An Apology of the City of LONDON.7

An Apology of the City of LONDON.

Brewers, or such like, more than Gentlemen were wont to do within the Country, Retailers, and Artificers, at the least of such Things as pertain to the Back or Belly, do leave the Country Towns, where there is no Vent, and do flie to London, where they be sure to find ready and quick Market. And yet I wish, that even as many Towns in the Low Countries of King Philip do stand, some by one handy Art, and some by another; so also, that it might be provided here, that the making of some Things, might (by discreet Dispensation) be allotted to some special Towns; to the End, that although the Daintiness of Men cannot be restrained, which will needs seek those Things at London, yet other Places also might be relieved, at the least, by the Workmanship of them.

Thus much then of the Estate of London, in the Government thereof, in the Condition of the Citizens, and in their Power and Riches. Now follow the Enumeration of such Benefits as redound to the Prince and this Realm by this City: In which doing, I profess not to rehearse all, but only to recite and run over the chief and principal of them.

A Specification of the Benefit to the Publick accruing by the City.

Besides the Commodities of the Furtherance of Religion and Justice, the Propagation of Learning, the Maintenance of Arts, the Increase of Riches, and the Defence of Countries, (all which are before shewed to grow generally by Cities, and be common to London with them.) London bringeth singularly these good Things following.

By Advantage of the Situation, it disperseth foreign Wares, (as the Stomach doth Meat,) to all the Members most commodiously.

By the Benefit of the River of Thames, and great Trade of Merchandize, it is the chief Maker of Mariners, and Nurse of our Navy and Ships, which (as Men know) be the wooden Walls for Defence of our Realm.

It maintaineth in flourishing Estate, the Countries of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, and Sussex; which, as they lie in the Face of our most puissant Neighbour, * so ought they, above others, to be conserved in the greatest Strength and Riches: And these, as it is well known, stand not so much by the Benefit of their own Soil, as by the Neighbourhood and Nearness they have to London.

The flourishing State of the adjacent Counties.

*Philip King of Spain.

It relieveth plentifully, and with good Policy, not only her own poor People, (a Thing which scarcely any other Town or Shire doth) but also the Poor that from each Quarter of the Realm do flock unto it; and it imparteth liberally to the Necessity of the Universities besides. It is an Ornament to the Realm by the Beauty thereof, and a Terror to other Countries by Reason of the great Wealth and Frequency. It spreadeth the Honour of our Country far abroad by her long Navigations; and maketh our Power feared, even of barbarous Princes. It only is stored with rich Merchants, which Sort only is tolerable; for beggarly Merchants do bite too near, and will do more Harm than Good to the Realm.

It only, of any Place in this Realm, is able to furnish the sudden Necessity with a strong Army. It availeth the Prince in Tronage, Poundage, and other his Customs, much more than all the rest of the Realm.

It yieldeth a greater Subsidy than any one Part of the Realm; I mean, not for Proprtion of the Value of the Goods only, but also for the faithful Service there used, in making the Assess. For no where else be Men taxed so near to their just Value as in London; yea, many are found there, that for their Countenance and Credit Sake, refuse not to be rated above their Ability; which Thing never happeneth abroad inthe Country. I omit that in ancient Time, the Inhabitants of London and other Cities, were accustomably taxed after the Tenty of their Goods, when the Country was assessed at the Fifteenth; and rated at the Eighth, when the Country was set at the Twelfth; for that were to awake the sleeping Dog, and I should be thought dicenda, tacenda locutus, as the Poet said, i.e. To talk of Things not to be spoken, as well as of them that were.

It only doth, and is able to make the Prince a ready Prest, or Loan of Money.

It only is found fit and able to entertain Strangers honourably, and to receive the Prince of the Realm worthily.

Almighty God (qui nisi custodiat Civitatem, frustrà vigilat custos, i.e. Who, unless he keep the City, the Watchman waketh but in vain) grant, that her Majesty evermore rightly esteeem and rule this City; and He give Grace, that the Citizens may answer Duty, as well towards God and her Majesty, as towards this whole Realm and Country, Amen.

An APPENDIX to the former Discourse, containing an Examination of such Causes as have heretofore moved Princes either to fine and ransom the Citizens of London, or to seize the Liberties of the City itself.


THESE all may be reduced to these few Heads: For either the Citizens have adhered in Aid or Arms to such as have warred upon the Prince, or they have made Tumult, and broken the common Peace at Home; or they have misbehaved themselves in Point of Government and Justice; or, finally, and to speak the plain Truth, the Princes have taken hold of small Matters, and coyned good Sums of Money out of them.

To the first Head I will refer whatsoever they have done, either in those Wars that happened between King Stephen and Maud the Empress, being Competitors of the Crown; or between King John and his Nobles assisting Lewis the French King's Son, when he invaded the Realm: For it is apparent, by all Histories, that the Londoners were not the Movers of these Wars, but were only used as Instruments to maintain them. The like is to be said of all the Offences that King Henry the Third, whose whole Reign was a continual Warfare, conceived against this City, concerning the bearing of Armour against him: For the first Part of his Reign was spent in the Continuation of those Wars that his Father had begun with Lewis; and the rest of his Life he bestowed in that Contention which was commonly called The Barons Wars. In which Tragedy, London, as it could not be otherwise, had now and then a Part, and had many a Snub at the King's Hand for it. But in the End, when he had triumphed over Simon Mountford at Evesham, London felt it most tragical; for then he both seized their Liberties, and sucked them dry; and yet Edictum Kenelworth, made shortly after, hath an honourable Testimony for London, saying, Te, London, laudamus, &c. i.e. We commend thee, London, &c. As for the other Offences that he took against the Londoners, they pertain to the other Parts of my Division.

The City considered taking Part sometimes against the King.

Next after this, against whom the Londoners did put on Arms, followeth King Edward the Second, who, in the End, was deprived of his Kingdom; not by their Means, but by a general Defection, both of his own Wife and Son, and almost of the whole Nobility and Realm besides. In which Trouble, that furious Assault and Slaughter, committed by them upon the Bishop of Ex-