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the Nation was never troubled withal before) Resolved to make my Application to the House of Peers, in order thereunto, I drew up Articles a. gainst the Lords of the Admiralty, the Commissioners of the Navy, and the Commissioners for the Sick and Wounded Sea-men, which are as follow.
1. That the present Commissioners for Sick and Wounded Sea-men, and exchanging Prisoners at War (depending on the Admiralty) not regarding Instructions, or the good of the Government, have committed gross Enormities, as holding, or conniving at an unlawful Correspondence with the French, and wronging both King and Subject in their Accounts, with other great Miscarriages; all which 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, the faid Coinmissioners have been very Injurious to the Poor Saylors in particular, and very detrimental to the Government in general.
Secondly, That the Lords of the Admiralty and the 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 turning Just Men out of their offices.
Thirdiy, That the Lords of the Admiralty have had great Discoveries laid before them, of Embezelments, and other great Frauds committed in the Kings Yards, attended with Forgery and Perjury.
Fourtbly, That it is manifest, that some of the Commissioners of the Navy, have in that Office ad. vanced themselves from Sallaries of
per Annum, to vast Estates. Having passed great Frauds, and totally discouraged the Discovery of Embezelled Stores, to the great waste of the Publick Treafure,
Fifthly, That it hath been a long practice in the Navy, to make out False Tickets and Powers, sufpending and delaying the poor Saylors in their just Payments, to the great Discouragement of them, and starving their Families.
These Articles, with my Petition, I Presented to a Noble Lord, who was pleased to receive the same, and cause them both to be read in the House of Peers ; upon which I was ordered to give in a List of my Witnesses, as I did in part, and then their LordThips proceeded upon the matter, and at the Bar of the House, examined divers Witnesses upon the first Head; by whom I proved that an Apothecary in Watling-street had served in at the Laboratory in the Savoy, for the Use of the Sick and Wounded Seamen, a great quantity of Damaged Rhubarb, which cost him but about 94. i per pound. But as I was proceeding, the foresaid Commissioners of Accounts, sent their Secretary to the House, and humbly prayed They might have the Examination thereof. Whereupon their Lordships made an Order of Reference to that Board touching the First Head, and the Day following, the Second and Third Head; and that they should examin them, and then transmit them and the Examination, to the House ; which Orders were never obey'd (tho’ fome Pro
ceedings they did make, of which an Account shall be given) notwithstanding their Lordships afterwards, upon my humble Petition, made two several Orders in my Favour, requiring the said Commissioners to proceed in examining my Articles to them Referred, and transmit the same to the House yet neither ofthose Orders were ever obeyed: By ali which, it inay plainly be seen, the House of Peers were of Opinion, the examining into these Articles would have been of great Use and Service to the King and Kingdom, and prevented a great deal of Fraud and Wickedness, whicis was then on foot, and has since involved the Nation in Debt, and brought an universal Poverty upon the Trading part of the Nation, and that which is even worse, and more grievous (being Entailed upon Pofterity, unless some extraordinary Means are ujed) our Trade given up to the Dutch (who to give them their due, are among ihemselves Stria Observers of Justice, and, like Death, Spare none that wittingly break their Laws, the Fruits of which they reap; being free from Faction, tho’a Compound of all Religions, and the Richest, and most Powerful State, considering the extent of their Territories, that is now, or ever was in the World; a just Reward of their Vertue) or to speak more properly and truly, driven out of the Kingdom by Corruption and heavy Impositions, which alone is sufficient to Ruin the whole Kingdom ; for it eats up the People, prevents the Consumption of the Product of the Nation in Foreign Parts, and has laid the Foundation of Clandestine Trade, never to be removed, until something else be found in lieu thereof, to answer the end for which those Duties were given.
But to proceed in Prosecuting these Articles, I. unhappily fell under the Displeasure of the House of Peers, and was by their Lordihips Order, taken into Custody by the Usher of the Black Rod, for Reflecting upon the House, and refusing to make Answer. But their Lordships, upon my humble Petition (which through the Favour of a Noble Lord was read in a full House) were pleased to order me to be Discharged without paying Fees, and never called me to the Bar of the House to Reprimand me upon my Knees; so the Favour I received was exemplar, and without President, for which I am, and ought to be thanksul.
After this, I was committed to the Poultry Compter, (where I remained for the space of about fix. Weeks,) by a Justice of the Peace, for Publishing a Book,Entituled, A Dialogue between a Modern Courtier, and an Honest English Gentleman, which he in his Warrant of Commitment, was pleased to call a Seditious and Scandalous Libel, notwithstanding at the same time he Committed me, he publickly declared before near twenty Persons, it was a very Honest Book, and his own Losses could sufficiently speak as to the Truth of it; but said, he durst not do otherwise, he thould be chid and gain Displeasure: In fine, I laid my Cause before both Houses of Parliament, which occasion'd an Expedient to be found in order to my being Released, so I was by a Mefsenger taken into Custody by a Warrant from the Secretary of State, for Publishing a Seditious and Scandalous Libel, and coming out of the Prison, the Messenger and I parted, and there was an end of my Confinement for Publishing that Seditious and Scandalous Libel, Entituled, A Dialogue, &c. Only
two or three days after, I went to the Secretary's Office, and there made Oath, (which I offer'd before, but it would not be accepted) Mr. Baston was the Author of the foresaid Dialogue, for which they detained him about fix Weeks longer, in all, about. three Months (he having before been taken into Cu. stody) and then discharg’d him upon his own Recognizance. Yet no sooner was he at liberty, but he Dedicated and Presented this Seditious and Scandalous Lilel to the House of Commons (to which I must conless I was accessary) to whom he appealed for Justice, but the House took no notice of it one way or other.
Now as to the Proceedings of the Commissioners for stating the Publick Accounts, I shall. wave giving a Relation of Matters in reference to that Board, more than what is absolutely necessary, they being all gone (but two) to state their Accounts at the great Tribunal of Heaven. There appeared, (for formality fake) before the said Commissioners, three of the Commissioners of the Navy, who produced, in their Vindication, a Folio Book, by which they pretended to Shew how faithful they had been to their Trust, and insisted upon it as a great Evidence thereof; the said Book contained the Names of a multitude of their Officers, whom from time to time they had Muct 5, 10 ll. per Man, for Embezel, ling his Majesty's Naval Stores, whereas a greater Evidence could not possibly have been given of their Fraud and Breach of Trust: For by the Law, it was Fellony without Benefit of Clergy, or eight Year's Servitude in the West-Indies, not to return upon pain of Death, to Steal, Embezel, or Purloin any of his Majesties Naval Stores, to the value of Twenty Shillings, 22 vf K. Charles 2d. Chap.5. By all