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bly have been lost by the failure of the Securities on which they were lent,—and it is also alleged, that, during the period of the Civil wars, The Company were under the necessity of advancing to the existing Government large Loans and Contributions, which must have taken from them all that remained, at that period, of those or any other pecuniary gifts for Charitable purposes. *1.
The distress of The Company, occasioned by the loss of these Contributions, may be collected from the following curious extracts from their Minutes,
In 1640, being called upon by precept from The Lord Mayor to advance 14001., as their proportion of 200,0001., agreed to be lent by the City to King CHARLES the First, then at York, it is stated, that “The Company were then indebted in great sums for which they paid interest, and that by reason of their being overcharged with the proportion of Corn, lately voted by the city, they were unable to perform it.” The money, however, was raised: The Company borrowing 9001. upon their bond, for that purpose :
In 1642, they were ordered to raise 28001., as their proportion of 100,0001. lent by the City to the Parlia
21 Rep. x. p. 243.
ment, upon the public faith, for the relief of Ireland, and compelled to borrow it at 8 per cent :
In 1643, being charged with 121. 10s. weekly for the Parliament's army, "They find it a great charge, too weighty for them to bear, in regard of the large sums they were already deeply engaged for,"—and were obliged to sell their Plate, (which produced 3031. 178.8d.) to enable them to pay those charges :
Again, in 1643, being called upon by the Mayor's precept for 14001., as their share of 50,000L, for the defence of London against the King's army, they were compelled to borrow it at 8 per cent, engaging for it's re-payment in preference to other debts :
In 1645, being pressed to pay taxes for Sir THOMAS Fairfax's army, to the Collectors for Ireland and for Fortifications, some Members of The Court were desired, “ To request the Commissioners to lessen the taxes, and to represent to them how unable The Company were to bear such great taxes, in regard of their large proportion of monies issued out already, and having no interest paid, without which they were unable to maintain their pious and charitable uses”:
In 1648, The Court “ taking into consideration the deep consumption of The Company in regard of the several great sums of money taken up at interest and theretofore paid and lent to Parliament, which not being repaid had so weakened and impoverished them, that unless some care was speedily taken for repayment of the same, or part thereof, The Company in a very short time would be in a sad condition, and be unable
to pay the charities and pious deeds that their predecessors and ancestors had entrusted them with,-The Court therefore appointed a Committee to take an account of the sums disbursed for the use of Parliament, and directed them to find out some expedient whereby they might be reimbursed and enabled to pay their debts and engagements, so burdensome unto them, and for the prevention of the payment of interest, which in time would be destructive to The Company":
In 1649, The Court" considering the many debts taken up at interest upon The Company's Seal for the use of The Parliament, the very interest whereof would amount yearly to so large a sum, that if continued, in a very short time would eat out and impoverish The Company so, that very suddenly, if not previously prevented, they would be forced to forbear payment of those pious and charitable gifts which their forefathers (in their flourishing times) had entrusted The Company with to pay and perform, which The Court was too sensible of, -and, therefore, for some small prevention thereof, and the better to supply their wants, they ordered 26 persons to be called upon the Livery, -and for the enlargement of their means towards the subsistence of The Company, they forbear their Quarterly dinners, but determine that the Master and Wardens shall pay their usual allowance towards the same” :
The sums so advanced to Government by The Company, are stated in 1654 at between five and six thousand Pounds, exclusive of interest, --no part of which, either principal or interest, appears to have been repaid, except the small sum of 2001. 13s. 4d. the produce by sale of land in Ireland, which had been given as a compensation for 2801.
In addition to these Losses, The Company from the years 1660 to 1666, were obliged to raise about 20001., as their proportion of a sum presented by the City to King CHARLES the Second, upon his Restoration,-of the expense of his Coronation, of his Entertainment by the City of London, and of building a Ship of war, called “ The London,"— and the great Plague and Fire of London happening at this time, added still more to The Company's distress.
In an Inquisition which was taken under a Commission of Charitable uses in 1690 it is stated, that the Bailiffs and Citizens of Lichfield had then in their hands 1001. which had been placed there by The Committee “in the late intestine wars,” for the benefit of the poor of that City,—
*2 Appendix to the first Report, p. 183.
and from an early period there are in The Corporation accounts, entries of annual payments of 51. under the title of “ Ruins of the Minster Bread,” which is considered as the interest of this money.
Mr. Harwood in his History of Lichfield, p. 375, informs us, that “ out of the materials of the Cathedral Church of Lichfield, 1001. were allotted to the City, the interest of which was to be paid by The Corporation to the Overseers of the three Parishes, 51.” It is, therefore, evident that this money was produced by the sale of materials arising from the dilapidation of the Cathedral, during the Civil wars in the unhappy reign of CHARLES the First.23
In the destructive Fire of London, a room at the West end of the Church of St. Martin's in the Vintry, which had been built by Mr. Platt for the purpose School, was burnt with the Church, and has never been rebuilt.24
Rep. VII. p. 413. . Rep. I. p. 169.