[Precedency of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Aldermen, Knights.]390

[Precedency of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Aldermen, Knights.]

"Degree of Knighthood, as also certain Commoners, yet keeping Shops, and continuing their Trades within this City: And forasmuch as some of those Knights Commoners do pretend a Priority before some of your Suppliants later Knighted, and stand with them in Contention for Place and Superiority in Precedency at public Meetings, even in their own Wards and Jurisdictions, contrary to the most seemly and beautiful Order of the said City;"

"Your Suppliants most humbly beseech, that your Majesty will be pleased to recommend the judicial Hearing and Determination of this Difference unto the Right Honourable the Lords in Commission for the Office of Earl Marshal of England; To the end, that the ancient Magistracy, which is derived and held from your Majesty's supreme Authority, together with their ancient Customs and Privileges, being rightly understood, their Lordships may take such Order therein, as your Highness be no further troubled herewith, nor the settled Order of the City's quiet Government, hereafter prejudiced nor disturbed."

This was accordingly referred to the Court Marshal. For under the Petition it was thus writ:

At the Court at Newmarket, 12 Mar. 1607.

"HIS Majesty having a gracious Respect to the Lord Maior and Aldermen of his Highness City of London, is pleased to refer the Consideration of this Petition unto the Lords Commissioners for the Office of Earl Marshal of England; to the end, that such Order may be set down in the Differences mentioned in this Petition touching Precedency, as shall be convenient for the Preservation of the Credit of such as, under his Highness, have Authority in the Government of the City."
Signed Daniel Dun.
Vera Copia, Rob. Treswel.

The chief of these Commissioners was the Earl of Northampton.

What the Issue was, I proceed to tell. When the Case was heard before the Court Marshal, the City assigned these Reasons for their Knights Aldermen to take Precedency of any Knights Bachelors else: nay, and for Aldermen, tho' not of the Degree of Knights, to do the same.

The Case argued before a Court Marshal.

The City of London, they argued, was a Corporation priviledged from much of the ordinary Course held throughout the Kingdom; and endued with many Liberties and Immunities, first granted thro' special Favour of the Kings of this Realm; and afterwards confirmed by divers Acts of Parliament: as aiming at the Benefit and Honour of the State. Which the Industry and Loyalty of the Inhabitants hath so well answered, that the Place hath thereby gained the Name of the King's Chamber.

That the Government of this City depended chiefly upon the Maior, as the King's Lieutenant. And secondarily, upon the Aldermen, as subordinate Magistrates, to govern the several Divisions or Wards of the same. Whereof by like Authority, granted from Sovereign Majesties, they were made Keepers. And to these Aldermen was left the Rule of the Inhabitants, residing in the same: which was known by the Name of the Commons of the City.



That the Body of the Commons was divided into Guilds or Companies: which were anciently ranked in Degrees of Priority or Precedency, according to the Worthiness of their Trades or Mysteries. And the Brethren of every Guild, had their Places in the Company, either according to their Seniority, or as they held Offices in the same. Moreover, every Citizen knew his Place, not only in his Company, but also cæteris paribus, in respect of such as were of other Companies. Which was not the least Part of the Policy of this City.


That the Question now was, whether a Common dignified with Knighthood, without any other Advantage of Honour, by Employment or otherwise, and using Trade and keeping Shop in the City, should take Place of an Alderman Knight within the same City, contrary to this beautified Order, of ancient Time settled and confirmed, with such Charters and Grants from his Majesty. Or whether any other Bachelor Knight shall take Place of any Alderman within the City.

That in the Negative it may be thus argued. HONOUR is given to assist Government, not to derogate from it, or to diminish it. But if a Commoner Knight have Precedency of an Alderman in the Place of his Authority, it doth in some manner shadow and eclipse his Authority and Government. He that hath Power upon just Occasion to command, hath Precedency of him that is subject to that Command, in the same Place where he commandeth. But an Alderman hath Power, upon just Occasion, to convent the Commoner within his Ward, notwithstanding his Knighthood. Ergo, he hath Precedency before him in that Place.

Honour, the End of it.

A less Good in the State, is not admitted to prejudice a greater Good. But if a private Knight shall take Place of an Alderman, and consequently prejudice Magistracy, and diminish the Honour of the City, a lesser Good doth hinder a greater Good. Ergo,

That in the Court of Pleas of Law holden in Guild-Hall, pro Domino Rege, the Aldermen are Judges. And in that regard, they wear their Scarlet Robes. But Judges have Precedence of others within their Circuit. Ergo,

Neither hath it in former Times been questioned, whether an Alderman shall take Place of a Commoner Knight. For it appeared by ancient Journals, or Repertories of the City, (wherein every Man is registred according to his Place of Precedence) that an Alderman Knighted took his Place according to his Seniority among the Aldermen, and not as he was a Knight. Ergo a fortiori, a Commoner Knight is not to take Place of an Alderman within the City. For the Record stands thus.

Precedents for it.

Commune Concilium tent. undecimo die Julij, Anno Regni Regis Edwardi Sexti, Dei gratia, Angliæ, &c. tertio, coram Henrico Amcotes, Mil' Majore, Rob. Brook, Recordatore, Armigero, Rad. Warren, Wil. Haxton, Martin Bowes, Joh. Gresham, Milite, Joh. Wilford, Andr. Judd, Geor. Barnes, Ricardo Jervis, Tho. White, Augustino Hinde, Ricardo Turke, Henrico Goodyer, Johan. Lyon, Johan. Lamberd, Wil. Gerrard, Stephan. Kirton ac Wil. Lock, Milite, Aldermannis, Vicecom, ac majore parte Communariorum de Communi Concilio Civitat. predict. existent.

And for their Place without the City, the Record of primo Hen. VIII. Jennyngs Maior, concerning the Funeral of Henry VII. is extant, in this manner:

"And upon the next Day then following, the Maior and Aldermen, with all such Persons as have been afore appointed to ride in Black, shall go by Water in Barges to Westminster, there to be present at Mass and Offering. The Maior, with his Mace in his Hand, offered next after the Lord Chamberlain. The Aldermen Barons, and representing Barons Estate, which have been Maiors, offered next to the Knights of the Garter, and before all the"