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the late war, we have seen the trade of the nation, some ages a raising, almost totally ruined; and a general poverty and distress brought upon the whole kingdom, and that in the reign even of the best of princes.
Trade bas ever been the universal mistress of mankind, courted and caressed by all civilized nations, many bloody wars having been carried on by those that have been rivals for her favour; for she never fails to bestow invaluable blessings upon ber admirers, being always attended with riches, honour, power, and all other earthly blessings.
Those nations that obtained her favour, and bave not had the wisdom and prudence to retain her, we see bave grown weak and despiseable, and lain exposed a prey to other nations, which appears to be the present case of Spain.
Our forefathers enjoyed a large share of her favour, which they carefully handed down to us; but we, like unthrifty and undutiful children, have been so far from following their footsteps, that we have been, as appears by our actions, great enemies to trade, and used all manner of violence to make her fly the nation, wherein she had long cohabited with us, and seemed unwilling to depart, till our continual acts of violence were such as they grew insupportable; so that she has now taken her flight into the neighbouring nations, viz. Holland * and Ireland, by whom she is higbly caressed, and not like to return in haste; and, unless she do return, we can expect no other than to be a miserable people, land itself having a dependence upon trade, and rises or falls as that ebbs or flows.
But, before we can expect that, it is necessary to be known what way and means it was we took to make ber desert us. Unless we do so, we can never expect her return; for she is coy and nice, and will not bear the least affront, but cleave to those who treat her best.
The first ill usage, trade appears to have met withal from us, was at the breaking out of the late war. Ever since, all manner of persons, things, or matters, that have had relation to, or were interested in trade, have been evil treated by those whose imme. diate duty it was to have encouraged and protected them.
It is well known our ships (under God) are our greatest security, and the glory of our isle, and the sailors our myrmidons, whom we ought to cherish as the apple of our eye; yet, all the time of the late war, they were most barbarously treated, even as if they had not been of the race of mankind, but a sort of vermin fit to be rooted out; for, what by their evil treatment on board ship, and frequent turning over without pay, the unjust pricking them run, and being barrassed with the uncertainty of payments, many thousands of these poor wretches and their families have been desiroyed,
• The Dutch having grown rich by the late war, and improved themselves eight millions; they are a wise people, and, among themselves, strict observers of justice, never suffering any to grow great out of the ruins of the publick; as sir William Tena ple well observes in his memoirs, and which is the true cause of the Aourishing condition of their state.
and great numbers constrained to leave their native country, and betake themselves to foreign service, or, which is worse, turn Pyrates.
This evil treatment of the poor sailors, though in itself highly wicked, seems to have been one of the least of the crimes coinmitted in the government, tending to the destruction of trade *; for it appears, there were articles brought into the House of Peers (the highest court of judicature in the nation) against the lords of the Admiralty, the commissioners of the navy, and the commis. sioners for the sick and wounded seamen, by one Mr. Crosfied, in the year 1694.
Upon which, their lordships examined divers witnesses at the bar of the house, and were very zealous in the matter; but it seems the articles were drawn out of the house, by the commissioners for stating the publick accounts, who never proceeded therein, though their lordships issued out two successive orders for them 80 to do; but for your better satisfaction, and that posterity may see the wickedness of the age, I here give you a true copy of those articles, and which are as followeth :
Article 1. That the present commissioners for sick and wounded seamen, and exchanging prisoners at war (depending on the Admiralty) not regarding instructions, or the good of the government, have conmitted gross enormities; as holding or conniving at an unlawful correspondence with the French, and wronging both the king and subject in their accounts, with other great miscarriages : all wbich has been, about a year since, laid in writing, before the secretary of state, by one Mr. Baston, and, by the king's command, examined before the lords of the Admiralty, &c. And it will appear, that the said commission has been very injurious to the poor sailors in particular, and very detrimental to the government in general.
Artic. 2. That the lords of the Admiralty and commissioners of the navy have acted contrary to the publick good, by countenancing, supporting, and preferring criminals; and on the contrary, persecuting the discoverers, and tuining just men out of their offices.
Artic. 3. That their lordships have had great discoveries laid before them of embezzlements, and other great frauds committed in the king's yards, attended with forgery and perjury.
Artic. 4. That it is manifest, some of the commissioners of the navy have, in that office, advanced themselves from salaries of thirty pounds per annum, to vast estates, baving passed great
• For the first five years of the war, it appears, we were seldom free from an em. bargo upon shipping; few or no ships were allowed to sail, lill they got protections or permits, to the great charge of the merchants, and damage to trade in general; as liule care was taken to protect our shipping, not any one person having been so much as appointed to examine sea commanders journals, all the time of the late war; but they were left to their own genius, to act and do as they pleased : and thus, by the lords of the Admiralty's, and commissioners of the navy's wise conduct, and prudent management of affairs, we lost above a hundred ships of war, with many hundreds of merchantmen, to the great honour of the nation.
frauds, and totally discouraged the discovery of embezzled stores, to the great waste of the publick treasure.
Artic. 5. That it has been a long practice in the navy, to make out false tickets and powers, suspending and delaying the poor sailors in their just payments, to the general discouragement of them, and starving their families.
The commissioners of the post-office appear to have as much contributed towards the ruin of their country, as any persons living, having all along supported their officers in all their evil actions, as corresponding with known Papists, and others disaffected to the government, stopping the king's mail, breaking open persons of quality's letters, all along countenancing and supporting a smuggling trade, by bringing in the mail, and otherways vast quantities of Flanders lace *, &c. Being resolved, it seems, to make as plentiful an harvest as they could, so long as the war lasted. Withal, they were not wanting to use all indirect means to ruin such of their officers, or others, that detected the crimes.
All these matters relating to the foregoing articles, and the commissioners of the post-office, were long since published in print, by divers hands, wherein a more large and ample account has been given of them; and they were dedicated and presented to our late representatives in Parliament, who took no more notice thereof, than if these things had been acted and done in the great Mogul's country.
Moreover, there appears to have been laid before our late representatives many other matters of the greatest importance :
First, in reference to the Toulon squadron getting into Brest: it having been declared by the house, the government had timely notice given, whereby the said fleet might have been intercepted.
Secondly, in relation to the Mint, it did appear to the house, the moneyers in the Tower had committed foul crimes, and that several dyes had been conveyed away for coining false money abroad,
Thirdly, in reference to the disbanded troopers, that served in Ireland and Flanders, who, by their petition, appear to have been most barbarously treated, contrary to his majesty's express commands.
Fourthly, in reference to the evil actions of the commissioners of the Victualling-office.
Fifthly, in relation to the twenty-seven sail of victuallers being taken by the Dunkirkers; the house having declared, the lords of the Admiralty had timely notice given them, whereby they might have prevented their falling into the enemies hands.
These, with a multitude of other matters, that lay before the
• Indeed, these gentlemen have since heen very instrumental in causing a late act to be made, the better to prevent the bringing in foreign bone-lace; as likewise have been the lords of the Admiralty, and commissioners of the navy, in procuring an act to prevent the embezzlement, and stealing his majesty's naval stores; and therein they have done wisely, when the steed is stolen, to shut the stable-door.
house, were dropped by our late representatives, who took no man. ner of care to do the people justice: Indeed, the house appeared very zealous in the prosecution of Mr. Duncomb, who, as they alledged, wronged the king, of about three-hundred and sixty pounds, by the false endorsement of exchequer bills ; though, at the same time, it plainly appeared, the king and kingdom had been wronged, by means of the treasury, t to the value of twenty thousand pounds, in relation to exchequer bills. Yet, all they did, therein, was to take care how to wash them white; and, while the war was on foot, our late representatives seemed to be very zealous for an act to be made against the buying and selling of employments; but, when once we had obtained an honourable peace, they soon dropped the matter, as conceiving the people then better able to bear their pack, 1 than they were before. There is a matter, wherein it appears, the king has been wronged several thousand pounds, that was designed to have been laid before the late House of Commons; but the gentleman, who intended to have done it, was dissuaded from doing it, by a member of the house, who plainly told him, of all their members, they could not make above a hundred, or a hundred and ten at most, in the whole house, that seemed to have any regard to the welfare of the nation : Saying, one had one employment, another another, touch one and touch all
, and said they did and would support one another;§ and so by all means advised him to decline it. Now I conceive, it is obvious, by what means, and by whom, the trade of the nation has been brought to so low an ebb, and so many publick debts contracted, by the consequence of which, many thousands of honest industrious families, in London, &c. are reduced to extreme poverty, at the same time, not knowing the true cause from whence their evils have risen. These things are very harsh to flesh and blood, when we consider how all our calamity appears to have been brought upon us, by those very persons, in whose hands we entrusted our lives, liberties, and estates.
We find king David complained he could not do the justice he would have done, the sons of Zerviah were too strong for him ; no wonder then, if we see our prince * under the same circumstance, who has had so many sons of Zerviah to deal withal, who were sensible of the great interest, they and their friends bad in the several corporations, and how they were able thereby to support one another in whatever they should act or do, and put it out of the power of any, even the king himself, to call them to an account for their actions. It is evident, ours is a mixed government, wherein the people have a large share; and if we will not act our part, in reference to the chusing of members of parliament, great pity it is we should ever be relieved, but remain as we are.
• Sad it is to consider, how all complaints of abuses done in the government have been stifled, for want of a committee of grievances, according to our ancient laws and customs, to be sitting, during the session of parliament, to hear the grievances of the people; which, it is plain, was not done all the time of the late war.
+ The publick treasure, in all ages and nations, has ever been accounted as sacred as the king's person ; and those that liave been found to purloin, waste, or mispend the same, have been severely chastised; and if it must be acknowledged, as every man will do, who is not a professed atheist, we are obliged by the dictates of nature, and that holy religion we profess, to do all such acts as tend to the good and benefit of mankind in general. What ground of fear can any man have, that lays open publick crimes, in order to their being examined in a judicial manner? And, if the law, which favours and countenances the act, shall not be able to protect him, little reason can any man have to flatter himself of being secure, the publick peace and tranquillity not being long to be maintained by any other means, than a due administration of justice.
| Vide England's Calamities discovered, sold by Fox, in Westminister-hall, &c.
Those gentlemen, that have been in publick employments, have had great opportunity to execute their malice against them that detected or publickly laid open their crimes, and have not been wanting to use all arts and means whereby to bring them to ruin; by which means, several honest ingenuous gentlemen have died through grief, and many others through grief and want; and who may all truly be said to have died martyrs for their country,
By this, we may see what a great duty there lies upon all genlemen that live in, or near any corporation and the principal inhabitants thereof, to inform the meaner sort of people therein (who, in most corporations, have votes) the absolute necessity there is of chusing gentlemen of good estates to be their representatives, as have not been in any (or long since declined) publick employment, during the late war, there being no other means possible, whereby to make them sensible of these past miscarriages, or we to have such members, as will be able to rectify them, and do the king and kingdom justice ; + publick leaks being not to be stopped by the hands that made them.
It is sufficient to make any Englishman blush, to consider how strenuously our forefathers withstood those who made a breach of the law, and how indifferent and careless we appear to have been therein, ever since the late happy revolution, not at all considering, how mankind are generally more liable, and in greater danger of being ruined by the falshood and treachery of friends, than open enemies ; and that those who lay the foundation of great estates, for the most part, raise themselves by fraud, oppression, and injustice. And how in all ages they that were in publick employments, or ambitious of honour and preferment, likewise generally have been found too ready to abuse their prince's ear, and trample the laws under their feet.
We may see by the bishop of Salisbury's pastoral letter, burnt by the common hangman, what sycophants these sort of men are, who care not what evils they bring upon the rest of mankind, so they may but advance themselves, and weeds commonly are apt to grow so fast, as.to overtop the corn.
Thus, sir, have I given you a short relation of such matters of fact, which plainly appear, as I conceive, to have been the true cause, all the blood and treasure spent in the late war, for want of justice, in a manner has been lost, like water spilt on the ground.
• Whatever Englishman duly considers, how great and glorious the actions of his majesty have been, and to what hazard he exposed his royal person for our sakes, and the great things he has done for os, cannot but be moved with grief and anger, to see how unfaithful, in his absence, he has been served, and his people oppressed.
+ It is hoped the citizens of London and Westminster, who correspond with all parts of the kingdom, will be so just to themselves, their king and conotry, as forth with to send this and other things of the like nature, to the several corporations; for it will be as they make their choice, we may conclude, we shall be either happy or miserable.