LONDON AND THE KINGDOM
A HISTORY DERIVED MAINLY FROM THE ARCHIVES AT GUILDHALL IN THE CUSTODY OF THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF LONDON.
By Reginald R. Sharpe, D.C.L.,
RECORDS CLERK IN THE OFFICE OF THE TOWN CLERK OF THE CITY OF LONDON; EDITOR OF "CALENDAR OF WILLS ENROLLED IN THE COURT OF HUSTING," ETC.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
PRINTED BY ORDER OF THE CORPORATION UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE LIBRARY COMMITTEE.
LONDON LONGMANS, GREEN & Co. and New York: 15 East 16th Street. 1894.
CHAPTER XIX. Reception of James I by the City. Catholic Plots. Purveyance. The City and Free Trade. Prince Henry a Merchant Taylor. The Gunpowder Plot. The King of Denmark in the City. The City's Water Supply. Hugh Middleton and the New River. The Plantation of Ulster. Deception practised on the City. Allotment of the Irish Estate. The Irish Society. The Livery Companies and their title to Irish Estate. CHAPTER XX. The City and the Plantation of Virginia. Public Lotteries in aid of the Plantation. Copland's Sermon at Bow Church. The King's pecuniary difficulties. The Marriage of the Princess Elizabeth. The King entertained by the City. The Addled Parliament. Peter Proby, Sheriff and Ex-Barber. A general muster of City trained bands. A Commission of Lieutenancy granted to the City. The Company of Merchant Adventurers suppressed. Knights of the Bath at Drapers' Hall. Request for a loan of L100,000. Sebastian Hervey and his daughter. The Thirty Years' War. Loan of L100,000 to the Elector Palatine. The Spanish Ambassador ill-treated. The City and the Spanish Match. Concealed Lands. The City and Mansfield's Expedition. CHAPTER XXI. A loan of L60,000 to Charles I. Failure of Cadiz Expedition. A loan refused. The City called upon to furnish ships and men. The Forced Loan. Expedition to Rochelle. Royal Contract. Doctor Lamb. Assassination of Duke of Buckingham. Tonnage and Poundage. Birth of Prince Charles. Demand for Ship money. Richard Chambers. Forfeiture of City's Irish Estate. Inspeximus Charter of Charles I. The Short Parliament. Attempt to force a City loan. Four Aldermen committed to prison. Impeachment of the Recorder. Riot at Lambeth. The Aldermen released. More City Loans. The Treaty of Ripon. CHAPTER XXII. Meeting of the Long Parliament. The City and the Earl of Strafford. The Scottish Commissioners in the City. Letters to the City from Speaker Lenthall. Trial and Execution of Strafford. The "Protestation" accepted by the city. The "Friendly Assistance." The Scottish army paid off. Reversal of judgment of forfeiture of Irish Estate. The City and the Bishops. Charles in the City. Riots at Westminster. The trained bands called out. The attempted arrest of the five members. The King at the Guildhall. Panic in the City. Skippon in command of the City Forces. Charles quits London. The Rebellion in Ireland. The Militia Ordinance. The City and Parliament. A loan of L100,000 raised in the City. Gurney, the Lord Mayor, deposed. Charles sets up his Standard at Nottingham. CHAPTER XXIII. Commencement of the Civil War. Military activity in the City. Pennington, Mayor Battle of Edge-Hill. Another loan to Parliament. A cry for Peace. A City Deputation to the King at Oxford. The City's "Weekly Assessment" Erection of Fortifications. Volunteer horse and foot. Waller's Plot. Disputes over the City's Militia. Waller appointed Command-in-Chief. Essex and the Common Council The City and the Siege of Gloucester. Courageous conduct of Londoners at Newbury. Disaffection of the trained bands. Brooke's Plot. The Committee of Both Kingdoms. The City's Weekly Meal Money. A rendezvous at Aylesbury. The City's Auxiliaries called out. A large City loan. Insubordination of trained bands. Ordinance for a Standing Army. Propositions for Peace. Royalist Successes. The Treaty of Uxbridge. CHAPTER XXIV. The New Model Army. The self-denying Ordinance. Proposals to Parliament by the City. Cromwell, Lieutenant-General. The Battle of Naseby. Cavalry raised by the City. Plymouth appeals to London. Presbyterianism in the City. The King proposes to come to Westminster. Scottish Commissioners attend Common Council. The City's claim to command Militia of Suburbs. Ordinance for Presbyterianism. Defeat of Royalists. Charles communicates with the City. A City Loan desired to pay off Scottish Army. City grievances. A new City Militia Committee. The City and the Parliamentary Forces. The Declaration of the Army. The trained bands refuse to muster. Protracted correspondence between the City and Fairfax. City Commissioners sent to the Army. The Solemn Engagement. The City's Militia placed under a Parliamentary Committee. Great Commotion. Ordinance repealed. More correspondence with Fairfax. The Army enters London. The City submits. CHAPTER XXV. Glyn the Recorder sent to the Tower. More loans. Aldermen sent to the Tower. Threat to quarter the Army on the City. A rising of Apprentices. Release of imprisoned Aldermen. John Everard. "The City to pay for all." The protection of Parliament entrusted to the City. A Royalist rising in Kent. The City's proposal that Charles should be invited to London. Negotiations for a Personal Treaty with the King. Secret enlistments in the City. Overtures from the Prince of Wales. The Army loses patience both with King and Parliament. Fairfax seizes the Treasure in the City. Royalists in the City. Abraham Reynardson, Mayor and the Common Council. The King's trial and execution. CHAPTER XXVI. A Commonwealth declared. Analogy between the City and the Kingdom. The Aldermanic Veto. Reynardson and other Aldermen deprived. Mutinous troops in the City. The Commonwealth proclaimed in the City. Aldermen punished for not attending Proclamation. The Council of State entertained at Grocer's Hall. Richmond Park vested in the City. Resignation of Glyn, Recorder. Trial of John Lilburne at the Guildhall. Retrenchment of City's expenditure. A City Post started. The Borough of Southwark desires Incorporation. The City asserts its title to Irish Estate. The victory at Dunbar. Act touching Elections in Common Hall. Removal of Royal Emblems. Matters in dispute between Court of Aldermen and Common Council. Charges against John Fowke, Mayor. The Scottish Army in England. The Battle of Worcester. CHAPTER XXVII. The War with Holland. Barebone's Parliament. The Lord Protector entertained at Grocer's Hall. Alderman Sir Christopher Pack and his Remonstrance. Cromwell's City Peers. The Restoration of the Rump. Re-election of John Ireton, Mayor. Parliament closed by Lambert. Monk prepares to Act. A demand for a Free Parliament. Negotiations between Fleetwood and the City. Revival of the City's Militia. The Rump again restored. The Common Council dissolved by order of Parliament. Monk enters London. Takes up his quarters in the City. Mediates between the City and Parliament. Declines to leave the City for Whitehall. The Common Council restored. The Long Parliament dissolved. The Restoration discussed. The City publishes a Vindication of its doings. Letter from Charles II to the City. The Declaration of Breda. City Commissioners sent to the Hague. The King restored. CHAPTER XXVIII. Richmond Park restored to the King. Restoration of Royalist Aldermen. The King and Parliament entertained at Guildhall. Fanatics in the City. More City loans. Coronation of Charles II. The Cavalier Parliament. The City an example to the Country. The Corporation Act. Proposals for renewal of City's Charter. The Hearth Tax. The Act of Uniformity. Sir John Robinson, Mayor. The Russian Ambassador in the City. The French Ambassador insulted at Lord Mayor's Banquet. War with the Dutch. The "Loyal London." The Plague. The City decimated. The Great Fire. Sir Thomas Bludworth, Mayor. The Monument. Sympathy displayed towards the City. Preparations for re-building the City. The City and Fire Insurances. CHAPTER XXIX. The re-building of the City. Fire Decrees. Statute 19 Chas. II, c. 3. Four City Surveyors appointed. Allotment of Market Sites. The Dutch War. The Treaty of Breda. The City's Financial condition. Alderman Backwell. The Lord Mayor assaulted in the Temple. The Prince of Orange in the City. The Exchequer closed. Renewal of Dutch War. Philip de Cardonel and his Financial Scheme. The Aldermanic Veto again. Jeffreys, Common Sergeant, suspended from office. The Popish Plot. Three Short Parliaments. The Habeas Corpus Act. Petitioners and Abhorrers. City Addresses. A Parliament at Oxford. More City Addresses. The City to mind its own business. CHAPTER XXX. A Tory re-action. The "Protestant joiner" Proceedings against the Earl of Shaftesbury. Packed juries. The Mayor's prerogative in election of Sheriffs. Election of Bethell and Cornish. Pilkington and Shute. Another Address to the King. Sir John Moore, Mayor. Issue of a Quo Warranto against the City. The City and the Duke of York. Election of Sheriffs. Papillon and Du Bois. Dudley North and Box. Rich elected loco Box discharged. Cornish assaulted at the Guildhall. Sir William Pritchard, Mayor. Action for slander against Pilkington. Sir Patience Ward convicted of perjury. Proceedings on the Quo Warranto. Judgment pronounced. Terms offered the City. Pritchard arrested at suit of Papillon. The Rye House Plot. Surrender or No Surrender? The City taken into the King's hands. CHAPTER XXXI. Accession of James II. The question of Supply. A Tory Parliament. Oates and Dangerfield. Richard Baxter. The Monmouth Rebellion. Trial and execution of Cornish. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Popery in the City. The first Declaration of Indulgence. The "regulation" of Corporations. William Kiffin, Alderman. Sir John Shorter, Mayor. The second Declaration of Indulgence. The trial of the Seven Bishops. Invitation to William of Orange. Restoration of the City's Liberties. The landing of the Prince of Orange. Attack on Catholics. The King's flight. The Prince of Orange enters London. The unique position of, and deference shown to, the City of London. A Convention Parliament summoned. A City loan. William and Mary crowned. CHAPTER XXXII. Proceedings for reversal of judgment on the Quo Warranto. Pecuniary difficulties in connexion with City Orphans. Pilkington, Mayor, loco Chapman, deceased. The attainder of Cornish reversed. The Siege of Londonderry. William and Mary at the Guildhall. Parliamentary Elections. The judgment on the Quo Warranto reversed. Disputed Municipal Elections. The War with France. Men and money furnished by the City. The question of the Mayor's prerogative revived. Act of Common Council regulating Wardmote Elections. Naval victory at La Hogue. More City loans. Disaster of Lagos Bay. Sir William Ashurst, Mayor. The Queen invited to the Lord Mayor's Banquet. CHAPTER XXXIII. The Rise of the East India Company. Sir Josiah Child and Sir Thomas Cook. The City Orphans. The City's financial difficulties. The Foundation of the Bank of England. Death of Queen Mary. Discovery of corrupt practices. The Speaker dismissed for Bribery. Proceedings against Cook and Firebrace. Committed to the Tower. The union of the East India Companies. The first Triennial Parliament. The Barclay Conspiracy. The City and the Election Bill. The restoration of the Currency. The last of City loans. The Peace of Ryswick. The King welcomed home. Death of James II. Sir William Gore, Mayor. Death of William. CHAPTER XXXIV. Accession of Queen Anne. The Tories in power. The Queen entertained on Lord Mayor's Day. A thanksgiving service at St. Paul's. The Battle of Blenheim. Marlborough in the City. The City's continued financial difficulties. The Queen again at St. Paul's. The Tories give place to Whigs. The victory at Ramillies. The City and Prince Eugene. The Union with Scotland. The City and the Pretender. The victory at Oudenarde. Death of Prince George of Denmark. Scarcity in the City. Dr. Sacheverell and his Sermon. The fall of the Whigs. Act for building fifty new Churches. The Occasional Conformity Act. Disputed Municipal Elections. Proposed entertainment to Prince Eugene. The Treaty of Utrecht. The Queen's illness and death.
The proclamation announcing James VI of Scotland to be "by law, by lineal succession and undoubted right," heir to the throne of England, now that Elizabeth was dead, illustrates again the ancient right of the citizens of London to a voice in electing a successor to the crown. The document not only acknowledges the assistance received by the lords of the realm from the lord mayor, aldermen and citizens of London in determining the succession, but at the very head of the signatories to the proclamation stands the name of "Robert Lee, Maior," precedence being allowed him over the primate and other lords spiritual and temporal.(1)
Whatever failings the new king may have had, he possessed sufficient shrewdness to know the value of the favour of the City, which he hastened to acknowledge with "thankfull mynde" within a few days of his accession.(2) A reply was sent to the king's letter the following day, signed by the mayor and aldermen, in which, after expressing their twofold feelings of sorrow and joy—sorrow at losing a mother in the late queen and joy at gaining a father in the person of the new king—they declared they had used all their powers to advance his just claim to the crown, and would preserve the city of London, the king's Chamber, against every enemy at home or abroad. He was invited to notify his wishes to them through their secretary or remembrancer, "Mr. Doctor Fletcher," whom they sent as their special messenger.(3) The king returned for answer, that although he had been already aware of the City's forwardness in joining with the nobility in proclaiming him rightful successor to the crown, he was pleased to learn from their trusty messenger that the citizens had advocated his cause not only from the consciousness of its being a just one, but also because they were assured of his zeal for the preservation of religion.(4) This was one of James's mystifying remarks which he was accustomed to throw out in order to raise the hopes of the Catholics, who questioned his title to the crown, whilst affording no cause for alarm or discontent among the Protestants.
On the 5th April James left Edinburgh for London, where every precaution was taken to prevent disturbance by ridding the streets of rogues, vagabonds and "masterless" men.(5) He proceeded southward by easy stages, accompanied by a long retinue of Scotsmen, until he reached Theobald's, at that time the mansion house of Sir Robert Cecil, but soon to become a royal hunting-lodge. On the 19th the mayor issued his precept to the livery companies to prepare a certain number of members to accompany the mayor in his attendance upon the king, who was shortly expected in the city. It was intended that not only the mayor and aldermen but also the full number of 500 of the "best and gravest" citizens should wait upon his majesty on horseback, clothed in coats of velvet with velvet sleeves and adorned with chains of gold, and each accompanied by "one comlie person, well apparelled in his doublet and hose," on foot. In a word, the cavalcade was to be furnished on a more sumptuous scale than had yet been seen within the memory of man.(6) The Court of Aldermen in the meantime appointed a committee to consider what suits were "fitt to be made to the Kinges most excellent Maiestye for ye good of this Cittie and the enlarging of the libertyes and priviledge of the same."(7)
After resting a few days at Theobald's, James set out (7 May) for the last stage of his journey. At Stamford Hill he was met by the mayor and aldermen and a deputation from the livery companies. At every stopping-place on his journey from Scotland he had lavishly bestowed knighthoods.(8) On the 11th May he entered the Tower of London, having come from Whitehall by water for fear of the plague which was ravaging the city.
The coronation ceremony was hurried over owing to the presence of the plague. Only the mayor, the aldermen and twelve of the principal citizens were permitted to attend, and much labour bestowed on preparations for the event was consequently lost.(9) The civic authorities did their utmost to stay the sickness and alleviate distress. The streets were ordered to be kept better cleansed. Infected houses were marked with papers bearing the words "Lord have mercy upon us," and when these were torn down a red painted cross, fourteen inches in length and breadth, and not so easily effaced, was added.(10) Persons stricken with the plague were forbidden to leave their houses. A master who had been inhuman enough to turn out into the street a domestic servant who had fallen a victim to the prevailing disorder was ordered by the Court of Aldermen to take her back again into his house,(11) a circumstance which seems to point to the pest-house or hospital being already overcrowded. Instructions were given for seeing that the graves of those who died of the plague were sufficiently covered with earth, and that the number of mourners attending funerals should be as far as possible limited. Women whose duty it was to search the bodies of the dead, as well as all those who were brought into contact with the sick, were forbidden to go abroad unless they carried before them a red rod three feet in length in order to give notice to passers by. It was a common belief that infection was carried about by stray dogs. To those, therefore, who killed dogs found in the streets without an owner a reward was given.(12) The sufferings of the afflicted were alleviated, as far as circumstances permitted, by money subscribed by the livery companies, which were further called upon to forego their customary banquets in order to relieve the poor.(13) The plague was accompanied, as was usually the case, with a scarcity of corn, and again the assistance of the companies was invoked.(14)
By the end of the year (1603) the city was almost free of the plague, and in the following March (1604) James determined to make his first public entry into London. A sum of L400 was raised by the livery companies(15) for furnishing pageants and stands for the occasion, and steps were taken to remove from the streets everything that might be offensive to the king's eye or ear. Thursday, the 15th March, was the day fixed for his entry, and from the preceding Wednesday until the following Friday no refuse of any kind was to be thrown into the street.(16) It was further ordered that no church bells should be rung before seven o'clock in the evening of the eventful day, lest the noise should prove offensive and hinder his majesty from hearing the speeches that were to be made.(17) When all was over and the pageants were about to be taken down, the Court of Aldermen, with the frugal mind of men of business, ordered the master and wardens of the Company of Painter Stainers to examine the painters' work bestowed on them, and report whether, in their opinion, such work had been well and honestly executed, and what amount of remuneration the workmen deserved.(18) It is said that the Recorder, Sir Henry Montagu, welcomed the king on this occasion with a speech, wishing him on behalf of the city "a golden reigne," and that a cup of gold was presented to the king, the queen and the young prince who accompanied them respectively;(19) but no record of the speech or gifts appears in the City's archives.
One of the first questions James had to decide on his accession to the throne was that of religious toleration; and his settlement of the question was anxiously looked for as well by the Puritans as the Catholics. The fear lest the policy which the king should advocate might prove adverse to their interests determined the Catholics to resort to strong measures, and the life of James was threatened by a series of plots, as that of Elizabeth had been before him. Among these was a plan for seizing the king at Greenwich on Midsummer-day, 1603. The plan was laid by a secular priest named William Watson, who had previously sounded James as to his probable attitude to the Catholics if he came to the throne, Sir Griffin Markham, a Catholic gentleman, who for private reasons was discontented with the government, and one Antony Copley. News of the plot having reached the government, the conspirators fled for their lives. Proclamations were issued for their capture,(20) in which details were given of their personal appearance. Thus Watson was described as a man of the lowest sort about thirty-six years of age, "he lookethe a squinte and is verie purblynde," and had formerly worn a long beard which he was believed to have cut off; whilst Sir Griffin Markham is credited with having a large broad face of a "bleake" complexion, a big nose, and a hand maimed by a bullet. His brethren "have all verie greate noses." Copley's description is not given, but we have that of another conspirator, William Clarke, a priest, whose hair is represented as having been "betwixte redd and yeallowe." The whole party was subsequently taken, one after another, and their examination disclosed traces of another conspiracy, the object of which was to place Arabella Stuart on the throne.
The discovery of Watson's conspiracy—generally known as the "Bye" or "Surprise" Plot—so alarmed the king that he lost no time in making known his intention to exact no longer the recusancy fines. The result was such as might be expected. The Puritans were disgusted, whilst the number of recusants increased to such an alarming extent that in February, 1604, the king took the extreme measure of ordering the expulsion of all Jesuits and Seminary priests from the country before the 19th March,(21) the day fixed for the meeting of parliament.
As soon as parliament met a crisis was felt to be at hand; the new king and the Commons were for the first time to measure their strength. The city's representatives are duly recorded.(22) At the head of them was Sir Henry Billingsley,(23) a former mayor, Sir Henry Montague,(24) recently appointed Recorder of the city upon the king's own recommendation, Nicholas Fuller, of whom little is known beyond the fact that he came from Berkshire and married the daughter of Nicholas Backhouse,(25) alderman and grocer, and Richard Gore, a merchant tailor.
With his customary self-complacency and patronising air James told the assembled Commons that he had brought them two gifts, the one peace abroad,(26) and the other the union of England with Scotland under the title of Great Britain,(27) and he expressed no little surprise and indignation when he found that neither one nor the other was acceptable. The question of the union of the two kingdoms, seeing that it involved some political difficulties necessary of solution, was referred to a commission.(28) James showed his displeasure at the want of compliance displayed by the Commons by refusing to accept a scheme of commutation of his rights of purveyance and wardship, which had now grown so burdensome.
The abuse of purveyance, more especially, had become a standing grievance to the burgesses of London as well as of other cities and towns, in spite of attempted remedies by statute or charter.(29) An offer of L50,000 a year was made to the king by way of commuting any shred of right he might still have to purveyance after thirty-six statutes had pronounced it altogether illegal. This, however, he refused, and the matter was allowed to drop. Two years later, almost to the day (23 April, 1606), the king endeavoured so far to remedy the evil as to issue a proclamation against exactions and illegal acts of his purveyors,(30) and yet scarcely a month elapsed before the lord mayor had occasion to call the attention of the lords of the council to the great inconvenience caused in the city by their recent demand for 200 carts with two horses to each, together with the lord mayor's own barge, for the purpose of conveying his majesty's effects to Greenwich. As for the barge, the mayor wrote that the lord chamberlain sometimes borrowed it for conveying the king's guard, and it might haply be required again for the same purpose, "but for carringe anie stuffe or lugedge whereby it maie receave hurt it was never yet required," and he hoped their lordships would see the matter in that light.(31)
Another important matter which occupied the attention of the House at this session—although no reference to it appears in the City's records of the day—was the introduction of Free Trade, to the prejudice of the chartered rights of various trading companies. The citizens of London were deeply interested in the bill which was introduced for this purpose, for although it little affected the livery companies, it touched very closely the interests of those companies which were incorporated for the purpose of trading with foreign countries, such as that of the Merchant Adventurers, the Levant Company, the Russia Company, and others. These companies had been formed at a time when few individuals were sufficiently wealthy to bear the risk of distant enterprises. Not every citizen was a Whitington or a Gresham. The risk incurred by these associations in undertaking voyages to distant countries was compensated by the advantage gained by the enjoyment of a monopoly of the trade with those countries by charter from the Crown. At the outset there had been no cry raised against monopolies of this kind, but as time wore on and the merchant navy increased, as it did in the last reign with extraordinary rapidity, a feeling of jealousy grew up on the part of shipowners who were not members of one or other of these chartered companies. By the beginning of the seventeenth century dissatisfaction with the privileges of these trading companies had become so general that appeals were made to the Privy Council. These being without effect, the whole matter was referred to a parliamentary committee. No pains were spared to get at the root of the grievance. The committee were attended by "a great concourse of clothiers and merchants of all parts of the realm and especially of London."(32) Counsel was heard in favour of the bill which had been drafted for the purpose of throwing open foreign trade to all merchants alike, and the bill was supported by all the merchants attending the committee with the exception of the merchants of London, who were represented on the occasion by the principal aldermen of the city. The free traders urged the natural right of every one to the free exercise of his own industry and the example set by other nations. They declared that the passing of the bill would lead to the more even distribution of wealth,(33) the greater increase of shipping, and the augmentation of the revenues of the Crown. The upholders of the companies, on the other hand, could find no better arguments in their favour than that no company could be a monopoly inasmuch as a monopoly was something granted exclusively to a single individual, and that if the existence of the companies was determined, apprenticeship would cease and difficulties arise in collecting the king's customs! After three days' debate on the third reading the bill passed the Commons by a large majority.(34) It met, however, with so much opposition in the House of Lords that it was eventually dropt.
A quarrel afterwards arose between the king and the Commons on financial and ecclesiastical questions, and matters being brought to a deadlock, the House was adjourned (7 July). A few days before the adjournment the Speaker and over a hundred members held "a friendly and loving meeting" at Merchant Taylors' Hall, before departing to their country homes. The king contributed a buck and a hogshead of wine towards the entertainment, which proved so popular that thirty more guests appeared on the scene than was originally intended. The "Solemn Feast" was further graced by a "marchpane"—(a confection of bitter almonds and sugar)—representing the House of Commons sitting.(35)
Three years later (17 July, 1607) the king himself honoured the company with his presence at dinner in their hall. The Merchant Taylors would gladly have welcomed him as one of their number and admitted him to the honorary freedom of their company, but James had already been made free of the company of Clothworkers. His son, Prince Henry, who was present at the entertainment, declared himself willing to accept the freedom, and made those of his suite who were not already members of some other company follow his example.(36)
In August (1604) the king sent to borrow L20,000 from the City, a sum which was afterwards, at the City's earnest request, reduced to L15,000. The money was to be levied by order of the court of Common Council (23 Aug.) on the companies, according to rates agreed upon at the time of the loan of L20,000 to the late queen in 1598,(37) and it was to be delivered to Sir Thomas Lowe, the treasurer of the fund, by the 5th September. Some of the companies, however, proved remiss in paying their quota.(38)
The action of James in expelling the Jesuits and Seminary priests had in the meantime so incensed the Catholics that a plot was set on foot for blowing up the king, the lords and commons, with gunpowder, as soon as parliament should re-assemble. In May (1604) a house had been hired by a Catholic named Robert Catesby, through which access might be gained to the basement of the parliament-house. The party-wall, however, proved exceptionally thick, and more than a year elapsed before the necessary mining operations were complete. Catesby was assisted in his work by a Spaniard named Guy Fawkes, who assumed the name of John Johnson. In the spring of 1605 the exasperation of the Catholics was increased by James again imposing the recusancy fines, and the little band of plotters increased in numbers, although never allowed to become large. The design of the conspirators was rendered more easy of execution by the discovery that a cellar reaching under the parliament-house was to be let. This was hired by one of the plotters, and a large quantity of gunpowder was safely deposited there and carefully concealed. After several adjournments parliament was summoned to assemble on the 5th November. On the eve of its meeting Fawkes entered the cellar with a lantern, ready to fire the train in the morning. One of the conspirators, however, Tresham by name, had given his friends some hint of the impending danger. Fawkes was seized and committed to the Tower, where he was subjected to the most horrible torture by the king's orders.(39) The rest of the conspirators, with the exception of Winter, took immediate flight. Hue and cry was raised,(40) and a personal description of the leaders for their better identification was scattered throughout the country. Winter was described as "a man of meane stature, rather lowe than otherwise, square made, somewhat stouping, neere fortie yeares of age, his haire and beard browne, his beard not much and his haire short"; Stephen Littleton, another conspirator, as "a verye tall man, swarthy of complexion, of browne coloured haire, no beard or litle, about thirty yeares of age"; and Thomas Percy, another, as "a tall man, with a great broad beard, a good face, the colour of his beard and head mingled with white heares, but stoupeth somewhat in the shoulders, well coloured in the face, long-footed, small legged."(41)
On the 8th November the mayor issued his precept for bonfires to be lighted that evening in the principal streets of the city in token of joy and thanksgiving for the deliverance of the king and parliament from this "most horrible treason."(42) A week later (16 Nov.) another precept was addressed to the alderman of each ward to furnish an extra watch, as those who had been engaged in safe-guarding the city had found the work too much for them "since the troubles begonne."(43) A diligent search was subsequently ordered to be made in every cellar and vault for any illegal store of gunpowder.(44) Fawkes and such of his fellow-conspirators as were taken alive were brought to trial at Westminster, in January (1606), and executed, some in St. Paul's Churchyard and others before the parliament-house, their quarters being afterwards placed on the city's gates, whilst their heads were stuck up on London bridge.(45) Pending their trial a double watch was kept in the city and fresh halberds issued.(46)
Three Jesuits were implicated in the plot, their names being John Gerrard, Oswald Greenway, and Henry Garnet. Gerrard and Greenway effected their escape, but Garnet was captured after having suffered much deprivation whilst in hiding, and was brought to trial at the Guildhall. Gerrard is described as tall and well set up, but his complexion "swart or blackish, his face large, his cheeks sticking out and somewhat hollow underneath," his hair long unless recently cut, his beard cut close, "saving littell mustachoes and a littell tuft under his lower lippe," his age about forty. Equally precise descriptions are given of Greenway and Garnet; the former being represented as of "meane stature, somewhat grosse," his hair black, his beard bushy and brown, his forehead broad, and his age about the same as that of Gerrard; whilst Garnet is described as an older man, between fifty and sixty years of age, of fair complexion, full face and grisly hair, with a high forehead, and corpulent.(47) At his trial, which took place on the 28th March, Garnet denied all knowledge of the plot save what he had heard under the seal of confession. He was nevertheless convicted and executed (3 May) in St. Paul's Churchyard.(48)
Notwithstanding the capture and execution of the chief actors in the late conspiracy, some time elapsed before the nation recovered from the shock, and every idle rumour of mishap to the king soon became exaggerated as it flew from one end of the kingdom to the other. Thus it was that the citizens of London awoke on the morning of Saturday, the 22nd March, to learn that the king was reported to have been killed with a poisoned dagger whilst engaged in his favourite pursuit of hunting. The alarm thus raised was with difficulty laid to rest by the following precept(49):—
By ye Mayor.
_"Where rumo_r_ hath this morninge bine dispersed abroad within this cittie and ells where neere about the same that his ma_ties_ person was in very greate dainger for asmuch I have even now receaved intelligence from the lords of his ma_ties_ most honorable_ pryvye counsell that his ma_tie_ god be thancked is in saftie, and that I should presently make knowne the same to all his lovinge subiects which by theis presents I doe._
God save ye kinge."
On the 10th June James signed a proclamation ordering all Priests, Jesuits, Seminaries and such like to depart the kingdom before the first day of August. Any priest presenting himself to the officer of a sea-port, and acknowledging his profession, would be forwarded on his way across the sea, with the exception of Gerrard and Greenway, or Greenwell.(50)
In July of this year (1606) the king of Denmark arrived in England on a visit to his brother-in-law, king James. The mayor, being informed by the lords of the council that the Danish fleet was already in the Thames, summoned a Common Council (17 July) to consider what steps should be taken to give the royal visitor a befitting reception in the city. A committee was thereupon appointed to make the necessary preparations.(51) They had but a fortnight before them for contriving a pageant, cleansing the streets, setting up rails and executing the thousand little things which always require to be done on such occasions. The sum of L1,000 was raised by the livery companies,(52) and each alderman was directed to see that the inhabitants of his ward hung out suitable tapestry from houses on the line of procession. The distinguished visitor was presented with a gold cup taken from the king's jewel-house in the Tower. It weighed 62-3/4 ozs., and the City paid for it at the rate of L3 10s. per ounce.(53) There was but one thing to mar the general rejoicing in the city, and that was the presence of the plague. This necessitated special precautions being taken to prevent the spread of infection, and an additional number of wardens were appointed to take their stand, halberd in hand, at the doors of infected houses on the day of the king's visit to prevent anyone going in or coming out.(54)
That the chief cause of the city being so often visited by epidemics in former days was the lack of a plentiful supply of wholesome water will scarcely be denied. When we consider with what rapidity the population of the city increased, more especially under the Tudors, the short-sighted policy of a government which forbade the erection of new buildings within three miles of the city's gates,(55) and drove so many families to find shelter under one roof within the limited area of the city proper, in spite of proclamations to the contrary,(56) the want of any organised system of drainage, and the scanty supply of water—we can only marvel that the city was ever free from epidemics.
In 1543 the municipal authorities obtained statutory powers to amend decayed conduits and erect new ones, as well as to bring water to the city from Hampstead,(57) and from that time they appear to have taken a more active interest in the water supply. They made periodical visits to the various conduits, and more especially the conduit-head at Marylebone, where a banqueting-house was erected for their convenience. Nevertheless they preferred encouraging private individuals (and these not infrequently foreigners) in attempts to improve the city's water supply, as necessity arose, to undertaking the work themselves in their corporate capacity. In 1570 the City acquired parliamentary powers to break soil for the purpose of conveying water from the river Lea, "otherwise called Ware River," at any time within the next ten years,(58) but these powers were allowed to lapse by default. In 1581 Peter Morice, a Dutchman, obtained permission to set up a water-mill in the Thames at London Bridge, and by some mechanical contrivance—a "most artificial forcier"—succeeded in conveying water as far as Leadenhall and Gracechurch. The civic authorities were so pleased with the result of his first efforts that they assisted him with a loan of L1,000 to perfect his work.(59) Ten years later (1591) the famous Italian engineer—of "fire-ship" fame—Frederico Gianibelli obtained the consent of the Court of Aldermen to erect new water-works at Tyburn for the purpose of providing the city with a better supply.(60) In 1593 Beavis Bulmer, another foreigner (to judge from his name), obtained a lease for 500 years permitting him to set up an engine at Broken Wharf for the purpose of supplying water to the inhabitants of the city. The Court of Aldermen granted him the use of the green-yard at Leadenhall for putting together his engine, whilst the court of Common Council advanced him the sum of L1,000 on easy terms.(61) Soon after the granting of Bulmer's lease the Common Council conceded to Henry Shaw a right to convey water from Fogwell pond, Smithfield, and to supply it to anyone willing to pay him for it, for a similar term of 500 years.(62)
At length a scheme was started at the opening of the seventeenth century which not only proved itself equal to the task of supplying the ever-increasing population of London with an adequate supply of water, but was destined in after years to render its undertakers rich "beyond the dreams of avarice." The New River Company, the original shares of which are of almost fabulous value at the present day, had its commencement in an Act of Parliament (3 James I, c. 18) which empowered the mayor, commonalty and citizens of London and their successors at any time to make an open trench(63) for the purpose of bringing a fresh stream of running water to the north parts of the city from springs at Chadwell and Amwell, co. Herts. Whilst showing themselves ready and anxious to render the city more healthy and less subject to epidemics by cleansing the city's ditches of all filth and draining Finsbury and the Moorfields,(64) the civic authorities were appalled at the enormity of their own proposals, and hesitated to carry out what at that time appeared to be an engineering task of stupendous difficulty. Three years elapsed and nothing was done. Offers were made by various individuals to execute the work for them, but these were declined.(65) At length, on the 28th March, 1609, Hugh Middleton, a goldsmith of London, but of Welsh extraction, declared himself ready to undertake the work and to complete it within four years. His offer was accepted, and an agreement was drawn up and executed on the 21st April.(66)
Notwithstanding the lords of the council having been desired by the lord mayor to instruct the Justices of the Peace of Hertfordshire and Middlesex to assist Middleton and his men in carrying out their work,(67) the undertaking met with great opposition. Among the various objections raised to the New River scheme was one to the effect that the municipal authorities had done nothing in the business themselves, but had by Act of Common Council irrevocably conveyed their whole interest in fee simple to Middleton, who was carrying out the work "for his own private benefit." To this objection answer was made that if the mayor and citizens would not adventure upon so uncertain a work Middleton deserved the greater commendation in adventuring his money and labour for the good of the city, and if the city was benefited and the country not prejudiced Middleton deserved all that he gained.(68) A bill was introduced into parliament to repeal the Acts authorising the construction of the New River, and a committee appointed (20 June, 1610) to survey the damages caused or likely to be caused by the work,(69) and report thereon to the House. "Much ado there is also in the House," wrote a contemporary to his friend,(70) "about the work undertaken and far advanced already by Middleton, of the cutting of a river and bringing it to London from ten or twelve miles off, through the grounds of many men who, for their particular interest, do strongly oppose themselves to it, and are like (as 'tis said) to overthrow it all." The bill was opposed by the City. A deputation consisting of two aldermen, the Town Clerk and the City Remembrancer was appointed (25 May, 1610) to wait upon Sir John Herbert, one of the principal Secretaries of State, Sir Julius Caesar, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and other influential members of parliament, for the purpose of entreating them to use their efforts to prevent the repeal of the statutes on the ground that the stream of fresh water which would thereby be brought to the north parts of the city would tend to the preservation of health; that the work had already been carried ten miles, and that Middleton had already expended more than L3,000 in carrying it out.(71)
Middleton was eventually allowed to proceed with his work, but the delay that had taken place made it necessary for him to apply to the Common Council for an extension of time within which to complete it. The City readily consented to grant him an extension of five years (27 Feb., 1611).(72) No application for pecuniary assistance however appears to have been made to the City at this or any other time whilst the work was in progress by Middleton, although he lacked funds and was compelled in the following year to seek the assistance of James himself. The king was familiar with Middleton and his undertaking, for the New River was carried past his own hunting-lodge of Theobalds. In May (1612) he agreed to pay half the cost of the whole work on condition that Middleton would convey to him one-half of the property. Middleton could not do otherwise than accept the king's offer, and in the following August executed a deed conveying thirty-six shares to James.(73)
With royalty at his back Middleton was enabled to complete his undertaking, and the New River was opened with befitting ceremony on the very day (29 Sept., 1613) that Thomas,(74) his elder brother, was elected to the mayoralty chair for the ensuing year.
Even then the whole enterprise might have failed had not pressure been brought to bear to make the inhabitants of the city use the New River water to the exclusion of other supplies. In 1616, three years after the New River had been opened, the lords of the council wrote (23 Dec.) to the mayor and aldermen informing them that it was the king's wish that, inasmuch as few persons used the new supply, the city authorities should see that all such houses as could conveniently use it should be made to use it, for it was not to be supposed, said they, that two Acts of Parliament and an Act of Common Council affecting the health and safety of the city should be passed to no other purpose than to injure those who undertook so useful a work on the part of the city.(75) So again, in the following year (1617), when the brewers of London wished to erect waterworks on their own account at Dowgate, they were stopped by order of the Privy Council, and told to take their water from the New River, which had been made at great expense, "was of great consequence to his majesty's service, and deserved all due encouragement."(76) Even the civic authorities themselves were forbidden (11 April, 1634) to improve the supply from Tyburn, on which they had already expended much money, for fear of injuring the interests of the shareholders of the New River Company,(77) who had but recently received their first dividend.(78)
Soon after the completion of the New River, Middleton applied to the City for a loan. The whole of his own capital had been sunk in his vast undertaking, and he required an advance of L3,000. The loan was granted (8 Sept., 1614) for three years at six per cent., security being given by his brother Thomas, the lord mayor, Robert, another brother, and Robert Bateman.(79)
In 1622 (19 Oct.) James conferred on Middleton a baronetcy—a new hereditary title recently established for supplying the king with money to put down the Irish rebellion.(80) Middleton, however, appears to have been too poor to pay the sum of L1,000 or so for which the new title was purchasable; at any rate the money was not exacted.(81) A baronet in the city of London (by the way) enjoyed the special privilege of exemption from serving as sheriff. "It was unfit," wrote James to the lord mayor (11 Nov., 1613), "that a gentleman called to the quality of a baronet should be afterwards called to be sheriff," and he declared that he would have "no such precedent."(82)
A year after Middleton had been created a baronet the Court of Aldermen voted him (13 Nov., 1623) a gold chain of the value of 200 marks in recognition of his services in supplying the city with water, and thereby preventing the spread of disastrous fires. Only the night before (12 Nov.) "a very terrible and fearful fire" had broken out, destroying many houses, and among them that of Sir William Cockaine, in Broad Street, and causing damage to the extent of L40,000 and more;(83) and the Court of Aldermen, in recording their vote, testified to the great danger which would have threatened the city had not a plentiful supply of water, thanks to Middleton, been at hand.(84) The chain was set with diamonds and had the City's arms by way of pendant. Middleton himself being a goldsmith of repute was allowed to supervise the making of it.(85)
All this time the City's loan to Middleton remained outstanding, and indeed it remained unrepaid at the time of his death in December, 1631, a circumstance which shows that the greatest engineer of the age died worse off than many believe. After considerable hesitation the Court of Aldermen instructed the City Solicitor to recover the money by suing on Middleton's bond.(86)
If other evidence were wanting to show that Middleton died in reduced circumstances there is the fact that his widow was compelled, soon after her husband's death, to seek satisfaction from the City for losses sustained by his estate by means of "many breaches made in the pipes of water and otherwise upon occasion of divers great fires." After considering the matter for close upon two years the Common Council at length agreed (2 Oct., 1634) to raise a sum of L1,000 for her by assessment on the wards, but hesitated whether to pay the money to Lady Middleton for her own use or as executrix only of the will of her late husband, "to be distributed according to the custome of this Citty whereof he dyed a Freeman." The court added this condition to the gift, viz.: that the City should be allowed to set up cocks in connection with the New River pipes in each ward, to be used in cases of fire, in place of cutting the pipes, as had been the custom on such occasions.(87) In 1635 Middleton's loan remained still owing to the City, and the L1,000 promised to his widow was not yet collected. On the 12th May Lady Middleton petitioned the Court of Aldermen to allow the L1,000 to be accepted in part payment of her late husband's debt and she would endeavour forthwith to discharge the remainder. To this the court acceded.(88)
In 1726 the New River Company petitioned the Common Council for a direct conveyance to be made to the company of all the statutory rights and privileges the City had originally made over to Middleton. The reason given for this request was that the company found themselves obliged at the time to prosecute a number of trespassers, and that it had been advised by counsel that in order to get a verdict in the company's favour it would have to prove its title, "through all times and through all the mean conveyances," from the passing of the original Act of Parliament to the present time. The company represented that such a proceeding would involve enormous difficulty, but this difficulty could be got over if the City would consent to give an immediate grant to the company of all that they had formerly conveyed to Middleton, and upon the same terms. The matter, urged the company, was one that affected the interests of the City, for unless the offenders were punished the water of the New River would continue to be intercepted before it reached the city. The petition was referred to the City Lands Committee for consideration.(89)
Just at the time when the City was meditating a transfer of their powers under the New River Acts to Middleton, a scheme was being set on foot for colonising a vast tract of land in the north of Ireland, which, after the flight of the earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel in 1607, was declared to be confiscated to the Crown. In October, 1608, commissioners had been appointed to draw up a plan for the proposed colonisation, or, as it was called, the "Plantation of Ulster," and by the following January (1609) their reports were sent in.(90) The next step was the formulating of orders and conditions to be observed by the undertakers of the plantation, and by the end of January these were ready, although they do not appear to have been published before the following March.(91) The object of promulgating these orders and conditions was to attract persons to take a share in the work of the plantation, not so much with the view of benefiting themselves as of doing service to the Crown and commonwealth. Whatever attraction the scheme as put forth in this Collection of Orders and Conditions—often referred to in subsequent proceedings as the "printed book"—may have had for others, it had none for the Londoner.(92) The city merchant and trader required to be assured of some substantial benefit to be gained by himself before he would embark in any such undertaking, and in order to give him this assurance he was asked to consider a long list of "motives and reasons to induce the City of London to undertake plantation in the north of Ireland."(93)
In this document, bearing date the 28th May, 1609, the king offered to make over to the city of London the city of Derry and another place near the castle of Coleraine with adjacent territory, and with exceptional advantages as to custom dues and admiralty jurisdiction. As an inducement to accept the king's offer the citizens were assured that the country was well watered and suitable for breeding cattle; it grew hemp and flax better than elsewhere; it was well stocked with game and had excellent sea and river fisheries, and it contained such abundance of provisions as not only to supply the plantation, but also assist towards the relief of the London poor. Besides these advantages the city, which was so overcrowded "that one tradesman was scarcely able to live by another," would have an opportunity of getting rid of some of its surplus population, and at the same time render itself less liable to infectious diseases. If the citizens wanted a precedent for what they were now called upon to undertake, they were invited to look at what Bristol had done for Dublin in the reign of Henry II. The plantation of Dublin by Bristol, which reflected "eternal commendation" on the latter city, had done much towards civilising and securing that part of Ireland, and it was greatly to be hoped that the precedent so set would now be followed by London, more especially as the advantages to be gained were far greater.
A goodly prospect indeed; but still the enterprise failed to commend itself to the Londoner. A month went by and nothing was done. At length, on Saturday, the 1st July, the matter was brought direct to the attention of a special Court of Aldermen and "divers selected comoners" of the city by the lords of the council. Again the citizens were assured that by taking a part in the work of the plantation they would not only be doing a work acceptable unto God but one which would be at once honourable and profitable to themselves.
The project was received with favour to the extent that it was resolved to invite the livery companies to consider the matter, and to appoint committees to make suggestions to the court in writing by the following Wednesday (5 July),(94) and precepts to the companies were issued accordingly. The reply sent by the companies appears to have been considered unsatisfactory, for on the following Saturday (8 July) the mayor issued another precept rebuking them for the attitude taken up by their representatives, who had not, in his opinion, paid sufficient attention to the matter nor fully realised the motives and reasons which had been propounded. He bade them reconsider the matter and send their representatives to the Guildhall on Friday, 14th July, with "such reasons and demands as are fit to be remembered, required or considered of in the undertaking of so great and honourable an action" set down in writing.(95) Accordingly, on the 14th, the committees of the various companies appeared before the Court of Aldermen with their answer in writing, and a deputation was nominated to carry their answer to the lords and to hear anything more that they might have to say on the matter.(96)
The lords of the council being angry with the companies for sending in their answer before a conference had been held with them, the Recorder was instructed to inform them that the companies had acted under a mistake, and intended nothing undutiful in what they had done, and a deputation was again nominated to confer with their lordships.(97) This was on Tuesday, the 18th July.
Before the end of the week "a full and large conference" took place, and the lords of the council so satisfied the representatives of the companies of the profitable nature of the undertaking that they were encouraged to become adventurers. It was an understood thing between the parties that the citizens should send their own representatives over to Ireland to view the property, and if the undertaking proved to be otherwise than had been represented, and unprofitable, they were to be at liberty to withdraw from it altogether. The result of the conference was signified to the masters and wardens of the several companies on Monday, the 24th July, by precept of the mayor, who enjoined them to call together their companies on the following Wednesday, and after explaining the whole matter to them, to learn from each individual member what amount he was prepared to contribute towards the furtherance of so "famous a project," and to cause the same to be entered in a book "to the intent his majesty may be informed of the readiness of this city in a matter of such great consequence." A note was to be made of any who refused to contribute, and those who failed to attend the summons were to be fined. No time was to be lost, for the lords of the council expected a return of the amount to be contributed by the companies by Friday (28 July).(98)
On Sunday, the 30th July, a deputation of aldermen and commoners again waited on the lords of the council, and received permission to elect four wise, grave and discreet citizens to cross over to Ireland and view the proposed plantation. On Tuesday (1 Aug.) the Common Council nominated John Broad, goldsmith, Hugh Hamersley, haberdasher, Robert Treswell, painter-stainer, and John Rowley, draper, to be the City's commissioners for the purpose.(99)
The lords of the council anticipated the arrival of the City's agents in Ireland by directing Sir Thomas Philips to accompany them in their travels, and by sending instructions to Sir Arthur Chichester, the deputy, to see that they were well supplied with necessaries and were assisted in every way. The latter was more particularly instructed to use great care in the selection of discreet persons to conduct and accompany them, men who from their experience and understanding might be able, "both by discourse and reason, to controule whatsoever any man shall reporte either out of ignorance or malice, and to give the undertakors satisfaccon when they shalbe mistaken or not well informed of any particular."(100) The conductors were to take care to lead the Londoners by the best roads, and to lodge them on their journeys where they might, if possible, receive English entertainment in Englishmen's houses. The lords of the council at the same time forwarded to Sir Arthur Chichester a copy of the "Project," and desired him to see that those who conducted the City's agents were "well prepared before-hand to confirme and strengthen every part thereof by demonstracon as they may plainly apprehend and conceive the commodities to be of good use and profit." On the other hand, matters of distaste, such as fear of the Irish, of the soldiers, of cess and such like must not be so much as named. These could be set right afterwards and were only matters of discipline and order. Lastly, if the Londoners should happen to express a wish respecting anything, "whether it be the fishing, the admirallty, or any other particuler wch may serve for a motyve to enduce them," the same was to be conceded at once, and no private interests, whether of Sir Arthur Chichester himself or any other individual, were to be allowed to stand in the way.
These instructions were carried out to the letter, and the City's representatives, as soon as they set foot in Ireland, were treated right royally. Sir John Davys, one of the king's commissioners engaged in surveying the country, wrote home on the 28th August(101): "The Londoners are now come, and exceeding welcome to us. Wee all use our best rhetorick to persuade them to go on wth their plantation, wch will assure the whole island to the crowne of England forever. They like and praise the cuntrey very much, specially the Banne and the river of Loghfoyle." He goes on to say that one of the City's agents had fallen sick, and would have returned, but the lord-deputy and the rest had used every means to comfort and retain him, "lest this accident shold discourage his fellow cittizens." In other respects, too, they saw the country at its best, for they arrived at a time when the Irish were flocking in and making their submission in far better fashion than they had done for years. So pleased were they with what they saw that they assured Sir Arthur Chichester that the City would certainly undertake the plantation upon the report they were about to make. The deputy on his part assured them that if the Londoners did not undertake the work they would be enemies to themselves. He suggested that they should send home to the lord mayor some samples of the commodities of the country. The suggestion was adopted, and he obtained for them some raw hides, tallow, salmon, herrings, eels, pipe-staves, beef and the like at a cheap rate. He also procured them some iron ore and promised to furnish them with samples of lead and copper.(102)
By November the City's agents had returned to London. On the 28th they appeared before the Court of Aldermen and presented their report, together with an answer made by Sir Arthur Chichester to certain questions they had put to him on doubtful points, and also a map or "plott" of the country they had viewed. The court in the first place authorised the Chamberlain to re-imburse them the sum of L100 which they had found it necessary to borrow to supplement the allowance of L300 originally allowed for their expenses by the court;(103) and in the next gave orders for all the documents to be enrolled by the Remembrancer "in a faier booke, wherein the letters and other things comytted to his charge and care are recorded and entred," and also in the Journal by the Clerk of the Orphans.(104) The viewers' report came before the court of Common Council on the 2nd December, when it was openly read and referred to a committee specially appointed.(105)
On Friday, the 15th, the committee were ready with their report. They had met five times, and had held long debate and consultation on the various matters incident to "so great a business," and on each and all of these they had something to say. As to the financial part of the undertaking they were of opinion that the Common Council should pass an Act for raising a sum of L15,000, and no more, upon the members of the wealthier livery companies, by poll, the inferior companies being spared. The report having been approved by the court a deputation was appointed to wait upon the Privy Council with the City's answer on the following Sunday (17 December).(106)
When the lords of the council came to consider the City's proposals they found much to their liking, but the clause which restricted the amount of money to be furnished by the City to L15,000, and no more, was "much distasted" by them, seeing that that sum would scarcely suffice to buy up private interests, let alone the work of plantation. The City's offer in this respect was therefore rejected, and the Common Council had therefore to increase its offer to L20,000.(107)
Early in the following year (8 Jan., 1610) a committee was appointed, including the four commissioners who had viewed the plantation, to confer with commissioners appointed by the Privy Council as to the best means of carrying out the work. In the meantime the sum of L5,000, or one-fourth part of the L20,000 required, was to be immediately levied on the principal companies according to their corn assessment.(108) Some of the companies complained of the unfairness of assessing them according to the existing corn rate, inasmuch as a great change had taken place since that rate had been made: "Divers companies are decayed and others growne to bee of greater liability, so as particuler men of some companies are now exceedinglie overcharged and others greatelye favoured." It was too late to make any alteration in the payment of the first two instalments, as the plantation was to commence in the summer,(109) but a new assessment for corn was made in July with the view of making the rate more equitable.(110)
On the 28th January (1610) the committee appointed by the court of Common Council came to terms with the Privy Council, and a special agreement was signed by both parties embodying all the essential conditions of the plantation in twenty-seven articles. A period of seven years was allowed the City to make such other reasonable demands as time might show to be needful.(111)
The articles were read at the Common Council held two days later (30 Jan.), when it was decided to form a company in the city of London for the purpose of carrying out the plantation, the company to consist of a governor, a deputy-governor and twenty-four assistants, of whom the Recorder of the city was to be one. The governor and five of the assistants were to be aldermen of the city, the rest commoners.(112) On the 4th February the lords of the council informed Sir Arthur Chichester that the "noble and worthy work of the plantation in Ulster undertaken by the city" was concluded, and the articles signed. The city had chosen a governor and a council of assistants for the more orderly disposition of their affairs. They had also elected John Rowley to be their agent, and he and others would shortly set out for Ireland. The lords commended him to the deputy's care, and he was instructed to see that they were furnished with a sufficient number of labourers for felling timber, digging stone and burning lime. Sir Arthur's services in forwarding a work which the king had so much at heart would not go, they assured him, unrewarded.(113)
The articles of the plantation had not long been signed before the government broke faith with the City, and the latter were asked to forego no less than 2,000 acres of land agreed to be assigned to them. This iniquitous proposal on the part of the king's commissioners was laid before a special court of Common Council (7 June, 1610) by Alderman Cockaine, the governor of the Irish Society. After long deliberation the court decided to stand upon their rights, and rejected the proposal. Six weeks later (22 July) they saw fit to change their minds, and they agreed to surrender the 2,000 acres whilst refusing to accede to other demands.(114)
It was no easy task the City had undertaken. Great difficulty was experienced in getting the companies to pay up their quota of the L20,000 to be raised for the purpose of the plantation. The wardens of the Mercers, the Clothworkers and other companies were committed to prison by order of the Court of Aldermen for refusing or failing to pay the sums at which their respective companies had been assessed.(115) The masters or wardens of the companies were not so much to blame as the individual members of the companies who refused to pay. Thus, a sum of L200 due from Sir John Spencer, the rich Clothworker, remained unpaid at his death. It was eventually paid by his son-in-law, Lord Compton, after much solicitation.(116) Even when the money was got in there was a difficulty in forwarding it to its destination, so infested was the Irish coast with pirates who lay in wait for the money sent by the City for the works at Coleraine.(117)
Early in the following year (31 Jan., 1611) the livery companies were called upon to certify to the Irish Society, within one week, whether or no they were willing to accept an allotment of the Irish estate proportionate to the money by them advanced, and to cultivate and plant the same at their own cost and charges, according to the "printed book" of the plantation, or leave the letting and disposing thereof to the governor and committees. They were warned that, in any case, they would still have to contribute towards the charge of building houses and fortifications and freeing of tithes.(118) In response to the mayor's precept eight of the principal companies of the city, viz., the Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Salters, Ironmongers and Vintners, and ten of the inferior companies, viz., the Dyers, Pewterers, Founders, Whitebakers, Broderers, Armourers, Tilers and Bricklayers, Blacksmiths, Weavers and Woodmongers, signified their willingness to accept a proportionate part of the land (27 Feb.). The remainder of the companies preferred to leave the lands alone, but they were allowed to come in afterwards if they saw reason to change their mind.(119)
By July (1611) nearly the whole of the L20,000 had been expended. The Common Council thereupon resolved that a further sum of L10,000 should be levied on the companies at the same rate as the last two payments. A day was appointed for the companies to send in a written notice whether they agreed to contribute to this fresh sum or were ready to forfeit the money they had already subscribed and lose all their right in the plantation.(120). L5,000 was to be ready by the 10th August. The remainder was not demanded until July, 1612.(121)
Hitherto the agreement between the lords of the council and the citizens of London had been carried out by one side only. The City had found the money wherewith to carry out the work of the plantation, but as yet not an acre of land had been assigned. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the Grocers' Company were called upon to contribute their quota to the L5,000 demanded in July, 1612, they desired the lord mayor not to press the matter until the assurance of the lands and other hereditaments for which money had been formerly disbursed should have been obtained from his majesty.(122) At length, on the 29th March, 1613, the Irish Society received its charter of incorporation.
Notwithstanding the great difficulty experienced in getting in the last L5,000—as much as L3,667 10s. being still outstanding in October, 1612(123)—the Common Council found itself under the unpleasant necessity of asking the companies for another L10,000 within a few weeks of the incorporation of the Irish Society. Not only had the whole of the L30,000 formerly subscribed been expended, but the Irish Society had borrowed L3,000 from the Chamber of London.(124) The money was to be raised by the end of May.
James had already begun to show impatience—even before the granting of the charter of incorporation to the Irish Society—at the little progress made in the work of the plantation. At the close of the last year (21 Dec., 1612) he had himself written to Sir Arthur Chichester directing him to send home an account of what the Londoners had done; for, notwithstanding their pretence of great expenditure, there was, so he was informed, little outward show for it.(125) Fault was found with them, not only for failing to build houses according to the articles of agreement, but for their humane treatment of the "mere Irish," instead of driving them forth to perish in the narrow districts set apart for them.(126)
On Midsummer-day (1613) Sir Henry Montague, the Recorder, and Sir William Cockaine, the governor of the Irish Society, signified to the Common Council that it was the king's wish that the walls and fortifications of Derry should be at once taken in hand. The court agreed to lose no time in carrying out the king's wishes, and further resolved to despatch "some great and worthy magistrate," as well as "some commoner of special countenance and credit," to take an exact notice, view and account of the whole work of the plantation, and of all works done and to be done, and, in a word, to do all that they deemed necessary for the good of the plantation. The choice of the court fell upon Alderman George Smithes and Matthias Springham, a Merchant Taylor.(127)
These two proceeded to Ireland, and, having viewed the plantation, sent home from Dublin a detailed report of all they had seen and done.(128) The report was submitted to the Common Council on the 8th November (1613). Among other things they had taken great pains to make an equal division of the land as far as was possible into twelve parts, with the view of distributing it among the livery companies as proposed, and a "plott" of the division was laid before the court. But they were of opinion that the city of Londonderry and its land of 4,000 acres, and the town of Coleraine with its 3,000 acres, its ferries and fisheries, could not be conveniently divided, but the rents and profits of them might be divided among the several companies. As to the fortification of Derry, the commissioners had consulted ten military experts on the matter and plans had been drafted; but it was necessary to gather material before the wall could be commenced, and this the commissioners recommended should be taken in hand at once.
On the 17th December lots were publicly drawn to decide the particular lands which each of the twelve principal companies, combined with several of the inferior companies in such a way as to make their total contributions to amount, as far as might be, to one-twelth of the whole sum (L40,000) contributed, should hold.(129) The companies at once took possession of their property so far as they could do so; but livery of seisin was not and could not be made to them until James had granted (30 Sep., 1615), both to the Irish Society and to the companies, a licence in mortmain. This licence was expressly granted "to the end that they might be the better encouraged and enabled to proceed and finish the same plantation, and in future times reap some gains and benefits of their great travails and expenses bestowed therein."(130) It may be inferred from this that James had little expectation that the undertakers would reap much gain or profit from their enterprise notwithstanding former professions. For some years to come there was no gain, little or great. No sooner had the allotment of land to the companies taken place than they were called upon to raise a further sum of L5,000,(131) and at the end of another twelve months a further sum of L7,500, making in all a sum total of L52,500 which they had subscribed towards the plantation.(132) It was not until 1623 that the profits of the plantation began to exceed the costs and the Irish Society was in a position to pay a dividend.(133)
In years gone by, when some of the companies sold their Irish estate, there was no question as to their power of alienation or their absolute right to the proceeds of the sale, but of late years a cry has been raised that the companies held their estates in a fiduciary capacity, and that they could not legally alienate their Irish property without accounting for the proceeds of the sale as public trustees. It had got abroad that those companies who had not already parted with their Irish estates—as the Haberdashers had done as far back as the year 1675, and the Merchant Taylors, the Goldsmiths and the Vintners, between the years 1728 and 1737—were meditating a sale. In response to the cry thus raised a select Parliamentary Committee was appointed to enquire "as to the Terms of the Charters or other Instruments by which their Estates in Ireland were granted to the Irish Society and to the London companies, and as to the Trusts and Obligations (if any) attaching to the Ownership of such Estates." Any trust or obligation in connection with the tenure of these estates would naturally be comprised within the four corners of the charters and instruments mentioned in the order of reference just cited, but these the committee practically ignored, on the ground that the task of pronouncing with decisive authority upon their legal construction could only be performed by a judicial tribunal.(134) We have it, however, on the authority of so sound a lawyer as the late Sir George Jessel, that the companies are ordinary owners of their Irish estates in fee simple, subject only to the reservations expressly contained in the conveyance to them.(135)
Contemporaneously with the plantation of Ulster, another and more distant enterprise of somewhat similar character was being carried out in America; and to this, as to every great public undertaking, the citizens of London must need be called to lend their assistance. A company formed in 1606, and composed, in part at least, of London merchants, the object of which was the colonisation of Virginia, had proved a failure after a hopeless struggle for three years. It was therefore determined to reconstruct the company on a different basis and to make an entirely fresh start.
In the spring of 1609 the company wrote to Sir Humphrey Weld,(136) then mayor of London, for assistance in financing the undertaking, urging him at the same time to diminish the risk of pestilence and famine in the city by removing the surplus population to Virginia. For the sake of convenience they purposed to issue no bills of adventure for less than L12 10s., but if his lordship were to make any "ceasement" (assessment) or raise subscriptions from the best disposed and most able of the companies, the council and company of the plantation would be willing to give bills of adventure to the masters and wardens for the general use and behoof of each company, or in the case of subscription by the wards to the alderman and deputy of each ward for the benefit of the ward. Should the emigrants "demaund what may be theire present mayntenaunce, what maye be theire future hopes?" they might be told that the company was for the present prepared to offer them "meate, drinke and clothing, with an howse, orchard and garden for the meanest family, and a possession of lands to them and their posterity." Any alderman of the city subscribing L50 would be reckoned as an original member of the council of the company, and take equal share of the profits with the rest; their deputies, too, would be admitted to the same privileges on payment of half that sum.
In response to a precept no less than fifty-six companies agreed to take ventures in the plantation. The Grocers subscribed the sum of L487 10s., or more than double the amount subscribed by any other company. The Mercers, the Goldsmiths and the Merchant Taylors contributed respectively the next highest amount, viz., L200; whilst the Drapers and Fishmongers subscribed severally L150, the Stationers L125, the Clothworkers L100, and the Salters L50. In addition to these contributions made by the companies in their corporate capacity other sums were ventured by individual members.(137) Bills of adventure were thereupon given to the several companies for the money subscribed, entitling them to have rateably "theire full parte of all such lands, tenements and hereditaments" as should from time to time be recovered, planted and inhabited, as also "of all such mines and minerals of gould, silver and other metals or treasure, pearles, precious stones, or any kind of wares or marchaundizes, comodities or profitts whatsoever," as should be obtained or gotten in the voyage.(138)
With the assistance thus afforded by the citizens of London the Virginia Company had no difficulty in obtaining another charter from the Crown (23 May, 1609). Among the adventurers to whom the charter was granted, and who embraced representatives of every rank, profession and occupation, we find Humphrey Weld, the mayor, whose name immediately follows those of the peers of the realm who shared in the undertaking, and Nicholas Ferrar, skinner, who died in 1620, and gave by will "L300 to the college in Virginia, to be paid when there shall be ten of the infidels' children placed in it, and in the meantime twenty-four pounds by the yeare to be disbursed unto three discreete and godly men in the colonie, which shall honestly bring up three of the infidels' children in Christian religion and some good course to live by."(139)
In the meantime (15 May) seven vessels with emigrants on board had set sail from Woolwich. After frequent delays on the south coast of England they crossed the Atlantic and reached their destination on the 11th August. Yellow fever had unfortunately broken out on board ship during the long voyage, and this, together with the plague, which is generally believed to have been conveyed to Virginia by the fleet, committed great havoc among the early emigrants.(140)
It was not long before more money was wanted, and again application was made to the livery companies. The Mercers declined to make any further advance;(141) but with the assistance of the other companies the sum of L5,000 was raised, which was afterwards increased to L18,000.(142) Nevertheless, in spite of every exertion, the company was in the autumn of 1611 on the very verge of ruin, and something had to be done to prevent its utter collapse. It was accordingly again re-constructed, its domains were made to comprise the Bermudas, or Somers Islands, and a third charter granted (12 March, 1612), in which a number of citizens are named as having become adventurers since the last letters patent.(143)
A special feature of the charter was the authorisation of one or more lottery or lotteries to be held for the benefit of the company,(144) by virtue of which a lottery was soon afterwards opened in London. The chief prize fell to one Thomas Sharplys, or Sharplisse, a tailor of London, who won "four thousand crowns in fair plate."(145) The lucky winner used the same motto on this occasion as was used by the Merchant Taylors' Company in their venture in the lottery of 1569.(146) The City's records are unaccountably silent on the matter of this lottery, but we learn from other sources that the Grocers' Company adventured the sum of L62 10s. of their common goods and drew a prize of L13 10s. An offer being made to them to accept the prize subject to a rebate of L10, or in lieu thereof "a faire rounde salt with a cover of silver all gilt," weighing over 44 ozs. at 6s. 7d. per oz., amounting to the sum of L14 19s. 1d., the company resolved to accept the salt, "both in respect it would not be so much losse to the company ... and alsoe in regard this company wants salts." The balance of L1 9s. was ordered to be paid out of the common goods of the company.(147) Not only the companies but several of the city parishes had ventures in a small way in the lottery. Thus the vestry of St. Mary Colechurch agreed (7 June) to adventure the sum of L6 of the church stock, whereby the church was the gainer of "twoe spones, price twenty shillinge."(148) The parish of St. Mary Woolchurch adventured a less sum, taking only fifty lots at a shilling apiece, in return for which it got a prize of ten shillings.(149) That the lottery was not taken up in the way it was hoped it would be is shown by the fact that just before the drawing—which took place in a house at the west end of St. Paul's, and lasted from the 29th June till the 20th July—no less than 60,000 blanks were taken out, in order to increase the number of chances in favour of the adventurers.(150)
Two years later (1614) another lottery for the same purpose was set on foot. On the 1st April the lords of the council addressed a circular letter to the city companies,(151) enclosing a copy of a pamphlet by Sir Thomas Smith, entitled "A declaration of the present estate of the English in Virginia, with the final resolucon of the Great Lotterye intended for their supply," and exhorting them to do their best to make the lottery a success. The object is there described as a "worthy and Christian enterprise, full of honour and profitt to His Majestie and the whole realme." A copy of this letter was forwarded to the several companies through Sir Thomas Middleton, the mayor,(152) who, as we have already said, was himself a member of the Council of the Virginia Company in 1609. The lotteries, however, found but little favour with the companies, who were actively engaged at the time in managing their recently acquired Irish estates, and had but little money to spare. The Merchant Taylors' Company contented themselves with voting only L50 out of their common stock for the lottery, leaving it to individual members to venture further sums on their own account as each might think fit.(153) The Grocers' Company, of which Middleton was a member, voted nothing out of their common stock, but each member was exhorted "for the general advancement of Christianity and good of the commonwealth," to write with his own hands how much he was willing to venture. This was accordingly done (15 April), the lord mayor himself setting the example; but as to the result the company's records fail to give any information.(154)
The prospects of the Virginia Company were seriously imperilled by an ill-advised speech made in the House of Commons by the lord mayor inveighing against the importation of tobacco. The Company was already in disgrace with the House, through the indiscretion of Counsel employed to prosecute a petition on its behalf, and all the members of the Company who held seats in the House were desired to withdraw until it should be decided what action should be taken in the matter. Eventually peace was restored by the offending Counsel coming to the Bar of the House and making a humble submission.(155)
In 1618 a scheme was set on foot for taking up vagrant boys and girls that lay begging in the streets of the city, having neither home nor friends, and transporting them to Virginia to be there industriously employed. The scheme came before the Court of Common Council on the 31st July in the form of a petition from a number of citizens. A committee was at once appointed to consider the matter, and on the 24th September they brought in their report.(156) The Virginia Company had agreed to take 100 boys and girls between the ages of eight and sixteen, and to educate and bring them up at the company's charge. The company were prepared, moreover, to give each boy and girl fifty acres of land, to each boy as soon as he was twenty-four years of age, and to each girl at the age of twenty-one or her marriage, whichever should first happen. The charge of fitting out and transporting that number was estimated at L500, which sum the court agreed should be levied on the inhabitants of the city rateably according as each was assessed towards the last poor rate. The young emigrants were soon afterwards shipped to their new home,(157) and so successfully did the undertaking turn out that in little over a year another application was made to the Common Council (18 Dec., 1619) for another batch of 100 children for shipment to the colony in the following spring.(158) It was desired that the new emigrants should be twelve years old and upwards, with an allowance of L3 apiece for their transportation and 40s. apiece for their apparel, "as was formerly graunted." The boys would be put out as apprentices until the age of twenty-one, and the girls likewise until the same age or marriage, after which they would be placed as tenants on the public lands, and be furnished with houses, stock of corn and cattle to begin with, and afterwards enjoy the moiety of all increase and profit. The Common Council being desirous of forwarding "soe worthy and pious a worke" as the plantation, accepted the company's proposal, and directed that a sum of L500 necessary for the purpose should be levied as on the previous occasion.
Some hitch, however, appears to have occurred in connection with the shipment of this second consignment of children. The City and the Virginia Company had fallen out for some reason or other. In a letter written about this time to the lord mayor(159) the company express regret that differences should have arisen between the city and themselves. They assure his lordship that there was no real foundation for these differences, seeing that they had now ratified all, and more than all than had been previously offered and accepted. Everything had been done that was necessary for the shipment of the children. The City had collected the requisite funds and the children had been provided, whilst the company on its part had provided a fair ship, and the Privy Council had "at the city's desire" granted its warrant.(160) The company therefore trusted that the lord mayor and aldermen would proceed to the speedy ending of differences.
The number of emigrants to Virginia was swelled by the transportation of a number of idle fellows who made it their business to follow the king and his court wherever they might happen to be. Early in 1619, when the king was at Newmarket, he took occasion to write to Sir Thomas Smith complaining of the annoyance and desired that they might be sent to Virginia at the next opportunity.(161) Immediately on the receipt of this letter Sir Thomas Smith wrote to Sir Sebastian Hervey, the mayor, forwarding at the same time the king's letter, and asking that the batch of idle court loafers which had already been despatched from Newmarket to London, as well as those to follow, might be lodged for a time in Bridewell, and there set to work until such time as there should be a vessel starting for the colony.(162)
The Virginia colony—the first of the free colonies of England—soon became firmly established, and the City of London can claim to have had no small share in the work of its establishment. To the enterprising spirit shown by the citizens in their efforts to forward the interests of the colony no better testimony is wanted than a thanksgiving sermon(163) preached (18 April, 1622) in the church of St. Mary-le-Bow by Patrick Copland, chaplain to the Virginia Company, in commemoration of the safe arrival of a fleet of nine ships at the close of the previous year. The City of London, the preacher said, had on two occasions sent over 100 persons to Virginia, and the present lord mayor and his brethren the aldermen intended to pursue the same course as previous mayors. "Your cittie," he continued, "aboundeth in people (and long may it doe so); the plantation in Virginia is capable enough to receive them. O, take course to ease your cittie, and to provide well for your people, by sending them over thither, that both they of that colony there and they of your owne cittie here may live to bless your prudent and provident government over them.... Right Worshipfull, I beseech you ponder (as I know you doe) the forlorne estate of many of the best members of your citty, and helpe them, O helpe them out of their misery; what you bestow uppon them in their transportation to Virginia they will repay it at present with their prayers, and when they are able with their purses."(164)
A few months after this sermon had been delivered tidings reached England of a calamity more disastrous than any that had yet befallen the colony. A treacherous attack had been made upon the white men by the Indians, which was only just saved by timely notice from becoming a general massacre. As it was, nearly 350 of the settlers were killed. The Common Council lost no time in testifying its sympathy with the colony in the great loss it had sustained, and voted (19 July) a third sum of L500 towards the transportation of 100 fresh colonists.(165)