Page images

same ought, according to the directions of the several acts above mentioned, to have been paid into the Exchequer. To this point, amongst ethers, we examined George Role, Esq; Secretary to the Tax-office; John Fordyce, Esq; Receiver-general for Scotland; William Mitsord, Esq; Receiver general for the county of Sussex; Thomas Allen, Eli); Receiver-general for part of the county of Somerset; Thomas Walley Partington, Esq; Receiver-general for the counties of Northampton and Rutland, and town of Northampton; and George Rowley, Esq; Receivergeneral for the county of Huntingdon.

In these examinations, two reasons are afligned for this detention of the public money; one is the difficulty of procuring remittances to London, especially from the distant counties; the other is, the insufficiency of the salary of twopence in the pound, allowed the Receiver by the laud-tax and other acts, upon the sums paid by him into the Exchequer, to answer the trouble, risk, and expence, attending his office; to supply which, and to render the employment worth having, he lias been accustomed to retain in his hands a considerable part of these duties, for the"purpose of his own advantage.

As an examination into the manner aud charge of collecting and remitting, in an oifice of receipt, similar in its circumstances, might enable ua to form some judgment of the validity of these reasons; we directed our enquiries to the collection and remittance of the duties of excise.

For this purpose, we examined Goulston Bruere, Esq; first General Accountant.} Richard Paton, Esq; second General Accountant in that officej Mr. Richard Richardson, Collector of Excise for the Hertford collection; Mr. Thomas Ball, Collector of Excise for the Bath collection; and George Rowley, Esq; who is Collector of Excise for the Bedford collection, as well as Receiver-general of the land-tax for the county of Huntingdon; and George Lewis Scott, Esq; one of the Commissioners of Excise. We procured too, from that office, an account of the gross and nett produce of the Excise, received by each collector for the year 1779; in which it appears, that the gross produce amounted to the sum of three millions seven hundred and fourteen thousand seven hundred and seventy-one pounds sixleen shilling* and an half-penny, exclusive of the receipt at the Excise-office in London, paid in by the persons charged, without the intervention of a collector: which gross sum, being, as we apprehend, considerably more than the amount of the duties paid to the Receivers-general, is collected in England and Wales, by fifty-three collectors, being only two more than the number of . Receivers general of the land-tax, including Scotland.

From these last examinations we learn, that each collector of Excise goes his rounds eight times in the year; that he remits the whole of his nett collection in every* round to the Excise office, chiefly by bills at twenty-one days after date, in the counties near London; at thirty days, in the more remote

councounties; and at fifty or sixty days in the most distant, and none at a longer date; that he is continually remitting during his round; and, within a week after it is finished, fends up by a balance-bill all that remains of the duties collected by him in that round j that he finds no difficulty in procuring bills; could return more money by the lame method; and is never suffered to keep any money in his hands.

Each collector is paid a salary of one hundred and twenty pounds a year, subject to deductions amounting to one (hilling and nine-pence in the pound; and is allowed perquisites to about one hundred pounds a year more; and gives security for ti\r. thousand pounds.

We endeavoured to form some computation of the loss, sustained by the public, from the detention os the money by the Receivers-general, and for that purpose we called for an account of the quarterly returns made by them to the tax-office; from whence it appears, that the average sum in their hands, from the 5th of July, 1778, (when the mode was adopted of transmitting the account on oath,) to the 7th of July last, amounted to three hundred thirtyfour thousand and sixty - one pounds, the interest of which, at four per cent, being thirteen thousand three hundred sixty - two pound* a year, we conceive the public have been obliged to pay, for want of the use of their own money.

But the loss has been, not of interest only, the revenue itself has suffered: tor by an account of the arrears and defaulters of the landtax, and other duties, from the

year 1756, which we called for from the tax-office, those arrears in the hands of the defaulters, not included in the first certificate, appear to amount to one hundred and thirteen thousand one hundred and sixty-one pounds seven sliillings and two-pence half-penny, of which twenty-four thousand two hundred and fifty-seven pound* seven lhillingsand two-pence three farthings is actually lost upon composition; of the remainder, parti* in a course of legal proceedings, and the recovery of a great part doubtful; whereas, by a return which we required from the Commissioners of Excise, for the same period, we find there have been no arrears or defaulters among thn Officers of Excise, except in one instance, to the amount of three thousand six hundred pounds.

From this comparative view of the modes of collecting and re. mining these different duties, and of the advantages accruing to the receiver and collector from their several employments, we are induced to think, that the Receivergeneral of the land-tax is not warranted in his detention of the public money, cither by the difficulty of procuring bills, or by the insufficiency of his salary.

Supposing, however, the difficulty of procuring bills really tp exist, though it might occasion some delay in the remittance, it yet is no justification of the Receiver for constantly keeping a large balance in his hands; and, admitting the poundage not to be an equivalent for his pains, yet we are of opinion, that the present mode of supplying the deficiency, by permittiug him to.

Wi^r withhold the duties, is injurious to the public, and ought to be discontinued.


The revenue should come from ■the pocket of the subject dircdtly into the Exchequer; but to permit Receivers to retain it it) their hands, expressly for their own advantage, Is to furnish them with the strongest motive for withholding It. A private interest is created, in direct opposition to that of the public; government is complied to have recourse to expensive loans; and the revenue itself is finally endangered.

We are, therefore, of opinion, that there are no services to which the said sum of six hundred fiftyseven thousand four hundred pounds thirteen (hillings and fourpence is or may be applicable in the hands of the Receivers-general of the land-tax. or for the repre, fentatives of such of them as are dead; and that it is not proper to leave any part of it in their respective hands; but that the fame, or so much thereof as now remains with them, ought to be paid into the Exchequer, at such times, and by Inch iusi:i!ments, as may be thought reaionable, after a practice ot' so long continuance, w>d as shall be consistent with such engagements as may have been entered into with any particular Receivers.

Guy Carleto!*, (L. S.)

T. Anguish, <L. S )

A. PlGfiOTT, (L. S.)

Ricn \rd Ntave, (L. S.)

vsam JiKACHCROTT, (L. S)

Geo. Drummond. (L. S.).

z-Jh Nov. i72o.

Promt/trigs of a hoard of General Officers, held by order of General 6

Washington, Commander in CJmf
of the Anny of the United states of
America, respecting Major John
Andre. Adjutant General of the
Briiilh Anny, September 29, 1780.

Published at Philadelphia, by order of Congress.

Extracts of Letters from General
Washington, to the President of

Robinsons House in the High
Lands, Sept. 29, 17 So.


IHave the honour to inform tie Congress, that I arrived here yesterday about twelve o'clock, an my return from Hartford. Some hours previous to my arrival, ^Major general Arnold went from bis quarters, which were at ihi» place, and, as it was supposed, over the river to the garrison at West point, whither I proceeded myself, ip order to visit the pott. I found General Arnold had not been there during the day, and on my return to his quarters, he was still absent. In the mean time, a packet had arrived from Lieutenant colonel Jameson, announcing the capture of John Anderson, who was endeavouring to go to New York with several interesting and important papers, all in the handwriting of General Arnold This was accompanied with a letter from the prisoner, avowing himself to be Major John Andre, Adjutantgeneral to the British army, relating the manner of his capture, and endeavouring to fliew that be did not come under the description of a spy. Fr«m these leveral circumstances, and information that the gtueral seemed to be thrown

thrown into some degree of agitation, on receiving a letter a little time before he went from his quarters, I was led to conclude immediately, that he bad heard cf Major Andre's captivity, aud that he would, if possible, escape to the enemy; and accordingly took such measures as appeared most probable to apprehend him: but Le had embarked in a barge, and proceeded down the river, under a flag, to the Vulture ship of war, which lay at some miles below Stoney and Verplank's Point. He wrote me a letter after he got on board. Major Andre was -not arrived yet; but I hope he is secure, and that he will be here today. I have been, and am taking precautions, which I trust will prove effectual to prevent the important consequences which this conduct, on the part of General Arnold, was intended to produce. I do not know the party that took Major AndrS, but it is said it consisted only of a few militia, who acted in such a manner on the occasion, as Sees them the highest honour, and proves them to be men of great virtue. As soon as I know their names, I sliall take pleasure in transmitting them to Congress. , ,

Paratuus, Oct. 7, 1780. 8 IK,

I have the honour to inclose to Congress a copy of the proceedings of a board of general officers in the cause of Major Andre, Adjutantgeneral to the British army. This officer was executed in pursuance of the sentence of the board, on Monday the id instant, at twelv* o'clock, at our late, camp at Tap


pan. Besides the proceedings, I transmit copies of sundry letter* respecting the matter, which are all that passed on the subject, not included in the proceedings.

I have now the pleasure to communicate the names of the three persons who captured Major Andre, and who refused to release him, notwithstanding the most earnest importunities, and assurances of a liberal reward' on his part. Their names are, John, Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Vanwert.

Proceedings of a Board of General Officers, held by Order of his Excellency Gen. Wajlitngton, Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Stales of America, respecting Major Andre, Adjutantgeneral of the British Army, September 29, 1780, at Tappan, in the State of New York.


Major ■ general Green, President j Major-general Lord Stirling, Major - general St. Clair, Major-general the Marquis de la Fayette, Major-general Howe, Major-general the Baron de Steuben, Brigadier-general Parsons, Brigadier-general Clinton, Brigadiergent-ral Knox, Brigadier-general Glover, Brigadier-general Paterson, Brigadier general Hand, Brigadier-general Huntttigton, Brigadier-general Starke, John Laurens, Judge-advocate-gcneral.

Major Andre, Adjutant-general to the British army, was brought before the board, and the following letter from General Washington to the board, dated head quarters, Tappan, September 29, 1780, was laid before them, and read:

[B b] Gea

Gentlemen, Major Andri, Adjutant-general to the British army, will be brought before you for your examination. He came within our lines in the night, on an interview with Majorgeneral Arnold, and in an assumed character, and wis taken within car lines, in a disguised habit, with a pase under a feigned name, and with the inclosed papers concealed upon him. After a careful examination, you will be pleased, as speedily as possible, to report a precise state os his cafe, together with your opinion of the light in which he ought to be considered, and the punishment that ought to be inflicted. The Judgeadvocate will attend to eilist in the examination, vvho hai sundry other papers, relative to this matter, which he will by befoTe the board.

1 have the honour to be,

your most obedient,

aud humble servant,

(j. Wasiunuton.

The Board, as General Officers anvenad at Tappan.

The names of the officers competing the board were read to Major Andri*, and on his being atked whether he confessed the matters contained in the letter from his Excellency General Washington to the board, or denied them, he said, in addition to his letter to General Washington, dated Salem, the 24th of September, 1780, which was read to the board, and acknowledged by Major Andre, to have been written by him, which letter is as follows:

Salem, 2i,lh Stft. 1780. Sir, WHAT I have as yet said concerning myself, was in the justifiable attempt to be .extricated; I ain too little accustomed to duplicity to have succeeded.

I beg your excellency will he persuaded, that no alteration in the temper of my mind, or apprehension for my safety, induces me to take the step of addressing youj but that it is to secure myself from an imputation of having assumed a mean character for treacherous purposes, or self-interest: a conduct incompatible with the principles that actuated me, as well as with my condition in life.

rt is to vindicate roy fame that I speak, and not to solicit security.

The person in your possession is Major John Andre, Adjutant-general to the Britilh a«my.

The influence of one commandder in the array of his adversary, is an advantage taken in war. A correspondence for this purpose X held, as confidential (in the present instance) with his Excellency Sir Henry Clinton.

To favour it, I agreed to meet upon ground not within posts 01 either army, a person who was to give me intelligence: I came up in the Vulture man of war for this effect, and was fetched by the boat from the shore to the beach: being there, I was told, that the approach of day would prevent roy return, and that I must be concealed until the next night. I was in my regimentals, and had fairly risqued my person.

Against my stipulation, my intention, and without my knowledge before hand, I was conduct

. «d

« PreviousContinue »