Monopolies. (fn. 1)
I. 536. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
stating that a supplication had been exhibited to them by Roger
Tyler, on behalf of the Tallowchandlers of the City, requesting them
to inform his Lordship of a certain grant by Letters Patent lately given
by Her Majesty, for the redress of corrupt oils, vinegar, soap, and other
things. It had been also stated that the Lord Mayor and his learned
Counsel had been made acquainted therewith, and upon hearing of
the matter in the Court of Chancery, could allege no sufficient cause
to the contrary. The Council desired that, upon the consideration of
the contents of the said Letters Patent, the Lord Mayor should either
publish them, or advertise the Council of a lawful or sufficient cause
to the contrary.
31st August, 1583.
II. 39. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
directing him to appoint some of the Aldermen of the City to consult
with the Alderman of the Steelyard, (fn. 2) with reference to the saltpetre
men appointed to dig and to make saltpetre in their house.
5th October, 1595.
II. 78. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
enclosing a Petition from the makers of Aquavita, Aquacomposita,
and Vinegar, within the City, against the Patent granted by Her
Majesty to Richard Drake.
14th December, 1594.
II. 107. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
reporting that certain Aldermen and others, with the Lieutenant of
the Ordnance, had viewed the rooms within the Steelyard where the
saltpetre men were to did under warrant for saltpetre, and had delivered
a certificate, enclosed. They found, by the complaints of the Citizens,
that the said saltpetre men entered into the houses, shops, and warehouses of poor artificers within the City, to dig for saltpetre, to the
great hindrance of their trade. He therefore requested that they
might be admonished and charged to use more discretion and moderation in the execution of their warrant. (fn. 3)
6th October, 1595.
II. 159. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
enclosing a Petition from the Traders of Vinegar, Aquavita, and
Aquacomposita, against the abuses of the late Patent granted by Her
Majesty to Mr. Richard Drake, and beseeching that the same might
26th May, 1596.
II. 346. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
enclosing a Petition from the Grocers' Company, against the Patent
lately granted to Abraham Baker, for the making and selling of a
stuff called Smault, (fn. 4) and begging that the same might be revoked.
17th June, 1609.
III. 10. Letter from the Commissioners for Suits (signed by Sir
Julius Cæsar and others) to the Lord Mayor, enclosing copy of a
Petition presented to the King by Sir George Bruce, (fn. 5) Knight, for a
grant to him of Letters Patent to make white salt to supply Lynn,
Boston, and Kingston-upon-Hull, which, though he offered to do it
on better conditions for the subject than was done by those that
formerly had the Patent, the King had referred to them for consideration. They had thought it best (before returning their opinions) to
understand from the Lord Mayor what could be objected to it by
those that dealt in that trade in the City, and requested him to call
before him some of the Salters, and such as dealt in salts, and to
certify what they could object against it.
Dated from the Exchequer Chamber, 25th May, 1611.
III. 11. The Petition of Sir George Bruce, Knight, before referred
to. The Petition, after reciting the names of former Patentees,—that
their Patents had expired,—that the Petitioner had been for many
years engaged in making salt, and was daily employing at least 1,000
persons in its manufacture, and that he had supplied the former
Patentees with the greatest part of the salt they sold, states that
they were allowed by their Patent to sell it at twenty pence per
bushel, whilst he intended to sell a better article at sixteen pence,
and that if salt were at any time during the term of his Patent sold
in London under that price, he would be bound to sell and serve
Lynn, Boston, and Kingston-upon-Hull at twopence per bushel less
than the price in London. He therefore prayed that a Patent for
twenty-one years, at such rents as the King might please, should be
granted to him.
III. 13. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Commissioners for
Suits, stating that he had called before him the Dealers in Salt in the
City, and had acquainted them with the suit of Sir George Bruce, and
enclosing their certificate thereon. The Certificate is not entered.
1st June, 1611.
III. 50. Letter from the Commissioners for Suits to the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen, intimating that His Majesty had referred to
them for consideration a Petition from one William Thomas for a
Patent for the sole gathering and dressing of a kind of Heath growing
in this kingdom, as fit, as he alleged, to make brushes as any other
that is brought from other parts, though no use was made of it, and
which would be the means of saving Bristles, and of setting many
poor people to work. Having debated it among themselves, they conceived it not unreasonable, but, since it might concern some tradesmen
in the City further than they were able to judge of, they requested the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen to call before them some of the several
trades whom this suit might concern, and to certify their opinions as
to the convenience thereof.
6th June, 1612.
III. 55. The Answer of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to Sir
John Herbert, (fn. 6) Knight, Principal Secretary to His Majesty, Sir Julius
Cæsar, Knight, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to Sir Thomas
Parry, Knight, Chancellor of the Duchy (of Lancaster), and the rest of
the Commissioners for Suits to the application of William Thomas,
certifying that, having called before them divers Haberdashers and
Brushmakers, Citizens of London, and conferred with them in
the presence of the said Thomas and his Counsel, they found his
allegations altogether idle and untrue, rather tending to a Monopoly
than to produce any new invention. Sundry Brushmakers dressed
English heath as well as the said Thomas, and they were credibly
informed that in divers parts of the Kingdom where such heath was
plenteous, many poor people maintained themselves and their families
by gathering and dressing it, and making brushes thereof, which they
sold at fairs and markets. Any such Patent granted for the sole
benefit of one man would, therefore, be very prejudicial.
16th July, 1612.
III. 87. Letter from the Commissioners for Suits to the Lord
Mayor, forwarding a Petition from Clement Dawbney, for the renewal
of Letters Patent (fn. 7) for cutting iron into small rods, and the restraint
of the importation of foreign iron cut into rods, and stating that they
had also received Petitions, enclosed, from the Nailmakers and
other Smiths, Shipmasters, Owners, and Shipwrights, from which
it would appear that the iron brought from beyond seas was useless,
brittle, and unserviceable, but since they were unable to judge of the
quality of iron so well as the Lord Mayor, after hearing men of the
several trades, could do, and were unable to determine whether the
restraint desired would prejudice any of the City Companies, they
had referred the matter for his consideration, and requested him to
call before him the Masters and some of the Wardens of the Black
smiths', the Ironmongers', and the Carpenters' Companies, the Master
and some of the Brethren of the Trinity House, and any others he
might think meet, and to certify his opinion, and return the Petitions
13th March, 1612.
III. 92. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
reporting that, after hearing the most skilful men of the several Companies mentioned, and the Master and some of the Brethren of the
Trinity House, he found the Patent would tend to raise the price of
iron, hinder the King in his Customs, and further the decay of woods.
As to the quality of Flemish iron, though some of it might be bad
(since iron in the mine did not always rise alike), it did not follow
it was all bad. Some Flemish iron tried before him, proved as tough
and good as English. He therefore saw no reason for prohibiting the
importation of foreign iron, but forwarded the Reports of the several
parties, for the further consideration of the Council.
31st March, 1613.
III. 108. Letter from the Earl of Worcester to the Lord Mayor,
informing him that the King had by Letters Patent committed to his
charge the making of all Saltpetre and Gunpowder (fn. 8) for the
use of His Majesty, within his dominions, with power to appoint
Deputies, and requiring the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to prevent
any persons from digging for or making Saltpetre within the City and
Liberties, except John Evelyn, (fn. 9) Esquire, of Godstone, Surrey, or
his factors, servants, &c., to aid him in the performance of the
business, and in the event of any other persons being found working,
to require them to cease, taking bond from them either to do so, or
appear before the Privy Council.
IV. 32. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to
The Lords of the Council, forwarding a Petition from the Master and
Wardens of the Goldsmiths' Company, complaining that, whereas
Matthew Fowle and Richard Dike, merchants, had obtained Letters
Patent for the sole making, &c., of gold and silver thread, (fn. 10) from want
of skill they were unable to effect their work without the aid of
the goldsmith. That the Patentees, having by sinister practices
obtained some superficial insight, by working on the poverty of
one or two poor artsmen of that Company, had surrendered their
Patent, and procured a new one for twenty years, in which was
included the drawing, milning, and flatting of gold and silver thread,
after the manner practised by the Petitioners, by which they sought
to prohibit all others from practision such work. That they had
also procured the imprisonment of one Moore, a Wiredrawer, for using
his trade. The Court of Aldermen had thought good to recommend
the Petition to the Council, and request them to hear the Petitioners
against the Patent, and in the mean time to stay the same, and release
Moore from prison.
25th June, 1616.
The Petition of the Company of Goldsmiths, referred to in the
foregoing Letter, is then entered at length.
IV. 37. An amended Petition from the Wardens and Commonalty of the Company of Goldsmiths to the Court of Aldermen,
against the Patent of Fowle and Dike, for the making of gold and
IV. 78. Letter from the Earl of Worcester to the Lord Mayor,
stating that, being by the King's Letters Patent appointed, by himself
or his assigns, to make all Saltpetre and Gunpowder within the
kingdoms of England and Ireland, for thirty-one years from the 13th
March last, he had appointed as his deputy, Richard Fisher, of the
Inner Temple, Gentleman, and requesting the Lord Mayor and Court
of Aldermen to be aiding to his said Deputy, factors, workmen, and
Worcester House, 13th June, 1617.
IV. 120. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen
to the Lord Chancellor, forwarding a Petition from the Master and
Wardens of the Goldsmiths' Company, on behalf of certain Wiredrawers, members of that Company, who had been committed to
prison, on pretence that by practising their trade they had disobeyed
the King's Proclamation, and requesting him to peruse the same.
V. 2. Copy of Petition of Captain Henry Bell to the Lord
Mayor, stating that (upon His Majesty's promise made to him for the
granting of any reasonable suit he might be able to find out), having
spent a great part of his means in soliciting and seeking after suits,
he had at last hit upon one, not only very reasonable, but also most
necessary for His Majesty's realms and subjects. His Majesty
had lately been credibly certified, by letters from divers parts
beyond seas, of the extraordinary defectiveness and falsehood of
English lead, which had hitherto been far better than any other, but
for some years past had been far worse, not only to the great disgrace
and prejudice of that commodity beyond seas, but also to the great
damage and hurt of His Majesty's subjects at home, as appeared by
the Petition from the Company of Plumbers to His Majesty, instantly
craving reformation of this great abuse. The Petitioner, therefore,
prayed that Letters Patent (fn. 11) for thirty-one years, might be granted to
him and his sufficient deputies, with full power to survey all lead made
within the realms, and to stamp the same to distinguish the good
from the bad; to prevent the sale or exportation of unstamped lead,
to turn the false and defective lead back to the makers, or else to be
fined and forfeited, one moiety to the King, and the other to the
Patentee. And further, that the Patentee or his deputies might be
granted 2d. per cent. from the makers, for their cost and labour.
Order of the King, referring, this Petition to the Commissioners
for Suits, to consider the matter, and certify their opinions thereon.
Theobalds, 20th December, 1618.
V. 3. Letter from the Commissioners for Suits to the Lord Mayor,
enclosing Copy of the above Petition. As they knew no better means
of ascertaining the convenience of the suit than by examining those
who dealt and traded in lead, they had written to the Company of
Plumbers, and they requested that he would be good enough to send
to them two or three merchants who dealt in that commodity abroad,
and who were able to inform them upon the subject.
Whitehall, 9th January, 1618.
V. 13. Letter from the Marquis of Buckingham to the Lord
Mayor and Court of Aldermen, on behalf of Captain Bell, who had
been recommended to His Majesty by divers Princes in Germany,—from the whole state of Venice,—and also to the writer by the Lady
Elizabeth, in respect of certain special services done by him for the
good of His Majesty and the State, and requesting them to give him
their favourable assistance in support of his Suit touching the reformation of abuses in making and melting of lead.
Whitehall, 15th February, 1618.
V. 17. Letter from Captain Henry Bell to the Lord Mayor and
Court of Aldermen, expressing his surprise at the statements in their
Certificate to the Commissioners for Suits against his Patent, that
they had examined certain merchants dealing in lead, both here and
abroad, who had alleged they never heard of abuses in the manufacture of that commodity, although they were so apparent, and had
been complained of to the King by his Ambassadors. He thought
it strange the Court had not examined the Master and Wardens of
the Plumbers' Company, who had constantly maintained and affirmed
the abuses to be great, and to require immediate reformation. He
therefore requested them to examine all parties upon oath, and
offered, if his suit should be proved prejudicial to the King, realm,
or subject, or even should not be found good and profitable to all, not
only to disclaim and renounce his Patent, but also all right and title
6th March, 1618.
V. 18. Copy of Letter from the Commissioners for Suits to the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen, stating that they were in a good forwardness to come to a conclusion as to the suit for a Patent for the survey
and sealing of lead. They had received two Certificates, one from the
Merchants, and the other from the Plumbers' Company, copies of
which they enclosed, testifying the abuse to be very apparent, and that
they suffered great loss thereby. The Plumbers had also exhibited
before them some fluggy and drossy stuff, which they said was
ordinarily known to be enclosed in pigs and sows of lead. On the other
side, it appeared by the report of certain Aldermen, who had called
sundry Merchants before them, that they never heard of such complaints, and that English lead was the best and most merchantable in
all Christendom. Since, therefore, they found merchant against
merchant, and plumber against plumber, they entreated the Lord
Mayor and Aldermen again to hear all the parties, and use the means
which to their wisdom should seem best to ascertain the truth, and to
inform them whether the abuse existed, and to certify their opinions
as to the reformation desired by the Petition.
8th March, 1618.
V. 20. Letter from Captain Bell to the Lord Mayor, stating that
he had bought at the quay three fodders of lead, which he intended
to have melted and weighed in the presence of credible men, and
requesting the Lord Mayor to appoint one or two of his officers or
others, to attend at the house of a Plumber named William Halsey,
in Fleet Street, to see it melted, that he might be informed of the
waste thereof, which would end all further doubts and disputes.
Whitehall, 19th March, 1618.
V. 21. Letter from Sir Julius Cæsar, Master of the Rolls, to the
Lord Mayor, stating that he had received a letter from the Marquis
of Buckingham concerning the suit of Captain Bell. Since the
Commissioners only waited for the Lord Mayor's Certificate, he
entreated it might be sent before their meeting on the following
afternoon, that the truth might clearly appear, and Captain Bell have
no just cause further to complain.
The Rolls, 9th April, 1619.
V. 30. Petition of John Bludworth, and Edward Darling, Vintners,
and Gilbert Morewood, Grocer, on behalf of themselves and divers
other Citizens dealing in lead, to the Lord Mayor (Sir Sebastain
Harvey) and Court of Aldermen, against the Patent of Captain Bell
concerning the searching and sealing of lead, for which two pence per
hundred, which was 3s. 6d. per fother, was desired. The traders in
lead knew very well there was no cause for granting any such Patent,
it being unknown that any tares or abatements had ever been made
in respect of falsifying. On the contrary, English lead had the
priority of sale in all foreign parts, and the intended project was conceived to be not for the common good of the kingdom, but for private
ends. Considering that 20s. impost was already laid upon lead, being
one of the three staple commodities of the kingdom, and 8s. for
custom, if this third were added, it was thought it would render
English lead less vendible, and other nations would undersell them,
and so many poor people working in lead mines would want employment, and the Customs would be much impaired. The Petitioners
therefore prayed that such course might be taken as should be thought
Note in margin.—"Left by Mr. Dyos undated."
V. 31. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to
the Lords of the Council, enclosing the foregoing Petition, and stating
that they had referred it to certain Aldermen for consideration, whose
opinions they enclosed, and which they prayed the Council to take into
consideration as a matter of very great importance.
Note in margin.—"The Petition and Answer left undated by Mr.
V. 32. Petition of the Company of Plumbers to the King and
the Lords of the Council, alleging that there was great deceit and
falsifying in the casting and making of pigs or sows of lead by putting
in lumps of cinders, dross, and other scum, to their great loss and
hindrance, and to the disgrace of the commodity beyond seas, and
praying that an officer might be appointed to attend, by himself or his
deputies, at the smelting houses, and seal the same, to discern the good
from the bad.
V. 111. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
stating that, amongst other Patents questioned in Parliament, the
Patents for making gold and silver thread and gold folliat were
thought fit to be called in, and His Majesty himself condemned
them. They therefore required the Lord Mayor to take steps for
taking all tools and instruments used for making such thread, &c.,
from persons in whose custody they might be found within the
City, so that they might not in future be used in the work which
had been found so hurtful to the commonwealth.
Whitehall, 26th June, 1621.
V. 112. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord
Mayor, stating that they had received information that, since the
calling in of the Patent for the making of gold and silver thread,
there had been imported from foreign parts, and especially from the
Low Countries, and uttered and sold here, divers parcels of false
and deceitful gold and silver thread. They therefore required a
strict search from time to time to be made of all such parcels of
thread imported, and if any should be found to be deceitfully made,
to take bond of the persons in whose hands they should be found,
to appear before the Court of Star Chamber to answer such
matters as should be objected against them.
Whitehall, 7th July, 1621.
V. 129. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord
Mayor, Sir Thomas Lowe and Sir William Cokayne, Knights,
Aldermen, and Heneage Finch, Esq., Recorder, forwarding a
Petition from sundry persons, complaining against the Patentees
for the Guinea Trade, that having, by virtue of their Patent,
debarred all others but themselves from trading there, and engrossed
the whole traffic and commodities brought from thence into their
own hands, they had so enhanced the prices, that gum used for
dyeing silk was sold at four times its value, and wood for dyeing cloth
at double the usual price. They therefore requested them to call the
Petitioners and the Patentees before them, and, after hearing them, to
settle and determine reasonable rates for such commodities and for
the removal of future complaints, and certify their proceedings to the
15th March, 1621.
V. 134. Petition from sundry merchants trading in lead to the
Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, reciting that they had obtained
a letter from the Court to the town of Hull for redress of new and
unaccustomed impositions laid upon lead in that town, to which the
Court had received and answer justifying the same, and considering it
a favour that they took no more. They found, from their factor at
Hull, that, by ancient accounts, until the year 1600 the rate was 22d.,
and when most, 2s., for ten pigs; whereas now 2s. for eight pigs was
levied and taken, and there might be no limitation unless the Court
gave speedy remedy to this growing evil. They therefore prayed them
either to press the town of Hull to a present abatement of the imposition, or, if the Petitioners were to be driven to legal proceedings,
to direct the City Solicitor to follow it, with allowance of the charge
of suit, as usual in similar cases.
VI. 36. Letter from Secretary Sir Edward Conway to the Lord
Mayor, stating that the King had commanded him to signify to the
Court of Aldermen that some gentlemen had propounded a new
invention for the making of hard and soft soap of the materials of
this kingdom only, (fn. 12) whereby the expense of many thousands yearly
spent in foreign ashes would be spared, and were suitors for a
Patent for their invention. His Majesty thought their propositions
reasonable, if they could substantiate them, but, as he understood
the Soap Boilers of London had appealed to the Court of Aldermen for assistance, and had alleged the soap made by the applicants was unmerchantable and unserviceable, he desired the Court
to call before them such Citizens as they should think fit, and
also the said Gentlemen and the Soap Boilers, and in their presence
put the new sort of soap to trial, and ascertain whether it was as
good as the best soft soap ordinarily made, and return their answer
to His Majesty within ten days.
Whitehall, 30th March, 1624.
VI. 37. Order of the Court of Aldermen upon the foregoing
letter, referring it to certain Aldermen and Citizens, therein named, to
hear the parties and report to the Court in writing thereon on the
6th April, 1624.
VI. 38. Report of the Aldermen, and Citizens above referred to,
that, having tried the soap submitted, they were unable to determine
whether it was made only of the materials of this kingdom or not
They found that, with much labour, it would, if used by skilful washers,
was coarse linen as well as the ordinary sort of soap used in the
kingdom; but they were of opinion it was far inferior to the best
soft soap ordinarily made, in goodness, sweetness, and merchantableness, and they found that their servants, and other washing women
whom they had caused to make trial of it, utterly disliked it. It was
not so fit for fine linen as the ordinary soft soap, for, as they were
informed, it fretted, wore, and consumed the lunen.
VI. 121. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to
Secretary Sir Edward Conway, acknowledging his letter, and forwarding the Report of certain persons, chosen from among themselves,
to whom the consideration and examination of the project had been
Dated in margin, "2nd May, 1624."
VI. 127. Petition of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City
of London to the Lords of the Council, stating that the Company of
Goldsmiths had represented to them, by their Petition, which they
forwarded, that the Earl of Holland (fn. 13) was endeavouring to obtain from
the King a grant to himself or his deputy to be Warden of His
Majesty's Exchange throughout England and Wales, with a prohibition of buying gold or silver bullion other than by himself or
his deputies, to the prejudice not only of the Goldsmiths but
of the Liberties and Franchises of the City in that particular.
The Court of Aldermen so far assented to the Goldsmiths
Petition as to be suitors to the Council that they would take the
matter into consideration and grant a public hearing of the cause,
that so they might mediate with the King for the suppression of the
Patent in case it should appear to them inconvenient and grievous to
the Commonwealth in general, or the ancient and useful Company of
Goldsmiths in particular.
Note in margin."Delivered in April, 1627."
VII. 58. Order in Council, reciting that a Petition (fn. 14) had been
presented to them on behalf of the Flax Dressers of the City and
Liberties, and other dealers in flax, complaining of the decay of their
trade, and alleging that the Eastland Merchants (fn. 15) were the cause of
it, by neither bringing in rough flax themselves, nor suffering others
to do so, by virtue of their Patent, and, that between them and the
Salters, who bought their flax, and sold it again to Flax Dressers, the
Petitioners had to give such unreasonable rates, that they could not
live by their labour. The Merchants had, upon like complaint
last summer, been sent for by the Council, and had promised reformation, but the Petitioners had since found their case to be far worse.
The Council, thereupon, direct the Court of Aldermen to call all the
parties before them, and take steps to support the Petitioners, if
possible, or otherwise to report what hindrance they found in settling
a fit course for their relief.
Whitehall, 10th December, 1630.
VII. 62. Order in Council upon the Petition of the Flax Dressers
of London, &c., against the Eastland Company and the Salters'
Company, directing the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to consider the
Petition, and certify as to the state of the Complainants, and the best
course to be taken for their relief, and also of their proceedings on the
former complaint of the Flax Dressers.
Whitehall, 23rd February, 1630.
VII. 73. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen
to the Lords of the Council, forwarding a Petition presented to them,
against an attempt of some obscure persons to obtain a Patent for the
sole serving of the kingdom with White Salt, to be made within the
realm, and requesting that the Petitioners might be heard, in
opposition to the Applicants.
VII. 80. Certificate from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lords of the Council, on the reference from them
to consider the Petition of the Eastland Merchants resident in
Newcastle-on-Tyne, for the removal of the prohibition of the exportation of salt to foreign parts, which restraint had been granted at the
request of the Court of Aldermen and the Company of Fishmongers,
and also of other port towns. They had conferred with the Wardens
of the Fishmongers, and they found here but a small quantity of
foreign salt. It was thought the Fishermen of the ports of the
kingdom would sell 5,000 weighs of salt, at least, by the 20th April
next, besides the inland sale. Of late years, salt was sold for 30s. to
32s. the weigh, which was then thought a high price. It was
now often sold for 40s. and more. It had been alleged in the
Petition that the subjects of Scotland, before and since the restraint,
transported white salt to foreign parts, but the Court conceived there
was no such necessity, by sea or land, for the use of it as in England.
If the merchants were licensed to export the salt already made,
the fishermen would be forced to stay the making of new salt,
and to take it hot out of the pans, to the spoil of the fish, loss of time,
and overthrowing of their voyage.
Dated in margin, 19th December, 1632.