[The City Charter] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [seised.]351

[The City Charter] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [seised.]

fore that time empaired and put back their Estates, and was not available to the common Profit of the Realm, &c. And further, to grant that no Maior of the said City for the future should take, nor be constrained to take, in the Court of Exchequer, any other Oath, but only the ancient Oath used in the time of King Edward his most noble Grandfather (whom God absolve) any Statute or Ordinance to the contrary thereof notwithstanding. To which the King answered, De assensu Prælatorum, Dominorum, Procerum & Magnatum sibi in eodem Parliamento assistentium, le Roy le voet, i.e. So it pleaseth the King.

Vid. Cart. Concess. Civitat. Lon. 7 R. II. & Lib. H. in Archiv. Lon. f. 169.

Thus in former times have Parliaments favoured the City in the Confirmation of their just Privileges. But to return to the Confirmations which the Kings and Queens of the Land have granted the same. The three great Charters beforesaid of King Henry I. King John, and King Henry III. have been confirmed under the Great Seal to the People, by these Kings and Queens; viz. Edward I. Edward II. Edward III. Henry IV. Henry V. Henry VI. Edward IV. Rich. III. Henry VII. Henry VIII. Edward VI. Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, King James I. King Charles I. And lastly,

All these Charters were confirmed to the City by King Charles II. Which Charters were some Years ago printed: And the Book called TheRoyal Charter of Confirmation granted by King Charles the Second to the City of London; it was printed in the Year of Sir Robert Clayton's Maioralty, and dedicated to him; wherein are recited verbatim all the former Charters at length, taken, as the Book avoucheth, out of the Record. To which printed Charter of King Charles II. any may have recourse, that desires to know the Contents of all the Charters of London, and the Privileges of the Freemen thereof.

All former Charters confirmed by K. Ch. II.

But in the 35th of the same Charles II. the City's Franchises were seised into that King's Hands, upon a pretended Forfeiture. But first in the 34th of the said King, a Quo Warranto was issued forth against the City, Sir Robert Sawyer being then the King's Attorney General; and the City was cast. In the Year 1690, a Book was published in Folio, containing the Pleadings and Arguments, and other Proceedings in the Court of the King's Bench upon the Quo Warranto touching the Charter of the City, with the Judgment entred thereupon; the whole Pleading pretending to be faithfully taken from the Record.

The City Charter seised into King Charles's Hands.

Book of the Pleadings, &c. upon the Quo Warranto, pr. 1690.

Now this being so remarkable a Matter happening to the City, the like whereof had not happened in some Ages before, it may be worth taking some particular Notice of it: Which I shall do from the aforesaid Account.

Some Account of the Quo Warranto.

That which gave the occasion of the King's causing this Quo Warranto to be brought against the City Charter, was a Petition the Court of Aldermen and City made to the King upon his Prorogation of the Parliament, when they were going to try several Noble Persons upon the Popish Plot; and for their printing and publishing the said Petition, which was look'd upon as seditious. For the which the City made their Plea in the Rejoynder to the Attorney General's Replication. The Petition is remarkable: and upon it hung so much Displeasure to the City, that it may not be amiss for them that are minded to look more narrowly in the City's Concerns, to peruse it in the said printed Rejoynder.

The Occasion of the King's Displeasure against the City.

Rejoinder, p. 31.

The Information in the nature of a Quo Warranto set forth, that the Maior and Commonalty, and Citizens of the City of London, by the space of a Month last past and more, used, and yet did claim to have or use without any lawful Warrant, or Regal Grant, within the City of London aforesaid, the Liberties and Privileges of the same City, viz, these Liberties and Privileges following: 1. To be of themselves a Body Politick, by the name of Maior and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London. 2. To be Sheriffs of the City of London and County of Middlesex, and to name, elect, make and constitute them. 3. That the Maior and Aldermen of the said City were Justices of Peace, and held Sessions of the Peace. All which Liberties, Privileges, and Franchises the said Maior and Commonalty and Citizens of London, upon the King, had by the Space aforesaid usurped, and yet did usurp.

The Judgment was, that the Liberties, Privileges and Franchises of the City, to be of themselves one Body Corporate, by the name of Maior, Commonalty and Citizens, to be taken and seised into the King's hands; and that said Maior and Citizens of London be taken to satisfy the King for his Fine, for the Usurpation of the laws and Privleges.

The great Arguments insisted upon, whereby it was endeavoured to be proved that the City had forfeited their Liberties and Privileges, were these.

The Arguments used, that the City had forfeited their Liberties.

1. Because they took Authority to levy Money upon the King's Subjects to their proper Use, by colour of Laws and Ordinances by them de facto ordained. And in the Prosecution thereof, the 17th of Sept. 26 Car. II. in Common Council, published a Law, for the levying of several Sums of Money, of all that came to the Public Market within the City to sell Provisions; viz. Of every Person for every Horse-load of Provisions, 2d. per Day: Of every Dosser of Provisions, 6d. per Day. For every Cart not drawn with more than three Horses, 4d. per Day; if drawn with more than three Horses, 6d. per Day. And if any paid them not, then to be removed from their Place in the Market. And that by colour of this Law, the Maior, &c. had for seven Years received great Sums of Money, amounting to 5000l. per Annum. This was represented as an Oppression of the King's Subjects for their own private Gain.

2. That the Maior, Commonalty and Citizens, on the 13th of January, 32 Car. II. [Sir Patience Ward then being Maior] in their Common Council did give their Votes, that a certain Petition under the Name of the Maior, Aldermen and Commons of the City of London in Common Council assembled, should be exhibited to the King. The Import whereof was, that by the Prorogation of the Parliament (which was from the 10th of Jan. 32 Car. II. to the 20th of January then next ensuing) the Prosecution of the public Justice of the Kingdom, and the making necessary Provisions for the Preservation of the King and of his Protestant Subjects, had received Interruption. And that they did order the said Petition to be printed; and the same was printed accordingly. Which was charged and aggravated upon the City to be done unlawfully, maliciously, advisedly, and seditiously, with intention that the said Petition might be dispersed among the King's Subjects, to the Hatred of the King's Person and Government, and to disturb the Peace of the Kingdom.

The Maior, Commonalty and Citizens, in Rejoynder, (as to the former Argument) pleaded by protesting, that those Pleas by the Attorney pleaded, were insufficient in Law to forejudge or exclude the Maior and Commonalty from being a Corporation; Protesting also, that no Act or Deed, or By-Law made by the Maior, Aldermen, &c, is an Act or Deed of the Body Corporate. Lastly, protesting that they, the Maior and Commonalty, &c. never took upon them any unlawful or unjust Authority to tax the King's Subjects coming to Market, such yearly Sums as were alledged.