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There are also three serjeant carvers; three serjeants of the chamber: a serjeant of the channel ; four yeomen of the water side; an under water bailiff; two yeomen of the chamber; two meal weighers; two yeomen of the woodwharfs; a foreign taker; two city marshals. There are besides these, seven gentlemen's men; as,
The sword bearer's man, the common hunt's two men, the common crier's man, and the carver's men.
Nine of the foregoing officers have liveries of the lord mayor, viz. the sword bearer and his man; the three carvers; and the four yeomen of the water side. All the rest have liveries from the chamber of London.
The following officers are likewise belonging to the city; farmer of the markets; auditor; clerk of the chamber; clerk to the commissioners of the sewers; of the court of conscience; beadle of the same court; clerk of the city works; printer to the city, justice of the Bridge Yard ; clerk comptroller of the Bridge House; steward of the Borough ; bailiff of the Borough.
London has sent representatives to parliament from the commencement of its summons in the reign of Henry III. The citizens elect four of their body, who on the first day of every new parliament, take precedence of all the other members in the house of commons, and are clothed in their scarlet gowns and hoods, the distinguishing badge of the antient barons.
The metropolis has also this peculiar privilege in the house ; all bills, &c. usually brought in are moved by a member to have leave granted; except applications from the corporation, which upon being presented at the bar, are immediately read by the clerk, without any previous notice, and as we have before mentioned, it is the remembrancer's business to attend parliament, to report its daily proceedings, and to inform the lord mayor, &c. should he discover any thing prejudicial to the interests of the city.
The jurisdiction of civil judicature in London, is confined within the city and its liberties; no citizen can be impleaded out of his own boundaries, consequently the courts
of King's Bench and Common Pleas are held in Guildhall, where the lord chief justice and the other judges of the realm hold their sittings in term.
The highest court of record for the city of London, is however held at Guildhall, and is denominated THE COURT OF HUSTING.
This court is of Saxon origin, and the most antient in the kingdom. It is a court of record, and the supreme judicature of the city of London, and held weekly at Guildhall; it was originally established for the preservation of the laws, franchises, and customs of the city, and therein presided as judges, the principal magistrates; as at present do the lord mayor and sheriffs, who are assisted by the recorder upon all causes of consequence; in this court two sorts of causes are pleadable, viz. pleas of land, and common pleas, distinctly; for one week pleas merely real are held, and the next, mixed actions are decided; here deeds are inrolled, recoveries passed, writs of right, waste, partition, dower and replevins determined.
In the husting of a plea of lands are pleaded writs of right patent, directed to the sheriffs of London.
THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL. This court, consisting of the lord mayor, aldermen, and representatives of the several wards; and being the city legislature, make bye-laws for the good government thereof; they assemble in Guildhall, as often as the lord mayor, by his summons, thinks proper to convene them; they annually select from among theinselves a committee of six aldermen and twelve comcommoners, for letting the city lands. They likewise appoint another committee of four aldermen and eight commoners, for transacting the affairs belonging to the benefactions of Sir Thomas Gresham; the lord mayor, who is always one of the number; they also, by virtue of a royal grant, yearly appoint a governor, deputy, and assistants, for managing the city lands in Ireland; they have also a right of disposing of various offices belonging to the city.
THE COURT OF LORD MAYOR AND ALDERMEN is a court of record, wherein is lodged a great part of the executive power, whereby all leases, and other instruments that pass the city seal, are executed; the assise of bread ascertained; contests relating to water-courses, lights, and party-walls, adjusted ; and the city officers suspended and punished according to the notoriety of their several offences.
This court has not only a power of electing annually eleven overseers, or rulers of the fraternity of watermen ; but likewise a right of fixing their several taxes, with the approbation of the privy council; and also a right of disposing of most of the places belonging to the city officers.
THE LORD MAYOR's court is also a court of record, held before the lord mayor, aldermen, and recorder, wherein actions of debt, trespass, attachments, covenants, &c. arising within the city and liberties, of any value, may be tried, and actions from the sheriffs court removed hither, before the jury be sworn.
This is a court of chancery or equity, respecting affairs transacted in the city and liberties ; and gives relief when judgment is obtained in the sheriffs court, for more than the just debt. It has an office peculiar to itself, consisting of four attornies, by whom all actions cognizable therein are entered, for the execution whereof there are six serjeants at mace, who daily attend in the said office.
This court, in divers respects, is the best to commence a process in, seeing an action (exclusive of stamps) may be entered at the small charge of four pence, and which, though not proceeded upon, never dies, as those in other courts. Besides, a suit may be begun and ended here, within the space of fourteen days, for so small a charge as thirty shill. ings. In short, this is the most extensive court of the kingdom; for all that is cognizable in the several courts of England, is also determinable here.
The juries for trying causes in this, and the sheriffs courts, are by the several courts of wardmote annually returned at Christmas, when each ward, according to custom, appoint a
sufficient number of persons to serve on the said juries for every month in the year, as follows:
Tower and Billingsgate.
THE SHERIFFS COUrts are held in Guildhall, of which the sheriffs being judges, each has his assistant or deputy, called the judges of those courts ; before whom are tried actions of debt, trespass, covenant, &c. and where the testimony of any absent witness in writing is allowed to be good evidence. To each of these courts belong four attornies, who, upon their being admitted by the court of aldermen, have an oath administered to them *.
* The oath, for its remarkable contents, is here inserted.
“ Ye shall swear, that ye shall well and lawfully examine your clients, and their quarrels, without champarty, and without procuring of any juries, or any inquest embracing. And that ye shall change no quarrel out of ill-nature, after your understanding. Also ye shall plead, nor suffer to be pleaded by your assent, no foreign release, acquittance, pay. ment, arbitration, plain account, whatsoever it be, to put the court out of its jurisdiction ; nor none other matter ; but it shall be such as ye may find rightful and true by the information of your client, whose information and saying, upon your oath and conscience, ye shall think to be true.
“ And ye shall not in form, nor in force, any man to sue salsely against any person, by false or forged action. Ready ye shall be at all times to come and attend at the warning of the said mayor, and of the sheri:Ts of the said city, unless you be lected about the business of the said city, or VOL. II. No. 29.
The sheriffs of London may arrest and serve executions on the river Thames.
COMMON HALL. In this court the livery chuse their lord mayor, sheriffs, members of parliament, &c.
THE COURT OF ORPHANS is occasionally held by the lord mayor and aldermen, who are guardians to children under the age of twenty-one years, at the decease of their fathers. They take upon them not only the care and management of their goods and chattels, but likewise that of their
persons, by committing them to careful and faithful tutors, to prevent their disposing of themselves, during minority, without the approbation of this court.
The common serjeant is authorized by the said court, to take exact accounts and inventories of all deceased freemen's estates; and the youngest attorney of the mayor's court, being clerk to that of the orphans, is appointed to take securities for their several portions, in the name of the chamberlain of London, who is a sole corporation of himself, for the service of the said orphans; and to whom a recognizance, or bond, made upon the account of an orphan, shall, by the custom of London, descend to his successor ; which is hardly known elsewhere.
When a freeman dies, and leaves property, to his children, çither in money or estates, the executor or executors make application to the court of aldermen to admit such property into the orphan's fund. On this application a wheel is brought into the court, containing a number of tickets, which mention the respective sums belonging to those who have arrived at full age, or whose stock has been sold or transferred to some other person. The lord mayor then draws from the wheel as many tickets as contain the sum requested to be ad. mitted by the new claimant, when the proprietors of the old stock have notice given them to receive their property in three months. Four per cent. is allowed for the money during the time it continues in the fund. for some reasonable cause. The franchises, laws, and ordinances of this city, you shall keep, and due to be kept to your power: and that well and lawfully ye shall do all things that to the office of attorney pertaineth to do: as God help you."