Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/37

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Abbot
Abbot
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men and ammunition. By order of the king's council, however, the proceedings against Abbot were stayed, and the charge dropped. In 1642 the recorder of London, who took part in the matter in behalf of the crown, was impeached by the parliament for having advised Abbot and others to levy ship-money.

In 1638 Sir Maurice Abbot, who had on 13 Sept. 1631 exchanged the ward of Bridge Without for that of Coleman Street, became lord mayor of London. The usual description of the pageant prepared to celebrate his introduction into office was from the pen of Thomas Heywood, the dramatist. Only one perfect copy of this rare work is now known,and it is in the Guildhall library. It bears the title ‘Porta (sic) Pietatis, or the Port or Harbour of Piety. Exprest in sundry Triumphes, Pageants, and Showes at the Institution of the Right Honourable Sir Maurice Abbot, knight, into the Mayoralty of the famous and fame renowned city London. Written by Thomas Heywood.’ London, 1638. In a dedication to the new lord mayor, Heywood emphasises Abbot's popularity among his fellow-citizens, and refers to the extraordinarily successful careers of himself and his two brothers. ‘Neither can I omit the happinesse of your deceased father, remarkable in three most fortunate sonnes.’ In ‘the first show’ described by Heywood he makes allusion to ‘the trading of the right honourable the present lord mayor, who is a merchant free of the Turkey, Italian, French, Muscovy, and was late governour of the East-Indy Company.’ In another ‘show’ a shepherd was introduced to typify the cloth trade, in which Abbot was still engaged, and subsequently an actor in the pageant, in the character of an Indian, addressed laudatory verses to the new lord mayor as the chief merchant of England,

By whose commerce our nation hath been fam'd.

Abbot's mayoralty, which covered the greater part of the year 1639, was rendered somewhat eventful by the outbreak of war with the Scots, and by the departure of an English army for the northern border under the king himself. On 7 March Abbot was constituted ‘the king's lieutenant within the city and suburbs of London’ during his absence in the north, and was given full authority to arm, if necessary, the inhabitants against the king's enemies, and at the discretion of himself and the aldermen to put in force martial law. In the following months he was frequently admonished by the king's council to keep a strict watch over the manufacturers of shot and other warlike implements, and ordered to make arrests of suspected persons. At times his energy in this direction seems to have been excessive. On 28 May he sent to the Poultry Counter a woman suspected to have distributed during the Whitsuntide holidays a pamphlet by John Lilburne, the famous agitator; but the House of Lords in the following year reversed Abbot's decision (House of Lords MSS., Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iv. 33). He also regularly collected ship-money. On the termination of his year of office Abbot practically retired from public life. He died 10 Jan. 1641–2 (not 1640, as is usually given), and was buried in St. Stephen's Church, Coleman Street, London.

Abbot married, firstly, Joan Austen, daughter of George Austen, of Shalford, near Guildford, by whom he had five children. Morris, one of his sons, was called to the bar as a member of the Inner Temple, and was one of the executors of the will of his uncle, the archbishop, who left him several legacies. George Abbot, another of his sons, became a probationer fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1622, and was admitted bachelor of civil law in 1630 (Wood, Athen. Oxon. (ed. Bliss), ii. 564). He carried the great banner at the funeral of his uncle, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1633, and sat in the Long Parliament as M.P. for Guildford until his death in 1645 (Members of Parliament, i. 494). A third son, Edward, was, it appears from petitions to the House of Lords in 1641, in continual pecuniary difficulties (House of Lords MSS., Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. iv. 62, 72, 73, 80, 102). After the death of his first wife in 1597, Abbot married, for the second time, Margaret, daughter of Bartholomew Barnes, an alderman of London, and she died on 5 Sept. 1630.

There is no certain record of the situation of Abbot's house in London, but his name occurs among those who in 1630 held ‘tenements from the great south door (of St. Paul's Cathedral) to the south-west corner of the cloister wall’ (Cal. State Papers, 1629–31, p. 453), and he was one of the commissioners nominated in 1631 for the repair of the cathedral. He erected in 1635 an elaborate monument in Trinity Church, Guildford, to the memory of his brother, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had died two years previously, and had appointed Sir Maurice an executor under his will. In 1633 one Robert Ashley dedicated his translation of an Italian work on Cochin China to Abbot, and attributes to him the assertion that ‘the remotest traffique is always the most beneficiall to the publick stocke, and the trade to East Indies doth farre excell all other.’ Abbot's whole career, which was begun under no external advantages, is a remarkable in-