Strype, Survey of London(1720), [online] (hriOnline, Sheffield). Available from:
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The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
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[City's Plea] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [upon the Quo Warrant.]352

[City's Plea] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [upon the Quo Warrant.]

As to the Petition, the City in their said Rejoynder, shewed the imminent Danger the King and his Subjects were in at that time from a Popish Plot; That Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, who took Examination of Witnesses, and Information concerning the same, was lain in wait for, and murdered by the Conspirators. That Green and others were hanged for it. And that others were tried for the said Conspiracy. That the Lord Powis, and several other Lords, were impeached by the Commons in Parliament for High Treason, and sent to the Tower. And that the King, in his Speech to the Parliament, had recommended to them the farther Pursuit and Examination of that Conspiracy; declaring, that he thought not himself nor them safe, till that matter were gone through withal. And therefore, that it was necessary that the said Lords should be brought to Trial. And the Parliament made an Address to the King, both Lords and Commons, declaring their being deeply sensible of the sad Condition of the Realm, by means of the Conspiracy. These Impeachments and Bills thus depending, and the Parliament thus prorogued, the Citizens and Inhabitants thereof were much disquieted with the Sense and Apprehension of the Dangers threatning the King's Person, his Government and Realm, by reason of this Conspiracy: And conceiving no other means to prevent it, than the sitting of the Parliament, and receiving a Petition from divers faithful Subjects, Citizens, to the same Effect. And lastly, it being lawful to petition, the Maior and Aldermen in Common Council assembled, did cause the Petition to be written, and did order, that after the same was presented to the King, it should be printed, for the Satisfaction of the troubled Minds of the Citizens.

This great Cause was twice only argued; first by Mr. Finch, the King's Sollicitor, for the King, and Sir George Treby, the Recorder of the City, for the City. And next, by Sir Robert Sawyer, the King's Attorney General, for the King, and Henry Pollexfen, Esq; for the City.

Memorandum, That when the Demurrer in this Case was joined [viz. Michaelmas Term, 34 Car. II.] Mr. Serjeant Pemberton was Chief Justice of the King's Bench. But before Hillary Term, that it came to be argued, he was removed, and made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Sir Edmund Saunders, who had been Council for the King in drawing and advising the Pleadings, was made Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Some advised, that the City should surrender their Charter to the King, but the Majority were against it; and so it was seized into the King's hands.

But though the City were thus despoiled of all its ancient Privileges, Freedoms, and Franchises, on which depended each private Citizen's Honour, Wealth, and Safety; yet many of them did make but a matter of Sport of it, as though the City was well enough met with, because of the want of Loyalty in some of its Members, and for their standing up so strenuously for their pretended Rights and Privileges. And Songs were merrily sung at Entertainments in the City on this Occasion. As one to the Tune of Packington's Pound, that began thus:

Ballads upon the Loss of the City Charter.

YOU Fréemen and Masters, and Prentices mourn,
For now you are left with your CHARTER forlorn,
Since London was London, I dare boldly say,
For your Riots you never so dearly did pay.     
In Westminster Hall     
Your Dragon did fall,
That caus'd you to riot and mutiny all.

Upon occasion of the Quo Warranto brought against the City, were divers Books and Pamphlets printed and sent abroad; viz. 1. The Citizens Loss when the Charter of London is forfeited, or given up. Printed in 1683. 2. The Case of the Charter of London stated. Printed in 1683. This Tract is to shew, that London had forfeited its Charter. 3. The Rights and Privileges of the City London, proved from Prescriptions, Charters, and Acts of Parliament; also the Coronation Oath of several of the Kings of England. Printed in 1682. 4. Seasonable Reflections of dissolving Corporations in the late two Reigns, by surrendring of, and giving Judgment against Charters; particularly that of the City of London, manifestly destructive to the most ancient and famous Constitution of our English Government. Printed in 1689. But it was intended to have been printed at the time of the taking away the City's Charter, but for fear of the Severity of the Times, hindred. Moreover besides these, 5. The City of London's Plea to the Quo Warranto, in an Information brought against the Charter in Michaelmas Term 1681. Wherein it will appear, that the Liberties, Privileges and Customs of the said City cannot be forfeited or lost by the Misdemeanour of any Officer or Magistrate thereof; nor their Charter be seized into the King's hand for any Misusage or Abuseage of their Liberties and Privileges; they being confirmed by divers ancient Records and Acts of Parliament, made before and since Magna Charta. Published both in Latin and English 6. The Replication to the City of London's Plea to the Quo Warranto brought against their Charter by our Sovereign Lord the King. 7. The City of London's Rejoinder to Mr. Attorney General's Replication in the Quo Warranto, &c. Wherein is pleaded, that,

Books printed upon the Quo Warranto.

First, By Prescription they have a Right, 1. To appoint, alter, and change the Markets within the City from one Place to another; 2. To regulate Markets, and to ascertain Tolls and Prizages, which were levied upon Freemen as well as unfree Men.

Secondly, they pleaded, That upon serious Consideration had of the Proceedings of the late damnable Popish Plot by them mentioned, for the Destruction of the King's most Sacred Person, the Extirpation of the Protestant Religion, and the Subversion of the Civil Government, the Common Council, out of the great Zeal and Loyalty to the King, agreed to the Petition inserted in Mr. Attorney General's said Replication. These were answerable to the two Charges contained in the Quo Warranto; the one for taking Money of the Market-folks, the other for a Petition, that the Maior, Aldermen, and Citizens preferred to the King, for the sitting of the Parliament to examine the dangerous Popish Plot, the King having prorogued them when they were going about it: And for printing this Petition, and dispersing it abroad, which was said to be to the Disturbance of the Peace and Tranquility of the Kingdom.

When the City's Liberties were thus seised by King Charles II. they found it necessary to present a Petition to him in Council at Windsor, upon Monday the 18th of June, 1683. when the Lord Keeper made a Speech concerning this Affair. The Petition ran to this Tenour;

"Shewing, That his Majesty's Petitioners were most heartily sorry for the Misgovernment of this his City of late Years, whereby the Citizens had fallen under his Majesty's Displeasure. Which occasioned a Quo Warranto to be brought against them; upon which Judgment had been pronounced for Seisure of their Liberties and Franchises into his Majesty's hands. They acknowledged the great Favour of this Opportunity of Application to his Royal Grace vouch-"

The City's Petition when the Liberties were seized.


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY