The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Vinteners.]196


Things unto the due Observation of the Liberties of the great Charter of England, did not only by Parliament confirm all the Points of the said Charter, but also did enact, that if any Statute were to the contrary, that it should be holden for none. Now one of these ancient Liberties and Franchises was, that every Citizen and Freeman might use and occupy what Trade soever best liked him for his profit. Notwithstanding the Trade of Vintners and Wine-sellers was of late abridged by that Act of Edward the VI.

In consideration whereof Queen Mary, that next succeeded the said King, by her Charter granted to the Master, Wardens and Company of Vintners a special Dispensation to buy, sell and utter for a certain Time, in such sort as they were accustomed, according to the ancient Liberties, Franchises and Customs of the said City, notwithstanding the same Statute. Yet notwithstanding the said Charter of Dispensation, there were certain Citizens (who being free of other Companies than of the Mystery of Vintners, and being not remembred at the obtaining and granting of the said Charter, did after upon their humble Suit to the said Queen Mary, obtain and get at her Majesties hands, an especial Grant of Dispensation of the said Statute. The which Grant was to endure but for their own times and no longer.

Queen Mary dispences with King Edward's Act about Wines; as to the Prices;

And Sellers of them.

But since which Charter of Dispensation, these Inconveniences arose, that such as had been Apprentices, and spent the best part of their Youth in the Service of such as had occupied the Trade of Wines, coming out of their Years, and being free of such Companies as their Masters were free of before them, might not by reason of the said Statute use the same Trade as their Masters did use, while they served them. The which was their utter Undoing; and gave occasion of hindrance unto their Masters, as that it was now come to pass, that none would be their Apprentices, by reason that after they were made Freemen, they could not use their Masters Trade. Hereupon a Petition was preferred to Queen Elizabeth out of her honourable Inclination of Pity, to provide for the Relief of these her Subjects, according as their learned Counsel in the Laws of this Realm should devise.

None to sell Wine but of the Company of Vintners.

The Inconvenience thereof.

Some Persons in the Year 1594. sue to the Lord Treasurer for a new Office of Survey to be erected for the gauging of Wines, and Oyles within the City of London and Liberties; upon pretence of doing it more faithfully and exactly than the common Gaugers did, to the wrong of the Subjects, and to have 16d. a Tun reward. Concerning this the Lord Treasurer sent to the Company of Vintners for their Judgment herein. To which the Master, John Pindar, and Rafe Fitche and Andrew Goodyere, Wardens, gave answer, that they did not find any Necessity for such an Office or Officer, especially in or about London, considering the good Ordinances were provided for the same, in most full and ample and sufficient manner, as well by her Majesties Laws, as by solemn Oaths and good Bonds taken of the Gauger, for the due and diligent execution of his Office. So that they did not know that any Man had or could have just cause to complain of any want of Duty in that behalf. And in case any Error or Default should be committed by any Gauger, or Seller of Wine or Oyl, there was so good remedy already provided by the said Laws, as well for the Gauger, if he gauge not truly, as for the Seller, if he make not allowance for the Lacks, that the Buyer if he will, may be satisfied to his full Content. And if the Buyer will not take the Remedy by Law, yet he were better to bear some Loss, than to pay after the Rate of 16d. a Tun, or to attend the Surveryor in his View and Survey thereof to be had, and Entrance made into the Surveyors Books. The Trouble whereof would be such to the Surveyor, as he could in no wise be able to perform. For at one Instant 30 or 40 Bargains are made. So that they thought by this Suit their Charge and Trouble would be encreased, and their Loss no way redrest.

The Vintners Judgment about the Gaugers of Wines.

And if Corruption might be in the Gaugers now in possession, being solemnly sworn, and bound in great Bonds for the due Execution thereof, besides the penalty of the Laws, what better Assurance might they look for, that the like Corruption be not in the new Surveyor or his Deputies. So they prayed his Lordship's favourable Acceptance of their Answer from his accustomed Goodness in maintaining the Charters and Liberties of the City, and restraining of this and such like Impositions and Innovations; which turned in the end, but to the burden of her Majesties Subjects.

And in another Paper in answer to the Suitors Objections against the present Gaugers, they shewed that the Laws contained two principal Grounds, as Matter sufficient for Redress of all such Disorders as might fall out against the Provision made by them. The one was the Forfeiture of four Double by the Gauger in default of his Care, Diligence and Trust. The other, the full Satisfaction the Seller must yield to the Buyer in case there be found want of Number, of Measures full. If the Buyer should not take the Benefit of the Law for his Remedy, which hath been of purpose provided for him, he is to impute his Loss to his own Folly; and not to be relieved by Invention of new Offices. For that were an endless Work in making of Laws; if every private Head should upon his Conceit have new Means of Remedy set out for him, whereas there is sufficient provided before.

Their Reasons against setting up a new Office of Gauging.

In this matter of Gauging, as in many Cases of the like Nature in the City, the Survey resteth in the Lord Maior, and Guardians of the Charters and Privileges of the City. Whose Office is to see, that all such Ordinances as are established for the good Government of the City be duely kept and observed for the good of her Majesties Subjects, and the supplanting of all Infringers of the same. So that in this Case to require a Surveyor, is in effect to require a Surveyor of the Lord Maior's Actions and Carriage of himself, and of the Council of the City in their whole Adiministration. And by the Statute of the 16 Rich. II. cap. 5. No Searcher or Gauger of Wine, &c. shall have Estate in his Office for Term of Life, or of Years, but that the said Offices shall remain in the King's hand, under the Governance of the Treasurer for the time being, with the Assent of the Council, when need is. And if any Letters Patents be made to the contrary, they shall be clearly void, and of none effect.

It would infringe the Ld. Maior's and City's Privilege.

By the Petition to her Majesty, all Forfeitures due to her Majesty by any Statute provided for the true Gauging, and holding of the Lawful Assizes of Wines, Oyls, and other Liquors gaugeable, are sued for, to be granted by Patent for Years, together with the Office of Surveying the Gauges at the Rent of 50l. per Ann. and with a Fee of 16d. upon every Tun. The Penalty of which Laws, if they were put in Execution, it is most certain would be of more Profit to her Majesty, than were fit to pass at that Rent; besides the Fee of the Surveyor would exceed the Gaugers 12d. upon every Tun.

The Company of Vintners endeavoured about the Year 1580 and odd, to obtain of the Queen a Licence to sell Wine for certain Years, and not Durante Beneplacito, (for then such a Licence

The Inconvenience of a Licence of certain Years to sell Wine.