The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 1

Allen, Thomas

1827

History of London during the reign of James the First.

History of London during the reign of James the First.

 

On the , the new king made his public entry into London. At Stamford-hill, he was met by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, in scarlet robes, and

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grave citizens in velvet coats, and chaynes of golde, being all very well mounted like the sheriffes and their trayne; the serjeants at armes, and all the English heraulds in their coates of armes, &c. and multitudes of people swarming in fields, houses, trees, and high wayes to beholde the king. Albeit, these numbers were no way comparable unto those he mette neare London.

About in the evening, he was conducted to the Charter-house, where he

and all his trayne were treated with a most royal entertainment,

by the Lord Thomas Howard, for days, after which he removed to , and from thence to the Tower.

The preparations that were making by the citizens to do honour to the king's coronation, were interrupted by a dreadful plague, which spread its ravages through the capital with more merciless virulence, than any similar calamity that had happened since the time of Edward the . Their majesties, however, were crowned on the , but

they rode not through the city in royall manner, as had been accustomed, neither were the citizens permitted to come to

Westminster

, but forbidden by proclamation, for fear of infection to be by that means increased, for there died that week in the city and suburbs

857

of the plague.

This prohibition, however, did not extend to the lord mayor and principal citizens, who officiated at the coronation dinner, as usual, as chief butlers. On the day following, the king, who by his readiness to bestow honors, seemed to regard nobility as a jest, knighted all the city aldermen who had not previously undergone that ceremony.

The plague continuing to increase, occasioned the issuing of a proclamation against the keeping of Bartholomew-fair, or any other fair within miles of London; and about the same time, the statutes against rogues, vagabonds, sole, and dissolute persons, was

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ordered to be enforced; were prohibited, and

newly-erected houses commanded to be pulled down.

Several other proclamations against new buildings in London were made in this reign. A conceit or a pun passed with James as an argument, and he acted accordingly.

The growth of the capital,

he remarked,

resembled that of the head of a rickety child, in which an excessive influx of humour drained and impoverished the extremities, and at the same generated distemper in the overloaded part.

The number that died of the plague in the course of this year was . During its continuance, the Michaelmas term was held at Winchester, and the courts of exchequer, &c. at Richmond in Surrey. At length, its ravages having ceased, the citizens resumed the preparation of their pageantry, and the king and queen, with the young prince Henry,

passed triumphantly from the Tower to

Westminster

,

on the . The king rode on a

white gennet under a rich canopie

sustained by gentlemen of the privy council. triumphal arches or gates were raised in different parts of the city; and in was

erected the invention of a rainbow, with the moone, sunne, and starres, advanced between

two

pyramids.

In short, the whole city and suburbs displayed a

continued scene of pageantry

; and all the city companies were arrayed in their formalities, and marshalled in their order of precedence, from the upper end of to the conduite in ; the

stremers, engines, and banners of each particular company being decently fixed.

On the , James opened his parliament, at , by a long speech from the throne, in which good sense and pedantry were pretty equally blended. In the July following, this parliament was prorogued in displeasure, for having dared to remind the monarch of the privileges of the commons, after he had arbitrarily interfered in a contested election. James began early to stretch the prerogative unwarrantably, and to his endeavours to establish a blind deference to kingly authority, may be traced those events, which led his successor to the block.

In September, the king borrowed of money, on

privie sales, sent to the wealthiest citizens of London,

for that purpose. These sums appear to have been punctually repaid, together with which Queen Elizabeth had borrowed of the citizens in .

On the , James was proclaimed King of Great Britain, France, Ireland, &c.

in most solemne manner, at the Great Crosse in West Cheape.

This was preparatory to the

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Union with Scotland, a measure which the king had much at heart, though greatly against the inclinations of his English subjects.

The court of requests, which had been originally established by an act of common council, was found so beneficial, that an act of parliament was obtained in , to confirm the power and jurisdiction of it; but many ill-disposed persons having attempted to wrest some ambiguous words in to cloak their own sinister purposes, a act was found necessary in the following year; by which the former was confirmed, and the authority of the court extended to non-freemen resident in the city.

In , the king granted to the city a charter confirmatory of its right to the metage of all coals, grain, salt, fruits, eatable roots, and

other merchandizes, wares, and things measurable,

brought within the limits of the city jurisdiction of the river Thames; and which had been several times questioned by the lieutenants of the Tower.

About this period, the horrible conspiracy, known in history by the name of the Gunpowder Plot, the grand object of which was to prepare the way for the restoration of the Catholic religion, was carrying on by its daring contrivers, with every possible precaution that seemed necessary to ensure its success. The destruction of the king and parliament was the preliminary measure through which the conspirators thought to accomplish their design; and the blowing up the Parliament-house with gunpowder, at the moment when the sovereign should be commencing the business of the session by the accustomed speech from the throne, was the dreadful means by which that destruction was intended to be accomplished. All the principal conspirators were bigotted Catholics, who had for many years been plotting the downfall of Protestantism in this country, and had even sent messengers for foreign aid both to Spain and Flanders. Being disappointed, however, in the assistance they required, they resolved to depend upon their own efforts; and about Easter , Winter and Cates by conceived the infernal idea of the Gunpowder plot; and this scheme having been communicated to several others, under the strongest oaths of secrecy and the solemnity of the eucharist, was agreed to be carried into effect on the meeting of parliament in the ensuing February. Some scruples of conscience, which even this hardened band could not help feeling, were soon removed by Jesuitical casuistry; and Henry Garnet, the provincial of the English Jesuits, is stated to have administered the sacrament to the principal conspirators, Percy, Catesby, Winter, Guy Fawkes, and Wright, in a house at the back of in , immediately after they had sworn fidelity to each other, and to the cause, upon a primer.

In the beginning of December, Percy, who was cousin to the Earl of Northumberland, and of the gentlemen-pensioners,

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hired a house immediately adjoining to that part of the parliament house appropriated for the assembly of the lords. Here the conspirators commenced their operations by digging a hole in the foundation wall, which was of great strength, and about feet in thickness. At their entrance they had

made competent provision for twentie days, of wine, beare, and baked meates, because their being there should neyther been seene, nor suspected of any, neyther came they forth until Christmas-eve:--they had also furnished themselves with weapons, shot, and powder, being determined rather to die there in their owne defence, than to be apprehended. About Candlemasse, they had wrought the wall half through, and as they were at work, they heard a rustling of sea coales in the next roome, which was a cellar right under the Parliament-house, and then they feared they had been discovered.

This alarm, however, was of short duration; for, on enquiry, they found that the adjoining vault had been made a depositary for coals, that the coals were then under sale, and that the cellar was to be let. As nothing could be more favourable for their purpose, Percy immediately hired the cellar, and bought the remainder of the coals, as if for domestic use, and without any appearance of concealment.

The prorogation of parliament from February to , gave the conspirators sufficient leisure to further their design; and, at convenient opportunities, about barrels and hogsheads of gunpowder, which had been brought from Holland, were conveyed into the cellar by night, and covered with billets and faggots of wood, great iron bars, stones, &c. All this was done without exciting any suspicion; and though the parliament had again been prorogued, the long expected day at length drew nigh, and every thing wore the aspect of success. The conspiracy had now been on foot upwards of eighteen months, and the important secret had been confided to near persons; yet neither fear, nor pity, nor remorse had cooled the ardor of any of the associates, nor had the least indiscreet hint or expression led a single step towards a discovery.

But God,

says Rapin,

abhorringg so detestable a plot, inspired

one

of the conspirators with a desire to save [William Parker] Lord Monteagle, son of the Lord Morley.

About days before the time appointed for the Parliament to assemble, this nobleman received a letter in

an unknown and somewhat unlegible hand,

which, in ambiguous, yet strong language, recommended him to absent himself from parliament, on account of a great, yet hidden, danger to which he would otherwise be exposed.

Think not slightly of this advertisement,

said the writer,

but retire yourself into your country, where you may

expect the event in safetie; for though there be no appearance of any stirre, yet I say,

they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament, yet they shall not see who hurts them.

After some reflection, Monteagle carried the letter to Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, principal Secretary of State, who, finding the contents to agree with various obscure intimations of a Catholic conspiracy, which he had received from abroad, judged it of sufficient importance to be communicated to the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain, and some others of the Privy Council. Whether Cecil and the Lord Chamberlain had, at this time, actually divined the plot, as would seem from a letter of Cecil's to Sir Charles Cornwallis, published in Winwood's Memorials, or that the discovery was afterwards made by the superior sagacity of the sovereign, as commonly believed, it was determined to proceed with the most cautious secrecy, and that nothing should be done till the king returned from Royston, where he then was on a hunting party.

James came to London on the , and on the next day it was resolved that

a very secret and exact search should be made in the Parliament-House, and in all other rooms and lodgings near adjoining.

Yet, to prevent any needless alarm, as well as to avoid

giving suspicion unto the workers of this mischievous mystery,

it was thought prudent to delay the search till the eve of the day, () on which the Parliament was to meet; and that it should then be made by the Lord Chamberlain, as if only in virtue of his office.

When the Lord Chamberlain entered the cellar, where the ammunition of the conspirators was deposited, and saw the

great store of faggots, billets, and coals,

that was there piled up, he inquired of Whinyard, keeper of the wardrobe, to

what use he had put those lower rooms?

and was then informed that the cellar had been let to Percy, and that the fuel which he saw there was probably for that gentleman's winter consumption. The earl heard this with seeming inattention, but perceiving a man standing in an obscure corner of the cellar,

he asked who he was?

and was answered,

a servant of Percy's. and keeper of that place for him.

The figure and deportment of this pretended menial,

who, indeed, was the afore-named Fawkes, sole agent for this tragedy,

(that is, the setting fire to the powder), made a deep impression on the mind of the Lord Chamberlain; yet he

still carried a seeming careless survey of things, though with a very serious and heedful eye,

and quitted the cellar with affected negligence.

When the earl had made his report to the council, it was agreed that a further search should take place about midnight, and that the billets and faggots should be removed under pretence of seeking for

certain robes and other furniture of the kinges, lately stolen

out of the wardrobe.

Sir Thomas Knevet, a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and a magistrate for , was appointed to this business, and he going at the hour assigned, with proper attendants, apprehended Guy Fawkes, who was found standing at the door, and then causing the fuel in the cellar to be removed, discovered the concealed gunpowder. Fawkes, who was wrapped in a cloak, and booted and spurred, was afterwards searched, and

there was found in his pocket apiece of touchwood, a tinder-boxe to light the touchwood, and a watch which Percy and Fawkes had bought the day before to try conclusions for the long or short business of the touchwood which he had prepared to give fier to the trayne of powder.

He was also provided with a dark lanthorn, and when questioned as to his purpose,

instantly confessed his own guiltiness, saying, that if he had been within the house, when they

first

played hands upon him, hee would have blowne up them, himself, and all.

On his examination before the privy council, he displayed the same daring impudence, affirming, that he only

repented that the deed was not done,

and that

God would have concealed it, but the Devil was the discoverer.

All that day he obstinately refused to discover who were his associates, but being committed to the Tower, and shewn the rack, he felt his spirit subdued, and on the next day

made a full disclosure of the conspiracy.

For some days a general alarm spread over the metropolis, and the magistrates of London and were ordered to keep strong guards in their respective cities. At length the particulars of the plot being fully disclosed and made public, great rejoicings took place, and

there were as many bonefiers in and about London, as the streets could permit, the people praying God for his most gracious delivery, wishing that day for ever to be held festivall.

This sentiment was so far complied with, that the parliament passed a statute, ordering that the anniversary of the discovery should be kept in perpetual remembrance, by a distinct religious service in all the churches of the establishment.

After Fawkes was arrested, Percy, with most of the principal conspirators,

fled into Warwickshire, where they endeavoured to excite an immediate and general rising of the Catholics, but

without effect, though Sir Everard Digby was already in arms, with intent to seize the young Princess Elizabeth, who was then at Lord Harrington's, and who was to have been proclaimed queen had the plot succeeded.

The whole number they could ever muster did not exceed fourscore, including attendants, and the country being instantly raised by the sheriffs,

they were obliged to take refuge at Holbeach, a house belonging to

one

of the conspirators, on the skirts of Staffordshire. There, though completely surrounded, they determined to defend themselves, but on the accidental ignition of some powder which had been put to dry before the fire, they opened the gate, and rushed out.

Percy, Catesby, Winter, and the Wrights, fought desperately, and were all slain but Winter, who was taken alive after receiving several wounds. The fell by the same shot;

Catesby at his death side, the plot and practise of this treason was only his, and that all others were but his assistants, chosen by himself to that purpose, and that the honor thereof only belonged unto himselfe.

Both their heads were afterwards

cut off, and sette upon the ends of the Parliament-House.

The other conspirators were mostly made prisoners on the spot, and were conveyed to the Tower.

On the thirtieth of , Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant, and Thomas Bates, were executed as traitors, at the west end of ; and the next day Guy Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Ambrose Rockwood, and Robert Keys, underwent a similar fate in the , at . Their quarters were afterwards exposed on the different gates of the city, and their heads set upon poles on . Garnet, the provincial of the jesuits, who had been condemned in March, for mis-prision of treason, was executed at , on the ; and several others suffered the just punishment of their guilt about the same time, in different parts of the country.

In June, Percy's cousin, the Earl of Northumberland, was fined , deprived of all his posts, and sentenced to imprisonment for life, on suspicion of being privy to the conspiracy; and the Lords Mordaunt and Stourton were fined, the , and the latter , and ordered to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure. for the like offence, though the only shadow of proof exhibited against them was, their absence from the Parliament. These sentences were passed by that iniquitous court, the Star-Chamber. Shortly afterwards, the king granted crown

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lands, to the value of l per annum, in fee, and a yearly pension of l to the Lord Monteagle, in reward for his

discreete, timely, and dutifull imparting to the council, the private letter, out of which they had the

first

ground, and only meanes that discovered the powder treason.

In July, this year, Christian the , King of Denmark, came to England, on a visit to the Queen, his sister, and was treated with extraordinary magnificence. On his entry into London, a similar display of pageantry was made by the citizens, as had been customary at coronations. Both James and Christian rode through the city in grand procession, preceded by the Lord Mayor, bearing a golden sceptre, and followed by a most splendid train of British and Danish nobility:

upon the great fountain, in

Cheapside

, was erected the bower of the muses; and near the pageant, by the goldsmith's-row, where sat the great elders of the city, in scarlet robes, the Recorder made a solemn oration in Latin, and presented the King of Denmark with a curious cup of massy gold.

Several of the conduits run with wine, and at that in was a pleasant pastoral device, with songs, wherewith the kings were much delighted. On the following day the royal Dane visited all the principal buildings in the metropolis.

James affected popularity, though his general conduct was such as very little to deserve it; he knew the advantage, however, of cultivating the good opinion of the citizens, and on this principle, in , after dining with the Lord Mayor, who presented him with

a purse of gold,

he became a

brother

of the Cloth-worker's Company, and on that occasion made a grant to the company of brace of bucks annually, for ever. In the following month the king partook of a splendid entertainment in Merchant Taylors' Hall, accompanied by Prince Henry, and

very many of the nobility, and other honourable personages ;

there he was again presented with

a purse of gold,

and the Prince, by his desire, was made free of the company, as were all the lords then present, who had not before received the freedom of the city. These courtesies were followed by a new confirmatory charter of all the accustomed rights and privileges of the citizens; and by the same instrument the precincts of Duke-place, St. Bartholomew's the Great and Less, Black and White Friars, and , were all subjected in perpetuity to the jurisdiction of the city: this charter was dated from , on the .

In October another proclamation was issued respecting the increase of new buildings in the metropolis, and it was commanded that all new buildings

should have their utter walls, fore-fronts, and windows, either of brick or stone, by reason that all great

and well-grown woods were spent and much wasted, so as timber for shipping waxed scarce.

note In December, the king borrowed of

certain private citizens, farmers of the customhouse, for

one

whole year ;

and in , he borrowed of

certain other citizens

63,000l.

for

fifteen

months. These sums were punctually repaid at the appointed times, with full royal consideration for the same.

King James, for the more effectual preventing rebellion in Ireland, was graciously pleased to make a tender of the province of Ulster, in the north part of that kingdom, to the lord mayor and citizens of London, for their settling an English colony therein: Which generous and advantageous offer being deliberated upon, the citizens unanimously resolved to send over persons duly qualified to survey the said province; and who being accordingly appointed, they were accompanied thither and assisted by Sir Thomas Philips, the king's surveyor; and, having executed their commission, returned, and made report to the lord mayor and common council of their several transactions and observations in that country; by which the citizens were made sensible of the advantages that would result from such an undertaking. They gratefully accepted of his Majesty's gracious and bounteous offer; and having, by virtue of an act of Common Council, raised the sum of for carrying on the enterprise they, for the government thereof, appointed a committee to be annually chosen, consisting of aldermen and eighteen commoners, whereof to be governor and deputy.

On the last day of May, Prince Henry was created Prince of Wales; on which occasion the lord mayor and aldermen, in the city barge, attended by of the city corporations, in their respective barges, richly decorated, repaired by water to , where they attended the return of the prince from Richmond; whence he arrived at o'clock, and, continuing his voyage to , was, by the citizens, entertained with the diversions of divers fluminous pageants; for which he returned thanks; and, taking leave of them, they returned to the city, where they sumptuously regaled themselves in their several halls upon that joyful occasion.

King James I. in the of his reign, granted a commission to a great many persons of quality, in behalf of the archers; mentioning divers good statutes, ordinances, provisions and proclamations made by kings on their behalf. This commission was to stop a practice then began to be used, of enclosing the ground formerly used for this exercise, by making of banks and hedges in such fields and closes, as time out of mind were allowed to be shot in, and by plucking up the old marks of antient standing in the said closes, or where the banks and hedges being of

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indifferent height, the ditches were made so broad and deep, that, wanting bridges, the archers were much hindered thereby. The commissioners therefore were empowered to go upon these places, and to view and survey in such grounds, next adjoining to the City of London, and the suburbs, within miles compass; and the same to reduce into such order and state for the archers, as they were in the beginning of the reign of King Henry VIII. and to cause the banks, ditches, and quickless to be made plain and reformed.

The inhabitants of this city and suburbs being exceedingly increased, it was dreaded that such a multitude would occasion a famine : for the obviating of so great a misfortune, the mayor and citizens prudently resolved to increase the number of public granaries; to which end they caused new ones to be erected at , capacious enough to contain quarters of corn.

A marriage being concluded between Frederick the elector palatine, and the princess Elizabeth, only daughter to king James; for the solemnization of whose nuptials, the elector, on the , arrived in this city; and on the of the same month, being the lord mayor's day, he honoured the new mayor with his company at dinner in ; where he, with his attendants, the archbishop of Canterbury, duke of Lenox, bishop of London, and many other lords, were entertained in a very sumptuous manner; after which, the lord mayor, in the name of the citizens, presented his electoral highness with a very large bason and ewer, and large pots or flagons of silver richly gilt, on each of which were engraven the words ; and upon the wedding-day, the lord mayor presented the electoral bride with a necklace of oriental pearl, of above in value. The marriage ceremony was performed in the chapel at , with a degree of pomp that could hardly be exceeded, and in the evening

there was a very stately make of lords and ladies, with many ingenious speeches, delicate devises, melodious musique, pleasant dances, and other princely entertainments of tyme; all which were singularly well performed in the Banquetting House.

The expenses attending this most festive wedding, amounted to the enormous sum of almost of which was , collected from his subjects by the king's order, according to the ancient custom on the marriage of the eldest daughter of the sovereign. In April, the prince and his bride quitted the kingdom.

The king being informed of the dilatory proceedings of the citizens of London in settling the province of Ulster in Ireland, lately conferred upon them, and also of the many scandalous practices and abuses in the prosecution of that undertaking; he therefore commanded the governor and committee of direction in that affair to attend him at Greenwich, where he upbraided them with their

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neglect and careless management in the execution of so valuable and laudable a work. This reprimand occasioned the calling of a common council at their return; wherein Henry Montague, of the king's serjeants, laid home to the lord mayor and citizens their several faults and omissions in the prosecution of so beneficial an enterprize, and acquainted them that it was his majesty's pleasure they should immediately send over a deputation from the common council to superintend the work of plantation, for the more effectual carrying on of the same.

The common council, highly approving of this proposition, chose an alderman and a commoner for their deputies; to whom were added, by the governor and committee of direction, gentlemen of great knowledge and experience as assistants; who, arriving in Ireland, carefully surveyed every thing relating to the undertaking, and what was found amiss they rectified, and things defective immediately supplied; and having settled every thing belonging to the colony upon the best foundation, they returned and reported their proceedings to the common council; which, to their great honour, were unanimously approved of.

An order of the privy council was issued in the year , in consequence of the complaints which were made of the decrease in the exportation of woollen goods, to take a general account of the exports and imports of all England, in order to know on which side the balance lay. Among other items of the account is the sum of

for the customs outwards; of which sum London paid ; which is nearly thrice as much as all the rest of England.

In , sir Hugh Middleton completed his ever-memorable undertaking of supplying the metropolis with water, by means of the , which was admitted into the reservoir in the Spa Fields, near , on Michaelmas day, in the presence of an innumerable concourse of spectators. The spot where the reservoir was dug, was

in former times, an open idell pool, commonly called the Ducking-pond.

About this period the base intrigues of the king's favorite, Robert Carr, viscount Rochester, occasioned sir Thomas Overbury to be committed to the Tower, where, after some unsuccessful attempts to deprive him of life by poison, he was smothered in his bed, through the machinations of Carr's infamous paramour, the countess of Essex. Shortly afterwards the countess's marriage with the earl of Essex was declared a nullity, and James, who had been highly instrumental to this decision, gave his favorite permission to marry the divorced countess, though the adulterous intercourse in which she had lived with Carr, had been matter of notoriety to the whole court; and that the lady might not be disgraced by having a husband inferior in rank to the , he also bestowed the earldom of Somerset upon Carr previous to his nuptials! Still further to depart from every thing that is dignified in a sovereign, the king allowed

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the marriage to be solemnized in his own palace at , and was himself present, together with his queen, prince Charles, most of the nobility, and divers reverend bishops. This was on the :

that night was a gallant make of lords,

and such was the servile obsequiousness of the age, that, on the following, the

bride and bridegroom,

with the duke of Lenox, the lord privy seal, the lord chamberlain, and many earls, barons, knights, and gentlemen, were

entertained with hearty welcome, and feasted with all magnificence,

by the lord mayor and aldermen, in Merchant-Taylors' Hall.

The next year (anno ) Carr was made lord chamberlain, in place of his father-in-law, Thomas Howard, earl of Suffolk, who was advanced to the dignity of lord treasurer; in these offices they disgusted the nation by the oppression and illegal measures which, under their auspices, were continually employed to fill the king's empty coffers; and among which was the sale of exclusive patents for monopoly, the issuing of commissions for reviving obsolete laws, the sales of honors of every degree at fixed prices, compositions for defective titles, excessive fines in the Star-Chamber, &c. Though very large sums were collected by these infamous arts, they proved insufficient to supply the incessant drain upon the treasury, which resulted from the monarch's lavish prodigality; and a parliament was therefore summoned to meet at , in April, though much against the king's will. Instead, however, of granting supplies so readily as courtly extravagance required, the Commons proceeded to state their grievances, and that in such forcible language, that James dissolved the parliament with indignation, before they had passed even a single statute; and immediately afterwards he committed several of the members to prison, without suffering them to be admitted to bail. The king had now recourse to a benevolence; yet this was so generally opposed by the people, that it produced but little more than enough to defray the charge of the entertainments given in welcome of the visit of the King of Denmark, who arrived unexpectedly in London, on the , and continued till the .

During the course of the following year, the influence of the Earl of Somerset greatly declined. The king had now seen Villiers, and the charms of novelty superseded the claims of friendship. For a time, however, the sovereign seemed to maintain a sort of balance between the rival favorites, yet Carr easily penetrated that his fall was at hand, and in contemplation of the probable consequences, he besought the king to grant him a general pardon; that, whatever might be his situation, the malice of his

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enemies should not affect him. By a strange oversight, Sir Robert Cotton, who drew the instrument, inserted in it a clause copied from a bull that had been granted to Cardinal Wolsey by the pope, which made the king say, that

he pardoned the earl not only all manner of reasons, murders, felonies, and outrages, whatever, already committed, but also all those which he should hereafter commit

; and in this state the king ; but when it was referred to the Lord Chancellor Egerton, that upright judge refused to seal an instrument in which was a clause so unconstitutional, and the business was dropped. Whether the king had been previously informed of Overbury's murder, is not quite certain, though subsequent events strongly imply that he was not unacquainted with it; yet the detail of circumstances perhaps might have been concealed from him.

Shortly afterwards, however, the particulars of the murder were communicated to James, both by Sir Ralph Winwood, who had been made Secretary of State through Somerset, and by Sir William Thrumball, the king's envoy at Brussels, who had obtained a knowledge of it from of the inferior agents. James commanded them to keep it private, and even afterwards endeavoured to conciliate the jarring interests of Carr and Villiers, expressing

no displeasure against Somerset, but living with him as he was wont, without the least signs of any alteration in his friendship.

Yet, on a sudden, he dispatched a messenger by night from Royston, whither he had been accompanied by Somerset, to the Lord Chief Justice Coke, ordering him to cause all the parties in the murder of Overbury to be apprehended; and when Carr was arrested in his own presence, he pretended ignorance of the matter, and said, jestingly,

Nay, man, there is no remedy; for if Coke sends for me, I must go.

With a depraved baseness of dissimulation also, of which human nature can furnish few parallel instances, he took leave of his fallen favourite with expressions of the fondest affection; yet no sooner was he in his coach, and out of hearing, than he exclaimed,

Now the de'el go with thee, I will never see thy face more.

He afterwards commanded the strictest scrutiny to be made into all the circumstances of the murder, and, speaking to the judges, used the remarkable words,

If you shall spare any guilty of this crime, God's curse light upon you and your posterity; and, if I spare any that are found guilty, God's curse light upon me and my posterity for ever.

How the denunciation thus solemnly announced, was fulfilled, will presently be seen. Somerset was committed to the Tower, where his countess, with

330

Sir Gervase Elwayes, who was lieutenant of that fortress at the time of Overbury's murder, Sir Thomas Monson, Mrs. Turner, and the other participators in the crime, were already confined. This was in October, and during that and the following month, Elwayes suffered on , and Mrs. Turner, with Weston and Franklyn, who had administered the poison to Overbury, were executed at Tyburn. Sir Thomas Monson, though twice arraigned, was saved from trial by the direct interference of the king, who seems to have been fearful that Monson would have uttered something to his prejudice, had the trial proceeded.

In the ensuing May, the earl and his countess were tried in Hall, on succeeding days, and both found guilty. Weldon tells us, that the king was greatly agitated during the whole day of the earl's trial, and that the earl had previously said to Sir George Moore, who had been made lieutenant of the Tower in the room of Elwayes, that

he would not appear, unless they carried him by force in his bed ;

and that,

the king had assured him he should not come to any trial, neither durst the king bring him to trial.

He was, however, prevailed on by an artifice, to submit to the judgment of his peers; and, though condemned, his life was spared, and, whatever might be the cause, both himself and his countess though confined till the year , were then set at liberty; yet they were not released from their sentence till , when the king granted them a full pardon, about months before his decease.

Smithfield, the public market-place for cattle, being as yet unpaved, was frequently, by rain, and the vast number of beasts brought thither for sale, rendered almost unpassable: for the remedying of which, the king, by his letter, enjoined the lord mayor to pave the same, thereby to remove the scandal the city was obnoxious to on account of its ruinous and dangerous condition; whereby, instead of being a service, it was rendered a common nuisance to the city.

331

 

This letter had so good an effect, that the mayor and citizens immediately set about the work, and, in the space of months, accomplished the same, at the expence of , to the honour of the city, and great convenience of the market-people.

Soon after, the king appointed a general muster of all the militia of the kingdom, both horse and foot: on which occasion this city mustered of her citizens completely armed; who, by their frequent exercises, performed their several evolutions with such an admirable dexterity, that it gained them the applause of all the spectators; which their children endeavouring to emulate, chose them officers, and, forming themselves into companies, with flying colours and beat of drum, often marched into the fields, where, by frequent practice, they became very expert in military exercises.

In , the lord-mayor, aldermen, and city companies, went in great pomp by water to , whence they conducted Prince Charles to ,

with the most magnificent shews and curious diversions that had ever been seen upon the river Thames :

this was on the eve of the prince being created Prince of Wales.

In , the citizens presented the king with broad pieces of gold, on his return from his ill-advised journey into Scotland, where his measures were only efficacious in spreading the seeds of those troubles which distracted the kingdom in the following reign. Soon afterwards James published his famous Book of Sports, by which the populace were tolerated to exercise certain recreations and pastimes on the Sabbath-day, and all parochial incumbents were positively enjoined to read the same in their respective churches, on pain of the king's displeasure. Notwithstanding the licence given by this book, the lord mayor had the courage to order the king's carriages to be stopped, as they were driving through the city on a Sunday, during the time of divine service. This threw James into a great rage, and

vowing that he thought there had been no more kings in England but himself,

he directed a warrant to the lord mayor, commanding him to let them pass; which the prudent magistrate complied with, saying,

While it was in my power I did my duty, but that being taken away by a higher power, it is my duty to obey.

In , the brave Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded in the , at , on a charge of high treason, for which he had been condemned on the unsupported testimony of the Lord Cobham, so long before as . From that time till the year , he had been imprisoned in the Tower, but he was then released, and had a private commission granted to him by the king, to proceed with a fleet

332

to South America, in search of a gold mine. His voyage proving unsuccessful, he returned to Plymouth, where he was arrested by the king's orders, and re-conveyed to the scene of his former confinement, to come out no more but to the scaffold. In this instance James gave another proof of the base degeneracy of his soul, for Sir Walter having given to him, in confidence, a paper detailing the particulars of his design, number of ships, destined ports, &c. that very paper was communicated by the king to Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador; and was sent by Gondomar to Spain, and thence to the Indies, before Raleigh had sailed from the Thames; and it was found in the Spanish governor's closet at St. Thomas's.

On Sunday, the , the king, accompanied by the Prince of Wales and many of the chief nobility, came from in great state to the city: he was received at Temple-Bar by the lord-mayor, aldermen, recorder, and sheriffs in their formalities, and presented with the city sword and a purse of gold; the former of which being returned, it was carried by the mayor on horseback before his majesty to (the streets through which the cavalcade passed were on both sides lined by the city companies in their formalities), where the king alighting at the west door, he repaired to a brazen pillar, and, kneeling down, invoked the Almighty for a blessing upon his present design; thence he proceeded to the choir, where having heard an anthem, he repaired to Cross to sermon; whence he went to the bishop's palace, to concert measures for the more effectual repairing .

In , the king exacted the sum of from the citizens of London, in the way of benevolence. In the same year, he granted permission to Clement Cottrel, Esq. groom-porter of his household, to license gaming-houses in the metropolis and its suburbs, for cards, dice, bowling-alleys, tennis courts, &c. These, as the grant expressed it, were

for the honest and reasonable recreation of good and civil people, who, by their quality and ability, may lawfully use the games of bowling, tennis, dice, cards, tables,

nine

-holes, or any other game hereafter to be invented.

It is probable, that the torturing persons accused of crimes, to compel them to confess, or to discover their accomplices, was exercised, for the last time in London, about , or ; for, when Felton assassinated the Duke of Buckingham, in , a question being submitted to the judges, on the legality of the practice, they declared, that, consistently with law, torture could not be inflicted. The following authentic copy of a record, relative to its application on suspicion of treason, is sufficient evidence that it was still resorted to at the period named.

333

 

To the Lieutenant of the Tower of London.

Whereas Samuel Peacock was heretofore committed prisoner to the Marshalsea, and that now it is thought fit upon vehement suspicion of high treason against his majesty's sacred person, to remove him thence, and to commit him to the Tower; these shall be therefore, to will and require you to repair to the prison of the Marshalsea, and there to receive, from the keeper of that house, the person of the said Samuel Peacock, and him safely to convey under your custody unto the Tower of London, where you are to keep him close prisoner until further order. And whereas, we have thought meet to nominate and appoint Sir Henry Montagu, Knt. Lord Chief Justice of the King's-bench; Sir Thomas Coventry, Knt. his majesty's Solicitor General, and yourself, to examine the said Peacock, for the better discovery of the truth of this treason. This shall be likewise to authorise you, or any two of you, whereof yourself to be one, to examine the said Peacock, from time to time, and to put him as there shall be cause, for the better manifestation of the truth, to the torture, either of the manacles, or the rack; for which this shall be your warrant. And so, &c. The 19th of February, 1619.

The officer, who received this command, was Sir Allen Apsley; and it was signed by Lord Chancellor Bacon; the Earl of Worcester, lord privy seal; the Earl of Arundell, Lord Carew, Lord Digby, Secretary Naunton, and Sir Edward Coke, who, it appears, sanctioned a measure as a privy councillor, which he, afterwards, condemned as a writer; for in the institute, he says, that torture is prohibited by the following words of Magna Charta:

Nullus liber homo aliquo modo destruatur nisi per legale judictum parium suorum, aut per legem terrae.

About the same time, the king, being in great want of money for the support of his son-in-law, the elector Palatine, had recourse to a method formerly practised upon the like emergencies, of raising money by way of benevolence, and to which end he issued out his letter, a copy whereof was sent to most of the nobility and bishops, as was also to the lord mayor of London; and though no sum was therein specified, yet a demand was made upon the said mayor and citizens of the sum of , which they upon deliberation imagining to be too exorbitant, agreed to the payment of moiety thereof, which was raised by the several companies.

The winter following, a very great frost happened, whereby the river Thames was so strongly frozen, that streets of booths were erected thereon, wherein were sold all sorts of goods as in a public fair; as were likewise all sorts of diversions practised as well as on land.

In the year , Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, Lord Chancellor of England, was for bribery displaced and committed to the Tower; but after some days enlarged.

334

 

The several treaties that were negotiating between the king, the emperor, and king of Spain, gave great uneasiness to the citizens of London, insomuch that they assaulted Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, as he was passing along the streets: this so highly enraged the king, that he came to , and severely reprimanded the lord mayor and others the city magistrates for the insolence of the populace, threatening to restrain them by a military power from committing any such intolerable abuses upon the persons of ambassadors for the future; and at the same time strictly commanded the recorder diligently to enquire after the authors of that villainous attempt, in order to punish the aggressors in an exemplary manner. Pursuant to this order, a fellow was apprehended for reflecting upon the said ambassador, and, though no otherwise guilty, he was the next day, by the arbitrary command of the king, cruelly whipped from to .

Some time after, a preternatural tide happened in the river Thames, which flowed and ebbed times in the space of hours.

On the , a very melancholy accident happened in the house of the French ambassador in Black-Friars; where Drury, a jesuit, preaching in the chapel (a large upper room) to an auditory of above persons, the floor giving way, it fell with the congregation, and broke down a lower; whereby the preacher and near a of his hearers were killed, and about the same number miserably mangled, some whereof continued for some time under the ruins, with hideous groans and lamentable cries for help.

In the year of James, warrants were issued for the immediate raising of men, for the assistance of the elector Palatine, the king's son-in-law; on which occasion the city of London, to shew her hearty zeal for the interest of that protestant prince, immediately raised men for his relief.

In , the king was seized with tertian ague, and he died, somewhat suddenly, on the of that month, at Theobald's, not without suspicion of poison, though, according to some historians,

without the least colour or ground.

There were many circumstances, however, that gave probability to the surmise, not among the least of which was the speedy dissolution of the parliament held in the next reign, after articles of impeachment had been voted against the Duke of Buckingham, of which accused him of

applying a plaister to the late king's side in his last sickness, and of giving him a potion with his own hand at several times, in the absence, and without the order, of the physician.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Ibid, p. 823

[] Ibid. 327.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 827.

[] Ibid.

[] Ibid.

[] Among the Acts passed by this parliament, through the king's influence, was that against conjuration, witchcraft, and dealing with evil spirits.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 856.

[] Lambert's London, ii. 29.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 875.

[] State Trials, i, p. 190, et seq.

[] Rapin's Hist. ii, 171.

[] Discourse of the Treason.

[] Rapin's Hist. Vol. II. p. 171.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 877.

[] Ibid.

[] Ibid.

[] Ibid.

[] Ibid. p. 878.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 878.

[] Ibid.

[] Ibid.

[] King James's Works, p. 231.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 879.

[] Stat. at Lar. 3rd Jam. I. c. 1. The fifth of November is still one of the principal holydays of London, though of late years it has not been observed by the populace with so much festive diversion as formerly. The burning of Guy Fawkes, a figure made with old clothes, and stuffed with straw or rags, was a ceremony much in vogue with the lower classes, but is now chiefly confined to school-boys. The greater attention given by the police to prevent tumults, and restrain the letting off of fire-works, through which frequent accidents attended the commemoration of the gunpowder plot, are, perhaps, the leading causes of the disuse of ancient custom.--Brayley's London, i, 311.

[] As they were mending the fire in their chamber, a spark happened to fall upon two pounds of powder, which was drying a little from the chimney, and it blowing up, so maimed the faces of some of the principal rebels, and the hands and sides of others, that they opened the gate.--King James's Works p. 244.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 879

[] Ibid.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 885

[] Howe's Stow, p. 886, and Stow's Surv. of Lond.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 916.

[] *Howe's Stow, p. 928. Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had refused his assent to the annulling of the countess's first marriage, and had protested against the infamous proceedings which led to it, was disgraced, and deprived of his seat at the council table.-Wel. Co. of King Jam. p. 72.

[] Howe's Stow, p. 928.

[] Co. of K. James, p. 86-88; Wilson, p. 698, and Franklyn's Ann.

[] Rap. Hist. Vol. II. p. 188.

[] Ibid.

[] Ibid.

[] Co. of K. Jam. p. 93.

[] Co. of K. Jam. p. 104. One Simon Mason, who had been servant to Monson, and employed to carry jelly and tart to Overbury, was likewise brought before the court, but saved his life by his shrewdness. The judge said to him, Simon, you have had a hand in this poisoning business. -- No, my good lord, he replied, I had but one finger in it, which almost cost me my life; and at the best almost cost me my hair and nails. The truth was, that this Simon was somewhat liquorish, and finding the syrup swim from the top of a tart, as he carryed it he did with his finger skim it off, and it was concluded that he would not have tasted the syrup had he known it to be poisoned. Ibid. p. 98.

[] The earl and his countess lived in the same house, but wholly estranged from each other, for many years after they were liberated from confinement. The countess died in 1636, of a most loathsome and peculiar disease. The earl lived till 1645, long enough to see his daughter married to the Duke of Bedford, who had by her the Lord Russel, that suffered in the time of Charles the Second.-Brayley's London, i. 322.

[] Wil. Life of K. James, p. 709. The answer of the lord-mayor pleased the king, and the latter returned him his thanks.

[] Archaeologia, vol. x.

[] Clarendon's Hist. of the Reb. vol. i. p. 24. 8vo.

[] Rush. Col. vol. i. p. 306

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 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Chapter I: History of London and its environs, from the earliest period of authentic record to the defeat of the Britons by Suetonius
Chapter II: Historical account of Roman London, with notices of remains discovered.
 Chapter III: History of London from the departure of the Romans till the time of the Conquest
 Chapter IV: History of London from the Conquest to the reign of Henry the Third
 Chapter V: History of London from the reign of Henry the Third to the reign of Edward the Second
 Chapter VI: History of London from the reign of Edward the Second to the reign of Richard the Second
 Chapter VII: History of London from the reign of Henry the Fourth to the reign of Edward the Fourth
 Chapter VIII: History of London from the reign of Edward the Fourth to the reign of Henry the Eighth
 Chapter IX: History of London during the reign of Henry the Eighth
 Chapter X: History of London from the reign of Edward the Sixth to the accession of Elizabeth
Chapter XI: History of London, during the reign of Elizabeth.
 Chapter XII: History of London during the reign of James the First
Chapter XIII: History of London during the Reign of Charles the First
 Chapter XIV: History of London during the Commonwealth and the reign of Charles the Second
 Chapter XV: History of London during the reign of James the Second