[Maior, Sheriffs, &c.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT.99

[Maior, Sheriffs, &c.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT.

"in the said City, so that they be by no means restored to such Office again."

We have hitherto lookt upon the City Magistrates, Maior, Aldermen and Sheriffs singly and distinctly: Now let us observe something of the Exercise of their Power and Authority in the City conjunctly.


MAIOR with the ALDERMEN, or SHERIFFS.

 

WHEN the King went abroad, he commonly left some special Orders and Commands by his Letters to the Maior, Sheriffs and Aldermen, to take Care of preserving the King's Peace in his Absence in the City; and to imprison and punish such as should make Disturbances and Insurrections, or be guilty of other Misdemeanors. Such a Letter did King Edward III. send to the Maior, &c. in the 15th Year of his Reign. And according to this Charge they put to Death two Mutineers in Cheapside, as was told before.

Charge to the Maior and Aldermen, when the King went abroad.

J. S.

Towards the Beginning of the said King Edward's Reign were Insurrections in some Places in the Realm, particularly in Bedfordshire and London. For the Felonies and Transgressions of the Law done in London, the King sent Letters to the Maior and Sheriffs, commanding them to make Inquisition about them, and to take those that were found guilty, and commit them to Prison, until they should have further Command concerning them. Whereupon several were taken and put into Prison: whose Crimes touched the State of the King and his Crown. Afterwards the King appointed certain of his Justices, Oliver de Ingham, John Matravers, John de Stoner, Rob. de Malberthorp, and John de Grantham, to hear and determine according to the Inquisitions, and the Indictments according to those Inquisitions made.

Inquisition by the Maior and Aldermen for such as made Disturbances.

The Maior and certain Aldermen lend King Edward III. Money to the Sum of 4601l. 3s. 4d. And the King Ann. 45 of his Reign granted them the Security and Obligation of his Customs and Subsidies for the Repayment.

Maior and Aldermen lend the King Money.

The Maior and Aldermen had a Power granted them to amend, correct, &c. the Customs of their City, when there should be occasion. But this Power was afterwards revoked.

Maior and Aldermen may amend and correct.

The Maior and Sheriffs were reproved by King Edward III. for leaving the City in Want of Provisions and Victuals, and for the great Dearness of them; that being one of the great Cares of the Magistrates of London to prevent. There is a Record containing a sharp Reprehension from that King to those Magistrates, for suffering Bread, Wine, Beer, and all sorts of Victual to be sold in the City at over dear Rates; and for not supervising and reforming the Defects of Weights and Measures; which every Maior took a Corporal Oath to do. Yet none of them hitherto had performed his Oath as he ought; to the great Scandal of the Maior, and Scandal also of the Inhabitants of the City, as also of those that resorted to it. And commanding them under pain of forfeiting all they could forfeit to him; that calling all the Aldermen and other Commons of the City together, they should set such a Price upon the Victuals aforesaid, having respect to what was first paid for them; and to correct the Measures and Weights, that Sellers should receive not ex- cessive but reasonable Gain: And that the Inhabitants and others resorting to the City might feel the Benefit thereof, and of their Reformation of Weights and Measures. Giving this Charge to the Maior; viz. "That your Oath, as Maior, may remain inviolable, do you chastise and punish all from time to time who do against Right, and reform all other Things which you shall know to be repugnant to the good Government of the said City and Suburbs. That by your Diligence exhibited in this Behalf, that City may be reduced to its due State, and excessive Regrators wholly taken away. And that you publickly proclaim all and singular the Premisses in the foresaid City and Suburbs in the accustomed Places. But if they should not appoint a speedy Remedy for all these Excesses, that then the grieved should complain thereof to him and his Council; and he, in their Defect, would cause Remedy to be applied to these Excesses without Delay."

The King reproves the Maior and Sheriffs about Provisions.

Measures and Weights.

When Executions, especially of Persons of greater Note, were to be done, the Maior, as well as the Sheriffs, were required to assist at them. Roger Mortimer was adjudged as a Traitor to be hanged Ann. 4. Ed. III. Whereupon the Earl Marshal by Commandment, with the Aid of the Maior and Sheriffs of London, and Constable of the Tower, executed him.

Maior and Sheriffs charged with Execution of Traitors.

The Maior and Aldermen did formerly lay Taxes upon the City by their own Authority. Which in an Inquisition taken before the King's Treasurer, and other his Judges, about the 14th of Edward II. the Jury of the Ward of Aldermanbury made this Presentment. Dicunt, &c. "They say, that the Commonalty of London is and ought to be common, and that the Citizens are not bound to be taxed without the special Command of the King, or without their common Consent. That the Maiors of the City, and the Custodes in their Times, after the common Redemption made and paid for the City of London, (of which Payment of the Commons could never be certified) [That might be Ann. 1296, 24 Edw. I. when the Liberties of the City were restored] have come, and by their own Authority, without the King's Command, and Commons Consent, did tax the said City according to their own Wills, once and more, and distrained for those Taxes; sparing the Rich and oppressing the Poor Middle Sort; nor permitting, that the Arrearages due from the Rich be levied; ad Exhæredationem Regis, &c. to the Disinheriting the King, and the Destruction of the City. Nor can the Commons know what becomes of the Monies levied of such Taxes. And that this hath lasted from the Time of John Adrian, Maior, usque nunc." [And he was Maior Ann. 1270 and 1271, the latter End of Henry III.]

Maior and Aldermen lay Taxes upon the City.

The Maior and Aldermen also took upon them to turn out Common Councilmen, when they saw Occasion. But what Right I do not know nor determine. Hence the sworn Men in the foresaid Inquisition made a Presentment of this; viz. That the Maior and Superiors of the City deposed Walter Henry of his Power and the Council of the City, by an Action; because he would not suffer the Rich to levy Tallages upon the Meaner Sort, until the Rich had paid their Arrears of the Tallages.]

They turn out a Common Council Man.

CHAP.