The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2Allen, Thomas
History of London during the reign of George the Second.
History of London during the reign of George the Second.
On the demise of George I. his only son and royal highness George, prince of Wales, ascended the throne, by the name of king George II. His majesty was attended at his palace of Leicester-house, on the , by the lord mayor and aldermen of this city; when sir William Thompson, the recorder, complimented his majesty as followeth:--
To which his majesty was graciously pleased to make this answer:--
They afterwards had the honour of waiting upon the queen, whom the recorder likewise complimented as follows:--
At a court of common council, held at on the
| of October, it was unanimously resolved to invite their majesties, his royal highness the duke, and the eldest princesses to dinner at , on the approaching lord mayor's day; pursuant to which, the lord may or elect, sheriffs, and recorder, were ordered to attend their majesties, to know their royal pleasure; at the same time a committee of aldermen and commoners were appointed to attend his majesty, to desire leave to put up his majesty's and his royal consort's pictures in ; upon both which accounts his majesty being attended, he was graciously pleased to accept of the former, and comply with the latter; report whereof being made the next day in common council, a committee of aldermen and commoners were appointed to superintend the entertainment to be provided for their majesties. And the sheriffs having invited the duke and the princesses, their majesties, accompanied by the latter, and attended by the great officers of state, with a numerous train of the nobility, and all the foreign ministers, came into the city, and in a balcony in , the usual place of standing, beheld the pompous procession pass; whereupon their majesties were conducted to , at the entrance whereof the lord mayor, kneeling, presented the city sword to the king, who graciously returning the same, it was by his lordship carried before their majesties to the council chamber, where the recorder complimented his majesty in the name of the citizens, as followeth:
From the council chamber their majesties (preceded by the lord mayor carrying the city sword) and the princesses, went to the hustings, where they were most sumptuously entertained, the ladies of the bed-chamber having the honour to dine at the royal table, while other tables were provided below in the hall for the nobility, foreign ministers, judges, ladies, and other persons of distinction, together with tables for the lord mayor, aldermen, and common councilmen. The illustrious company having seated themselves, and silence commanded, the common crier proclaimed, that his majesty drank to the health of the lord mayor, and prosperity to the city of London and the trade thereof, and that her majesty confirmed the same. Silence being again commanded, proclamation was made, that the lord mayor, aldermen, and common councilmen drank health, long life, and happiness to our most sovereign lord king George. And silence being again commanded, the lord mayor, aldermen, and common-councilmen, drank health, long life, and happiness to our most gracious queen Caroline, and all the royal family.
After dinner, their majesties, accompanied by the princesses, were graciously pleased to return to the council chamber, and thence to the long gallery, where they honoured the ball with their presence till o'clock. On this occasion his majesty was graciously pleased to order the sum of to be paid to the sheriffs, for the relief and discharge of poor insolvent prisoners.
Having mentioned their majesties being magnificently entertained by the city in , I shall, for the satisfaction of the reader, subjoin an account of the entertainment, as recorded in the chamber of London.
For the accommodation of the illustrious company, tables were erected in the said hall, at the whereof, upon the hustings, sat their majesties, the princesses, and the ladies of the bed-chamber; which, together with the other tables, were severally served with the following number of dishes:--
Besides the above-mentioned tables, there were divers others at night, for the entertainment of guests, the common serjeant, gentlemen belonging to the lord chancellor and judges, gentlemen of the ewery, the sword-bearer, &c.
The concert of music at this sumptuous banquet consisted of trumpets, kettle-drum, French horns, eighteen violins, violinchelloes, double basses, tenors, bassoons, and hautboys; together .
The states general of the United Provinces having sent count Walderen and Mr. Silvius their ambassadors extraordinary to congratulate his majesty upon his happy accession to the crown, they made their public entry into this city on the , in a very pompous and magnificent manner.
The streets of this city, and those of , having for a considerable time been grievously pestered with street-robbers, their audacious villany was got to such a height, that they formed a design to rob the queen in , as she privately returned from supper in the city, to the palace of St. James's, as confessed by of the gang, when under sentence of death. But those execrable villains being busily employed in robbing sir Gilbert Heathcote, an alderman of London, on his return in his chariot from the house of commons, her majesty luckily passed them in her coach, without being attacked.
On the , a presentment was made by the grand jury of , against the notorious orator Henley, who, in his ranting effusions in a room over Newport-market, found means to attract a very considerable share of public attention, by mingling religion with profaneness, theology with the drama, and impudence with scurrility. The orator, however, having prudently obtained a licence under the Act of Toleration, boldly maintained his post, and continued his accustomed mode of lecturing, in open defiance of his enemies. In the month following, the grand jury of Middlesex made presentments, expressed in the strong language of reprobation, against
by frequenting which her majesty's subjects sustain incredible prejudice, since the constitutions of the labouring people are not only thereby weakened, but utterly destroyed;
the unusual swarms of sturdy and clamorous beggars' which infest
What effect was produced by these representations does not appear.
The close of the year was attended by a great mortality in London, arising, most probably, from the continual rains, and frequent stormy weather, through which cold and fevers became general: the numbers of persons that died within the bills of mortality, in the course of the year, amounted almost to . During the winter, street robberies were again remarkably prevalent; people became fearful of stirring from their houses after dark, it being a practice of the robbers to knock down, and wound, before they proceeded to rifle their prey. On the evening of New Year's day, , many lives were lost in London, through a dense fog, which rendered it so obscure, that several persons fell into the Fleet ditch, and others into the Canal, in , by mistaking their way; much damage was also done on the river Thames.
The month of , was a very sickly time in London, almost every person being afflicted with head-ach and fever; the number of deaths in the week ending on the thirtieth, was upwards of .
The year is distinguished by the strenuous opposition of the citizens of London to a scheme, concerted by the ministry, for introducing a general excise, under pretence of easing the people of various taxes, and promoting the interests of the fair trader. Before the day appointed by the minister for introducing this measure into the house of commons, a court of common council being summoned, they unanimously agreed to recommend it to their representatives, to use their utmost efforts to defeat so pernicious a design; and their reasons were set forth in the following representation, which was delivered to them:--
When the outline of the proposed measure was stated to the house, and a motion was made for leave to bring in a bill, the city members opposed it with all their abilities, and were powerfully supported by many eminent independent members; but, on the question being put, it was carried in the affirmative, by a majority of . The success of the minister did not, however, discourage his opponents, who debated the bill, through every stage, with increasing earnestness. To prevent the contents of the bill from being known, a majority of the house determined that it should not be printed for the use of the members, as is usual: the lord mayor, however, with great difficulty, procured a copy of it, which he laid before, a court of common council, summoned to deliberate on the best means to prevent it from being passed; and it was resolved that a petition should be immediately drawn up, and presented to the house, praying to be heard by counsel. against it. The petition being presented, and a motion made for granting the prayer of it, another animated debate ensued; and on the division, it was carried in the negative, by against .
Notwithstanding this, the powerful opposition of the city, which was supported by several of the principal counties, soon convinced sir Robert Walpole of the impossibility of carrying his point, without endangering the peace of the nation, and his own safety. In consequence of which, the bill, instead of being read a time, on the , as had been appointed, was, upon a motion made by sir Robert, deferred till the , a day exceeding the time limited for the continuance of the session; so that the passing of the bill became impracticable, and sir Robert Walpole's scheme, by the firm and steady interposition of the citizens, proved entirely abortive.
The miscarriage of the excise bill was celebrated by public rejoicings throughout the cities of London and ; and the minister who projected it was burnt in effigy.
Many great inconveniences to commerce, and frequent frauds having arisen from stock-jobbing, in the city of London, an act of parliament was passed in , to prevent the infamous practice, by which heavy penalties were laid upon every fictitious bargain, for the sale or purchase of stock.
On the , in the same year, a considerable tumult arose in , , through the thoughtless conduct of some of the youthful nobility and commoners, who at a tavern there, and under the denomination of the Calveshead club, had ordered an entertainment of calves heads; some
|of which, enwrapped in bloody cloths, they exhibited from the floor windows to the populace, who had assembled round a large bonfire made in front of the house, into which of the heads dressed in a napkin cap was at last thrown, with loud huzzas. The mob, notwithstanding many of them had been plentifully regaled with beer and strong liquors, felt the indecency of the frolic so strongly, that they commenced an impetuous attack upon the house, broke all the windows, and destroyed every thing in the interior that came in their way. The imprudent members of the club were all forced to a precipitate flight to save their lives; and the entire building would have been demolished, but for the guards, whose arrival put an end to the disturbance.|
In the year , the inhabitants of the precinct of Black-friars claiming a privilege of exemption from the jurisdiction of the city of London, in right of the ancient monastery being dissolved there by king Henry VIII. occasioned the lord mayor and aldermen to ascertain their right thereto; which they did by a trial in the court of King's-bench, on the , wherein John Bosworth, Esq. chamberlain of the city of London, was plaintiff, and Daniel Watson, shalloon and drugget-seller, defendant. The action was brought against the latter, for opening a shop in Blackfriars, and retailing his goods there, without being a freeman of the city. The counsel for the plaintiff alleged, that Black-friars actually belonged to the city of London when it was a monastery, and before trades were ever occupied there; to prove which, they produced several ancient records, viz. a charter of king Edward I. and a record, Richard II. calling it the Friary of London; and another, Hen. VIII. mentioning a parliament, held at the Friars-preachers of the city of London, , and other records of this kind; they likewise cited a parallel case to this, Car. . when an action was brought against Philpot, a shoemaker, of Black-friars, for opening a shop and vending shoes there, without being free of the city; and, after a fair trial, by an equal and indifferent jury of the county of Hertford, a verdict was given for the plaintiff, with damages. In consequence of this decision, Black-friars became a precinct of the ward of Farringdon within, and sends members to represent it in the common council of this city.
An act of common-council was passed, in November, for the better regulation of bakers; in which it was enacted, that, in addition to the fine, the name and place of abode of every baker, convicted of making bread under weight, shall be published.
The streets of London being greatly infested with robbers and house-breakers, owing to the insufficiency of the lights in the night, application was made to parliament by the lord mayor and common-council, to enable them to light the streets in a more effectual manner: in compliance with which, an act was passed, empowering the lord mayor, aldermen, and commonalty, to erect
|a sufficient number of such glass lamps, and in such places as they shall judge proper, to be kept burning from the setting to the rising of the sun throughout the year; and giving them power to make a rate to defray the expence thereof.|
An act of parliament was also passed in this year, to limit the number of play-houses, and to subject all writings intended for the stage to the inspection of the lord chamberlain.
On the , the freedom of the city of London was presented to his royal highness the prince of Wales; he had, a short time before, been complimented with the freedom of the company of saddlers.
The ancient watercourse of the Fleet rivulet, since denominated Turnmill-brook, having for divers ages cost great sums of money to keep it navigable, by frequent cleansing, which, proving very burthensome to the citizens, it was at last neglected, whereby it soon became so choked with mud and filth, as to be rendered unnavigable, (though, by an anchor found some time ago at Black Mary's Hole, it may be presumed that its navigation extended so far, if not, as commonly reported, to , where, according to tradition, an anchor was likewise found) on which occasion it justly received the opprobrious appellation of Fleet-ditch; in which piteous condition it continued till the great conflagration in . But, by an act of parliament for rebuilding the city of London, it was appointed to be restored to its ancient state of navigation as far as Holborn-bridge. And, by virtue of the said act, the work was begun in the year , and finished in . The length of the canal being feet; in breadth, ; and in depth of water, at the upper end, by a middling tide, feet. It was bounded on each side by a strong brick wall, wherein were built spacious vaults, as so many repositaries for sea-coals. The wharfs on each side, which were feet in width, were strongly supported by the said wall and vaults; and the whole charge of sinking, clearing, levelling, wharfing, planking, piling, paving, posting and railing of the said watercourse, amounted to , ; besides the money laid out in purchasing of ground on both sides for enlarging the said canal and wharfs.
But this new and spacious canal filling with mud and dirt as formerly, the charge of cleansing it above Fleet-bridge amounted to more than its annual produce; wherefore, it was again neglected, and the rails on each side being decayed, many persons perished by falling therein by night, and beasts by day; so that it was become a very great and dangerous nuisance, as set forth in the preamble to the act: which occasioned the city to apply to parliament (in ) for a power to arch over and level that part of it above Fleet-bridge; which was granted in this form:--
The work was begun about the middle of , and spacious arches of feet high, and wide, as common sewers, were finished and levelled over by Michaelmas following. And a fine market-house, with other conveniences, being since thereon erected, the said place, by the name of the Fleet-market, was opened on the .
Over this canal were handsome stone bridges; those of , the Fleet, and remaining as common highways, whilst that of Fleet-lane was obliged to make way for the new market.
, the workmen began to clear away the sheds, &c. in Stocks-market, and to take up the pavement, in order to lay the foundation of a mansion-house for the lord mayor, pursuant to several resolutions taken by the common council of this city.
About o'clock on the , the city was greatly alarmed at the sight of large birds, which were perched on the top of , on the cross, and the other on the pine-apple; they were very large, and appeared through a telescope to be eagles, though some were of opinion they were cormorants. Be this as it will, they sat very quietly till a mall went up to the gallery and fired a gun at them, on which they flew away. Various were the sentiments of the multitude at this uncommon sight; and some, who turn every thing to omens, cried out,
This being observed to have such an effect to draw so numerous a multitude of people together, and the necessities of the state requiring the fleet to be suddenly manned, the press-gangs placed a live turkey on the top of the monument, which in a short time drew a prodigious number of gazers; by which means, many idle hands, proper to man his majesty's fleet, were presently picked up.
The night of the , was remarkable for a tremendous storm of lightning and rain, with some thunder, by which much damage was done in several parts of the town. The violence of the wind on the succeeding day did considerable injury to the shipping and small craft in the river Thames.
The winter of - became memorable from its uncommon severity, and the occurrence of of the most intense frosts that had ever been known in this country, and which, from its piercing cold and long continuance, has been recorded in our annals by the appellation of the Great Frost. It commenced on
|Christmasday, and lasted till the of the following February, when it begun to break up, but was not wholly dissipated till near the end of the month. The distress which it occasioned among the poor and labouring classes of London was extreme; coals could hardly be obtained for money, and water was equally scarce. The watermen and fishermen, with a peter-boat in mourning, and the carpenters, bricklayers, &c. with their tools and utensils in mourning, walked through the streets in large bodies, imploring relief for their own and families' necessities; and, to the honour of the British character, this was liberally bestowed. Subscriptions were also made in the different parishes, and great benefactions bestowed by the opulent, through which the calamities of the season were much mitigated. A few days after the frost had set in, great damage was done among the shipping in the river Thames, by a high wind, which broke many vessels from their moorings, and drove them foul of each other, whilst the large flakes of ice that floated on the stream, overwhelmed various boats and lighters, and sunk several corn and coal vessels. By these accidents, many lives were lost; and many others were also destroyed by the intenseness of the cold both on land and water. Above bridge, the Thames was completely frozen over, and tents and numerous booths were erected on it for selling liquors, &c. to the multitudes that daily flocked thither for curiosity or diversion. The scene here displayed was very singular, and had more the appearance of a fair on land than of a frail exhibition, the only basis of which was congealed water. Various shops were opened for the sale of toys, cutlery, and other light articles; even a printing-press was established, and all the common sports of the populace in a wintry season were carried on with augmented spirit, in despite or forgetfulness of the distress which reigned on shore. Many of the houses, which at that time stood upon London-bridge, as well as the bridge itself, received considerable damage when the thaw commenced, by the driving of the ice.|
On the , great devastation was made in and near London, by a dreadful hurricane, which commenced between and in the evening, and raged about hours; during which time a considerable part of Hyde-park wall was blown down, as well as of the pinnacles of , and many stacks of chimnies in different parts. Several persons were killed by the falling ruins, and the roofs of many houses were stripped of their tiling, &c.
The great augmentation in the population of the metropolis, rendering an increase in the magistracy necessary, the king, by his letters patent, bearing date on the , empowered all the aldermen of London to act in future as justices of the peace within the city and its liberties. Before this, the
|privilege of acting as magistrates was possessed only by the lord mayor, the recorder, the aldermen who had passed the chair, and the senior aldermen.|
In the autumn of the same year, many inhabitants of London and the adjacent places, were carried off by an epidemic fever, which continued to rage for several months, and was thought to have originated in the heat and dryness of the preceding summer. In , the lord mayor, aldermen, and commonalty, in answer to a letter from the king, acquainting them with his having
presented an address to his majesty, expressive of their
On the , a proclamation was issued, commanding all papists to depart the cities of London and , and within miles of the same; for confining papists and reputed papists to their habitations; for seizing the arms and horses from such as refuse to take the oaths, &c. and for putting the laws in execution against the instigators of tumultuous proceedings: and, on the , his majesty's declaration of war was proclaimed, against France at the usual places, and with the accustomed ceremonies on such occasions.
A great number of journeymen stay-makers and tailors having entered into a combination not to work for the wages established by law, and the same being represented to his majesty, the privy council, on the , by his majesty's command, wrote a letter to the duke of Newcastle, of the county of Middlesex, requiring his grace to recommend the justices of the peace to carry into execution the act of George I. for preventing all unlawful assemblies and combinations. Letters to the same purport were sent to the constable of the Tower, and to the lord mayor of London. In consequence of which, the justices met on the , and came to the following resolution:--
These resolutions were no sooner published than they produced the desired effect; the combination ceased, and the journeymen returned quietly to their respective employments.
The streets of the city of London were at this time so pestered with street-robbers, that it induced the lord mayor and aldermen to petition his majesty for
In consequence of this petition, on the following, his majesty issued a
|proclamation, promising a reward of over and above all other rewards, for the apprehending of every person found guilty of robbery or murder.|
The Chevalier de St. George, eldest son to the Pretender, landed in Scotland in , at which time his majesty was on a visit to his German dominions. Through the indiscreet security of the regency, in refusing due credit to the intelligence at received, the young adventurer was enabled to make considerable progress, and after some skirmishes, to take possession of the cities of Edinburgh and Carlisle, and even to advance as far as Derby, on his route to the metropolis. Meanwhile, a courier had been dispatched for the king, who arrived in London about the beginning of September; when a letter was sent in his majesty's name to the lord mayor, informing him of the commencement of the rebellion in Scotland, and recommending his lordship to employ his utmost
This was answered by an address, in which the citizens engaged to sacrifice all that was
Similar addresses were carried up by the lieutenancy, merchants, &c. of London; and soon afterwards, an agreement was entered into by upwards of of the most eminent merchants, traders, and stock-holders, to take bank notes as cash, that public credit might be preserved, the run upon the bank having been uncommonly great, in consequence, as was said, of a design to furnish the rebels with gold; but which, either from finesse or necessity, had already been partially frustrated by an order of the directors, that all payments should be made in silver.
As the Scottish army advanced southward, the necessary precautions were taken for the security of London. The trained bands were kept in readiness, and the city gates strongly guarded. Military associations were formed among the more substantial citizens; and other bodies, among whom were the gentlemen of the law, agreed to form themselves into a regiment, under the command of the lord chief justice Willes, to be denominated,
His majesty was so well pleased with this timely mark of their attachment, that the lord chief justice next day took his commission as colonel of the said regiment.
At a court of lord mayor and common council, held on the , it was unanimously agreed to subscribe out of the chamber of London, towards the relief, support, and encouragement of such soldiers, as then were, or should thereafter be employed in his majesty's service during the winter season, towards the suppression of the then unnatural rebellion. By this, and a voluntary subscription paid into the chamberlain's office at , there was raised a sufficient stock to provide pair of breeches, shirts, woollen caps,
|pair of woollen stockings, blankets, pair of woollen gloves, and pair of woollen spatterdashes, which were immediately converted to the use of the army.|
On the another proclamation was issued for discovering, apprehending, and bringing to trial, all jesuits and popish priests, who should be found after the of that instant, in the cities of London and , or the borough of , or within miles of the same, with a reward of to those who should discover or apprehend any such jesuit or popish priest.
The quakers also distinguished themselves by raising a sum of money amongst their own people to purchase woollen waistcoats, which they transmitted to the army in the north, for the soldiers to wear under their cloathing, when obliged to keep the field in winter.
In consequence of the great progress made by the rebels, who had, by forced marches, and avoiding the rout of his majesty's forces under general Wade, advanced as far as Derby, in their way to London, the disaffected in and about the metropolis were so spirited up, that they publicly declared their sentiments; and several treasonable papers, called the pretender's declarations, were put under the doors of peoples' houses, and dropped on the parade in .
Matters at last came to such a crisis, that the troops in the neighbourhood of the city were ordered to march and form a camp on Finchley-common, and the king resolved to take the field in person, accompanied by the earl of Stair; the militia of London and Middlesex was kept in readiness to march; double watches were posted at the city gates, and signals of alarm appointed.
This state of anxious suspence was, however, but of short duration; the pretender finding himself disappointed, and that no attempt was made by the French towards an invasion, called a council of war at Derby, where, after violent disputes, it was determined to retreat to Scotland with all possible expedition.
At a common council held on the , it was agreed to petition parliament for a repeal of the clause in the act passed in , for regulating elections in the city of London, by which a power of negativing any question agitated in the court of common council was vested in the mayor and aldermen; and, in consequence of this application, a bill was passed for repealing the clause complained of.
The rebellion being finally suppressed by the victory of Culloden, gained on the , the lord mayor and aldermen, the court of common council, and the merchants, &c. of the city of London, respectively addressed his majesty with their most sincere congratulations on that happy event.
Sir Richard Hoare, who was lord mayor in this troublesome year, received the particular thanks of the court of
|common-council and court of lieutenancy, for his diligence and steady attachment to his country, during the late time of imminent danger; for his constant readiness to call those courts together; and, in particular, for his personal attendance on all occasions.|
The principal leaders in this rebellion were either slain or made prisoners; among the latter were the earls of Kilmarnock and Cromartie, the lords Balmerino and Lovat, and Charles Ratcliffe, Esq. younger brother to the earl of Derwentwater, who had suffered in . The earls and lord Balmerino having been adjudged guilty of high treason in Westminster-hall, were condemned to be beheaded; a fate from which Cromartie was spared, but which was inflicted on the others upon the same scaffold on , . In the December following, Charles Ratcliffe was beheaded on , for being concerned in the rebellion of , at which time he had preserved his life by escaping from Newgate after conviction. Lord Lovat was decapitated on the . These executions were attended by an immense concourse of spectators, who crowded every part of, and avenue to , as well as the adjacent houses. For the convenience also of those that chose to pay for the accommodation, scaffolds were erected; of the largest of which, containing above persons, fell with a sudden crash on the heads of those beneath, on the morning of lord Lovat's execution. This accident proved the deaths of about persons, and many more had their limbs broken, or were sorely bruised.
On the , the subscribers to the subscription, for the encouragement of the soldiers employed in suppressing the late rebellion, held a general meeting, when it appeared that the surplus then remaining in the hands of the committee, amounted to , which sum was disposed of to public charities in the following manner:
On the morning of the , a most destructive fire commenced at a peruke-maker's, named Eldridge, in Exchange Alley, ; and within hours totally destroyed between
|and a houses, besides damaging many others. The flames spread in directions at once, and extending into , consumed above houses there, including the London assurance office, the Fleece, and the Tuns tavern, and Torn's and the Rainbow coffee-houses. In Exchange Alley, the Swan tavern, with Garraway's, Jonathan's, and the Jerusalem coffee-houses, were burnt down; and in the contiguous avenues and , the George and Vulture tavern, with several other coffee-houses, met alike fate. Mr. Eldridge, with his wife, children, and servants, all perished in the flames; and Mr. Cooke, a merchant, who lodged in the house, broke his leg in leaping from a window, and died soon after: various other persons were killed by different accidents. All the goods of the sufferers that could be removed were preserved, as well from theft as from the flames, by the judicious exertions of the city magistrates, and the assistance of parties of soldiers sent from the Tower and St. James's; notwithstanding which, the value of the effects and merchandize destroyed was computed at exclusive of that of the buildings. Upwards of was afterwards subscribed for the relief of the poorer sufferers, whose claims altogether amounted to about|
At a court of common council, held the , a bill passed for repealing all former acts of that court, touching the nomination and election of sheriffs of the city of London and county of Middlesex, and for regulating such nominations and elections for the future; in which it was ordained, that the right of electing persons to the office of sheriffalty shall be vested in the liverymen, and that the general election day shall be the , except it be Sunday, and then on the following day. That the person or persons elected to the said office shall take the same upon him or them on the vigil of St. Michael the archangel, next following the said election, and hold the same for and during the space of whole year, from thence next ensuing, and no longer, when some other persons shall be duly elected, and sworn into the same office in their stead. That at the general elections for sheriffs, all the aldermen, who have not served, shall be put in nomination, according to their seniority, before any commoner. That the lord mayor may, between the and the in every year, nominate, in the court of lord mayor and aldermen, persons, free of this city, who shall be put in nomination for the said office, before any other commoner, and in the same order as nominated by the lord mayor. That if any so nominated shall, within days after notice, pay to the chamberlain, and towards the maintenance of the ministers of the several prisons, together with the usual fees, every such person shall be discharged from serving the said office, except he shall afterwards take upon him the office of an alderman. That any liverymen, having a right to vote at the election of sheriffs, may nominate any person, free of the city, for the said office. That no
|freeman shall be discharged from such election or nomination, for insufficiency of wealth, unless he voluntarily swears himself not worth , in lands, goods, and separate debts, and the same be attested upon oath by other freemen of credit and reputation. That every person elected shall, at the next court of lord mayor and aldermen, give bond to the chamberlain, that he will take upon him the said office on the next following. That the person elected, who does not give bond to serve, shall, if an alderman or commoner of the lord mayor's nomination, forfeit and pay ; but, if nominated by liverymen, he shall forfeit and pay only , to be recovered by action of debt, in the name of the chamberlain of London, and to be applied to the use of the lord mayor, commonalty, and citizens of London, subject to the orders and resolutions of the court of common-council; except to each of the new sheriffs, if fines happen to be paid, or to each of the said sheriffs, should there be only fine paid. That no person who has fined shall be ever after eligible, except he takes upon him the office of an alderman; neither shall any person be compelled to serve the said office more than once.|
The year was remarkable for of the most extraordinary impositions that credulity ever countenanced. About the middle of January, an advertisement appeared in the newspapers, informing the public, that, on the instant, a person would appear in the new theatre in the , who, after playing the music of every instrument in use, upon a cane belonging to any of the spectators, would walk into a common quart bottle, placed upon a table in the middle of the stage, in sight of the audience, and would sing in it; and, during his stay in the bottle, any person might examine it, and be satisfied that it was a common wine bottle. Some other feats were to be exhibited equally entertaining, and although it might be supposed impossible that mankind, even in a state of gross ignorance, could be so egregiously imposed upon, yet it is unquestionably true, that the scheme did take effect in the British capital, and in the middle of the eighteenth century. On the evening of the exhibition, the house was crowded with the nobility and gentry of both sexes, who sat very patiently for a considerable time, without the amusement of a single fiddle. At length, the audience grew tired and clamorous; and a fellow came from behind the curtain, and bowing, said, if the performer did not appear, the money should be returned: at the same time, some person in the pit called out, that if the ladies and gentlemen would give double price, the conjurer would get into a pint bottle. This was the signal for a riot; the greater part of the audience hurried out of the theatre, with the loss of cloaks, hats, wigs, and swords; part remained behind, who being joined by the mob from without, tore up the benches, broke the scenes, pulled down the boxes, and entirely demolished the
|inside of the theatre: all of which they carried into the street, preceded by the curtain, fastened to a pole, as a flag of triumph; where they converted them into a large bonfire. A strong party of the guards was sent for, but did not arrive in time to save any part of the property. No material injury was sustained by any of the spectators, from the confusion in the house.|
The treaty of peace with France and Spain, which had been long in agitation, being concluded, it was proclaimed in London on the ; but so little pleasing were the conditions of it to the citizens, that their congratulations to his majesty were added to an address on the safe delivery of the princess of Wales.
The peace was celebrated on the , by a more magnificent display of fire-works than had ever been seen in this country. The machine which contained them was placed in the Greenpark, and represented a magnificent temple, adorned with statues, paintings, and inscriptions. With these, fireworks of every description were intermixed; the central part exhibiting a grand sun, having circles of rays of different coloured fire, extending to a diameter of feet, and in its orb the words , in bright fire. The playing off of the fireworks was preceded by a grand military overture composed by Handel, and a royal salute of pieces of ordnance. His majesty, with his court, having previously inspected the machine, retired to the library at Buckingham-house to see the discharge of fireworks, which lasted about hours. During this exhibition of the pavilions caught fire, and was entirely consumed; but the flames were prevented from spreading to the rest of the machine. The park was thronged with an immense multitude, and some few lives were lost by different accidents. The number of fireworks played off amounted to upwards of .
Some sailors having been ill-treated by women of the town, in a house near the new church in , a considerable body of them assembled, on the evening of the , armed with cutlasses and bludgeons, and proceeded to the house, where they destroyed all the furniture and wearing apparel, and turned the women into the street. On the following night, they attacked more houses in the same manner, and the day made a similar attempt upon in the , from which the owners had previously removed the goods, from an apprehension of their design. It was at last found necessary to call in the assistance of the military, to suppress these dangerous proceedings; and several of the rioters were apprehended and committed for trial.
This was followed by a circumstance, which proves that the firmness and temper of a civil magistrate may frequently render the interposition of the military unnecessary. criminals were ordered for execution on the , among whom was Bosavern Penlez, a young man, convicted of being concerned in the riot in . A rescue being apprehended in favour of
|Penlez, a party of foot guards attended at Holborn-bars to guard the prisoners to Tyburn; but Mr. sheriff Janssen, for the dignity of the city and his office, mounted on horseback, when the criminals were put into the carts at Newgate; and having provided a sufficient guard of the civil power, very genteelly dismissed the officer and his men at , and conducted the malefactors to the place of execution without their assistance. A great number of sailors, armed with bludgeons and cutlasses, attended at the gallows, and became very clamorous, from an apprehension that the body of Penlez would be delivered to the surgeons; but Mr. Janssen assuring them it should not, they were pacified, and the criminals were executed without the least obstruction.|
About this time, a grant passed the great seal, wherein his majesty was pleased to re-incorporate, singular, all the freemen of the art of Butchers of the city of London, and all others who then used or exercised, or should thereafter use or exercise the art within the said city, the liberties and suburbs thereof, or in any place within miles from the said city, by the name of the master, wardens, and commonalty of the art or mystery of butchers.
This year finished with a remarkable cause tried in the lord mayor's court, between a club of journeymen free painters, plaintiffs, and Mr. Row, citizen and master painter, defendant, for employing a person not free to work for him in the city. The defendant pleaded, and made it appear by evidence, that, from the want of free journeymen of the trade, it was not possible for the summer business of the city to be done, without the assistance of at least an equal number of non-freemen; and that no freeman was ever refused, or could sometimes be got on any terms. To which the counsel for the plaintiffs replied, with a very learned argument upon a by-law, made by the city in the reign of queen Anne. The jury went out at o'clock in the afternoon, and returned twice without agreeing on their verdict; and being sent out again, and continuing a long time, the court ordered them to be locked up in the room, without fire, candle, or any sustenance, by an officer sworn to observe the same, and to attend them; in which situation they continued till o'clock next morning, when they brought in a verdict for the plaintiffs.
The masters of the several handicraft trades, finding themselves greatly aggrieved by this verdict, petitioned the common council for liberty to employ foreigners under certain restrictions. This produced a counter-petition from the journeymen; the consideration of which was deferred till the , when a committee of aldermen and commoners met to adjust these disputes. At this meeting, a day was appointed for hearing deputations from the masters and journeymen, and after several adjournments, the committee reported their opinion to the court; who, on the , resolved, that the court of lord mayor and aldermen be empowered to grant permission to any
|freeman, who could not procure a sufficient number of free journeymen, to employ foreigners, provided he has apprentice, or has had within months before making application for the licence; and, in case no court of lord mayor and aldermen is held, the lord mayor may, on any Tuesday, grant such licence, for a term not exceeding weeks. A power is, however, reserved to the court of lord mayor and aldermen to revoke any licence, though the time for which it is granted be not expired.|
On the , between and o'clock at noon, a smart shock of an earthquake was felt through the cities of London and , and parts adjacent; and, on the , between and in the morning, the town was alarmed with another shock, much more violent, and of longer continuance than the . Many people, awakened from their sleep by it, ran terrified into the streets without their clothes; a great number of chimnies were thrown down; several houses were considerably damaged; and, in Charter-house-square, a woman was thrown from her bed, and her arm broke. The panic of the people, in consequence of these earthquakes was greatly increased by the ridiculous prediction of a wild enthusiastic soldier in the life-guards, who boldly prophesied that as the earthquake had happened exactly weeks after the , there would be a --exactly weeks after the , which would lay the whole cities of London and in ruins. Though this prognostication appears too ridiculous to merit the least attention, yet it produced a most astonishing effect on the credulous and already terrified people. A day or before the expected event, multitudes of the inhabitants abandoned their houses and retired into the country; the roads were thronged with carriages of persons of fashion; and the principal places within miles of London were so crowded, that lodgings were procured at a most extravagant price.
On the evening preceding the dreaded , most of those who stayed in the city sat up all night; some took refuge in boats on the river, and the fields adjacent to the metropolis were crowded with people; all of whom passed the night in fearful suspense, till the light of the morning put an end to their apprehensions, by convincing them, that the prophecy they had been weak enough to credit had no other basis than that of falsehood.
Although the predicted time was now elapsed, yet the terror of the people did not thoroughly abate till after the day of the month, because the earthquakes had happened on the day of the former months. When this time also passed, their fears vanished, and they returned to their respective habitations. The false prophet, who had been the instigator of such general confusion among the people, was committed to a place of confinement.
In this year,, the lord mayor, sir Samuel Pennant, some of the aldermen, of the judges, the under-sheriff, and many of the lawyers, who had attended the March sessions in the ,
|most of the Middlesex jury, and a considerable number of the spectators, died of the gaol distemper, caught from the prisoners. In consequence of this disaster, a machine was soon after put upon the top of Newgate, to supply it with fresh air; the prison was well cleansed, and every other precaution taken to preserve the health of the prisoners.|
In the beginning of the year , a cause was tried at Hicks'shall, between the tin-plate workers and Milton, whom they indicted upon the statute of queen Elizabeth, for exercising their art and mystery, not having served a regular apprenticeship to the same. The verdict was given for Milton, because the tin-plate workers were not incorporated till many years after the enacting that statute.
On the , a cause was heard before the lord mayor and court of aldermen, about laying open the port of London for bringing in foreign oats, pursuant to a statute I James II. empowering that court, in April and October, to determine the common market prices of middling English corn, by the oaths of substantial persons of Middlesex and Surrey, being neither merchants, corn-factors, mealmen, nor factors for importing corn, nor interested in the corn, and each having a freehold estate of , or a leasehold estate of per annum, and by such other ways as to them shall seem fit; and if the same shall appear to be above a quarter, they are to certify the same, with the oaths annexed, to the commissioners of the customs, to be hung up in the custom-house. The persons that made the application were several masters of livery-stables, and inn-keepers, and their opponents were the corn-factors. After a hearing which lasted hours, it was decided for the corn-factors; aldermen being for laying open the port, and , with the lord mayor, who threw in his casting vote, against it.
On the , the city and places adjacent were attacked by a violent storm of wind, by which several stacks of chimnies were blown down, and in some places the roofs beat in, whereby many people were terribly bruised, and some lost their lives; great quantities of lead were blown off , the houses on London-bridge, &c.; the head of Levi and the feet of Abraham in the fine window in Westminster-abbey were blown out, as were the windows in many places; in , and the villages about the metropolis, great numbers of trees were demolished. On the river, ships were drove from their moorings, lighters and boats sunk, and several lives lost.
On the in the same year, Thomas Winterbottom, esq. lord mayor of London, died in his mayoralty, and was succeeded by Robert Alsop, esq.
A subject of an extraordinary nature occurred in the beginning of the year . A young woman, named Elizabeth Canning, pretended that, on the , as she was returning home
|at night, she was attacked under Bedlam wall by men, who robbed her of part of her clothes, gagged her, and dragged her along to the house of an old woman called mother Wells, near Enfield-wash, where she was confined in a cold damp room for a month, without any sustenance but a few stale crusts of bread and about a gallon of water; but that having at last made her escape out of a window, she returned almost naked to her mother, who lived near ,|
The story, notwithstanding its improbability, operated so powerfully on the passions of many, even of the best informed classes, that large subscriptions were raised for the prosecution of the supposed delinquents; and the mistress of the house at Enfield, her servant, and an old gypsey woman, named Mary Squires, whom Canning charged with having robbed her of her stays, were apprehended and tried. Wells was acquitted of the felony, but was punished as a bawd. Hall, the servant, being intimidated by the magistrate who examined her, turned evidence for Canning; and Squires, the gipsey, was convicted of the robbery, though she produced the most convincing evidence that she was at Abbotsbury, in Dorsetshire, on the night it was said to have been committed. During the course of the trial, Canning and her witnesses contradicted themselves in many particulars; but the prepossession in her favour was so great, that the most palpable falsehoods advanced by her and her adherents were admitted as incontrovertible truths; while the witnesses for Squires, were either so overawed by the rabble that they durst not appear in court, or, if they had sufficient resolution to give evidence in her favour, were insulted in such a manner that their lives were sometimes endangered.
Sir Crispe Gascoigne, who was at this time lord mayor of London, conducted himself in this affair with the greatest justice and impartiality. Considering the improbability of the charge, and the heat, passion, and furious zeal with which it was prosecuted, and being convinced of the old woman's innocence by a great number of affidavits, voluntarily sent up from the country by persons of undoubted veracity, he, in conjunction with some other worthy citizens, determined to oppose the torrent of popular prejudice. Application was made to the throne for mercy. The affair was referred to the attorney and solicitor-general, who, having examined the witnesses on both sides, made their report in favour of Squires, who was respited, and afterwards received his majesty's free pardon.
A bill of indictment was preferred by the lord mayor against Elizabeth Canning for perjury. Her friends did the like against the witnesses from Abbotsbury in favour of Squires. The Abbotsbury people appeared; but no evidence coming against them, they were acquitted. Canning, being admitted to bail, at absconded, but afterwards surrendered to take her trial, which continued by
|adjournment days; when she was convicted of perjury, and committed to Newgate.|
When she was brought up to receive sentence, a new trial was moved for on the affidavit of of the jurors, who swore, that although they believed her guilty of perjury, they did not believe it to be wilful and corrupt. The decision of this point was put off till the next sessions; and on the , it was adjudged by judges, then on the bench, that the verdict was good and agreeable to evidence. After which, the court passed judgment that she should suffer month's imprisonment, and then be transported for years.
Her supporters, however, made such diligent applications in her favour, that they obtained permission for her to transport herself, and she went to America, in a private ship, with every accommodation that money could procure her, and means were used to secure her a favourable reception at her arrival.
So truly sensible were the citizens of London of the rectitude of sir Crispe Gascoigne's conduct in this affair, that, at the expiration of his mayoralty, thanks were voted to him by the common council,
Sir Crispe Gascoigne was succeeded in his office of lord mayor by Edmund Ironside, esq. who was so ill with the gout at the time of his being sworn into office, that he was obliged to be carried to the exchequer in a sedan chair, and died on the . He was the lord mayor who died in his mayoralty from the year ; and it is remarkable that, from the institution of the office until that year, a period of years, such an event had only occurred times.
On the election for sheriffs, in the year , George Streatfield and Alexander Sheafe, esquires, were chosen by a considerable majority, but being called upon to give bond to serve the office, they declined it, and gave answer to the court of aldermen by their attorneys, that, being protestant dissenters, they had not, within a year of the election, taken the sacrament, according to the rites of the church of England, and therefore dared not to take upon them that office in defiance of the act Car. II. stat. . cap. . In consequence of this, a common hall was summoned to choose other ; who, choosing Allen Evans, a protestant dissenter, he likewise pleaded the same excuse. The court of common-council, therefore, on the , ordered that actions should be brought against all those gentlemen, for the penalties incurred by their refusing to serve the office of sheriff; and a committee was appointed to see the said prosecutions executed.
A cause was tried in Michaelmas term, in the court of King's Bench, , on an action brought by Mr. Richard Holland, a leather-seller in , against the collectors of toll in Smithfield, during the time of Bartholomew-fair; when Mr.
|Holland's witnesses were examined; but no person appearing on the other side, a verdict was given in favour of Mr. Holland, on issues, with costs of suit. By which determination, all the citizens of London are exempted from paying toll at the said fair for the future.|
In support of the ancient privilege of the citizens of London, to be exempt from toll for their goods throughout all England, Mr. Holland had also applied for and obtained a certificate from the lord mayor and court of aldermen, in the mayoralty of sir William Calvert, by which the privilege of exemption was not only allowed to him, but extended to every freeman of the city of London.
The public-spirited example of this gentleman was immediately followed by the freemen residing in the several markets of the city, who determined to oppose the oppressive demands of the farmers of them in exacting toll. In consequence of this determination, different actions were brought by the farmers of Newgate-market against the housekeepers around it, for refusing to pay the toll they had been accustomed to demand and receive; and in , of the issues was tried in the court of Common Pleas, at , and the plaintiffs were non-suited; ever since which, the people have continued free and unmolested.
An act of parliament was passed on the , to prevent the holding of a market in the ; which was soon followed by another, on the petition of the inhabitants of , to hold a market on a spot of ground west of the high-street, called the Triangle.
At a court of common-council, held the , the petition for a new bridge at Blackfriars, which had been prepared by the committee appointed for that purpose, was agreed to by a majority of ; and Mr. sheriff Whitehead was ordered to present the same to the house. This petition was accordingly presented on the following, and an act of parliament was soon after passed for that purpose. By this act, the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council were directed to form the said bridge in such a manner, as that there should remain a free and open passage for the water, through the arches, of feet at least, within the banks of the river; and that no buildings, except the proper gates and toll-houses, be erected thereon. The said mayor, &c. were empowered to make, widen, and enlarge such streets, ways, and passages, as they should think necessary, to and from the said bridge, and to agree with the owners and occupiers of such lands, tenements or hereditaments, as they should think proper to be purchased, removed, or pulled down for that purpose. The act also provided, that a proper number of lamps be fixed on the said bridge, and a number of watchmen appointed for the safety of passengers. And, to defray the expences attending the completion of this undertaking, the mayor, &c. were empowered, after the bridge should be finished, to appoint a toll, not
|exceeding a rate specified, and to borrow any sum not exceeding per annum, upon the credit of the tolls, until the whole sum of be raised, to be applied to the purposes of this act.|
The king having informed both houses of parliament that he had received repeated advices of the military preparations made in the various ports of France, and that there was great reason to suspect the French intended to invade England or Ireland, the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council presented an address to his majesty, on the , in which they assured him of their loyal affection, and their determined resolution to exert themselves to the utmost of their abilities, in support of his person and government.
The designs of the French were soon manifested by a descent upon Minorca; the intelligence of which no sooner arrived, than war was declared, on the , at the usual places, and with the accustomed ceremonies.
This period produced the institution of the Marine Society, by the voluntary association of several merchants and others; at the head of whom was Mr. Jonas Hanway, a gentleman ever active in schemes for the public good.
The general discontent of the people at the loss of Minorca was greatly increased by the ministry bringing in a number of Hanoverian troops, to protect and defend the country from the French; and produced an address to his majesty from the citizens of London, in which they represent the evils brought on the state by the negligence or incapacity of his ministers, and call for justice on the authors of them. Similar addresses were presented from most of the other corporations and counties in the kingdom.
His majesty, to convince the people how desirous he was of pursuing such measures as might be satisfactory to them, as well as consistent with the government of his kingdom, ordered the Hanoverian troops to withdraw to their own country, and admitted the expediency of a national militia. He likewise appointed the right honourable Henry Bilson Legge, chancellor of the exchequer; and, on the , he dismissed Mr. Fox, and delivered the seals to the right honourable William Pitt, making him secretary of state and prime minister. These appointments gave the highest satisfaction, not only to the citizens of London, but to all those who were well-wishers to their country; and produced such measures as entirely restored the king to the confidence of his subjects. This event produced the militia bill, which is considered as a barrier of the people's liberty against ministerial power; and the interest of the nation became the touchstone of every measure proposed by the administration.
But this satisfactory state of affairs was of short duration; the administration, finding their unwise measures opposed by the favourites of the nation, and dreading their integrity, prevailed on
|his majesty to dismiss them from their places, which was done on the .|
This revolution was no sooner known, than the whole nation seemed to rise up as man in their favour, and the people took every means they could devise to testify their respect for them. The city of London led the way, and on the , in a court of common council, it was proposed, and unanimously agreed, to present each of them with the freedom of the city of London, in a gold box, of the value of guineas. An act of parliament was passed in this year to regulate the fishery in the river Thames, and for the more speedy punishment of offenders, by which the lord mayor and aldermen are empowered to make rules and ordinances, from time to time, for the government of all persons concerned in that fishery.
On the , between the hours of and o'clock at night, a temporary wooden bridge, built for the convenience of carriages and foot passengers while London-bridge was widening and repairing, was entirely consumed by fire.
His majesty having been pleased to order that the colours taken from the French at Louisburg should be hung up in , they were escorted from Kensington to the west door of the church, with great military pomp, on the ; and on the , the cannon and mortars taken at Cherburgh passed through the city in grand procession, and were deposited in the .
In , in pursuance of an act of common-council, a subscription was opened at , for the purpose of distributing bounties of guineas each, to such persons as should enlist into his majesty's service; and, as a further inducement, it was resolved, that
The amount of the subscription raised was . towards which was paid out of the chamber of London; and the number of recruits obtained by these means was . Similar measures were pursued in the city of , and in the county of Middlesex.
The year offers a memorable instance of the strict impartiality of the English laws. Earl Ferrers, from motives which never clearly appeared, had murdered his steward; for which he was tried and convicted before the house of lords, and received sentence of death; and, on the , he was hanged at Tyburn, and his body delivered to the surgeons to be anatomized. Neither the plea of insanity, nor his rank, nor his alliance with royalty, could produce the slightest deviation from that equal justice which is administered to all ranks; and he suffered the same punishment in the same place, as a murderer of the lowest class of the community.
Several plans having been presented to the committee appointed
|for managing the new bridge to be erected at Blackfriars, they at length gave the preference to Mr. Mylne, a Scotch architect; and the pile for the bridge was driven in the middle of the river on the .|
At a court of common council, held the of the same month, the committee of the city lands were empowered to put in execution an act of parliament passed the last sessions, for widening and improving the several streets in the city; and, at the same time, they directed an opening to be made as soon as possible, from the east end of Crutched-friars into the .
Among other regulations under the said act, it was thought proper to pull down the city gates; in consequence of which, the said committee sold for , ; Cripplegate for , and Ludgate for ; to be pulled down and taken away by the purchaser, within a limited time. The statue of queen Elizabeth, which stood on the west side of Ludgate, was purchased by alderman Gosling, and set up against the east end of St. Dunstan's church, in .
On the , the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council again waited on his majesty with a congratulatory address, on the completion of the conquest of Canada, by the reduction of Montreal. But while the people were exulting in the success of the British arms, and mutual professions of loyalty, confidence, and protection appeared between the king and his subjects, particularly the citizens of London, a gloom was thrown over their happiness, by the sudden death of the king, through apoplexy, who expired on the morning of the , in the year of his age, and the of his reign.
 The spirit and insolence of Henley may be appreciated from an extract from his next advertisement after the presentment of the grand jury had been published in the gazette. At the Oratory in Newport-market, this evening, will be an oration on Elisha's bears, and the whole criticism and nature of bear hunting, and of bear gardens, to explain the text, and avoid bears, whether the bears in the text were one-and-twenty, (the number of the jury,) and who was to speak for them? and all the bear-play, rough and smooth.
 The remains of the earl of Kilmarnock, and of the lords Balmerino and Lovat, were interred within the Tower; those of Charles Ratcliffe were buried in the church yard of St. Giles's in the Fields.