JUSTICE THE Best Support TO GOVERNMENT: OR, A brief Account of some Publick Transactions During the Late WAR.

LONDON: Printed for, and sold by the Booksellers of Lon­don and Westminster, and at the Cock-Pit-house in Clerkenwell-Close. 1697.

TO THE Lords Spiritual and Temporal AND Commons in Parliament Assembled.

THat we have been harras'd and al­most begger'd by a tedious and Expensive War, needs no Proof; but how this War came to be drawn out to this Length, and to drein the inexhaustible Well dry (as the Popes use to stile this Island) is not possible for me to discover. However I have here laid down some Remarkable Instances how Evil mind­ed Men have Clandestinely Crept into Places of the greatest Trust; whether meerly to en­rich themselves, or more barbarously only to [Page] wreck their Causeless Malice upon their Na­tive Countrey; have extreamly contributed to the Discouraging, enslaving and even totally ruining her. It hath been no small or use­less stratagem in this Age, to discountenance all manner of Information, and that all sorts of Villany might Reign Rampant, the Name of an informer hath been reputed Mon­strous. By which means some Honest Per­sons, who have by accident come to the Knowledge of Transactions, both unwar­rantable and of dangerous Consequence to the Nation, have conniv'd at all, and stifl'd that affection they had, and so fair an op­portunity to demonstrate to their Countrey, upon the Fear and Terror of being repu­ted Madmen or Informers, and whereas some have broke this Bar, and have dis­charg'd their Consciences, yet the little good they thereby did, or therefore re­ceiv'd, hath been a great Discouragement; Yet notwithstanding the Author of these following sheets, knowing how much his King and Countrey have suffer'd, by such Base and Treacherous Practices as are here Re­cited; [Page] Values not what some may censure, so that he may acquaint those who have Power to inspect and reward according to what hath been done.

To give your Honours no farther trou­ble, tho the wicked Practices of Men have furnished me with plenty of matter; I shall only add that Articles setting forth these matters, have been by me preferr'd against the Lords of the Admiralty, the Commissioners of the Navy, and the Commissioners for the sick and wounded Seamen. Yet so great have been their interest, and so difficult to find a Zealous Patron of Truth, that all Labour and Travel in this matter hath been unsuck­cessful.

It's probable the time of War was not so opportune, and seeing I was not permitted to prove those Articles, it's now nevertheless hop'd by all Good Men, this Blessed Peace, as it affords Liberty, so it will give occasion to this great and most August Assembly to look into these Affairs: In regard His Majesty (of his innate Goodness) in His Late most Graci­ous Speech to both House of Parliament, Has [Page] been pleas'd to express his willingness, and de [...]ire to rectify all such Corruptions and Abuses as may have crept into any part of the Administration dur­ing the War.

Which upon Examination will be found to be such as are destructive to all Human Society, and tend to the Final over-throw of the Go­vernment. I am, my Lords and Gentlemen, with all profound Respect.

Your Honours, Most Obedient Servant, ROBERT CROSFEILD.

ALL Men of Sense and Integrity must subscribe that the Late Revolution wrought the great Deliverance of these Nations (a Mercy not to be forgotten by this nor succeeding Ages); and notwithstanding after so prosperous a Settlement, we have been afflicted with so tedious a War, yet can­not our dissatisfied Persons justly charge this War (as some presumptuously do) upon the score of the Revo­lution; for it's manifest to all inquisitive persons, that France would never have attempted a War with us, had they not been encouraged by our Divisions, so I doubt not but to make it Evident, that she could never have protracted the War to this time, had not the Perfidi­ousness, Cowardise, and most unworthy dealings a­mong us encouraged and supported her.

He knows not the Constitution of England, who is ignorant that our Shipping are our Walls: therefore in order to what I promis'd, I shall first show what Ar­tifices were us'd to weaken them, by discouraging and beggaring some, by plain Murthering others, and for­cing not a few of our Saylors to desert their Native Countrey (though in the greatest necessity) and serve under Foreign States for maintenance, which was not to be obtain'd at home. In the year 1695. a small piece was presented to the World, under the Title of Justice [Page 2] perverted, wherein it was manifested that by the me­thods of Queries and Runs (a thing practicable in the Navy) some subtle Sophisters did much abuse the Nati­on by wronging the Saylors; for whereas it fortun'd that divers Seamen being taken with sickness, some were set on shore at the Neighbouring Ports: others were sent up to London-Hospitals for cure; it could not be thought but some among such a multitude were past recovery and died: However, these poor wretches, though they had serv'd a considerable time, yet upon their dying were for the most part prickt Run; and such as Death did pity and spare, the Officers, more cru­el, would not; for if they were not recover'd, and on board within 30 days, they were generally prickt Run; and which is more monstrous, it's well known, tho se­veral as soon as Recover'd (the Ship to which they be­long'd being sayl'd) yet were they prickt Run from the first Ship where they were enter'd; and whereas it hath been customary in many Cases to remove Seamen from ship to ship; as when a ship is commanded to Cruise, and is not sufficiently mann'd for that purpose, some men are sent into her out of other ships; by which means it may come to pass that some particular persons for the Opinion of their Valour, Skill and Integrity, may at times have been remov'd to serve on board four or five several ships, yet if they happen to be prickt Run in the last ship they served in, both they and their Fami­lies generally utterly lose all the benefit and Wages ac­cruing by their former Services; and to compleat all this barbarity upon the poor Seamen, all things have been a­cted with that secrecy and mystery, that though they found themselves and Families ruin'd, yet could never [Page 3] learn the Cause, or find the Villain that did it. These and such like unworthy doings were represented to the Publick in the foresaid Paper, and also confirm'd by the additional Testimony of Mr. Hodges, and I may freely say it did appear by the fatal consequence, viz. the Pau­city of Seamen to be found upon occasion, and the back­wardness of such as were found to enter the service; a thing so strange as was never heard of in England before these Tricks; and one would think all Honour and Ho­nesty had deserted our Coasts, when these things could be so openly acted, yet so little regarded by the Navy-Board, whose place it was, and care it should heve been, to have protected and encouraged our Seamen. But it's no wonder the Commissioners should be so averse to pro­tect and do justice to the Seamen, when they suffer'd so great injustice to the King in false Contracts, and in em­bezling his Naval Stores, as was fully prov'd (by many Depositions) they did at Portsmouth; which Notorious Crimes being brought by Mr. Trevor, Mr. Graham and o­thers before the Lords of the Admiralty, the Commis­sioners became Advocates of the Villains, and not Pro­secutors, and did so far manifest their Resentment against the Discoverers, that they immediately suspended Mr. Graham, Clerk of the Checqne of Portsmouth-Yard, and Mr. Trevor, Clerk of the Rope-Yard and others, and not satisfied therewith, eudeavoured their utter rnin. Not­withstanding so great discouragement, yet these Gentle­men, Mr. Trevor, Mr. Graham, and the rest, proceeded in their discovery, and made the Crimes so fully appear, that Three of the Commissioners of the Navy being pre­sent, did in the name of the whole Board, acknowledge to their Lordships that there were base and adominable [Page 4] Practices in Portsmouth-Yard, and so put as good a Face as possible they could upon so bad a Matter. They re­commended Mr. Trevor to their Lordships, as a person deserving Encouragement for this honest discovery. Their Lordships embraced the motion, and order'd Mr. Trevor to manage the Prosecution against the Offend­ers, who accordingly brought the business to Winchester-Sizes following, where it was expected that the Mayor of Portsmouth, who had bound over the accused persons, should have return'd the Recognizance, but to the won­der of the Court had not; whereupon the Judge thought fit to fine him 200l. However, the Commissioner of Portsmouth-Yard procur'd an Attorney to post after the Judge to Salisbury, who by subtle, but false pretensions, did so work upon the Goodness of the Judge, that the Fine was taken off. And that the said Commissioner of Portsmouth was thus engaged in saving those Rogues that had wrong'd the King, from Justice, is easily to be collected from the Note of Charges, in relation to that Journey, being drawn upon him from the aforesaid At­torney; which Note is now to be seen in the Admiral­ty Office. Information of the same Matter was after­wards brought to the King's-Bench-Bar; some time be­fore which, by cunning Intrigues, it was brought about that Mr. Trevor should be no farther concern'd in the Prosecution; but another person was found out fit for that place, who was both wholly ignorant of the Facts, and easie to be wrought upon; and then when the Tryal came on, the Commissioners of the Navy appear'd in a Body on behalf of the Criminals; where it was mostim­pudently asserted, that the Goods that had been embez­led, were but Loans out of His Majesties Stores; whenas [Page 5] the persons in whose hands those Goods were found, were private Traders, and no ways concern'd in shipping. At this time it fortun'd, but how is not yet known, that di­vers Gentlemen, who were subpena'd, in order to prove the Facts, were forgot, and never called; and having this advantage the Commissioners made their most on't, and prevail'd with the Jury to acquit the Actors, though themselves had formerly own'd the Crimes before the Lords of the Admiralty. There being such apparent Jug­ling in matters so foul, what wonder was it that persons of untainted Honour and Loyalty, withdrew themselves from serving longer at the Admiralty-Board, where they were in danger of seeing their own Reputation ship­wreckt by the Injustice of some in the same Commission! Or what wonder was it that subordinate Officers grew fearful of complaining and informing, when their Supe­riors did so openly Encourage, Uphold and Protect Vil­lains, and with such earnestness and violence Persecute the Discoverers; nor was it any wonder that Rogues and Villains took heart, believing this their proper time to prosper and be secure in.

A farther Instance how well his Majesty has been ser­ved, and the Interest of the Nation promoted, during these Wars, we may find in the Case of Everett the Shipwright: This man having detected many Frauds and Embezzlements in the King's Yards, Voluntarily made a Proposal to the Lords of the Admiralty, whereby to save His Majesty 100000 l. per annum, in mattters relating to Building and Repairing the Royal Navy. The Proposal was afterwards publish'd, and Dedicated to His Majesty and both Houses of Parliament; and [Page 6] was highly approved by many Noble Persons, particu­larly his Grace the Duke of Leeds, as also by the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, by Sir Ralph Delaval, the Lord Barkley, and the then Lord Danby, &c. Like­wise the Master and Assistance of the Company of Free Shipwrights did approve the same Proposal. Nay, the Lords of the Admiralty, though not at first discerning the advantage of the said Proposal, did strenuously op­pose it; yet in conclusion signified their approbation thereof; but before they complied they did occasion E­verett to wait near Three Years. For albeit Everet gave in his Proposal to their Honouts March 1692/3. yet he was not permitted an Hearing till the 8th of Februa­ry following; at which time the Commissioners of the Navy being present, did so stiffly oppose the said Pro­posal, that the Lords of the Admiralty thought fit to throw it out. Being thus disappointed, Everett know­ing his Intentions to be Honest, and being unwilling to be hinder'd from serving his King and Countrey, humbly presented his said Proposal to His Majesty in Council; and His Majesty was pleas'd, by Order of Council, bearing date the 22d of March 169 [...]/ [...]. to refer the same Proposal to the Lords of the Admiralty; and that said Order of Council, with the Proposal of Eve­rett, was laid before the Lords of the Admiralty, the 26th ditto. After that Mr. Everett paid his attendance on, and made several Motions to their onours to be heard upon his Proposal, he was, April 24▪ 1694. re­ferr'd to the Commissionors of the Navy; upon whom waiting, was told his Proposal was Nonsense; and was likewise threaten'd with an Action of Defamation, if he did not speedily depart from it. Moreover, attend­ing [Page 7] the Navy-Board the 27th of April 1694. upon the Reference from the Lords of the Admiralty, they began, as he thought, to banter and baffle him; and order'd him to give them in writing a Demonstration of seve­ral Heads laid before them: with which Order Everett complied, and the 30th ditto did Present them with such a Demonstration. Then they order'd him to at­tend them again May 2d. at which time he attending, was told, the Surveyor was out of Town, and therefore they must respite his business till his return: which hapning to be on the 8th of the same Month, and the said Everett having no Summons to pay his attendance, waited till the 14th, and then Presented the Navy Board with a Scrowle of near Fifty Names, by which Persons he could prove the several Crimes by him mentioned to be committed in his Majesties Yards; at which time the answer given him was, The Controuler was gone down to the Fleet, and that a matter of that consequenceas Mr. Everett's was, could not be dispatch'd as it ought without a full Board; and that he need not be so precise in his at­tendance; for they could and would consider of his matter without his appearing.

June 11th 1694. Mr. Everett having as yet heard nothing of his matter, went to the Navy-Office, where observing no great business stirring, he took the oppor­tunity to move the Board twice or thrice, but was un­successful in all; and after many Hours waiting, went home unsatisfied. The following day he indeed recei­ved a Letter from the Board, intimating that they now had his Proposal under consideration, and would proceed to make a Report thereof: and that he need not give himself any further trouble about it. He therefore [Page 8] waited till the 19th, but finding then all was no more than Words, he applied himself to the Lords of the Admiralty, and Presented their Lordships with a Nar­rative of his Proceedings with the Commissioners of the Navy: whereupon the day following Everett did re­ceive a fresh Letter from the Navy-Board; dated June the 20th, whereby he was order'd to attend their Board the 23d of the same month, with Evi­dence to prove the Abuses complain'd of by him. Accordingly in time, and at the place appointed he did attend, and Twelve Master Shipwrights with him, Two of which Masters were called in, and before the Board did assert and prove several of the Abuses and Base Practices committed in the King's Yards. However, while these Masters were giving in their Evidence on behalf of their Sovereign Lord the King, the Commissioners were so impudent and insolent as both to Discourage and Terrifie them in a scoffing manner, saying, How could it he possible to save His Majesty 100000 l. per annum, in Building and Repair­ing the Royal Navy, when the whole Charge did not amount to so much; and that Worthy Captain Wil­shaw did aver, That the Charge of the whole did not amount to 25000 l. and so they brake up abruptly, leaving Mr. Everett and his Evidence in the Board-Room, without the least Order for withdrawing or further attending.

June 27th. the Commissioners of the Navy did make their Report to the Lords of the Admiralty concerning Everett's Proposal; in which Report they inserted divers false Reflections upon Mr. Everett and his Proceedings; of which whole matter the Reader [Page 9] may be fully satisfied if he have recourse to the Book before mention'd, Viz. Justice Perverted, p. 12. 13.

July the 6th, Mr. Everett again attended the Lords of the Admiralty, having before given a Narrative of his proceedings at the Navy Boards and pray'd to be heard thereupon, as also that he might be favoured with a Copy of the Navy Boards Report, but could not pre­vail. The 7th and 9th of the same Month he attended again, and was inform'd by Mr. Southern, then Secre­tary to the Admiralty, that their Lordships Report was drawn up and would be delivered the next Council Day, Viz. The 12th following, but was not, wherefore Everett attended their Lordships the Day following, Viz. The 13th and laid Eight Heads before them rela­ting to his Proposal, and humbly craved their Honours would take it into consideration and exspedite their Report, but all to no purpose; So likewise August the 14th Day, but had no Answer. So the 17th he gave in a fresh Memorial, but without effect, the 21st he a­gain Petitioned their Lordships, humbly reminding them of the great charge and dammage he had su­stain'd. And was then ordered to attend Fryday the 24th, when they would consider his case, so as to make a full Report thereof. At which time he gladly and in great hopes attended the Admiralty Board, but was inform'd by the Secretary, that Sir Robert Rich was out of Town, and that therefore their Lordships had referred his matter till his Honours Return.

September the 5th Everett again attended their Lord­ships, when the Secretary inform'd him that Sir John Lowther was out of Town, but when he return'd, the [Page 10] Admiralty would proceed to a final determination of his matter.

September the 18th, he again attended and was then told Admiral Rook was out of Town, but that the next Board of six, would without farther delay determine his matter: He was then directed to attend at Four in the Afternoon, the 20th following, which he did; and then part of his Proposal being Read, the Commissi­oners of the Navy's Report was read also, in order to confute Everett; but he still insisting, that he was able to make good every particular whereof he had given information, with much ado their Lordships were pleas'd to give him leave that he might produce his Witnesses. The 30th of October following Everett fa­ther moved their Lordships for a Copy of the Report from the Navy-Board, as also for Summons for his Wit­nesses; The latter, with some Reluctance, they gran­ted; but by no means would condescend to the for­mer.

Nov. 2d. Mr. Everett according to order, attended the Admiralty-Board at Ten in the Morning with Elea­ven Witnesses, and about Eleven was called in, where he found only Mr. Priestman, who told Everett that he believed the rest of the Members had forgotten his bu­siness, and therefore he must have patience to another day: Everett thereupon intreated his Lordship, to con­sider the great charge and trouble he had been at in getting his Witnesses together, and to order that they might now being together be examin'd upon Oath, he having breviates of their Depositions ready drawn. Sir George Rook then coming in, Mr. Everett was or­dered to attend with his Witnesses at Four in the Af­ternoon, [Page 11] which he did; they were called in about Six, and being severally and strictly examined, did plainly prove the matters alledg'd by Everett— About Ten at Night their Lordships order one of their Clarks to ex­amine them over again; and to take their Subscripti­ons to the aforesaid breviates, but the said Clark, whe­ther so directed or no is not known, did Browbeat and Banter the said evidence, and would not suffer them to Subscribe their Breviates. The 27th of the same month, Mr. Everett delivered to their Lordships the De­positions of Seventeen Witnesses who were Sworn be­fore a Justice of Peace. Whereby the Frauds and Em­bezzlements alledged to be Committed in His Majesties Yards were sufficiently prov'd, he then Sollicited for a Report from their Lordships, but could obtain none till the 29th of January, 1694/5. In all which time, he could no ways obtain a Copy of the Navy-Boards Report.

In the Lords of the Admiralties Report, they were pleas'd to allow of that part of Everetts Proposal, re­lating to the saving of so great expences. And express themselves as very desirous, that the present Circum­stance of the State could Comport therewith, but there's not the least Notice taken of the many Crimes prov'd before them, to have been Committed in His Majesties Yards. However this Report being given in at the Council-Board; the matter was referred to such of the Lords of His Majesties most Honourable Privy Council, as belong'd to the Committee of Trade and Plantations, who forthwith granted Mr. Everett a Co­py of the Navy▪Boards Report.

[Page 12] February following, Viz. 25th 1695 Mr. Everett presen­ted their Lordships with a Memorial, in Answer to the Report of the Navy-Board.

March 27th 1695. Mr. Everett prov'd before their Lordships, by the Oaths of Divers Credible Witnesses, many great Crimes to be committed by several Offi­cers and others in His Majesties Yards, at which time the Commissioners of the Navy did, notwithstanding so great and plain evidence, insinuate to their Lord­ships that their Officers were Just and Innocent, hop­ing, as was thought, that Everett had nothing but Ge­nerals, and was not sufficient to prove any Crime upon any particular Person, April, 1695. Mr. Everett upon a full hearing (before the Lords aforesaid) face to face with the Commissioners of the Navy, did prove the Report of the Navy-Board to be false and scandalous, which was also by their Lordships acknowledged to be so; again, April the 6th, Mr. Everett did present to their Lordships two Papers, recounting the Various Frauds and Abuses committed in His Majesties Yards of Ports­mouth, Chattam, and Deptford, which their Lordships inspecting, told Mr. Everett, that they were too well satisfied of such practices to doubt them; However, Everett persisted for Freedom, to prove his Allegati­ons; upon which he was told by their Lordships, they would refer the matter to the Lords of the Admiralty; submitting, to this reference, Mr. Everett did on the 13th, 16th, 19th, 27th, 29th of April, and on the 6th and 7th of May ensuing, by near Forty Witnesses prove before their Lordships the matters of Fact, charged up­on the Officers and others belonging to His Majesties Yards aforesaid, and their Lordships were satisfied in the Proof, at which time Mr. Everett concluded his [Page 13] Testimony in this Case; Yet could by no entreaties procure a Report to be made till September following, by which Report His Majesty being made acquainted with the Faithful Services of Mr. Everett, was graci­ously pleas'd to order the Lords of the Admiralty to put him into some employ in the Navy, or other ways to bestow upon him a Reward suitable to his Merits. Hereupon their Lordships directed the Commissioners of the Navy to pay unto the said Everett 100 l. and they accordingly issued out their Order Morch 7th, 1695/6. In which Order they were pleased to take notice, This Benevolence of His Majesty's was for the Faithful Services of Mr. Everett. But yet there was no news of Punishing the Offenders. Mr. Everett, willing to satisfie the World, he serv'd his Majesty purely out of a Principle of Loyalty, after this 100l. received, which not to mention his Deserts, did nothing nigh counter­vail the Charge he had been at, did sollicite the Earl of Rumny for a Commission enabling him to seize Embezled Stores; his Honour being very zealous and forward to encourage so good a Work, the Commis­sioners of the Navy could not well oppose, but com­plied, and granted Mr. Everett a Commission, in pursuance of which Commission Mr. Everett in a little time made One Hundred and Thirty Seizures, as of Anchors, Cables, Cordage, Timber and Amwunition; and of Ordinance Four, each containing Nine Hundred Weight, which he delivered into the King's Stores; but instead of being encouraged in such his Faithful Service, he hath been slander'd, abused and ill treat­ed both by Navy-Board, and the Commissioners of the Victualling-Office while, in the mean time, such as he detected in their Base Actions, were cherished [Page 14] and rescued from Justice; an Instance whereof fol­lows: Mr. Everett having seized on Board Ship Three Puncheons of Salt, value 6l. the Commissioners of the Victualling Office refus'd to pay him his Propor­tion, which, according to the King's allowance, ought to be the Third Part; but instead thereof would have fobb'd him off with Ten shillings. It is true they promised him an Hearing at their Board, con­cerning the seizure; where they engaged the Com­mander of the Ship should be present; but he nei­ther heard a word more of them, nor received any Reward for this Service. Again, near an Hundred Empty Casks being Embezled, were carried by Mr: Euerett and return'd into the Stores; but the foresaid Com­missioners refus'd to take any Cognizance of this Matter; also alledging, that Pursers, and others, en­trusted therewith▪ are obliged to discount for what they do not return, after the rate of 12s. per Tunn. And well they may, when they themselves own they stand the King in 34s. per Tunn. When Mr. Everett en­tered upon this last Design of seizing all the Embezled Stores he could meet with, the Commissioners of the Navy appear'd so forward in his Encouragement, that they order'd him the Third of all such Purchase: but after a while, hearing the Discoveries he daily made, they themselves did declare at the Board, That they believed all the Merchants Ships were furnished out of the King's Stores. And at this rate they made but a Jest of the King's Expence, and the Nation's Loss. Soon after, minded to pick a Quarrel with Mr. E­verett, they refused to pay the Third Part till such time as the Offenders were convicted.

[Page 15] In the beginning of August 1695. the Commis­sioners of the Navy hired a Vessel for the said E­verett to proceed in his Design of seizing Embez­led Stores; and he having seized several Parcels of Naval Stores at Harwich, particularly a Parcel of Cordage, value 60l. the Mayor of the Town op­pos'd him with great Violence; so also did Justice Smith, Mr. Wyldbore, Collector of His Majesties Cu­stoms, and other Officers. And notwithstanding E­veret produced, and read before them the Kings Pro­clamation, the Earl of Rumnys and Navy-Boards war­rant for his Authority. Yet all was slighted by these Persons, and consequently the Cordage taken was re­scued by open force; Nay, the Vessel of Mr. Everett was seized by Mr. Wyldbores order.

A complaint of these evil doings being laid before the Commissioners of the Navy, the 12th of August 1695. they refused to take Cognizance thereof, pre­tending the Persons herein accus'd, were not under their Jurisdiction. Nay, they refus'd their Warrant, tho often desired, for the Release of the Vessel; nor would they take any Course that the Cordage before spoken of should be receized, though it was several times desired. Nay in September following, viz. the 30th, though Everett laid before the Lords of the Ad­miralty Nine Depositions relating to this Matter, and fully prov'd the Cordage before spoken of to be His Majesties Stores. Nay, so prov'd it, that the Sollici­tor of the Navy did acknowledge it so to be. Yet, though many Petitions have been preferr'd, no inspe­ction can as yet be obtained into this Matter.

[Page 16] The Commissioners of the Navy designing to defraud the King, did order about Two Hundred and Forty Tunn of Good Hemp; that is, Bands and Ribbs, to be brought from Chattam, Sixteen Tun, and Twelve Hundred Weight whereof they sold at Thirty Shillings per Tunn, under the Name of Rakings and Flyings: But they were so kind, as fearing their Chapman had had a bad Bargain, to deliver him for that sixteen Tunn and Twelve Hundred Weight, between Seventy and Eighty Tunn. A certain Gentleman hapning to see the Hemp, did bid the Commissioners Fifteen Pound a Tunn for it. But they fearing the Matter might come to light, refus'd his Offer, and with all Secrefie and Dispatch imaginable, hush'd up the Matter; by which means the King was cheated about Three Thousand Pound. The Publick had some account of this Transaction, March the 17th, 169 [...]/ [...] by which means one Mr. Culliford making his Observa­tion thereon, sent to me to inquire by what means I could make Proof hereof. I then nominated to him a certain Eminent Citizen that could prove it. He de­sired me to introduce him into the acquaintance of that Person: which not long after I did, at which our Meeting Mr. Culliford took down in writing from the Gentleman's own mouth, the full Narration*; pro­mising to lay it before the House of Commons; but as [Page 17] far as I could yet Learn, he knew how to serve himself better then so. For he soon gave the Commissioners of the Navy such intimation of what he knew in this matter, they to stop his mouth agreed to buy the Sail-Cloath of him for the Navy, which before they had refus'd to do; and so Industrious were they to make him whom they knew to be Privy, to their Fraud, their Friend. That in a little time after, he was Comple­mented by the Lords of the Treasury, with a very considerable place being made Surveyor General of His Maiesties Customs; and to make all sure; the Lords of the Admiralty with the Commissioners of the Na­vy, condescended to make this Gentleman a visit, upon pretence to see his Ingenuity in the Sayl Cloath Trade, which they did, and upon their return gave large Encomiums, what a profitable design this was like to prove to the Publick, and [...]o there was an end of the Hemp. Not long after the Lords of the Ad­miralty and the Commissioners of the Navy, to ex­press their fidelity to the Nation, did Publish in the Gazzet (as they have often done before and since) their Readiness to receive any Information of any Frauds or Deceits us'd in the Nav [...] and their Resolution to encourage the Informers. But for ought that can be understood, they must mean such Informers as Mr. Culliford.

Nor are we beholding to the Commissioners of the Navy, only for discouraging the Publick cause, and weakning its interest, but the Lords of the Admiralty have been fully out as kind, for it has been a usual pra­ctice of them (for the first five Years) during this un­happy Wars (which I may well so call since they have [Page 18] so much help to make them so) to delay and detain Ships by Embargo (as is presum'd partly upon the Ac­count of the profit, accruing by Protections and Per­mits) till many of them have been damaged in their Ladings, and consequently ruin'd in their Voyage to the unspeakable injury of the whole Nation. And moreover, the many Ships reputed by them to be sent out a Cruzing to Guard the Seas: Yet lost we above One Hundred Ships of War, and some Thousands of Merchants Ships, it was well lookt after the mean while: But in Truth it could not well be expected to be other ways, for not a Journal of these pretended Guard-ships (or any that went as Convoy) were ever examined when it was the only means whereby to know, whether they performed their Duty or no, so that if their Lordships did not know they were other­ways employ'd, than was pretended. Yet hereby they gave them as secure an opportunity as they could desire, of lying in Port, Trading, or Roving up and down at Pleasure: All which can hardly admit of any other Construction, then that they extended thereby to beg­ger the People and Ruin the Trade of the Nation.

As for the Barbarous u [...]ge of our Seamen when sick in Hospitals, or the Enemies when taken in War, that I speak nothing to a point that would afford so.

Copious matter is, because the Reader may find it very fully set out in a Book Entitul'd, Bastons Case; however I cannot pass over this Tragical History with­out this Remark. Tho it was made appear before the Commissioners of Accounts, that one Leigh an Apo­thecary then living in Watling-street, had delivered in­to the Elabaratory in the Savoy, for the use of the sick [Page 19] and wounded, a great quantity of dammaged Rubarb which he had bought at between Nine and [...]n Pence a Pound: Yet was he not call'd in Question there for *

But Mr. Baston who discover'd this and other base Practices (as cheating the King, &c) Notwithstand­ing, he was by His Majesty Recommended to the Care of the Lords of the Admiralty, who had themselves not long before promised to do him all possible Service. Yet when His Majesty was gone for Flanders, was shamefully [...]lited by them and left to the mercy of his Enemies, tho he had twice before prov'd their Crimes by the Kings own immediate order.

And that our Ruin might be compleated, the Com­missioners of the Post-Office became as expeditious as any of the other in Acting their Part: For it has been made appear to the Lord Justices by Mr. Blackhall, in 1696. Tho not any of the particulars thereof were ever till now offer'd to the Publick, that the Officers of the Post House did every Post in and out, usually break open the Letters of Honourable Persons, which as it was against Law and Good manners, so certainly can [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] never be suppos'd to have been done to any good intent; moreover it was prov'd, that they were conversant e­ven to a scandal, with professed Papist. And others too much averse to the present Government, nor can they ever perswade the World that the ground of their great Familiarity with these Persons was the Wit, or the Li­berality, or good humour they found in them and their Company when it does appear, it was to serve some great, tho secret end as witnesseth, these Persons ha­ving their Letters every Post deliver'd to them two hours before the King had his: Which was of dangerous con­sequence in those times. For if they receiv'd intelli­gence, their design was under any Likelyhood of dis­covery, they had time to escape the hands of Justice, or if any thing was to be attempted against the Kings Life or Government, they had the opportunity to sur­prize him before his intelligence could prevent. More­over it was fully prov'd, that after His Majesties Let­ters came into the Post-Office in order to be carried out. It was Customary to stop the Mails for an hour or more, of which no tollerable Account can be given. But it gives occasion to some to think, they took that opportunity to inspect the Kings secrets. And the Rea­son for this suspicion is, they ever wrote their Letters to their Correspondents beyond Sea, after they had re­ceived His Majesties into their Office, as if they wan­ted what to write before, farther it was prov'd, that the said Officers did send every Post great quantities of Gazzets, &c. As also great Numbers of Letters Frank, and at the close of the hearing, Mr. Blackhall gave in to the Lord Justices an Account how the Kings Reve­nue [Page 21] in that Office has been sunk, or impar'd 30000 per Annum, and so far were men of this temper from being satisfied herewith, that according to Mr. Samsons Proof, they purloyn'd near one half of the Peny Post-Office income: And that none may question this, the turning out the Controuler and Receiver of that Office, upon that Proof is a sufficient Testimony, and that which must certainly make these Crimes the more Notorious, is, that for Divers year successively, com­plaint had been made from time to time to the Com­missioners of the Post-Office of these matters, and by whom they were done (as when enquir'd into them­selves could not deny before the Lords Justices.) Yet they made no Reformation, but were so resolute, that when the foulest matters of this Nature were prov'd upon Mr. Leason, the Controuler of the Forreign Post-Office. Yet he was continued till the Third Letter from His Majesty, with much a due got him remov'd. But on the other hand, they let slip no opportunity to turn out such of their Members as they found had been Instrumental in making this necessary discovery, as they did one of good Parts, and good Principles; and al­most begger'd another (by evil and indirect means) that discover'd the wicked Practices of Leason and the Peny Post-Office.

I had thought of stopping my Pen here, but a Transact­ion so desperately mischievous to the King and Nations interest occuring to any mind, I can in no wise excuse my self from the Relation, which is as follows, Mr. Woodgate Late Post Master of Canterbury, did by Eigh­teen [Page 22] or Nineteen Depositions given in upon Oath, make it appear unto the Mayor and other Magistrates of the City of Canterbury, that for Divers years together dur­ing the Late War with France. Some Hundreds of Horse were privately placed upon the Road, between London, Canterbury, Dover, &c. For carrying on an under-hand Correspondence with France, and by which means not only Papers, but Persons were convey'd to and from France. Of this matter the Commissioners of the Post-Office were Divers time inform'd by the said Woodgate. Yet were they so far from putting a stop to such a dangerous design, that it appears by a Letter under one of the Commissioners hand, it was abetted and encouraged by them; the Depositions be­fore mention'd (as likewise the said Original Letter) relating to this affair, did for some considerable time lye in the hands of Mr. Blackhall in order to a Prose­cution. But his Zeal was soon cool'd by being made Receiver of the Penny Post▪Office, he had then no heart farther to Prosecute the Evil Actions of the Post-Office.

Now, whoever impartially weighs the preceeding matter, and duly considers what foul Crimes have been prov'd against the Officers of the Mint, &c. Can do no other ways then conclude all other Offices, have taken the same measures (for by Hercules's Foot we may know the Proposition of his Body) in regard it so plainly ap­pears, all Men in Publick Employment have been let loose to their own Appetite, to Act and do as they please without having any regard to the Law: The [Page 23] Consequence of which has been not only the destru­ction of a Multitude of Saylors, and the Impoverishing and Ruining of many Thousands Honest, Loyal, Indu­strious Families (who have not been so much as appre­hensive how all this ruin has been brought upon them) but the cause of all the Publick Debts and Distress that has fallen upon the Nation in General: And the Rea­son its Credit is so much Impared both at home and a­broad; which can never be restored otherways then by a due Administration of Justice: So great a misery it is, a Nation should be so unhappy as not to be sensible of the benefit of order, till disorder show it.

In all difficult and unusual Cases it's Customary to have recourse to records, to search for Examples and Presidents, which has ever been Judg'd to be of great Use, and of all our Kings since the Norman Conquest, I conceive the Reign of Henry the Third to be the most Remarkable; and seems to come nearest to our present Case, who having been driven into great straits and his People into great distress; even then he happily and unexpectedly restor'd the Nation again to Peace: Up­on which he began to look back, and search the Ground of his former misery; And my truly worthy Author Sir▪ Robert Cotton, who writ the Life of that Prince (which he presented to King James the First) says in p. 24. Here he finds his wasteful hand had been to quick, both over the Fortunes and Blessings of his People; [Page 24] The Griping avarice of his Civil Ministers, * &c. And referring all to base greedy and unworthy Ministers (whose Councels were ever more subtle than substantial) he had thrown down those Pillars of Soveraignty and Safety, Re­putation abroad and reverence at home. Thus at last he Learn'd, that reward and reprehension justly laid do Bal­lance Government; and that it much Importeth a Prince, the Hand to be equal that holdeth the Scale.

Pag. 26. His Court, wherein at this time the Faults of great Men, did not only by Approbation, but Imitation re­ceive true Comfort and Authority, for their Crimes now became Examples and Customs; he Purged very Judici­ously and Severely; since from thence proceeds either the Regular, or the Irregular condition of the Common State.

Pag. 27. And to discover now his own Capacity, and what part he meaneth to bear hereafter in all deliberate [Page 25] Expeditions, he siteth himself in Councel daily, and dis­poseth affairs of most weight in his own Person; for Coun­cellors be they never so wise or worthy, are but Accessaries not Principals, in Sustentation of the State.

This wonderful Change to the General State (so hopeless lately to recover her former Liberty, they sought now for nothing but the mildest Servitude) brought them home again with admiration to his Devotion and their own Duty.

He that will lay (we see) the Foundation of Greatness upon Popular Love, must give them Ease and Justice; for they measure the Bond of their obedience, by the Good always that they receive.

This Peace attended ever after his Age and Hearse, &c.

So that all the Actions of his future Reign, were ex­act Grounds of Discipline and Policy, for HIS BEST SƲCCESSOR TO RƲLE BY AFTER.

To conclude, the Heathen Romans by their Vir­tue and Moral Justice, rais'd themselves to a great pitch of Glory, yet afterwards by their Wicked­ness and Corruption were Ruined; and became a Prey to Divers Barbarous Nations; So unless this Nation hath Virtue enough within it self to conquer [Page 26] and overcome all these horrible Corruptions, we shall now at last unavoidably split (after all our great expence of Blood and Treasure) as it were upon a Rock, and fall unpitied into the Hands of our Enemies; out of which (like the Rich Man in the Gospel) we shall find no Redemption.

FINIS.

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