, and Captain Edward Smith, Two Masters of the Merchants Ships which went under his Convoy; and also by a Letter of Captain John Hunt, another Master, dated from Dinant, where he then was a Prisoner, "That Captain Griffiths was guilty of divers most unaccountable Delays off of Plimouth, and thereby lost the Advantage of keeping the Dutch Fleet Company."
On the 22d of February, Captain Griffiths made a Signal of seeing Seven Ships, and afterwards or seeing Seventeen; but, instead of making the best of his Way from them, he lay by with an easy Sail (not suffering any of the Merchants to go a-head of him), till those Ships came within Gun-shot (although he could not but discern them not to be English Ships long before; and if they had been English, he had no Occasion to speak with them). When those Ships were come so near, they put out French Colours; and thereupon the Two Men of War, The Swiftsure and Warspright, made all the Sail away they possibly could, leaving the Merchants Ships, and Ships with Provisions for Spain and Portugal, which Captain Griffiths had under his Care, to shift for themselves; and of 18 Merchants Ships that were in the Company, 13 were taken; so that most of them did not escape, as is asserted in the Answer.
"It was also proved, That these French Ships were cruizing, and not going directly to The West Indies as the Answer asserts; and that they kept cruizing all together about Nine Days after this Action, and then sent their Prizes, with Five of their Men of War, into Brest; and the rest of the Men of War continued cruizing about 14 Days longer, and then they also returned to Brest.
"It was further proved, "That the Letter wrote from Dinant, by Captain John Hunt, complaining of Captain Griffiths' Behaviour, was, by Sir Edmund Harrison and Mr. Henckell, laid before the Prince's Council; who told them, "They had been informed of the Matter before; and were sending Directions to Lisbon, to have Captain Griffiths tried." To which Sir Edm'd Harrison then objected, "That such a Trial must signify very little, since no Evidence could be had against him at that Place."
"Notwithstanding, there was an Order sent, in April last, for trying Captain Griffiths at Lisbon, at a Court Martial. The Lords Committees, having desired to know what was done upon that Order, have been since informed, by a Paper dated from the Admiraltyoffice, to this Effect, "That he was tried accordingly; and it is presumed he was acquitted, because he was continued in his Command; but the Result of the Court Martial is not sent to that Office, and he who acted as Judge Advocate at the Trial is since drowned." The same Paper goes on to say, "That the Trial was at the Desire of the Merchants, because there was no Evidence against him at Home:" Whereas it is observed before, "That Sir Edmund Harrison told the Prince's Council, "There would be no Evidence against him, if he was tried at Lisbon."
"The Ninth Paragraph of the Answer relates to the Loss of The Hampton Court and Grafton Men of War, which, together with The Royal Oak and the Merchants Ships under their Convoy, sailed from The Downs the First of May last.
"The Answer affirms, "That notwithstanding what Mr. Dawson swore before the Lords, "That he was told at the Admiralty-office, the 29th of April last, that the Dunkirk Squadron was gone Westward;" yet there was no Notice at that Time of the Dunkirk Squadron, otherwise than that they were in the Flemish Road; wherefore the Three Men of War, One of Seventy-six, and the other Two each of Seventy Guns, were judged a sufficient Convoy from The Downs to Spithead."
"Mr. Dawson, being ordered to attend the Lords, and acquainted with what was charged upon him, did again affirm, upon Oath, "That the Governor and Committee of the Muscovia Company, of which he was One, attended the Prince's Council on Tuesday the 29th of April last, to know what Convoy was appointed for that Trade. And being told, by the Prince's Council, "That One Fourth and Two Fifth Rates would be their Convoy:" The Governor and Committee represented their Fears of Danger from the Dunkirk Squadron; but were then told from the Board, "They need be under no Apprehension on that Score, for the Dunkirk Squadron was gone Westward."
"He also mentioned many Circumstances, which made him so very positive as to the Time; and observed, "That if the Committee had been told at the Board, that the Dunkirk Squadron was then in Flemish Road, it was so far from being an Argument to persuade them to acquiesce with so small a Convoy, that it must have increased their Fears; that Station being equally proper for the Squadron to fail either to the Northward or Westward."
"Sir Benjamin Ayloff, Governor of the Muscovia Company, and Five of the Committee of the same Company; (videlicet,) Mr. Randolph Knipe, Mr. Henry Phill, Mr. Josiab Wadsworth, Mr. Thomas Stile, and Mr. Samue Heathcot, did also severally depose, "That they did attend the Prince's Council the 29th Day of April last; and then were told from the Board, "That the Three Ships, designed for them, were sufficient for their Security; because the Dunkirk Squadron was gone Westward." And Four of them; (videlicet,) Sir Benjamin Ayloff, Mr. Wadsworth, Mr. Stile, Mr. Phill, swore, they believed Admiral Churchill was the Person that told them so; but as to this Particular, they were not so positive.
"This Matter of Fact being directly proved by so many Persons of unquestionable Credit; the Lords Committees think, that, by the Reasoning used in the Answer, the Prince's Council could not judge the Three Men of War a sufficient Convoy, and consequently ought not to have suffered them to sail Westward on the First of May; especially considering that, from Time to Time, Notice had been sent to the Admiralty-office, from both the Secretaries of State, of the Strength of the Dunkirk Squadron; and when it is so fully proved, that they owned, "They had Notice that Squadron was gone Westward."
"The 10th Paragraph of the Answer relates to the Complaint of the Merchants, touching the Russia Ships.
"The Instructions to Sir William Whetstone, of the 10th of June last, take Notice, "That the Dunkirk Squadron was gone Northward; and that there was Reason to believe, they were designed for the Coast of Norway; and that they would look out for, and endeavour to intercept, the Fleet bound to Russia for Naval Stores; which made it absolutely necessary, that the Convoy to that Trade should be strengthened. And he is thereby directed, "To proceed, with all the Merchants Ships under his Convoy, as far as the Northermost Part of the Isle of Shetland, and there to leave them to prosecute their Voyage, with their proper Convoy."
"The Lords make this Observation, That, after such Intelligence, it appears very reasonable, that Sir Wm. Whetstone's Orders should have been, to see a Fleet of such Consequence out of Danger before he left them.
"The Lords Committees do think it necessary to inform the House, that Captain Nenion Masters, Commander of the Ship Nenyon and Benjamin, made Oath, "That, on or about the Ninth Day of July last, his Ship, together with about Eleven or more English Ships, were unfortunately taken, in their Voyage to Arch-Angel, by the Chevalier Fourbin's Squadron, consisting of Seven French Ships of War; that his Ship was the First taken, and he was immediately carried on Board Monsieur Fourbin, who demanded of him what Number of Convoys the English Fleet bound for Arch-Angel had with them;" he answered, "Twelve Sail." To which Fourbin replied, "He spake what was false, for there were only Three Ships of War Convoy to the English Fleet;" Fourbin then declaring, "That he knew Admiral Whetstone, with his Squadron, came with the Fleet no farther than the Isle of Shetland, and then returned back again."
"As to the 11th Head of the Answer, respecting the Merchants Complaint of the Weakness of the Convoy sent for conducting the King of Portugal's Horses, and the Trade to Lisbon; the Lords Committees do only make this Observation, That the Fleet having lain at Spithead for many Months, whereby the Enemy had an Opportunity of knowing the Value and Consequence of it; and Notice being taken in the Orders to Captain Edwards, of the 7th of September, 1707, of a Squadron of the Enemy's Ships cruizing betwixt Scilly and Ushant;" and Notice being also taken in the Orders of the Sixth of October, to Sir John Leake, "That Monsieur Fourbin was sailed from Brest with several Ships, and was to be joined with others;" it seems very unaccountable that at last such a Fleet should be suffered to sail without a greater Strength. The 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Paragraphs of the Answer relating principally to the former Deposition of Mr. Jacob Henckell; the Lords Committees ordered him to attend again, and he was further examined, in relation to the Facts mentioned in the Answer.
"He desired to observe, "That the 13th Paragraph made him say what was not in his Deposition; for he did not say the Corn Ships were ready to sail in July and August, but that a great Quantity of Corn was bought in those Months."
"If any Thing was concerted at The Hague, that the Ships of The States General should call at Spithead to take our Merchant Ships under their Convoy, it was strange no Notice should be given of so good an Agreement, that so the Merchants might have disposed their Affairs for taking the Benefit of it; especially when he and the other Corn Merchants very frequently applied to the Prince's Council, to know when they might expect a Convoy.
"As to what is said of the great Number of Convoys which have gone between England and Portugal, since April 1703, whereas the Dutch have seldom sent above One Convoy in the Year; and the Inference made from thence, that therefore it is not probable the King of Portugal's Magazines and Armies should be furnished from Holland:
"Mr. Henckell still affirmed the Fact to be so as he had formerly sworn; and that, at the very Time of his Examination, the Portuguese have great Quantities of Corn shipped in Holland. And though the Dutch have not sent so many Convoys as have gone from England, yet they go at certain and proper Times, by Reason whereof their Corn arrives in a good Condition; whereas the unaccountable Delays and Uncertainties of the English Convoys have been the Occasion of great Losses to our Merchants, and great Disappointments to the Portuguese.
"He also took Notice, "That, of the many Convoys enumerated in the Answer, several of them were Fleets or Squadrons of Men of War, of which the Merchants had no Notice, nor were allowed to have any Benefit, as appeared by the 14th Head of the Answer, relating to the Fleet that sailed with Sir Cloudesly Shovell."
"In the 14th Head of the Answer, much Weight seems to be laid upon this, "That The Nassau did not arrive at Spithead till the Twentieth of October; whereas Mr. Henckell, in his Complaint, had sworn The Nassau came to Spithead the Eighteenth at Night, the same Day the Convoy sailed from thence." To clear himself, Mr. Henckell produced Two original Letters, signed by Cornelius Collies his Captain, written from Portsmouth; the One dated the 19th of October, which says, "The Nassau came too late for the Convoy, but was at that Time at Spithead;" and the other dated the 25th, which says expressly, "The Nassau came to St. Hellens the same Night the Lisbon Fleet sailed." Mr. Henckell affirmed also, "That he had other Advices, which fully verified what he had said in his former Deposition, as to The Nassau's arriving the 18th at Spithead."
"Mr. Henckell further said, "That the Convoy mentioned in that Paragraph of the Answer, consisting of Four Ships of War, which is there said to have sailed the 18th of June, does appear by the Paper marked F. (to which the Paragraph refers) to be a Convoy that sailed from Portugal that Day, and so does not contradict what the Merchants had insisted on in their Complaint, that there was no Convoy for Portugal between March and October; a Homeward-bound Convoy being mistaken in the Answer for an Outward-bound Convoy; and consequently it was no Contradiction to what the Merchants had affirmed. And though in the 16th Paragraph of the Answer it be asserted, "That the Three Ships appointed for Convoy to the Portugal Fleet were at that Time thought a sufficient Convoy;" Mr. Henckell swears, "The Prince's Council (by the Reasoning of the Merchants before them) was convinced of the contrary at the Time the Convoy was sent, and did then pretend no other Reason for their not strengthening it but Want of Ships." And he desired to refer particularly to the Remonstrance of the 10th of October last, which was delivered at that Time by the Merchants to the Prince's Council, and is now lying before the House; whereby, in very strong Terms, they represented their many Solicitations without Effect, the great Delays they had met with, and their great Sense of Danger if they should proceed with that Convoy, as well as of their certain Ruin by any further Delay.
"The 17th Head of the Answer says, "That the Ships, which the Merchants supposed lay idle at Portsmouth so long, were under Orders for particular Services, as appears by the Paper marked (G.)
"Upon Consideration of this Paragraph, and of the Paper marked G. to which it refers; the Matters of Fact whereof the Merchants did complain seem in Effect to be admitted to be true; and the Services for which it is alledged the Ships were designed do not appear so pressing, but that some of them might have been employed to help the Merchants in their great Extremity.
"As to the 18th Head, which relates to Mr. Coward's Complaint of the long detaining of his Ships let to Freight to the Commissioners of Victualing; the Answer says, "It is not doubted they were taken up at so much a Month Freight; and the Owners will be paid for the Time they have been employed, according to the Agreement made with them."
"Mr. Coward deposed, "That his Ships were not taken by the Month (as the Answer alledged); but the Contract was at Three Pounds a Tun, directly for Jamaica, which might have been performed in Seven or Eight Weeks; whereas, by Means of the Deviations complained of, they have been detained ever since the 15th of November 1706; and were yet in Ireland at the Time of the Complaint, whereby the Ships are ruined, and he left at Mercy as to any Satisfaction."
"The 19th Paragraph of the Answer takes Notice how far Mr. Palmer had forgot himself, and imposed upon the Lords, in his Deposition; for that The Litchfield Prize did not arrive at Portsmouth till the 7th of June; whereas Sir Cloudesly Shovell was off of Lisbon the 9th of June; and therefore it was not possible that The Litchfield Prize should have joined him at Plimouth.
"Mr. Palmer, being examined as to this Particular, said, "That, in his Complaint, it was alledged, The Litchfield Prize came to Spithead the 7th of July, not of June, as it is repeated in the Answer." But he owned his Mistake, in saying, "If The Litchfield Prize might have proceeded to Plimouth, the Corn Ships might have joined Sir Cloudesly Shovell's Fleet;" whereas he meant to have said, "The Transport Fleet, which at that Time lay at Plimouth, bound to Portugal."
"To shew that it was a meer Mistake, he produced to the Lords Three Original Letters from Portsmouth, wrote by his Master Samuel Riccard, dated the 7th, 12th, and 28th of July, which mention the Transport Fleet, which had lain for a considerable While at Plimouth, and (as those Letters say) sailed for Portugal about that Time.
The 20th Paragraph affirming, "That the Article in The Gazette of the 8th of May, 1707, which the Merchants had produced, was very ignorantly and unadvisedly inserted, the Fact being intirely wrong; the Lords Committees thought fit to be informed how that Passage came to be put into The Gazette; and upon Examination it appeared, that Mr.Stepney, the 12th of May, New Stile, wrote a Letter from Antwerpe, to the Earl of Sunderland, at the Solicitations of some considerable Traders there, representing the Hardships they lay under for Want of a Convoy from Ostend (though it had been promised and several Times notified on The Exchange of London), to their great Loss and Discouragement, and what was like to have an ill Influence on that Trade, which was in a Way of being better established than ever; and that afterward, upon the Arrival of that Fleet at Ostend, Mr. Stepney wrote another Letter to the Earl of Sunderland, dated the 14th of May, New Stile, the very Words of which Second Letter are those transcribed into The Gazette."
"The Complaint of the Merchants, in relation to the Virginia Trade, consisted of many Particulars; none of which seemed to the Lords Committees to be answered or excused by what is alledged in the 22, 23, and 24 Paragraphs of the Answer, nor by the Paper marked H. to which the 23d Paragraph does refer.
"The 25th and 26th Paragraphs of the Answer, which relate to the Complaint of Mr. John Wood, of the Difficulties and Delays he met with in getting his Vessels loaden with Corn to Portsmouth, contain nothing in particular besides One Matter of Fact; (videlicet,) " That The Charles Galley and The Gosport, the Two Convoys for the Corn Ships to Spithead, were so far from running from the Trade (as was falsely and maliciously insinuated by Mr. Wood) that they kept the Merchants Ships Company, and brought them safe to Spithead, as the Captain of The Charles Galley informed the Prince's Council by Letter."
"Mr. John Wood, being sent for and charged with this Matter, produced Two Letters, which he made Oath were sent to him from Portsmouth, by Captain Edward Friend, the Master of One of the Corn Ships, the First dated the 21st, and the other the 22d, of June last; wherein it is expressly affirmed, "That, about Eight a Clock in the Evening, the Commander of the Convoy sent his Boat aboard the Merchants, to tell them the News, that the Dunkirk Squadron was at Sea; and at the same Time to let them know, that the Convoy would take no further Care of them, but would make the best of their Way to Portsmouth, and the Merchants must shift for themselves."
"Captain John Falkner, the Master of The Mary, another of the Ships from Shorcham, made Oath, That the Commander of the Convoy sent his Boat aboard the Merchants, to tell them, "That he had Advice of a French Squadron, and that they must shift for themselves; for they would take no Care of them, but would make the best of their Way to Portsmouth;" and he swore, the Convoy were as good as their Words, and made away with all the Sail they could, and got in thither a considerable Time before the Merchants, who were in very great Danger of being taken, having been chased at least Eight Hours by a French Privateer."
"The same Captain did, upon his Oath, confirm what Mr. Wood had before alledged, "That for full Six Months, while he lay at Shoreham, the French Privateers did continually cruize on the Coast in considerable Numbers; but in all that Time he could never see or be informed of any Men of War cruizing, to prevent or intercept them."
"As to what is said in the Answer, "That the Men of War who sail Eastward or Westward have always Directions to call at the several Ports in the Way," Mr. Wood added to what he had said before, "That, if they had such Orders, it was strange no One of them should ever appear off that Harbour in Six Months Time."
"The 27th Paragraph of the Answer relates to the Merchants Complaints of the many and great Losses of Ships off of Beachy, and upon the English Coast, in their Return Home.
"What this Paragraph says is, "That these Ships were Runners, and should have put into Portsmouth till they had an Opportunity of Convoy; and when the Merchants shall leave off trading in these Gallies or Runners (which are subject to many Misfortunes by going without Convoy), it is to be hoped, their Losses will be less."
"Their Lordships cannot think it strange, if the Merchants are very unwilling to put into Portsmouth in Hopes of Convoy, after the Instances given by them of their Ships lying there many Months, in vain Expectation of any Men of War to convoy them.
"As to the Proposal for the Merchants leaving off to trade in Gallies, in Expectation of Convoys; the Lords Committees observe, "That the Use of this Kind of Vessel was taken up during the late War, and has been continued ever since with very great Success till within Two Years last; during which Time, there has been in a Manner a total Neglect of having any Cruizers in The Chanel and Soundings, or any Man of War to guard the Coasts."
"These Ships are built for sailing, and also to row with Oars, and carry no more Goods than are proper for sailing, and carry Twice the Number of Men to a common sailing Ship, and are of Force from 16 to 40 Guns.
"There is no Convoy granted to any Trade within The Streights but to Turkey only, which is never above Once in the Year, and must be acknowledged to be too seldom to answer the Occasions of the Traders to Leghorn, Genoa, Venice, and other Places in those Seas.
"If therefore the Use of Gallies or single Ships be laid down (for, if any single Ships be used in trading, it will be granted the Gallies are better Sailers, and have the Advantage of any common built-Ships), and if all The Mediterranean Trade is to be carried on by Convoys; that whole Trade will be in a Manner lost to England, especially in respect to Fish and other perishable Commodities, and would be soon felt in a very heavy Manner in all Parts of the Nation; the great Consequence of that Trade fully appearing, by the Merchants Proofs set down in the Report made upon their Petition.
"It is necessary for the Safety and Honour of the Kingdom, and of all Manner of Trade whatsoever, that The Channel and Soundings be well guarded; and if this be done, the Traders in Gallies own, they have no Reason to complain.
"The Enemy have not altered their Way of making War by Sea; they always endeavoured to infest our Trade by their Privateers to as great a Degree as they could: But it must be owned that of late they have had greater Success than ever; and the great Encouragement they meet with (the Sea in Effect being left open to them), it is too probable, will very soon increase their Numbers.
"The Merchants do insist, "That the List of Eleven Hundred Forty-six Ships, given in by them, does not contain all their Losses during this War; but in a Manner such only as have been taken in The Channel and Soundings within Two or Three Years last, and principally such as did belong to the Port of London."
"They have already had an Account of 34 Ships taken in The Channel and Soundings since they made their Complaint to the House of Lords; of which Ships they delivered a List to the Committee, and affirmed, "That the Loss of those Ships, by a modest Computation, amounted to above £. 170,000." They affirmed, " That, besides those named in that List, several other rich Ships are missing; and many of them, they fear, have met with the same Fate; The Channel and Soundings being infested with the Enemy's Men of War and Privateers as much as ever; the Neutral Ships, which come into the Ports of Britain, declaring that they have been boarded by them in those Places several Times in a Day."
"The Answer (as to what concerns Mr. Benjamin Way) says expressly, "That Matter was not complained of at the Admiralty-office before it was brought to the Lords."
"This seems very strange; for it appears plainly by the Two Letters marked (I.) and K. referred to in the Answer itself, and sent therewith to the Lords, that both of them were written upon Occasion of a Complaint made by Way to the Admiralty; and are only Copies of the very same Letters which were annexed to Way's Complaint to the Lords, and were sent, together with the Lords Report, to the Lord High Admiral.
"This is what the Lords Committees have humbly to offer to your Lordships, in relation to so much of the Answer as concerns the Merchants Complaints.
"The remaining Part of it seems entirely foreign to the Subject of the Report, containing only an unnecessary Comparison of the Management of the Naval Affairs in this and the late War; since any Faults or Errors, which might have happened at that Time, would not lessen the Misfortunes of the Merchants, or justify any wrong Conduct at present. But the Lords Committees think themselves obliged to lay before your Lordships several very plain Mistakes, which they find in this Part of the Paper.
"In the First Observation, it is asserted, "That the Parliament has not in this Reign given One Farthing of Money for the building of Ships; and that in the last War there was about Four Millions given for that and other extraordinary Services; and yet the Royal Navy was less in Strength at the End thereof than at the Beginning, by Twenty Ships of the Line of Battle."
"This is so far from being a right State of the Case, that in this Observation there appears at First Sight a Mistake of no less than Three Millions in Four; the whole Sums given for building of Ships in the last War not amounting to One Million.
"This in Effect was afterwards confessed, in a Second Paper sent from the Admiralty-office, of the 28th of January, 1707, by Way of Explanation of a former Paper delivered to the Lords Committees from that Office.
"In this Second Paper, Notice is taken of the Numbers and Rates of Ships provided for by Parliament, and the Days are set down when the Money was voted for them; but the Sums are omitted, which would too plainly have contradicted the Assertion, "That Four Millions were granted."
"The true State of that Matter will appear by the fore-mentioned Second Paper, if the Sums be added, as the same are set down in the First of those Papers from the Admiralty-office, and is as follows:
"There was given for building Ships,
"Memorandum, That the ⅓ Excise, which was given for £. 570,000. did produce but £. 482,617. 11s. 2d. ½. of which there has been paid for building the 27 Ships £. 453,591. 19s.; and to other Uses £. 29,025. 12s. 2½d.
"These were all the Sums granted by Parliament for building Ships during that whole War. The other Sums set down in the First Paper, which makes the Whole amount to £. 4,579,571. 4s. 2½d. were either for the ordinary and current Services of the Navy, as Seamen's Wages, Victualing, &c. or for such particular Uses as had no Relation to the building of Ships, such as the Payment of Marine Officers, Register of Seamen, &c.
"The Second Mistake in this Observation is, That the Royal Navy, instead of being less at the End of the late War by 20 Ships than it was at the Beginning, was increased by 113 Ships and Vessels, of which 39 were of the Line of Battle, besides 21 Ships which were building on the 30th of September 1697, whereof 13 were of the Line of Battle.
"And though in the same Observation it be alledged, That nothing has been given in this Reign for building of Ships; yet the Provision for the Navy in general has been much larger in this War than in the last; for in this Reign there has been granted for the Use of the Navy (including the Ordnance for Sea Service, and the Sums voted for the Service of the Year 1708) the Sum of £.15,366,867. 17 s. 10d.
"Whereas all the Sums received by the Treasurers of the Navy, between the Fifth of November 1688 and the 30th September 1697, (including the Money given for building Ships) only amounted to the Sum of £.15,136,898. 1s. 5d."
"It may be also observed, That, in the Year 1698, there were 105 Ships of the Line of Battle in thorough Repair; whereas it appears that, on the 6th of December 1707, Three First Rates, Eight Second Rates, Six Third Rates, and Two Fourth Rates, wanted rebuilding, or great Repairs; which, considering the Nature of the Ships, makes a great Part of the Strength of the Line of Battle."
"The Second Observation takes Notice, "That the Number of the Ships of the Navy of France, taken or destroyed by Her Majesty's Ships this War, does much exceed our Losses; as appears by the Papers marked L. and M. wherein there is no Mention of the French Ships destroyed by the Ships of The States General."
"The Lords Committees take Notice, That by the Paper (L.) it appears, the greatest Number of the Enemy's Ships, and those of the greatest Consequence, were taken or destroyed in the Harbours of Vigo, Gibraltar, and Ostend; at the Two First of which Places, the Ships of The States General assisted.
"And that, during the War, only 25 Ships of all Sorts have been taken or destroyed, by Cruizing Ships at Sea; and of that Number only Five Ships from 30 to 60 Guns.
"By the Paper marked M. it appears, That the Number of Her Majesty's Ships and Vessels, taken and destroyed by the Enemy's, during the present War, are Thirty-five; Thirteen whereof are Ships of the Line of Battle, from 50 to 80 Guns.
"The Sixth Observation is, "That, in the last War, the Trade of the Nation had the Misfortune to lose near 4000 Ships."
"This appeared so very strange to the Lords Committees, that they sent to the Admiralty-office, to be informed if there was any List of those Ships, or what Grounds they had for making that Assertion.
"The Answer sent in Return to this Message was a printed Paper, without any Name of the Author or Printer, in which are these Words, "It is generally allowed that the Number of Ships and Vessels miscarried since the War does not fall short of 4000."
"Upon Consideration of the Paper, it appeared to be a Libel, written as a pretended Answer to an Account published by Authority, in the Year 1695, of what Men of War and Privateers had been taken from the French from the Beginning of that War; and it contains in it not only scandalous Reflections upon the Parliaments of that Reign, but notoriously false Representations of Matters of Fact, which might have easily been known to be so at the Admiraltyoffice; and therefore it seems very strange, that such a Libel should be offered as a Proof to the Lords, in an Answer which is supposed to come from that Office.
"But, as an Evidence that there can be no Foundation of Truth for this Assertion, the Lords Committees offer to your Lordships Consideration, That the Number of English Prisoners who have been returned from France, from the Beginning of this War to December last, amounted to 18,011, and there then remained in France 2000 more; whereas the Number of English Prisoners returned from France, from the Beginning of the late War, until the 24th Day of June 1698, did amount to no more than 15,250.
"And it is not probable that the Ships taken in the former War should be so many more than those taken in the present (as is pretended), when the Prisoners are so remarkably fewer.
"To the latter Part of this Sixth Observation, "That, during the last War, we had the Ports of Spain, as well as those in The Spanish West Indies, open, to secure our Ships, not only from the Enemy, but from bad Weather:"
"The Lords Committees say Two Things; First, That till now they never heard that the Ports in The Spanish West Indies were at any Time open, to secure English Men of War or Merchants Ships.
"Secondly, That the many great Losses complained of by the Merchants appear to have been in The Channel and Soundings, and consequently the Spanish Ports, though open, would have been no very essential Countenance and Protection to them."
Former Report on the Merchants Petition. L. High Admiral's Answer to it, and this Report to be laid before the Queen's
Upon reading the Report made this Day from the Lords Committees appointed to consider of the Petition of several Merchants, on Behalf of themselves and others, Traders of the City of London:
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Report, as also the Report made by the said Committee on the said Petition the Seventeenth of December last, and the Answer of the Lord High Admiral put in thereunto, shall be laid before Her Majesty.
Committee to prepare an Address.
And that the said Lords Committees do meet on Thursday next, at Ten a Clock, in the Prince's Lodgings near the House of Peers; and prepare an Address, upon the said Reports and Answer, and the Debate of the House.
Dominus Cancellarius declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque ad et in diem Jovis, decimum nonum diem instantis Februarii, hora undecima Auroræ, Dominis sic decernentibus.