Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 23.djvu/149

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Gresham
Gresham
141

aged, and impotent persons, … tyll they be holpen and cured of theyr diseases and syknes.’ These buildings, he said, were originally endowed for the relief of the poor, and not for the maintenance of canons, priests, and monks ‘to lyve in pleasure, nothyng regardyng the miserable people liyng in every strete’ (Cott. Cleopatra, E. 4, f. 222; cf. Ellis and Burgon). These recommendations were practically carried out by Henry and his successor, Edward VI. Gresham was not equally successful with his project for the erection of a burse or exchange in London for the convenience of merchants, whose custom was to assemble twice a day in the open air in Lombard Street. The king suggested in 1534-1535 the removal of the place of meeting to Leadenhall, but this had not found favour (Stow, ed. 1720, ii. 152). In 1537 Gresham submitted to Cromwell a design for a building in Lombard Street on the model of the Antwerp burse (Burgon, i. 31-3). He estimated, 25 July 1538, the cost of his design at 2,000l., one half of which he hoped to collect before the expiration of his mayoralty, and asked for a letter from Cromwell to compel Alderman Sir George Monoux to sell him certain houses which formed part of the proposed site. But it was Gresham's son, and not Gresham himself, who carried out this design. Gresham opposed rigorously the issue of a proclamation forbidding merchants to make exchanges, by which it was thought the exchequer suffered loss. He showed that the order would lead to the exportation of gold from England, and maintained that ‘merchants can no more be without exchanges and rechanges than the ships in the sea can be without water’ (Ward, Lives of the Gresham Professors, App. i.) It appears that the draft of this proclamation was, by Cromwell's order, submitted to Gresham for his opinion. Gresham in reply (2 Aug. 1538) asked that a new proclamation might be made to meet his views, and this seems to have been done (Burgon, i. 33-4). On 11 Aug. he told Cromwell that he had received the king's proclamation, and published it throughout the city ‘and also in Lombard Street amongst all the merchants.’ In the same letter he suggested an act to oblige every householder in the city to provide himself with one suit of ‘harness’ and one halberd, or more according to his means, for the defence of the city. He also asks permission for himself, the sheriffs, and six aldermen to visit the infant prince Edward, and petitions for redress for some ill-treatment sustained at Dublin by some London merchants.

In the August of 1538 he entertained the ‘French lords’ at Cromwell's request, caused the ‘ymages in powlles’ to be taken down, and requested that his son might be appointed the king's servant. Gresham was probably the governor of the Company of Merchant Adventurers this year (1538); he appears to have been deputy-governor in 1536 (Letters, &c. Hen. VIII, xi. 484). On 19 Sept. he informed Cromwell that certain persons had eaten flesh on an Ember-day, and asked if he should commit them. At the close of his mayoralty the Mercers' Company acquired through his interposition with the king the hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, which was surrendered to the Mercers on 21 Oct. 1538, and conveyed by deed on 21 April 1542.

In 1539 Gresham was employed abroad on the king's business, and advanced money to Thomas Wriothesley and other servants of the state (Burgon, i. 34-5). He was one of the ‘captayns of the Bylls’ in the celebrated military muster of the citizens of London before Henry VIII (Guildhall Library MS. ii. 7), and received 100l. 13s. 9d. for a chain of fine gold, which he supplied for an envoy from the Duke of Bavaria (Burgon, i. 13). He sat with his brother John on the commission under Bishop Bonner for enforcing the Six Articles (Strype, Eccl. Mem. i. 565-6). Gresham was, to use his own words, ‘conformable in all things to his Highness's [i.e. the king's] pleasure.’ He also dissolved the monastery of Walsingham, and brought the prior to submission (Burgon, i. 36-7); but he recommended Cromwell to make the prior, who was impotent and lame but of good reputation, ‘parson’ of Walsingham (Letters, &c. Hen. VIII, 1538). In 1540 Gresham, with John Godsalve, a clerk of the signet, examined Henry Dubbe, a stationer, of London, who was suspected of publishing ‘a naughty booke made by Philipp Melanchton against the King's Acts of Christian religion’ (Privy Council Proc. and Ord. ed. Nicolas, vii. 101). On 3 March 1544-5 Secretary Paget mentioned Gresham's name among those of English merchants abroad whose goods had been seized by order of Charles V (State Papers). This is the latest reference to Gresham. He died at his house in Bethnal Green on 21 Feb. 1548-9, and was buried on 24 Feb. at the church of St. Lawrence Jewry against the east wall. The tomb perished with the church in the fire of London. His monumental inscription, preserved by Stow, was not set up until after 1559, and is inaccurate in its date of his death and family history. Gresham was first married to Audrey, daughter of William Lynn of Southwick, Northamptonshire, who died 28 Dec. 1522 and was