London in the Time of the Stuarts

By Walter Besant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE CITY AND THE CIVIL WAR

THE City entered upon a war which was to linger on for eight years, in the firm conviction that it would be finished in a few months. The men who went out to fight expected to be back again in their shops and their workrooms before long. This belief, while it stimulated the enlistment of fighting men and forbade the contemplation of distress and bankruptcy in case the war should continue, caused very grave discontent when it became evident that a long struggle was before the country.

I propose in this chapter to illustrate the condition of the City during this period from contemporary authorities not, I hope, already too well known.

As is natural at such a time, the City was full of dangers on account of suspicion. The experiences of James Howell when he was arrested as a spy show how perilous it was to go abroad in the streets:--

"I was lately come to London upon some occasions of mine own, and I had been divers times in Westminster Hall, where I conversed with many Parliamentmen of my Acquaintance, but one morning betimes there rushed into my Chamber five armed Men with Swords, Pistols, and Bills, and told me they had a warrant from the Parliament for me; I desired to see their Warrant, they denied it; I desired to see the date of it, they denied it; I desired to see my Name in the Warrant, they denied all. At last one of them pulled a greasy Paper out of his pocket, and shewed me only three or four names subscribed, and no more; so they rushed presently into my Closet, and seized on all my Papers and Letters, and anything that was Manuscript; and many printed Books they took also, and hurl'd all into a great hair Trunk which they carried away with them. I had taken a little Physic that morning, and with very much ado they suffered me to stay in my Chamber with two Guards upon me, till the evening; at which time they brought me before the Committee for examination, where I confess I found good respect; and being brought up to the Close Committee for examination, I was ordered to be forthcoming, till some papers of mine were perused, and Mr. Corbet was appointed to do it. Some days after, I came to Mr. Corbet, and he told me he had perused them,

-53-

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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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