Friday, December 19, 1656.
Major-General Whalley brought in a Bill concerning the
dividing of Commons, &c. Read the first time.
The Master of the Rolls was for rejecting of it, for he never
liked any Bill that touched upon property.
It can never be made a good Bill what in itself had a tendency to any inconvenience; this the putting of the power of
determining of property in three persons. Time was when I
durst hardly have trusted the justice of peace with determining of a cow grass. You have good justices now: who
can tell what may be hereafter ?
Major-General Whalley. I shall rather be loser than
gainer by this Bill, for I have no commons; all mine are
inclosed. It is for the general good, to prevent depopulation
and discourage to the plough, which is the very support of the
commonwealth. It is not to put it in three commissioners'
power, but in a jury also.
Mr. Fowell. This is the most mischievous Bill that ever
was offered to this House. It will wholly depopulate many,
and destroy property.
Resolved, that this Bill be not read the second time.
Resolved, that this Bill be rejected.
Mr. Speaker. The aldermen of London are waiting here
with a petition. I desire they may be called in.
The. Aldermen, to the number of ten, were called in; and,
at the bar, one of them [Fowke] made a short speech before
they presented the petition.
Mr. Speaker. This city is an antient, honourable, and fa.
mous city; it is called camera regis, (fn. 1) &c.
The citizens being the life of this commonwealth, and so
exempted from going out to wars, yet many of them have
ventured their lives and fortunes for this commonwealth in
the late wars. Privilege and duty, the Lord Chief-Justice of
heaven hath married together. Some have neglected that duty;
yet during the privilege get great estates by their freedom,
yet never respect to bear any of the duty or offices in the city.
Presented a Petition from the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and
commons, and Common Council of the city of London.
The clerk fetched the Petition at the bar; and the Aldermen, to the number of ten, with officers, withdrew.
The Petition read. It was to debar all from being eligible
to be free men there that do not contribute with their pains
and persons, and purses, to the burthen of the justice of that
magistracy, to support it.
Mr. Recorder. There is no fail of justice in that great
city yet; but unless the contents of the Petition be considered, magistracy will fall to the ground.
He made a long speech to the purpose of the petition, that
the non-residents might be liable to duty as well as the inhabitants. They have the best houses and most convenient for
trade, and have got great estates in the city, each of them.
Aldermen Foot and Pack spoke to the same purpose as to
the necessity of the committing of it, and that a Bill might be
brought in to this purpose; for else, in time, none shall support the duty of the city, but such as are mere mechanics.
Mr. Bond. This is a most mischievous petition to the
gentry of England, that ever was. I thought that, long ere
this, we should have the trade dispersed all the nation over;
and this city, it seems, must have all the trade. If you let
this pass, you pull up by the roots all the privileges of the
people of England, and put them into the power of a few
men of this city. They durst not have ventured to have
brought in such a petition in any age. They surely have privilege enough. Shall this fall upon the gentlemen of the nation that have bound their younger sons apprentices, and, the
elder brothers dying, they come to the estate. These never
had a penny profit by the city, yet they must fine seven or
eight hundred pounds for Sheriff, Alderman, and the like; it is
not to know what vast sums have been raised that way. When
they got a stranger amongst them, they squeezed them to the
purpose. I paid, myself, four pounds a week, while I lived in
the city, to the Earl of Essex's assessment. My estate was all
sequestered, and I was not able to bear it; so left the city.
This is the complaint of a many. I desire that this petition
may be rejected.
Mr. Lloyd. This gentleman is angry. All the intent of
the petition is to bring an equality of burthen, as well as
profit, qui sentit commodum sentire debet et onus. The city
has served you faithfully; nay, more than any city in England.
You owe them now 300,000l. They pay a fifteenth part of
the assessment. You may have occasion to use them afterwards. I desire it may be committed.
Mr. Bodurda. This gentleman hath dealt rmore ingenuously than the petition. They would have strangers bear
the burthen. They tell you how they have suffered, and
they likewise imply how they will make up their losses by
these fines. They choose sheriffs by design. They will pick
you out thirty or forty that they know will fine for sheriff,
rather than stand. They choose but two out of them all, and
if the two first stand, their design is broken for that year.
Instanced in one gentleman that was chosen sheriff. He told
them ingenuously he would do the duty of a sheriff to the full,
but would not spend all the estate he had got in many years, in
one year. He told them plainly he would go in his cloak,
and in the same clothes. He would be at no charge. Whereupon the Council rejected him, and he paid not a penny fine.
Otherwise their design had been spoiled. I would have this
Sir Christopher Pack, for information sake, supported the
Sir Thomas Wroth spoke again. That gentleman is mistaken, I do aver there is no such design in the choosing sheriffs. That person he speaks of was a man much wedded to
his own opinions, and therefore rejected.
Major-General Kelsey. I am a free-man myself. I know
that gentleman that was chosen sheriff. He was no such baseminded man as is represented. He is now chosen sheriff for a
county. I desire the petition may be committed. That of the
factors is no danger at all. I am not afraid to be sheriff.
Captain Baynes. It may be committed and all these inconveniences considered; as that of factor's and gentlemen's
Mr. Highland. This city has lost nothing by the Parliament. What by offices, and what otherwise, they have been
no losers. I am for the rejecting of the petition. It is true
what is said. They do choose sheriffs out of design, and. go
a birding for sheriffs every year.
Colonel Hewitson. The city has done you eminent service,
never to be forgotten. This is the first petition that they
ever troubled you with; it ia no great matter. It is only to
restore them to their ancient privileges and their order and
government I would have you give them thanks for their
Colonel Whetham. I am sorry to see so great a reflection
upon this honourable city; especially by those that are by the
skirts of it, (fn. 2) and have got good profit. I desire it may be
Mr. Noel. I have lost 20,000l. since I have had the
honour to be a free-man of London, and yet I never lost by
being a free-man. I have a competency left yet, and I hope
shall never lose by the relation. The desires of the petition
are just and good. I desire it may be committed.
Mr. Robinson. There are some things in the petition
which may be made good by commitment, except against the
words " such as trade or such as have traded."
Mr. Bampfield. I am sorry that this City has no greater
boon to desire of you. I desire the petition may be committed
with this exception, that aliens shall not be liable.
Resolved, that this petition be referred to a Committee, to
meet to-morrow afternoon in the Inner Court of Wards.
Mr. Bodurda. I move that Mr. Bond may be added to this
Committee. I am informed that, in the case of a petition,
though one speak against it, they may be of that Committee,
but otherwise, in a Bill.
The Master of the Rolls. It was an ancient ceremony
to call in the Aldermen of London to the bar, to acquaint
them what was done in their petition. It is but seldom that
they trouble you, and it is but a compliment. I desire they
may be called in. They have been a faithful city to you, and
have raised 40,000 men in twelve hours' warning, &c. and
done you many considerable services. I well remember it.
The Aldermen were called in, and Mr. Speaker told them
how the House had considered of their petition, and referred it
to a Committee to prepare an expedient for what they desired
To the business of the day.
Captain Baynes reported from the Committee, the arrears
of the assessments from the City of London.
February 1,1644, to June 24,1656
|Whereof discharged by the Act of Oblivion
|Due by Offices and Officers employed by the State
|From the Stillyard and Intercourse Merchants
|Owing by the Temple and Inhabitants thereof
Both which ought forthwith to be levied by distress.
Alderman Foot. The burthen ought not to lie upon the
Lord Whitlock spoke to the same purpose, that the stillyard
merchants should pay it.
Mr. Lloyd proposed that the stillyard might pay these assessments, and not the merchants of the intercourse. They
are not intercourse merchants.
Lord Strickland. The English merchants have now got
the trade of the stillyard. They are but five or six that
the burthen lies upon. They are not able to pay it. The
agent from Hambrough did clear it when he was here; and
now he has put in another paper to clear the stillyard merchants from that tax. We are freed in Holland both from
custom and excise, upon the very account of the stillyard merchants trading here. I would have my Lord Protector consulted in it, lest grasping for a little monies we break our
public faith with foreign states. Let us do nothing till well
Major-General Disbrowe. You need not hire foreigners to
live amongst you. They will give you monies to trade here.
I hope you will not use strangers better, seeing you use them
no worse than you do your own inhabitants. This has been
before the council, and both there and in the little Parliament, it was resolved they ought to pay this assessment.
Captain Baynes. It was resolved last Parliament, that the
stillyard merchants ought to pay this part of the assessment; either they must pay it, or the city. It is good you
would declare your opinion of it, for the city till then will
lay the assessment there still, and in the mean time the commonwealth wants it. I desire the Committee may be agreed
Sir Christopher Pack. This is a great business, and was
never yet fully determined. I desire that you would either
order the merchants of the intercourse to pay it, otherwise
take so much of the city. In former times their subsidies
were allowed in the Exchequer, upon defalcations.
Sir William Strickland. Suspend your vote till you have
well advised in it, lest you draw more enemies upon you.
It seems these were dispounded by privy seals, in the Exchequer. Upon the accounts of subsidies this gentleman
leaves it very intricately.
Mr. Downing. This is no damage to Holland, they have
renounced that trade long since. Subsidies were a free grant
to the king, and he might give them back again by privy
seals if he pleased, but. we must have, pecuniis numeratis, our
charge carried on.
The intercourse merchants are many of them traders into
the Spanish countries, which are your enemies, and with other
countries: It is by contract and agreement, and not at all
relating to Holland. Again, Holland has engrossed and put
great inconveniences upon our manufactures. They get
30,000l. per annum by our laces; a new trick of the Hollanders. They are far too politic for us in point of trade,
and do eat us out in our manufactures. I desire they may
pay as well as we.
Mr. Noel. It were good it should be determined whether the city or the merchants of the intercourse should pay
it; for it has been an old dispute and never decided.
Sir William Strickland proposed that the word "stillyard"
might be left out of the question, and let it stand only, "upon
the intercourse merchants."
Lord Strickland. Either leave out both words, or neither
Captain Baynes. If you take out the word "stillyard,"
you lay it upon the intercourse merchants; unless you divide
them, that each may know his proportion and what to pay.
Colonel Mathews. The proportions of the stillyard are
but a small part to that of the intercourse. I desire they may
be distinguished, and divide your question.
Alderman Foot. We make no distinction of Hambrough
or stillyard merchants, but upon the merchants of the intercourse.
Dr. Clarges. We need not keep up our league with
Spain, whether they will or no. This will make no breach
between Holland or Hambrough and us.
Major-General Kelsey. I am for dividing of this question,
that, as well the intercourse merchants and the still-yard merchants may know what they shall pay. I should be sorry it
should breed a difference between us and foreign states, for so
small a matter, or upon any account where it can be otherwise
Resolved, To agree with the Committee in this part of the
Report, That the sum of 6823l. 15s. 5d., arrear of assessment upon the Merchants of the Intercourse and Still-yard
be levied by distress, &c.
Resolved, To adjourn this debate till to-morrow; nothing
This afternoon the Grand Committee for Religion sate, but
I was not there. I dined with Captain Baynes, and stayed
three hours with Sir Thomas Sandford, who came home on
Saturday last, and I knew not.