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the first English king who made a deliberate attempt to destroy the monopoly of the privileged boroughs. At his accession London had displayed great joy. "The citizens flung gold and silver from the windows for anybody who cared to take it. The conduit on one side of Cheap ran with white wine, and the other side with red "1. But the king, moved partly by resentment at the treatment of Queen Eleanor 2, set aside the privileges of London and showed considerable favour to foreign merchants. Even during his father's lifetime Edward had revealed his interest in alien merchants, and in 1266 they had been placed under his protection 3. More important still, Henry had agreed to take only "a reasonable portion on imports and exports whereby merchants will not be grieved immoderately "' 4. Edward's action was not, however, altogether disinterested, for the merchants were required to purchase his goodwill at a price which drew a remonstrance from the French king 5; and after his accession to the throne they also lent him money. In 1285 he took the city of London into his own hands, suspending its liberties for thirteen years when he restored it to the citizens, and he availed himself of the occasion to extend to aliens a large measure of freedom. At the end of his reign he also established the financial relations between aliens and the Crown on a new footing; the famous Carta Mercatoria fixed the custom duties and at the same time allowed aliens to traffic wholesale with natives or aliens, and to reside where they pleased. This stirred the jealousy of the Londoners, and they showed their resentment by their refusal to appoint collectors for the new customs in the city 8.

Edward II. found it beyond his strength to carry on his Policy of father's policy with his father's vigour; the bow of Ulysses

1 The Scalacronica of Sir Thomas Gray, ed. Sir H. Maxwell (1907), 1. 2 "In this year [1263] the Queen was shamefully hooted and reviled at London Bridge": Riley, Chronicles of London, 232.

3 Patent Rolls, 1258-1266, p. 580.

5 Ibid. 1266-1272, p. 141 (1267).

4 Ibid. 1258-1266, p. 575.

6 Ibid. 1292-1301, p. 341.

7 The Carta Mercatoria is printed in Liber Custumarum, i. 205-211; Hakluyt, Voyages (ed. 1903), i. 327-333; H. Hall, History of the CustomRevenue (1885), i. 202-208. See also infra, p. 523.

Letter Book C, 135.

Edward II.

Policy of Edward III.

was too mighty for his nerveless hands. In 1311 the monarchy was put into commission and the Ordainers revoked the Nova Custuma, enjoining aliens to be governed "according to the ancient customs and usages "1. The phrase was doubtless intentionally vague, but the citizens of London were in no uncertainty as to its meaning; and when Edward went North the following year to save Gaveston, they utilized his absence to forbid aliens to remain more than forty days 2, and they seized the wine of a Gascon merchant because he had sold it to another foreign trader 3. In 1322 parliament restored to Edward his authority, and the Nova Custuma were revived. In the last year of his reign the king embarked upon new industrial schemes, and in pursuance of his designs announced that merchant strangers were to be taken into the king's protection both in coming and going, and all persons were forbidden to do them any wrong.

The reign of Edward III. occupies a place of great importance in the history both of English industry and of English commerce. It was a storehouse of constitutional and economic experiments. It ushered in a long and ruinous war, but none the less it marked a real advance in the growth of English trade. So far as the motives of statesmen may be read in their actions, Edward III. would seem to have adopted a definite commercial policy, one of plenty and the open door as contrasted with mercantilist considerations of power. He encouraged aliens partly to further his schemes of foreign alliances and a continental empire, partly to make commodities abundant and cheap. In the opening year of his reign parliament had petitioned against aliens 5, and Edward granted a charter to London compelling aliens to sell their wares within forty days and to board with native hosts. But in 1335 a statute enacted that merchants could trade freely in all places "within franchise or without ", in spite of all "charters and usages" to the contrary. Two years later, however, London obtained a charter safeguarding 2 Letter Book D, 282 (1312).

1 Rot. Parl. i. 282 a (1312).

3 Letter Book E, 45 (1315).

Patent Rolls, 1324-1327, p. 269; supra, p. 398.

5 Rot. Parl. ii. 9 a, 11 b.

• Birch, Charters of London, 54.

7 Statutes, i. 270.

its privileges, notwithstanding the act "made to the hurt of the liberties and customs of the city"1. Nevertheless, Edward was evidently convinced that aliens were necessary not only for the sake of the carrying trade, but also to develop the internal resources of the country. We have already seen how he introduced alien weavers; he also brought over clock-makers 2, and in 1347 it was made a ground of complaint that an alien, Tidman of Lynnburgh, owned the monopoly of tin in Cornwall 3. Four years later the act of 1335 was renewed, by which full freedom of trade was conferred upon all merchants 4. London repeatedly complained that the loss of the city's franchises had driven many to leave the city and take up their quarters elsewhere 5. In 1367 the king was induced to prohibit foreigners from dealing in retail, yet the following year he directed the sheriff of London to make proclamation for the due observance of the act of 13517. This the sheriff did not venture to do; and so extreme was the resentment of the Londoners, that a man was condemned to the pillory for spreading false reports touching merchant strangers being allowed to trade as freely as citizens 8. Their opportunity came, however, in the Good Parliament of 1376 when the system of government built up by Edward III. crumbled to the ground, and all the discontented elements in the country found a voice. They alleged that the city was being impoverished, and that secrets of the realm were being discovered by spies 9. This was evidently merely a pretext to mask their purpose with a patriotic pretence, but they gained their object; a charter was granted to them 10, and even the parliament of 1377, elected under the influence of their enemy, John of Gaunt, left their monopoly untouched 11.

With the accession of Richard II. to the throne a period

1 Letter Book F, 14; T. Noorthouck, History of London (1773), 790. Rymer, iii. part ii. 845 (1368).

3 Rot. Parl. ii. 168 a.

4 Ibid. ii. 231 b; Statutes, i. 315.

5 Letter Book G, 86, 185. Privileges of aliens confirmed 1364: Statutes,

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factions in

London under Richard II.

of confused and troubled relations set in; the policy of the government seemed to change year by year. But the key to the situation is clearly the fact that during this period the strife of party factions among the citizens of London assumed a national character, and determined for the moment the direction of parliamentary action. It is impossible not to connect the struggle of the London gilds 1 with the measures carried out by parliament during Richard's reign. The victualling gilds were adherents of the king, while the non-victuallers, who were free-traders, were associated with the opposition party of John of Gaunt. In the light of their struggle for supremacy, we can best interpret the wavering and fluctuating policy of the reign. In October 1377, when Brembre the leader of the victuallers was mayor, the merchants supplied the king with a loan of money 2. Accordingly, in December, the king complied with the petitions of London and Norwich and excluded aliens from retail trade 3. Steps were at once taken to secure these concessions; the misteries were ordered to make search for traders who brought merchandise to the city, and to see that London's privileges were not infringed by them 4. But a few months later, in October 1378, Gaunt held parliament away from London at Gloucester and there it repealed the monopoly of the Londoners, "considering clearly the coming of merchant strangers within the realm to be very profitable from many causes to all the realm". Aliens were granted freedom to buy and sell all manner of wares wholesale, and small wares and provisions retail, and allowed to have dealings with one another 5. In 1381 and 1382 Northampton, the opponent of Brembre, became mayor, and parliament again confirmed the privileges of aliens . The indignation of the Fishmongers probably explains the countenance shown by some of their leaders to the insurgents of 1381; they were even accused 2 Letter Book H, 79.

1 Supra, p. 338.

5 Statutes, ii. 6.

3 Ibid. 86; for the petitions, see Rot. Parl. iii. 27 b, 41 b. 4 Letter Book H, 90. • A victualler was in office from 1377 to 1381, while Northampton was mayor in 1381 (Letter Book H, 169) and re-elected in 1382 (ibid. 200). Privileges of aliens confirmed: Statutes, ii. 23. The Fishmongers were specially aimed at in the statute (ibid. ii. 28), allowing aliens freely to buy and sell fish and victuals.

of admitting the rebels into the city1. The favourable treatment of aliens stirred great commotion in the city, and a petition in parliament attests the strength of the opposition which it aroused. The Commons prayed that for the greater quietness and maintenance of the peace among the subjects London should be entirely restored to its franchises. The reply was given that they should have their franchisessaving to the aliens their liberties, and saving also that the victuallers should have no special liberties by themselves, but should be under the rule of the mayor. After Northampton had held office for two years, he was overthrown; Brembre was chosen mayor in October 1383, and maintained his seat "by strong hand of certain crafts of London" 3. Almost immediately afterwards, in November, the Londoners recovered their monopoly in a new charter. In 1388 the Merciless Parliament, which impeached Brembre and others of the king's party, restored their privileges to aliens 5 ; none the less the tide was beginning to turn against the alien merchants. In 1390 a petition was presented, urging that merchant strangers repairing to England should be treated as English merchants were treated abroad. This was to be the watchword of the anti-alien party throughout the fifteenth century. For the moment the reply was unfavourable; merchant strangers were to be "well and courteously and rightfully used", so that they might have the greater courage to repair to England. However, in 1393, the king felt himself strong enough to reverse the proceedings in favour of aliens, and once more re-impose the old disabilities upon them. The merchants of London had been steadily advancing in wealth and power since the middle of the 2 Ibid. iii. 147 b.

1 Rot. Parl. iii. 143 b (1382).

3 A Chronicle of London from 1089-1483 (1827), p. 75. Brembre was mayor three years in succession, 1383, 1384 and 1385 (Letter Book H, 220, 251, 276). He was succeeded by Nicholas Extone, a fishmonger and an adherent of Brembre, who held office two years, 1386 and 1387 (ibid. 290, 320). Northampton, after his fall from office, was brought to trial. charges against him are printed in The Peasants' Rising and the Lollards, A Collection of Documents, ed. E. Powell and G. M. Trevelyan (1899), 27-38. 4 Letter Book H, 222.


5 Statutes, ii. 53; Rot. Parl. iii. 247 a. In 1388 the mayor of London was Nicholas Twyford, a goldsmith and supporter of Northampton (Letter Book H, 335).

• Rot. Parl. iii. 281 a; Statutes, ii. 77.

7 Statutes, ii. 83.

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