Richard Hutton's Complaints Book the Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse At Clerkenwell, 1711-1737. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1987.
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Whereas there was a matter in difference long depending between Richard Kirton and Richard Hawkins, executors of Hannah Doggett, and a member of your monthly meeting on two accounts in the first place, for a just debt conceived by unjustly keeping us out of the possession of a tenement which that member of yours lives in. Upon which unwarrantable procedure we, in a gospel manner, dealt with the said person and waited for some fruit from her who you were in unity with. But this our labour proving fruitless, we, the executors, thereupon complained of your abuse to your meeting, and as the party was your member we desired the meeting would do us justice by making use of their power to oblige such, their member, to do what was just. For in case they by their authority should not prevail according to equity, truth and a good conscience, . . . then we the executors might be at liberty to take our remedy as the law directs. Upon . . . your meeting we waited a considerable time, but met with no redress and did therefore again make our appeal both in word and writing. Yet, notwithstanding all our endeavours the party was supported as a friend in truth and we by that means prevented of the justice. All which we look upon to proceed either by the neglect of the meeting or by the encouragement given by some of such as were prevailing members thereof, by which means for six years we were made by the said party, thus screened, matter of derision and scorn. And in that exalted state made her will and therein carried on the fraud so far as to bequeath the said tenement and terms of years unexpired to her executors. All which according to our understanding, had the meeting discharged themselves in justice, might have been prevented and as thus otherwise managed. We desire now to know of the meeting whether [p. 17] according to this their management they have not drawn upon themselves to be answerable to us, the executors, for the money as of right we ought to have had of the person by them under the profession of truth all along thus protected. So desiring your consideration herein and your answer thereto, we remain your friends in the truth.
Yours dated 28 February 1716 was received and well read in our meeting to which it was directed and as you desired. [It was] considered and we were surprised and troubled that you should render our meeting not only supporters of one of our members in refusing a just debt, but with neglect and also with being preventers of justice and that we or some prevailing members of our meeting screened their member and thereby caused you to be derided and scorned in that they did [not] prevent the injustice you complain of.
To which we answer, having perused our minutes, we do not find or are we conscious that we have so done or are anyways guilty of supporting any in refusing any just debt or with neglect of justice and [having] caused you to be derided and scorned . . . Therefore we look upon your charges [as] harsh and undue & hope upon better considerations you will retract them. As to what you propose to our meeting's consideration, (viz) whether our management has not brought upon ourselves to be answerable to you for what the deceased . . . [p. 18] member owed, being as you say all along protected. Answer: we suppose you mean A. Aldworth and upon consideration we find no reason for your charge on us nor cause we have to pay her debts, for [we] are not her executors. Besides, you tell us not the sum, nor for whose use we should pay it to you who are executors for Hannah Doggett in trust for us and the two other meetings to pay the improvements of Little Holland House, ground and appurtenances, not a part only but of the whole; and in our judgement if any less be we lose, for we are not willing you should be at any loss for repairs . . . Why then can not you and we be easy, for we hope and have that charity to believe you do not intend to take any of the profits into your own pockets. Be pleased therefore to give an account how much improvements hath been made of the lease and what loss (if any hath been) and what allowed for taxes and other charges that you have been at, that persuant to the donors instructions, her will may be answered and . . . we may have our share of the profits of the lease (and not a part only). The meeting having rejected Richard Hawkins' proposals after it was referred to the three meetings to determine; . . . those, the several meetings chosen, are of opinion the whole improvements belong to them.
Hannah Doggett survives her husband and by will gives unto Richard Hawkins and Richard Kirton the lease of Little Holland House, which her husband and Richard Aldworth . . . [had] of the Lady Holland [and] which was to go to the survivors. See the lease.
Hannah Doggett in her private instructions bearing equal date with her will declares it is her mind and will that the said Richard Hawkins and Richard Kirton should pay the improvements of the lease unto the Savoy [and] Hammersmith Monthly Meetings and the workhouse in equal proportion, for the relief or benefit of the poor under the care of the said meetings; and something hath by them been paid accordingly.
But about [blank in the original] Richard Hawkins came to the Savoy or Hammersmith Monthly Meeting or both, informs that the executors had been at charge to repair, and proposed if they would pay for the repairs they then, i.e. Richard Hawkins and Richard Kirton, would pay unto the said three meetings as their gift, not as their right, £5 per anno [in] equal proportion for the remaining part of the lease, which if the meetings would not accept they may expect nothing.
And Hammersmith nominated three friends, and the other two meetings nominated each three friends, and they [were] to enquire and give their judgements which they did and unanimously agreed and gave it under their hands that the right of the lease or improvements thereof according to the donor's mind belongs to friends.
[p. 20] But Richard Hawkins and Richard Kirton were otherwise minded and alleged it was only the part which Hannah Doggett lived in that the meeting had a right unto; which if so (notwithstanding the money which had been laid out by Hannah Doggett [)] that part . . . fell short of producing with that improvement, £20 per annum and then there would be nothing for the poor of the three meetings.
Then the Hammersmith Meeting desired to have an account what the improvements hath been since Hannah Doggett's death and what hath been paid thereof and what charges the executors had been at, for as their names were only made use of in this gift to convey it to the poor of the said three monthly meetings they did not judge it reasonable they should sustain any loss thereby and hope they do not intend to make any gain thereby or profit to themselves, conceiving it never was the intent of the donor.
But such an accompt Hammersmith Meeting had not yet obtained. A letter indeed was sent to the said meeting wherein the meeting accounts they are unduely (to say no more) charged. And as answer was earnestly pressed for, the meeting sent one and desired again an accompt what improvements had been made, what paid, also what charges the executors had been at for repairs. But they, Richard Hawkins and Richard Kirton, say it's no answer, so they give not any account, which Hammersmith . . . [p. 21] Meeting do not esteem so fair and friendly as they might expect, considering that for the whole lease there is but £20 paid per annum, and towards that, John Castard [pays] £15 for a part which Hannah Doggett lived in, . . . and £2 more for a little house, and £6 for that part of the ground A. Aldworth had. So they receive £23 and pay £ [blank]. . . besides considerable they understand hath been received for that house which is part of the lease given, as aforesaid, which Alice Aldworth lived in.
But if the executors and the nine friends from the aforesaid meetings cannot adjust to satisfaction then it may be (it is conceived) referred to some others that may be chosen or to the six weeks meeting in London [25, 27].
Being informed that Richard Basnett at the last court leet holden for the manor within which the Liberty of Norton Full Gate lieth, was duly elected one of the head boroughs for the said liberty and that thereupon the steward of the said county required him to take the said office upon him and told him that he would not require an oath of him for the execution thereof in respect of his opinion; . . . the question being whether the said Richard Basnett may lawfully & safely execute the said office without taking the said oath:
I conceive clearly that he may, because it is the election which makes him an officer & not the oath, which is but a mere strict obligation upon him for the due execution of his office. There is no law or statute to make his acting void or penal to him for want of taking the oath. And the steward of the leet (who was the proper person to swear him) having dispensed with giving the oath, I conceive it is . . . not the concern of any justice of the peace to enquire whether he was sworn or not. And I do not find any law or statute to impower any justice of the peace to swear constables, but only to swear under-sheriffs and their bailiffs, who have return of writs from courts of records, as the statute of the 27th of Queen Elizabeth and the 12th chapter and of the 11th of Henry the 7th & the 15 chapter.
[p. 23] This is to inform such friends of truth as are concerned or prosecuted upon the statute made against popish recusants in the 23d & 29th year of Queen Elizabeth, and the 3d year of King James, which ordains and inflicts upon every person not conforming himself unto the liturgy of the Church of England the penalty of twenty pounds per month for not repairing to the parish church to hear divine service (so called):
That thirteen friends in Cambridgeshire who were lately prosecuted and convicted as offenders against the said statute, had their goods levied and two thirds of their estates seized upon that account into the King's hands, did all appear in Cambridge the last Lent assizes held for that county, the 8th day of the month called March 1680, before the Lord Chief Baron [William] Montague, then judge of assize for the same county. And thereupon said thirteen friends, all . . . of them severally, took the test before him which test is a solemn declaration as hereafter is expressed (above the form of the judges' certificate) according to the Act of Parliament made in the thirtieth year of King Charles the Second (entitled an act for the more effectual preserving of his majesties person and government [)]. (fn. 1) Of which the Chief Baron did certify and acquaint the King in Easter term last, whereupon the King did signify it was his pleasure that all the said friends should be discharged upon the account of the prosecution. Whereof the King's Attorney General did inform all the Barons of the Exchequer in open court and thereupon the courts did immediately order that all further process against the friends should be stayed for the future . . . General seizures and . . . levies should be likewise foreborn upon the aforesaid penalties of 20 pounds a month [p. 24] and accordingly the said order was drawn up and passed throughout all offices in Trinity term last: 1681 for the discharge of all those friends in general. And they are now discharged accordingly whose names are as followeth, viz: Francis Emerson, Richard Webb, Thomas Amey, Richard Pellett, Edward Cooke, Edward Smith, John Prime, Henery Bostock, John Harvey, Robert Salmon, Jacob Baker, John Salmon, Ann Dockura.
These are humbly to certify the King's most excellent majesty that the persons . . . above written came before me this [blank] day of [blank] anno: dom. 1681 at [blank] & did severally voluntarily make and subscribe the declaration contained in an Act of Parliament made Anno Tricesimo Carolium Regis &c: and entitled, 'An act for the more effectual preserving his majestys person and government by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament', witness my hand this [blank] day of [blank] 1681.
20. At Appleby Assizes, 1681, those judges, viz: Judge Dolben and Judge Gregory, were very moderate towards friends and moved the justices of the peace to see friends subscribe the test in order to their release from the statutes of Queen Elizabeth and King James for £20 per mensem on the account of recusancy or being prosecuted among Papists . . . They (to wit) Justice Fleming and others very readily accepted . . . and hereby many friends are let at liberty both as to person & estate who took the said test which also clears them of being counted Papists . . .
I, Thomas Taylor, do in the presence of almighty God solemnly profess and in good conscience declare it is my real judgement that the Church of Rome is not the church of Christ nor the Pope or Bishop of Rome Christ's vicar and that his or her doctrine of deposing heretical princes and absolving their subjects of their obedience, of purgatory and prayers for the dead, of indulgences and worshipping of images, of adoring and praying to the Virgin Mary and other saints deceased and of transubstantiation or changing the elements of bread and wine into the body & blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever are false erroneous and contrary to the truth of God declared in the Holy Scriptures and therefore the communion of the said church is superstitious and idolatrous.
And I do likewise sincerely testify and declare that I do, from the bottom of my heart, detest and abhor all plots and conspiracies that are or may be contrived against the King, Parliament or people of this realm. And I do hereby promise, with God's help, to live a sober and peaceable life as becometh a good Christian and Protestant to do. And all this I do acknowledge, intend, declare and subscribe without any equivocation, or mental reservation, according to the true plainness, simplicity and usual significance of the words.
Thy labour of love in this present business of mine and the truth's is kindly received, and thy reward rests with thee in thy own bosom, where our heavenly father abundantly answers and satisfies his children in and for their services for his name's sake. So be it.
I have here enclosed, sent, subscribed, my testimony (as friends have
given) against Popery. To show as need is in the Lord's power and
patience I shall overcome all. For so from the beginning has been victory,
having done . . ., in the light, what the Lord hath given us to see to be our
duty. To leave all to him whom but the winds and seas obey. In whose
dear peace in tender love to thee, thy wife and all friends, with prayers to
the Lord for his presence and assistance, with you in all your holy affairs
at this and all times, with his protection over you, rests,
Thine dearly in Christ Jesus,
In summer, from the time the sun riseth at six, and sets at six, they should write in the mornings till breakfast time, and after breakfast to go to sewing work &c till dinner, & after dinner till the evening.
And that two or three or more of the biggest and most handy of the girls be ready as occasion requires to assist in the family especially at washing times, and the school mistress to instruct them in getting up her and their linen and that the same girls have opportunity to be helpful in the kitchen and elsewhere.
And that she take care to instruct the girls and see that their linen, stockings &c be kept timely in repair and their shoes tight and all their clothes in decent order and when put off carefully put in a proper place.
And that she be willing to be directed in her management if occasion requires, and entirely refrain any secret correspondence with the children's parents, or the ancient friends, or servants of the family and discourage whispering in all against the government of the house. 5 June 1716.
24. [p. 29] Please to consider if it were not convenient before the school mistress be agreed with she first appear at the women's meeting to be recommended by them as one fit to teach the children of this house, which we are of opinion the women friends do expect and believe it may be satisfaction to the children's parents and others to have a woman the said meeting esteem a proper person and qualified.
The necessary expense of this house is about £3 per week . . . And we may reasonably conclude when we have a school mistress the number of girls will much increase, which if they do to 30 at 12d. per week the house will lose by them only (especially if the mistress have their work) about £156 per year.
And though we do not say the girls earn 12d. per week by their spinning, yet we have found by the quick return and good price . . . the yarn hath borne, the profit arising from the trade of the yarn made by them amounts to more than 12d. per week each.
So that if the school mistress have the profit of the work we compute the loss to the house will be about £100 per year more than now it is for the maintenance of about 30 girls and more or less as there is a greater or a lesser number.
And if the house has the profit of the children's sewing work &c it may be questioned whether it will pay a mistress's board and wages, buy thread, needles, samplers, silk-worsted &c for some considerable time while the children are all of them unlearnt.
We propose no profit by letting the school mistress have the children's work, yet we have hope if the house is encouraged by sending in linen &c, in time the children may be brought to something to some profit. And it is our opinion it would be more reputable and may prove more profitable to give the school mistress a salary, also thereby the improvement of the children may be more easily seen, their earnings necessarily coming into the accounts.
[p. 30] Note: the design of making these observations is not in the least to hinder the having of a school mistress for the girls, because we daily experience the absolute necessity thereof both for the advantage of the girls in their education and for the reputation of the house, but the design is to show the necessity of procuring such an one who shall sincerely use all endeavours to make the business as much to the profit of the house as possibly she can.
We received by your order a minute dated 4 June the which comparing with that received in August last hath caused some considerations in us how such an alteration of temper should have gotten place. Yet notwithstanding the threats of some and harsh speeches of others, who may take upon them to be judges in their own cause, we shall still endeavour to answer a good conscience in justice both to . . . them we are concerned for, as also in some measure what relates to ourselves, for had we been in that warmth as we seem now to be treated with, we query whether for so many years past some, were they under our circumstances, would not have insisted on having security to indemnify them for the £20 per annum we lie liable under to pay for the ground rent. The which, having born with silence hitherto, do now insist upon. The which when done we shall be far from giving you cause of complaint or troubling of the six weeks meeting as that, on the contrary, we shall be willing to refer the matter when remaining to some friends that may be indifferently chosen, and in the mean time rests your friends and brethren.
Whereas by transfer bearing even date with these present and entered in the transfer book of the United East India Company, Thomas Martin of London, goldsmith, did assign and transfer five hundred pounds East India stock or credit unto Benjamin Mason, George Wingfield & Edward Burford. Now we, the said Benjamin Mason, George Wingfield and Edward Burford, do hereby for us respectively and for our respective executors and administrators declare and agree that the said five hundred pounds stock so transferred unto us aforesaid and the dividends to accrue thereon shall be vested in and enjoyed by us equally, share and share alike during our joint lives, but that upon the death of any of us the said stock and the dividends to be then after made thereon shall go unto and be enjoyed by the two survivors during their joint lives, and that upon the death of either of the said two survivors, the said stock and all the dividends & profits to be from that time made thereon shall go unto and be enjoyed by the longest liver of us, and the executors and administrators of such longest liver, to his and their proper use & behoof forever. In witness whereof we the said Benjamin Mason, George Wingfield and Edward Burford have hereunto set our respective hands and seals this 22d day of February 1717.
|33. [p. 35] Brought forwards 1713||£42||3s.||5¼d.|
|To making gown petticoat and body lining||3s.|
|To making a cloth petticoat||6d.|