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The Corporation of London, Its Rights and Privileges   By:

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The Corporation of London: its rights and privileges.

by William Ferneley Allen,

sheriff of London and Middlesex, and alderman of the ward of Cheap.


Some apology is necessary on the part of one whose acquaintance with civic affairs is of such recent date, for presuming to stand forth as the champion of the fights and privileges of the City of London. No man of common spirit, however, could tamely submit to the insulting charges and coarse insinuations with which the Corporation has long been assailed by malevolent or ignorant individuals. That the civic system is free from spot or blemish, no one in his senses would pretend to assert. But it may honestly and truly be asserted that the Court of Aldermen have both the power and the inclination to amend whatever is defective, and to introduce whatever reforms are desirable, without the irritating and officious interference of the imperial legislature. The system may not be perfect, for it is of human origin; but its administrators are men of upright character, practically conversant with the requirements of trade, and animated by am earnest desire to promote the interests of their fellow citizens. Why, then, are they not intrusted with the honourable task of gradually improving the machinery of the civic government, and of completing the good work they have long since spontaneously inaugurated? It might, perhaps, have been better had this pamphlet never taken form and substance. A feeble advocate endangers, and oftentimes loses, the best possible cause; but still, out of the fulness of the heart the mouth will speak, and pour forth sentiments and feelings that no longer brook control. This, at least, is the only excuse that can be offered for troubling the public with the opinions of a comparative novice.

7, LEADENHALL STREET, July 26th, 1858.



London under the Romans Gilds Burghs Charter of William the Conqueror Reflections Subsequent Charters City divided into Wards Civic Hospitality The Quo Warranto Case Restoration of the Charter



The Municipal Constitution The Lord Mayor The Aldermen The Court of Common Council The Citizens The Livery Companies The Sheriffs

The Law Courts Public Charities Conservancy of the Thames The Metage Dues



The Commission of Inquiry The New Wards Aldermen and Common Councilmen City Expenditure City Receipts Removal of Restrictions




London under the Romans Gilds Burghs Charter of William the Conqueror Reflections Subsequent Charters City divided into Wards Civic Hospitality The Quo Warranto Case Restoration of the Charter.

The first historical notice of the City of London occurs in that portion of the Annals of Tacitus which treats of the insurrection of Boadicea. At that time it was a place much frequented by merchants, attracted partly by the natural advantages of the site, and partly by the vicinity of the Roman camp at Islington. It is stated that 70,000 persons, of both sexes and of all ages, were massacred by that fierce heroine in London and at St. Albans; but it must not be supposed that the ordinary population of those two towns could have formed so large an aggregate. It is far more probable that numbers of old men, women, and children flocked thither from the neighbourhood, in the hope of escaping from the violence and rapine of the patriot army. Their expectations, however, were disappointed, as the Roman general deemed it more prudent to evacuate an untenable post, than to risk the dominion of the entire island on the event of a battle fought under adverse circumstances. At the same time the slaughter of the inhabitants justifies the inference that they were foreigners rather than natives, some being traders from Gaul, but the majority either Roman colonists or the followers and hangers on of the stationary camp... Continue reading book >>

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