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the Kingdom ; but what Success these Commissions had, will be worth our Time to examine.
Though it has been publickly objected, that by these Commissions little was done towards the adjusting the Accounts of the Nation, and Inferences have been thence drawn, that such Commissions are of little or no Use ; yet certainly, 'tis the Duty of our Representatives (especially since desired from the Throne) to make it their earnest Endeavour to find out proper Remedies for this fatal Diftemper, left it end in the Ruin of the Monarchy, the Church and the State : For the Commons have complained of these Miscarriages; the Lords in their Turn have complained of them ; and now, at last, her Majesty, in her most gracious Speech, is heavily complaining of these Miscarriages. And, since they have all had their Turns of Complaint, one would think it were high Time to redress this common and publick Grievance, which has, in short, almost ruined the Credit of the Parlia, ment ; and there will be no retrieving of it, cill Stop be put to those growing Evils. It will scarcely be pretended by any Man, that such an Adjustment of Accounts is in its own Nature impracticable. If then the former Commissions had not alogether the desired Success, the Fault must lie either in the Scheme laid down, as probably it might be for the first Year or Two; or in the Commission, if they wanted either Skill, Application, or Integrity, sufficient for the Business they were employed about.
Now all these Wants have been charged upon some of them ; but whe- ther with Justice, or not, I am not yet well satisfied : But I am sure there were two other Impediments, of which I may speak with niore Certainty, either of which was enough to hinder the Execution of that Commission.
The first of these was, That divers great Men, that had mighty Accounts to pafs, and perhaps had little Stomach to do it, had such a Power and Influence in the House of Commons, as were able to cramp the Commissioners in their Power, and discountenance them in their Report ; and even to banter them in the Execution of their Trust.
That this was openly practised, is notorious to all that were then Members of the House; and how niuch the Commisioners must needs be difcouraged in the Execution of so difficule a Task, the Performance of which was to be laid before such Judges so poffeffed, I'll leave any one to guess.
The Influence of these Men perhaps produced another Difficulty, which was a Flaw in the Commission itself, for the Commiflioners were not-enpowered sufficiently to require Proof of suspected Vouchers; they could not commit Persons for Contempt of their Authority, and consequently were exposed to the Hazard of being abused by false Vouchers. These were Difficulties almost, if not absolutely insuperable.
Now, chat never-to-be-forgotten Parliament, in the Year 1701, took care to remove most of these Obstructions, by providing a Bill with larger Power, appointing Commissioners of known Worth and Integrity, who were willing, without Recompence, to take the Trouble upon them, and having such an House of Commons (as God be thanked we now have) disposed to
the House ; and
of ro difficule ana
l 'll leave any."
afluence of she luch Jude difficult a Tunisioners
hear, and enquire strictly into those Miscarriages ; and there was great Reason to expect a good issue.
But perhaps this very Expectation (pray God it don't again) defeated the Bill, because some of those very Persons who had heretofore borne such Sway in the House of Commons, were then grown so powerful in another Place, and Accounts were still as terrible as ever ; it was not therefore their Interest to fuffer such a Bill to pass, for those very Reasons before-mentioned.
First, Because such a Commission, with such Powers, was as hard to be re. Gifted, as, on the other side, some Mens Accounts were to be made up ; and consequently, such an Enquiry, as the Commissioners were thereby empowered tò make, might have ruined the Credit, and perhaps the Fortunes of some great Men.
Secondly, The same Persons knew, that there were no bantering the Commissioners named in the Bill, because they knew them to be Men of Sense, Honour and Courage, and that knew, and were resolved to execute their Commission ; and as they were Volunteers in that Service, had given Earbest of their Resolution to unriddle that Mystery, which divers good Men had before lost their Labour in, and thereby perhaps might have made Discoveries, at that Time, very unseasonable to some great Men. And,
Lastly, The Disposition of the House of Commons itself, who were re. folved, as fast as possible, to extricate this Nation from that Labyrinth of Debes, Interest, Deficiences, and other Incumberances she was then in,' and is at present in a manner lost, was a Terror to those who knew by what Steps and Artifices she was led into, and left in it.
I say, it was not safe for them, either to let the Bill pass, or to have it rejected in gross; and therefore such Expedients were to be found out, as might embroil the two Houses about it ; a Practice in which they had not long before shewn a great deal of Mastery. .
They knew that the Commons, as they had the sole Power of granting Money, so also of taking an Account of the Disposition of all Money by them granted, and of appointing Commissioners for that Purpose. This was laid hold on as a proper Handle, to introduce those Amendments which they knew the Commons could not agree to, without departing from those Rights which they were sure they would never relinquish.
Divers Amendments therefore were made, not perhaps so much to alter the Bill, as to lay npon the Commons a Necessity of throwing it out; thereby hoping to shift the Odium of such an Action from their own Door
But the Commons, who were aware of this Drift, and saw the Conclusion of the Session so near at hand, appointed a Committee to draw up their Reafons, why they could not agree to the Amendments made by the Lords, and afterwards ordered them to be printed, for the Satisfaction of the People whom they represented; which I shall give you in the very Words of the House, as they stand in their Votes, March 24, 1901.
“ The Commons do disagree to the first Amendment made by the Lords: VOL. III. Сс
Because Because it is notorious, that many Millions of Money have been given to his Majesty King William by the Commons, for the Service of the Publick ; which remains yet unaccounted for, to the great Dissatisfaction of the good People of England, who chearfully contributed to those Supplies : And their Lordships first Amendment prevents any Accounts being taken of those Mo. nies by the Commiflioners appointed by the Commons for that Purpose.
The Commons do disagree to the second Amendment made by the .... Lords: :
Because John Parkhurst, and John Pascal, Esqrs; have for several Years been Commissioners of the Prizes taken during che late War, and are accountable for great Sums of Money arising thereby, which ought to be applied to the Ule of the publick.
That the said John Parkhurst and Zobn Pascal were frequently press'd to account for the same, by the late Commissioners appointed by Act of Par-, liament; but by many Artifices and Evasions delayed and avoided giving any such Account, as was required by the faid. Commissioners...
That the Clause, to which their Lordships have disagreed by their second Amendment, requires them to account before the first of September next; but by their Lordships Amendment, the said John Parkhurst and John Pascal are exempted from giving any such Account, which is highly unreasonable. · The Commons do disagree to the fourth Amendment.
The Commons cannot agree to the Clause sent down by the Lords, 'marked with X, because their Lordships have therein directed the Commisioners to allow and certify a pretended Debt to Colonel Baldwin Leighton ; whereas the Disposition, as well as granting of Money by Act of Parliament, hach ever been in the House of Commons; and this Amendment relating to the Disposal of Money does intrench upon that Right.
The Commons do disagree to the fourth Amendment:
Because it is notorious, that Edward Whitacre, mentioned in ----, left out by their Lordships, hath by Colour of his Imployment (as Sollicitor to the Admiralty) received the Sum of Five and Twenty Thousand Pounds and upwards, of publick Monies, without producing any just or reasonable Vouchers for the Expence thereof; and therefore ought to be accountable for the same.
And that, by season of their Lordships disagreeing to the several Parts of this Bill, the Supplies provided by the Commons for paying the Arrears due to the Army, mult of Necessity be ineffectual, till another Session of Parliament.”
These Reasons were ordered to be inserted in the Votes of the Day: And tho' I have seen many Attempts to answer them, yet never met wit that bore a good Face, or a true Reason for the Occasion of thein ; and till somebody shall produce others more justifiable and probable, the Commons will stand clear of all Imputation for the Miscarriage of that Bill, and
the evil Confequences that have attended the Nation ever since the Want of it.
But tho' King William thanked this good Parliament for their quick Dis. patch of those necessary Supplies which they had granted for the publick Occasion, and for the Encouragement they had given him to enter into Alliances, for the Preservation of the Liberty of Europe, and the Support of the Confederacy; and made no Doubt, that whatsoever he should do during their Recess, for the Advantage of the common Cause, in this Matter, would have their Approbation at their Meeting again in the Winter ; (Vide the Speech he then made at the Conclusion of that Session of Parliament, 1701.)
Yet so diligent were the then Ministers of State, that for fear of being called to Account by the said Commissioners, they got the Consent of King William to diffolve that Parliament, by reason they did assure him they would get him a better, and such a one as should not question the Imbezzlements of his Ministers, being now able to carry all Things before them; which was then the Language of that State Ministry: And the good King assured chem he would do it, when he next came from Holland, and was as good as his Word; and then the Ministry weré fafe in their Affairs : And upon the Death of King William, some of the Ministry being changed, we never heard à Word of them more till their L ips began to take up the Cudgels.
You must know, at that Time, some of the late Ministry being turned out, had set up that which they now call à Junto, in Opposition to the Court Party; and who should be more forward in pushing on the said H- of P-s into an Enquiry of Mismanagements and Imbezzlements, than certain noble Persons who had run the same way the new Courtiers had just entered, to lick themselves into as fair Estates as other antiquated Courtiers had done.
I say, these Persons, having set up a Funto,, in Opposition to the Court Intereit, press'd forward an Enquiry into a Three Years Imbezzlement and Misapplication of the publick Treasure, under her Majesty's Administration. And is as follows."
E !i,, i ll.iis. d. ift. Their L ps were pleased to observe, That in three Years Time the Navy had exceeded its Charge,
17 2 allowed by Parliament, the Sum' of
2dly, That the Officers had issued for the Use of the Navy, short of the Sum allowed to that Service, the Sum of
. 3dly, The Debt of the Navy in two Years has increaled to the Sum of
0097 14 ! 4thly, There wanted of the Complement of Men, which :.'. was then allowed for the Sea-Service, 1566 Persons.
. d stbly, There were the last Year 10 Flags in Pay of the Navy; and three were not in their l'osts, viz. The H, - Churchill, Esq; Graydon, and Sir James Wilheart. 6thly, The Pensions of the Navy since the Year 1697 1
01 are increased ; that the Estimate for 1705 comes to
0 7thly, That Sir John M n , (whom her Majesty was pleased to turn out for not doing his Duty) has a 319 17 6 Pension of
8tbly, The Pension of Admiral N !'s Widow, which is set down Continued, has not been paid her these two Years last past. othly, The Prince of Denmark's Council to him,
", as? 7000 00 Lord High Admiral, are allowed per Ann.
And yet there is paid but 1000 I. r 17027 per Annum to each Council ; and in the 1703 There Years
( 1704 J
2dly, Ą Pension to him per Annum
1277 0 0 4ibly, For his Table-Money per Ann.
And lastly, Though by Parliament there are allowed 43 Cruisers and Convoys for our Merchant-men, there have not been employed at any Time 22, and they have not done the Duty of three Ships for the Protection of our Trade : All which Obstructions they have humbly laid before the Queen, and do rest assured, that her Majesty, in her great Wisdom, and tender Concern for the Happiness of her Subjects, will dispose herself to apply the proper Remedies. And they humbly beseech her to give Commands, that all poffible Methods may be taken for the Encouragement of Seamen, the guarding of the Coafts, and the Protection of Trade.
Now you may perceive, Sir, that here is a mighty Imbezzlement and Misapplication among the Navy to a considerable Sum, as you may perceive in the aforesaid Articles ; and would not one believe, that their --ps were concerned at this Matter in good Earnest ; and that they had nothing more at Heart than the Preservation of the Merchants Trade, they so sensibly complain for Want of due Protection : But, alas! Sir, this is nothing but a mere Pretence, as I shall prove to you anon. But I must beg your Patience till I have let you into a Commoner of England's Observation there. on, by way of Reply to each Particular, as he then wrote from Braintree,