[Maior.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT.75

[Maior.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT.

for the Election of both Maiors and Sheriffs; that it should be done modo congruo & consueto, sine populari strepitu & tumultu. i.e. in the agreeable and accustomed manner, without popular Noise and Disturbance.

And that you may see what great Reason there was for this Order, and what seditious Meetings and Cabals of the Ordinary Sort used to be got together against the Time of Elections, and the Danger of Insurrections occasioned thereby, I shall produce a Letter of King Edward II. in the same eighth Year of his Reign, (taken from the Records of the Chamber) Commanding that none be present at such the Elections, but such as should be summoned, to prevent Confusions.

EDWARDUS Dei gratia, &c. EDWARD by the Grace of God, &c. To the Maior and Sheriffs of London, Greeting. Whereas by the Charters of our Progenitors, Kings of England, it was granted to our Citizens of our City aforesaid, that they should choose a Maior and Sheriffs from themselves, when they would; and present them (We not being at Westminster) to the Treasurer and Barons of our Exchequer; and there to be admitted according to Custom: And such Election by the Maior and Aldermen and more discrete Persons of the said City, specially summoned and warned for this Purpose, hath been accustomed in former Times: And now We have understood, that some of the Popular and Plebeian sort, making a Conspiracy among themselves, causing Contentions, Differences, and innumerable Mischiefs Day and Night in the said City, and making among them clandestine Conventicles in private Places, and being not called nor summoned, do thrust and mingle themselves of their own accord into such Elections; and by Threatnings and Clamours hindring the due making of such Elections, endeavour to choose such as for Time to come may favour their Errors; that their Wickedness by Defect of congruous Government may pass unpunished, under Dissimulation, by such Persons so elected, to the Hurt of our Crown and Dignity, and the Subversion of the State of the foresaid City, and the manifest Oppression of our Citizens, abiding in it:

King Edward to the Maior, for quiet and orderly Elections.

Lib. Horn. fo. 332. b.

WE willing to provide for the Quiet and Tranquility of the People under us, as We are bound; and to meet with such Malice, COMMAND, firmly enjoyning you, that before the Time of the Election of the Maior and Sheriffs next to be chosen, Ye cause it to be publickly proclaimed through the whole City, and firmly to be forbid, that none, unless he shall be to this especially called or summoned, or is bound thereto, come thither at the Time, nor intrude himself in making the Election, nor hinder it any way, under Pain of Imprisonment: From which he may not escape without our special Command. And that the foresaid Election be made by the Aldermen and other the more discrete and powerful Citizens of the said City, as in the same it hath been anciently accustomed to be done. Taking notice for the future, that if ye shall present any Elect otherwise than is mentioned before, to the Treasurer and Barons of our Exchequer aforesaid, We will by no means admit them. Witness My Self at Westminster the fourth Day of July, in the eighth Year of our Reign.

By Vertue of which Brief of the King, there was a Proclamation made to the same Purport: Beginning thus in French, Pour ceo que nostre Seigneur le Roi ad entendre, que aucune gent du poeple de sa Citee, &c.]

Briefly therefore concerning the Original of the Elections of Maiors and Sheriffs and the Practice thereof from time to time, these things may be here observed. At first they were made tumultuously by all the Citizens without restraint. Which occasioned great Uproars and Disturbances. Wherefore these Magistrates were chosen afterwards by so many of the discretest and wealthiest Men out of each Ward, sometimes more, sometimes less. And this select Number was called The Commonalty. The Election by these peculiar Men lasted from Edward I. (and probably began before) unto Edward IV. And then after some Time in his Reign, the Election was by the Liveries of the Companies: and so the Number of Electors encreased. And of later Times (viz. in the Times of the Usurpation) an attempt was made, that all Freemen of the City in general should have a Power of electing. This may be seen more at large from the Collections of Dr. Brady out of the City Books, which I shall abbreviate thence.

The Original Method of Elections of Maiors and Sheriffs.

The first Commonalty in these Books mentioned, was made up of two Persons in every Ward. And these were chosen by the good Men of the respective Wards: the good Men, that is (as that word is in those Books varied and explained) the discreter, wiser and better sort of the Ward. Afterwards the Number of this Commonalty amounted to more than two, viz. to four, to six, even to twelve, to be taken out of every Ward: out of some Wards more, out of some less, according to the Bigness of it; and this as the Maior in his Summons to the Ward directed and appointed the Number. But notwithstanding this stinted Number, more Citizens sometimes would crowd in, to give their Votes at these Elections: Which as it once occasioned a Letter from King Edward II. to forbid it, as was shewn before, so King Henry VI. in the twenty second of his Reign sent to the City to the same Intent: Purporting, that tho' according to Custom the Maiors used "To be chosen by the Aldermen and certain more discrete Persons of the said City, specially summoned and warned for that purpose; yet some that had not, nor ought to have, any Interest in such Elections, came, and with their Noise and Clamour disturbed them; with intention to choose such who might afterwards favour their evil Doings and Errors. He therefore willing to provide for the Quiet and Peace of his Subjects, and to apply a suitable Remedy on this behalf, did command and firmly enjoyn the Maior and Sheriffs to make Proclamation through all the City and Liberty, before the time of the Election of the Maior, strictly forbidding, that none be present at such Election, or any way, or under any colour, thrust himself into it, but such as by right, and according to the Custom of the City ought to be there: And that such Election be made by the Aldermen and other, of the more discrete and able Citizens, especially warned and summoned according to the Custom aforesaid. Letting them know for certain, that if any, some other way elected, were presented to him, or his Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer, they would by no means admit him. And that they should arrest and commit to Prison all those who should act contrary to the said Proclamation and Prohibition."

Lib. A. B.C.

Dr. Brady's Collect.

Claus. 22 H. 6. m. 25. Dors.

In the twenty ninth Edw. I. John Blund was chosen Maior (a) by the Common Council of Elye Russel then Maior, and the Aldermen there named: and the Sheriffs, with the Assent of twelve honest Men of each Ward. (b) In the thirty first of the same King, as also in the thirty second and thirty third, John Lincoln and John Blund the third and fourth time chosen by twelve good and lawful Men summoned of every Ward.

Maior and Sheriffs chosen in Edward I. his time.

(a) Lib. C. f. 62. b.

(b) Ib. f.111, 112, 113.

In