Laws and Privileges.19

Laws and Privileges.

Usages, &c. To which the King answered, That as to the City of London, the Citizens had delivered another Bill, containing this Article, and many other; the which the King had caused to be examined, and graciously to be answered.

Then follows the Substance of the Petition, set down from the Rolls of Parliament, 1. R. 2. n. 126.

In the Parliament the 7. R. 2. the Commons presented another Petition to the King, in Behalf of the City of London; which passed into an Act. [Which was here set down in French.]

Upon the passing of this great Law, for the ratifying and confirming of the ancient Liberties and Customs of the City, a Proclamation was set forth and published by Nicolas Brembre, Kt. then Maior, as well on the Behalf of the King, as of himself. The Proclamation is very memorable: First, because it was published by Brembre, who, as Historians, and even the Parliament Rolls assure us, was highly devoted to the Interest of Richard the Second. Secondly, because that Proclamation was a full and true Comment, Exposition, or Declaration of the present Sense and Understanding, not only of the King and Parliament, when they enacted this Law, 7. R. 2. but of the Generality of the City of London.

[The Proclamation is here at large transcribed out of the Records of the City, entered and enrolled Lib. H. fol. 169 a & b. It is in Latin.

From whence it followeth, that Richard the Second had confirmed aand granted the Liberties and ancient Customs of the City, as well those that had their Original Commencement by Vertue of any King's Charter, as those that were prescriptional without Charter.

Again it is observable, that the King willed and assented, that though the Citizens, or their Predecessors, had not hitherto, on any Occasion whatsoever, fully used all or any of the Liberties, Acquittals, Grants, Ordinances, Articles, or free Customs, or any other Things contained in the said Charter, or Letters: Or though, peradventure, they had abused any or all of the Acquittals, Grants, &c. Yet, notwithstanding, they and their Heirs and Successors, Citizens, for the Future, should fully enjoy and use all and every the Liberties, Grants, &c. any Statutes or Ordinances made, or Judgments given, &c. to the contrary.

In the Reigns of succeeding Kings, though we find no particular Confirmation of the Liberties and Franchises of the City of London, by Name, in Parliament, yet after the great Convulsion that fell upon the City of London, 16. R. 2. which much alarm'd all the other Cities and Boroughs, (the like whereof never happened from that Time to this Day) yet we meet with several Confirmations by Act of Parliament, of the Liberties and Franchises of all Cities and Boroughs of the Realm; and that fixed and knit with the Liberties and Franchises of the holy Church, and the Liberties and Franchises of all the Lords, Spiritual and Temporal, and others the King's Liege People: As in 2. H. 4. and 4. H. 4. and 9 H. 4. &c.

And all these were only Confirmations of Magna Carta; which saith, That the City of London shall have all the old Liberties and Customs which it hath been used to have. "Moreover, We will and grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and Barons of the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their Liberties and free Customs."

Poulton's Stat. 9. H. 3. cap. 9. Fol. 3.

Magna Carta.

And for the Honour of Magna Carta, I will conclude this Head with the Statute of 12. Ed. 4. touching the Penalty of them that do not perform the Award and Order of the Commissioners authorized to pull down Wears: That great and valiant Prince, after the Overthrow of his Enemies, and peaceful Possession of the Crown, assisted with all the Judges of England, by Assent of Parliament, declared and confirmed the same Dues of the great Charter of Liberties thus:

They call it the laudable Statute of Magna Carta: Which Statute was made for the great Wealth of this Land. Upon which Magna Carta the Great Sentence and Apostolic Curse, by a great Number of Bishops, was pronounced against the Breakers of the same. And the same Sentence is four Times in the Year openly declared, according to the Law of the Holy Church. And in Affirmance of the said Statute of the said Great Charter, divers Statutes have been made and ordained.

Poulton's Stat. 12. E. 4. cap. 7. Fol. 350.

V. Concerning Pleas of the Crown.

The fourth Point and Charge of Mr. Attorney's Quo Warranto.

The Maior and Aldermen of the City of London, claim to be Justices of the Peace within the said City, and to hold the Session of Peace, and Pleas of the Crown, within the said City. For the Charter, as to that, runs thus, Quanquam ut accepimus talia in omnibus, &c. [It is long: The Substance of all this, as to the Point in Question, amounteth to this, That Henry the Sixth, by his Charter, confirmed the Liberties of the City; and constituted the Maior, Recorder, and Aldermen of London, who had been, or should be, Maiors thereof, (after their Maioralty expired) Justices of Peace within the City, for the Peace and good Government thereof: Like a City situated upon a Mountain of good Manners and Vertues; dispersing the Rays of her vertuous Government far and near, to her and their perpetual Peace, &c.

6. Hen. 6. An. 23.

The Words are, Ut de cætero, quidam certus, verus, determinatus, & indubitatus modus in Civitate nostra predict. de & super Custodia Pacis, ac Regimine & Gubernatione populi nostri ejusdem omnium locorum Regni nostri predict. primo & precipue; ad quam indies confluit, quasi ab omnib. mundi partibus populi multitudo continue habeatur; & sit illa semper, & permaneat Civitas, Pacis & Quietis, Civitas super montem, morum & virtutum, in repressionem & punitionem malefactorum, laudem vero ac nutrimentum bonorum, posita & locata, radices sui virtuosi regiminis longe lateq; diffundens: ut de ea semper virtuosa & gloriosa merito valeant enarrari.]

Yet in this Charter of Henry the Sixth there is a special Proviso inserted, which is this, Proviso semper, quod Cives Civitat. predict, habeant & teneant omnes & singulas Libertates & consuetudines antiquas, integras, liberas, & illæsas, permissis in aliquo non obstantib.

This Charter was also confirmed by Inspeximus 2. E. 4. as appeareth by an Inspeximus 1. R. 3. as Mr. Town Clerk saith; for I have not seen them yet. And the Charter of Henry the Sixth and Edward the Fourth were pleaded in the Exchequer H. 8. as I found in the Book of that King's Reign, marked with the Letter now in the Custody of Mr. Town Clerk.