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rowed money for speculating pur- sheriffs and citizens of London cerposes, but secured to themselves tainly not later than 1244. Long more than was their due, by de- before this time, some of the great frauding both the customers and English companies had been formed. the Exchequer.

The guild of weavers was incorIt was doubtless with the view of porated by Henry II. in 1185, and protecting themselves against the most of the others received their impositions of their fellows, as well charters not later than the close of as to maintain their interests in the following century. dealings with foreigners, and to Much more important than any withstand the aggressions of tho of these was the Society of MerCrown, that honest merchants and chants of the Staple, or wholesale tradesmen clubbed together in dealers in the three staple comguilds and societies. The oldest modities of England-wool, woolfels guilds were very old indeed. In or sheepskins, and leather,—to which Anglo-Saxon_times there were at lead, tin, and other articles were least two in Exeter alone, the part afterwards added. The society was ners in which pledged themselves to founded some time before 1313. paya certain sum a year for the main- In that year Edward II. issued a tenance of their associations and for charter to its mayor and council, the assistance of any of their mem- empowering them to choose a city bers who might fall into distress. of Brabant, Flanders, or Artois, to We know not whether these had any- be called the staple, whither all thing to do with commerce, or were wools and leathers exported from simply friendly leagues for mutual England were to be taken for salo help and the encouragement of good to such foreign' dealers as chose to fecling; but Domesday Book records come for them. The idea of estathe existence of a gihalla, or guild- blishing a central market for the hall, at Dover, established for the exchange of commodities had much benefit of merchants, and there were to commend it, and had the Society doubtless many such. The Cinquo of Merchants, wisely constituted, Ports must originally have formed been allowed to retain its power, a like association of towns for the much good might have resulted. protection of each other's interests But the staple was mado a royal at sea, although their incorporation plaything and a means of royal exby royal charter soon altered the tortion, and, therefore, a source of character of the league, and the mischief. In 1326, Antwerp, the need of keeping up a naval force port first chosen, was abandoned, for the service of the Crown sub- and several towns within the kingordinated trade to war. The Hanse dom were made staples instead, tho Towns made a somewhat similar chief being Cardiff, the property of league for foreign trade, and from Hugh Despencer, and therefore a an early date the Hanse merchants most desirable place to be enriched had the special privilege of ware- by the coming together of merchants housing their corn in London, were from all lands. In 1328, soon after allowed to build granaries for the the accession of Edward III., all purpose, (and were governed by an staples were, in a fit of liberality, alderman of their own, presiding at abolished; but in 1332 several new the Steelyard, often called the Guild- ones were appointed. In 1334 all hall of the Teutonic merchants. were abolished again, and in 1341 With them appear to have been the staple was once more established united a society of Cologne mer- on the Continent, Bruges being the chants, who are said to have founded first city selected, to be followed, in the Guildhall proper—a building 1348, the year of its coming into set up some fifty yards further back the hands of the English, by Calais, than the site of the present Guild- when thirty-six London merchants hall — somewhere near the year were sent over to profit by the I 200. They were soon turned out monopoly. In 1353 fourteen Engof it, however, as it had become the lish and Irish towns were made recognized meeting-place of the staples, and in 1363 the staple was restored to Calais. In 1369 several Between the Cinque Ports and YarEnglish towns were again favoured, mouth, ncar enough to feel specially and in 1376 Calais again took their aggrieved, and strong enough to place. The staple fluctuated be- take frequent reprisals, a petty wartween the French town and those in fare was waged through some cenEngland until 1398, when it was turies, and numberless are the Acts fixed at Calais, not to be removed of Parliament and royal mandates till 1538, and then, with modifica- seeking, but seeking in vain, to tions that indicated the dying out of remedy the evil. Then there were the old restrictive institution, it was constant feuds between the mertransferred to Bruges, and forgotten. chants of England and those of

Other restrictions to the full de- other countries, Scotland and Franco velopment of trade sprang from the especially. In 1335—to give one or lawlessness and spite of private in- two out of many instances—a vessel dividuals. In 1294, one Walter of Southampton, stocked with wool Hobbe, a great and greedy mer

and other merchandise, was capchant of Bristol, seized the ship of tured at the mouth of the Thames a merchant from Holland, and de- by a little fleet of Scotch and Nortained its cargo. After much liti- man privateers; and in 1336, Jersey gation, he was forced to restore the and Guernsey were attacked and ship and its goods, and to pay the plundered by several Scotch pirates, heavy sum of sixty-five pounds for who also seized a number of Engthe damage done by him; so that, lish ships lying off the Isle of Wight. in this case, the evil was righted, In 1357, three Scotch galleys did 'it being a thing of great danger immense damage to the shipping of at those times,' says the old chroni- the eastern coast, until they were cler, and such as might occasion seized by the men of Yarmouth. a war, to suffer alien merchants, Moro memorable than all was the particularly those of Holland and strife between John Mercer, a bold Brabant, to depart without having merchant of Perth, and John Philjustice granted to them.'

pot, of London, in 1378. Mercer's But in most cases justice was father had for some time given very far from being done. In 1321, assistance to the French by harasswe find Edward II. complaining of ing the merchant ships of England; the great dissension and discord and in 1377, being driven by foul that existed between the people of weather on to the Yorkshire coast, the Cinque Ports and the men and he was caught and imprisoned in mariners of the western towns of Scarborough Castle. Thereupon Poole, Weymouth, Melcombe, Lyme, the son carried on the strife. ColSouthampton, and other adjacent lecting a little fleet of Scottish, towns, and of the homicide, depre- French, and Spanish ships, he capdation, ship-burning, and many tured several English merchantmen other evil acts resulting therefrom. off Scarborough, slaying their comHe caused to be publicly proclaimed manders, putting their crews in in each of the offending towns that chains, and appropriating or deall such violent acts were done stroying their cargoes. This miswithout his sanction, and against chief must be stopped, and at once, his will; but that mild protest, of thought John Philpot, the Mayor course, had not much effect. The of London, and one of its wealthiest Cinque Ports, encouraged to keep merchants and noblest citizens. up an efficient naval force for the Therefore, at his own cost, ho service of the State, when required, promptly collected a number of used their power at other times in vessels, put in them a thousand oppressing and robbing the more armed men, and sailed for the north. exclusively merchant shipping of Within a few weeks he had re-taken other ports; and these other ports, the captured vessels, had effectually jealous of the special privileges beaten their impudent captors, and, accorded in return for the naval in his turn, had seized fifteen Spanish service, were glad enough to rc- ships, laden with wine, that came taliate to the utmost of their ability. in his way. Returning to London, he was called before the king's foreign attacks, and to strengthen council, and reproved for his ille- a love of liberty and independence gal conduct in taking an armament at home, as well as to enrich it with to sea without first obtaining the wealth and all the fair possessions royal consent!

His answer was that wealth and industry bring to a characteristic. 'I did not expose nation, England could not help myself, my money, and my men to becoming great. John Philpot was the dangers of the sea,' he said, but one out of thousands who dewith cutting irony, to the Earl of serve our veneration alike for the Stafford, loudest in his reproaches, nobility of their own characters,

that I might deprive you and your and for the good work done by colleagues of your knightly fame, them on behalf of their country. or that I might win any for myself; The lives of many can be but but in pity for the misery of the vaguely traced in the dim records people and the country, which, from of history, and are shown to us being a noble realm with dominion only in a few disconnected events. over other nations, has, through But of others we know enough to your supineness, become exposed follow their careers and understand to the ravages of the vilest race; their influence upon both commerand, since you would not lift a cial and political history, and of hand in its defence, I exposed my- these the most noteworthy shall be self and my property for the safety taken as heroes in the following and deliverance of our country.' portions of this series of papers on

With such merchant-patriots as the Merchant Princes of England.' this to defend the realm from

H. R. F. B.

[graphic]

THE ORDEAL FOR WIVES.

A Story of London Life.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE MORALS OF MAYFAIR.'

CHAPTER IV.

I

no

THE FLEMING BLOOD.

the most realistic novel, whoever saw due for introducing a family of decent lay-poverty done at less than persons who could subsist upon less three hundred pounds a year? But, than two hundred pounds a year to as the admission has fallen from the reader's notice.

Miss Joan's own lips, so it shall I have, in my time, read many rest. Yes, I abide by the fact. The stories in which the painful subject Englehearts lived upon the objecof poverty was treated; but have tionable sum already stated, and mostly found its more hideous do- lived upon it, according to the ideas tails recorded in such terms as of simple country folk, like gentry. these:— The pittance of five hun- And they were gentry, both by dred a year, allowed him by his birth and education: the only two uncle, barely sufficed to maintain qualifications that I know of for liim in the common decencies of belonging to that rank. They kept life;'or, The young couple began one servant, raised from the Sunday their happy, but frugal ménage School, who received four pounds upon the interest of the bride's per annum in wages; they dressed, twelve thousand pounds, and poor winter and summer, in much the Algernon's payas a Lieutenant- samo style as they had done when Colonel.' Such curious ideas re- they first came to Countisbury, specting extreme want, do, fifteen years ago; and as there was doubt, arise from the circumstance no human creature to keep up apof authorship itself being such a pearances before, appearances, natulucrative craft: indeed, I remember rally, were never attempted to be in one old, fashionable novel, an kept up. But here the line which authoress remarking that she in- separated the inhabitants of the tended to buy a Cashmere shawl farm at Countisbury from the smallwith the three hundred pounds she genteel of towns faded; or rather, I should get for her next slight should say, came out in broad and magazine story; and what can you pleasant relief upon the Engleexpect but figurative starvation from hearts' side, and in their favour. a lady who realizes a thousand or They knew none of those piteous so per annum, by knocking off self-humiliations—those petty shifts flimsy magazine sketches, and sub- - those torturing fears which are sequently devotes the fruits of her the meat and drink of such men and genius to Cashmere shawls? But I women as try to seem that which think even the wealthiest writers they are not to their fellows. They should recollect, that what seems never tried to invest their quiet death to them, may be life to other house with the grim, galvanic life of men; and, in the face of the very spurious gaiety; they never sought highest authorities, I will main- the acquaintance of persons who did tain that there are persons living, to not seek to know them; they never whom five hundred a year seems a gave a dinner-party! Miss Joan large fortune, four hundred a year a had a kitchen-garden, and made it handsome one, three hundred a year pay: Miss Joan kept poultry, and a delicious competency; and who made them pay, also

on what subsist like gentlemen and gentle superhuman system, she alone women upon less than two hundred. knows. Their house-rent cost them The indelicacy of writing that last about twenty pounds a year; their figure really staggers nie; for, in dress - no, the thought of those

Cashmere shawls, of those lucrative child. On her father's side were fictions, gets the better of me, here. only two – Mrs. Engleheart and I cannot descend to any more of Mrs. Tudor: both elderly, and those fearful details of starvation. widowed sisters of the handsome, I apologize, with humility, for the open-handed (or under-principled) extent into which I have already Garratt Fleming. been betrayed, and pass on.

Some time in the last century Old Mrs. Engleheart was the these two sisters had been notorious sister of Esther Fleming's paternal west-country beauties; and many grandfather, Colonel Garratt Flem- were the stories conserved by old ing. If all the family sayings about Mrs. Tudor of the dead generation this Colonel Fleming were true, his who had sighed and suffered at personal charms, to which a minia- their feet. Mrs. Engleheart, as one ture possessed' by Esther bore whose charms had done least in the ample witness, were more con- world, was more reticent as to their spicuous than his principles; or, at bygone victories; but the few surleast, than his worldly wisdom-but vivors whose memories could stretch the terms are identical.

He cer

back fifty years, averred that, in her tainly contrived to get through a youth, her beauty had not only outvery considerable estate during his shone that of her sister, but also of own lifetime, and, on his death, left every other woman of her time in his son, newly married, and in Bath. However this may have orders, without a shilling. I dare been, she had married for love and say the son troubled himself little without money; choosing a husband, as to whether his poverty had been too, very much of the same stamp brought about through the goodness as her own brother Garratt. Her or badness of the paternal disposi- sister had married not at all from tion; but, though the psycholo- love, but with money; and their gical nicety did not disturb him, lives having flowed on and settled, the poverty itself was more than he like most lives, very much accordcould struggle against. A living of ing to the bias they themselves one hundred and fifty pounds a year, first gave to them, it came to pass a sickly wife, ill-health of one's that, when their nephew, Henry own, and no chance of preferment, Fleming, died, Mrs. Tudor was are not incentives to life for a man living in great comfort, and much rcared in the belief that his path respected in Bath ; Mrs. Engleheart, will be laid among the pleasant in great retirement, and not at all places of the world. Mr. Fleming thought of by anybody in North simply succumbed to them: didn't Devonshire. take the trouble to live,' his cousin It was out of the question that a Joan said of him; and six months Fleming should be brought up by after he had followed his wife to the other charity than that of her own damp churchyard from the damper people. But then, which of her parsonage, was laid to rest there

own people was to be charitable ? himself.

'I would as lief have a monkey in There was just enough, after the my house as a child,' wrote Mrs. sale of his books and furniture, to Tudor to her sister, at the time of pay his debts, and buy his little the bereavement; 'and Bath don't daughter Esther, aged four years, agree with children. a black frock. And then arose Garratt's grandchild must be mainthe question, who was to take care ‘tained by the family, and I'll tell of the child ? Her mother, in you what I'll do. I will give thirty accordance with a peculiarity of pounds a year towards keeping her, nearly all very poor persons, had if you will undertake all the rest. had numerous relatives when she Children do better in the country was engaged to Garratt Fleming's than in towns, and Joan can work reputed heir, but had left no one out some of her educational crotchets belonging to her on her death; or for her little cousin's benefit.' no one who could be found, or no And so it was settled. Esther one who wanted to adopt an orphan Fleming, at the age of four, came to

However,

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