[Courts.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Orphans Court.]373

[Courts.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Orphans Court.]

"neither themselves, nor others, may mis-spend the same: And, in that behalf of the Orphans, do prosecute Suits for Recovery or Defence of their Right. Where otherwise the Children for want of Ability, Discretion, and Friends, to follow their Suits, do often prejudice their Titles, and sometimes lose their Rights."

"And by this Custom, if any Orphan die within Age, the Interest of his Portion is preserved to his Brothers and Sisters surviving: Where otherwise they might (by Flattery, or other Abuse) be induced to bestow the same by their Wills upon Strangers."

"Which provident Care had of th'Orphans, as aforesaid, doth not only extend to their Benefit, but stretcheth further to the Good of the Widows, Creditors and Legatories of the Dead. Who might (by sinister Practice of the Executors) be greatly prejudiced, if such exact Care were not had. And that which is more, there be a great number of young and towardly Merchants and Occupiers within the City, relieved and profited by the Use of Orphans Portions: yielding but an easy Allowance to the Orphans, for their competent Maintenance. And therefore this our Custom, we hope, shall seem to your Lordships, with all Favour, the more worthy to be supported."

"Where on the contrary Part, if it should be holden and deemed as a thing lawful and arbitrable, for every Freeman, at his own Discretion and Pleasure, by fraudulent Deed of Gift in his Life-time, or by his last Will, to dispose of all his Goods after his Death; hereof it would ensue, that many counterfeit Wills and Deeds of Gift would be forged: and for Maintenance thereof, much Perjury committed; many true Wills would be suppresssed; many wilful Men, to advance one Child (for Affection) would leave the rest Beggars. Hereby also Men would defraud their Wives. So that neither rich Woman, nor wise Woman would marry with a Citizen, not having Lands of Inheritance. And Women already married would all persuade their Husbands to become Purchasers. Hereby also would be opened a Gap to much Perjury in these Devices. For every Freeman is sworn to defend, obey, and maintain this Custom. Hence might it also proceed, that the Cry of Orphans being discouraged, might slack the Care and Diligence which now is taken in Orphans Causes. And Orphans having present Possession of their Portions, being very young at the time of the Death of their Parents, would presently depart out of the City; and should be in danger (before they were of reasonable Discretion) to be defrauded of their Portions, and to be abused in Marriage, either to Beggars, Persons irreligious, or of light Name. Whereby the Trade of Merchandize would wax cold, the City in Strength and Wealth feebled, Navigation neglected, her Majesties Subsidy and Custom diminished, rich Mens Children, deprived of their Birthright, should become Beggars; Hospitals surcharged, and an intolerable Burden imposed on the City: and all by Fraud. Where Fraud, even in things of themselves lawful, is not favoured in Law."

But now the City being insolvent, these Obligations about Orphans are ceased.

The great Law now in force for relieving and doing Justice to the Orphans of the City, who had long wanted their Monies, by reason of the City's Inability to pay them, after the great Fire of London, was made in the fourth and fifth Years of King William and Queen Mary. Whereby a perpetual Fund was to be raised, to pay the yearly Interest of 4l. per Cent for every 100l. Principal, andof all the Interest thereof, due to any Orphan of the City, or the Executors, Administrators, or Assigns of such Orphan. And this Provision made by the said Act, for Payment of the said Interest Money for ever, was to be in full Satisfaction of the Debts and Interest thereof, due to the Orphans, or their Creditors. And they to acknowledge Satisfaction of their respective Debts according to the usual Custom, &c. And the City and their Successors to be acquitted of the same. And this to be raised out of all the City Rents. And besides, for the same purpose 2000l. a Year to be raised by an Assessment upon the Inhabitants of the City and Liberties: and 600l. a Year to be reserved for the same Use, out of the Profits arising to the City by the Glass Lights, commonly called the Convex Lights: Moreover, for the same Use, every one bound Apprentice is to pay Half a Crown, and every one made Free, five Shillings; and 4s. per Tun upon all Wines imported into the Port of London; and 4d. upon every Chaldron of Coals imported to London, to the 29th of September 1700; and from thence a further Sum of 6d. per Chaldron so imported; that is, 10d. every Chaldron: and for Coals sold by the Tun, for every 2000 Weight 6d. This last Imposition to continue for fifty Years only.

The Act of Parliament for the Orphans.

The Chamberlain, or other Officer, that shall misapply any of the Money so appointed, to forfeit treble the Sum; to be recovered by any the Orphans or Creditors that will sue for the same, in any of the Queen's Courts of Record.

And any Person to whom any Money is payable by this Act, may by Writing under his Hand and Seal, transfer his Right and Interest therein. And being registred in a Book to be kept for that Purpose, such Assign shall be entitled to the Benefit thereof: and such Assign may in like manner assign again; and so toties quoties.

No Person hereafter to be compelled by vertue of any City Custom, or by any Order or Process in the Court of Orphans, to pay or deliver into the Chamber of London any Sums of Money or Personal Estate due, or to be due, to any Orphan of any Freeman.

This Act is entitled, An Act for Relief of the Orphans, and other Creditors of the City. To which Act it is easy to have Access, for any that have occasion to make use of it, being in the printed Acts of Parliament, Ann. 5 & 6 Guliel.& Mariæ.

It was some Years ago propounded by a good Citizen, in order to get the City free of this Burden, that if the fifteen Coal-Meeters, who pay about 1700l. each for their Places, and the ten Corn-Meeters, who pay about 1400l each for their Places, were admitted to their Places without Money, but for yearly Rent, the former would pay (instead of 80l. as they do) 350l. per ann. each, and the latter about 250l. per ann. each. Which would bring 7000l. per ann. into the Chamber. And this, appropriated by Act of Parliament to the Orphans, would effectually secure the Payment of 4l. per Cent. Interest, granted them by Act of Palriament, and ease the Citizens of the Tax of 2000l. per Ann. levied upon them towards the Payment of the Interest aforesaid.

An Expedient to get the City free of the Orphans Debt.

Rich. Bromley.

To add here, for a Conclusion, a few Customs relating to Freemens last Wills, and of their Widows and Children, as to the Division of the Estates that the said Freemen died possessed of, and properly lying before this Court.

Concerning Wills, Widows and Children of Freemen.

Lex Londini.

By the Custom of London, a Freemen's Widow may require a third part of his Personal Estate, after his Debts paid, and Funeral Charges discharged, besides her Widows Chamber furnished. To his Children belong another third part. And the last third part he may by Will give away to Wife or Children, or what other Person soever he