The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas
1828

History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second.

History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second.

 

On the evening of the day that James II. finally departed from , the Prince of Orange arrived at the palace of St. James's, where he received the congratulations of the nobility, and of the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council of London. Soon afterwards he assembled the spiritual and temporal lords that were in the metropolis, to the number of , who all resolved to sanction his proceedings, and coincided in his declaration to call a free parliament. They also addressed him to take upon himself the administration of public affairs till the meeting of a convention; and, by a address, they desired him to issue his letters missive

to the lords spiritual and temporal, being protestants, and to the several counties, cities, and boroughs,

containing directions for the chusing, within days, such a number of persons to represent them, as are of right to be sent to parliament.

The convention parliament assembled at on the d of , when, after violent debates on successive days, it was resolved, that the abdication of James had rendered the throne

2

vacant; and eventually it was determined, that the Prince and Princess of Orange

should be declared king and queen of England.

Accordingly on the , they were proclaimed with the accustomed ceremonies, and on the they were solemnly crowned in , under the title of William the and Mary the .

Sir Thomas Pilkington, the lord mayor, being re-elected for the year ensuing, in the name of the city invited the king, queen, prince and princess of Denmark, and both houses of parliament, to dine at on the approaching lord mayor's day; at which time their majesties, accompanied by their royal highnesses, and attended by a numerous train of the nobility, repaired to , where they beheld the gorgeous cavalcade pass; which, considering the beautiful decorations of the streets, the richness of apparel, the fine appearance of the militia and artillery company, the pomp of the royal regiment of horse volunteers, consisting of the chief citizens most sumptuously accoutred, and led by the earl of Monmouth, and the magnificence and curious embellishments of the several pageants, seems to have equalled, if not excelled, every thing of the kind hitherto seen in this city for splendour and magnificence.

The show being over, their majesties were, by the sheriffs, conducted to , where they were entertained with a truly royal feast ; and the joyful day concluded with bonfires, ringing of bells, and general illuminations in all parts of the city. And, through the whole course of this solemnity, nothing was omitted to demonstrate the dutiful respect and hearty affection of the citizens to their majesties. Yet, a few days after, some malicious and impotent enemy spoiled the king's picture of the crown and sceptre. For the apprehending of whom the court of lord mayor and aldermen offered a reward of .

Advice being brought of the defeat of the Dutch fleet in the channel, on the thirtieth of June, by that of France, after a gallant engagement for a whole day, though above to ; and that this terrible blow was entirely owing to the inactivity and misbehaviour (to call it no worse) of Torrington, our admiral, who, during the action, basely lay by as a spectator; the citizens, concluding that the French, having now none to oppose them, would undoubtedly put their design of landing in execution, (to their eternal honour and praise be it remembered) like true patriots, acquainted the queen (by the lord mayor, aldermen, and lieutenancy, in the absence of the king in Ireland) in council, that they had, at that extraordinary juncture, in common council, unanimously resolved to support and defend their majesties persons and government with their lives and fortunes, to the utmost of their power; and

3

represented to her, that the city trained-bands, consisting of about men, were completely armed, and ready to march whither her majesty pleased; and, as an additional reinforcement to the said troops, the lieutenancy of the city had resolved to raise regiments of auxiliaries; and besides which, the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons of the common council, resolved, by a voluntary contribution, not only to raise a large regiment of horse and dragoons (wherein they had already made a considerable progress) but likewise to maintain the same for the space of a month or longer if occasion required. And prayed, that her majesty would be pleased to appoint officers to command the said regiments; when, with thanks returned for their hearty zeal and loyalty, she promised to comply with their requests.

In the year , on the , the shock of an earthquake was felt in the city and parts adjacent, but did no particular damage.

About the same time, the Turkey Company, in a humble address, represented to the queen the vast losses they had lately sustained at sea by the French, for want of sufficient convoys; wherewith her majesty was so sensibly touched, that she not only appointed a committee of the privy council to examine into the cause of the late misfortune, but likewise that effectual care might be taken for preventing the like for the future. These laudable endeavours of the queen gave such a general satisfaction in the city, that the court of lord mayor and aldermen addressed her thereupon, with hearty congratulations upon the king's wonderful preservation in the battle of Landen, in Flanders; and likewise returned humble thanks for her majesty's gracious care of the merchants of this city; and withal assured her, that as they had formerly expressed their utmost zeal for their majesties' service, so they were heartily glad of the present opportunity of renewing the same, by assisting her majesty with money upon the present emergency; and humbly entreated her to be assured of their sincere and firm resolution of continuing their best endeavours upon all occasions, for the support of their majesties' authority and government, against all attempts whatsoever. And the citizens, for accomplishing their promise in the said address, immediately in common-council agreed to advance the sum of , required by her majesty, which they soon after raised and paid into the exchequer.

The year disclosed an infamous system of bribery; which, being investigated by the house of commons, it was proved that guineas had been demanded and taken from the chamberlain of London by sir John Trevor, the speaker, for forwarding the Orphan bill; and in consequence of which, he was expelled the house; other bribes had been also taken by different persons.

The king being returned from Holland after the conclusion of the

4

treaty of Ryswick, he was humbly entreated by the lord mayor and citizens of London, on that happy and joyful occasion, to make his public entry into this city; which his majesty graciously condescending to, he was pleased, on the , to set out from Greenwich in his coach of state, accompanied by his royal highness George, prince of Denmark, and attended by the great officers of state, together with a vast train of the nobility and gentry. On his majesty's approach to the city, he was received at St. Margaret's-hill, in , by the lord mayor, aldermen, recorder, and sheriffs, in their formalities on horseback; where the lord mayor, alighting, presented the city sword to his majesty, who returned it, with a gracious command to bear it before him. Whereupon the recorder dismounted, and, in a short, but eloquent speech, congratulated his majesty on the conclusion of the late peace, and on his safe and happy return to his dutiful and loyal people.

From thence a of the city trained bands led the way, followed by of the king's coaches, and of prince George's, the city marshals with their men; the sheriffs, and city officers, according to their several degrees, the latter on horseback; after whom rode the aldermen, sheriffs, and such as had fined for either of those dignities.

Then came the king's trumpets and kettle-drums, the heralds of arms, according to their distinctions, between the serjeants at arms bearing their maces, all bare-headed. Then the lord-mayor, in a crimson velvet gown, with his collar and jewel, bearing the sword between Clarencieux king at arms on his right hand, and of the gentleman ushers on the left.

Then the king, in a rich coach of state, accompanied by prince George, with gentleman of the bed-chamber in waiting, and attended on each side by his majesty's equerries, footmen, and yeomen of the guard, led by their respective officers, and followed by his majesty's life-guards, and a long train of coaches, with each horses, of the great officers of state, nobility, and others. The streets were all the way lined and guarded by the trained-bands.

Arriving at , the lord mayor attended his majesty to the foot of the stairs leading to the royal apartments; where, having taken leave of his majesty, his lordship and the aldermen were conducted to the lord-steward's lodging, where they were entertained with an elegant supper.

The balconies and windows were crowded with infinite numbers of spectators; so that it was in a manner a double shew, while the cavalcade was a pleasing sight to the beholders, and they no less a delightful object to the cavalcade.

On this joyful occasion, the city was embellished with the most pompous decorations; and before school were placed the blue-coat-boys, of whom congratulated his majesty n a very handsome speech.

5

 

In the year , a measure of great utility to the metropolis was carried into execution. Various places, to which, before the Reformation, the privilege of sanctuary was attached, had by the lapse of time so far degenerated from their original destination, as to become receptacles for unprincipled and lawless persons, who fled to them as places of refuge from justice and legal authority. The evils thus produced had grown so enormous as to demand the interference of the legislature; and an act of parliament was passed, by which all the following places of abused privilege were suppressed, viz. the sanctuary in the ; those in the neighbourhood of , as Salisbury-court, Whitefriars, Ram-alley, and Mitrecourt; Fulwood's-rents, in , and Baldwin's-gardens, in Gray's-inn-lane; the Savoy in ; and Montague-close, Deadman's-place, the Clink, and the Mint, in . This last place, however, through the supineness of the magistracy, was suffered to re-assume its former character, and that with encreased profligacy; nor was it finally suppressed till the reign of George the .

On the disbanding of the army after the peace of Ryswick in the same year, many papists, and other disaffected persons, resorted to London, which occasioned a proclamation to be issued, restricting them to a distance of not less than miles from the metropolis, on penalty of being punished as recusants. Similar proclamations were issued in and , and the city magistrates were strictly enjoined to prevent the opening of mass-houses and popish schools, and also empowered to seize all arms and ammunition that might be found in the possession of papists or disaffected persons.

On the death of king William, the , the princess Anne, eldest surviving daughter of James the , who had married George, prince of Denmark, acceded to the throne, and was crowned at on the . On the , the new queen dined with the corporation at ; and on the , she went in great state to , accompanied by both houses of parliament, to attend a solemn thanksgiving for the success of the earl of Marlborough in the Low Countries, and of sir George Rooke at Vigo.

The year was remarkable for a dreadful storm of wind which arose about o'clock during the night of the , and continued to rage with extreme violence till the next morning, when it gradually moderated. The devastation was most extensive, and every part of the kingdom experienced its ravages. The damage sustained by the city of London alone was estimated at millions sterling; and vast loss was also sustained in other parts of the metropolis. Upwards of stacks of chimnies were blown down; and the streets were covered with broken tiles and slates from the roofs of houses. The lead on the tops of several churches was rolled up like skins of parchment; and at , , St. Andrew's, , and many

6

other places, it was carried off from the buildings. The roof of the guard-room, at , was carried entirely away; new-built turrets on the church of St. Mary Aldermary, of the spires of , , and the pinnacles on the tower of St. Michael's, Crooked-lane, were wholly blown down; the vanes and spindles of the weathercocks were bent in many places; several houses near were levelled with the ground, as were about others in the out-parts, with a great number of brick walls, and gable ends of houses innumerable. persons were killed by the fall of the ruins, and about others were greatly maimed. All the ships in the river Thames, between London-bridge and , except , were broken from their moorings, and thrown on shore; upwards of wherries were entirely lost; more than barges were driven foul of London-bridge, and as many more were either sunk or staved between the bridge and Hammersmith; these events were attended with the loss of many lives. The destruction at sea far exceeded that on the land; and in this dismal night, men of war, with upwards of eighteen men on board, perished within sight of their own shore; great numbers of merchantmen were also lost, and the whole of the damage was so great, that its amount defied computation.

The years and were distinguished by the glorious battles of Blenheim and Ramilies, obtained over the French and Bavarians by the duke of Marlborough, who, on both occasions, was splendidly entertained by the city, together with many of the principal nobility and general officers. The standards and colours taken at Blenheim were directed by the queen to be put up in Westminster-hall; those captured at Ramilies were presented by her majesty to the city, and placed in . Another memorable event of the year was the union with Scotland, the terms of which were finally settled between the English and Scotch commissioners at the Cock-pit, ; subject, however, to the revision of the parliament, who confirmed the measure, and passed the Act of Union. On this occasion the queen went in solemn procession to .

Many destructive fires having recently happened, chiefly through the inattention of servants, an act of parliament was passed in , by which it was enacted,

that every servant, by whose negligence or carelessness a fire should be occasioned, should forfeit

100l.

or in default be imprisoned and kept to hard labour during eighteen months. All churchwardens within the bills of mortality were also empowered, at the charge of their respective parishes, to fix upon the several main water-pipes in the streets, stop-blocks, or fire-cocks; and also to provide a large hand engine, with a leather pipe and socket to screw upon the fire-cock; and for the future, that all party-walls should be entirely of brick or stone.

7

 

About the middle of August, such a prodigious quantity of flies fell in this city, that they covered many of the streets; and upon which the impressions of people's feet were as plainly seen as upon a thick snow; some hundreds of bushels were swept into the kennels.

The year was marked by a circumstance highly creditable to the humanity of the nation. The cruel depredations of the French in the Palatinate, at different periods, had reduced the inhabitants to such extreme distress, that they were at last compelled to desert their country; and as they did not think themselves so secure in any other place as in Great Britain, no less than arrived here, in the most forlorn condition, and sought refuge in the neighbourhood of London. The queen, naturally humane, supported them out of her privy purse for some time; and she was afterwards assisted by the benevolent donations of her subjects, and no less than . was paid into the chamber of the city of London, for the relief of these distressed fugitives; who were at length finally disposed of by being sent as colonists to Ireland and North America.

The metropolis was greatly convulsed at the commencement of the year , from the effects produced by sermons preached by Henry Sacheverel, D. D. and chaplain of , , which were voted in the house of commons to be

malicious, scandalous, and seditious libels.

The sermon was preached at the assizes held at Derby, on the , and the last before the lord mayor, aldermen, and citizens of London, on the , in . And his trial commencing on the , before the lords in Westminster-hall, the populace imagined, that instead of the doctor's ruin, that of the church was intended; and believing the same to be a contrivance of the presbyterians, breathed destruction to them and all other dissenters. And a great multitude returning with the doctor from , on the day of his trial, to his lodgings in the Temple, they ran from thence like so many enraged furies, to the meeting-house of Mr. Burgess, a presbyterian minister, in New-court, Little Lincoln's Inn-fields, which they instantly breaking open, stripped it of its doors, casements, sconces, wainscot, pews, and pulpit, which they carried into Lincoln's-inn-fields; and whilst they were erecting the same into a pile, a party was sent to surprise Burgess at his house, in order to have burnt him in his pulpit, on the top of the said pile; but Burgess providentially escaping out at a back window, luckily got off without being made a holocaust to party zeal.

The mob, being increased to an excessive multitude, divided themselves into divers parties, who, taking different routs, ran and destroyed the meeting-houses in , , , Black-friars, and .

8

 

This commotion occasioning a great uneasiness in the directors of the Bank, they assembled to concert measures proper to be taken at that juncture; pursuant to the resolutions agreed upon, they sent to the principal secretary of state for a guard to prevent an attempt upon the Bank. This message was no sooner received than the earl of Sunderland acquainted the queen therewith, who, with the greatest concern, commanded his lordship forthwith to dispatch the guards, both horse and foot, to quell the tumult; but the earl; representing the danger her majesty's person might be exposed to, by being deprived of her guards in a time of such general distraction, especially by night, (it being about o'clock) she generously replied that God would be her guard; therefore desired him to lose no time.

Pursuant to this command, Sunderland immediately repaired to his office at , where the lord chancellor, duke of Newcastle, and others of the nobility, waited his return. The secretary having sent for Horsey, the commanding officer of the guard, ordered him immediately to mount, march, and disperse the mob; the captain, being upon duty for the immediate preservation of the queen's person, refused to obey the secretary's order; but being told that it was her majesty's express command, he complied upon this condition, that Sunderland should give him an order under his hand; but no time being to be lost, the earl, upon his honour, promised him such an order next morning. Whereupon the old soldier merrily asked whether he was to preach or to fight the mob? If the former, he desired a better speaker might be sent; but if the latter, fighting was his trade, and he would do his best. Sunderland replied, that must be left to his own discretion; but to forbear violent means but in case of necessity.

Matters thus agreed upon between the earl of Sunderland and the captain, he marched at the head of his guard to , where he easily dispersed the mob; but George Purchase, a broken trooper, but then a bailiff's follower, with a few of the most resolute of his companions, made a stand, and cried,

Damn ye, who are you for, high church, or low church, or Dr. Sacheverel?

And encouraging his fellows, said,

Come on, boys, I'll lead you; I'm for high church and Sacheverel, and I'll lose my life in the cause.

Then running resolutely with his sword, made a full pass at the captain; but being parried, was instantly apprehended, with most of his followers. Whereupon, a small detachment being sent to guard the Bank, the rest marched to Blackfriars, where, meeting with some opposition from the rabble that was rifling the meeting-house in that place, they attacked them, and by wounding some of the most desperate, they all took to their heels; but divers being taken in the pursuit, were immediately sent to prison. The news of this rough treatment had no sooner reached the other mobs, dispersed in divers parts of the city, than they immediately retired. However, the guards patrolled the streets, not only the remaining part of the night, but likewise for divers nights after. During this tumult, the

9

trained-bands drums were beating to arms all over the city, and regiment thereof were continually kept on duty during the remaining part of Sacheverel's trial; who at last was condemned not to preach during the term of years, and his sermons to be burnt at the , by the hands of the common hangman.

The number of houses and inhabitants being greatly increased in the city of London and its suburbs, the churches were thereby rendered insufficient for their accommodation; wherefore, the parliament, in , enacted, that

fifty

new churches should be erected in or near the populous cities of London and

Westminster

, or suburbs thereof.

For which purpose, they laid a duty of upon every chaldron or ton of coals that should be brought into the port of London.

The city of London having been greatly injured by the number of foreigners who exercised manual operations, and retail trades, in contradiction to the laws and customs of the city, an act of common council was passed in this year,

That no person whatsoever, not being free of the city, shall, by any colour, way, or means whatsoever, directly or indirectly, by himself or any other, use, exercise, or occupy, any art, trade, mystery, manual occupation, or handicraft whatsoever; or keep any shop, room, or place whatsoever, inward or outward, for show, sale, or putting to sale, of any wares or merchandize whatsoever, by way of retail, within the said city or the liberties thereof, upon pain to forfeit

five pounds

. And that what freeman soever does set any person that is not free, on work, knowing, and having notice given to him, that such person, so by him to be set to work, is a foreigner, shall forfeit

five pounds

. And that the freeman, who employs a foreigner to sell by retail, shall also forfeit

five pounds

for every offence.

A rumour being spread in , that the ministry were plotting for the pretender's accession to the crown, the trading part of the city were so intimidated at it, that a total stop was put to all commerce, and the general credit of the nation suffered greatly. In this critical juncture, the queen found it necessary for the support of credit, and to prevent the citizens from entering into associations or schemes, by which the measures of government might be impeded, to send a letter to the lord mayor, to be communicated to the aldermen and citizens,

to the intent that they might all, in their several stations, contribute to discountenance and put a stop to those malicious rumours, spread by evil-disposed persons, to the prejudice of credit, and the imminent hazard of the public peace and tranquillity.

In the year , a peace being made with France, it was publicly proclaimed in London on the ; on which occasion, both houses of parliament attended a general thanksgiving at Saint Paul's. Her majesty, being ill of the gout, was unable to be present at the solemnity. She died .

10

 

On the death of queen Anne, George Lewis, elector of Hanover, was proclaimed king of Great Britain, &c. with the usual solemnities: soon after which his majesty made his public entry into London, accompanied by his son, prince George. In a few days after, the city and lieutenancy addressed his majesty, in form, at St. James's; who, in reply, said,

I take these addresses very kindly. I have lately been made sensible of what consequence the city of London is, and therefore shall be sure to take all their privileges and interests into my particular protection.

And as an immediate mark of his favour, he conferred the honour of knighthood on John Ward, Gerard Conyers, Thomas Scawen, Peter Delme, Joseph Lawrence, and Robert Child, esquires.

His majesty having received an invitation from the city to dine at on the approaching lord mayor's day, he was graciously pleased to accept of the same ; at which time, his majesty and their royal highnesses the prince and princess of Wales, attended by a numerous train of nobility, went to the usual place of standing, opposite Bow-church, in , and after having beheld the pompous cavalcade, were conducted by the sheriffs to , where they were sumptuously entertained by the citizens, who exerted the utmost of their abilities to convince them of their loyalty and affection for his majesty's person and government. And the lord mayor, having the honour to present the glass of wine to the king, his majesty was pleased to order a patent to be passed for creating his lordship a baronet of this kingdom, and at the same time ordered to be paid to the sheriffs, for the relief and discharge of poor people imprisoned for debt.

On the , a dreadful fire in destroyed upwards of houses, with an immense quantity of rich merchandize; and more than persons perished in the flames, and by other accidents.

The rebellion which had been excited in Scotland this year, in favor of the pretender, caused a great sensation in the metropolis, where many persons, supposed to be implicated in the plot, were apprehended and committed to different prisons. The city, however, was stedfast in its allegiance; and in an address to the king, engaged to

endeavour the suppression of all seditious rioters and tumultuous persons,

and promised a fixed

adherence to the royal person and government.

In the house of commons, several of the nobility and disaffected members of parliament were impeached of high treason; the earl of Oxford, lord Powis, the earl of Scarsdale, and sir William Wyndham, were sent to the Tower, and some other members were committed to the custody of different messengers. In October, persons were hanged at Tyburn for enlisting men for the pretender's service; and others were executed for high treason, at the same place, in December.

After the rebellion was suppressed by the victory obtained over the Scots near Preston, the lords and principal prisoners

11

who had been engaged in it, were brought to London, where, having previously been pinioned together at Barnet, they were led in that ignominious manner through the streets, when the lords were committed to the Tower, and the others to the , Newgate, and the Marshalsea. The earl of Derwentwater and viscount Kenmure, who, with other peers, had pleaded guilty to the charges exhibited against them, were beheaded on , on the ; but the earl of Nithisdale, who was to have suffered at the same time, made his escape in female apparel during the preceding night. Many other persons were executed in the course of the year for high treason; and much severity was exercised against those, who, by their writings or deeds, expressed any sentiment favourable to the Jacobite cause.

The ministry, taking advantage of the unsettled state of the country at this period, caused of the strongest bulwarks of popular freedom which the wisdom of the nation had ever planned, to be removed; by abrogating the act for triennial parliaments, and substituting that for septennial ones. This measure received the royal assent on the ; and from this era may be dated the commencement of that system of corruption and undue influence, which, gathering increasing strength with every year of its progress, threatens, at no very distant date, to surrender up all the liberties of the people at the footstool of the throne.

At this time, the city rabble, on most of the public festivals, (especially those of the king's birth-day, accession to the crown and coronation) assembled in a tumultuous manner; and with the most amazing assurance, by expressions and representations, publicly reflected on, and dishonoured the king, in the streets of the city; which being highly resented by the friends of the government, many of them formed themselves into societies to prevent the like practices for the future, and on all public occasions assembled in divers parts of the city and suburbs, at certain ale-houses, which, from the vessels they generally drank out of, were denominated mug-houses: at each of which were provided a great number of ashen cudgels, not unlike quarter staves; with which, upon advice of any tumultuous proceedings in the streets, they sallied out, and frequently, after a sharp engagement, dispersed the mob. This so enraged the populace, that they threatened destruction to all such houses; and, in order to accomplish the same, many thousands of the rabble assembled on the , and attacked of the said houses in Salisbury-court, in , with an intent to demolish the same. The landlord, in defending his property, killed of the assailants; but this did not prevent their breaking in and rifling the house, before they could be dispersed. However, divers

12

of the rioters being taken, they were soon after tried; and of them being condemned, they were executed before the said house.

Soon afterwards, the public peace was again disturbed by the Spitalfields weavers, who, finding their business affected by the preference given to the wear of foreign calicoes, tumultuously paraded the streets, and destroyed the obnoxious gown of every female they met, either by throwing over it corrosive liquids, or brutally tearing it from the back of the wearer. The attempts made to check these outrages by the police were little regarded, till the more daring rioters were fired upon, and several of them killed and wounded; others were committed to prison, where the ravages of a jail fever visited their imprudence by death.

In , the trial of the earl of Oxford was commenced in Westminster-hall; but a dispute, on the very day, between the lords and the commons, respecting the mode of procedure, led to the acquittal of the earl on the : the commons declining to go on in the way prescribed by the peers. days afterwards, the earl re-assumed his place in the upper house. In , a youth, named James Shepherd, was executed at Tyburn, for conspiring to assassinate the king; an act which he persisted in considering as meritorious to the very last; he suffered with great resolution.

The year will be ever famous in the annals of London, from the destructive system of speculation and fraud, which history has denominated the South Sea Bubble; and which so completely infatuated the people, that they became the dupes of the most barefaced impositions. The notorious Mississippi scheme of a Scotchman, named John Law, by which the French nation was nearly ruined in the course of this and the preceding year, was the undoubted prototype of the many base projects that were now afloat to deceive the credulous multitude, and which eventually proved the bane of thousands.

The origin of the South Sea Bubble, Mr. Brayley says, may be trace d to an exclusive trade which the company possessed with the Spanish colonies, and which trade had been rendered extremely lucrative by the arts of smuggling. This caused a considerable increase in the price of South Sea stock; and the directors, encouraged by the prevalent spirit of avaricious enterprise, proposed to the government to take into their fund all the debts of the nation incurred before the year , under the plausible pretext of lowering the interest, and rendering the capital redeemable by parliament, in a shorter time than could be then anticipated. The amount of the debts comprehended in this scheme was l ; for the liberty of adding the whole of which to their capital stock, they offered to pay to the public use the immense sum of . This bait was too tempting to be refused; the plan received the

13

sanction of parliament, and the directors were empowered to raise the ready money necessary for so great an undertaking,

by opening books of subscription, and granting annuities, to such public creditors as were willing to exchange the security of the crown for that of the South Sea company, with the advantage of sharing in the emoluments that might arise from their commerce.

Before the bill had received the royal assent, which was given on the , so much had the public mind been impressed with the idea of rapid gain, that the company's stock rose to per cent.; during the same month it advanced to per cent. and by the , it had increased to per cent. This amazing rise was partly in consequence of a report which had been industriously circulated by sir John Blount, the chief projector of the scheme, that it was intended

to exchange Minorca and Gibraltar for some places in Peru, by which the company's trade to the South Seas would be vastly increased;

and partly, by the great advantages offered by the directors to all persons subscribing to their stock.

No further inducements, however, were now requisite. The delusion was attaining its zenith, and people of every rank, age, and sex, were eagerly crowding to partake of what they fondly hoped would prove a golden banquet. Even the more considerate classes of the community, those who had laughed at the folly and weakness of the adventurers, were no longer able to resist the dreams of such an easy acquisition of affluence as the bubble afforded. By the , the South Sea stock had advanced to per cent.; and on the eighteenth the directors opened fresh books for a subscription of at per cent.: and such was the popular phrenzy, that before the expiration of the month, the subscription was at per cent. premium, and the price of stock at nearly

About this time the Mississippi scheme was entirely broken up, and Law, its infamous projector, execrated by all France, was forced to secure his safety by flight. This seems to have made some little impression on the buyers of South Sea stock ; and during the month of July, the price fluctuated from per cent. to Yet, by the contrivance of the directors in opening a money subscription at per cent in August, the stock for a short time bore a premium on that price of percent. The alarm had, however, been given: it had been whispered, that the directors and their particular friends had disposed of their own stock

14

while the price was at the highest, and all confidence in the stability of their credit was now destroyed. The confusion became general; every was willing to sell, but no purchasers could be found, except at a vast reduction. Distraction and dismay spread through the whole city. In the week of September the South Sea stock had fallen to ; by the it was reduced to , and by the to Within days afterwards it was as low as , and a short time after that was reduced to . per cent.; a price, probably, which nearly approached to its true value.

The destruction to public and private credit thus produced was excessive. All trade was at a stand; and many of the most respectable merchants, goldsmiths, and bankers of London, who had unwisely lent large sums to the company, were obliged to shut up their shops and abscond. Whole families were beggared together, and bankruptcies spread through every quarter. Numbers quitted the kingdom, never to return; and many, unable to bear the stings of remorse and poverty, which their own inconsiderateness had produced, terminated their woes by suicide.

The affairs of the South Sea company were soon afterwards investigated by parliament; and the villainous knavery of the directors was so apparent, that the greater part of their estates was confiscated for the benefit of those whom their chicanery had ruined. The sum thus obtained, amounted to , though an allowance was made to each director, in proportion to his greater or less concern in the iniquitous proceedings by which such numbers had suffered.

15

 

During the inquiry before the house of commons, it was ascertained, that several members of the government were implicated in the guilt of this transaction; and John Aislabie, esq. who had recently resigned his situation as chancellor of the exchequer, was in , expelled the house, and committed to the Tower, for having

promoted the South Sea scheme with a view to his own exorbitant profit, and combined with the directors in their pernicious practices to the ruin of trade and public credit.

The earl of Sunderland, lord of the treasury, and Mr. Stanhope, of the secretaries, who were also charged with participation, had the good fortune to obtain majorities of the house in their favour. James Craggs, esq. jun., secretary of state, and his father, the postmaster-general, both of whom had been accused, died within a month of each other, before their conduct could be investigated; but all the property of the latter, (acquired after a certain date,) who was voted a

notorious accomplice,

was ordered to be sequestered for the relief of the sufferers: the chief part of Aislabie's fortune was also seized for the like purpose.

During the continuance of the infatuation which the splendid delusions of the South Sea Bubble had inspired into all classes of society, many other visionary projects were set on float by speculators, gamblers, and sharpers; and even chartered companies of established credit and good fame, induced by the flattering prospect of immense wealth which the intoxicated credulity of the multitude seemed to promise, lent their countenance to schemes of impossible accomplishment. The popular phrenzy was so great, that subscriptions were made to the most absurd plans, without any other consideration of eventual consequence than that of gain; and the humourist who advertised proposals for raising a subscription of for the purpose of

melting down saw-dust and chips, and casting them into clean deal boards, without cracks or knots!

can hardly be said to have caricatured the undisguised chicanery of many of the schemes by which the avaricious and inconsiderate were content to be gulled. Nearly subscription projects were on foot at the same time; and in the mania of the day, there was scarcely of them but what bore a great premium even upon its lowest shares. The intervention of government, conjoined with the awakened reflections of the people, at length put a period to the whole system of fraudulent speculation; yet, notwithstanding the exertions of the parliament, the shock had been so great, and the ruin so extensive, that it was a considerable time before public credit could be restored, or trade revived.

The companies which had been most successful in practising the same delusive arts as the South-sea projectors, were those called the

York Buildings

,

the

Lustring,

the

English Copper,

and the

Welch Copper and Lead.

The shares of the had advanced

16

from to ; of the , from to ; of the from to ; and of the last, from to The attorney-general was subsequently expressly ordered by the lords justices to bring writs of against the patents of all the above companies.

During the height of this speculation mania, prospectusses of the following joint-stock companies were issued; some of them are evidently in ridicule of the stock-jobbing system:

Besides the above-named bubbles, the under-mentioned were carried on without ever applying for patents or charters:--

Total of both, .

Besides these bubbles, innumerable were those that perished in embryo; however, the sums intended to be raised by the above-named airy projects, amounted to about millions of pounds; yet the lowest of the shares of any of them advanced above cent. per cent.; most above per cent. and some to times the price of the subscription. Which, together with the imaginary wealth of the before-mentioned companies, amounted to about million of pounds, which is probably more than all the circulating cash upon the earth amounts to.

On the , the parliament, which had betrayed the liberties of Britain, by passing the Septennial Act, in

20

treacherous violation of the trust reposed in it by the people, was dissolved by proclamation. This event excited the most lively joy throughout the metropolis; and the ringing of bells, bonfires, and illuminations, expressed the general prevalence of the popular feeling.

On the , a proclamation was issued for enforcing the laws against papists and nonjurors, and for expelling all the former to the distance of miles from the metropolis.

The government having resolved to take all the precautions imaginable for rendering abortive the designs of conspirators, orders were sent by the privy council to the several lieutenancies within the bill of mortality, to take an account of the number of horses within their several jurisdictions; the returns thereof were as follow:

The returns of the number of horses made by the several officers of the militia of the City of London within their respective beats, on the 22d of May, anno 1722.
Blue regiment.Coach horses. Saddle Horses.Draught Horses.
By sir Gilbert Heathcote, knight and alderman, col.22120
By Samuel Westal, lieut.-colonel1275
By John Wicks, major2170
By William Brind, first captain035132
By James Innocent, second captain2329117
By Hugh Winchworth, third captain113327
By Joseph Edwards, fourth captain104528
By Joseph Sperinck, fifth captain101923
Number total90197332
Red regiment.
By sir Samuel Stainer, knt. and alderman, colonel10180
By James Porten, lieut.-col.806618
By Edward Sedley, major0220
By William Beale, first captain394915
By Francis Smart, second captain30160
By John Williams, third captain6890
By sir John Sedley, bart. fourth captain35220
By William Lewis, fifth captain41614
Number total 204 298 47
Green regiment.
By sir William Humfreys, bart, and alderman, col.4364
By Robert Croshaw, lieut.-col.201
By Christopher Parkinson, major472520
By Ralph Snow, first captain3090
By Oliver Combes, second captain372972
By John Scrimshire, third captain6552119
By George Stray, fourth captain1712256
By Henry Tame, fifth captain241558
Number total226655260
Yellow regiment.
By sir Charles Peers, knt. and alderman, colonel.490
By sir Peter Eaton, knt. lieut.-col.85346
By Thomas Gilbert, major24924
By Alexander Garret, first captain2114221
By Benjamin Hodges, second captain6111116
By John Bassandine, third captain03219
By Nicholas Faulcon, fourth captain2160
By John Johnson, fifth captain253756
Number total145409180
Orange regiment.
By sir Gerard Conyers, knt. and alderman, colonel2610374
By James Seamer, lieut.-col.632168
By George Jenkins, major20745
By George Jenkins, sen. first captain460
By Thomas Cartwright, second captain121812
By Joseph Bawler, third captain7114694
By William Saunders, fourth captain3370
By Samuel Saunders, fifth captain0243
Number total229399256
White regiment.
By sir John Eyles, bart. and alderman, colonel720
By John Shorey, lieut.-col.87290
By Noah de la Fountain, major210
By Peregrine Phillips, first captain611404
By Seth Adams, second captain4715849
By William Bell, third captain03624
By William Cowley, fourth captain11715220
By George Gerard, fifth captain12211310
Number total443631107

The numbers of the several sorts of horses, as returned by the officers of the above regiments, are, coach-horses, ; saddlehorses, ; draught-horses, . Total, .

The returns made by the officers of thetworegiments ofWestminster, and that part of Middlesex within the bill of mortality,May 29, 1722; but undistinguished in respect to their use.
Red regiment of Westminster.Horses.
By Robert Gardiner, esq., col.53
By William Gore, lieut.-col.379
By Joseph Watts, major1456
By William Hill, first captain221
By Henry Howard, second captain753
By Daniel King, third captain119
By Charles Maddox, fourth captain355
By John Rusden, fifth captain326
By Miles Harper, sixth captain432
By Thomas Trew, seventh captain1043
By John West, eighth captain111
By Samuel Wickell, ninth captain578
Number total5817
Blue regiment within the bill of mortality.
By Thomas Medlycott, esq. colonel447
By John Ellis, esq. lieutenant-colonel592
By Thomas Ward, major204
By Samuel Hawkins, first captain214
By Valentine Hilder, second captain326
By William Smart, third captain463
By John Hawkins, fourth captain614
By William Henn, fifth captain635
By Robert Riggs, sixth captain201
Number total3696
Number total by the officers of both regiments9513
The returns made by thetworegiments of the Tower hamlets, on the21st of May, 1722. But the horses, like those ofWestminster, &c. undistinguished in respect to their use.
First regiment.Horses
By the right honourable the earl of Carlisle, col.309
By Peter Lekeux, esq. lieutenant colonel140
By Hardwick, major610
By Thomas Taylor, first captain82
By Raphell Dubois, second captain58
By David Cooper, third captain116
By John Lote, fourth captain234
By James Guenin, fifth captain111
Number total1660
Second regiment.
By sir Isaac Tillard, knight, colonel315
By Doyly Mitchel, esq. lieutenant-colonel92
By Thomas Exlebee, major60
By Charles Kipling, first captain189
By Daniel Whitehurst, second captain99
By Thomas Jones, third captain146
By Tobias Hunt, fourth captain131
By Thomas Stibbs, fifth captain288
Number total1320
Number total by the officers of both regiments2980

There being then no account taken of the number of horses in , nor any other part on that side the river Thames, within the bill of mortality, I shall therefore compute the horses in those parts, (which I imagine I may safely do) at the same number with that of the Tower-hamlets, viz. ; which makes the number total of all the horses within the bill of mortality, amount to and

24

. But being told by the worthy lieutenant-colonel Ellis, that by the careless omissions of the officers belonging to his own blue regiment (which he soon after discovered) of Middlesex, within the bill of mortality, the number is very defective, it gives room to suspect that the other accounts are in the same condition ; if so, it is probable the defects may amount to some thousands; however, by a moderate computation, I shall only reckon them at a ; which, added to the above number, will make the whole amount to , .

In July, captain Dennis Kelly was committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason; and in August, Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester, Christopher Layer, esq. Charles, earl of Orrery, and William, lord North and Grey, were also imprisoned in the same fortress for the like crime. In October, the act was suspended, and the duke of Norfolk and George Kelly were sent to the Tower on suspicion of their having been concerned in the conspiracy. Christopher Layer, the only person whom the ministry thought expedient to subject to any thing like a regular trial, was arraigned in the court of King's Bench for exciting his majesty's subjects to take up arms, and drawing up a plan for surprising the Tower and Bank, and seizing the king, prince of Wales, lord Cadogan, and others of the nobility. On these charges, though by no means well substantiated, he was condemned to die, and months after conviction, he was executed at Tyburn. The bishop of Rochester, George Kelly, and John Plunket, the latter of whom had been accused as a principal agent in the conspiracy, and committed to the Tower in , were proceeded against by bills of pains and penalties; the bishop was adjudged to be deprived of all his offices and ecclesiastical dignities, and to be banished for life; Kelly and Plunket were sentenced to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure. The other persons who had been sent to the Tower were subsequently admitted to bail under an order of council.

The vast increase of buildings in the western suburb of London requiring a greater supply of fresh water than the existing works could furnish, an act of parliament was passed in this year, authorising a newly-erected company, called the water-company, to dig basons, reservoirs, &c. for the better supply of the city and liberties of , and parts adjacent, with water.

Various disputes having arisen among the citizens about party-walls and water spouts, application was made to parliament to put an end to these contentions, by whom it was enacted, that if any person refused or neglected to build his share of a party-wall, after due notice given him, his next neighbour may build it for him, and oblige the person so neglecting, to pay the charges of rebuilding it. And it was further enacted, that the water, falling from the tops of houses, balconies, and penthouses,

25

shall be conveyed into channels or kennels, by pipes in the front or sides of the house, under the penalty of .

The election of lord mayor for the city of London this year coming on, as usual, at the common-hall, on the , sir Gerard Conyers and sir Peter Delme, gentlemen, both of great fortune and merit, and also the aldermen next the chair, were put in nomination, and declared to have the majority of hands. But a poll was demanded, and granted, for sir George Mertins and sir Francis Forbes: which began on the , and ended on the . And next day, the sheriffs declared that they had cast up the poll, and that the majority of votes had fallen upon sir Gerard Conyers, and sir Peter Delme; who, being returned to the court of aldermen, they made choice of the former; which, in all probability, brought on the following application to parliament.

On the , many citizens of London petitioned the house of commons, setting forth several grievances they laboured under in the said city, and praying,

That for promoting the welfare, for preserving the liberties, the peace and tranquillity of the said city, and for settling elections in the said city, on a just and lasting foundation, the house would take the premises into consideration, and give the petitioners such relief as the house should think fit.

Whereupon a bill was ordered to be brought in, for regulating elections in the city of London, and for preserving the peace, good order, and government of the said city.

This bill created a great ferment in the city, and was strongly opposed in the house of commons by of the city representatives, who received the thanks of the court of common-council for their strenuous endeavours to prevent it from passing into a law.

On the , printed papers were dispersed, inviting the citizens to assemble at the next day, at o'clock in the afternoon, to consider the merits of the bill; but the lord mayor and aldermen, resenting this measure as a violation of their authority, ordered the gates of the hall to be shut as soon as the business of the common-council, which had been called on the occasion, should be finished. The lord mayor also sent information of what had passed, to the ministry; upon which, the guards at St. James's, Leicester-house, and Somerset-house, were doubled, and such other precautions were taken as kept all things quiet; the heads of the bill were also printed, that the citizens might be better informed of the law intended to be passed.

As soon as the citizens knew the contents of it, and that it was sent up to the house of lords for their determination, a great number of them petitioned the house against it, as being injurious to their liberties. After the bill was read a time, it was proposed by their lordships to ask the opinions of the judges,

whether this bill affects any of the prescriptions, privileges, customs, and liberties of the said city of London, restored to them, or preserved by the act passed in the

second

year of king William and queen

Mary, for reversing the judgment on the

quo warranto

against the city of London, and for restoring the said city to its ancient rights and privileges.

Various debates arising thereupon, the question was put,

whether the judges shall deliver their opinions upon the said proposed question?

This was at length determined in the negative, in consequence of which the bill passed into a law; but the clause, by which a negative in passing acts of common-council was given to the lord mayor and aldermen, was afterwards repealed.

A treaty of peace having been concluded between the emperor of Germany and the king of Spain, very disadvantageous to the rights and privileges of Great Britain, and calculated to destroy the chief branches of the British trade, and to favour the pretender, the citizens of London on this occasion presented an address to the king, containing the warmest professions of attachment to his person and government, and the strongest assurances of their support against the designs of their common enemies. His majesty not only returned them his hearty thanks for this additional mark of their affection, but also entertained the lord mayor, aldermen, and common-council in a very sumptuous manner at dinner in his palace at St. James's, attended by the principal ministers of state, and a great number of the nobility.

The king died at Osnaburgh, in Germany, the .

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Ken. Hist. England.

[] Monthly Mercury.

[] Brayley's London, i. 478.

[] Monthly Mercury.

[] Account of the Storm, 1703.

[] Brayley's London, i. 480.

[] Maitland's London, i. 507.

[] The large estates of the earl of Derwentwater were subsequently appropriated to the support of Greenwich Hospital.

[] Brayley, i. 484.

[] Maitland's London, i. 521.

[] He was afterwards (in October, 1721,) brought to England by admiral sir John Norris; and having contrived to secure a full sufficiency of Mississippi plunder, and to obtain his pardon for the murder of Beau Wilson about twenty-seven years before, when he made his escape from Newgate after conviction, he took a large house near Hanover square, and to the surprize of the honest, was admitted to associate with persons of the first rank and presumed respectability.

[] In one of the periodical papers of the time, occurs this passage; Ex- change Alley sounds no longer of thousands got in an instant; but, on the contrary, all corners of the town are filled with the groans of the afflicted; and they who lately rode in great state to that famous mart of money, now condescend to walk the streets on foot, and instead of adding to their equipages, have at once lost their estates: and even those of the trading rank, who talked loudly of retiring into the country, purchasing estates, there building fine houses, and in every thing imitating their betters, are now become bankrupts, and have by necessity shut up their shops, because they could not keep them open any longer.

[] How greatly the directors had enriched themselves may be seen from the following extract taken from the total of the value of their estates, as given upon oath:-- DirectorsValue of Estates.Allowed for SubsistenceAmount of Fine £ss.d.££ss.d. Sir Theodore Janssen243,24431150,000193,244311 Sir John Fellows243,0960610,000233,09606 Sir John Blount183,349108 3/45,000178,349108 3/4 Mr. Chester140,37215610,000130,372156 Mr. Read117,29716010,000107,297160 Mr. Surman112,3211005,000107,321100 Mr. Gibbon106,5435610,00096,54356 Sir Lamb. Blackwell83,529171115,00068,5291711

[] Brayley's Hist. of Lond. i, 491.

[] Maitland, i. 534.

View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Dedication
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
collapseCHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
collapseCHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
collapseCHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
collapseCHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
collapseCHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
collapseCHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
collapseCHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--History
Antiquities
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/44305
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00067
To Cite: DCA Citation Guide
Usage: Detailed Rights