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The estates gained by the citizens, are not obtained however, by niggardly conduct; nor improved by meanness; this is evident, from the expensive mode in which many of them live on their well-earned fortunes; it is no unusual circumstance for a London Shoe-maker to keep a better house, spend more money, better cloath his family, and yet grow rich, than many of his needy superiors, who arrogate to themselves a degree of false consequence, from the mere possession of five hundred pounds per year. Here, however, is the difference: an estate is, as it were, a pond--trade is a spring.
Trade is so far from being inconsistent with a gentleman in this kingdom, that it makes gentlemen, and has peopled this nation with gentlemen, and will continue so to do, while it shall be supported in proportion as it may be in neighbouring countries; for after a generation or two, the tradesmens children, or at least their grand children, become as good gentlemen, statesmen, parliament men, privy councellors, judges, bishops, and noblemen, as those of the highest birth and the most antient families,
By the happy constitution of this country, trade, whether it be public or private, with respect to its antient or modern, its general or particular laws, can be no degradation of character. It is by commerce alone, that the British name holds a proud superiority; and it is by the stand which the citizens of London have always made in support of the credit and honour of the nation, that such superiority is maintained. Surely then trade is no degradation of nobility *; and that it is not so, let the following proofs testify:
* A young gentleman, whose father had been an apprentice in London, but of a good family, was insulted in company, because he was not born a gentleman; and it was implied that the father's apprenticeship had corrupted his blood. The father was therefore determined to have the matter investigated : for this purpose, he employed Philipot, the herald, to study this point, who, in his book called “ The City Advocate," determined, " that an apprentice in London is no dishonour nor degradation, but rather an honor and a degree, and that it is very foolish to embase honest industry with disgraceful censure, and unjust not to en
Sir John Blount, mayor of London, 34 Edward I, was installed knight of the Bath, with Edward Prince of Wales.
Sir Godfrey Fielding, mercer, mayor in 1452, was appointed a privy councellor to Henry VI. and Edward IV.
Sir Thomas Coke, mayor, 1462, Sir Matthew Philip, 1463, Sir Ralph Joceline, 1465, Sir Henry Weaver, sheriff, 1461, Sir John Young, Sir William Home, Sir John Percival, Sir John Shaw, Sir John Allen, all mayors or sheriffs, were created either privy councellors, or knights bannerets, during the reigns of Henry VI. Edward IV. and till that of Henry VIII.
Sir William Fitzwilliam, a merchant taylor, and servant to Cardinal Wolsey, was chosen alderman of Bread Street ward, in London, anno 1506 : going afterwards to reside at M lten, in Northamptonshire, he entertained at that place the Cardinal, his former master, in his misfortunes; for which being questioned by king Henry VIII. he answered, " that he had not done it contemptuously, but because the Cardinal had been bis master, and partly the means of raising his fortune:” the king was so well pleased with his gratitude, that he knighted him, and made him a privy councellor. In his last will, he gave to that monarch his large ship, with all her tackle ; to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, his collar of the Garter, together with his best George, set with diamonds; and to his brethren, the Merchant Taylors, his best standing cup. He died in 1542, and his will was proved the 16th of February, that year. This eminent citizen of London, at his death, was knight of the Garter, lord keeper of the Privy Seal, and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and was the immediate ancestor to Earl Fitzwilliam.
The great Sir Thomas More, lord chancellor, was sheriff of London, in 1513.
We will next enquire whether the prime of our antient and present nobility have not their origin from citizens of Lon
courage it with praise and virtue, as the antient policy of England did and doth, in consituting corporations and adorning the companies with banners of arms, and especial members thereof with notes of nobility.--Strype's Stow.
don. To assist us in this enquiry, the peerage of Great Britain informs us, that Rebecca, third daughter of Josiah Child, of Wansted, a citizen of London, was married to Charles Marquis of Worcester, son of the Duke of Beaufort, in 1683; this lady was also grandmother to the present Duke of Grafton.
William, Marquis of Winchester, head of the noble house of Poulet, married first Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Capel, lord mayor, in 1503 ; and second Winifred, daughter of Sir John Bridges, lord mayor, in 1520.
Sir Edward Seymour, ancestor of the present Duke of Somerset, who died in 1707, married Margaret, daughter of Sir William Wale, alderman.
His grace of Leeds, boasts of his descent from Sir Edward Osborne, lord mayor, in 1584. .
Wrottesley, Duke of Bedford, in 1700, married Elizabeth Howland, daughter of John Howland, esquire, of Streatham, a rich London merchant, from which marriage, the dukal family of Bedford became possessed of the Streatham estate, which it now holds.
Stephen Cavendish, one of the collateral ancestors of the noble family of Devonshire, was lord mayor in 1362.
Montague, Earl of Lindsey, ancestor to the Duke of Ancaster, and lord high chamberlain in 1666, married Martha, daughter of Sir William Cockaine, alderman.
The ancestor of the Duke of Manchester, married for his second wife, the widow of Sir Leonard Holiday, alderman.
James, Lord Chandos, married the daughter of Sir Henry Bernard, a Turkey merchant, in 1714, and was father to the first duke of Chandos.
John, Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, married the niece of Sir Charles Duncombe, lord mayor, in 1708.
Richard Sackville, ancestor of the Dorset family, married Winifred, daughter of Sir John Bridges, by whom she had the first Earl of Dorset, lord high treasurer. Her second husband was the above Marquis of Winchester.
Lionel Cranfield, merchant of London, was by James I. for his great abilities, made master of the requests, afterwards
master of the king's wardrobe, then master of the wards, a privy councellor, lord treasurer, and Earl of Middlesex.
Were we inclined, we might trace the citizenship of London, through the whole extent of peerage; but, as it will be more to our purpose, to record such of the nobility as claim their descent more immediately from the city,
We place at the head of the list the exalted name of Cornwallis. His lordship's ancestor was John Cornwallis, sheriff of London, in 1377.
Richard Rich, was sheriff of London, in 1441, from him descended the Earls of Warwick and Holland, of that name.
Sir William Capel, knt. lord mayor in 1504, laid the fourdation of the noble house of Essex..
William Coventry, sheriff, 1416, and mayor, 1425, ancestor of the Earl of Coventry.
The Earl of Dartmouth descended from Thomas Legge, mayor in 1360.
The Earl of Tankerville is descended from an alderman of London, son of Richard Bennet, whose brother Sir Thomas Bennet, was mayor in 1603.
John Cowper, merchant, was father of Sir William Cowper, bart. The family constantly matched with the daughters of citizens, and the issue of one of these, was the great lord chancellor Cowper, Earl Cowper, who himself married Judith, daughter of Sir Robert Booth, a London merchant.
Christopher Sherrard, a citizen of London, was high sheriff of Rutland, in 1468, and ancestor to the late Earls of Harborough.
The Earl of Pomfret is descended from Richard Fermor, merchant of the staple of Calais temp. Henry VIII.
Thomas Mildmay, who married Avice, daughter of William Gouston, of London, was ancestor of the late lords Fitz-walter.
Sir John Thynne, by his marriage with a daughter of Sir Richard Gresham, by whom he had a son Sir Thomas Thymne, who married a daughter of Sir Rowland Heyward, mayor in 1571, laid the foundation of the marquis of Bath's family.
Sir William Ward, a rich goldsmith, was father of Humble Ward, Lord Ward, ancestor of the present Viscount Dudley and Ward.
Sir William Petre, secretary of state to four kings and queens, and seven times ambassador to foreign princes; by his marriage with Anne, daughter of Sir William Brown, mayor, 1514, had issue John Lord Petre, the head of that noble family.
John Bligh, esquire, of London, was agent of the London merchants in Ireland; the present Earl of Darnley is his descendant.
Sir Thomas Leigh, mayor, i Elizabeth, was the ancestor of the noble family of Leigh.
Sir William Craven, mayor, 1611, by a daughter of William Whitmore, merchant, had a son of his own name, created 1626, Lord Craven, from whom the present Lord is descended.
Maurice Thompson, merchant of London, and governor of the East India company, was father of John, created Lord Haversham, in 1696.
Thomas Marsham, alderman of London, temp. James I. was ancestor to the Earl of Romney.
Sir Robert Ducie, mayor in 1631, maternal ancestor to Lord Ducie.
Sir Rowland Hill, mayor, 1550, ancestor to Lord Berwick, Sir Richard Hill, &c.
Sir John Poulteney, four times mayor, temp. Edward III. ancestor to Pulteney, Earl of Bath, and the present countess of Bath.
Sir William Holles, mayor, 1539, ancestor of the noble family of Holles, Dukes of Newcastle, &c.
The present Lord Rodney married Anne, daughter of the late alderman Harley, who being himself son of the Earl of Oxford, and mayor in 1768; was created a privy councellor by his present majesty.
Among the Scottish nobility, many instances occur of civil alliances; in our own time, the most reverend the honourable Dr. Robert Drummond, late archbishop of York, married