Cornhil Ward. The Royal Exchange. 136

Cornhil Ward. The Royal Exchange.

that they agreed among themselves to give 4l. a Year for a Shop above, so that they might be freed from keeping Shop below: And so Sir Thomas should turn the Vault to what other use he would, either for Merchants Goods, or otherwise. Which offer he accepted; and so the Tenants only furnished the Shops above; And as they remain to this day. And the Vaults have been used now a long time for stowing of Merchandizes, and chiefly Pepper.

Before this Exchange was thus built and compleated, there had been many Thoughts and Counsels among the Citizens and Merchants about the effecting of it; it being a thing greatly needed by those that followed Merchandize, since it could not be carried on conveniently without such a Place for meeting and conference together. And among the rest, Richard Clough, Sir Thomas Gresham's Correspondent in Antwerp in the Year 1561. wrote a Letter to him, blaming the City of London for neglecting so necessary a thing: Calling the Governours of the said City, a Company that did study for nothing else than their own private Profit? "Considering, added he, what a City London is; and that in so many Years the same found not the means to make a Burse, but Merchants must be contented to stand and walk in the Rain, more like Pedlars than Merchants. In this Country, said he, [meaning Antwerp] and in all other, there is no kind of People that have occasion to meet, but ye have a Place meet for that purpose. Indeed, and if your Business were done [here] and that I might have the leisure to go about it, and that I would be a means to Mr. Secretary to have his Favour therein; I would not doubt but to make so fair a Burse in London, as the great Burse is in Antwerp without soliciting of any Man more than he shall be well disposed to give, &c." Whence one may conjecture that Gresham had it in his Thoughts sometime before, and wanted only a Contribution from some wealthy Citizens to assist in so expensive a Work: Which he obtained at last: The Citizens having purchased the Fee Simple of the Ground and Houses, by certain Trustees, conveyed it over to him to build the said Burse upon: And in the Conveyance he was to make a Re-assurance again to them upon certain Conditions. But he dying before this was done, some difference happened between the Lady Gresham and the City.

A Burse much wanted before this was built.

J. S.

Sir Thomas Gresham got great Fame and Glory by this magnificent Work, and every one took their occasions to extol him. Thus one Hugh Gough, in a Book dedicated to him soon after his finishing this Structure, entertained him with Words to this Tenor: "That few had flourished in whom all these commendable Qualities had reigned; as both to be beneficial to their Country by safe Counsel, procuring of safeguard for the same, and bestowing of their substance, to the building of such famous and magnificent Works as might serve for common Utility unto all Men. And by the discretion of those Men that be learned and wise, if ever any Subject hath enjoyed them, they attribute it unto you. For what is he, which is ignorant of the Policies and Travails that your Works have used and sustained, for to get Safeguard, and requisite Furniture to the Realm. Beside the infinite Riches given to the Building of that princely Work, commonly call'd the Burse. Which already declareth, and in London is openly to be seen, what Commodity generally it will bring to the Citizens thereof. To what end should I rehearse or make mention of the great diversity, which Men account to be betwixt it and the huge Tower of Babylon, or the outragious Buildings in Egypt, named Pyramides; or of the exceeding difference, wherein it excelleth the intricate Labyrinths, and monstrous Pillars erected in divers parts of the World? Considering that it is unknown unto few, that these were builded for a vain Ostentation, or frivolous Memorial, without any profitable Use; or of Envy, because the Founders thereof would not leave such store of worldly Treasure unto their Successors. I need not make rehearsal of their Courtesy, Gentleness, Friendship and Liberality towards all Men; yea and, which deserveth no small Commendation, towards the Unknown and Strangers, &c."

Gresham gets Glory hereby.

After the Death of Sir Thomas Gresham, the Founder of the Exchange, in the Year 1592. Lady Gresham, his Widow, contended with the Maior and Trustees for the Exchange; endeavouring to get an Act of Parliament to empower her and her Heirs to make Leases from time to time of twenty one Years or three Lives, of the Shops in the Exchange, keeping Fines to her self. Which was supposed to be against the last Will of Sir Thomas, and contrary to an Act of Parliament made in the 23. of the Queen. She also complained, that the City did not, or would not, employ the Profits of the Exchange according to Sir Thomas's Will. This she exhibited by way of Supplication to the Council against the Lord Maior and his Brethren, the Aldermen.

The Lady Gresham contends for the Exchange.

To which they subjoyned this Answer; "That whereas the Lady Gresham had desired to have an Act of Parliament to authorise her and her Heirs from time to time to make Leases of twenty one Years, or three Lives, of the Shops in the Royal Exchange, keeping the Fines thereof to her self, and reserving as many Rents as is now reserved to remain to the City of London: It is thereunto aunswered, That the same her Demand is utterly against both the last Will and Testament of Sir Thomas Gresham, her late Husband, as also expressly against an Act of Parliament made in the 23. Year of her Majesties Reign. Unto which Act the said Lady Gresham was privy, and her Council was heard, what they could say, before the said Act passed. And they say also, the same Request of the Lady Gresham is against all Reason and Equity. For that the Citizens of the City of London puchased in Fee Simple, in the name of Livers Feoffees, the Soyl whereupon the Royal Exchange is builded, and paid for the same above 4000l. And in the eighth Year of her Majesties Reign conveyed the same to Sir Thomas Grehsam, upon Condition to have Re-assurance made according to certain Covenants: Which was not done. And albeit the Citizens might lawfully have entred for Breach of the said Condition, and presently taken the Rents and Profits of the whole; yet they have contented themselves to accept of the same according to the last Will, and Act of Parliament, and have suffered the said Lady Gresham to take the whole Profits: And yet they have been at great Charges in the defending of Titles made to some part of the same, and in paying of Quit-Rents, Tithes and Widows Dowers: Which they still continue to this Day. "

The Cities Vindication of themselves against her.

" Touching the Employments of the Profits of the Exchange according to the Purport of the Testament of Sir Thomas Gresham; it is thereunto aunswered, that it is meant, and so it shall be performed, that the same after the Death of the Lady Gresham, shal be employed "