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How the Kings Majestic sent for the Clothiers, and of the sundry Favours which he did them.
KING Henry providing for his Voyage into France, against King Lewis and Robert Duke of Normandie his owne Brother, committed the Government of the Realme in his Absence, to the Bishop of Salisbury, a Man of great Wisedome and Learning, whom the King esteemed highly, and afterward he thought good to send for the chiefe Clothiers of England, who according to the Kings Appointment came to the Court, and having License to come before his Majestie, he spake to this effect.
The Strength of a King is the Love and Friendship of his People, and he governs over his Realme most surely, that ruleth Justice with Mercy: for he ought to feare many, whom many doe feare: therefore the Governours of the Commonwealth ought to observe two speciall Precepts: the One is, that they do so maintaine the Profit of the
Commons, Commons, that whatsoever in their Calling they doe, they referre it thereunto: the other that they be always as well carefull over the whole Commonwealth, as over any Part thereof; lest, while they uphold the one, the other be brought to utter Decay.
And foreasmuch as I doe understand, and have partly seene, that you the Clothiers of England are no small Benefit to the Wealth-publike, I thought it good to know from your owne Mouthes, if there be any Thing not yet granted that may benefit you, or any other Thing to be removed that doth hurt you.
The great Desire I have to maintaine you in your Trades, hath moved me hereunto. Therefore boldly say what you would have in the one Thing or the other, & I will grant it you.
With that, they all fell downe upon their Knees, and desired God to save his Majestie, and withall, requested three Dayes Respit to put in their Answere: which was granted. And thereupon they departed.
When the Clothiers had well considered of these Matters, at length they thought meete to request of his Majestie for their first Benefit, that all the Cloth-Measures thorow the Land might be of
one one Length, whereas to their great Disadvantage v before, every good Towne had a severall Measure, the Difficulty thereof was such, that they could not keepe them in Memory, nor know how to keepe their Reckonings. The second Thing whereof they found themselves grieved, was this, that the People would not take crackt Money, though it were s/ never so good Silver; whereupon it came to passe, that the Clothiers and divers Others, receiving great Summes of Money, doe take among it much crackt Money, it Served them to no Use, because it would not goe current, but lay .upon their Hands without Profit or Benefit, whereof they prayed Reformation. The Third was a Griefe, whereof Hodgekins of Halifax complained, and that was, That whereas the Towne of Halifax lived altogether upon Cloathing, and by the Reason of false Borderers, and other evill-minded Persons, they were oft robbed, and had their Clothes carried out of their Fields, where they were drying: That it would please his Majestie to graunt the Towne this Privilege, That whatsoever he was that was taken steal- • ing their Cloth, might presently without any further Tryall be hanged up. When the Day of their Appearance approached, the Clothiers came before the King, and delivered up their Petition in Writing,