Page images

examined there, even for so small a sum as twenty shillings pay’d to any tradesman; which is such a care and exactness as never before was used by any master or mistress of the robes; and I remember, upon the passing the first accounts, there was a representation from Auditor Harley's office to the Treasury that they had never seen any such accounts. The same was acknowledged by Mr. Tayler and all the clarks of that board; and I have a letter from the present lord treasurer in which he says that his brother Mr. E. Harley had made a collection of the expenses of the robes for forty-six years, which he would bring me, and by which I should see I had manag'd better for the crown than any that went before me by a great sum ; and he added many things which are not so proper for me to repeat; but I have his letter, and the account of forty-six years which he sent me; and there were great encomiums made to the Queen of me upon that occasion. Notwithstanding which, my lord treasurer has thought fit to order the Examiner to represent me in print as a pickpocket all over England; and for that honest service, and some others, her Majesty has lately made him a dean.* Upon this villainous proceeding, before I left England, I sent to Mr. Burton, who was formerly a clarke in Sir Allen Apsley's office. He professes himself to be a great Tory, and therefore, tho’ he is a man indeed of a general good character, he is not very likely to be partial in my favour; however, at my request, he brought me copys of all the expences of the late Queen Mary's robes, and those which he found in the books of this present Queen when she was only Lady Ann. By the first it appears, that in nine years I saved the Queen near a hundred thousand pounds, when all things were computed; for in those times the salarys and many other things relating to the robes were not put into the accounts of the robes, but were paid in other offices, as appear'd both from those accounts which Auditor Harley, and those also which Mr. Burton gave me; whereas my method was to put the salarys, and the whole charge of the robes, into my own accounts, which did not come to half the sum every year, that Lady Ann spent when her clothes were under the direction of the Countess of Rochester. All which may be prov’d by the Exchequer roles, and by the books and clarks in the several offices. I have left my books of accounts in England, but I remember the whole charge of this Queen's robes in the nine years came to thirty-two thousand and some odd hundred pounds,” with the expence of the coronation, hire of jewels, salarys, travelling charges, and all manner of expences upon that head; which is so small a thing in comparison of what had always been the charge from that office, that 'tis strange that any body could ever think of misrepresenting me upon that subject. But I have been so unlucky as to be accused both ways, and there are some that have been angry at me for the methods I took to prevent cheats and save the Queen's money, and have represented me as having been hard upon trades-people, which makes me think it not amiss to give some account of that matter, and to shew how I came to reduce that expence of the robes so considerably as I did. First, it is notoriously known that in all former reigns the chief tradespeople, as drapers, mercers, lacemen, &c. gave money to serve (or have the custom of) the crown; by which a great sum of money was rais'd; and for fear of accidents by the death of the prince or the master of the robes, they were obliged to put down large prices for their goods, which could not well be disputed upon that account. But as the people that I made use of were at no expence, not so much as poundage, I did not think it reasonable to allow them to exceed more than a shilling or two in the pound, because what they furnish’d was for the Queen, since they were paid regularly, and ran no manner of hazard, nor had any more trouble in serving than when they sold their goods to the most ordinary people. But those that had the honour to see the Queen, and to make her cloaths, had more than double what they had from the first quality. And that was all I thought I could allow of in an office where I was so entirely trusted. I always signed the tradesmen's bills at the same time that they delivered me their goods, to prevent all mistakes or abuses; and they were paid by Mrs. Thomas, a woman of whose honesty I had great experience, to whom I gave the employment of being chief of the robes, which I made worth to her between two and three hundred pounds a year; telling her that she must never take any thing, but if people offer'd to corrupt her with money according to the old customes, she must refuse it, and say that they were not obliged to her; for she served the Queen, not them, and had a very good salary for it." And I am very confident that she followed this direction as long as I was in the office, where she is continued still. I appeal to her, tho' a great Tory, also for the truth of what I have said as to that office and to the trades-people, the most considerable of which I will put down that you may enquire of them, if it happens to come easily in your way:-Mr. Vernon, Mr. Inchly, Mr. Sands, upon Ludgate Hill, Mr. Alexander, in Covent Garden, all mercers; Mrs. Deuett, Mrs. Tumbs, and Mr. Bagshaw, Indian shops; Mr. Elliott, a lace-man in the Strand, who has left off his trade, but his nephew keeps his shop and can tell where he lives. I should hope this is sufficient to satisfy the strictest inquisitors, nay even our honest commissioners of accounts. And though the privy purse is not subject to any account by law, I took the same care in that office as in the robes, having acquittances from all people, and from the Queen herself for all the money pay’d to her own hands, and a discharge from her Majesty upon every account in these words: I have examined these accounts, and am satisfied that the

* “Meaning Swift. The word lately proves it was written in 1713.”—Note of Archdeacon Core in MSS.

In her printed “Account of the conduct, &c.” this direct reference to Swift and the Examiner is suppressed, and it is merely said that Mr. Harley, afterwards lord treasurer and Earl of Oxford, “hired his creatures to misrepresent me (her Grace) throughout all the nation as a pick-pocket.”


* In the printed “Account,” the expenses for dressing Queen Mary, (Anne's sister and immediate predecessor,) are set down at :C12,604. 12s. 2d. for the first year of her reign; and £11,131. 9s. 1d. for the second year. In the same book the duchess says boastingly ; “It evidently appears that by my economy in the nine

years I served her Majesty, I saved her near £90,000.” (In clothes alone !)

- * In the printed “Account,” it is stated that Mrs. Thomas no salary, but that the duchess made her place worth from two three hundred a year in “old clothes and other little advantages.”


are right. Ann R. The money of the privy purse was paid upon my notes by Mr. Coggs, a goldsmith over against St. Clement's church, who was ordered never to take any poundage, which had been constantly paid before in all reigns; but I thought it barbarous to deduct from charity, and mean in my circumstances to be the better for any body I paid money to, and therefore I introduced a thing that had never before been practised in any court. The allowance of the privy purse was twenty thousand pounds a year, which was not half the sum of King William's, and was very little considering how many pensions were paid out of it, how great a charge settled by custom, the Queen's bountys, playmoney, healing-gold, and charitys. But there never was any addition to that sum till about two years before I left the office, when great part of the money was dispos'd of by Abigail,” tho' I carry'd it to the Queen; and when I could not be suspected to be the better for it, 'twas increased to five hundred pounds a week, which came to about twenty-six thousand pounds a year.”—Brit. Mus. Coxe's Papers, vol. xliv, fol. 2. [Add. MS. 9121.] Swift, as intimated in Archdeacon Coxe's Note (p.246.) received his deanery, which he ever held as a most incompetent reward for his services to the anti-Marlborough and Tory party, in the course of 1713;t but he

*This was the name invariably bestowed by the vindictive duchess on Lady Masham, who had succeeded to the favour and places she had enjoyed. The contemptuous term, however, does not occur in the published defence of her conduct.

# The warrant for the deanery of St. Patrick was signed 23rd of February, but he did not go to Ireland and take possession till June 1713.

« PreviousContinue »