The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Leathersellers.]206

The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Leathersellers.]

of the said Patent might be suspended; and the Grievances of the said Companies be farther considered of, either by their Lordships, or some other grave indifferent Persons, to be appointed by them. Who by their Wisdoms might judge and discern of the untrue Suggestion made to the Queen by Mr. Darcy, for the obtaining of this Patent; and also of the manifold Inconveniences, and intolerable Oppressions, which would fall upon the said Companies, in case the said Patent should be put in execution.

So this Business came before the Lords: And Darcy exposed as much as ever he could, all the Deceits of the Leathersellers, and their monstrous Gains, by selling counterfeited Wares for the best. And in conclusion, his Sollicitor asserted, that the Workmen that drest the true Leather were desirous to have all Leather sealed, that thereby the good might be known from the bad; and that all People might perceive by the Seal what they had for their Money. So should not the Leatherseller deceive the whole Commonwealth.

The Patentee's Plea against the Leathersellers.

The Leathersellers, and the Workers in Leather, put in their Paper to the Lord Buckhurst, Sir John Fortescue, and Sir John Woolley, of the Queen's Council, appointed to hear this Business. Wherein they utterly denied any unlawful, counterfeit, or deceitful Dressing of the sorts of Leather, or that any of it was requisite to have any Search or Seal in such Manner and Form as Mr. Darcy untruly suggested to her Majesty. And they marvelled that he, being a Man of great Experience and Calling, would attempt, or presume to sue unto her Majesty to search any sorts of Leather which were not appointed to be searched by Parliament (Tanned Leather being only so appointed) and required to search those sorts of Leather, for which there is no Act of Parliament, nor Law. And her Majesty ruled her Subjects only by the Laws of the Realm; and would not deal with any contrary to Justice. They urged the Bondage the Patentee would bring the Queen's Subjects into; to cause every Leather-Cutter, Dresser and Occupier of Leather, to bring his Goods to such Towns and Places, and at such times as he and his Deputy should appoint; and there and then attend their leisure; and what an infinite Toil and Loss of Time would be consumed therein, in carrying to and fro. They shewed what an intolerable Tax, and what heavy Sums of Money this would amount unto, if it were to be paid by the Law of the Realm. That it would be considered, whether it were meet, that such a Tax should be laid upon the People, not being granted by Parliament, nor warranted by Law. And whether, if it were in her Majesty's Pleasure to grant it, it were meet or requisite to raise a Revenue of fourscore or an hundred thousand Pounds to one Man, to the utter undoing of many Thousands, her Majesty's poor and dutiful Subjects. It was also put to their Considerations, that a multitude of the Queen's Subjects should be bound in 40l. yearly, not to sell, or put to sale, any such lawful Leather, without the Search and Seal of Mr. Darcy, or his Assigns; and that those that refused, should be imprisoned and restrained from their Trades and Occupations, until it pleased Mr. Darcy and his Assigns or Deputies, to remit their supposed Offence; and to compel every Man to pay for the same Bond 4d. Since that it appeared through the whole Course of the Grant, there was no Law to warrant the same. Lastly, whether it were a meet and convenient thing, that Maiors, Bailiffs, &c. who were sworn to execute Justice, should be bound, contrary to the Rules of Law, to give Aid or Assistance to the Patentee, or his Deputies.

The Leathersellers Plea and Complaint.

This put some stop to Darcy's Patent. Insomuch that he earnestly applied himself to the Lord Treasurer, that he might have his Patent, or at least a new one, with the Fees for Sealing abated; and professing himself to be satisfied with 200l. or 150l. a Year. The said Treasurer (to whom this Matter was left) that he might the better judge of the Leathersellers Business, made these Queries. First, How many kinds of Leather were subject to the Sealing? Secondly, Who were the People in Quality that did first work upon them? Thirdly, How many Workmens Hands they passed, before they came to the Leathersellers? Fourthly, How many kinds there were of this Leather, and what was the difference of the Prices of them? These Queries he sent to certain knowing Men in matters of Trade for their Judgment herein. Who gave him in, a Schedule of all the Prices of Leather, with the Rates they judged fitting for the Sealing.

Queries of the Ld. Treasurer about Leather.

The Lord Treasurer at length made some other Propositions to the Leathersellers. To which nevertheless they would not comply. Wherefore he did imprison some of them. Sir Richard Martin and Sir John Hart, Aldermen, and the Recorder, did advise them to yield to Darcy. But they (whose Names were John Ward, Arthur Parkinson, Anthony Quaplade, and Richard Ironside) did urge to the said Aldermen, that at their first incorporating into this noble City, they were charged with a precise Oath; To be obeisant and obedient unto the Maior and Ministers of the City, the Franchises and Customs thereof to maintain, and this City to keep harmless in that that in them was. And then they bade them judge, if to admit Mr. Darcy's Ministers to Search and Seal, were not to run headlong into the horrible Sin of Perjury; which the Queen could never abide, nor ever yet left unpunished. And because they might err, they prayed, that the Exposition of their Oath might be referred to the general Censure of a Common Council of the City. And they prayed God to strengthen them with all Constancy and Patience to endure any thing rather than by their own Act to dispossess themselves of that which had been enjoyed by them and their Predecessors, Citizens of Lond, three hundred Years and more; or rather than to yield Mr. Darcy a jot more than they were bound to do, in 100l. apiece, by a Decree made with the most deep Deliberation the 13th of February last, in the Star-Chamber, by the Lords of her Honourable Privy Council, assisted with the Presence of the most Reverend Judges of the Land.

The Resolution of the Leathersellers.

On the back side of this Paper, they in these Words petition the Lord Treasurer:

"WE most humbly beseech your good Lordship, that even as you have been hitherto most worthily accounted the very CATO of the Common Weal; and even as your Lordship will not, that her Majesty be inferior in Honour and Princely integrity to her most noble Father: Who in the seventeenth Year of his Reign uttered these Words, as is reported by Mr. Hall, to his eternal Praise: viz. That his mind was never to ask any thing of his Commons, that might sound to his Dishonour, or the Breach of his Laws; so we beseech your good Lordship, even for the Love that you bear to God, her Majesty, and your Country, whose Cause this is, to read these Reasons; and then to judge whether we be worthy of Imprisonment, or no: Having no other Choice, but to endure Imprisonment, or to damn our own Souls, and to yield to that which is more heavy to us, than eight Subsidies yearly paying during our Lives, without Coercion of the Laws."

Their Petition to the Ld. Treasurer.

Fol. 141.