London in the Time of the Stuarts

By Walter Besant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
CITY GOVERNMENT AND USAGES

IN this chapter I have collected certain notes which may illustrate such points in City government as differentiate the seventeenth century from that which preceded and that which followed it. For instance, the times were troubled; a man might, by bending before the successive storms, win his way through in safety; but an honest man with principles, courage, and convictions might expect fine and imprisonment if he accepted office, and might think himself lucky if he carried his ears out of office, or if he were not fined to the full extent of his worldly fortune, or if he had not to fly across the seas to Holland. In Remembrancia, therefore, we are not surprised to find many letters from merchants praying to be excused from office.

Among the less dangerous duties of the Mayor was the reception of the foreign Ambassadors.

On the arrival of Ambassadors the Lords of the Council sent a letter to the Lord Mayor commanding him to find a suitable residence and a proper reception. In 1580 the Spanish Ambassador was allotted a house in Fenchurch Street which he did not like, so he asked instead for Arundel House. In 1583 the Swedish Ambassador arrived; he was to have three several lodgings, with stabling for twenty horses. In 1613 the "Emperor of Muscovy" sent an Ambassador; in 1611 one came from the Duke of Savoy; in 1616 an Ambassador-Extraordinary arrived from the King of France; in 1626 two from the State of Venice; in 1628 another Spanish Ambassador; in the same year a Russian Ambassador; in 1637 an Ambassador from the "King of Morocco." All these Ambassadors were lodged and entertained in the City after a formal reception and procession through the streets to their lodging.

Mediæval London was a city of palaces and of nobles' palaces. Under the Tudors there were still some of these town houses left. Toward the end of the seventeenth century there were very few, only one or two.

A long list of noblemen and gentlemen living around London in the year 1673 may be found in the London and Middlesex Note-book. When one examines

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London in the Time of the Stuarts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • 49079 Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Sovereigns 1
  • Chapter I James I 3
  • Chapter II Charles I 22
  • Chapter III the City and the Civil War 53
  • Chapter IV the Commonwealth 64
  • Chapter V the Restoration 74
  • Chapter VI 82
  • Chapter VII: James II 103
  • Chapter VIII William the Third 117
  • Chapter IX Queen Anne 127
  • Religion, Government, and Trade 135
  • Chapter I Religion 137
  • Chapter II Tiie Church and Dissent 154
  • Chapter III Superstitions 159
  • Chapter IV Sanctuary 168
  • Chapter V City Government and Usages 172
  • Chapter VI Trade 190
  • Chapter VII the Irish Estates 206
  • The Great Plague and Fire 213
  • Chapter I Plague 215
  • Chapter II Plague and Medicine 233
  • Chapter III the Fire 240
  • Chapter IV Ii. the Fire of London 244
  • Chapter V Contemporary Evidence 258
  • Chapter VI London After the Fire 269
  • Manners and Customs 285
  • Chapter I Food and Drink 287
  • Chapter II Dress and Manners 298
  • Chapter III Weddings and Funerals 308
  • Chapter IV Places of Resort 311
  • Chapter V Theatre and Art 318
  • Chapter VI: Sports and Amusements 328
  • Chapter VII Coaches 338
  • Chapter VIII Punishment and Crime 345
  • Chapter IX Public Morality 355
  • Chapter X General Notes 359
  • Appendices 363
  • Index 385
  • Ogilby and Morgan's Map of London, 1677 397
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