The Star-Chamber, Volume 1
By the sweeping powers conferred upon them by their patents, the whole of the inns of the metropolis were brought under the control of the two extortioners, who levied such imposts as they pleased. The withdrawal of a license, or the total suppression of a tavern, on the plea of its being a riotous and disorderly house, immediately followed the refusal of any demand, however excessive; and most persons preferred the remote possibility of ruin, with the chance of averting it by ready submission, to the positive certainty of losing both substance and liberty by resistance.
Fearful was the havoc occasioned by these licensed depredators, yet no one dared to check them--no one ventured to repine. They had the name of law to justify their proceedings, and all its authority to uphold them. Compromises were attempted in some instanc