Imágenes de página

of that Queen two proclamations were published, by which all persons were forbidden to build upon new foundations; and the injunction was twice, though ineffectually, repeated by her successor.

In 1564, the use of coaches was introduced by a Dutchman, named William Boonen, who became the Queen's coachman ; "and after a while, divers great ladies, with as great jealousie of the Queen's displeasure, made them coaches, and rid in them up and down the countries, to the great admiration of all the beholders; but then by little and little they grew usual among the nobilitie, and others of sort, and within twenty years became a great trade of coachmaking."

In the same reign commerce received a new impulse by the erection of a building, afterwards called the Royal Exchange, for the meeting of merchants to transact their business.

In 1588, when the country was threatened by the Spaniards with invasion, the city unanimously resolved not only to raise ten thousand troops, but voted sixteen of the largest ships in the river Thames, and four pinnaces, or light frigates: they were fitted out in a proper manner, with the utmost expedition, and the charge defrayed both of men and ships during the time they continued in the Queen's service. In 1594, they fitted out six ships of war, and raised 405 men for her Majesty's service. Twice in the next year they raised 1000 men. And in 1597, when the rumour was spread of another invasion by the Spaniards, they produced 6,000, and equipped 16 men of war. Yet, extraordinary as it may seem, the various services they rendered did not obtain them, through this whole reign, a single accession to their privileges. Almost the whole commerce of England, however, at this period, was centered in London; for it appears that the customs of that port were seven times greater than those of all the rest of the kingdom; and although the citizens were taxed in a much higher proportion than the people in the country, yet it has been seen they were willing, in cases of emergency, to be rated above their proportion, which had formerly been estimated at a tenth, while others paid only a fifteenth.

The plague which had broken out many times in Queen Elizabeth's reign appeared afresh in 1603, on the accession of James the First to the throne, and made such dreadful devastation, that between March and December it swept away no less than 30,561 persons: and though its greatest violence ceased the following year, it did not entirely leave the metropolis till 1611.

In this reign London received very considerable improvement, the New River being brought to Islington from Amwell, in the neighbourhood of Ware, in 1613, by Sir Hugh Middleton.

In the ensuing year Smithfield was paved, and in 1615, the sides of the principal streets, which had before been laid with pebbles, were now paved with broad free-stone and flags.

The preparations made by the Londoners, for the reception of Charles I. on his accession to the throne, were interrupted by the plague, which, in 1625, carried off no less than 35,417 persons.

that no

In 1634, the King, by a proclamation, commanded that no hackney, or hired coach, should be used in the cities of London or Westminster, or their suburbs, except they be to travel three miles out of the same;' and also person should go in a coach in the streets, except the owner of the coach should keep up four able horses for the king's service, whenever required.' These injunctions were fcunded on the general and promiscuous use of coaches in London,' which were not only a great disturbance to his Majesty, his dear Consort the Queen, the Nobility, and others of place and degree, in their passage through the streets, but the streets themselves were so pestered, and the pavements so broken up, that the common passage was thereby hindered, and made dangerous, and the prices of hay, provender, &c. made exceeding dear.

[ocr errors]

The increase of the trade and commerce of London having created a greater necessity for a more speedy and enlarged intercourse with distant parts of the kingdom, the King, by a proclamation in 1635, orders his Postmaster of England for foreign parts,' to open a regular communication, by running posts between the metropolis, and Edinburgh, West Chester, Holyhead, Ireland, Ply

mouth, Exeter, Bristol, Oxford, Norwich, Lincoln, Colchester, and other places.

In 1642, almost every prospect of agreement between the king and parliament having vanished, the common council passed an act for fortifying the city with outworks, agreed that all the ways leading to the city should be shut up, except those entering at Charing Cross, St. Giles's in the Fields, St. John's Street, Shoreditch, and Whitechapel, and that the exterior ends of those streets should be fortified with breast works and turnpikes musket-proof; that the several courts of guards and rails, at the extreme parts of the liberty of the city, should be fortified with turnpikes in the same manner; that the building contiguous to the outside of London-wall should be taken down; and that the city wall, with its bulwarks, should be not only repaired and mounted with artillery, but that several new works should be added to it, at the places most exposed.

The forts raised in pursuance of this act (confirmed by an order of parliament) are thus specified in "London and its environs described:" 1. a bulwark and a half at the north end of Gravel lane: 2, a hornwork near the windmill in Whitechapel road: 3, a redoubt with two flanks near Brick lane: 4, a redoubt with four flanks in Hackney road, Shoreditch: 5, a redoubt with four flanks in Kingsland road: 6, a battery and breastwork, at Mountmill: 7, a battery and breast work at the end of St. John's Street: 8, a small redoubt near Islington pound: 9, a large fort, with four bulwarks, near New River-head: 10, a battery and breastwork, on the hill, east of the place afterwards called Black Mary's hole: 11, two batteries and a breastwork at Southampton, now Bedford House: 12, a redoubt with two flanks near St. Giles's Pound: 13, a small fort at the east end of Tyburn Road: 14, a large fort with four half bulwarks across the road where Wardour Street is now built: 15, a small bulwark at the place now called Oliver's Mount: 16, a large fort with four bulwarks at Hyde Park Corner: 17, a small redoubt and battery on Constitution Hill: 18, a court of guard at Chelsea Turnpike: 19, a battery and breast work in Tothill Fields: 20, a quadrant fort with four half bulwarks at Vauxhall: 21, a fort with four half bulwarks at the Dog and Duck in St. George's

Fields: 22, a large fort with four bulwarks near the end of Blackman Street: 23, a redoubt with four flanks near the Lock Hospital. Holywell and Whitechapel mounts were also thrown up for the defence of the respective roads they overlooked.

These forts were all joined by a line of communication formed by a rampart of earth, which on all sides surrounded London, Westminster, and Southwark. The whole was formed at the expense of the city, and executed by the inhabitants with the utmost alacrity.

The Banking business commenced about the year 1645, as appears from a very rare and curious small pamphlet, intituled, "The Mystery of the new-fashioned Goldsmiths or Bankers, discovered;" and in which it is stated, that the merchants and traders of London, no longer daring to confide, as before, in the integrity and care of their apprentices and clerks, who frequently left their masters to go into the army, began first at this period to lodge their cash in the hands of the goldsmiths; whom they also commissioned both to receive and to pay for them.

[ocr errors]

In January, 1661, a desperate insurrection was made in the city, by the phrenetic sect, called Fifth-Monarchy Men, who to the number of sixty, well armed, sallied forth from their meeting house, in Swan Alley, Coleman Street, under the conduct of their preacher, who was a cooper, named Thomas Venner. After killing a man in St. Paul's church-yard, who declared for King Charles, in opposition to their cry of King Jesus,' they routed a party of the trained-bands led on by Sir Richard Brown, the Lord Mayor. They next marched triumphantly through the city to Bishopsgate, and going on the outside of London Wall, re-entered the city at Cripplegate, when hearing that a body of horse was coming against them, they retreated to Beech Lane, where they killed a headborough, and afterwards took shelter for the night in Caen Wood, near Hampstead. Here some of them were made prisoners on the following morning, and the rest dispersed ; yet on the next day they rallied again, and returning to the city, fought a severe battle with some horse and trainedbands in Wood Street, till two of their fiercest combatants being killed, and Venner wounded and made prisoner.

They then retreated towards Cripplegate, and Colonel Cox, their leader, posted ten men in the neighbouring alehouse, who defended it with such resolution, that it was not carried till seven of them were killed. At length, after the loss of twenty men, the maniacs fled; and eleven, out of fourteen, who were made prisoners, were soon afterwards condemned and executed. Twenty of the king's troops lost their lives in this contest, besides those of the trained-bands, and others.

On the twenty-fourth of June, 1663, the king, on petition of the Lord Mayor and citizens, and "for divers good causes and considerations,” as the instrument itself expresses, granted to the city a new charter, confirmatory of all its former ones, and of all legal uses, prescriptions, and rights whatever.

The year 1665 became memorable in London by the direful ravages of the GREAT PLAGUE, which first broke out at a house in Long Acre, near Drury Lane, in the parish of St. Giles in the Fields, whither goods had been imported from the Levant.

On the first rumour therefore of the plague having broken out in Long Acre, about the beginning of December, and that two persons, said to be Frenchmen, had died of it in one house, the secretary of state ordered the bodies to be inspected by two physicians and a surgeon: and on their report, it was inserted in the weekly bill of mortality, that two persons were dead of this disorder. This occasioned considerable alarm throughout the metropolis; and the death of another man of the plague in the same house where it had first appeared, in the last week of December, increased the apprehensions that were already entertained.

The prevalence of a frost, attended by sharp winds, checked the mortality till the months of April and May, when a gradual increase of deaths by the plague was returned in the bills, and particularly within the parish of St. Giles. During the two last weeks of May, and the first week of June, the disorder spread in a dreadful manner: whole streets were infested with it, and though many arts were employed to conceal its ravages, apprehension and dismay spread over the metropolis. In the second week in June, the deaths greatly increased; in St. Giles's parish,

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »