Middlesex County Records: Volume 4, 1667-88. Originally published by Middlesex County Record Society, London, 1892.
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I. Period and Sources of the present Volume.—With the exception of the entries on pp. 268, 269, 270, touching incidents of Charles the Second's 15th and 18th regnal years, the matters submitted to historical students in this fourth volume of the publications of the Middlesex County Records Society have been taken from those of the sessional archives resting at the Clerkenwell Sessions House, that pertain to the period, opening with the 19th year of Charles II. and closing with James the Second's abdication.
II. Records temp. Charles II.—Comprising the latest of the extant folios of the great Gaol Delivery Register, which afford a comprehensive and instructive view of crime and its consequences in Middlesex from 1608 to 1672 a.d. (in which last-named year the register comes to an end, either from the accidental loss or wilful withdrawal of subsequent folios of Charles the Second's actual reign) the Middlesex County Records temp. Charles II. comprise also (a) an imperfect series of Gaol Delivery Books, (b) an imperfect series of Sessions of Peace Books, (c) several ill-preserved Process Books of Indictments, (d) a considerable body of Gaol Delivery Rolls, to wit, files of indictments, recognizances, and other documents, made up roll-wise, (e) a much larger collection of big. Sessions of Peace Files, made up in the same manner, in so far as it is possible to give such massive and cumbrous files the outward show of rolls, (f) several heavy files of Certificates of Convictions of Conventiclers, and (g) several Newgate Calendars and pieces of Newgate Calendars; all of which books, sets of documents, and several Newgate Calendars and pieces of Calendars have been examined and worked upon for the production of the present volume.
(1.) Gaol Delivery Register.—Through some inadvertence on my own part, and also perhaps through an accidental misordering of the great folios, I had been so confident the Register would cover the whole of Charles the Second's reign, that I was greatly surprised at finding myself much sooner than I had expected at the end of the great volumes of criminal record. The discovery of the real state of the case was the more mortifying to me, because in speaking under the misapprehension I had encouraged one of my correspondents to be more than hopeful that the Great Register would enable me to produce a perfect list of the persons sentenced to death in Charles's time for high treason done in Middlesex.
(2.) Gaol Delivery Books.—It was true that I still had the Gaol Delivery Books to fall back upon; but even if they had been a perfect series and had escaped injury from rot and rough usage, those sessional pamphlets, containing no accounts of Special Sessions of Oyer and Terminer, nor any important sessional Orders, would have been a poor substitute for the missing folios of the Great Register. Searchers of the ensuing calendar will see that the imperfect series of meagre and sometimes grievously attenuated G. D. Books afforded me some noteworthy particulars; but all the information I gleaned from those sessional pamphlets is trivial in comparison with what I should have learnt from the later folios of the great Register, had they been preserved for my use.
(3.) Sessions of Peace Books.—Containing no sessional orders of moment, the S. P. pamphlets are no less insufficient substitutes for the several missing volumes of the great Sessions of Peace Register, whose extant folios come down no later than 1667, a date just five years short of the time at which the folios of the Gaol Delivery Register come to an end.
(4.) Gaol Delivery Rolls.—The G. D. files for some of the years covered by the present volume are perfect in their series and have suffered in no great degree from destructive influences; but unfortunately this description is not applicable to the files pertaining to those years, whose criminal annals are especially interesting to historical enquirers. For example, there remain to us only six files of 30 Chas. II., five files of 31 Chas. II., and six files of 32 Chas. II., to wit, seventeen files instead of at least twenty-four files for the three consecutive years; and whilst most of these seventeen remaining files have been greatly diminished by rot or losses resulting from breakage of threads, they do not comprise a single bundle of documents that has not been considerably attenuated by misadventure. Of the indictments originally put away in the rolled files of these three successive years, perhaps as many as forty per cent. have perished irrecoverably.
(5.) Sessions of Peace Rolls.—Big and heavy in the opening years of Charles the Second's actual- reign, the S.P. files steadily grow in bulk and weight till they become painfully cumbrous to the searcher who persists in turning over their writings, parchment by parchment. Consequent in some degree on the increasing thickness of the membranes and the loose penmanship of clerks, who covered with every twenty words the extent of parchment on which the neater draughtsmen of James the First's time put twice and even thrice as many words, the inconvenient magnitude and weight of these files are in perhaps a greater degree referable to the enormity of the number of the documents that came into existence through the law's stubborn conflict with recusants and conventiclers.
(6.) Certificates of Convictions of Conventiclers.—The earliest C. C. C. dealt with in the present volume were made in July 34 Charles II., none of the many similar certificates made in previous years of the period covered by this volume having been preserved at Clerkenwell.
(7.) Newgate Calendars.—The several entire Newgate Calendars and several pieces of Calendars, to which reference is made, and matters taken from which are exhibited in the body of this volume, have long served as wrappers of goal-delivery files, and in that service have come to be so worn and defaced as to be illegible in many places of their over-written sides.
(8.) Language of the Middlesex Records temp. Charles II.—The counter-revolution, which placed the crown of England on Charles the Second's head, and as far as possible restored the old order of things, having reintroduced the Latin tongue to the national archives, the curial records and instruments of the Middlesex Justices differed in no important respect from the curial records and instruments of the Justices of Charles the First's earlier and happiest years. But in divers trivial matters—details of small concern to the historian and no moment whatever to the mere lawyer, though details of considerable interest to legal antiquaries—the Latin of the later differs from the Latin of the earlier writings. For example, one searches the post-commonwealth court-books and indictments in vain for the "nec r'" which the parliamentarian Clerk of the Peace translated into "doth not fly" and "noe flieing," when in obedience to the will of the parliament he substituted sufficient English for graceless Latin, to the best of his ability, in the sessional evidences. In vain also one searches the court books and the annotations of the indictments, drawn during Charles the Second's actual reign, for the "nec rec'" which in the annotations of the Elizabethan indictments invariably followed every record of an acquittal of felony. The Latin that returned to the Middlesex records in 1661 failed to restore "nec r'" (= nec rec' = 'nec recessit' and 'nec recesserunt') to its former place upon the books and parchments. Instead of writing "nec r'" after every record of an acquittal of felony, the Clerk of the Peace, who in the way of his official duty restored Latin to the sessional archives of the old metropolitan county, preferred to write "nec se retrax'" (= nec se retraxit = nor did he withdraw himself), by which note he unquestionably meant to put it upon record that, besides acquitting the culprit of the felony for which he or she had been tried, the jury had also acquitted him or her of the minor offence of having fled from justice.
Having been thus discharged from further service on the sessional records of Middlesex as a symbol for recessit, "rec'" never again served the county in that particular capacity. But ere long "rec'" was required to serve its native shire in a twofold capacity,—(1) as a symbol for divers inflexions of recuso, as in "rec' cap' jur'=he she or they refused to take the oath, and (2) as a symbol for as many inflexions of recipio, as in "prod' certificat' q'd rec' sac. cen' d'n'ce"=he produced a certificate that he had taken the sacrament of the Lord's supper. So long as "rec'" bore two such widely different meanings in the clerical annotations of the Middlesex indictments and recognizances, the accompanying symbols of the stenographic note in which it figured showed in which of the two senses it was used for that turn. It interested me to learn from Mr. F. A. Inderwick's sound and most interesting SideLights On the Stuarts (fn. 1) that "nec rec'" was used in its old Elizabethan sense for "nec recessit" in the gaol books of the Western Circuit temp. James II. That "nec rec'" survived in the criminal records of the West of England so long after it had perished from the sessional archives of Middlesex indicates how differently such records were 'kept' by Clerks of the Peace in different parts of the kingdom in the seventeenth century. Enough for the present of "nec rec'." But in a later division of this editorial preface, I shall, in the interest of the antiquaries, say something more of the curious and perplexing note.
III. Records temp. James II.—Like the Middlesex records of the last twelve years of Charles the Second's time, the Middlesex records of James the Second's brief reign comprise no Gaol Delivery Register. Like the sessional records of the metropolitan county for the last seventeen years of Charles the Second's reign, the sessional records of the metropolitan county temp. James II. comprise no Sessions of Peace Register. The disappearance of the folios of the two Registers for two such large parts of the period covered by the present volume is a matter for lively regret. To realize how much he misses in the present volume through the disappearance of the missing folios, the reader has only to turn over the leaves of Vols. II. and III. of Middlesex County Records, and observe how much of their most interesting and valuable information came to them from the folios of the two Registers. In absence of the folios that have so unfortunately passed from official custody, I could neither prepare a full and reliable Table of the fluctuations of the penal Death-Rate of Middlesex from 19 Charles II. to 4 James II., nor produce materials for another chapter of the story of penal transportation to the colonies during the same period. Moreover, the withdrawal of the two sets of folios rendered me powerless to produce an exact list of the persons convicted at the Old Bailey of high treasons done in Middlesex under our last two Stuart kings.
In other respects, the Middlesex records pertaining to James the Second's regnal term are insufficient. The Gaol Delivery Books and the Sessions of Peace Books are even more defective than the sessional pamphlets of Charles the Second's time. A better account can, however, be given of the Certificates of Convictions of Conventiclers, the Gaol Delivery Rolls, the Sessions of Peace Rolls, and the Newgate Calendars. The bundles of C. C. C, 1 and 2 James II., yield a large number of particulars that will be serviceable to historians of Anglican Nonconformity in the seventeenth century. Though some of the packets have lost many of their original parchments, the G. D. Rolls are, upon the whole, a satisfactory collection; and no complaint can be made of the S. P. Rolls, either on the score of deficiency of number or badness of condition. Without adding much to our knowledge of Middlesex under James II., the two sets of rolled files for the three years and something over ten months of James's brief and unfortunate reign have yielded a considerable number of particulars, that will assist students in their endeavours to realize the state of political ferment and restlessness and expectancy, in which the suburban Londoners of the lower social grades spent their time from the outbreak of Monmouth's rebellion, to the moment when the last of our Stuart kings slipt from the throne and passed into exile.
IV. Choice of Documents.— Speaking in the preface to Middlesex County Records, Vol. I. p. xlix., of the various considerations that had determined my choice of documents for especial notice in the ensuing calendar, I told my readers that throughout my labours on the matters set forth in the body of the book, I had been controlled by the opinion that I ought to call attention to all those writings which afforded particulars, however minute, of new or otherwise peculiar information likely to be in any way or degree serviceable to historians, biographers, students in any department of literary research, or artists in form and colour. Saying that I had been careful to give the substance of every indictment and every recognizance that referred in any way to any movement or state of affairs fairly to be designated as historic, yielded new evidence touching an obsolete usage, or was likely to enlarge an ordinary reader's knowledge of the pursuits, serious interests, pleasures, troubles, costume, personal ornaments, domestic furniture, social conditions, and moral characteristicts of our ancestors during the later half of the Tudor period, I remarked that after giving abundant evidence of a usage or other matter of greater or less interest, I had forborne to render the evidence wearisomely superabundant by cumbering my pages with needless examples. On the other hand, I observed in the same paragraph, that when it had appeared needful to display every scrap of testimony concerning a state of things, I had not forborne to do so from a fear of provoking charges of prolixity and of delighting in vain repetitions.
After working with these aims and designs on the manuscripts of the Tudor period, I kept the same ends steadily in view, whilst I was making the two calendars of matters taken from the records of James the First's time, and the records that came into existence during Charles the First's regnal term, the Commonwealth, and the first seven years of Charles the Second's actual reign. In the same way I have dealt with the manuscripts that have been searched and manipulated for the purposes of the present volume. Forbearing to notice those of the Gaol Delivery indictments, which merely afford superfluous evidence that the graver crimes were of frequent occurrence in Middlesex during the reigns of our two last Stuart kings, and that at the successive sessions of Gaol Delivery from 1667 to 1689 obscure culprits were tried at the Old Bailey for felonies done within the metropolitan county, I have forborne to cumber my calendar with needless testimony that during the same period many thousands of mean and quite uninteresting persons were indicted at Sessions of Peace for common assaults, hindering officers in the performance of their duty, being drunk and disorderly, breaking windows, pilfering articles under the value of twelve pence, brawling in churches, cheating and cosening, deserting service, entertaining lodgers without licence, harbouring subtenants, following vocations without having served apprenticeship to them, keeping unlicensed ale-houses, keeping bowling-alleys and gambling-houses, rioting, neglecting to repair highways, playing prohibited games, quarrelling and fomenting quarrels, stopping watercourses, blocking public thoroughfares, refusing to keep watch, neglecting to scour sewers or to empty cesspools, selling bread by short weight, selling milk or beer by short measure, swearing profanely, committing, in short, one or more of the countless petty trespasses and misdemeanours for which disorderly persons are seen by my earlier calendars to have been brought before Justices of the Peace in the seventeenth century. Whilst I worked on the big and unwieldy S. P. files of the period covered by the present volume, turning over their parchments throughout the successive days of successive weeks, and all the time keeping a sharp look-out for noticeable matters, it was only once in a while, sometimes only once in a long morning's work, that I came on a writing that had a claim to be noticed. On other days I was so fortunate as to come in the same file on a series of documents that afforded several hours of employment with my pen. It was after some days of tedious toil and few prizes, that I came upon a 'great find' of a new sort of indictments in the S. P. files of Charles the Second's 36th regnal year, the bill on which numerous householders were indicted for leaving their cellar doors open into the streets by night as well as by day. Of these novel and suggestive indictments, pointing to a particular peril of the London streets during the hours of darkness, I shall speak more fully in a later paragraph of this preface.
Of some classes of indictments I notice in my calendar every example, still preserved in the sessional rolls. For example, I have noticed all the indictments for high treasons done by individuals in conspiring to take the king's life and subvert his government, or done by persons in levying war against the sovereign within the metropolitan county, or done by Catholic priests in traitorously being and remaining in Middlesex, in defiance of law which required them to keep out of His Majesty's dominions. I have also noticed all indictments for the minor political offences from the high misdemeanour of uttering seditious words against the sovereign to the comparatively trivial malfeasance of speaking disdainfully of a Justice of the Peace. Prominence is accorded in the calendar to all prosecutions for writing or publishing seditious books and defamatory pamphlets, and also to the several cases in which persons were indicted for producing indecent publications, that were calculated to debauch the minds of young and frivolous perusers. To enable students to realize the frequency with which an especially cruel offence was perpetrated in Middlesex under our last two Stuart kings, and also to realize how inadequately the offence was punished, I have displayed all the bills on which English men and women were proceeded against for seizing young people unawares on the river's side, spiriting them on board ship, and selling them for slaves to West Indian planters. To show the crimes of which Englishmen of gentle birth were sometimes guilty, and the depths of depravity to which they sometimes sunk in the later half of the seventeenth century, I have displayed in my pages the substance of all the various indictments that point to some of the ways by which English gentlemen of defective morality dropt to dishonour or went to utter ruin in the days when Samuel Pepys was Secretary to the Admiralty. From the large number of True Bills on which Catholic recusants and Protestant recusants were proceeded against for keeping away from the services of the national church, the bills on which Anglican dissenters were indicted for having been present at unlawful assemblies under colour of exercising religion, the large number of recognizances by which persons were bound to appear before Justices of the Peace and answer to charges of religious non-conformity, and the heavy packets of Certificates of Convictions of Conventiclers, I have drawn and compressed into my pages every matter, preserved in the same evidences, in any degree likely to be serviceable to future historians, of the religious parties and dissensions that embittered English society in the period covered by the present volume.
V. Trials for High Treason.—In their present imperfect state the Gaol Delivery files comprise a large number of indictments, on which individuals were tried for high treasons of a political or politico-religious character done in Middlesex temp. Charles II., besides several true bills on which coiners of counterfeit money were arraigned and dealt with as traitors, in respect to the crimes they had perpetrated in the pursuit of their nefarious occupation. In the body of this volume notice is taken of some of the coiners of spurious money, but readers of this division of my preface may dismiss from their consideration the perpetrators of mere 'mint-treasons,' and confine their attention to the more historic offenders who were charged with conspiring to take the king's life and subvert his government, or with levying war against His Majesty, or with being Catholic priests guilty of traitorously being and remaining in Middlesex.
(1.) Arraignment and Trial of Participators in Danvers's Plot.—The earliest of the notable indictments for high treason in Charles's actual reign, preserved amongst the Clerkenwell muniments, is the bill (vide Vol. III. p. 376) on which ten individuals were put to trial at the Old Bailey in April, 18 Charles II., i.e. 1666 a.d., as participators in the conspiracy which is sometimes styled Danvers's Conspiracy, after Colonel Danvers, the prime mover in the affair, who had the good fortune to elude the officers of the law and escape to the country. By this bill William Saunderson alias Saunders yeoman, John Rathbon gentleman, John Beech tailor, Henry Tucker tailor, Thomas Flynt gentleman, Thomas Evans milliner, John Milles carpenter, William Westcott yeoman, John Cole tailor, and Samuel Swinfen tailor, all ten being described in the bill as late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, were charged with having on 30th August, 17 Charles II., i.e. 1665 a.d., conspired at the said parish to overthrow the ancient government of this kingdom of England, and to depose the now king thereof, and totally deprive him of his crown and royal rule, and to make war against him, and with having on the same day for the accomplishment of these treasons and traitorous designs and imaginations conspired and agreed to put the said now king to death, and to seize and take possession of the same king's palace called Whitehall, and the City and Tower of London, and divers other strongholds and fortified places of the said Lord King within his kingdom of England. On trial two of these culprits had a good delivery. John Beech and Samuel Swinfen were acquitted; but the other eight culprits were found Guilty, and were sentenced to be executed in the manner prescribed for the execution of felons convicted of high treason. It is worthy of remark that Dr. Lingard was at fault in writing of this affair as an incident of the autumn of 1665. The date of the G. D. Roll in which the indictment of the conspirators was filed, the date of the notes respecting the trial of the conspirators in the G. D. Register, the date of the London Gazette (Ap. 23–26, 1666) containing a characteristic account of the trial at G. D. Session then being held, and the Gaol Delivery Register's evidence that no prisoners were tried during the plague at any G. D. Session at the Old Bailey from the close of the session of 21 June, 17 Charles II., to the opening of the session of 19 Feb., 18 Charles II. (to say nothing of other sources of sure evidence), prove conclusively that Dr. Lingard was wrong in writing of the eight convicted conspirators as having "paid the forfeit of their lives" before 1st Sept., 1665. It is matter of certainty that the conspirators were not sentenced to death before the last week of April, 1666.
However much the horrors of the pestilence may have deadened their sensibilities, it cannot be questioned that the Londoners were for a moment deeply impressed by the fate of the eight conspirators who were doomed to penal butchery in April, 18 Charles II. But the impression was of no long duration. Eight months had not passed since the execution of the conspirators, when Samuel Pepys wrote of the ghastly business as an affair which most people had forgotten. "W. Hewer dined with me," the diarist says under date of 13th Dec, 1666, "and showed me a Gazette, in April last, which I wonder should never be remembered by any body, which tells how several persons were then tried for their lives, and were found guilty of a design of killing the king and destroying the Government; and as a means to it, to burn the City; and that the day intended for the plot was the 3d. of last September. And," adds the diarist, "the fire did indeed break on 2d. of September, which is very strange, methinks, and I shall remember it."
(2.) Arraignment of Rioters for High Treason in levying War against Charles II. in St. Andrew's Holborn, St. James's Clerkenwell, St. Leonard's Shoreditch, East Smithfield, and Poplar.—The trial of John Rathbon, gentleman (whilom a Colonel in the army of the Commonwealth, vide the Gazette of April 23–26, 1666), and his comrades in the just noticed conspiracy was followed at an interval of about one year and eleven months by serious rioting in the abovenamed parishes of Middlesex. The Middlesex records say little of the grievances which occasioned this outbreak of popular passion, but from the cries of 'Liberty of Conscience,' raised by some of the rioters, it appears that the commotion was at least in some degree referable to religious discontent.
That the riots, which agitated the inhabitants of the suburban parishes and doubtless also the Londoners of the City for at least three successive days, were grave and dangerous tumults is manifest. They appear to have begun at Poplar on 23rd March, 20 Charles II., on which day one John Sharpies, late of the said parish, labourer, showed himself (vide p. 8), and came forth with "a multitude of people, to the number of five hundred persons, arrayed and armed in a warlike manner, to wit, with iron barrs, poleaxes, long staves, and other weapons," and bore himself in such a way towards his fellow-rioters, that he was placed some nine or ten days later in the dock at the Old Bailey, and charged with having raised, ordered, and prepared war against his Sovereign Lord the King. That the turbulent spirits of Poplar were guilty of no enormities of violence may be inferred from the fact that John Sharpies was declared 'Not Guilty' by the jurors on whom he put himself, and the still more significant fact that no other man of Poplar was called to account at the Old Bailey for his part in the mutinous demonstration. On the morrow of the affair at Poplar, St. Andrew's, Holborn (vide pp. 8, 9), was the scene of a more alarming exhibition of popular feeling, though no more than some three hundred people were concerned in the disturbance of the parish. Professing to have come together for the purpose of pulling down houses of illfame, the three hundred marched under the command of Thomas Lymericke, a sawyer, and pulled down the house of Peter Burlingham, and took away from it goods and chattels to the value of thirty pounds. Had the suburban rioters done nothing worse than this assault on Master Burlingham's estate and feelings, it is conceivable that no one of them would have been arraigned on a charge of high treason. But the doings of the rioters at Clerkenwell, and Shoreditch, and East Smithfield were far more reprehensible.
At St. James's, Clerkenwell, three hundred rioters assembled on the Green, marched in warlike array to the New Prison, broke open the doors of the prison, and liberated four prisoners, two of whom had been committed to the gaol for felonies. The mob had succeeded in rescuing these four malefactors, and were in a temper to commit even graver excesses, when a troop of the King's horse-guards appeared on the scene of commotion, under the command of Sir Philip Howard. For awhile, instead of overawing the victors, this show of military force only excited them to utter seditious menaces. Voices were heard to exclaim, "We have been servants long enough; now we will be masters." Other rioters cried aloud, "One dye all dye;" and whilst Edward Bedell, a tailor of the parish, was being pursued by one of the king's soldiers, he called out to those of the rioters who looked to him as their captain to face about and come to his assistance.
After dispersing the mob on Clerkenwell Green, Sir Philip Howard rode, with the soldiers of the Guard, to St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, where he soon found himself in the presence of some four hundred insurgents, who mistook him for the Duke of York, and under that impression threw stones and treasonable threats at him. Declaring that next May Day should be a bloody day, unless the King gave them Liberty of Conscience, the rioters cried aloud "Kill the Guards," and threatened to march on Whitehall, and raze it to the ground. Making light of the soldiers, who numbered no more than two or three hundred, the Shoreditch rebels vaunted their ability to knock every man of so contemptible a force on the head. All this occurred at St. Leonard's Shoreditch on 24th March. The next day, little disheartened by the ease with which Sir Philip Howard's men had dispersed them on the previous morning, the mutineers of the unruly suburbs reappeared in force, and pulled a house to the ground.
At East Smithfield the rioters appeared in even greater strength than the insurgents of the other parishes, overpowering the constables and their aiders, pulling down several houses, and filling the orderly folk of the district with alarm, on Tuesday the 24th, and Wednesday the 25th, till the Guards had broken their courage and restored order to the district. The chief leaders of the rout at East Smithfield were Richard Bazeley, labourer, who went about with a naked sword in his hand; Peter Messenger, labourer, who flourished over his head the "piece of a greene apron on a staffe," that served as "the colours" of his particular company of peace-breakers, and Thomas Appletree, who was the first to strike Constable Peverell. It was at East Smithfield that Richard Bazeley distinguished himself by striking with his drawn sword the young ensign who led the small body of the Guards, dispatched to that particular quarter on the third and last day of the disturbance,— a deed of warlike prowess for which the valorous Richard Bazeley paid a heavy penalty a few days later.
It does not appear from anything in the Middlesex records that the rioters exceeded 2,000 persons. According to the indictments and the special verdicts with which four of the same bills (vide pp. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) are endorsed, it appears that Poplar put upon the streets 500, St. Andrew's Holborn, 300, St. James's Clerkenwell, 300, St. Leonard's Shoreditch, 400, and East Smithfield 500 disturbers of the peace. There is no evidence that these five bands, numbering in all two thousand individuals set on mischief, were at any time massed in full force on the same spot; but though they may not have assembled so as to form one compact army, the five bands unquestionably came out by common agreement and aided one another in their lawless proceedings. It is particularly stated in one of the special verdicts (vide p. 11) that Thomas Appletree, of East Smithfield, labourer, one of the busiest ringleaders of the insurgents of that quarter, was at Saffron Hill when the mob demolished Master Burlingham's house, and, though there is no direct evidence to the point, it may be assumed that he brought some of his East Smithfield band with him to Saffron Hill.
Though some blood was shed, no life seems to have been taken by the rioters, for the indictments, on which the ringleaders were arraigned at the Old Bailey, say nothing of any slaughter done by the prisoners. But though no one appears to have lost his life in the disturbances, the seditious commotion was no trivial affair. To quell and disperse the turbulent bands, the civil authorities had been constrained to ask for the help of the King's Guards. The armed mob had pulled down houses, broken into the New Prison, liberated prisoners, stoned Sir Philip Howard under the impression that he was the King's brother, struck troopers and constables, threatened to kill His Majesty's soldiers, declared a purpose of levelling Whitehall Palace, and vowed to make next May Day a bloody day unless the King hastened to grant his subjects Liberty of Conscience. Even at the present time, when lawabiding Londoners are so patient under displays of popular passion that seem likely to result in popular defiance of the law, no person who prefers civil order to civil confusion would hesitate to declare that an armed multitude, acting in the thoroughfares of the capital as the five bands of rioters acted in five suburban parishes of Charles the Second's town, was a multitude which should be promptly suppressed. In these days the chief actors in such a 'demonstration' would be punished with imprisonment and penal labour. Charles II. and his advisers were of opinion that sterner treatment was needful to teach the bolder spirits of the populace in and about London to have due regard for the requirements and penalties of the law.
At the Session of Oyer and Terminer held at Hicks Hall in St. John's Street, and the Session of Gaol Delivery held at the Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, in the first week of April next following the suburban disturbances, the ringleaders of the recent riots were dealt with as offenders who had levied war against their Sovereign Lord the King, and thereby incurred the penalties of high treason. On this grave charge Peter Messenger, Richard Bazeley, William Greene, and Thomas Appletree, all four late of East Smithfield, labourers; John Earle, William Wilkes, William Forde, Richard Farrell, and Edward Cotton, all five late of St. Leonard's Shoreditch, labourers; Edward Bedell, tailor, and Richard Lattymer, labourer, both late of St. James's Clerkenwell; Richard Woodward, labourer, Thomas Lymerick, sawyer, and John Richardson, labourer, all three late of St. Andrew's Holborn; and John Sharpies, late of Poplar, labourer, were all fifteen tried for their lives. Seven of these men—to wit, John Earle, William Wilkes, William Forde, Richard Farrell, Richard Woodward, John Richardson, and John Sharpies, were found 'Not Guilty.' Against the other eight men—to wit, Peter Messenger, Richard Bazeley, William Greene, Thomas Appletree, Edward Bedell, Richard Lattymer, Edward Cotton, and Thomas Lymerick—the jurors returned special verdicts, leaving it to the Court to determine whether the facts proved against the culprits amounted to the high treason of raising and making war against the King. On deliberation, the Court decided that Peter Messenger, Richard Bazeley, Edward Cotton, and Thomas Lymerick had committed the treason, and sentenced them to be put to death, &c., in the manner prescribed for the execution of culprits convicted of high treason. In respect to William Greene, Thomas Appletree, and Richard Lattymer, the Court ordered that William Greene should be held in prison till he should put in good sureties for his appearance at the next Gaol Delivery for Middlesex, and that Thomas Appletree and Richard Lattymer should be held in prison without bail, upon the special verdicts for treason found against them, because the Court wished to deliberate further on their respective cases. Of the Court's decision in respect to Edward Bedell no note appears either on the bill of indictment, endorsed with a special verdict against him, or in the record of the Gaol Delivery Register. Possibly he died in prison before judgment.
(3.) Treason of Abraham Goodman.—The ringleaders of the suburban rioters having been dealt with in this manner in April, 20 Charles II., in the following December (vide pp. 12, 273) Abraham Goodman, late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, gentleman, was arraigned at the Old Bailey on a charge of high treason, done by him at the said parish on the 11th July of the same year, in speaking certain false and scandalous words against the King and the Duke of Albemarle, to wit, in declaring in the presence and hearing of divers of the King's lieges, 'that there was then a great pestilence in the land because justice wasnot executed in the gates,' and that 'he would remove them'—to wit, the said King and Duke— 'if he could get an opportunity of doing so,' and in further saying that on the day before he 'was seeking an opportunity against the General,' meaning by 'the General' the Duke of Albemarle. Found 'Guilty' by a jury, Abraham Goodman, gent., was sentenced to be executed in the manner prescribed for the execution of culprits convicted of high treason.
(4.) Indictment of Alexander Burnett for High Treasons.—The earliest of the indictments, preserved in the Middlesex records, temp. Charles II., charging persons born in the King's dominions with high treason, in being catholic priests guilty of traitorously being and remaining in the metropolitan county, when the law required them to keep out of those dominions, is the bill (vide p. 55) found against Alexander Burnett, late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, for being a seminary priest ordained by authority derived from the See of Rome, who traitorously was and remained at the said parish on 1st August, 26 Charles II. An annotation on this bill shows that Alexander Burnett pleaded 'Not Guilty' to it, and put himself on a jury of the country on 9th December of the same year. On the same day Alexander Burnett pleaded 'Not Guilty' to another indictment that, without speaking of him as having been ordained a priest by authority derived from the See of Rome, charged him with having, on the aforesaid 1st August, at the said parish, 'traitorously endeavoured and practised to withdraw divers of the King's lieges to the Roman Religion, away from the religion established within her dominions by Queen Elizabeth.' The Clerkenwell records tell us nothing further of the proceedings on these indictments. Perhaps Alexander Burnett died in gaol before he could be conveniently put on trial.
(5.) Sufferers from Oates's Plot.—Readers who gave due consideration to what I said in an earlier section of this preface, about the disappearance of several of the G. D. files of 30, 31, and 32 Charles II., and of the condition of the extant G. D. files of those years, will learn without surprise that the bills of indictment for high treason, on which several of the sufferers from Oates's malicious inventions and perjuries were proceeded against, have perished. Enquirers will search the Clerkenwell records in vain for the indictment of uttering treasonable words against the King, that in 1678 resulted in the conviction and execution of William Staley, the Catholic banker, who whilst under sentence of death was questioned respecting his cognizance of Oates's newly-broached Popish plot. Search of the same records will be made in vain for the indictment on which Mr. Edward Coleman, the Duchess of York's secretary, was brought to trial at the Old Bailey on 28th November, 1678, at Oates's instigation, for designing to kill the King and change the religion of the country. In the True Bill (vide pp. 215, 216) against Benjamin Butler for writing and publishing a scandalous libel, entitled This Seconde Parte of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government, appears this passage of words taken from the libel, and words of explanatory comment by the draughtsman of the indictment, to wit, "But the Duke some way or other got this message sent to him to Newgate to be of good chear, a way would be found to secure Sir Edmonbury Godfrey well enough, and bid him" (vizt. Edward Coleman, then in custody for divers treasons against the King) "not to be afraid, but rely on him." Besides this reference to the Duchess of York's unfortunate secretary, during my careful examination of the Middlesex records, temp. Charles II., I also came on a much defaced Newgate Calendar, of 16 Oct., 30 Charles II. (vide pp. 90, 91) upon these consecutive and partially defaced entries: (a.) 'Richard Langhorne, esq., Committed by Lords of the Privy Council for High Treason, in compassing and imagining the death of his sacred Majestie. Dated 7° October, 167 . .,' and (b.) 'Edward Cole . . . ., Committed by Lords of the Privy Council for High Treason in holding correspondence with forreigners, for the destruction of the King and subversion of the Government . . . .' I have little doubt that, if the entire surname were legible, it would be found to be Coleman. On this point there is the less room for doubt, because Edward Coleman was committed to prison about the same time as Richard Langhorne, and because his letters to Père La Chaise, containing projects and suggestions for furthering the interests and enlarging the power of the Catholic Church, and bringing England under her sway, were the least unsound part of the evidence upon which he was sentenced to die the death of a traitor. But though I came once and again upon a note relating to the dismal close of Edward Coleman's career, I did not get view of the bill of indictment to which he pleaded 'Not Guilty' at the trial, which resulted in judgment that he should die the death of a traitor.
After coming in the Newgate Calendar, 16th Oct., 30 Charles II., upon the record of the committal of Richard Langhorne, esq., to Newgate Gaol, I came in the much defaced Newgate Calendar of the next month (vide p. 96) on the commital of Richard Langhorne, junior, to the same prison "for treason wherewith he is charged," and in the still later Newgate Calendar of 15 Jan., 30 Charles II. (vide p. 120), upon the names of Richard Langhorne and Richard Langhorne junior, in the list of prisoners, ordered "to remain in Gaole without baile till the next Gaole Delivery." But the indictment for high treason, which the Catholic barrister was required to confess or traverse at his arraignment, did not come under my view. Like the indictment on which the Duchess of York's secretary was tried, the indictment on which the Catholic barrister was tried has perished.
Still, losses notwithstanding, the extant G. D, files, that came into existence during the popish-plot mania, preserve a considerable number of the indictments to which the sufferers from Oates's fanatical villany pleaded 'Not Guilty.' In this preface the number and force of these extant indictments will be most conveniently displayed in the ensuing list of the Catholics—priests or laymen; but for the most part priests—against whom the bills were preferred.
(a.) John Adlam alias Aylworth (vide p. 83), priest, indicted for being a Catholic priest, who on . . . . March, 30 Charles II., traitorously was and remained at St. Paul's, Covent Garden. Found 'Guilty,' on a bill preserved in G. D. R., 11 Dec, 30 Charles II., he was sentenced to be executed. In Missionary Priests, Bishop Challoner speaks of Placidus Adelham or Adland, monk, O. S. B., as one who "was tried and condemned at the Old Bailey merely as a priest, Jan. 17, 1679, but was reprieved and died in prison." John Adlam alias Aylworth, and Placidus Adelham alias Adland may have been the same person.
(b.) Lionell Anderson alias Munsoun, priest, indicted (vide 121, 122) for being a Catholic priest, who on 28 January, 30 Charles II., traitorously was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields. Found 'Guilty' on a bill preserved in G. D. R., 15 Jan., 31 Charles II, he was sentenced to be executed. Speaking of this priest, as one who entered the order of St. Dominick, Bishop Challoner observes in Missionary Priests, "He was tried and condemned at the same time and place as Mr. Corker, &c., but was pardoned by the King."
(c.) James Baker alias Hesketh, priest (vide 133), indicted on a bill preserved in G. D. R., 26 Feb., 32 Charles II., for being a Catholic priest who on 18th May, 31 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, co. Midd. Found 'Guilty,' he was sentenced to be executed. In the calendar the notice of the afore named bill is followed immediately by a notice of another bill of indictment, preserved in G. D. R., 5 June, 31 Charles II., against Morrice Gifford alias Morrice Baker, priest, for being a Catholic priest who on 19th May, 31 Charles II., traitorously returned from parts beyond sea to St. Clement's Danes' and there in the said parish as a false traitor was and remained; this last mentioned bill being annotated on its upper margin with this note, to wit, 'Tr' p' nomen Jacobi Baker, xxii. Feb., xxxii. Car. Scdi R's' = He is tried under the name of James Baker on 22 Feb., 32 Charles II. It seems, therefore, that Morrice Gifford alias Baker, and James Baker alias Hesketh were the same person. In Missionary Priests, Bishop Challoner says, 'I met with others, that felt in like manner the fury of this persecution, as James Baker alias Hesketh, priest, condemned at the Old Bailey, February 27, 1679–80.'
(d.) James Corker, priest and monk of the Abbey of Lambspring, was proceeded against under two different indictments (vide pp. 84, 85, and p. 91), being indicted in the first place for conspiring with Thomas White alias Whitebread clk., John Fenwick clk. and others to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of the country, charges of which he was found 'Not Guilty,' and indicted in the second place for being a Catholic priest who, on 24 Oct., 30 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the Fields, co. Midd., of which treason he was found 'Guilty,' and was therefore, sentenced to be executed. Of this Father James Corker, described in the two aforementioned indictments as "clerk," Bishop Challoner says in Missionary Priests, "He was first tried for the plot, of which he was accused by Oates and Bedloe, but acquitted by the jury; then was tried as a priest, and condemned Jan. 17, 1679–80. He was reprieved, and continued prisoner till King James's accession to the throne . . . . . He was afterwards made abbot, first of Cismer, then of Lambspring, which dignity he resigned, and ended his days at Paddington, near London."
(e.) Charles De La Rue Deffue, clerk, indicted under two indictments (vide pp. 81, 82), for willingly hearing mass said and sung by a certain Roman priest to the jurors unknown. By recognizances (vide p. 93), dated 27 November, 30 Charles II., and preserved in S. P. R. of 9 December, 30 Charles II., Richard Wheeler, currier, Henry Duncombe, tobacco-seller, his wife Martha Duncombe, and Christopher Hurt were bound to give evidence at next S. P., against "John Worsley, a papist, and Charles De La Rue Du Feu, a reputed priest, both being apprehended in Weld Streete since vii. of this instant Nov." The Newgate Calendar of 15 Jan., 30 Charles II., shows (vide p. 120) that Charles De La Rue de Feu was then a prisoner in Newgate Gaol.
(f.) John Fenwick, priest S. J., pleaded 'Not Guilty' to an indictment (preserved in G. D. R., 11 Dec, 30 Charles II.) charging him (vide p. 85) with conspiring with Thomas White alias Whitebread clerk, William Ireland clerk, and others, to destroy the King, overthrow the government, and upset the religion by law established in England. Pleading 'Not Guilty' to a similar indictment, preserved in G. D. R., 5 June, 31 Charles II., the same John Fenwick (vide pp. 84, 85) was found 'Guilty' of conspiring with Thomas White alias Whitebread, and four other clerks named in the bill, and other false traitors to the jurors unknown, to kill the King, overthow the government, and change the religion of the country, and was sentenced to be executed, a sentence that was carried into effect on 20th June, 1679, when he, and four other Jesuit priests—to wit, Father Thomas Whitebread, Father William Harcourt, Father John Gavan, and Father Anthony Turner— were drawn on sledges from Newgate to Tyburn, and there put to death. In Missionary Priests Bishop Challoner says that Father John Fenwick was born of Protestant parents in the bishopric of Durham, and that his "true name was Caldwell."
(g.) John Fleming, clerk, indicted for being a Catholic priest (vide p. 133), who on 18th May, 31 Charles II., traitorously, and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. On his trial at Gaol Delivery of 16 July, 31 Charles II., he was found 'Not Guilty.'
(h.) John Gavan, priest S. J., but described merely as ' clerk ' in the indictment (vide pp. 84, 85), which charged him with conspiring with Thomas White alias Whitebread clerk, John Fenwicke clerk, William Harcourt alias Harrison clerk, Anthony Turner clerk, and James Corker clerk, to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of England. Found 'Guilty,' he was executed at Tyburn on 20th June, 1679. Father John Gavan's surname, it may be remarked, was sometimes spelt and pronounced 'Gawen.'
(i.) John Grove, gentleman—so styled in the indictment (vide pp. 85, 86) on which he was tried for high treason at the Old Bailey in December, 1678, but described in Bishop Challoner's Missionary Priests as "a Catholic layman, employed as a servant by the English Jesuits in their affairs about town"—who was charged in the indictment with conspiring, on 24th April, 30 Charles II., with Thomas White alias Whitebread clerk, William Ireland clerk, John Fenwick clerk, and Thomas Pickering clerk, and other traitors to the jurors unknown, to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of the country, and with undertaking, in conjunction with the said Thomas Pickering, to slay and murder the said Lord the King, and yet further with lying in wait, diabolically and traitorously, with the same Thomas Pickering, on the said 24th April, and on divers subsequent days, to slay and murder the same King. Found 'Guilty,' Mr. Grove was sentenced to be executed, and on 24th January, 30 Charles II., after two reprieves (vide Bishop Challoner's Missionary Priests, p. 363) was drawn, together with Father Ireland, from Newgate to Tyburn, and was there executed.
(j.) William Harcourt alias Harrison, priest S. J., but merely styled 'clerk' in the bill (vide pp. 84, 85) on which he was indicted at the Old Bailey, in June, 31 Charles II., for conspiring with Thomas Whitebread clerk, John Fenwicke clerk, John Gavan clerk, Anthony Turner clerk, and James Corker clerk, to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of England. Found 'Guilty,' he was executed at Tyburn on 20th June, 1679. In Missionary Priests Bishop Challoner says: "Father William Harcourt alias Waring, whose true name was Barrow, was a native of Lancashire."
(k.) William Ireland, priest—described as William Ireland, clerk, in the indictment (vide pp. 85, 86) on which he was tried for high treason at the Old Bailey in December, 1678, and described as William Ireland alias Iremonger, priest S. J., in Bishop Challoner's Missionary Priests, who was charged in the indictment with conspiring on 24th April, 30 Charles II., with Thomas White alias Whitebread clerk, John Fenwick clerk, Thomas Pickering clerk, and John Grove gentleman, to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of England, and further with having co-operated with the said Thomas White alias Whitebread and John Fenwick, and other false traitors to the jurors unknown, "to persuade and encourage the same [Thomas Pickering and John Grove] to slay and murder the said Lord the King."Found 'Guilty,' Father Ireland was sentenced to be executed. "On Friday the 24th of January," Bishop Challoner says in Missionary Priests, "after two reprieves, father Ireland and Mr. Grove were drawn from Newgate to Tyburn, abused all the way, and pelted by the mob, whose insults they endured with a christian and cheerful penitence."
(l.) David Joseph Keymish, priest, but styled 'clerk' in the bill, preserved in G. D. R. 15 Jan., 31 Charles II., on which he was charged at the Old Bailey (vide p. 92) with being a Catholic priest who, on 15th November, 30 Charles II., traitorously was and remained in St. Giles's-in-the-Fields. An annotation on this bill shows that David Joseph traversed the indictment with a plea of 'Not Guilty,' but the parchment exhibits no note touching any subsequent proceeding in the case. In the same file with this bill appears another indictment, charging 'Daniel (sic) Keymish, late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields (sic), clerk,' with being a Catholic priest who, on 15th November, 30 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained. This last-described True Bill exhibits no clerical note touching arraignment, or any subsequent proceeding in the case. Speaking of David Joseph Keymish in Missionary Priests, Bishop Challoner says, "With these six last named was arraigned also Mr. David Joseph Kemish, priest, but his trial was put off by reason of his sickness. Whether he died in prison or survived I cannot learn."
(m.) Alexander Lumsden, priest, who by an indictment (pp. 132, 133) preserved in G. D. R., 15 Jan., 31 Charles II., which he traversed with a plea of 'Not Guilty,' was charged with being a Catholic priest, who on nth May, 31 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields. "He," Bishop Challoner says of Mr. Alexander Lumsden in Missionary Priests, "was a native of Aberdeen in Scotland, and a Dominican friar; was found to be a priest, but being a Scotchman, the jury brought in the verdict special, and he was not sentenced to die." As no special verdict appears on the face or dorse of the bill I have first mentioned, and as Bishop Challoner was a careful writer, whose accuracy is not to be lightly questioned, I am disposed to think that Mr. Lumsden must have been tried on another indictment.
(n.) Daniel Maccarty, priest, charged by an indictment (vide p. 108), preserved in G. D. R., 26 Feb., 32 Charles II., with being a Catholic priest, who on 30th Dec, 30 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, co. Midd. Found 'Guilty' at G. D. of April, 32 Charles II., Danniel Maccarty (his name is spelt Daniel Macharty in the G. D. Book) was sentenced to be executed.
(o.) William Marshall (vide pp. 119, 120), priest, charged by an indictment, preserved in G. D. R., 15 Jan., 31 Charles II., with being a Catholic priest, who on 15 January, 30 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields. Found 'Guilty,' William Marshall was sentenced to be executed. A monk of the Order of St. Bennet, in the Abbey of Lambspring, William Wall alias Marsh alias Marshall, had been tried on an indictment charging him with conspiring to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of England, and acquitted, together with Sir George Wakeman bart., William Rumley gent., and Father James Corker, at the Gaol Delivery of Newgate held on 16th and divers following days of July, 31 Charles II., before he was tried and condemned for being a priest, &c, together with the same Father Corker, in the following January. After sentence on the charge of traitorously being and remaining &c, William Marshall, says Bishop Challoner in Missionary Priests, "was reprieved and survived the persecution."
(p.) John Naylor alias Carpenter, late of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, co. Midd., clerk (vide pp. 94, 95), tried at Gaol Delivery of Newgate in Feb., 32 Charles II., on a bill charging him with being a Catholic priest, who on 4 Dec, 30 Charles II. as a false traitor of the Lord now King was and remained at the said parish. A bill preserved (vide p. 81) in G. D. R., 11 Dec, 30 Charles II., shows that before his trial at the Old Bailey in Feb., 32 Charles II., this Mr. John Naylor had been indicted under the name of Francis Naylor, alias Carpenter, for being a Catholic priest, who on 1st Jan., 29 Charles II., traitorously was and remained at the same parish. That this sufferer from the agitation resulting from Oates's spurious revelations and odious inventions was sent from the Gatehouse prison to Newgate gaol in Dec, 1678, appears from the following entry in the Newgate Calendar of 15th Jan., 30 Charles II., to wit, "John Naylor, alias Carpenter, from the Gatehouse, committed by the Lord Privie-Seale, for remaining in London and being a priest, contrary to the King's Proclamation. Dat. 4 Dec, 1678."
(q.) Charles Parris alias Parry, priest, described as "clerk" in the indictment (vide p. 131), preserved in G. D. R., 15 Jan., 31 Charles II., on which he was tried at the Old Bailey, for being a Catholic priest who on 3rd May, 31 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, co. Midd. Found 'Guilty' he was sentenced to be executed. "He was," says Bishop Challoner in Missionary Priests, "tried and condemned at the same time and place," to wit, at the Old Bailey, on 17 January, 1679–80. "When he heard the sentence he cried out, Te Deum Laudamus &c. Whether he died in prison or survived the storm I have not learnt."
(r.) Thomas Pickering, described as 'clerk' in a True Bill, the substance of which is given on pp. 85, 86, but described in Bishop Challoner's Missionary Priests as a lay-brother of the Order of St. Bennet, who was charged in the aforementioned indictment, preserved in G. D. R., 11 December, 30 Charles II., with having conspired, on 24th April of 30 Charles II., with Thomas White alias Whitebread clerk, William Ireland clerk, John Fenwicke clerk, and John Grove gentleman, to kill the King, overthrow the government and change the religion of England, and further with having especially undertaken in conjunction with the said John Grove gentleman to slay and murder the same king, and further with having ' laid in waite' with the same John Grove gentleman to slay and murder their said sovereign. On his trial at the Old Bailey court-house in December, 1678, Thomas Pickering was found 'Guilty' upon this indictment, and was sentenced to be executed. "Mr. Pickering," says Bishop Challoner in Missionary Priests, " was reprieved till the 9th of May, either in hopes of his making discoveries or because the king was very unwilling to consent to his death. But on the day aforesaid he was drawn to Tyburn and there executed."
(s.) William Rumley described as a monk in Bishop Challoner's Missionary Priests, v. ii., p. 392, but styled William Rumley, gentleman (vide pp. 89, 90), in the indictment preserved in G. D. R., 5 June, 31 Charles II., charging him with conspiring on 30th August, 30 Charles II., with Sir George Wakeman, bart., and William Marshall, gentleman (sic), to kill the King, subvert the government, and change the religion of the country. William Rumley, on his trial at G. D. of Newgate, 16 July, 31 Charles II., together with Sir George Wakeman, Father William Marshall, and Father James Corker, was acquitted.
(t.) William Russell alias Nappier, priest (vide p. 141), tried on an indictment, preserved in the G. D. R. 15 Jan., 31 Charles II., charging him with being a Catholic priest, who, on 27 Nov., 31 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, co. Midd. Found 'Guilty,' William Russell, alias Nappier, was sentenced to be executed. In Missionary Priests Bishop Challoner says that William Russell alias Nappier, was a native of Oxford and a father of the holy order of St. Francis, and was called in religion Father Marianus. Bishop Challoner further says that after he had been sentenced to death, Father William Russell alias Nappier alias Marianus was "reprieved and after a long imprisonment sent abroad, where he died in the Franciscan convent at Douay, in 1693, aged seventy-eight."
(u.) Henry Starkey, priest (vide p. 121), charged by an indictment, preserved in the G. D. R. 15 Jan., 31 Charles II., with being a Catholic priest, who, on 26th Jan., 30 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor was and remained at St. Giles's-in-the-Fields. Found 'Guilty,' Mr. Henry Starkey was sentenced to be executed, "but," says Bishop Challoner, "he was reprieved."
(v.) Anthony Turner, priest S. J., tried at the Old Bailey on an indictment (vide pp. 84, 85) charging him with conspiring with Thomas Whitebread clerk, John Fenwicke clerk, William Harcourt clerk, John Gavan clerk, and James Corker clerk, and divers other false traitors to the jurors unknown, to kill the King, overthrow the government and change the religion of England. Found 'Guilty,' Father Anthony Turner, priest S. J., was executed at Tyburn, together with aforesaid Father Thomas Whitebread, John Fenwicke, William Harcourt, and John Gavan, priests S. J., on 20th June, 1679.
(w.) Edward Turner, late of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, indicted for being a Catholic priest, who, on 25 March, 31 Charles II., traitorously and as a false traitor of the Lord the King was and remained at the said parish. This is probably the same Edward Turner, priest, of whom Bishop Challoner says, in Missionary Priests, that he was of the Society of Jesus and "died in prison at London in 1681."
(x.) Thomas White alias Whitebread, priest S. J., tried at the Old Bailey in June, 1679, upon an indictment (vide pp. 84, 85), preserved in G. D. R. 5 June, 31 Charles II., charging him with conspiring with John Fenwicke clerk, William Harcourt clerk, John Gavan clerk, Anthony Turner clerk, and James Corker clerk, to kill the King, overthrow the government, and change the religion of England. Found 'Guilty,' Father Thomas Whitebread, S. J., was executed as aforesaid at Tyburn on 20th June, 1679.
(y.) Sir George Wakeman, bart, tried at the Gaol Delivery of Newgate held at the Old Bailey on 16th and divers following days of July, 31 Charles II., upon an indictment, preserved in G. D. R., 5 June, 31 Charles II., charging him (vide pp. 89, 90) with having, on 30th Aug., 30 Charles II., conspired with William Marshall, gentleman (sic), and William Rumley, gentleman (sic), to kill the King and overthrow the. government and change the religion of England, and further charging him with having on the same day especially taken upon himself to slay and murder the same king, and yet further charging him with having traitorously received a commission of Physician-General of the army, about to be raised against the Lord the King, from an unknown person, who pretended to be the Provincial of the Society commonly called the Society of Jesus, and to have authority from the See of Rome to grant a commission in that respect. On his trial Sir George Wakeman bart., the Queen's physician, was found 'Not Guilty.'
To the foregoing list of persons who during the Popish plot mania were arraigned and tried for high treason done in Middlesex, at the Old Bailey court-house, on indictments still preserved at Clerkenwell, I may add the name of
(z.) John Morgan, priest, who was arraigned (vide p. 279) and tried at the Gaol Delivery held at the Old Bailey on 30th April, 31 Charles II., and divers following days, upon an indictment that has perished—an indictment that charged him with being a priest ordained by authority derived from the See of Rome, who, on some day specified in the lost bill traitorously and as a false traitor of the Lord the King was and remained at some parish of Middlesex. Found 'Guilty,' John Morgan was sentenced to be executed.
This list of persons who suffered in life or liberty in Middlesex from the mania of the so called 'popish plot,' that was devised and stimulated by Oates's fanatical villany, may of course be greatly extended by the reader, who brings to the study of the ensuing calendar a wide and accurate knowledge of the individuals, who were denounced and harassed as participators in the unreal conspiracy. Students will, of course, bear in mind that the Clerkenwell records comprise no indictments, or other evidences of treasons, or other felonies done within the City, which as a county by itself is no part of the county of Middlesex.
VI. Weavers' Riots in Middlesex temp. 27 Charles II.—Some seven years and four months after the suburban riots of 20 Charles II., which resulted in several trials and at least four executions for the high treason of levying war against the King, Middlesex was agitated by another series of riots which, although they were less heinous in their character and stirred the passion of smaller multitudes, are much more interesting and deserving of attention than the earlier disturbances. Arising out of the introduction from Holland into England of the ribbon-loom, styled by turns the "weavers' loom-engine" and the "Dutch loomengine," these destructive tumults of Charles the Second's 27th regnal year originated in irritations and were fruitful of incidents that will remind the reader of the much later and far more mischievous riots, raised by the Luddites at Nottingham, Derby, and various places of England's northern counties in the second decade of the present century.
(1.) Origin of the Dutch Loom-Engine.—No labour-saving machine, to be rated with comparatively modern inventions, has a more uncertain and doubtful origin than the ribbon-loom, whose arrival in England occasioned lively tumults in the metropolitan county some three years before Titus Oates became notorious. It is a question whether the machine came into existence towards the close of the 16th or some early year the 17th century. There may have been an example of the ingenious contrivance at Dantzic in 1579, and there is reason to think there was another example of the invention at Leyden about the year 1621. The credit or the discredit of producing the novel engine has been assigned to three different regions of the earth,—to Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands. It seems more probable that the curious will eventually discover the real Junius than that they will bring to historic light the mechanician who constructed the first loomengine. If Anthony Moller may be credited, the actual inventor of the mechanical arrangement was a Dantzicker whose ingenuity was rewarded by the Council of the city, in a manner that was not calculated to encourage impostors to assert their superior claims to the honour of having invented the novel engine. Instead of thinking well of the machine and its author, the Council regarded the invention as a device for reducing countless workmen to beggary, and regarded its maker as an enemy of the human species. Denouncing the loom-engine as a wicked contrivance, the authorities forbade the inventor to use it for his advantage. Yet further to guard against the consequences of so dangerous a person's disobedience, they caused him "to be privately strangled or drowned." For a time the rulers and governments concurred in regarding the engine-loom with suspicion and hostility. Even the States General, the first power to recognize the utility of the loomengine, and to permit its employment, limited the use of the dangerous machine with stringent conditions. This cold and jealous patronage of the new method of weaving caused the engine-loom to be styled Dutch.
In his remarks on these labour-saving machines, John Beckmann says in the History of Inventions and Discoveries, "In 1676 the ribbon loom was prohibited at Cologne, and the same year some disturbance took place in consequence of its being introduced into England. It is probable that Anderson alludes to this loom when he says, speaking of the above year, 'As was also brought from Holland to London the weavers' loom-engine, then called the Dutch loom-engine.' He, however, praises the machine without describing it; nor does he mention that it occasioned any commotion.'" Putting it beyond question that the introduction of the loom was fruitful of commotion, the Middlesex records also make it manifest that the engine-loom occasioned riots in England a year sooner than the time to which the German Professor assigned the disturbance.
On 8th August, 27 Charles 11., i.e., 1675, recognizances were taken (vide pp. 60, 61) before Charles Pitfeild, esq., J.P., of Thomas Hall of St. Botolph's-without-Bishopsgate, and John Pierce of St. Leonard's Shoreditch, silk weavers, in the sum of forty pounds each and of Robert Briggs of St. Leonard's Shoreditch, silk weaver, in the' sum of one hundred pounds, for the appearance of the same Robert Briggs at the next Session of the Peace for Middlesex, to answer "to what shall be objected against him by William Crouch, Thomas Barker and others, who charge and accuse him of combining, plotting, and contriving, with other silk weavers, to enter divers men's houses, there to breake down and destroy their Engine Loomes." As I know nothing of the details of the Middlesex Weavers' riots, temp. 27 Charles II., apart from such knowledge as has come to me from the Clerkenwell records, and as those fragmentary records comprise no earlier manuscript touching those riots than this bill of recognizances, I cannot say that rioting had actually begun amongst the Middlesex weavers on the 8th of August.
(1.) Weavers' Riots on 9th August, 1675.—Extant indictments (vide pp. 61, 62) afford conclusive evidence that on 9th August, 1675, some of the Middlesex weavers assembled tumultuously in Stepney, broke into several houses of that parish, and destroyed engine weaving looms taken by them from the same houses.
(a.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into John Hascor's House.—At the Newgate Gaol Delivery held at the Old Bailey on 9th Sept., 27 Charles II., and on divers ensuing days, William Piercey, late of Stepney, labourer, was indicted for having, together with some forty other disturbers of the peace, broken on the 9th of August last past into John Hascor's house at Stepney, taken unlawfully from the same house 'an Engine Weaving Loome,' worth six pounds of the goods and chattels of the said John Hascor, placed the same engine loom in the highway, and then and there set fire to it and destroyed it. John Hascor having pleaded 'Not Guilty' to this indictment, the Court decided to deliberate on the matter. It seems that no further proceedings were taken on this indictment against William Piercey.
(b.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into John King's House.—At the same Gaol Delivery of 9th Sept., 27 Charles II., the same William Piercey was arraigned and tried on another indictment for having, together with some hundred other disturbers of the peace, broken on the same 9th of August last past into the dwellinghouse of John King at Stepney, taken unlawfully from the same house five "machines called 'Engine-Weaving Loomes' worth thirty pounds, and two ounces of silke worth five shillings, and two joynt-stooles worth three shillings, and a pair of 'Rices to wind silke on' worth four shillings, and 'unam rotam Harpedon anglice vocatam a winding wheel' worth seven shillings and a matted chair worth twelve pence, of the goods and chattels of the said John King," placed the aforesaid engine-looms, silk, rices, windingwheel and matting in the highway, and then and there set fire to them and destroyed them. It is stated in the indictment that the tumult of this affair lasted for an hour. Found 'Guilty,' William Piercey was fined five hundred marks, and committed to prison, there to remain till he should have paid the fine, and was also pilloried on three several days —one day on the pillory in Holborn near Chancery Lane, the second day on the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, and the third day on the pillory in St. John's Street, near the Bars.
(2.) Weavers' Riots on 10th August, 1675.—The riots of 9th August at Stepney were followed on the next day (vide pp. 62, 63, 64) by three several riotous outrages, two of them being committed at St. Leonard's Shoreditch, and one at Whitechapel.
(a.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into James Moore's House at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch.—At the Newgate Gaol Delivery held in September, 27 Charles II., nine persons—to wit, John Layton labourer, Samuel Walters yeoman, Arthur West labourer, Robert Stockley labourer, Thomas Barnes yeoman, William Nicholls yeoman, Sara Hill wife of Robert Hill labourer, Joan Browne wife of William Browne labourer, and Jane Utherston wife of Thomas Utherston yeoman, all nine late of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch—were indicted for having on 10th August last past, together with some hundred other disturbers of the peace, broken into the dwellinghouse of James Moore, at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, taken unlawfully therefrom "four wooden machines called 'Engine Weaving Loomes,' worth thirty pounds, of the goods and chattels of the same James Moore," placed the same looms in the highway, and then and there set fire to them and utterly destroyed them. The tumult of this affair lasted for four hours. With the exception of Robert Stockley's name, no clerical annotation appears on the indictment over the names of the culprits. The verdict against and sentence upon Robert Stockley are however fully recorded. Found 'Guilty,' he was fined five hundred marks, committed to prison, there to remain till he should have paid the fine, and sentenced to stand on the pillory on three several days—one day on the pillory in Holborn, the second day on the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, and the third day on the pillory in St. John's Street near the Bars.
(b.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into William Crouch's House at St. Leonard's Shoreditch.—At the same Gaol Delivery of Newgate, held in September, 27 Charles II., the aforementioned Robert Stockley, of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, labourer, was also indicted and tried for having on the 10th August last past, together with some one hundred other disturbers of the peace, broken into the dwellinghouse of William Crouch, of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, taken from the same house "duas functiones ligneorum instrumentorum textrium anglice vocatas 'wooden frames of weaving-loomes' worth four pounds," of the goods and chattels of the said William Crouch, placed the same frames in the highway, and then and there maliciously set fire to them and destroyed them. The tumult of this affair lasted for half an hour. Robert Stockley was found 'Guilty' on this indictment, but as he had already been convicted of a similar offence on another bill, the Court determined to take counsel on the matter.
(c.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into the House of Robert Bowes at Whitechapel.—At the same Gaol Delivery of Newgate, held in September, 27 Charles II., Digby Miller, late of Whitechapel, labourer, was indicted and tried for having on the aforesaid 10th August last past, in the company of some two hundred other disturbers of the peace, broken into the dwellinghouse of Robert Bowes at Whitechapel, taken unlawfully therefrom "ten wooden machines called 'Engine Weaving Loomes,' worth one hundred and twenty pounds, and four ounces of silke worth twelve shillings," of the goods and chattels of the said Robert Bowes, and carried the same looms and silk to Stepney, and there placed them in the highway and set fire to them and totally destroyed them. The tumult of this affair lasted for an hour and a half. Found 'Guilty,' Digby Miller was fined five hundred marks, committed to prison, there to remain until he should have paid the fine, and was sentenced to stand on the pillory on three several days—one day on the pillory in Holborn near Chancery Lane, the second day on the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, the third day on the pillory in St. John's Street near the Bars.
(d.) Punishment of another Culprit for his part in the forcible and riotous Entry into the House of Robert Bowes.—Convicted at the Newgate Gaol Delivery, held at the Old Bailey in September, 27 Charles II., of having on 10th August last past broken into the dwellinghouse of Robert Bowes at Whitechapel, and of having offered other outrages to the same Robert Bowes, Michael Snell, late of Whitechapel, yeoman, was fined five hundred marks, was committed to prison, there to remain till he should have paid the same fine, and was also sentenced to stand on the pillory on the three several days—one day on the pillory in Holborn near Chancery Lane, the second day on the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, and the third day on the pillory in St. John's Street near the Bars.
(e.) Indictment of Serjeant Humphreys for forbearing to do his best to suppress the Riot on 10th August, on the Occasion of the Forcible Entry into William Crouch's House.—By this indictment (vide p. 62) it was charged against Richard Humphreys that he, "being one of the serjeants under the command of Sir Thomas Byde knt., Captayne of one of the trayned bands for Middlesex, then appointed for the suppression of the tumult &c. forbore to suppress the same tumult and apprehend rioters taking part in it. An annotation on this indictment certifies that process upon it was stayed by the order of the Attorney General.
(f.) Indictment of Ensign William Tindall for Misconduct at the same Riot.—Together with the indictment against Serjeant Humphreys, the G. D. R., 9 Sept., 27 Charles II., preserves another bill that, giving readers a glimpse of another of the Middlesex trained bands on duty at a riot, will help them to realize the stir and scenic effect of the commotion, which two companies at least of those bands were appointed to put down. From this indictment it appears that Thomas Cusden, gentleman, and captain of one of the trained bands for the metropolitan county, being then and there present with his company of soldiers for the suppression of the tumult, himself apprehended a rioter whom he committed to the custody of Ensign William Tindall. The charge against the Ensign was that, after receiving his Captain's prisoner, he allowed the rioter to escape, instead of carrying the fellow before a Justice of the Peace; and on that charge Ensign William Tindall was tried at the Gaol Delivery by a jury, who found him 'Not Guilty.'
(3.) Weavers' Riots on 11th August, 1675.—Through the defective and fragmentary condition of, the Middlesex records I am no more able to say whether the riots came to an end on the 11th than I am able to give precisely the day on which overt rioting began. The records, however, afford sure evidence that rioting was renewed on the 11th at three suburban parishes.
(a.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into the Dwellinghouse of William Hodgson, at St. James's Clerkenwell.—At the Newgate Gaol Delivery held in September, 27 Charles II., Joseph Fryer alias Wood and Edward Bruncker, both late of St. James's Clerkenwell, labourers, were arraigned and tried on a True Bill found against them for breaking on 11th August last past, together with some hundred other disturbers of the peace into the dwellinghouse of William Hodgson at the aforesaid parish, and unlawfully taking from the same house "three machines called' engine Weaving Looms,' of the goods and chattels of the said William Hodgson," and placing the same looms in the highway, and then and there setting fire to them and utterly destroying them. The tumult of this affair lasted for an hour. Found 'Guilty,' Edward Bruncker was fined twenty marks, and was committed to prison there to remain till he should have paid the fine. Joseph Fryer alias Wood was fined five hundred marks, was committed to prison there to remain till he should have paid the fine, and was further sentenced to stand on the pillory on three several days.
(b.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into the Dwellinghouse of Thomas Rowe at Hoxton.—At the Newgate Gaol Delivery held at the Old Bailey in September, 27 Charles II., John Heberd late of Hoxton labourer was indicted and tried for breaking, on 11th August last past, together with some hundred disorderly persons, into the dwellinghouse of Thomas Rowe at Hoxton, and carrying away from the same house a certain machine called 'an Engine Weaving Loome,' worth six pounds and twelve shillings, of the goods and chattels of one Nicholas Constable, placing the said engine loome in the highway, and then and there setting fire to it and destroying it. The tumult of this affair lasted for an hour. Found 'Guilty,' John Heberd was fined five hundred marks, committed to prison there to remain till he should have paid the fine, and was pilloried on three several days—on the first day on the pillory at Holborn near Chancery Lane, on the second day on the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, and on the third day on the pillory in St. John's Street near the Bars.
(c.) Forcible and Riotous Entry into, the Dwellinghouse of George Harrison at Stepney.—At the Gaol Delivery held at the Old Bailey in September, 27 Charles II., John Serjeant and Richard Maynard, both late of Stepney yeomen, were arraigned and tried on an indictment, charging them with having on 11th August last past, in the company of some thirty other disturbers of the peace, unlawfully broken into the house of George Harrison at Stepney, carried off from the said house ten wooden instruments called 'Weavers' Batternes' worth forty pounds, of the goods and chattels of a certain Robert Bowes, placed them on the highway, and then and there unlawfully set fire to them and totally destroyed them. Richard Maynard was acquitted. Found 'Guilty,' John Serjeant was fined five hundred marks and committed to prison there to remain till he should have paid the fine, and was also sentenced to stand on the pillory on three several days.
VII. Gentle Folk of Middlesex temp. Charles II. and James II.— As the records of a Criminal Court are not a kind of evidences in which students might be hopeful of coming upon memorials of the finer and more generous traits of human nature, it is needless to say that the ensuing calendar will not dispose its searchers to think more highly than heretofore of the gentle folk of England under our last two Stuart kings. But amongst entries that afford glimpses of what was least agreeable and praiseworthy in the superior classes of English society, from 19 Charles II. to 4 James II., the careful reader of this volume will find some curious pieces of testimony touching individuals of those classes, that are discreditable neither to the individuals nor to their historic period. It will be seen from these pieces of testimony how in the struggle for subsistence, which seems to have been even keener in Restoration London than in Victorian London, persons of gentle parentage and fair social credit were glad to earn their living by avocations that are now-a-days regarded as unsuitable for persons of 'quality' and 'condition.'
(1.) Employments of Gentle Folk of good Name and Credit.—At the present time, when countless gentlewomen of good birth and high education are sustaining themselves as teachers, artists, medical practitioners, legal practitioners, government clerks, private secretaries, journalists, tradeswomen, hospital nurses, without losing aught of their ancestral dignity, and when social sentiment declares gentlewomen have no cause to blush for being their own bread-winners in any lawful and congenial pursuit, a lady of title—say the widow of an eminent officer of the army or navy—would think twice and for the third time before she accepted the position of keeper of a county gaol. Possibly Mary Lady Broughton had some nervous trouble about her personal dignity and what the world would think of her action, before she took the step that causes me to mention her in the present page.
(a.) Mary Lady Broughton, widow, Keeper of the Gatehouse Prison.— Whether it cost her a painful effort to turn gaoler, or whether she accepted the gaoler's office with a light heart, it is certain that Mary Lady Broughton, temp. Charles II, was Keeper of the King's Prison of the Gatehouse in St. Margaret's, Westminster, and that during her tenure of the lucrative and unsavoury office she was personally accountable for the safe custody of the prisoners. When Thomas Ridley, prisoner committed to her custody on a charge of larceny, slipt from the Gatehouse and made flight, Mary Lady Broughton (vide p. 21) was indicted for having "wittingly and wilfully suffered one Thomas Ridley, duly committed to the said prison and her custody on a charge of stealing a silver cup worth twenty-five shillings, to escape from the same prison of the Gatehouse, of which she was Keeper, and to go at large." Though the Grand Jury, at Hickes Hall, found the indictment a True Bill, it does not appear from any note on the parchment that the lady gaoler was brought to trial, or was ever required to confess or plead to the indictment. In charity and courtesy, therefore, readers may assume that Mary Lady Broughton was not seriously to blame.
(b.) Gentle Chief Scavengers of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields and St. Martin'sin-the-Fields, co. Midd.—Whilst Lady Broughton was Keeper of the Gatehouse Prison, the office of Raker or General Undertaker for cleansing the streets, lanes, and other open passages of St. Giles's-inthe-Fields and St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, was occupied by Winsor Sandys, esq., a gentleman who in being an esquire, at a time when no man lightly adopted or lightly accorded the title of dignity, was a gentleman of distinctly greater consideration than any male person who was a mere gentleman entitled to bear arms. Obtaining this office in the first instance for a term of years from the Commissioners of Scotland Yard, acting in pursuance of an Act of Parliament of 13 and 14 Charles II., by a deed poll, some particulars of which appear in the body of this volume (vide pp. 157, 158, 159), Winsor Sandys, esq., threw himself with spirit into his enterprise, investing money in horses, carts, rakes, brushes, scuppets, and other implements, putting at convenient points of the two parishes a sufficient number of laystalls for the reception of dust and other rubbish, and bringing together a competent body of scavengers and carters, whom he ordered and governed with dustmanlike ability. Probably the chief dustman's business was the most lucrative dustman's business in the suburbs of London. To form an adequate notion of Mr. Winsor Sandys's financial success, readers must bear in mind that whilst receiving salaries raised by rate from the inhabitants of the district for cleaning the thoroughfares and carrying away the dirt, the supreme scavenger was largely employed by householders to empty their cesspools. Mr. Sandys may be conceived to have done well for himself from a pecuniary point of view. Still his business was a vocation that a gentleman of position would not care to follow in Victorian London, however needful it may be for the welfare of society. The evidence is certain, that Winsor Sandys, esq., discharged the functions of his office to the satisfaction of the vestries of both parishes till he went to a world that is generally believed to require no scavengers. On his death Winsor Sandys, esq., was succeeded in his office and his business-plant by his widow, Mrs. Sandys.
(c.) The Lady Chief Scavenger of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields and St. Martin's-in-the-Fields.—It does not appear precisely, from the evidences at Clerkenwell, how long Mrs. Sandys remained in the business which her husband carried on for a considerable term of years with so much vigour and address. Though she enjoyed the good-will of the vestries, it is not surprising that soon after her husband's death she began to look out for a proper gentleman, to whom she might transfer her office, with the sanction of the vestries, and her trade-plant on reasonable terms. The first person' whom she offered to introduce to her office was a military gentleman, styled Captain Whitcombe, who appears to have been crafty and over-reaching,—ready enough to turn scavenger, but desirous of getting Mrs. Sandys's horses, carts, and implements for little more than a song. Failing to come to terms with Captain Whitcombe, Madam Winsor Sandys entered into negociations with Thomas Rowe, esq., who purchased the widow's interest in the offices of Raker and General Undertaker, buying her horses, carts, and implements for a thousand pounds. After entering on the enjoyment of the place, the new Chief Scavenger laid out another thousand pounds on the undertaking. But he had no sooner got fairly to work when he was disturbed in the enjoyment of his office, and hindered in the performance of his official duties by Captain Whitcombe, who, starting as an interloper in opposition to the new Chief Raker, did his best to deprive him of the emoluments of his appointment. "If," the Captain had been heard to say, " I can but difficult Mr. Rowe in his employment, I will buy all the horses and cartes and other things I have occasion for at my owne price." From p. 159 readers may learn by what means Captain Whitcombe strove to break Mr. Rowe, acquire his plant for a trifle, and oust him from the place for which he had paid a fair price to Madam Sandys. So keen was the competition between two gentlemen of Charles the Second's time for the place of Master Scavenger and Nightman to the inhabitants of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields and St. Martin'sin-the-Fields.
(2.) Gentle Felons and Misdemeanants, temp. Charles II. and James II.—In their heinous offences, crimes, and minor malfeasances, the criminous and disorderly gentlemen of Charles the Second's Middlesex resembled the gentlemen who, in earlier times of the seventeenth century, or in the spacious times of Elizabeth, came within the grip of the criminal law. Committing murder and manslaughter, they went upon the road in order to replenish their pockets with the money of luckless wayfarers. Sometimes a gentle thief condescended to pick a loiterer's pocket in a suburban street, or carried off articles of plate from a friend's supper-table. Most of the manslaughters, for which these disorderly gentlemen pleaded their clergy, and some of the murders for which they were arraigned at the Old Bailey, were done in the way of duelling or in the heat of festive broils, and as mere incidents of honourable warfare did not lower them in the world's regard. For example, no modish person thought the worse of Sir Thomas Halford, bart. (vide pp. 7, 8), because he had been tried for the murder and convicted of the manslaughter of Edmund Temple, esq., whom he killed by striking him on the head with a glass bottle in a sudden fit of anger. But some of the murders done by English gentlemen in the days of the merry Charles Stuart were murders of an especially odious kind. For example, extenuating circumstances seem to have been conspicuously absent from
(a.) Mr. Robert Ridgley's Murder of Mr. George Dale.—From an indictment (vide p. 7) preserved in G. D. R. 17 Feb., 20 Charles II., it appears that when he murdered George Dale, gentleman, at St. Pancras, on 21 Oct., 17 Charles II., by giving him with a rapier a wound of which he died on the same day, Robert Ridgeley, late of the said parish, co. Midd., gentleman, perpetrated the crime at the instigation of Beatrice Dale, the wife of the said George Dale, gentleman. Her husband having been thus sent out of this life, Beatrice married his murderer. Two years and three or four months later, Robert Ridgeley, gentleman, and his wife Beatrice Ridgeley, were tried at the Old Bailey on an indictment, which charged him with murdering George Dale, and charged her with procuring the same Robert to murder her said then husband, with aiding him to commit the murder, and also with receiving and harbouring the same Robert Ridgeley on the aforesaid 21st October, 17 Charles II., whom she knew to have murdered her husband. Found ' Guilty,' Robert and Beatrice Ridgeley were sentenced to be hanged.
(b.) Barbarous Assault committed on John Arnold, esq., J.P., by John Gyles, gentleman.—On 15 April, 32 Charles II., at St. Dunstan's-in-theWest, co. Midd. (vide p. 144), John Gyles late of the said parish gentleman lay in wait with divers unknown confederates for John Arnold, esq., J.P. for co. Monmouth, and with swords, &c, assaulted and wounded the same Justice Arnold, giving him at a point between his belly and left breast a wound from which blood flowed, and two wounds on his breast and two other wounds on his left arm. Tried at the Old Bailey in July, 32 Charles II., for thus lying-in-wait for and assaulting his adversary, John Gyles, gentleman was sentenced to stand for an hour on the pillory on three several days; one day on the pillory near Chancery Lane, the second day on the pillory in Holborn near Gray's Inn Court, and the third day on the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, with a paper on his head setting forth his offence in these words, to wit, " For assaulting by lyinge in waite and grievously wounding John Arnold, esq., a Justice of Peace of Monmouthshire." John Gyles, gentlemen, was further sentenced to pay a fine of fifty shillings, and to remain in prison until he should put in good sureties for his good conduct during the rest of his life.
(c.) A Gentlewoman convicted of Larceny.—Six years and a few months after Beatrice Ridgeley's conviction and sentence, Apollonia Scroope (vide p. 54), wife of Jarvas Scroope, of St. Margaret's Westminster, gentleman, took her trial at the Old Bailey, and was convicted by a jury of having on the nth June, 26 Charles II., stolen at the said parish and carried off a silver pottinger worth thirty shillings, a silver plate worth twenty shillings, a silver cawdle cup worth forty shillings, and a silver tankard worth eight pounds, of the goods and chattels of Nicholas Brady, gentleman. Though it exhibits a note of her conviction, the True Bill on which Apollonia Scroope was tried for stealing plate to the value of twelve pounds ten shillings, about sixty-two pounds in Victorian England, exhibits no annotation touching judgment. Instead of proceeding to pass sentence on the lady, the Court decided to deliberate on her case till the next Gaol Delivery.
(d.) The Assault committed by James Dore, gentleman, on Jane Weddall, the wife of John Weddall, esq.—James II. was in his first regnal year, when James Dore, of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, gentleman (vide p. 299), on the 16th day of December in that year, wickedly and inhumanly assaulted the aforesaid lady with a sword in Chancery Lane, and then and there beat, wounded, kicked, and bruised her, so that her life was despaired of. Arraigned at a special Session of Oyer and Terminer held on the 19th day of the same month, James Dore confessed the indictment, whereupon he was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred marks, to stand on the next Thursday for an hour upon the pillory near the Globe Tavern in Chancery Lane, with a paper showing his offence upon his head, and after standing on the pillory to remain in Newgate Gaol, until he should have paid the fine.
(e.) Two Gentlemen charged with cosening and cheating a countryman at Cards in Lincoln's Inn Fields.—In the days of Charles the Second's 23d regnal year, when Stephen Hobson kept an unlawful game (vide p. 31) "called the Indion Game" in Lincolnes Inn Fields, and Edward Forster used to haunt "a certaine lottery called 'The Wheele of Fortune'" in the same Fields, the great square on the west of Lincoln's Inn Gardens was alike attractive to sight-seers from the provinces and to card-sharpers on the look-out for simpletons to despoil. Two sets of recognizances (vide 32, 33) preserved in S. P. R., 4 December, 23 Charles II., show how two needy and unscrupulous gentlemen on 15th of November drew into their toils a rustic whom they doubtless hoped to relieve of more money than he yielded to their craft. Coming upon ' one John Sampson, a countryman,' in Lincoln's Inn Fields, John Hewson of St. Andrew's Holborn, gentleman, and Francis Winn, of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, gentleman, accosted him in terms of goodfellowship, as each of them threw a five-shillings piece on the ground to show that money was plentiful with them. ' Come,' cried each gentleman airily as he tossed his silver crown upon the ground, ' and take a share of what we have found.' Accepting the invitation, the countryman took a hand of the cards which the two gentlemen were quick to produce. When the countryman had lost twelve shillings to each of the two gentle sharpers, the game came to an end—possibly because a constable came on the players, in time to save simple John Sampson from heavier losses. Taken before Sir Thomas Byde, knt., J.P., John Hewson, gentleman, and Francis Wynn, gentleman, were put in bonds to appear at the next Session of the Peace for Middlesex to answer for cheating the simpleton from the country, and also for being 'idle, loose, and disorderly persons,' who could not give a good and honest account of their livelihood.
(f.) Another Disorderly Gentleman.—Just sixteen months before Sir Thomas Byde, knt., J.P, came to an opinion that John Hewson, gentleman, and Francis Winn, gentleman, were 'idle, loose, and disorderly persons,' Stephen Scudamore, of Welclose in Whitechapel, gentleman (vide p. 19), was bound before Josiah Ricroft, esq., J.P., in the sum of forty pounds (with three sureties in the sum of twenty pounds each), to appear at the next Session of the Peace for Middlesex, then and there to answer "for being a lewd person, and for keeping a certaine booth for dancing on the ropes and other unlawful exercises in Welclose, whereon he is an actor with other lewd persons his servants, who use much obscene and profane language, by meanes where of many idle persons doe assemble, from whence proceede many tumults and disorders." When they remember the license that was accorded in Charles the Second's London to theatrical performers, readers will be disposed to think that John Scudamore, gentleman, must have been a very lewd person and that his booth at Whitechapel must have been an extremely scandalous place of entertainment.
(g.) The Malicious and Scandalous Words of Thomas Pride, Gentleman.—That the dissolute and disorderly gentlemen of James the Second's capital were as unruly and regardless of decorum as the disorderly gentlemen who raised routs and troubled the conservators of the peace of Middlesex in the earlier years of his brother's actual reign, may be inferred from the way in which Thomas Pride, late of St. James's parish within the liberties of Westminster, gentleman (vide pp. 313, 314), declared his low opinion of Andrew Lawrence, esq., J.P. for Middlesex, under the very windows of that magistrate's usual place of abode. By a True Bill, preserved in S.P.R., 21 February, 3 James II., Mr. Thomas Pride was charged with having at St. James's parish, on the last day of January last past, " in the presence and hearing of divers of the King's lieges and subjects, spoken and declared in a high voice before the dwellinghouse of Andrew Lawrence, esq., J.P. for Middlesex, in order to procure a tumult and riot in and near the said dwellinghouse, these malicious and scandalous words, to wit, 'Justice Lawrence, by God, is a pimpe and a . . . . .' " Times have changed and we have changed with them greatly, since a gentleman could give expression to his dislike of a justice of the peace, by bawling abuse of this kind at his front door, in hope of inciting a mob to force the door, break into the house and wreck its furniture.
VIII. Savagery of the English in the Seventeenth Century.—Because I speak of the comparative inhumanity of our forefathers of the seventeenth century, and the superior benevolence of the Victorian English, it may not be inferred that the English of to-day are in my opinion as considerate for the unfortunate, as benevolent to the poor, and as vigilant and energetic in guarding the weak from oppression as they ought to be. Nor may it be imagined that I have never reflected with admiration on the humanity and sympathetic sweetness of the brightest spirits and noblest natures of our people during the years covered by the present volume. When I speak of the defective humanity of Charles the Second's subjects, I refer to the ordinary or distinctly inferior or unquestionably vicious natures of every social class.
Deriving their notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, from the municipal laws which they obey, ordinary men and women catch the tone and temper of those laws. In proportion as the laws are humane or inhuman, the ordinary people of the various classes from the highest to the lowest are benevolent or cruel. Living under barbarous criminal laws that were executed with deliberate and intentional disregard for the finer sensibilities of human nature, our forefathers of the seventeenth century may be said to have been educated to honour cruel discipline as wholesome discipline, to regard with complaisance all suffering from which they were exempt, and to think disdainfully of benevolence and compassion as sentimental weaknesses that would be fruitful of mischief, if they were not kept in restraint. It follows that Charles the Second's period resembled in some respects all previous periods, when the stick was in every man's hand, and nearly every man used the stick as an instrument for the punishment of persons under his authority. It was a time when gentlemen caned their menservants, ladies beat their maid-servants, fathers of gentle birth horsewhipt their sons, mothers of gentle degree chastised their grown daughters, and teachers, from the head masters of our public schools to the pedagogues of village schools, flogged their pupils with extravagant severity. Whilst people of social condition and credit dealt thus harshly with persons in subjection to them, individuals of inferior quality— tradesmen, artisans, handicraftsmen—in compliance with the spirit of the age and its municipal law, made barbarous assaults on their apprentices.
Now and again masters and mistresses were charged before Justices of the Peace with beating their servants with a violence that ' exceeded the limits of wholesome correction,' and were ordered to pay a fine for the misdemeanor; but for one master who was punished thus lightly for a brutal assault, for which an employer of labourers would now-adays be sent to prison, a hundred masters perpetrated worse assaults on their apprentices with impunity. It is not surprising that, whilst the law flogged culprits on their bare backs through the best streets and most fashionable squares of the town, austere but far from worthless persons felt themselves justified in copying the rigour of the law in the government of their children and dependants. Even less surprising is it that the law's example sometimes stimulated and intensified the cruelty of the inferior and positively vicious, till it found vent in excesses of execrable barbarity. Of such barbarity an appalling example is given in the entry (vide, p. 149) that relates to the indictment and conviction of—
(a.) Elizabeth Houlton's Murderers.—The indictment on which John Sadler, late of Stepney, labourer, and Letitia Wiggington, late of the same parish, wife of William Wiggington, labourer, were tried for the murder of Elizabeth Houlton, spinster, certifies that on 24th December, 32 Charles II., the said John Sadler and Letitia Wiggington assaulted the said Elizabeth Houlton at Stepney, and that John Sadler then and there slew and murdered the said Elizabeth Houlton, by flogging her 'in et super dorsum, ventrem, femora, pectus, brachia, caput, faciem,' with a whip commonly called a 'Catt with Nyne tayles,' so that she died of the said flogging on the following day, and that the said Letitia Wiggington was present at the said murder, and aided and encouraged the said John Sadler to commit it. Found 'Guilty,' John Sadler and Letitia Wiggington were both sentenced to be hanged. As all my knowledge of Elizabeth Houlton and her murderers has come to me from the annotated indictment preserved in G. D. R., 17 Jan., 32 Charles II., I cannot say what provoked Elizabeth Houlton's murderers to punish her in so barbarous a manner. Cruel things are still done on English soil, but I venture to say it would be impossible to find in the darkest haunts of the criminal classes of Victorian England a man and woman of the English race, capable of co-operating to kill one of their countrywomen as John Sadler and Letitia Wiggington co-operated in killing the wretched woman who died from the lashes of their cat with nine tails.
(b.) Another Example of Woman's Savagery temp. Charles II.— An annotated indictment (vide p. 76), that is preserved in G. D. R., 25 April, 29 Charles II., tells how Robert Dines alias Deans, labourer, William Dines alias Deans, labourer, and Margaret Dines alias Deans, spinster, with the intention of maiming and deforming Jane King, lay in wait for and assaulted the same Jane King at Endfield co. Midd. on 20th Feb., 29 Charles II., and how with the encouragement and aid of the aforesaid Robert and William, the said Margaret Dines alias Deans with a knife cut and disabled the right eye of the said Jane King with the design of disfiguring her. Found 'Guilty,' the said Robert, William, and Margaret were all three sentenced to be hanged, under the well-known Coventry Act of 22 and 23 Charles II., which enacted "that if any person should of malice aforethought, and by lying in waite, unlawfully cut out, or disable the tongue, put out an eye, slit the nose, cut off a nose and lip, or cut off or disable any limb or member of any other person, with intent to maim or disfigure such person, his counsellors, aiders, and abettors, should be guilty of felony without benefit of clergy."
(c.) Activity of 'the Spirits' in spiriting People out of the Country.—The cruelty of ordinary English people and absolute barbarity of the vilest sort of Charles the Second's subjects are exemplified with painful impressiveness by the number of persons indicted for seizing young people of both sexes at the river side, carrying them on board ship with intent to transport them to the plantations and there sell them for slaves, and by the number of persons who were convicted of having actually stolen young people of their own country and race and sold them to planters of the West Indies or the American mainland. Whilst the cruelty of the meanest sort of the English people is indicated by these indictments, the general indifference of society at large to the doings of these especially odious kidnappers and to the sufferings of their victims is no less strikingly displayed by the comparative leniency of the punishments, accorded to those of the miscreants who were convicted of an offence so unspeakably inhuman.
Of course, the kidnappers who received some measure of punishment were only a small minority of the kidnappers who followed this barbarous trade; for the stealers and salesmen of human kind took every precaution against detection, working as noiselessly and secretly as 'the spirits.' It was seldom that, on being surprised by the disappearance of his son or his apprentice, a tradesman had any clue whereby to track out the thief who had carried off the missing lad. Once in a while it happened that a young person, who had been inveigled by 'a spirit' on board a vessel lying in the Thames, was rescued by the prompt action of a sagacious and energetic parent, before the ship weighed anchor and moved down the river. But it is questionable whether one out of every twenty persons taken on board outbound vessels by the wily kidnappers was so fortunate as to escape transportation. Of the grown men and grown women who were taken against their will to western plantations, few lived to return to England in time to discover their captors and put them in the dock at the Old Bailey. The fragmentary records lying at the Clerkenwell Sessions House afford me no sufficient data for either a precise or approximate statement of the number of persons who were spirited out of Middlesex to the West Indies or America during Charles the Second's actual reign; but the indictments, recognizances, and entries in court-books relating to the nefarious activity of 'the spirits,' still to be found in those attenuated and wasted records, are sufficiently numerous to justify a confident opinion that the individuals of both sexes, taken in that period from the metropolitan county to our transatlantic colonies by the kidnappers and their confederates, were a considerable number.
What was the punishment accorded to the miscreants who were convicted of enriching or attempting to enrich themselves by stealing and selling into slavery persons of their own country and race? By the old Jewish law the crime of stealing and selling a man, or stealing a man with intent to sell him, was punished with death. "He," it is written in Exodus, "that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be punished with death." The civil law dealt in the same way with man-stealers. "So likewise," says Blackstone, "in the civil law the offence of spiriting away and stealing men and children was punished with death." But the common law of England was content to punish this atrocious offence with fine, imprisonment and the pillory. And from a remarkable entry in the last extant folio of the Middlesex Gaol Delivery Register, it appears that in the time of Charles II. the clemency of the crown was shown in preserving from this moderate punishment a man who had been convicted at the Old Bailey of seizing and carrying off a certain Thomas Stone with the intention of transporting him against his will to Virginia.
(a.) William Haverland's Attempt to steal and transport Thomas Stone.—At the Newgate Gaol Delivery, held at the Old Bailey on 13th Jan., 22 Charles II., and divers ensuing days, one William Haverland was tried, on an indictment that has perished, for assaulting, &c., one Thomas Stone, with intent to transport him against his will to Virginia. The lost indictment doubtless set forth that, besides assaulting the said Thomas Stone, at some parish of Middlesex, the said William Haverland carried him against his will on board a certain ship lying in the Thames, with intent to transport him to Virginia and there to sell him for profit; but the brief note touching the offence for which William Haverland was tried runs in these words: "William Haverland—pro insult' super Thomam Stone ea intenc'one ad ipsum in Virginiam transportand.'" Thomas Stone appears to have been one of those especially fortunate persons who, after having been 'spirited' on board ship, had the good fortune to escape from their captors before the ship dropt down the river. Arraigned on the charge indicated by the note in the G. D. Reg., William Haverland was found 'Guilty' by a jury, and was sentenced to pay a fine of forty marks, to be held in Newgate Gaol till he should have paid the fine, and to be put upon the pillory on three several days—on the first day at East Smithfield, on the second at Ratcliffe Cross, and on the third at Holborn, near Chancery Lane end—with a paper setting forth his offence upon his head. The clerk, who wrote the note of the trial, verdict, and sentence in the Gaol Delivery Register on some day of January, 22 Charles II., added to the note in the following June these words, to wit, Postea septimo die Junii prox' futur' profert perdon' D'ni Regis p'missa per donan' = afterwards, on the seventh day of June next to come, he produces the pardon of the Lord the King pardoning the premises. Clearly this 'Spirit' had powerful friends. In January, 22 Charles II., he stood in the dock of the Old Bailey charged with an abominable crime, was found 'Guilty,' and was sentenced to fine, imprisonment and the pillory. That his judges approved the finding of the jury may be inferred from the fact that, instead of deferring sentence till they should have deliberated further on the case, they forthwith delivered judgment on the offender. Yet, in June, the convicted man-stealer appears in court with the king's pardon in his hand. The culprit may have been imprisoned in Newgate Gaol, or in the custody of mainpernours, from the date of his trial to the day of his reappearance in court; but he certainly escaped the other items of his sentence—the considerable fine and the torture of the pillory. One would like to know the considerations that determined the King to grant him a pardon.
(b). Guildford Slingsby, Son of Walter Slingsby, esq., Spirited from Middlesex to Virginia by William Thew.—At the Newgate Gaol Delivery held on 7th June, 23 Charles II., one William Thew was arraigned and tried on an indictment (vide p. 22) charging him with having assaulted Guildford Slingsby, son of Walter Slingsby, esq., at St. Katherine's, co. Midd., on 10th November, 22 Charles II., and with having on the same day taken him against his will from St. Katherine's aforesaid on board a certain ship, called the John of London, then lying in the river Thames, and further with having transported the same Guildford Slingsby to Virginia, in parts beyond the sea, with the intention of selling him in Virginia to the gain and profit of the same William Thew, and to the utter ruin of the same Guildford Slingsby. On being found 'Guilty,' William Thew was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred marks, was committed to prison there to remain until he should have paid the same fine, and was further sentenced to be pilloried on three several days, to wit, on the first day upon the pillory at Tower Hill, on the second day upon the pillory at St. Katherine's, and on the third day upon the pillory in the Strand near the Maypole, and during each infliction of the torture of the pillory to wear upon his head a placard setting forth his offence. It was further ordered by the Court (vide p. 276) that, after he should have paid the fine and undergone the punishment he should be held in prison until he should have found good sureties for his appearance at the Gaol Delivery next following the date of the recognizances, and for his good behaviour in the mean time.
It is probable that, if he followed the trade of 'a Spirit' after this discipline, William Thew forbore to spirit away the son of an esquire who was capable of prosecuting the law against his son's captor and transporter with effect. The punishment accorded to William Thew seems to have been as severe a punishment as a Spirit ever underwent in the time of Charles the Second. But if it be compared with the punishments meted out to far less heinous malefactors, it may be called a lenient punishment. Had he assaulted Walter Slingsby, esq., on the highway and then and there robbed him of a few pounds, William Thew would have been hung. Had he stolen Squire Slingsby's riding-horse, William Thew would have been hung. As he only assaulted young Guildford Slingsby and stole him from his father, with intent to sell the youngster into slavery, the law let William Thew go his way, after correcting him with a fine, a term of imprisonment, and three exhibitions on the pillory.
(c.) A Milder Sentence on 'a Spirit.'—On 25th Sept., 36 Charles II., Jane Price, wife of one . . . . Price, of St. Andrew's Holborn, yeoman (vide p. 245), assaulted a certain Richard Jackson at the said parish, and subsequently on the same day conveyed him against his will on board a certain ship called The Jeofferey, then lying in the river Thames, with the intention of unlawfully and forcibly transporting him to Virginia and there selling him for her own gain. Just about a year and five months later, to wit, on 22nd Feb., 2 James II., Jane Price was brought to the dock at the Old Bailey for thus spiriting Richard Jackson on board ship, when she withdrew a previous plea of 'Not Guilty,' and confessed the indictment that charged her with so grave an offence. Convicted by her own confession, Jane Price was fined £1 6s. 8d. and sent to the New Prison, there to remain until she should have paid the fine.
(d.) A still more lenient Sentence on a female 'Spirit.'—On 1st Sept., 32 Charles II., Ann Servant (vide p. 147), the wife of Ralph Servant, late of Stepney, co. Midd., yeoman, assaulted Alice Flax, spinster, and afterwards on the same day conveyed the same Alice Flax against her will on board the ship called The Elizabeth and Katherine, then lying in the river Thames, and afterwards in the same ship transported the same Alice to Virginia, and there sold her for the gain and profit of the same Ann Servant. For this offence of spiriting Alice Flax to Virginia, and there selling her, Ann Servant was placed in the dock at the Old Bailey, on 20th Feb., 35 Charles II., when she withdrew her previous plea of 'Not Guilty,' and confessed the indictment. The sentence of the Court was, that Ann Servant should pay a fine of 13s. 4d. for having stolen a woman of her own country and race, carried her against her will to Virginia, and there sold her into bondage.
(e.) An even more startling Sentence for Woman-Stealing.—On 26th Sept., 36 Charles II., two 'Spirits' (vide pp. 245, 246), to wit, Mary Gwyn, wife of William Gwyn, late of St. Botolph's-without-Aldgate, co. Midd., yeoman, and Thomas Black, late of the said parish, yeoman, assaulted a certain Alice Deakins, spinster, ætat. 16, daughter of Robert Deakins, at the said parish, and afterwards, upon the said 26th Sept., conveyed the same Alice Deakins on board a ship called The Concord, then lying in the river Thames, with the intention of transporting the same Alice to Virginia and selling her there for their own gain and profit. On being arraigned on an indictment charging them with this offence, Mary Gwyn and Thomas Black both confessed the indictment, whereupon the sentence of the Court was, that each of the two woman-stealers should pay a fine of twelve pence, and should be committed to the New Prison, there to remain until the fine should be paid. The two kidnappers confessed that they had stolen Alice Deakins with the intention of shipping her to and selling her in America, and they were only sentenced to pay a trivial fine and remain in prison till they had paid it.
Whilst considering these trivial punishments for an offence that clearly appeared much less heinous to our ancestors of Charles the Second's time than it appears to the English of this less cruel age, students should also consider the several indictments that do not seem to have resulted in either a trial or a confession of guilt made in open court. No clerical note touching sentence, verdict, or trial appears on (1) the True Bill (vide pp. 232, 233) against Richard Bridgman for spiriting Robert Weston to Antigua, and there selling him; (2) the True Bill (vide p. 72) against Humfrey Gardener for spiriting Mary Sunderland on board ship, with intent to transport her to Jamaica; (3) the True Bill (vide pp. 155, 156) against Diana Middleton for spiriting Mary Hartley on board ship, with intent to transport her to Virginia; (4) the True Bill (vide p. 156) against the same Diana Middleton for spiriting Margaret Tower on board ship, with intent to transport her to Virginia; or (5) on the True Bill (vide pp. 190, 191) against Matthew Trim and Sarah Falconer for spiriting Elizabeth Partridge on board the ship in which the same Mathew Trim subsequently transported the same Elizabeth to Virginia and there sold her. "Po se," = he or she puts himself or herself on a jury, i.e., pleads ' Not Guilty,' is the only annotation on four other True Bills for stealing people with intent to sell them, to wit, (1) the True Bill (vide pp. 78, 79) against James Buckle for spiriting Hester Lambert from Middlesex to Virginia, and there selling her; (2) the True Bill (vide pp. 70, 71) against Elizabeth Collier for spiriting Sarah Price to Virginia, with the intention of selling her; (3) the True Bill (vide pp. 72, 73) against Thomas Gore for spiriting Edward Meade on board ship, with intent to transport him to Virginia; and (4) the True Bill (vide p. 65) against John Rudd for spiriting John Hewlett on board ship, transporting him to Virginia and there selling him.
From this remarkable absence of annotations touching verdicts and sentence it may be inferred that the kidnappers charged by indictments were not tried for the offences of which they were accused, but were allowed by the Court to appease and compensate their prosecutors with payment of money. In like manner one may assume that in passing the lenient and even laughably trivial sentences, which have been submitted to the reader's consideration, judges had regard to the pecuniary compositions made between the doers and sufferers of wrong. Anyhow, it is certain that, in the time when Mary Gwyn and Thomas Black, convicted on their own confession of spiriting Alice Deakins on board The Concord with intent to transport her to and sell her in America, were sentenced to pay a fine of only one shilling each, the offence committed by a kidnapper in stealing a humble and quite insignificant person was not regarded as the heinous crime which Blackstone declares it to have been, and which it really was.
IX. Minor Offences and Curious Indictments.—In some of the True Bills, which may be described as curious indictments for minor offences, readers of this volume will come upon some obsolete kinds of knavery and malfeasance, that will be serviceable to future writers on the social condition and usages of the inhabitants of Middlesex in the seventeenth century.
(1.) Knaves and Cheats.—It will amuse the perusers of this preface to glance at a few examples of the tricks by which the rogues of Charles the Second's time used to get possession of the money and goods of honest folk, without exposing themselves to prosecution for felony.
(a.) Edward Wilkinson's attempted Fraud upon Musgrave Bibby.— At a time when he was apprehensive of being troubled by the ecclesiastical authorities of his parish for his practice of consorting with conventiclers, Mr. Musgrave Bibby (otherwise spelt 'Beby'), of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, vintner (vide pp. 156, 157), received a visit on 30th Nov., 33 Charles II., from Edward Wilkinson, who introduced himself to the wine-merchant as an officer attached to the Court of the Bishop of London. After offering himself in this assumed character to the dealer in strong drinks, the sham officer of a court, with which he was in no way connected, served upon Master Bibby a sham writ, requiring him to appear within three days of the service of the spurious writing before the Bishop of the diocese, at his Prerogative Court held at Doctors' Commons Hall, there to take an oath touching certain matters. The impostor then went on to say that, for a payment of £31 15s. 6d. he would engage to stay further prosecution of the said process. As the True Bill, from which I have gained these particulars, does not charge the cheat with having extorted the money, but only with having designed to extort it from Master Musgrave Bibby, it may be assumed that Edward Wilkinson's attempt on the wine-merchant's purse was unsuccessful.
(b). Knavish Dealers in Hair.—By a True Bill preserved in S. P. R., 8 April, 30 Charles II., William Noyes and William Hammond, both late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields yeomen, were indicted at Sessions of the Peace for a successful attempt to defraud one Dymock Ely of the said parish. Coming to Master Dymock Ely (presumably a wigmaker) with two bags of hair in their custody,—the one bag containing twenty-four ounces of hair worth £14 8s., and the other bag containing twenty-four ounces of hair worth only 14s.,—the two rogues sold to Master Dymock Ely the choice and valuable hair and received from him the sum of fourteen pounds and eight shillings in full payment for it. But before withdrawing from the scene of this business transaction the knaves took occasion to shift the two bags of equal weight, so that they contrived to carry off the twenty-four ounces of hair for which they had received £14 8s., and to leave behind them the bag of cheap hair. Of course, when attention was called to the matter, the knaves declared it a mere mistake for which they were extremely sorry. Instead of being charged with stealing, they were only charged with fraudulently, unlawfully, and secretly carrying off the costly hair and fraudulently leaving the comparatively worthless hair in its place. It does not appear from any minutes on the bill how the knaves were punished or whether they received any punishment for their endeavour to keep what they had sold.
(c.) Obtaining Goods under False Pretences.—It having occurred to Eleanore Bonnett, wife of William Bonnett, of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, yeoman (vide p. 79) that it would be well for her to get possession of some of the goods and chattels belonging to Alice Challenor, of St. Clement's Danes', and to get possession of them without exposing herself to a charge of feloniously stealing them, the said Eleanore Bonnett went to the shop of the said Alice Challenor, and in the absence of the said Alice Challenor, persuaded Dorothy Challenor, the said Alice's servant, to allow her to take away thirty yards of lace worth fourteen pounds and five shillings and two grey silk lace cornetts worth fifteen shillings. The representations by which Eleanore Bonnett persuaded Dorothy Challenor to put up these goods, appraised at fifteen pounds, were to this effect. There was a certain lady, residing in St. James's House in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, who wished to buy divers yards of lace and two silk caps, and that, if Dorothy Challenor would allow her the said Eleanore Bonnett to take the said lace and cornetts and show them to said lady, she, the said Eleanore, would be prompt in restoring the same lace and cornetts, in case the lady did not care for them, or in bringing to the same Dorothy the money for the goods, should the lady like and take them. Having thus obtained possession of the goods, Eleanore Bonnett neither restored the goods nor paid the price for them. On inquiry it was ascertained that no such lady as Eleanore Bonnett had spoken of was living at St. James's House. Found 'Guilty' by a jury at Hickes Hall of having obtained the goods worth £15 by false pretences, Eleanore Bonnett was fined by the court in the sum of twenty-six shillings and eight pence, which fine she forthwith paid to the Sheriff in court.
(d.) The Fraud of the Sham Postmen.—On the 7th July, 29 Charles II., in the absence of William Freeman, esq., from his dwellinghouse in St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, two rogues named Cornelius Crouch and William Leader (vide p. 78) came to the said house and there told Elizabeth Goodwin, spinster, one of the servants of the said William Freeman, esq., that they were letter-carriers in the service of the Postmaster-General, Henry Earl of Arlington, that they were the bearers of nine letters addressed to her master from parts beyond sea, and that the Postmaster-General's fee for delivering the same letters was thirtysix shillings and six pence. Each of the nine letters bore a postal-mark that had the appearance to Elizabeth Goodwin of being a genuine mark of the Post Office. Under these circumstances, Elizabeth Goodwin took the letters in, and paid the letter-carriers out of her master's moneys the thirty-six shillings and six pence which they demanded. On the matter being looked into, it was discovered that the nine letters were spurious letters, that they had not been brought to England from parts beyond sea, that the postal mark upon them was not a genuine post-mark, and that, instead of being letter-carriers in the service of the Postmaster-General, Cornelius Crouch and William Leader were two rogues and cheats. Arraigned at Sessions of Peace on a charge of cheating William Freeman, esq., by imposing upon Elizabeth Goodwin with a false story and spurious letters marked with sham marks, each rogue confessed the indictment and was fined in the sum of forty shillings.
(2.) Vagabondage coloured with an Affectation of Industry.—Dealing with ordinary vagrants as they had dealt with them during the thirty years next preceding 19 Charles II., the Justices of the Peace for Middlesex during the period covered by this volume displayed notable activity in hunting down and punishing a class of individuals, whom they were pleased to regard as especially crafty and impudent vagabonds, because they coloured their vagabondage with a show of labour, in order to escape punishment for their pernicious vagrancy. If a poor man essayed to earn his living by hawking beef or other victuals in the open streets, he was proceeded against as a vagabond, who was colouring his habitual vagrancy by forestalling the markets. When a woman went forth with a stock of glass wares and offered them for sale at houses in the outskirts of the town, she was regarded and dealt with by the law as an idle and mischievous loiterer, who coloured her vagabondage by affecting to be an itinerant seller of articles, that should be bought only in the shops of honest tradesmen who paid rates and taxes. The pedlar who left his lodging at break of day with a heavy pack of Holland cloth or Scotch cloth on his back, and returned at night-fall after trudging from farmhouse to farmhouse in search of housewives desirous of buying a few yards of the fabric, did not pass his time in idleness. But in the eye of the law he was a vagabond, and there were Justices who maintained that such a vagrant should be flogged all the more severely, on account of his hypocrisy in pretending to be an honest and laborious trader in cloth, when he was merely indulging his evil disposition to roam about, and by his particular way of colouring his vagrancy encroached on the privileges of the drapers, and put in his pocket money which ought to find its way into the hands of respectable shop-keepers. The same view was taken of the tinkers who went about the suburbs, and the rural districts of Middlesex, selling articles of tin-ware, and doing odd jobs of tinker's-work at private houses.
The Justices of Peace, the merchants, the thriving shopkeepers, spoke hard words of the crafty vagrants who injured trade by colouring their vagrancy in so deceitful a manner. Sometimes they grew indignant at the amazing impudence of these wandering knaves, who, instead of doing their work, as they were pleased to call it, as noiselessly and as unobtrusively as possible, had the audacity to cry aloud in the streets and lanes 'Scotch cloth; d'ye want any Scotch cloth ?' 'Kettles to mend !' 'Have you any work for a tinker to do?' 'Buy my drinkingglasses.' 'Knives and scissors to grind, oh!' 'Bring out your knives and scissors to grind, oh!' It will amuse readers to glance at some of the indictments on which vagrants of this shameless and especially hurtful kind were brought to trial at Sessions of the Peace.
(a.) The Case of Margaret Wyatt.—On 14th August, 23 Charles II. (vide pp. 30, 31) Margaret Wyatt shocked many of the witnesses of her disorderly conduct at St. Clement's Danes' co. Midd. by wandering abroad with a stock of drinking glasses and other glasses, and offering to sell the same glasses to divers of the King's lieges, not at open fair or market, but at the private dwellinghouses of the same lieges. Margaret Wyatt's conduct on this particular day was possibly the more interesting because she had already received an intimation of the intention of the Glass Sellers Company to prosecute her for encroaching on their monopoly. Three days before, to wit, on 11th August, the recognizances of Michael Sparkes of St. James's, Clerkenwell, yeoman, and John Webb of the Liberty of the Rolls cordwainer, in the sum of £20. each, had been taken for Margaret Wyatt's appearance at the next General Sessions of the Peace at Hickes Hall, then and there "to answer the Complaint of the Master Wardens and Assistants of the Company of Glass Sellers, London, for wandering up and down to sell glasses." That she had in Master Webb and Master Michael Sparkes two sufficient friends to preserve her from imprisonment during the interval between 11th August and the next General Sessions of Peace, seems to indicate that, though a humble woman, she belonged to a social class distinctly superior to the class most given to disorderly conduct. She may have been a person acting in concert with the Glass Sellers Company, in order to get a judicial decision respecting the company's rights outside 'the City.' Anyhow, Margaret Wyatt, wife of Thomas Wyatt of St. Mary Olave's co. Surrey yeoman, appeared at the G. S. P., and having pleaded 'Not Guilty,' took her trial in October, 1671, on an indictment charging her with being a vagabond who coloured her vagabondage with a deceitful air of industry, by offering glasses for sale as she wandered about Middlesex. "Ac in hujusmodi sua circumvagacione" says the indictment, "apud parochiam mencionatam et diversos alios locos infra comitatum Middlesexie predictum adtunc ac diversis aliis diebus et vicibus callide et subtiliter vendidit et utteravit quamplurima vitrea diversorum generum diversis ligeis et subditis dicti Domini Regis (juratoribus adhuc ignotis) in privatis domibus suis et non in apertis feriis sive mercatu, Ea intencione ad colorandam dictam circumvagacionem et ad escapiendum a punicione pro ejus circumvagacione,"= And in her wandering about after this manner at the said parish and divers other places within the aforesaid county of Middlesex then and on divers other days and occasions she craftily and cunningly sold and uttered very many glasses of different sorts to divers of the said King's lieges and subjects to the aforesaid jurors as yet unknown, in their private houses and not in open fairs or market, with the intention to colour her vagrancy and to escape punishment for her vagabondage. Of this charge Mary Wyatt was found 'Not Guilty.' On what grounds she was acquitted does not appear.
(b.) The Case of Anne Woodward.—On an indictment preserved in S. P. R. 11 Jan., 23 Charles II., Anne Woodward of St. Giles's-inthe-Fields (vide p. 32) was arraigned and charged with having on 15th Dec., 23 Charles II., and on divers other days and occasions before and afterwards, been an idle and vagrant person in the said parish and divers other places of Middlesex, in wandering abroad with linen cloth and offering the same linen cloth for sale and selling it to divers of the said King's lieges and subjects, in their private houses and not in open fairs or markets, with the intention of colouring her said vagrancy and escaping punishment. Convicted on these grounds, and on her own confession of the indictment, of having been and of still being a vagabond, Anne Woodward was fined in a sum not stated by the annotator of the True Bill.
Sentence on Alice Hall for hawking Linen Cloth.—By an indictment preserved in the same S. P. R. of 11 Jan., 23 Charles II., Alice Hall (vide p. 33) wife of John Hall of Stepney co. Midd. yeoman, was charged with having been an idle and vagrant person on 20 Dec., 23 Charles II., and on divers other days and occasions before and afterwards at the said parish and divers other places of the said county, in wandering abroad with linen cloth and cunningly and craftily selling the same cloth to divers of the King's lieges and subjects in their private houses and not in open fairs or markets, with the intention of thereby colouring her vagabondage and escaping punishment for it. Convicted of vagabondage on her own confession of the indictment, Alice Hall was declared 'Guilty,' and was sentenced to be whipt.
That Alice Hall was so sentenced appears from the following clerical note over her name on the indictment, to wit, "Cogn' Ind' h'et judiciu' flagellari &c., judiciu' resp'."=She confesses the indictment: has judgment to be whipt &c., the judgment (i.e., execution of sentence) is deferred. Even at this date, when so many years have passed since the body of Alice Hall, and the bodies of her judges, and the body of the beadle who flogged her bare shoulders if the sentence was executed, went from this world, the humane reader would like to be assured that the poor woman was not flogged for the crime of selling a few yards of linen cloth to persons who wished to buy them. Unfortunately I cannot give the assurance, for the record says no more in the way of mercy than that the flogging was deferred.
(c.) Three Petty Chapmen sentenced to be flogged at Charing Cross for Hawking Cloth about the Streets.—In the 36th year of Charles II. (vide p. 232), William Erwing, Robert Murfort, and Rowland Betty, all three late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, labourers, were tried at Sessions of the Peace on an indictment charging them with having on 7th March, 36 Charles II., and on divers days and occasions before and after the said day wandered abroad at the aforesaid parish, and in divers other places of Middlesex, under the name and style of Petty Chapmen, "craftily and deceitfully using the art of buying and selling Scotch cloth and Holland cloth, and wares pertaining to the art and faculty of linendrapers." Found 'Guilty' by a jury, these three petty chapmen were sentenced to be stript naked from the middle upwards, and to be whipt till their bodies should be bloody, "at the whipping-post prope Charing Crosse."
(d.) George Chambers and the Turners' Company.—On 25th November, 23 Charles II., recognizances were taken before Humphrey Weld, esq., J.P.(vide p. 32), of John Partington, of St. Clement's Danes', distiller, and of William Watts, of Allhallows-within-the-Wall, brushmaker, in the sum of five pounds each, and of George Chambers, of St. Mary's Overs, in Southwark, chapman, in the sum of ten pounds, for the appearance of the said George Chambers at the next Session of the Peace for Middlesex, then and there "to answer the complaint of the Companie of Turners for crying and selling in the streets as a pedler several wares belonging to the Trades of the Turners."
(e.) Tinkers Crying aloud in the Streets.—Upon an indictment, preserved in S. P. R., 27 April, 1 James II., Anthony Sanders, late of St. Giles's-without-Cripplegate, labourer (vide p. 285), was arraigned for having been on the 17th March, 1 James II., and on divers days and occasions before and after the said day, an idle and vagrant person at St. Sepulchre's, co. Midd., and in divers other places of the same county, wandering abroad and carrying about with him certain kettles and skellets and other articles of merchandise, and crying in a loud voice these words, to wit, "Have you any worke for a tinker?" Also in the same S.P.R. is preserved the indictment on which another tinker, John George, late of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, was proceeded against at Sessions of the Peace at Hickes Hall for having on the same 17th March, 1 James II., wandered abroad as an idle vagabond in St. Giles'sin-the-Fields, carrying about certain kettles and skellets, and crying aloud, "Have you any work for a tinker?" thereby colouring his vagabondage, in order to escape punishment for it. Each of these crafty and deceitful tinkers confessed the indictment, and was fined in the sum of three shillings and four pence.
(f.) The Crime and Punishment of a Needy Knife-Grinder.—At S.P.R. held at Hickes Hall on 25th Feb., 1 James II., Richard Hookham, late of St. James's, Clerkenwell, labourer, was arraigned on an indictment charging him with having on the 16th day of the said month wandered abroad in the said parish as an idle vagabond, carrying about with him a wooden cart and a rotatory wheel, and crying and vociferating in a loud voice in and through places and lanes within the same county these words, to wit, "Have you any knives to grind?", with the intention of colouring his said vagrancy, and so escaping punishment for it. Richard Hookham confessed this grave indictment, and was fined in the sum of twelve pence.
In the body of this volume, students may find other examples of the way in which our ancestors of the seventeenth century in their wisdom and tenderness dealt penally with divers sorts of indigent but extremely laborious people as idle and cunning vagabonds.
(3.) A Peril of the London Streets by Night as well as by Day.—Had he been cognizant of the facts, that will be offered to the consideration of readers in this sub-section of an editorial preface, it cannot be questioned that, whilst describing the defects and incommodities of Charles the Second's London, Lord Macaulay would have told his readers how no man could move about the Merry Monarch's capital by night or day on foot, without being in danger of dropping into a deep pit or cellar, and so breaking his limbs, his ribs, or his neck. Readers should remember that from the spacious times of great Elizabeth, when poor scholars used to dive for their fourpenny dinners, down to the close of the seventeenth century, and to still later times, London householders used their cellars for many other purposes besides the storage of wine, ale, coals, firewood, and other provisions. In the more populous quarters of the town, the cheaper ordinaries and public eating establishments were found in cellars, to which the customers descended by stairs from the street. The poorer artisans had their shops in the cellars of houses which they never entered. One consequence of the restrictions on building new houses for the poor folk was that householders, who were licensed to entertain lodgers and sub-tenants under the supervision of the constables and head-boroughs of their parishes, found it to their advantage to let their cellars to indigent people for places of abode. This practice of letting cellars to the meanest folk was permitted to orderly and reputable householders, even in the days when the laws against receiving lodgers and harbouring under-tenants were most rigidly enforced, from care for the health of the over-populated town. It was possible for constables to whip foreign vagrants out of London and back to their proper parishes in the country; but the capital could not be relieved in that, or any similar way, of the natives of London, who, whilst contriving to keep body and soul together, were far too poor to take a house, however small and cheap it might be. It followed, therefore, that a considerable proportion of the London poor hid themselves at nightfall in cellars.
These inhabitants of cellars were permitted to enjoy and utilize the modicum of daylight that came to their darksome rooms from the streets, and even to keep the flaps of their street doors thrown back by day for the more free admission of sunlight during the day, provided they closed the flaps at nightfall, with proper care for the safety of pedestrians in the street. Old vestry-books show that from time to time vestries republished by the bellman the old standing orders for closing cellar-doors that opened into public ways, on the approach of nightfall. But the orders were never rigidly enforced for any considerable length of time. There was an indisposition on the part of petty constables and watchmen to be severe inquisitors in respect to the observance and non-observance of rules, that were peculiarly vexatious to the occupants of cellars. It followed from this official tolerance for a particular misdemeanour, and official tenderness for the occupants of underground chambers, that tenants of cellars in the bye-streets and courts and alleys of the best urban quarters were allowed to do as they pleased about opening and closing the doors of their squalid homes. It followed also that, whilst householders were not worried by the inferior officers of the law because the occupants of their cellars left their flap-doors open, householders were sometimes strangely inconsiderate for the public safety, when for building or other purposes they broke ground and dug pits in the public ways.
(a.) How Thomas Whitehead's Arm "became broake" in Gerrard Street, Soho.—On 8th December, 36 Charles II., i.e. 1684 a.d., John Young, late of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, carver, and Thomas Streeter, late of the same parish, painter, appeared at Sessions of Peace, held at Hickes Hall, to answer to a True Bill of indictment, charging them (vide p. 238) with having, on 21st June last past, "in a certain place called Gerrard Street, leading from a place called Pickadilly to a place called Sohoe, dug a pit or vault ten yards broad and eleven feet deep, in the public highway, in the which it is the wont and right of the King's lieges and subjects to pass and repass with their horses, coaches, and carriages, and unlawfully and unwittingly left the same vault open, so that on the said 21st of June, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., one Thomas Whitehead, in journeying by the aforesaid way, had the misfortune to fall into the aforesaid vault, in which fall his right arm "became broake," a consequence of the said fall and fracture being that Thomas Whitehead languished and lived languidly from the said 21st of June even to the day of the taking of this inquisition, to wit, the 6th Oct. then next following." The carver and the painter made no attempt to defend themselves. They had dug the pit; they had not surrounded it with a fence that would save people from falling into it in the hours of darkness. Each of the two misdemeanants confessed the indictment, and was fined in the sum of three shillings and four pence. The smallness of the fine, which they each forthwith paid to the Sheriff, shows that the Court regarded them as unfortunate rather than as gravely culpable persons.
Thomas Whitehead's accident and the consequent proceedings at Hickes Hall certainly called the attention of the Middlesex and the Westminster Justices of the Peace to the danger of allowing pitfalls to remain open in the public streets, and were probably influential in determining them to deal energetically with those householders of the urban parishes of the metropolitan county who allowed their cellars to remain open under circmstances which, from time to time, caused unwary pedestrians to drop suddenly from the pavement to the ground below the open flap-doors. Anyhow, vigorous war was made against the careless householders during the last few weeks of Charles's time and the first years of James's reign.
(b.) Measures taken for closing or guarding the Doors of Cellars opening into Streets.—In the file of Westminster Sessions of the Peace of January, 36 Charles II., there are preserved fifty-three examples of a sort of indictments, that had not come under my notice in the rolled files of any previous year of Charles's reign, nor in the files of any year of any previous reign—fifty-three indictments (vide pp. 260, 261) on which as many persons were proceeded against, for leaving cellar-doors open into streets within St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, St. Clement's Danes', or St. Margaret's, Westminster. In the rolled files of the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the City and Borough of Westminster, to wit, the G. Q. S. P. held on 22nd April, 1 James II., and divers subsequent days, are preserved one hundred and twelve indictments of as many persons, for leaving cellar-doors open into streets, lying within one or another of the four following parishes, to wit, St. Martin's-in-the-Fields; St. Paul's, Covent Garden; St. Mary's, Savoy; and St. Margaret's, Westminster. The indictment of William Coast, of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, runs thus:—
"Juratores pro Domino Rege super sacramentum suum presentant Quod Willelmus Coast nuper de parochia Sancti Martini in Campis infra Libertates . . . . . Civitatis Burgi et Ville Westmonasterii in comitatu Middlesexie yeoman octavo die Januarii anno regni Domini Regis nostri Caroli Secundi Dei gracia Anglie Scocie Francie et Hibernie Regis fidei defensoris &c, tricesimo sexto vi et armis &c. apud parochiam predictam infra Libertates predictas in comitatu predicto quandam cameram anglice A Celler ibidem existentem prope stratam publicam et altam regiam viam ibidem vocatam Pall Mall in alta regia via ibidem duos pedes et sex pollices extenden' illicite aperuit anglice did open, Et cameram predictam in strata et alta regia via predicta tam per noctem quam per diem apertam et disco-opertam anglice uncovered fore causavit et remanere permisit, Et racione inde alta regia via ibidem magnopere coarctata fuit anglice was streightned In magnum periculum vitarum et mutilacionem membrorum subditorum Domini Regis per stratam predictam per communem viam predictam prope cameram predictam circa legitima negocia sua de tempore in tempus transeuntium, in commune et nocumentum omnium subditorum Domini Regis per communem viam predictam transeuntium &c. &c."
"The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath present That William Coast late of the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields within the Liberties &c. . . . . of the City Borough and Town of Westminster in the county of Middlesex yeoman on the eighth day of January in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of our Lord the King Charles the Second by God's grace King of England Scotland France and Ireland King defender of the faith &c. by force and arms &c. at the aforesaid parish within the aforesaid Liberties in the aforesaid county did unlawfully open a certain chamber called A Celler there being near the public street and the king's highway there called Pall Mall in the king's highway there extending two feet and six inches, And caused and permitted the aforesaid chamber in the aforesaid street and king's highway to be and remain open and uncovered, And by reason thereof the king's highway was greatly straitened to the great peril of the lives and to the mutilation of the limbs of the lord the King's subjects from time to time passing about their lawful affairs through the aforesaid way near the aforesaid chamber, and to the common injury of all the lord King's subjects passing by the aforesaid common way &c."
The particular streets and places of the aforementioned parishes, or near which the 112 aforementioned cellar doors lay open by night as well as by day, were Hart Street, Bow Street, Russell Street, York Street, Bridges Street, Exeter Street, King's Street, Rose Street, and Sandish Street (in St. Paul's, Covent Garden), Duke Street, Charles Street, and Pall Mall (in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields), Swan Yard, White Hart Yard, Drury Lane, and the Strand (in St. Mary's, Savoy), Charles Street and King Street (in St. Margaret's, Westminster). Of the 112 cellars, so left open by night as well as by day, nineteen were cellars lying open in or near Pall Mall. What a stir the morning papers would occasion were they to announce some fine morning that soon after leaving his club on the previous evening, and as he was walking up St. James's Street, some well-known gentleman, say the present Attorney-General or the Right Reverend the Bishop of Winchester, had fallen from the pavement into an open cellar and broken his neck!
(c.) Sir Robert Clarke's Accident.—Sir Robert Clarke was neither a bishop nor a luminary of the law, and for the best of reasons he was not a member of a Pall Mall club-house in the first regnal year of James the Second. But he was a personage of social moment, and was walking in one of the most orderly thoroughfares of urban Middlesex, to wit, in the ancient highway of Holborn, where people of quality and high fashion still had their London homes, when (vide p. 300), some time between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. of 1 Jan., 1 James II., he suddenly dropt through the door of the cellar, which Benjamin Poole, late of St. Andrew's, Holborn, yeoman, had unlawfully opened, and allowed to remain open. As Benjamin Poole's cellar-door was six feet long and two feet wide, there was room for a full-grown man to have a clear fall, and from the language of the indictment on which Benjamin Poole was arraigned at Hickes Hall, it may be inferred that Sir Robert Clarke, knt., had a "clear drop," and that no bone of his body was broken by the accident. But he was so greatly shaken and bruised by the fall, as to have languished and lived in languor for several days by reason of the misadventure. On being called to account for his misdemeanour in letting a gentleman of knightly degree and worth in for so awkward a tumble, Benjamin Poole confessed the indictment, and was fined in the sum of twelve shillings, which he forthwith paid to the Sheriff in Court.
X. Indictments of Recusants.—The reader who has already glanced at the Calendar and Index of this volume, and observed how many pages of both are covered with the names and descriptions of Recusants, does not need to be assured that I have spent much labour in examining the True Bills found against persons for keeping away from the services of the Established Church, and the Recognizances binding individuals to appear at Sessions of Peace to answer to charges of 'recusancy.' But I may observe that this part of the labour of producing the materials of the present book was greatly increased by the condition of the bills of indictments, many of which have through friction become imperfectly legible. What proportion of the persons charged with forbearing to attend church, chapel, or any other usual place of common prayer, were Catholics and what proportion of them were Protestant Nonconformists, I am quite unable to say. Whilst the names and known history of a small minority of the indicted persons declare them to have been Catholics, the indictments of the many bearers of obscure names afford no indication of the religious views of the offenders. On the other hand, the searcher of the calendar, who possesses some knowledge of the Nonconformists of Charles the Second's capital, will not hesitate in inferring from their names, that another small minority of the individuals indicted for not going to church were Protestant dissenters. But with respect to the great majority, perhaps even so large a majority as seven-eighths, of the individuals indicted for staying away from church, I am powerless to say whether a particular person was a Catholic recusant or a Protestant recusant. Historical inquirers searching for new data may, however, be assured that I have milked the Middlesex Records to the last drop of their serviceable testimony touching both sorts of recusants.
XI. Convictions of Conventiclers.—The Certificates of Convictions of Conventiclers are a division of the Clerkenwell muniments that has sustained losses almost as deplorable and quite as remarkable as those losses of successive folios of the Sessions of Peace Register and the Gaol Delivery Register, of which I spoke in an earlier section of this preface. The careful student of Middlesex County Records, vol. iii. does not need to be reminded that there are preserved at the Clerkenwell Sessions House two packets of Justices' Certificates of the convictions of Conventiclers, convicted under the Conventicle Act in the 16th and 17th years of Charles the Second. Of those certificates, and also of other proceedings against Protestant Nonconformists I spoke at length in that 3rd volume of Middlesex County Records (vide Preface xxiii., xxiv., xxv., xxvi., and xxvii., and pp. 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, et seq.). From the close of 17 Charles II. to the middle of 34 Charles II., no Certificates of Convictions of Conventiclers are preserved in the Clerkenwell muniment-room. Of course, the Conventicle Act of 16 Charles II., which came into operation on 1st July, 1664, was passed for only three years, and there was an interval between the date of its expiration and the date of its renewal, with additional clauses (that made it in truth a new statute), by the Parliament, which met on 19th Oct., 1669. This second Conventicle Act received the royal assent on 11th April, 1670. Yet from the date of this second enactment (which was enforced rigorously up to the end of Charles the Second's reign, and was enforced leniently for some time under James II.) one comes at Clerkenwell neither on a file of certificates of convictions, nor on a single certificate before the midsummer of 34 Charles II., i.e., July, 1682, when one comes upon a series of files of such certificates, running to the end of Charles's reign and onwards into James the Second's 2nd regnal year.
How are we to account for the disappearance of the C. C. C. that were signed and sealed by Justices of the Peace between the time when the second Conventicle Act of nth April, 1670, first came into operation, and the July of 1682. Stout parchments, necessarily preserved so long as the Conventicle Act was in force for their testimony to previous convictions, they were not documents likely to perish from mould and rot without leaving a trace of the massive packets in which they were preserved. Why have they disappeared, while the files for more than four full years remain at Clerkenwell in a fairly sound state? They did not rot wholly out of sight. They must have been taken from the Middlesex County Records by some person or persons who forbore to restore them to their proper place, even as the missing folios of the S. P. Register and the missing folios of G. D. Register were withdrawn from the Clerkenwell Sessions House by some person or persons.
I have no more knowledge of the person or persons who withdrew the missing files of C. C. C. than I have of the person or persons who withdrew the missing folios of two great Registers. But I know that strange liberties were taken with the Middlesex Records in far-away times. After speaking of ' the lamentable condition' in which the earlier Middlesex Records were found by the Committee of Middlesex Justices of the Peace who, a few years since, caused them to be put, as far as possible, in good order, Mr. Basil Woodd Smith, J.P., the writer of the memoir of Sir Baptist Hicks, which appears at the close of this volume, observed, in the same Committee's printed Report on the same county records (1884), "How much of this was due to their treatment in the reign of William III. by the then acting Clerk of the Peace, Mr. Harcourt, who removed them 'to his country house in Holborne,' and was only induced to restore them by repeated and peremptory orders of the Court, and how much to neglect, it is impossible to say." I know nothing of the considerations which determined this eccentric Clerk of the Peace to remove the records from Hicks Hall to his rural home. It is improbable that he removed them with the intention of destroying them, or the design of selling them. But whilst, in the absence of evidence to the point, it would be unfair to charge the gentleman with a dishonourable purpose, it is not unfair to think that the eccentric custodian of the Middlesex County Records, who displayed a singular reluctance to obey the peremptory orders for their restoration, retained a few folios and files at his country house, when he restored the main body of the manuscripts to their proper resting place.
The great value and interest of the files of C. C. C, that still remain at the Clerkenwell Sessions House, quicken one's regret for the disappearance of a much larger number of Certificates. In those remaining Certificates the patient searcher of the Middlesex muniments comes upon the names of some of the most famous of the Anglican Nonconformists who suffered for their opinions under our last two Stuart kings. It is worthy of especial notice that one . . . . Baxter (probably Richard Baxter), George Foxe, and William Penn figure amongst the conventiclers who are certified to have been fined for being conventiclepreachers.
(1.) Certificate of the Conviction of George Foxe.—By a C. C. C. dated on 8th Oct., 35 Charles II. (vide p. 226), under the hand and seal of Edward Guise, esq., J.P., it was certified—(a) That Alexander Parker, of St. Clement's Lane, London, haberdasher, John Clarke, of Witney, co. Oxon . . . ., Thomas Farley, of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, William Wine, of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, glover, Michael Richards, of St. Giles's-without-Cripplegate, weaver, Gregory May, of St. Margaret's, Westminster, . . . ., and James Redhead, of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, . . . . ., were on the aforesaid day convicted before the said justice of the peace of having been present together with some two hundred unknown persons at an unlawful conventicle, held under colour of exercising religion, &c, in a certain house of an unknown person in the Savoy, co. Midd., in the forenoon of the 7th inst. Oct., and (b) That George Foxe then and there took upon himself to preach to and teach the persons assembled at the said conventicle, and (c) That a fine of £20 was imposed on the said George Foxe for his said offence by the said J.P., and (d) That a fine of 5s. was imposed upon each of the other aforenamed persons for their said offence of being present at the said conventicle.
(2.) Two Convictions of William Penn.—These two Certificates of the conviction of the famous quaker and philanthropist are the more interesting because they were dated under the hand and seal of Sir Thomas Jenner, knt., J.P., Serjeant-at-Law and Recorder of London, on a day (26th Jan., 36 Charles II.) so near the death of Charles II., who had shown the philanthropist much kindness, that they came to be filed with the C. C. C. of 1 James II., probably because the fines were not actually paid and levied till the first regnal year of the new sovereign, who regarded the quaker with approval and with a regard that may be called friendship. Having settled his colony and seen Philadelphia assume the aspect and proportions of a considerable town, William Penn returned to England, in the later part of 36 Charles II., and journeyed to Newmarket to pay his loyal respects to the sovereign, whose health had for some time shown signs of failing.
(a.) The Earlier of the Two Offences.—On 23rd Nov. of the same year William Penn was present at a conventicle held in a certain house of St. Margaret's, Westminster, under colour of exercising religion otherwise than according to the liturgy and use of the Church of England. Besides being present at this unlawful assembly, William Penn took upon himself to preach to and teach the persons gathered together at it. The Certificate of Conviction sets forth the famous man's offence, conviction, and punishment, in the following words:—
Memorandum quod vicesimo tertio die Novembris anno regni Domini nostri Caroli Secundi &c. tricesimo sexto plures quam quinque persone existentes subditi hujus Regni et ultra etatem sexdecim annorum in conventiculo sive congregatione sub colore sive pretextu exercendi religionem in alio modo quam secundum Liturgiam et practicam Ecclesie Anglicane congregati fuere in domo scituata in parochia Sancte Margarete Westmonasteriensis preterquam ii de familia Et quidam Willelmus Penn super se assumpsit predicare et docere in predicto conventiculo ad congregationem sic illicite congregatam contra formam Statuti in hoc casu editi et provisi prout satis mihi constat per sacramenta duorum credibilium testium videlicet Ellinor Shaftoe et Hester Collingwood unde predictus Willelmus Penn per hoc recordum meum convictus existit et forisfecit summam viginti librarum Et superinde super prefatum Willelmum Penn imposui finem viginti librarum legalis monete Anglie pro offenso suo de bonis et catallis suis levand' esse et distribuend' secundum direccionem statuti predicti In cujus rei testimonium Ego Thomas Jenner miles unus servientium dicti Domini Regis ad legem Recordator Civitatis London Ac unus Justiciariorum dicti Domini Regis ad pacem pro comitatu predicto conservandam assignatorum huic Recordo manum et sigillum mea apposui vicesimo sexto die Januarii anno supradicto.
"Middlesex, to wit: Be it remembered that on the twenty-third day of November in the thirty-sixth year of our Lord Charles the Second &c. more than five persons being subjects of this kingdom and above the age of sixteen years were congregated under colour or pretext of exercising religion in other manner than according to the Liturgy and practice of the Church of England in a house situated in the parish of St. Margaret's Westminster besides those of the family And a certain William Penn took upon himself to preach to and teach the congregation thus unlawfully congregated in the aforesaid conventicle against the form of the Statute for this case published and provided as it appears sufficiently to me by the oaths of two credible witnesses to wit Elinor Shaftoe and Hester Collingwood wherefore the aforesaid William Penn by this my record is convicted and has forfeited the sum of twenty pounds and therefore I have imposed upon the aforesaid William Penn a fine of twenty pounds of the lawful money of England for his offence to be levied from his goods and chattels and distributed according to the direction of the aforesaid Statute In testimony of which thing I Thomas Jenner knt. one of the Serjeants-at-Law of the Lord the King Recorder of the City of London and one of the Justices of the said Lord the King appointed to preserve the Peace for the aforesaid county to this Record have put my hand and seal on the twenty-sixth of January in the above-said year.
(b.) The Later of the Two Offences.—Another C. C. C, dated on the same 26th Jan., 36 Charles II., under the hand and seal of the same Justice of the Peace, shows (vide pp. 265, 266) that William Penn was convicted of and fined for being present at another conventicle held in a house lying in St. Margaret's, Westminster, on 7th Dec, 36 Charles II., under colour of exercising religion, &c. The Certificate runs in these words:—
"Midd. Ss.: Memorandum quod septimo die Decembris anno regni Domini nostri Caroli Secundi nunc Regis Anglie &c. xxxvi. Willelmus Penn et alii ad numerum quinque personarum et amplius existentium subditorum hujus Regni et ultra etatem sexdecem annorum in conventiculo sive congregacione sub colore sive pretextu exercendi religionem in alio modo quam secundum Liturgiam et practicam Ecclesie Anglicane congregati fuere in domo scituata in parochia Sancte Margarete Westmonasteriensis præterquam ii de familia et quedam persona ignota super se assumpsit predicare et docere in conventiculo predicto ad congregacionem sic illicite congregatam contra formam statuti in hoc casu editi et provisi prout satis mihi constat per sacramenta duorum credibilium testium videlicet Hester Collingwood et Elinor Shaftoe unde predictus Willelmus Penn per hoc recordum meum convictus existit et forisfecit summam quinque solidorum Et superinde super prefatum Willelmum Penn imposui finem quinque solidorum legalis monete Anglie pro offenso suo et quia predicator ignotus est et non est inventus ulterius imposui super predictum Willelmum Penn summam novem librarum et quindecim solidorum legalis monete Anglie pro parte offensi ignoti predicatoris predicti de bonis et catallis suis levand' esse et distribuend' secundum direccionem statuti predicti In cujus rei testimonium Ego Thomas Jenner miles unius servientium dicti Domini Regis ad legem Recordator civitatis London ac unus Justiciariorum dicti Domini Regis ad pacem pro comitatu predicto conservandam assignatorum huic recordo manum et sigillum mea apposui vicesimo sexto die Januarii anno predicto.
"Middlesex to wit: Be it remembered that on the seventh day of December in the 36th year of the reign of our Lord Charles the Second now King of England &c. William Penn and others to the number of five persons and more being subjects of this kingdom and above the age of sixteen years were congregated in a conventicle or congregation under colour or pretext of exercising religion in other manner than according to the Liturgy and practice of the Church of England in a house situated in the parish of St. Margaret of Westminster besides those of the family and a certain unknown person took upon himself to preach to and teach the congregation thus unlawfully assembled against the form of the statute for this case published and provided as appears sufficiently to me by the oaths of two credible witnesses to wit Hester Collingwood and Elinor Shaftoe whereby the aforesaid William Penn is convicted by this my record and has forfeited the sum of five shillings And therefore on that account I have imposed on the afore said William Penn a fine of five shillings of the lawful money of England for his offence and because the aforesaid preacher is unknown and is not found I have further imposed upon the aforesaid William Penn the sum of nine pounds and fifteen shillings for part of the aforesaid unknown preacher's offence to be levied from his goods and chattels and to be distributed according to the direction of the aforesaid statute In testimony of which thing I Thomas Jenner knt. one of the Serjeantsat-Law of the said Lord the King Recorder of the City of London and one of the Justices of the said Lord the King appointed to preserve the peace for the aforesaid county to this record have put my hand and seal on the twenty-sixth day of January in the aforesaid year.
The Hester Collingwood and Elinor Shaftoe who, in the manner and to the effect indicated in the certificates, gave evidence against William Penn on 26th Jan., 36 Charles II., were common informers, who at this point of their respective stories were busy in hunting for conventiclers, discovering their places of meeting, and bringing them to punishment. As the rewards of a common informer for giving information against conventiclers were considerable, Hester Collingwood and Elinor Shaftoe made a fine income, temp. Charles II., by their rather unwomanly vocation. For the fair fame of the gentler sex, one would like to be assured that the two ladies were conscientious enthusiasts, and sincerely believed they rendered God and man good service in taking so much trouble to compass the impoverishment of honest dissenters. One would like also to know something about the costumes they wore, and what disguises they employed, in order to win admittance to the secret meetings of the conventiclers whom they brought to justice.
XII. Verbal Contractions and Symbolic Letters used in the Annotations of Indictments and in the Minutes of Gaol Delivery Registers, &c.—A considerable time has elapsed since letters, addressed to me by strangers, made me aware that I should be rendering inexperienced workers on sessional records a service by putting in their hands a list of and key to the verbal contractions and symbolic letters used by the clerks at the Clerkenwell Sessions House in annotating the recognizances and indictments which they made up into rolled files, and in making the usual entries in books of official record. For a time I entertained a design of producing a perfect calendar of the abbreviations and significant letters, with explanatory notes and extensions. On dismissing the project, when I had realized how much time, labour, and money it would require to accomplish it, I determined to place at a convenient season in one of my successive prefaces a key-calendar of all the more puzzling items of stenographic Latin used by the clerical recorders. The result of this determination is now offered to readers, in the hope that it may facilitate the labour of inexperienced editors of curial manuscripts, and preserve them from the discomfort of knowing or suspecting themselves to have made erroneous solutions of some of the 'letter puzzles.'