A Modest Enquiry Concerning the Election of the Sheriffs of London. And the Right of Chusing Demonstrated To belong unto, and to have been always adjudged to reside in the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen, and the Common-Hall. London, printed for Henry Mead, 1682. Second edition. STC R17026. M 2365. [ii; 46 pages] Quarto. 19 cm x 14.5 cm. Rebound in modern marbled boards with a maroon goatskin spine. Generally good condition, some slight spotting in the margins.
Anticipating the death of Charles II (1630 – 1685), reign (1660 – 1685), this publication was written during the Exclusion Crisis (1679 – 1681), during which the Duke of York, James, King Charles’s brother and heir presumptive, converted to Roman Catholicism. The fear among Protestants was that when Charles died, James would embroil England in a war allied with France against the Dutch Republic. Printed in this text is “A Bill depending in the House of Lords last Parliament at Westminster, and committed, with several Judges to assist, Judg Jones being one, for an Association to defend the King’s Life, and the Protestant Religion,” pp. 15 – 16. This bill provided that every member of the Association would agree to declare a state of martial law until the cause of Charles’s death was determined. The intent of the Bill of Association was to secure King Charles’s life while he lived and to secure the Protestant religion after his death. Election of the sheriffs of London were of primary importance to the enforcement of the Bill of Association. Citing provisions documented from the time of William I as a legal basis for legislation to preserve security and religious liberty in London, the anonymous author(s) make a compelling case and lay the legal groundwork for the eventual Act of Settlement in 1701.