I ſhall firſt conſider the paper I am to treat of, under its title of The account of the clear produce in every year, that is, of what is paid in of the civil-liſt in every year on, or before the very Midſummer-day, on which it was due.
This account was humbly preſented to Parliament without any one voucher from the offices of revenue, and is the firſt inſtance of the kind; ſome ſort of vouchers for appearance at leaſt having been always produc'd on the like occaſions. This is made up only from the treaſury books of the receipt within every ſingle year.
[Page 6] When the firſt demand was made for a deficiency of the civil-liſt for 1728, the account of that year's receipt was ſtated at no more than 684,407l. This new account of 33 years, ſtates the receipt of that year at 708,228l. This difference is itſelf a proof of falſe accounts delivered into Parliament at that time to defraud the nation. It is now publickly acknowledged, that this difference of 23,821l. was neither a deficiency, nor an arrear ſtanding out at Midſummer-day 1728; conſequently 91,772l. being the remainder of 708,228l. deducted from 800,000l. was the whole then wanting to complete the latter ſum clear to his Majeſty that very day it was due; yet the nation was obliged to give the crown 115,000l. for the arrears, which had at firſt been demanded, as a deficiency in the produce.
This falſe account ſtands in the printed journals of 1729 *, but by the late new account is fully detected in a ſurprizing, able, and [Page 7] maſterly manner. Yet this was cramm'd down the whole legiſlature, which enacted that there was an arrear of 115,000l. and for the glory of thoſe times it ſtands recorded in our ſtatutes to poſterity.
In the new account the year 1729 is ſaid to have produc'd but 753,576l. In the ſame account the year 1728 produces, as ſet down already, 708,228l. conſequently 1729 produces but 45,348l. more than 1728. Now it appear'd upon the examination of the committee in April 1729, that over and above the 708,228l. receiv'd to the very Midſummer-day 1728, there had been ſince receiv'd on account of that year's pretended deficient civil-liſt 128,115l. by the April following, and that there ſtill remained arrears ſtanding out in the cuſtoms, and in the hands of the country poſt-maſters 76,165l. Theſe three laſt mention'd ſums amount to 912,508l. beſides the 115,000l. given for an arrear; and yet the next year 1729, ſtands charged with a produce but of 45,348l. more than the preceeding 1728.
[Page 8] I anſwer not for the veracity of any accounts; and I muſt confeſs I have not the moſt implicit faith in the treaſury accounts: when I conſider for how many years the revenue of the hawkers and pedlars eſcap'd them, and for how many more the 4½ per cent. levied in Barbadoes and the Leeward-iſlands. Nor could I be ſurpriſed, if now and then a whole month's revenue of the civil-liſt ſhould eſcape: but for the preſent I will acknowledge, that the Virginia quitrents were moſt properly, and with the niceſt oeconomy diſpos'd of for his majeſty's ſpecial ſervice.
It has been mention'd, that the money receiv'd at the Exchequer for the year 1729 was 753,576l. Now the 115,000l. for arrears was paid in there that year, and therefore ought to have appear'd, and been added to the produce of that year, and over and above the 115,000l. it muſt be remembered too, that from 1728 they had in advance the difference between the pretended produce that year of 708,228l. and the real produce of 912,508l. to anſwer any [Page 9] future arrears. But perhaps treaſury books may look on the 115,000l. as a free gift only, and it may appear there as very properly diſpos'd of in that ſhape again.
This 33 years account ſays, there was receiv'd by the exciſe for the year 1728, the ſum of 227,864l. but when the deficiency for that year was demanded it was charg'd with the produce of 194,234l. only. It was afterwards prov'd, that there had been paid to the late Queen within that time 18,750l. which added to the above 194,234l. makes a ſum of 212,984l. ſtill 14,880l. is wanting to make up the 227,864l. It is probable, that without foreſeeing the conſequences, the ſum of 12,653l. remaining in the Exchequer at Midſummer 1728, for the civil-liſt lottery of 1713, may be included in the above 227,864l. though no notice is taken of it in this new account: but then there will be ſtill wanting 2227l. to make the total of the ſaid clear produce in that year, as now deliver'd in, agree with the ſame article laid before the committee in 1729, upon the ſubject of the then deficiency of 115,000l. This ſhort [Page 10] detail is given only as an inſtance of theſe inaccurate accounts.
It would be tedious and endleſs to make all the proper obſervations on this long period of accounts. I ſhall therefore confine myſelf to that ſecond moſt extraordinary and delicate performance, I mean the account for the pretended deficiencies in the duties and revenues for ſeven years back at Midſummer 1746, amounting to no leſs than 456,733l. What a play of words is here? The duties and revenues are one thing; the art of making up accounts of the receipts only between Midſummer and Midſummer, without regard to the arrears either of that, or of former years, is another thing. Was not this ſufficiently expos'd in the examination into the 115,000l. deficiency of 1728? Why have they not now deliver'd to Parliament a ſtate of the clear produce of theſe revenues for the whole 33 years? Why play'd the old exploded game fixing the title call'd for on the outſide of the paper, and another title within relating to the clear produce of each year in every year. But had it been now deliver'd under the genuine [Page 11] title it was call'd for, which is, An account of the clear produce of the ſeveral branches of the revenue, &c. which implies not only the receipts to each Midſummer-day, but all arrears outſtanding and afterwards receiv'd, it might have appear'd, that in the two former inſtances of deficiencies the arrears in thoſe two periods, added to the receipts given in, would have been a redundance in 1728, and far ſhort of 456,733l. demanded in 1746; by which means the groſsneſs of the impoſitions then would have appear'd in too glaring a light.
What were the methods taken to cover ſuch extraordinary impoſitions? It was to call for the accounts from the ſeveral officers of revenue to be laid before Parliament, under the proper titles, and then to give private orders to thoſe officers to make thoſe accounts up in a direct contrary way. This was diſcover'd and prov'd by the commiſſioners themſelves of the ſeveral offices, on their examination before the committee, in the caſe of the firſt pretended deficiency of 115,000l. and was expreſsly confirmed by the letter of a perſon in authority, giving ſuch private [Page 12] orders, and produc'd by a principal officer of the revenue in his own juſtification.
In the caſe of the ſecond deficiency in 1746, which had a retroſpect of 7 years, the only way that remain'd, was the hope, that the novelty and ſurprize of it would carry itſelf, and not be liable to any detection from the offices. The Treaſury therefore were fully reſolv'd to make up the account from their own books; (a precedent, we ſee follow'd in this 33 years account) for who could detect them there? Accordingly they deliver'd the accounts from their books, as of a certain round deficiency of duties and revenue.
But to carry on ſome ſhew of proper vouchers, as uſual, they ſent their orders to the Cuſtoms, Exciſe, and Poſt-office, to know what ſums they had applied out of their ſeveral branches by virtue of ſtanding warrants from the Treaſury, during this period of 7 years. To have aſk'd of them, as uſual, what was the real produce of thoſe revenues in that period, however neceſſary and proper for the public, was the very thing [Page 13] which the Treaſury deſir'd ſhould not be known. To make up an account from their own books, was ſufficient for their purpoſe. Yet the producing ſomething from thoſe offices would carry a plauſible appearance, and be an aid to impoſition: They therefore ridiculouſly produc'd certificates from theſe ſeveral offices of the payments iſſued by them upon the eſtabliſh'd warrants; as if the Treaſury could be ſuppos'd ignorant of ſuch payments, and at the ſame time pretend to know the produce of thoſe revenues, from their own books, without the aſſiſtance of the commiſſioners. It may be indeed, that theſe curious books of account take no other notice of the produce in every year; but what they have the expenditure of in every year; and that the reſt is left to auditor's accounting. But does there not now ariſe a difficulty as to this 33 years account? Has any application been made to all, or any one of the offices for the leaſt information reſpecting the produce of the civil-liſt revenue?
I ſhall now compare ſome other particulars in this new account with what was formerly deliver'd, [Page 14] when the deficiencies were in queſtion before Parliament, in order to ſhew the inaccuracy of treaſury-books. I begin with the land rents.
Whatever ſums the receivers pay upon treaſury warrants, is as much part of the produce, as the balances they pay into the Exchequer, after ſuch warrants have been ſatisfied; and are equally applicable to the intent of a civil-liſt, as thoſe balances, it being to ſupport and maintain the honour and dignity of the crown. In the 33 years account theſe rents produce but 5480l. in the 3 years, 1742, 3, and 4; whereas it appears by the Exchequer vouchers relating to the 7 years pretended deficiency, that thoſe 3 years had produc'd 9364l. A ſmall difference indeed of 3884l. in ſo ſmall an article; and much to the credit of the new account's correctneſs; and it muſt be obſerv'd that the treaſury-books only can give an account of what the receivers had paid on warrants drawn by themſelves, excluſive of the monies paid by them into the Exchequer. I cannot conclude this paragraph without obſerving, that in 1740, [Page 15] the firſt year of the 7, the produce of the exciſe was given in at the time that immenſe deficiency was claim'd, at 213,792l. whereas in the new 33 years account it ſtands at no more than 209,852l. Another ſmall difference of 3940l. between two treaſury accounts of the ſame article in the ſame year.
When the accounts for theſe pretended * deficiencies of duties and revenue for 7 years were peruſed, they were found not ſatisfactory, other accounts were called for from the ſeveral offices of the revenue, and were delivered to the Houſe by them; they are verily curious, and literaly fulfil what the Lords ſay in their proteſt the 10th of May, 1729, againſt the 115,000l. "When we reflect in what manner theſe accounts have been made up, and in what manner they have been brought in, we cannot but apprehend that a door is opened by this precedent for laying new and exceſſive charges on the nation; the revenues appropriated to the uſes of his Majeſty's civil-liſt, are ſubject [Page 16] in their own nature to vary, and even when there is no deficiency in the produce, there may be arrears in the receipt. Theſe arrears may eaſily be increaſed by the management of deſigning miniſters, by private directions to receivers, and by artful methods of ſtating accounts, from all which we cannot but apprehend, that now this precedent is made, we may have frequent accounts of arrears."
Theſe accounts from the Cuſtoms, Exciſe, and Poſt-office, have no regard to the arrears ſtanding out on Midſummer 1739, which probably were about the ſum of 200,000l. as they were about that ſum at Midſummer 1728, and whatever ſum they were ought to be reckon'd in aid of the deficiency of the ſeven years.
The accounts of the cuſtoms are from Chriſtmas 1738 to 1745. They ſay, "the account of the Cuſtoms are made up from Chriſtmas to Chriſtmas, ſo that this account could not be given from Midſummer to Midſummer;" they likewiſe ſay, "It is impoſſible to ſhew what has been paid ſince Chriſtmas 1745 of [Page 17] the produce of the above years, becauſe there is no diſtinction in the payments, whether for arrears or growing receipts."
This is roundly aſſerted; but then how came it that they could in 1729 make up an account of the produce from Midſummer 1727, to Midſummer 1728; and how did it happen that they could then make up the account of the arrears received ſince Midſummer 1728, and paid into the Exchequer, to the amount of 33,013l.
To account for the differences between the accounts, there was a moſt ridiculous explanation given of them, in a paper from the Treaſury, I don't mean a publick one; it relates, that this revenue produced, as certified from the Exchequer, 1,647,221l. and that the Comptroller of the Cuſtoms account, "for the ſeven years ended at Chriſtmas 1745, when he made up the net produce to be 1,807,766l. from which deduct the payments to the Prince of Wales 140,000l. leaves 1,667,766l. the difference between theſe two accounts is little more than 20,534l. but as one is an account [Page 18] of a net receipt in one period, and the other of a net produce in another period, it is no wonder that there is a difference between the two accounts." This is acknowledging that the Records of the Exchequer received all the produce as eſtimated, except that difference, and ſuch ſort of evidence we have for making up of theſe accounts; nevertheleſs, the account from the Cuſtom-houſe certifies, that the arrears ſtanding out at Midſummer 1746, was 146,040l. it muſt be obſerved, that the uſual arrears ſtanding out in every year, during the reign of King George the Firſt, as likewiſe in the firſt year of his late Majeſty, was about 102,000l. was this very extraordinary arrear left in the hands of the receiver or receivers, to create a deficiency of the duties for 7 years; does it not now appear upon the whole of this account of the produce of the Cuſtoms, that it is founded on eſtimated and fictitious valuations, to anſwer the preſent purpoſe.
There was a remarkable difference between the Treaſury-account of the net receipt, and the Commiſſioners of the Exciſe account of the [Page 19] net produce, to reconcile them, the ſame explanation as has already been mentioned as to the Cuſtoms, ſays, "The account of the net produce of the hereditary and temporary Exciſe, according to the commiſſioners accounts given into Parliament, is 1,437,373l. the Exchequer receipt of that revenue amounted to 1,326,861l. the difference 110,511l. after the hereditary and temporary Exciſe is paid into the Exchequer, it is chargeable with the payment of 15,759l. per annum, to the South-Sea Company for ſubſcription into their capital of the lottery 1713, which for 7 years is 110,318l. the difference 193l. therefore had the King charged himſelf with the produce inſtead of the receipt of this revenue, the difference would have been only 193l. in the 7 years."
The civil-liſt Lottery of 1713, which was for 35,000l. a year, and to be paid out of the Exciſe, was for 32 years, to pay the intereſt and principal of 500,000l. There was ſubſcribed of it into the South-Sea Company 464,990l. at 4l. per Cent. which is 18,599l. per annum, which multiplied by 7 years would no ways anſwer what [Page 20] 15,759l. was deſired to do; the remaining annual ſum of 16,400l. which ought to have gone to the ſinking fund, to pay off that principal ſum ſubſcribed, was taken from it, under the iniquitous pretence of its having emerged into the civil-liſt, founded only, and no otherwiſe authorized, but by an opinion obtained from his Majeſty's learned Council, on a falſe ſtate of the Caſe. It now appears, that the ſaid annual ſum of 16,400l. has not been accounted for as a part of the civil-liſt revenue for the 7 years deficiency of duties, and that amounts to 114,800l. where has this emerged again.
The Commiſſioners of the Exciſe, in all their former accounts delivered to Parliament, in accounting for the produce of the civil-liſt revenue, have conſtantly deducted the ſum of 35,000l. a year for that civil-liſt lottery, from the groſs produce, and the remainder is the net produce of the civil-liſt revenue; and they are ſtill obliged by the law to pay annually into the Exchequer that ſum of 35,000l. they have nothing to do with the diſpoſition of it afterwards, and [Page 21] therefore cannot lawfully alter their method of accounting for it, from a future diſpoſition of it.
The Commiſſioners by their account to the Treaſury of 21 November 1746, declare, that the monies which have been applied by the Caſhier, to the uſes of his Majeſty's civil government for the year 1745, was 22,922l. but in their account of the ſecond of January 1746, was only 20,000l. though the remaining ſum of 2922l. was firſt charged by them as paid to Lord Orford for his penſion; and this is the only ſum that appears to have been paid him out of the produce of the ſeveral Offices of the Revenue, and is this all that has been paid him? but this is alone ſufficient to prove that this Exciſe account to Parliament cannot be right, and adminiſters ſufficient cauſe of ſuſpicion, as to other articles. I ſhall now ſtate this Exciſe account in another manner, as one ſhort convincing propoſition.
This account makes the net produce to be 1,437,373l. to which add only the 140,000l. paid the Prince of Wales, the real net produce is 1,577,373l. the account of the Exchequer [Page 22] is 1,326,861l. to which add, paid by the Caſhier for his Majeſty's warrants, the ſum of 142,922l. makes the whole but 1,469,783l. which being deducted from the net produce there remains 117,590l. of which there was ſtanding out in arrears at Midſummer 1746, the ſum of 74,258l. and therefore there could be in that time only the ſum of 43,342l. that could be applied for the civil-liſt lottery of 1713, for ſeven years.
This account ſays, the arrears ſtanding out on Midſummer 1746, the very day they were due on was 74,258l. on Midſummer-day 1728, they were but 58,981l. which is now ſo much more than uſual, that it may be ſuſpected to have been left in the hands of the receivers to create a greater deficiency in the duties and revenue. The date of this account is the Second of January 1746, and they there acknowledge that the ſum of 70,060l. had been paid in for thoſe arrears ſtanding out at Midſummer 1746.
The account delivered from the Poſt-Office for the produce of the ſeven years, on which I [Page 23] muſt firſt make a ſmall obſervation on the correctneſs of the Treaſury accounts, that for the ſeven years deficiency charges the receipt of the Poſt-Office for 1746, to be 15,943l. this new account for 33 years but 13,443l. This is the moſt delicate of all accounts that were delivered into Parliament. The Commiſſioners have prudently avoided the ſigning of it, having no doubt heard what happened to others in 1729, when the account of the produce of the civil-liſt revenue was called for by Parliament, and their receiving a letter from the Treaſury to make them up in another manner, to impoſe on the Parliament; and the letter was produced for their own juſtification, they therefore now left it to the accomptant to make up ſomething of an account that might paſs for the preſent; it is ſo ſlovenly done, that they have not caſt up the total of any of the ſeveral heads of deductions, nor the account of the net produce for the ſeven years.
The firſt moſt extraordinary article I ſhall take notice of is the charges of the management, which as it ſtands here for theſe ſeven years is [Page 24] noleſs than 1,070,392l. that it is greatly increaſed during this period is certain, but it is impoſſible that it ſhould come to ſo enormous a ſum; and there muſt be ſomething not right in this article, which may be thus ſtated, to cover ſomething elſe, for the charges of management for the year 1728, was but 23,005l.
During the old ſyſtem, we were not permitted to eaſe the nation of the heavy weight of unneceſſary charges in the collection of the revenues, but they were increaſed for the ſake of a corrupt influence over the electors and elected; and the nation is greatly deceived in thinking that the crown pays for the charges of collecting the civil-liſt revenues; which is a rent-charge, and therefore the collection of it is a burden on the people; the miniſters therefore have not been deſirous of eaſing the nation of any part of ſo unneceſſary a burden, but our exhauſted ſtate may now require it.
This account from the Poſt-Office, makes the net produce for the ſeven years, including the payments of his Majeſty's Warrants and [Page 25] Grants, to be 228,150l. the Treaſury account of the deficiencies of thoſe duties for thoſe ſeven years acknowledges the receipt in every year on the very Midſummer-day they were due on, to amount to 214,264l. which leaves an arrear on the ſeven years but of 13,886l. yet this Poſt-Office account charges the arrears ſtanding out on Midſummer-day 1746, to be 54,734l. is not this very ſurpriſing? The account is dated the 27th of January 1746, and ſays, that there has been paid of thoſe arrears, before that date, the ſum of 39,251l. I have all theſe arrears been artfully kept back for the ſake of the deficiencies of the duties.
This diſcovery now leads us to examine the article of the Poſt-Office for 1747; in this new 33 years account, which is the year after the pretended deficiencies, it charged the net receipt of the Poſt-Office in every year to be but 24,602l. for that year; yet it now appears there was paid in, between Midſummer 1746, and Midſummer 1757, before the 27th of January 1747, the ſum of 39,251l beſides what was paid in of the remaining arrears of [Page 26] 15,481l. and all that has been paid in for the produce of the year 1747. May we not therefore ſuſpect that this arrear of the Poſt-Office for 54,734l. the arrear of the Exciſe for 74,258l. and the arrear of the Cuſtom for 146,040l. amounting to 274,032l. has not been accounted for ſince.
Some of the firſt hours, at the very beginning of the laſt reign, paſſed in a due conſideration of certain money affairs; to that immediately ſucceeded the bidding for the adminiſtration, which roſe from 700,000l. in the late reign, to 800,000l. a year, and in the ſame manner the bargain was ſtruck for it, it was opened ſo to the Parliament, and a bill was ordered in for that purpoſe, but then a bidding after Game was play'd; it was obſerved, that the revenue in the preceeding reign was not all paid on the day that they were due, but were in a few months afterwards, and that therefore a net receipt within every year, was penuriouſly calculated to be more advantageous. This occaſioned the bringing into the bill that extraordinary clauſe which could not be then [Page 27] taken notice of, but was ſufficiently the next year, when the merit of the after-game was to be claimed; it was thought the revenue had produced for that year but 684,407l. the intrigue of the cloſet obliged the miniſter to make good that deficiency, and he demanded it as ſuch of the Parliament; and when that was too much expoſed for his own friends to vote it as a deficiency, he was ſtill neceſſitated to take it as an arrear. No one could ever think that expoſed and intriguing precedent would ever have been impoſed again on the people.
We were engaged on the Continent in the war for the Auſtrian ſucceſſion, our part was directed and carried on, on the moſt abſurd, ſelf-contradictory principles. We might have had a peace by the treaty at Hanau, and the favourite meaſure from natal predilection would have been ſatisfied for that time by ſecularizations. It was approved of by his Majeſty, and by his Miniſter with him, who ſent it over to the Regency to be approved of here, four of them, though there were nineteen Lord Juſtices, [Page 28] without communicating it to the reſt of them, clandeſtinely took it upon themſelves to refuſe it. It would have deſtroy'd their ſyſtem for their own adminiſtration. They kept the ſecret, they added to the flame of the nation againſt the miniſter who was for peace, as being the only miniſter that was for carrying on the war, they ſucceeded, and his Majeſty was forced at the end of the year 1744, to part with the miniſter that was for that peace, and we were then neceſſitated to go on with the war, to give hopes of obtaining at laſt the Favourite Meaſure, which they had prevented being obtained by another; flattering themſelves that events would ariſe, to put him out of humour with his favourite meaſure; which they happily obtain'd for that time, by carrying it on till they could raiſe no more money, and left the hopes to remain to the next broils that could be made or found on the Continent; in the mean time recover our finances; reduce the intereſt of the funds from four to three per cent. without giving the poor people any eaſe from it, by taking off their taxes; for they were reſerved to be applied to [Page 29] ſuch proper uſes. In the beginning of the year 1746, the miniſter had been guilty of a moſt grievous provoking offence, did not all theſe hardſhips then require douceurs. On the eighth of December 1746, the demand was made for the deficiencies of the duties and revenues of the civil-liſt, for 456,733l.
I will not touch upon votes of credit, ſubſidies, payments of Foreign troops, nor on the true motives or cauſes of our deſperate bloody war, nor on the third partition treaty for the dividing of the Pruſſian Bear-ſkin; for they may be thought foreign to my Occaſional Obſervations.
I ſincerely believe that the only motive for calling for an account of the clear produce of the 33 years, was to do honour to his late Majeſty, by undeceiving the people as to the enormity of his civil-liſt revenue; and with no view to do honour to his adminiſtrations, by ſhewing with how little they had done ſo much; nor that it could then be conceived, that a double-titled [Page 30] account would have been given of it, and of the unavoidable conſequences that muſt ariſe from it. The experienced Old Syſtemites, with the hopes of a ſucceſsful after-game, highly blame the meaſure of accepting the 800,000l. a year certain, and thereby the giving up the benefit of the late civil-liſt act, in not accounting for any years ſurplus, and the benefit of accounting for fictitious deficiencies: ſome of the lower herd of murmurers, who judge of the Rectitude of meaſures by names or epithets to names, have caſt an eye only on the ſum total of 26,182,981l. as the produce of 33 years in every year, and then dividing that by 33, they find by certain unerring occular demonſtration, that his preſent Majeſty has obtained a greater civil-liſt revenue than his late Majeſty had. From all that has been urged in theſe Obſervations, it muſt now appear, that it is abſolutely neceſſary, for the true information of the nation, and to do juſtice to his preſent Majeſty, that the account of the clear produce of the civil-liſt revenues from Midſummer 1727 to Midſummer laſt, as called for by [Page 31] the Parliament, be truly and faithfully laid before them.
The arts, the ridiculous inſinuations, the many inſulting clamours, to ſupport and revive the expiring Old Syſtem, muſt be deſpiſed by every honeſt man, who rejoices in ſeeing the true ſpirit of our conſtitution once more reſtored, which had been ſo long deſpaired of; not only by the moſt ſolemn words and aſſurances from the Th [...]e, but by publick acts; the taking of 800,000l. a year certain for the civil-liſt revenue.—All our judges are confirmed to us, not one turned out, as was at the beginning of the late reign, to give another interpretation to the act of ſettlement than was before underſtood to be the true ſenſe and meaning of it; by putting one out, and afterwards reſtoring him upon the firſt vacancy, to eſtabliſh that prerogative in the Crown; and by giving freedom to every placeman to vote for his own repreſentative in Parliament.—In this ſituation of my King and Country, having ſome knowledge of theſe revenues, I thought it might be of ſervice to the [Page 32] publick to make theſe Obſervations, and give this. Sketch of the Conduct of our Money affairs under the Old Syſtem; wiſhing ſome abler pen would do the ſame as to our Continent meaſures: And that All the People may be truly ſenſible and fully convinced of that great bleſſing of Providence to them, in giving them a KING BORN AND EDUCATED A BRITON.THE END.