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with me, by reason I am subject to all companies, and from all places; so that I fear myself and them daily; and, therefore, would have you get me some convenient place out of the town, where I might have a lodging for some short time; for I intend to come off with my children within this fortnight, and then to place them abroad for their learning, and then (if it be thought fit) myself to turn back again. Send this letter to your master; and, if he like of it, you may send a coach for me. If not, I must make the best shift I can here. Your master writ for Anthony Croft to come up, who says he will not move until he knows upon what terms, and under twelve pounds a year he will not serve. Turpin desires you to be well advised in the appraising of the goods; for if you appraise them too low, the after-clap will be worse than the first. Pray continue your care in the business, and I hope God will send a good end unto it; and so I bid you farewell, and remain your friend, ELIZABETH ACLAND.
"Fail not to excuse me to your master for not writing this week. I have so much business lies on my hands, that I know not how to bestow myself."
The letter which follows, written by the same unfortunate lady, is worthy of preservation, not only on account of the personage to whom it is addressed, but as throwing additional light on the circumstances of the case, and affording an explanation of the reason for the employment of an agent, instead of suing out his compositions in person. It is indorsed," My lady's letter to Colonel Cromwell, 2nd August, 1646.”
"SIR, I received such ample testimony of your love when you were pleased to quarter at my house, as that I cannot sufficiently express my thankfulness for the same. My husband (I hear) hath made his composition at Goldsmiths' Hall, which, indeed, is so high, as that he must be forced to sell his land for payment thereof; and yet, nevertheless, I do much fear that when the same shall be reported to the House, his fine may be augmented, in regard he is constant amongst the number of delinquents, and, in some degree, excepted on the propositions: but I hope the articles of Exeter, if observed, will clear him. He is not a little fearful to come within the precincts of London; being engaged for many public debts for the king, (which, if arrested, he must lye for it,) so that he is at present debarred from waiting on you, or any other of his friends. Therefore, Sir, I make bold to present you with this, my request, by my son, that when his business comes to be reported to the House by the committee, you will be pleased well to give your voice on his behalf, which will be a great addition to your former favours to me, and oblige me evermore ready to demonstrate myself your most humble servant,
"Columbjohn, 23rd July, 1646."
The fear of augmentation, expressed in the foregoing
letter, soon became verified; and the following petition, and order made upon it, explain the grounds of surplusage and the nature of the subsequent proceedings.
"The copy of Sir John Acland's Petition to the Committee of Goldsmiths' Hall, March 27, 1647.
"To the right honourable, &c., Sheweth,
"That your petitioner did compound with this committee, according to the articles of Exeter, and his fine by them set at £1727, whereof £863 10s. was paid, and the remainder secured to be paid in November.
"That on 3rd September, 1646, the fine was advanced to a greater sum, which your petitioner has sought to redress, claiming the benefit of the articles by a petition which is in the hands of a member of the House.
"This advance of fine begot his stay of the second payment, with which he humbly acquainted the committee before the day of the second payment, and offered payment if he might enjoy the benefit of the composition and articles.
That, for want of this payment, petitioner's estate is now lately anew sequestered, and upon pretence of his particular, herein presented, was undervalued.
"That, on 3rd September, the surplusage was granted, by order of the House of Commons, to Richard Evans, to recompense his losses and damages he pretended to have received by petitioner.*
"That the said Evans, without ever calling petitioner to it, or any examination by this committee taken, prevailed ou them to have an order from this committee to the commissioners in the county of Devon and city of Exeter, the contents whereof petitioner knows not, nor can obtain a copy.
"That the said Evans thereupon proceeded to make a survey of petitioner's lands, and a certificate from the committee of the county to this committee concerning them, and from the committee of the city, a certificate of goods formerly sold, bonâ fide, by petitioner to one Turpin.
* Among the royalist composition papers, we have "A particular of the goods of Sir John Acland, Bart., which were attached at the suit of Mr. Richard Evans, the 3rd day of May, 1646, by Richard Trigger and William Cholwill, two of the sergeants at mace of the city of Exon." Also, "A perfect inventory of the lands and estates of Mr. John Acland, of Columbjohn, Esq., valued by Capt. Henry Newbery, sequestrator, and John Hawkins, Thomas Osborne (constables,) Edward Eveleigh, and Richard Musgrave, with the true value, that his demesnes and what his yearly rent, what he enjoyed at the time of his composition, were valued at per annum, before the troubles, 25th September, 1646." These are curious documents; but we cannot afford space for their transcription.
"That this committee hereupon authorised the committee of the county and city to deliver to Evans the surplus certified, and to be aiding and assisting to him therein. And all this, although directed by the House of Commons, the informations should be examined, yet was not your petitioner, nor any for him, called hereunto, either here or in the county; but is, by the said Evans, rifled in his whole estate, and his goods, compounded for, violently taken away; whereby his second payment hath been disabled, petitioner ever since lying under (as he doth at this present) a sharp sickness.
"The premises considered, petitioner humbly tenders his second payment, and thereupon prayeth the sequestration newly laid on may be suspended, as formerly it was by this committee. That Evans's informations, directed to be examined by the House of Commons, may so be with indifferency, and petitioner thereunto called, and not concluded by Evans's certificate, penned ex parte, only, and your petitioner's estate and family thereby ruined.
"And your petitioner, &c."
"Order for Review, &c.
"Goldsmiths' Hall. By the committee, 2nd May, 1647.
"Upon the petition of John Acland of (&c.) Esq., that further consideration may be had of the certificate of surplusage of his estate, omitted in the particular delivered in by him to the committee, which was granted, by order of the House of Commons, to Mr. Evans, of Exeter, it was ordered, that the business be referred to your care; and you are hereby authorised and required to call both parties before you, and to hear what can be said and objected on either side; and, upon due examination and full satisfaction given you in that business, that you make a speedy return thereof to the committee. And for your more certain proceedings therein, we have sent you copies of the particulars returned hither, of which Mr. Acland is to have copies, if he desire it: and in the interim, that all deeds, writings, and evidences, belonging to the said Mr. Acland or his estate, remaining in your custody, or under your power, may be preserved from defacing and prejudice, and kept in safety until he be enabled, by order from this committee, to recover them."
("To the Committee and Sequestrators for the City of Exeter.")
"At the Standing Committee of Devon, 15th June, 1647.
"It is ordered (&c.) that the several agents for sequestration. who have sequestered the estate of John Acland, of Columbjohn, Esq., mentioned in his particular, and compounded for at Goldsmiths' Hall, shall pay unto Mrs. Elizabeth Acland, his wife, the fifth part of all the clear yearly value they shall receive out of the said estate, for the maintainance of her and her children, until further order." (Signed, &c.)
The following are papers without date or signature, but
VOL. XII. PART 1.
tending to afford still further explanation of the circumstances already referred to. We conceive, that their historical importance ought, by no means, to be estimated according to the subject to which they immediately relate. Mutatis mutandis, they will apply to the situation of half the property in the kingdom, exposed to the insolence and rapacity of the sequestrators, for whose acts it can hardly be said, however, that the government itself was fairly answerable.
1st. That Sir John Acland was in Exeter at the time of the surrender thereof to Sir Thomas Fairfax, and had the benefit of the articles.
"2nd. That, by the articles, he was not to be molested or troubled for four months, and had liberty thereby to dispose of his goods, which accordingly he did, to Mr. Henry Turpin, for £500.
"3rd.—That about the 30th of May, 1646, the serjeant of Exeter, with eight or ten musqueteers, came to the house of the said Sir John Acland, and attached his goods, as they said, for £100, at the suit of Mr. Evans, the said Evans standing at the street door in the mean time.
"4th. The said Evans afterwards demands £200 more upon the said goods.
5th.-In January following, the serjeant delivered up the keys of the goods into the court, (the said Evans undertaking to save him harmless,) which the said Evans took into his custody, and shortly after broke open the outer door of the house, where his goods were, and accordingly possessed himself of said goods,
term, afterwards, the said Sir John Acland put bail to his action to answer the case.
"Whether Sir John, being a freeman of the town, could have his goods attached without notice?"
The next paper is without date or signature.
"(Qu.) That the Lady Acland's jointure was settled on her since these troublesome times, and since Sir John, her husband, was declared a delinquent.
Resp. That Sir J. A. was not able to settle a jointure on his wife until after the death of his mother, the Lady Vincent, in whom the sole power of the whole estate remained during her life, and she would, by no means, condescend to the levying of a fine to settle a jointure.
"2nd Query.-That Sir John Acland settled a very large jointure on his wife, &c., the more in regard he was there upon composition at Goldsmiths' Hall, merely to defraud upon the state.
Resp. 1.-That Sir J. hath settled no more on his lady in jointure than was first agreed on by Sir Francis Vincent, her ladyship's father, upon her intermarriage with Sir John.
"2.-That he compounded, at two years' value, for all the demesnes and estates mentioned in her jointure.
"3.Sir John was willing to grant the larger jointure, in regard he left many young children, which will be a burthen to her. "That Sir John Acland hath levied a fine in confirmation of the
"If it be urged by Evans, or Mr. Rowe in his behalf, that my Lady Acland hath broken open the chapel door, and taken out some goods there,
Resp. When she came to Killerton, (her own house,) and wanting all necessaries of bedding, stools, &c. for the present to supply her want, she, having a great family both of children and servants, because they should not lie out of doors, upon straw, did, before sufficient witnesses, cause the door to be opened, and took out thence some small implements, which she is ready to answer. And this she did by reason of her then great necessity, and no committee then sitting to appeal for an order."
From these printed papers somewhat more may be inferred, than from the petition and order of the committee above cited, as to the grounds of the threatened surcharge; but we are not furnished with sufficient documents from which to infer either the validity or the futility of the excuses. The two following entries in the books of the committee prove, however, that they were taken into consideration and ultimately accepted; and with them we shall close the series of our documentary evidence.
"7th April, 1648.-According to order of this honourable house, of 28th March, 1648, whereby it was referred to examine the business touching Sir John Acland, (a delinquent,) and to state the whole matter of fact concerning him in relation to the articles of Exeter, we have accordingly examined the same, and do find, that the said Sir John Acland, being in arms against the parliament, was in Exeter at the surrender, (as by certificate from Sir Thomas Fairfax, &c.); that he petitioned this committee to be admitted to compound on the 30th of April, 1646, (which was within the time limited by the said articles,) and did proceed to his composition accordingly; but in respect that the said Sir John Acland was, by name, excepted in the propositions sent to Uxbridge, to compound at one-third of his estate, this committee thought fit, upon their report to the House, to present his fine both ways, viz. at £1727, according to the articles, (being two years' value,) and at £4318, as at a third (according to the propositions). That the said Sir John Acland did pay into the treasury of this committee a moiety of the lesser fine, and gave security to pay such further sum as both Houses should order. That upon the report of the said fines to the House, the higher fine was voted to stand; and that, in default of payment of the remainder, according to his security, this committee did proceed to revoke their former order for suspension of the sequestration, and to sequester him anew until he should satisfy the same according to the vote of both Houses.