Edward Johnson's Complaint

PRO REQ 2/388/28/1

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Humbly Complayning sheweth vnto yo{u}r most Excelle[[nt]] Ma{ies}tie yo{u}r highnes faythful & obedient Subiect Edward Iohnson of the p{ar}ishe of St Ethelborough w{i}thin the warde of Bishopsgate London Ioyner That whereas yo{u}r said Subiect being a handicraft[[sm]]an and exercising the trade of a Ioyner (about the yeere of o{u}r Lord God one thowsand fiue hundred eightie eight) was requested by the right honorable Edward late Earle of Oxford deceased that all other affaires sett apart yo{u}r sayd Subiect shuld worke for him the said Earle of Oxford at his howse at Plaistow in the County of Essex in seueral kind{es} of worke as to saw for and to wainscott diuers places & roomes in the said howse & to doe such other worke as did belong vnto his trade bargaining & agreeing w{i}th yo{u}r sayd Subiect that what worke soeuer he yo{u}r said Subiect or any of his servant{es} should doe for him the sayd Earle of Oxford he would see that yo{u}r sayd Subiect should not only be duly & truly payd their wages for the worke they should soe doe being sixteene pence a day [[for himself]] & as much for euery one of his servant{es} w{hi}ch did worke for him the sayd Earle of Oxford but would further recompence him yo{u}r sayd Subiect for his Care diligence & paines wherevpon [[the]] said Earle of Oxford appointed out yo{u}r sayd Subiect such worke as he & his servant{es} should doe According to w{hi}ch agreem{en}t & bargaine yo{u}r sayd Subiect and his servant{es} did worke for him the said Earle of Oxford in his life tyme many yeeres togither vpon such worke as were [sic] appointed vnto them as in sawing wainscott{es} into leaues and in sawing wainscott{es} for Crest{es} & making dores of wainscott wainscotting of other places & [[.....]]thes about Playstou howse and in much other such kind of worke And yo{u}r sayd Subiect after that he & his men had wroght there for the said Earle a long tyme then he yo{u}r say[[d Subiec]]t repaired to the said Earle of Oxford and requested his Lo{rdshi}pp that in regard he and his men had wrought there soe long a tyme and their wages grown to a good some of money, t[[hat his Lo{rdshi}p]]p would be pleased to take order for the paym{en}t of such su{m}me and su{m}mes of money as were & should by his bills appeere to be due vnto them, wherevpon his Lo{rdshi}pp gaue y[[our said]] Subiect this answere tha[[t he should]] make his bills vpp & sett downe the p{ar}tiulers how much he was indebted vnto him & he would satisfie & paye vnto him all such money as was due wherevpo[[n yo{u}r s]]ayd Subiect caused the seu{er}all somes (amounting to forty pound{es} in money & eighteene pound[[s in]] goode{s}) w{hi}ch his Lo{rdshi}pp p{ro}mised to satisfie) and w{hi}ch was sett downe in bills w{hi}ch were p{ar}ticularly due vnto him yo{u}r sayd Subiect for and in respect of his sayd worke and deliuered the same to th[[e sa]]id Earle of Oxford, and therevpon his Lo{rdshi}pp tould yo{u}r sayd Subiect he should haue his money w{i}thin a short tyme after and did often acknowledge the same to bee due vnto yo{u}r sayd Subiect and spake to and intreated the Lady of Oxford his then wife & now widdow to satisfie the same wherevpon yo{u}r sayd Subiect received some [[p{ar}te]] thereof at seu{er}all tymes amounting to the so{m}me of three pound{es} or thereabout{es} & the residue w{hi}ch was behind & vnpayd yo{u}r sayd Subiect expected to haue receiued not long after, but what w{i}th the delay of the Earle of Oxford himself, his said Lady, & w{i}th the delay of his officers yo{u}r sayd Subiect was from tyme to tyme putt of from the receipt of such money as was due vnto him by meanes of w{hi}ch delayes, yo{u}r sayd Subiect being w{i}thout his money and being indebted in diuers places for himself & for his men, was arrested three or fower seu{er}all tymes and was enforced to take vp money at interest & to lay most p{ar}te of his good{es} to pawne (to his great losse and hinderance) to pay those debt{es} w{hi}ch he was arrested for, w{hi}ch money yo{u}r sayd Subiect should haue receiued of the sayd Earle of Oxford to haue satisfied vnto those whom he was indebted. But nowe so it is may it please yo{u}r most Excellent Ma{ies}tie that the sayd Earle of Oxford is dead intestate & all his good{es} & Chattells whatsoeuer are Come to the Lady Elizabeth his late wife who hath and enioyeth the same neuer taking any L{ett}res of Administrac{i}on thereof but Converting & altering the same to her owne vse so as if L{ett}res of Administrac{i}on should be procured to yo{u}r sayd Subiect yet is the estate in such manner disposed by the sayd Lad[[y of]] Oxford as yo{u}r sayd Subiect Cannot by any meanes of law recouer his sayd rightfull & due dett. And whereas yo{u}r sayd Subiect since the death of the sayd Earle of Oxford hath demaunded the sayd money of her the sayd Lady Elizabeth Countesse of Oxford, and whereas shee hath from tyme to tyme delayed yo{u}r sayd Subiect & of late (as yo{u}r sayd Subiect thinketh) not out of a dishonorable disposition but by vntrue informac{i}on and p{er}swasion of some vnconscionable p{er}sons sayth that shee doth beleeue the said money was all payd in the life tyme of the sayd Earle of Oxford her husband, whereas there was but a smale p{ar}te as aforesayd payd in regard of that that yo{u}r sayd Subiect should haue receiued for his worke aforesayd. In tender Considerac{i}on whereof and for asmuch as all or the most p{ar}te of the sayd money w{hi}ch is owing vnto yo{u}r sayd Subiect was layd out of his purse for meate & drincke for himself & his men & for his mens wages and for labourers wages w{hi}ch he hired and in regard of the sayd Earle of Oxford in his life tyme intreated the said Lady to pay vnto yo{u}r sayd Subiect all such money as was due vnto him and it being all the whole estate and stay hee hath to liue vpon during his life he being now very poore & aged & not able to take paines to gett his living as formerly he hath done is like vtterly to be ouerthrown & vndone his wife & Children for euer vnles by yo{u}r highnes accustomed favour yo{u}r poore Subiect be herein relieued. May it therefore please yo{u}r highnes the p{re}misses Considered to graunt vnto yo{u}r sayd Subiect yo{u}r Ma{ies}t{ies} most gracious writt of priuie seale or other Comaundment to be directed vnto the said Lady Elizabeth Countesse of Oxford Comaunding her thereby at a Certaine daye and vnder a Certaine paine therein to be lymitted to bee & p{er}sonally appeere before yo{u}r highnes Councell in yo{u}r highnes Courte of Whithall at Westm{inster} then and there to answere the p{re}misses & to set forth vpon her oath whether in Conscience the said money be due or noe & whether the said Earle of Oxford in his life tyme did not intreat the sayd Lady of Oxford to pay vnto him yo{u}r sayd Subiect all such money as was due vnto him vpon his bills & whether shee hath payd the same since his death or noe and to shew Cause why shee should not forthw{i}th out of the good{es} & Chattells w{hi}ch shee hath by the sayd Earle satisfie the sayd debt vnto yo{u}r sayd Subiect, and farther to stand to & abide such order and direction therein as to your highnes Councell of the sayd Court shall seeme to stand w{i}th equitie & Conscience & yo{u}r sayd Subiect according to his bounden dutie shall daylie pray to God for the preservac{i}on of yo{u}r highnes in health & happines long to raigne ouer vs./

Endorsed: xjo die februarij anno ... sexto [=16__] Quaeris admissus est in forma pauperis

fiat Bre{ve} de P.S. ... ad comp{ar}end' in Curia commune Regis in xva .... sub pena Cli.

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