Dyers And Dyeing.
II. 280. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Master of the Horse
(the Earl of Worcester, K.G.) (fn. 1) concerning James Hoseman, a servant
of his Lordship, who had resided in the City for twenty-four years,
and carried on the trade of a dyer of black silk; and stating that,
upon a complaint being made of the fraudulent way in which black
silk had been lately dyed in the City, an inquiry had been instituted,
and all persons not being Dyers by trade had been ordered to cease
such occupation; it then appeared that Hoseman was a Silk-weaver.
15th February, 1606.
II. 296. The Petition of Christopher Hamond, His Majesty's
ancient and faithful servant, to the King, complaining of the prohibition issued by the Lord Mayor to restrain Silkmen or Dyers from
dyeing certain silks within the City, and praying that a patent to dye
silk, called "London silk," or "lyght waight silk," might be granted to
him:—with the Order of the King dated the 29th May, 1607, to the
Mayor, Recorder, and some of the Aldermen to consider the convenience
of his suit, and also a copy of their Report, recommending that the
former Order of the Lord Mayor should be enforced.
6th October, 1607.
II. 337. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
upon the complaint of the Dyers of Silk within the City of London,
and praying that search might be made in the county for silks dyed
contrary to the Orders issued.
17th December, 1608.
III. 123. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to Lord
Aubney, (fn. 2) informing him that they had considered his project for the
reformation of the abuses in the false dyeing of silk, which appeared to
tend to the creation of an unnecessary office, viz., a Sworn Viewer of
silk, to redress two abuses, false dyeing and false weight, both of
which were otherwise and better remedied; first, by the authority of
the Lord Mayor, by Charter, to punish and correct every mystery,
and the men thereof within the City; secondly, by an Act of Common
Council (fn. 3) ordained against all increase of weight in the dyeing of black
silk, which had been put in execution and wrought good redress; and
lastly, the King's Proclamation had commanded the burning of all
such corrupt silk in all parts of the Kingdom;—besides which the course
proposed by his Lordship was contrary to law, and tended to an
unnecessary charge on the subject.
10th January, 1614.
Note in Margin—Upon this Letter the projectors were discouraged
to proceed any further touching the said office, and the City heard no
more of it.
IV. 6. Letter from the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer, to the
Lord Mayor, stating that there was a Statute of the 22nd
Elizabeth, (fn. 4) prohibiting all Logwood, alias Blockwood, and that many
Orders of Council had since been made, to prevent the bringing in of
such Logwood, and other false and deceivable dyeing woods; but that
the said Statute and Orders had not been acted upon, because the
woods were directed to be burnt, whereby no benefit arose to those
who took them. The King had therefore granted a Patent (fn. 5) to Richard
Giles and his deputies, and had given him a yearly fee for taking all
such false and deceivable woods. Since the Statute directed all such
woods to be burnt, by the authority and direction of the Magistrate,
where they were taken, the Lord Treasurer requested the Lord Mayor
to take into his charge all such woods found or taken in the Port of
London, by the said Giles or others, and to take order that they
might be burnt in some public place within the City.
22nd November, 1615.
IV. 33. Letter from the King to the Lord Mayor, stating that in
the 28th and 29th Elizabeth, several Statutes were passed for the
abolishing and avoiding the use of Logwood (the unskilful use of
which was a principal cause of making and dyeing of false and
deceivable colours), but it had been found that the undue
executing of such Statutes had been the cause of such false and
deceivable colours as were daily dyed in cloths. Therefore, in order
that all falsehood in dyeing might be banished, which was the main
hindrance of the sale of so royal a commodity in foreign parts, His
Majesty required that view should be taken, and search made,
according to the Statute 5th Edward VI., by Symon Stevenson, already
authorized by the Lord Mayor for that purpose, and Robert Brabent,
whom the King required should be joined with him, of all cloths and
other woollen commodities in any place or places within the City and
Liberties, and that the City's officers should aid and assist them; that
they might take patterns of all such commodities as they should find
falsely dyed, and which would not stand the trial of Graine and
Cockinela, with the names of the dyers, and their seals thereon affixed.
And also that the Lord Mayor should, from time to time, cause the
King to be informed thereof, that the offenders might be punished.
Sans date (circa 1616).
IV. 45. Letter from the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer, to the
Lord Mayor, reciting that the King had allowed Richard Giles to
surrender his Patent concerning false dyeing woods, and had granted a
new Patent to the said Giles, and one John Wilson, (fn. 6) as was signified
by a former Letter of the Lord Treasurer's, and requesting the Lord
Mayor to appoint officers to aid and assist the Patentees, for the
taking and burning of all false dyeing woods found within the City
30th November, 1616.
IV. 86. Letter from the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer, to
the Lord Mayor, stating that he found by the many suitors that
petitioned him, and from the Patentees who delivered the Longwood
and other false dyeing woods to the Lord Mayor, to be burnt according
to Statute, that such woods remained unburnt, and advising him to
burn the same without delay; and further requesting that the
Patenetees might have all the assistance the City could give them.
Suffolk House, 23rd September, 1617.
IV. 89. Letter from the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer,
stating that William Heather, of London, merchant, had petitioned
the Lords of the Council, concerning seventeen bags of Logwood
mixed with Brasill, (fn. 7) or other woods which had been seized. The
Petition had been referred by the Council to the writer, and as he was
of opinion that the Petitioner, being a poor man, would sustain too
great a loss if all his wood were burnt, he desired the Lord Mayor to
burn seven bags of it, and to restore ten, to be transported out of the
Realm, the Petitioner giving bond to that effect, and to return a
certificate of its accomplishment, such certificate to be kept by Richard
Giles and John Wilson, the Patentees for forbidden woods.
Suffolk House, 25th October, 1617.
IV. 94. Letter from the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Treasurer, to
the Lord Mayor, referring to his former Letters to previous Lord
Mayors, announcing the grant of Letters Patent to Richard Gyles and
John Wilson, for abolishing the use of false dyeing stuffs, and requesting
the Lord Mayor to cause all such false woods as should be seized to
be at once burnt.
22nd December, 1617.
V. 34. Certificate from the Lord Mayor and Recorder, to the
King, in answer to a Petition referred to them concerning false dyed
silk, stating that they had conferences with divers silkmen, dyers,
and weavers, and found that much deceit had been practised in the
dyeing of silk, by adding deceitful mixtures to increase its weight, but
that this abuse had latterly been greatly reformed by divers Acts of
Common Council, and by the care of the Magistrates in putting them
into execution. That His Majesty had been pleased to issue his
proclamation in the tenth year of his reign, (fn. 8) for a general reformation
of all such abuses. They were of opinion that, by virtue of these
laws and His Majesty's Proclamation, the abuses might be sufficiently
reformed, without the erection of an office for that purpose.
As to the proposal to erect an office for the weighing of undyed
silk from the Merchant or Silkman, to the Dyer, and back again, at a
beam and seales, to be provided in some fit place in the City or
suburbs, with a fee of twopence for registering and weighing every
pound of dyed silk, they could not see that such a course could work
any reformation. Moreover, the City was already interested in the
office of weighing of all manner of silks, dyed and undyed, with the
fees and profits thereto belonging, and the payment of twopence per
pound on all silks to be dyed, would only endear the commodity,
without reforming the abuses.
They further certify that, as to the proposed Proclamation to be
issued by His Majesty—
1st. That no dyed silk should be imported, on pain of forfeiture.
It would prejudice His Majesty in his Customs,—would be
against trade and commerce, and would hinder the vending of
the commodities of the kingdom, especially cloth, for which
silk was often taken and returned in exchange.
2nd. That all falsely dyed silk should be forfeited.
It was fit to be put in due execution, as already provided by
Acts of Common Council, and His Majesty's Proclamation.
3rd. That all dyres of silk should be bound not to dye with unjust
increase of weight.
The Acts of the Common Council imposed a fine on the dyer, or
the person in whose hands the same should be found, after
conviction, for the first offence, 20s.; for the second, 40s.; and
directed the silk to be burned.
4th. That none but Freemen of London, having served as
Apprentices to the trade, should dye.
Although they wished the good of the City, and the Freemen
thereof, they did not see how Dyers, dwelling out of the City,
who had served as apprentices, and were skilful and honest,
could be conveniently restrained, although they were not
VII. 32. Letter from Sir William Beecher, (fn. 9) by command of the
Lords of the Council, to the Lord Mayor, requesting that the Report
on the business of silk, referred to the Court of Aldermen, on the
complaint of the Turkey Merchants, (fn. 10) which they were informed had
been ready for a fortnight, might be returned to the Council, by the
following Wednesday at the latest.
Whitehall, 19th April, 1630.
VII. 48. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord
Mayor, &c., concerning abuses in the false dyeing of silk, for which
some offenders had already been censured by the Star Chamber,
whilst others were being proceeded against. Although the course
hitherto taken had been legal, and without exception, yet some
persons had given out that the matter was already disposed of, to their
benefit, and to the great dishonour of the State. The Council, therefore, required that steps should be taken for the discovery of the
delinquents, and their safe custody, till they received punishment
according to their deserts.
Hampton Court, 30th September, 1630.