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Queen and the Ladies of her Court, and the last by the King and certain Lords and Gentlemen. I have not been able to find any warrant showing the expense of these exhibitions *.
On the 11th Jan. 1630-1, we find Sir H. Herbert refusing to license a play by Massinger, the name of which he does not give, because (as he states in his Register) it did contain dangerous matter, as the deposing of Sebastian King of Portugal, by Philip the [2nd], and there being a peace sworn ’twixt the · Kings of England and Spain.' This anecdote serves
the extent to which caution was carried at this date: Sir H. Herbert adds, by way of asserting his right, I had my fee notwithstanding, which belongs to me for reading it over, and ought to be brought always with a book. This was establishing a new claim, as the fee had been heretofore paid for licensing, and not for refusing to license a play.
How popular the performances of the King's servants continued at the Blackfriars theatre in 1631, may be judged from the following petition presented to Laud, Bishop of London, and thus indorsed with
* On the 4th January, 1630-1, a warrant was issued under the Privy Seal for reducing the board wages of the establishment of the Chapel Royal, in order that the whole might be placed upon a more economical footing. By this document (in the Chapter-House Westminster) 101. per ann. were allowed to thirty-three gentlemen of the Chapel, and to the Serjeant of the Vestuary—Two yeomen were allowed 6d. per day, a third yeoman and the groom 4d. per day, and 4d. per day to the twelve children of the chapel. The whole charge for board-wages was calculated at 4431. 8s. 4d. per annum,
his own hand :-5 1631. The Petition of the inha* bitants of the Blackfryars, about remove of the • Players. To the Coun. Table.' It ran in these terms: • To the right Honble and right Reverend father in
God, William Lord Bisp of London, one of his • Mats honble privy Councell. · The humble petition of the Churchwardens and
Constables of Blackfriers, on the behalfe of the
whole Parish. Shewing,
• That by reason of a Playhouse, exceedingly frequented, in the Precinct of the said Blackfriers, the ( inhabitants there suffer many grievances upon
the inconveniences hereunto annexed, and many other.
, May it therefore please your Lordship to take the said grievances into your honble consideration for “ redressing thereof. And for the reviving the order, · which hath beene heretofore made by the Lords of the Councell, and the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen, for the removal of them. And they shall. according to their duties ever pray for your Lordship. • Reasons and Inconveniences induceing the Inha
bitants of Blackfriers London to become humble suitors to your Lordship for removing the Play- house in the said Blackfriers. • 1. The Shopkeepers in divers places suffer much, being hindered by the great recourse to the Playes (especially of Coaches) from selling their commodities,
and having their wares many tymes broken and beaten of their stalles.
62. The recourse of Coaches is many tymes so • great, that the inhabitants cannot in an afternoone ' take in any provision of Beere, Coales, Wood or
Hay, the streetes being knowne to be so exceeding • straite and narrowe.
'3. The passage through Ludgate to the water is many tymes stoppd up, people in their ordinary going much endangered, quarrells, and bloodshed
many tymes occasioned, and many disorderly people • towards night gathered thither, under pretence of attending and waiting for those at the playes.
• 4. Yf there should happen any misfortune of fier, there is not likely any present order could possibly be taken, for the disorder and number of the coaches, since there could be no speedy passage made for quenching the fyer, to the endangering both of the Parish and Cittie.
65. Christenings and Burialls, which usually are in the afternoone, are many tymes disturbed, and persons
endangered in that part, which is the greatest parte • of the Parish.
6. Persons of honour and quality, that dwell in the Parish, are restrained by the number of Coaches from going out, or coming home, in seasonable tyme, to the prejudice of their occasions. And some persons of honour have left, and others have refused houses for this very inconvenience, to the prejudice and loss of the Parish,
6. The Lords of the Councell in former tymes have by order directed, that there shall be but two • Playhouses tollerated, and those without the Cittie,
the one at the Banke-side, the other neere Goulding • Lane (which these Players still have and use all Sum
mer) which the Lords did signifie by their letters to
the Lord Maior ; and in performance thereof the ' Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen did give order • that they should forbeare to play any longer there, which the Players promised to the Lord Chiefe Justice of the Common Pleas (while he was Re- corder of London) to observe, entreating only a little tyme to provide themselves elsewhere,'
This petition was accompanied by several documents of an earlier date, beginning with the construction of the Blackfriars theatre, and coming down to the year 1618, in order to show the steps taken in former times, to abate the nuisance. They have all been noticed in their proper places in the course of these Annals.
From the indorsement of this petition by Laud, we might infer that he had laid it before the Privy Council, but in the registers of that body, which I have carefully examined, I find no trace of any proceedings upon it in 1631. Yet, that something was done might be gathered from the following Privy Seal, in which 1001. is given, in one sum, to the King's players • in regard of their great hinderance;' unless that hinderance' were occasioned by the riotous state of
London in the summer, when a most serious disturbance took place in Fleet-street.
Right trusty and right welbeloved &c. Charles by the grace of God &c. To the Treasurer and Under* treasurer of our Exchequer for the time being greet. ing. Whereas we have given order, that our servant John Heming, and the rest of our Players, shall attend upon us and our dearest Consort the Queene at our next coming to Hampton Court. And forasmuch as we are graciously pleased, in regard of their great • hinderance of late received, whereby they are disabled • to attend this service, to bestow upon them the
somme of one hundred pounds. Wee do hereby will • and command you, out of our treasure remayning in the receipt of our said Exchequer, forthwith to pay or cause to be paid unto the said John Heming, for • himself and the rest of our said servants, the said
somme of one hundred pounds, as of our free guift and • bountie, without any accompt imprest or other charge • to be set upon him or them, or any of them, for the
same or any part thereof. And these &c. Given 6 under our Signet at our Pallace of Westminster, the 6 20 day of September, in the sixt year of our raigne. Ex.
R. KIRKHAM.' In the autumn of 1631, a very singular circumstance occurred, connected with the history of the stage : unless the whole story were a malicious invention by some of the many enemies of John Williams, then Bishop of Lincoln, (who previous to his disgrace