[State of the Chamber.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Observations.]446

[State of the Chamber.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Observations.]

Some good Citizens have lately shewn their zealous Affection, for promoting the better Estate of the Chamber, both in their Common Council, and other their private Consultations and Devices. And they have taken Notice, how some Expences of the City might be retrenched, and what great Advantage might be made by farming out Places and Offices, which now are wont to be sold for Life. For they have noted in some publick Prints, how many of the Liveries, Fees and Offices are now become useless, by Alterations in the City Affairs, and some of them moreover pernicious, vexatious and buthensome, having little other prentence for their Continuance, but that the Officers purchased their Places with great Sums of Money. To instance (among many others) in the three Clarks of the Markets, who, (reckoning but twenty Years past) have been paid 468l. per Ann. by 9l. per Week out of the Chamber: whose Officers for so long a time were useless, the Markets being farmed, and the Farmers obliged to do the Duty of these Officers. Hence may appear the City's great Damage by these Sales: For it hath paid for twenty Years last past so many times 468 Pounds, amounting in the whole to 9360l. And the City may have this Payment continued on it for ever, the Officers pretending to Free-hold by virtue of their Purchase, and to have a good Right to sell their Offices, Toties quoties.

Consultation for bettering the State of the Chamber.

And concerning the buying of Places they further observed, That the Maior hath 2000l. per Ann. incident to his Mayoralty, besides his share of the Sale of Offices, which was about four Fifths; and the Sheriffs had about 1500l. per An. and about one Fifth share in the Sale of Offices. And that there was a possiblity that a Maior might get 20000l. in the Year of his Maioralty. They observed moreover, that tho' some Places had been sold for above 2500l. yet in the Memory of many Citizens living, no Place or Office in the City was worth above 100l. So that the Purchase of these Offices were many of them twenty times more than formerly. They set forth likewise the Evil and Inconvenience of this Practice; as, that the Sellers regarded not so much the Ability or Honesty of the Person for the respective Office, but he that could give most was made the Officer. That many of these Places were concerned in the Administration and Execution of Justice; and the selling of Places having in all times, by the best Governments, been accounted a Corruption, and of dangerous Consequence to the well being of a good Commonwealth, it was most reasaonable, that in Courts where Justice is to be administred, there the greatest Care should be taken, that no Corruption be. That the Offices of Clark and Beadle belonging to the Court of Requests, or Court of Conscience, settled by Act of Parliament in 4 Jac. I. for the Relief of poor Debtors, &c. were sold for 1000l. each, at the least, to the great Oppression of the Poor, and obstruction of the execution of Justice there.

Observations upon buying and selling Places.

It was likewise observed, That the fifteen Coal-Meeters, who payed about 1700l. each for their Places, and 80l. per Annum Rent; and the ten Corn-Meeters, who pay about 1400l. for their Places, and no Rent; if these Officers were admitted to their Places without Money, the first would pay (instead of 80l) 350l. per Ann. each, and the latter about 250l. per Ann. each, which would bring 7000 per Ann. into the Chamber: And the like might be observed in many other Offices and Places.

There might come in 7000l. per Ann. by the Coal and Corn-Meeters.

All which things considered, it was though a Device very advantageous to the Wealth of the City, that for the future, as Places fell, they might be farmed out for the Benefit of the City: As may appear by this Proposal made by one of the Citizens.

A Device to farm out Places and Offices.

A PROPOSAL Humbly Offered to the Consideration of the Lord Maior, Aldermen, and Common Council.


THE Places sold in London, having Cost the present Possessors above one Hundred and fifty thousand Pound, as appears by a List thereof, and supposing they have been allowed 12 and half per Cent. for their Purchase Money, which is less than was allowed by Parliament to the Purchasers of Annuities for Life, they do amount to near Twenty Thousand Pound per Annum.

Rich. Bromley.

Now if for the Future, as these Places fall by the Death of the Possessors, they were Farmed out, and the Money paid into the Chamber for the use of the Maior and Commonalty, there would in a very short Time be a plentiful Supply for the Support of the Cities Government on all Occasions. [As the place of the late Bailiff of Southwark was, whom Sir Thomas Lane would not suffer to transfer his Place, though he offered Sir Thomas 300l. The Bailiff dying about a Year after, the City allowed Sir Thomas 300l. and have since Leased the Place at 300l. per Annum; and may have more when the Lease expires; and if the late Clerk of the Chambers Place, now vacant, were so Lett, it would yield another 300l. per Annum, and what the present Lord Maior falls short of 4000l. by Perquisites in his Maioralty, may be made up out of this Rent.]

This way of Admission would be much easier to the Officers, and will prevent those Corruptions and Exactions, so much of late complained of. But in case the Farming out some of these Places shall be thought Unlawful or Imprudent, viz. Such as are more immediately concerned in the Administration and Execution of Justice, Artificers, Workmen, and such as furnish the City with Commodities and Materials; the other Places will be sufficient to raise Twelve or Fifteen Thousand Pounds per Annum, and Justice in the City will be better administered, when all concerned therein are admitted freely.

The City will also save by good Husbandry, more than 30 per Cent. in Things wherein its Artificers, Workmen, and Furnishers of Commodities, &c. are concerned. By these Methods, this Honourable City may soon recover its ancient Wealth, Honour and Grandeur.

The Principal Objection against this Proposal is, how to Support the Government for the present, till it can be reduced to Practice. To answer which, according to the best Account can at present be got; the Profits incident to the Maioralty of London are now above 2000l. per Annum, besides the Share in the Places sold; which Sum, with good Husbandry, in retrenching unnecessary Expences, may easily be made up 4000l. per Annum.

To this I subjoyn an Act of Common Council made Ann. 1703. Sir John Parsons Kt. Maior, for a Method to get the City out of Debt, and to prevent its further declining State: Which was, That one third Part of the Places sold should be paid into the Chamber, in the Chamberlain's Court.