STAC 5/E4/13 - B Dr - 25 Eliz - London - Roger Edmondes v Edward Herdson. see STAC Edmonds
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Queens most excellent Majesty
In most humble and lamentable wise showeth and complaineth unto your most excellent Majesty your poor subject Roger Edmondes That whereas your said subject about the last of January 1575 and in the sixteenth year of your majesty’s reign bound himself apprentice to one Edward Herdeson citizen and merchant of London for the term of eight years and according to the custom of the said City, and by the oath of the said Herdeson he ought to have enrolled your said subject within one year next following the date of the indentures of your highness said subjects apprenticehood which hitherto the said Herdeson neither regarding his said oath nor the laudable custom of the said City of London hath done and yet notwithstanding your said subject did dwell and to continue with the said Edward Herdeson and hath justly and truly served him the space of six years or thereabouts of his said to term,
At which time the said Edward Herdeson giving over his trade of merchandise by reason that his stock was then almost consumed through his excessive use of dicing and other gaming, meaning by sinister and ungodly practices to enrich himself again, With the goods and spoil of your said subject as hath evidently appeared in that he declared unto your said subject that for as much as he the said Herdeson would give over his said trade and dealing in merchandise he would as well for the former faithful service before time done unto him the said Herdeson by your said subject, as for further special friendship and preferment which the said Herdeson then by great protestations seemed to pretend towards your said subject, did not only release to your said subject the residue of the years of his apprenticehood then to come, but also persuaded your said subject to occupy and deal in trade of merchandise and for himself, and for his greater credit therein to use the name of the said Herdeson, alleging that is your said subject did not so do (the same being known to the Chamberlain of the City of London) he should not only lose his freedom of the same City. But also he the said Herdeson might be detected of perjury for that it was contrary to be the oath of a freeman, Wherefore that said Herdeson faithfully promised your said subject that in using his name he would aid and assist him in all his dealing and other affairs to the most benefit commodity and profit of your said subject by all the means he could, And also the said Herdeson under pretence to colour his evil and naughty meaning and the more to encourage your said subject in traffique and to drive all suspicion from him, did become bound onto your said subject in an obligation of 500 marks that your said subject should peaceably and quietly traffique for himself during the residue of years of his apprenticehood to come without let or hindrance of the said Herdeson or any by his means or procurement as by the said the bond at large appeareth And also to the intent that your said subject should repose the greater trust in him, he the said Herdeson promised to lend to your said subject £200 for five years and thereupon delivered unto your said subject a bill of debt of one Thomas Croftes Whereby the said Thomas Crofte was indebted unto the said Herdeson in the sum of £184 10s Whereof at and before the delivery of the said bill unto your said subject, the said Herdeson had received £84 10s the residue of the bill being £200 unpaid. The which £200 the said Herdeson willed your said subject to receive and employee to the use of him your said subject for the space of the said five years, And for the repayment thereof at the end of the said five years to the said Edward Herdeson, he the said Herdeson did not only take of your said subject one obligation of £200 but did also cause and procure your said subject to enter the sum £200 into a book of private accompts and reckonings kept between the said Herdeson and your said subject, as so much ready money received of the said Thomas Crofte by your said subject which your said subject did so that he standeth charged to the said Herdeson in four hundreth and fifty pounds only for the said Crofte’s bill, and the better to accomplish and perform his subtle and pretended devise and practice and to the intent to persuade your said subject that he meant true and faithful friendship unto him, he said Edward Herdeson willed your said subject to remain in his dwelling house within the said City of London during the residue of his said years and there promised to give to your said subject meat drink and lodging during the said time appointing to your said subject a chamber warehouse and compting house with certain keys unto them as well for his free liberties to have egress and regress in to out and from the said dwelling house and the said chamber warehouse and compting house and other rooms, Wherein your said subject had disposed and placed his commodities and merchandises and bills of debt and bills of exchange books of accompt and the said bill of £200 of Thomas Croftes before mentioned and the sad obligation of 500 marks with other things to the value of one thousand marks and more.
So it is if it may please your highness that the said Herdeson in June 1581 or thereabouts being then indebted unto your said subject by the said book of the private accompts in £155 18s 8d, under the said Edward Herdeson’s own hand supposing that your say that subject at that time by reason of his traffique by the licence aforesaid had great dealings and gotten into his hands great store of money and goods and specialties of his own and of other men’s, the said Herdeson not able any longer to conceal his devise and practice being indebted to divers persons, and having much money to pay which the said Herdeson had taken up by exchange, and at interest, did in most shameful wicked and cruel manner contrary to his promise all law equity and good conscience, and against your highness peace beat and thrust out your poor subject out of his house and presently in the night time and in the absence of your said subject he the said Herdeson secretly and privily alone entered into the chamber and compting house of your said subject and there caused a smith which he had provided and sent for to that purpose to break open some of the chests of your said subject persuading the smith that he the said Herdeson had lost the key, and then presently sent the Smith in the night away without knowledge or sight of any bonds bills or any thing else being in the chest which the said smith break open and there took away contrary to your highness laws and all conscience to the utter destruction and confusion of your forever as well the said obligation of 500 marks and wherein the said Herdeson standeth bound to your said subject for his security and safe trading, as also the book of accompts wherein the said Herdeson is indebted to your highness said subject in £155 18s 8d as by Herdeson his own hand writing in the books of accompts may appear, as also the said the bill of Thomas Croftes of £200 which your subject standeth bound and charged by his bond in £250 and by his receipt in the book of accompts in £200 and never received as yet any penny thereof And also standeth in danger to be defrauded of £155 18s 8d which the said Herdeson oweth to your subject by the book of accompts under his own hand writing, for most part of which sum your said subject is indebted to divers And also one bill Thomas Spertes of £129 2s 6d which your said subject made in the said Edward Herdeson’s name through the persuasions aforesaid because the Company of the Merchant Adventurers nor the Chamberlain of London should know that your subject was at liberty and had license to deal for himself contrary to the said Herdson’s oath, and custom of the City of London And also hath taken away 32 pieces of fine linen cloth called Holland cloth to the value of £200 for the which your said subject standeth charged in Antwarpe in Flanders by his letters and bills in £200 and more and also he hath taken away one bill of Anthony Turnour of £20 and one bill of accompts and reckonings between the said Anthony Turnour and your subject of £35 due to your subject by the said Anthony Turnour, and also one bond of Thomas and Owen Morrys of £12 for the payment of six pounds and also one lease of Owen Morrys of a house situate and being without Algate made over to one Allexander Harvey for your subject’s use, And also three pieces of Levant Taffaties to the value of £12 and better And also six pieces of Venise gold and silver to the value of 18s or thereabouts, and also in ready money and gold £50 or thereabouts and also twelve gold rings and certain apparel whereof some part was pawned to your said subject, to the value of £25 or thereabouts with diverse other things specialties unknown to your said subject to the utter undoing and spoil of your said subject for ever and divers others of his creditors for that besides the taking away of the premises your said subject is indebted to other men in great sums of money and hath not wherewith to content them whereby he is enforced to his great charge to travel and go from place to place to absent himself from his said creditors
And to make further and more ample declaration of his evil and wicked meaning May it please your highness to understand that the said Herdeson immediately after that he had by his devised purpose aforesaid gotten all that ever your subject had into his hands, determined a voyage to Rome (being an unlikely man to travel) and sold his goods to be paid at his return only of purpose to alter the property of the same his goods fearing lest your said subject should make any recovery against him for the same his wicked and evil dealing, And yet not so contented devised an other most subtle practice against your said subject which was, when that he had so gotten into his hands the foresaid books of accompt wherein the said Herdeson is indebted to your said subject in £155 18s 8d and kept them in his hands almost two months from the knowledge and sight of any man and by all likelihood having altered the reckonings therein consisting of ciphers and figures willed your said subject to come home to his house and there caused him to number the leaves of the said book which before was unfollied and in the payments of the said book which your said subject did then number certain leaves unknown to your said subject were torn out, And also he the said Herdson perceiving that your said subject went about to reform these injuries and wrongs done unto your said subject by the said Herdson he the said Herdson sought by all means that he could by an other device to force and drive your said subject fly and absent himself out of the City entered great actions against your said subject in the Counters of the City of London, one action of one thousand marks and one action of accompt of £2,000 and was after nonsuited in the same actions to your subjects great charge.
In tender consideration whereof and for as much as the certainty of the said goods specialties and other things aforesaid of your said subjects and other his creditors so unjustly taken away in the night, by the said Herdson in so sinister and private manner your said subject cannot so justly prove as the course of the Common Laws requireth and that the fact so outrageously committed by the said Herdson in a common wealth governed by so gracious a princess and [ . . . . ] godly laws is so heinous and tendeth to the perilous example of the others if it should not being reformed. That it would please your highness of your accustomed goodness and [ . . . . ] the said Herdson by your majesty’s writ of Subpoena and upon examination of the said unjust unconscionable and injurious dealing to take such order therein as to your highness shall seem good And your said subject shall [ . . . . ] to his bounden duty shall daily pray for your majesty’s most royal estate and happy governance long to continue.
The Demurrer of Edward Herdson defendant to the Bill of Complaint of Roger Edmondes complainant
The said defendant by protestation not confessing any of the material contents of the said slanderous Bill to be true and yet if the same were true then the same Bill (as this defendant thinketh) for divers manifest causes and imperfections therein appearing is altogether insufficient containing no good matter to put the said defendant to answer as well for the matters apparent in the said Bill as otherwise, and namely for that it appeareth by the plaintiff's own showing, for the substance of the said Bill is and containeth two principal matters, The one that the plaintiff was and is apprentice to the defendant in the City of London and not enrolled within the time limited by the orders of the said City of London by the defendant, and the said complainant licensed by the defendant to occupy and trade in merchandise for himself during his apprenticeship contrary to the ordinances and customs of the said City, and contrary to the oath of the defendant there, he being a free man of the same City, And the other that the defendant have taken away from the plaintiff diverse bands, specialities, books of accompt, leases, goods and chattels, Wherein for the first matter, for that it is evident that the plaintiff is an apprentice to the said defendant the misdemeanour or neglecting the enrolment of the said plaintiff’s indenture of apprenticeship by the said defendant within the time limited by the order of the said City of London and the defendant’s license given to the plaintiff to occupy and traffic merchandise before his apprenticeship expired, is and always hath been by the laws ordinances and customs of the said City there used to be determined and punished according to the laws, customs and use of the said City of London and not else where, as this defendant thinketh he being a free man of the said City as aforesaid And for the second cause, for as much as the taking away of the same goods and other things mentioned in the said Bill and therein supposed to be the proper goods of the complainant is but a trespass (if the same were true) as indeed the same is not and no misdemeanour examinable in this Court, as this defendant taketh it, by any law statute or use of this Court, for which goods and other things so taken away the defendant may and ought most properly to have his remedy at the Common Law, or otherwise in your highness court of Chancery as the case standeth For which causes and for that it appeareth by the Record of the Queen’s Bench ready to be showed to this honourable Court, that the plaintiff before this time for all the said goods, chattels, bands leases, books of accounts (except the band of the said Thomas Crofte) whereof the said complainant (if his surmise be true) (as indeed it is not) ought to seek relief in the said Court of Chancery as his case requireth the plaintiff before this time have commenced two several actions for the same in your highness Bench, the one of them for part of the said goods being tried by nisi prius, against the plaintiff, and the other for the residue of the said goods is at issue wherein the plaintiff may proceed at his pleasure. The defendant therefore demurreth in law most humbly praying the opinion of this honourable Court if he the said defendant shall be compelled any further to answer to the said inufficient Bill of Complaint and prayeth to be dismissed from the same with his reasonable costs and charges wrongfully sustained in this behalf.