« PreviousContinue »
The riches, stock, and beauty brave,
One hour hath them suppress'd;
With us for ever rest.
The Lord · Mayor of London and Aldermen, upon the day of his coming into his office, used till of late days, to walk round the grave. stone of this bishop, in remembrance of their former privileges obtained by him. And there was an inscription fastened to a pillar near bis grave, entitled, “ The Recital of a most worthy Prelate's Remembrance," which was erected at the charge of Sir Edward Barkham, Lord Mayor, 1622, which speaks thus to the walkers in St. Paul's.
Walkers, whosoe're you be,
If it prove your chance to see,
Which they the reverend ashes owe,
By which this city hath assum'd
By him, when Conqueror William reign'd.
Call it " The Monument of Gratitude."
King William brought with him from Roan in Normandy, certain Jews, whose posterity inbabiting in London, and several other chief cities; they were accused that they used to steal Christian male child. ren from their neighbours, which they would circumcise, crown with thorns, whip, torture, and crucify, in mockery of our Lord Jesus Christ.
William Rufus his son, appointed a disputation to be held in London, between the Christians and the Jews, but before the day came, the Jews brought the King a present, to the end they might be heard impartially; the King received their gift, encouraging them to quit themselves like men, and swore by St. Luke's face, (his usual oath) Thet if they prevailed in disputation, he would himself turn Jew and be of their religion. A young Jew was at that time converted to the Christian faith, whose father being much troubled at it, he presented the King with threescore marks, intreating him to persuade his son to
return to his Judaism, whereupon the King sent for his son, and commanded him without more ado to return to the religion of his nation. But the young man answered, he wondered His Majesty would use such words, for being a Christian, he should rather persuade him to christianity, with which answer the King was so confounded, that he commanded the young man out of his presence; but his father finding the King could do no good upon his son, required his money again, nay, (saith the King) I have taken pains enough for us, and yet that thou mayest see how kindly I will deal, you shall have one half, and you cannot in confidence deny me the other half, and so dismissed him. And now, as we are treating on the Jews, it may not be amiss to add all at once, what we read concerning them in this city.
In the year 1235, the nineteenth year of Henry III. seven Jews were brought before the King at Westminster, who had stolen a boy, and kept him private from the sight of any, but their own Nation, for a whole year, and had circumcised him, intending also to have crucified him at the solemnity of Easter, as they themselves confessed before the King, upon which they were convicted, and their bodies and goods remained at the King's pleasure. In the thirty-ninth year of this King, November 29, 102 Jews were brought from Lincoln to Westminster, and there accused for crucifying a child of eight years old, named Hugh. These Jews were upon examinarion sent to the Tower of London; the murder being discovered by the diligent search of the mother of the child; upon which eighteen of them were hanged and the other remained long in prison.
In the reign of Henry II. the number of Jews throughout England was very great, yet wheresoever they dwelt, they were commanded not to bury their dead any where but in London, which being many
times inconvenient to bring dead bodies from remote places, the King gave them liberty to bury in the same place where they lived 1189, at the coronation of Richard I. son of Henry II. at Westminster, a great disaster befel the Jews, for King Richard not favoring them as his father had done, had given a strict charge that no Jew should be a spectator of the solemnity, yet several Jews (as though it had been the crowning of King Herod) would needs be pressing in, and the officers appointed refusing they should enter, there arose a quarrel, which proceeded from words to blows, whereby many Jews were hurt, and some slain; and thereupon a report was suddenly spread abroad, that the King had commanded to have all the Jews destroyed; upon which it is incredible what rifling there was in an instant, of the Jews houses, and cutting their throats, and though the King signified by
In the year
public declaration, that he was highly displeased with what was done, yet there was no quieting of the multitude till next day; and many of. the mutineers were afterwards, punished by the law.
In the reign of King John, 1202, great sums of money were exacted and gathered from the Jews, among whom there was one who would not pay the money charged upon him till the King caused one of his great teeth to be pulled out every day for seven days together, upon which he was at last compelled to give the King 10,009. marks of silver, that no more might be pulled out, since he had but one left in his head.
King Henry III. being very profuse, was brought so low for want of money, that he was forced to borrow, nay almost beg it of his subjects; but the Jews who were ever exposed to his will, felt the weight of his necessities, and one Abraham, a Jew, in London, being found a delinquent, was constrained to redeem himself for 700 marks. And Aaron, another Jew, protested, the King since his last being in France, had taken from him at several times, 30,000 marks of silver, besides 200 marks of gold given to the Queen.
At another time this King Henry squeezed a sum out of the Jews, and then let them out to farm to his brother Richard, for a considerable sum, which he payed him, and he was to make what more of them he could; he likewise built a church for converted Jews in London. It happened about this time, that a Jew fell into an house of office, upon Saturday, and would not be taken out on that day because it was the Jews Sabbath ; whereupon the Earl of Gloucester said, he should not then be taken out on the Sunday, because it was the Christian Sabbath, so that when Monday came he was taken out dead.
In the seventh year of Edward I, the Jews at Northampton crucified a Christian boy upon Good-Friday, but did not thoroughly kill him, for which fact many Jews at London, were after Easter drawn at the horse's tail, and hanged. The same year King Edward called in all the old money, and coined new, because it had been much clipped and defaced by the Jews, for which 297 were at one time executed in London. And in the eighteenth year of his reign, all the Jews were banished out of London and England, there being at that time above fifteen thousand in the kingdom, who had all their goods seized and confiscated to the King's use, and only so much money left them as would bear their charges out of the Kingdom. But before this, he ordained that the Jews should wear a mark or cognizance upon their upper garments, whereby to be known, and restrained their excessive taking of usury.
In the year 1656, several proposals were made to Oliver Cromwel by Menasseh Ben Israel, a Jewish merchant, in behalf of the Hebrew nation, for their free admission to trade, and exercise their religion in
MENASSAH BEN ISRAEL. England; and a conference was held about it at several days at Whitehall, by divers members of the council, and certain ministers of the most eminent then in esteem, and many arguments were urged, some for, and others against their admission; but those that were against it, 60 far prevailed, that the proposals took no effect.
And so much concerning the Jews. To return now to the series of the story, King William Rufus was taxed with great prodigality, because when his chamberlain brought him a new pair of hose, he asked what they cost, and was told three shillings; away base fellow, quoth he, are these beseeming a King ? bring me a pair of a mark. His chamberlain went, and bringing him another pair, not so good as the former, and telling him they cost a mark, I marry, (saith the King) these are something like; and was better satisfied with hearing what
they cost, than with seeing what they were worth, and yet this was no disrepute to his wisdom; for to say truth, it is no defect of wisdom in a King, not to know what his cloaths are worth.
And though the Monks that wrote in those times, charge this King with covetousness, yet by the following instance it doth not appear. For when two Monks came to court, and offered large gifts to out-vie each other, in obtaining an abbot's place, lately dead, a third monk, who was very sober and mean in attire, came with them and stood by, whom the King asked, what he would give to be abbot: Nothing (said the Monk) for I entered my profession to be poor, and have hitherto little esteemed the pomp and riches of the world. Then thou art the man (replied the King) and art more worthy to be their abbot for thy poverty, than they for their presents; and conferring the place upon him, checked the others.
But however there arose a great difference between him and Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, because he required the bishop to give him a thousand marks for prefering him to that See, which Anselm refused to give, as judging it no less right to give after the preferment than before; but yet afterward offering five hundred pound, the King refused to accept it, as being worth (he said) five times as much. Whereupon Anselm told him, your Grace may have me, and all that is mine, to serve your turn in a friendly manner; but in the way of servitude and bondage, you shall neither have me nor mine: These words so enraged the King, that they could never after be reconciled. Anselm often threatened to go to Rome; the King told him plainly, he would not thurst him out of the realm, but if he would go without his leave, he would keep him out during his pleasure; and besides he should carry nothing out of the kingdom with him. Yet Anselm ventured it, and the King performed it; for William Walwerst was sent to rifle hím of all he had in his passage to Sea ; neither was he suffered to return as long as the King lived : during all which time the King took the profits of his bishoprick to his own use.
This King enlarged the Tower of London, and compassed it with new walls; he also built the great hall at Westminster, being 270 foot in length, and 74 in breadth ; but thinking it too little, he intended to have built another hall, which should have reached from the Thames to King-strect.
In the fourth year of his reign, on St. Luke's day, so great a tempest of wind happened, that above six hundred houses in London were thrown down therewith, and the roof of St. Mary-le-Bow Church in Cheapside was blown off, which with the beams were carried into the