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There was no part of the structures in England built with brick, except the chimnies, before the time of Henry VII. and even these were chiefly in monasteries, or the houses of the nobility, as at Oldford, which was a royal residence, Brook House at Hackney, a fabric called King John's Court, near Stepney, and others, which were erected in this reign, all built in the same form with brick.
It was in this reign, also, that the method of fint-building, regularity of construction, and the use of brick from Italy commenced ; an eminent Florentine was architect to Henry VII. and the English bricklayers, were ingenious in their profession. Many specimens of their ability are discernible at present among the various ancient buildings, in the vicinity of the metropolis, which are not to be exceeded in Europe, for variety and excellent workmanship.
During the impetuous, profuse, and thoughtless government of Henry VIII. the city indulged itself in all the page. antry of splendid and expensive spectacles, and according to the taste of the age, partook of the gaudy extravagance of the court. But though the libations at the altar of fancy were so many and various, the more essential comforts of the metropolis were not forgotten. From the neglected state of agriculture, the country had often severely felt the scarcity of corn, and London had always been a considerable sufferer. To remedy so serious an evil, Roger Achily rendered his mayoraity in 1511, remarkable, by the prudent foresight he exercised in storing Leadenhall, the city granary,
prison; and being a man of great timidity and irresolution, died of a broken heart before his trial came to an issue. Sir Lawrence Aylmer, who had likewise served the office of mayor, and his two sheriffs, were condemned in heavy fines, and committed to prison till payment should be made. Sir William Capel, already mentioned, who had served the office of mayor in 1503, was seized five years afterwards, under pretence of neglect of duty in prosecuting certain crimes dilated to him, and was mulcted 2,0001.; and, for daring to murmur at the iniquity of such a decision, was committed close prisoner to the Tower, where he semained till the death of the king delivered him, and many others, from the hands of oppression. Hunter.
with every species of grain. He likewise caused Moorfields to be levelled, and the passage to the adjoining villages rendered more commodious, by raising causeways and building bridges, as the situation of the ground required. Works of this nature claim the fairest title to the gratitude of poste. rity.
The introduction of luxury induced an attention to the sciences, which came in for their share of consideration; and as they contributed to refinement, now began to be cultivated and encouraged. Medicine in particular, having fallen into the hands of regular practitioners, attracted the atten. tion, and obtained the support of the legislature. By an act of the third year of Henry VIII. “ It was declared illegal to practise physic or surgery * within the city of London,
* It will be very curious to turn back from our times to those of Henry VIII. to compare the state of surgery: when at one tiine there were very few, as Gale tells us, worthy to be called surgeons. His account of those employed in the army is very humorous.
“ I remem ber,'' says he, “ when I was in the wars at Muttrel (Montreuil), in the time of that most famous prince king Henry VIII, there was a great rablement, that took on them to be surgeons : some were sow-geld, ers, and some horse-gelders, with tinkers and coblers. This noble sect did such great cures, that they got themselves a perpetual name! for, like as our Thessalus's sect were called Thessalians, so was this noble rable. ment, for their notorious cures, called Dog-leaches; for in two dressings they did commonly make their cures sound and whole for ever; so that they neither felt heat nor cold, nor no manner of pain after. But when the duke of Norfolk, who was then general, understood how the people did die, and that of small wounds, he sent for me, and certain other surgeons, commanding us to make search how these men come to their death; whither it were by the grievousness of their wounds, or by the lack of knowledge of the surgeons; and we, according to our own commandment, made search through all the camp, and found many of the same good fellows, which took upon them the names of surgeons ; not only the names, but the wages also. We asking of them whither they were surgeons or no, they said, they were ; we demanded with whom they were brought up, and they, with shameless faces, would answer, each, with one cunning man or another, which was dead. Then we demanded of them what chirurgery stuff they had to cure men withal'; and they would shew us a pot, or a horn, which they had in a budget, VOL. I, No.5.
and seven miles round, till the candidate was previously ex, amined and approved by the bishop of London, or the dean of St. Paul's, assisted by four gentlemen of the faculty.” The sheriffs of London and Middlesex were in 1512, for the first time, empowered by parliament, to empannel jurors for the city courts, conformably to certain qualifications laid down in the statute *.
Hall, in his Chronicle for 1514, mentions a curious instance of vulgar opinion which was entertained at this time. In consequence of the improvements recently made in Moorfields, and the increasing attention to agriculture, the landholders of the adjacent hamlets of Islington, Hoxton, and Shoreditch, bad been induced to enclose their grounds. The populace of the city finding, however, the theatre of their rural pastimes abridged ; and more tenacious of rights which ministered to their pleasures, rather than public utility, were excited to a spirit of discontent, and riot, by a fellow, disguised in the dress of a Merry Andrew, who ran about from street to street, calling for “ spades and shovels.” The hint was presently taken, a great multitude assembled, armed with these weapons, and the newly erected fences and enclosures were levelled with the ground. The king's commissioners with just reason reprehended the magistrates for neglect of duty on this occasion, in not preventing the riotous proceedings of the mob.
The year 1517 is memorable for the first establishment of a new tribunal, by an act of common-council, denominated the Court of Conscience. This act appointed, “ That the lord mayor and aldermen for the time being, shait
wherein was such trumpery as they did use to grease horses heels withal, and laid upon scabbed horses backs, with rowal, and such like. And others, that were coblers and tinkers, they used shoe-makers wax, with the rust of old pans, and made therewithal a noble salve, as they did term. But in the end, this worthy rablement was committed to the Marshalsca, and threatened by the duke's grace to be hanged for their worthy deeds, except they would declare the truth what they were, and of what occupations; and in the end they did consess, as I have declared to you before.” * 4 Hen. VIII. c. ii.
monthly assign and appoint two aldermen, and four discreet commoners, to sit at Guildhall, in a judicial manner, twice a week, viz. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, there to hear and determine all matters brought before them, between party and party (being citizens and freemen of London), in all cases where the due debt or damage does not exceed forty shillings." This act only extended to the experiment of two years; but its benefit being evident, by the prevention of litigation in the higher courts concerning trifling matters, it was continued by various acts of common-council, and at length, rendered perpetual by parliamentary authority in the first year of James I.
We cannot here, in justice to our subject, forbear the due encomium to Cardinal Wolsey. We do not attempt his political character, or the arrogant means by which he supported it; we are his encomiasts as the respecter, the encourager, and the rewarder of science. He made his greatness subservient to the improvement and decoration of his country ; Christ Church, Oxford, and Hampton Court are existing monuments of his liberality, and the recollection that he exbibited at his palace at Whitehall, all that was exquisite in art, refined in taste, elegant in manners, and respectable in literature, urge us, at the same time that we pity and regret the feelings of this great minister, to applaud his public spirit, and give deserved honour to the greatness of his munificence.
An instance of resistance in the magistracy of London to the arbitrary imposition of the cardinal is, however, worthy of record. A rupture with France had been, from the be. ginning to this day, another term for a call on the nation for ' money, and more money.' In 1521, the omnipotent lord cardinal imagined that to declare his will was sufficient, but found himself for once deceived, when he issued commissions in the king's name for levying a sixth of all property belonging to the laity, and a fourth of that of the clergy.. This arbitrary and excessive imposition excited universal discontent, which threatened to break out into open rebellion, The corporation had the honour of setting the example of
resistance, and the king felt it so powerfully, that he prudent. ly retracted, and disclaimed all knowledge of the offensive measure. He wrote a letter to the lord mayor and citizens, declaring that he would permit no illegal exaction to be made on the subject, but trusted to their benevolence, as leis prede. cessors had done. The meaning of the word benevolence was now, however, perfectly understood, and universally reprobated. The city being first rated to this impost, by way of example to the rest of the kingdom, Wolsey sent for the lord mayor and aldermen, and after expatiating on the king's grace and condescention in receding from the first de. mand and substituting a benevolence in place of it, he ex, horted them to return into the city and make the proper sessments in their several wards, for raising the money wanted. The recorder had the courage to reply, “ That by a statute of the first of Richard III. the levying of such benevolence was abolished.” The cardinal nettled at the noncompliance of the citizens, alledged that Richard was an usurper
and a murderer, and that laws enacted under such authori. ty could not be obligatory on lawful princes, such as his present highness, the true, legal, and undoubted heir of the crown, This did not convince the sturdy magistrates; and the lofty cardinal, as the last effort, thought proper to take them apart, and tried to persuade them, one after another, to take a beginning as a stimulus to others. The lord mayor, who was of course first applied to, excused himself till he should have an opportunity of laying the matter before the commoncouncil ; his example was followed by all bis brethren in the magistracy; and when the proposal was introduced in common-council it was treated with such disrespect, that a vote of expulsion was moved against three of the members for presuming to speak in favour of the measure, and the court
in a ferment. Such a stand did the spirit of liberty make against one of the most arbitrary princes, and the haughtiest minister that ever governed England; it spread over the whole nation; London was looked up to as a pattern, and the benevolence was every where refused.