During the Civil War years Warner had kept the royal barges at his own expense, but afterwards they had been taken from him. Now, it was found, the only barge fit for service was one called the Brigantine.
The story of the Company's government from the Restoration appears (until 1692) as one of decaying democracy and growing ruler corruption, two phenomena which were linked, according to opposition accounts. In March 1674 the Court of Aldermen heard complaints that rulers were embezzling the Company's stock. As was usual, the Court appointed a committee to consider the matter. The committee examined the Company's records for 1667-73 (the previous records had, of course, been burned in the Great Fire) and reported that some rulers had been taking moneys out of the funds without warrant. In October the Aldermen ordered the people involved to pay the moneys back within 14 days, or else they would be forever barred from being rulers. 
In 1675 and again in 1677, Parliamentary bills were put forward (probably by the watermen themselves). In them, the watermen complained that those rulers who had not been selected from the candidates put forward by the Company (i.e. through popular choice) had 'misemployed' the Company's funds. The 'solution' (in the 1675 bill) would be to have 60 Company assistants elected for life (unless removed for 'misdemeanours'). These assistants were annually to put forward sixteen candidates out of which (and no others) the Aldermen's Court was to choose the rulers for the ensuing year.
But the Mayor and Aldermen complained that the proposed solution, to restrict their choice of rulers strictly to eight out sixteen candidates to be annually presented, 'would take the government of the Company out of their hands'. The bills were not enacted. 
The proposal (apparently by the watermen themselves) to elect assistants for life suggests that the original revolutionary practice of annual election (which we know was still practised in 1648-49) had since fallen into abeyance.
In 1683 a compromise was reached on the choice of assistants. The Aldermen agreed that rulers would in future be selected exclusively from a enlarged choice, of 32 candidates.
But matters seem to have deteriorated further by 1688, when 'complaint [was] made by divers watermen ... of many irregularities in the affairs & proceedings of the Company of Watermen, & particularly the injustice and inequality in their election of Assistants'. But the Aldermen's 'solution' was merely to direct the complainants to the Company's court of assistants for redress.
NOTES1. CSPD 1659-60, p.342. Back
2. * Back
3. BL, Additional MS 10,116, fo.82b. Back
4. HMC, Seventh Report, p.82b; Lords Journal, XI, p.25. Back
5. * Back
6. HMC, Seventh Report, p.82b. Back
7. Lords Journal, XI, p.29. Back
8. Rep. * ...; PRO, PC 2/56, fos.154b-160b, no. 40; rep. 88, fo.102a. Back
9. Humpherus, I, pp.318, 329-30, 334-5. Back
10. HMC, Ninth Report, part II, pp.61b, 86b-87a; LJ, XII, pp.693, 707; LJ, XIII, p.90. Back
11. * Back
12. Humpherus, I, p.359; rep. 93, fos. 70b, 76a. Back
13. C.L.R.O., rep. 96, pp.154, 166, 178, 195-6; Humpherus, I, pp.236, 359, 372-3. Back
14. Humpherus, II, p.6ff. Back