Samuel Moyer

Samuel Moyer also lived in Clapham and had been apprenticed as a Mercer (Master in 1653). His father James had been a ship master, commanding the 600 ton Royal Merchant and involved in the Levant trade, dying in Smyrna in 1637. Samuel was an established merchant by 1640 and one of the important managers of the Adventure to Ireland. He was sufficiently well off to join the Levant Company by paying a fee and held membership in its Court of Assistants on many occasions and purchased £9000 worth of Bishops’ lands in 1649. He also joined the East India Company in 1647 although he refused to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the King that was required of its investors. He was a member of many Parliamentary committees (at one stage seven at the same time), particularly the Compounding Commission which he chaired for 20 months from 1650-1.

Moyer was one of the more radical of the Independents and one of the four men representing the City political Independents in their negotiations with the Levellers on the ‘Second Agreement of the People’ which was eventually ratified by the army council in December 1648. This watered down the Levellers’ demands but still provided radical provisions on electoral redistribution, toleration and the protection of individual liberties. It received little if any support overall but both Moyer and his neighbour in Clapham, Abraham Babington, agreed to serve on a committee to canvas signatures in support of it; they had little or no success.

Moyer, who was generally viewed as an efficient financial administrator was put on the committee supervising both army and navy in 1649. Having been in various posts in Customs from 1643, he also became Head of Customs In from 1649, an interesting post for a merchant who was still very active in imports and exports. Both Moyer and Salwey were appointed or elected to the Council of State on a number of occasions in the early fifties. Moyer also served on the Hale Commission which reviewed legal practices and whose proposals for simplification were roundly rejected by the lawyers in Parliament.

Moyer was removed from his posts at the Restoration but his associates still joined him in Clapham, one being  William Kiffin the prominent merchant and leading Particular Baptist preacher as well as a captain in the militia. Even though given a royal pardon Moyer was imprisoned for treason in 1662 when he still had his house in Clapham. He remained in prison for five years, first in the Tower of London and then in Tynemouth, until his elder brother, Lawrence, paid £500 for his release. Pepys tells a story about that release which illustrates how money oiled the wheels and caused difficulties with those who had offered to help but neglected to do so.

‘Mr Moore come to me, and there, among other things, did tell me how Mr Moyer, the merchant, having procured an order from the King and Duke of York and Council, with the consent of my Lord Chancellor, and by assistance of Lord Arlington, for the releasing out of prison his brother, Samuel Moyer, who was a great man in the late times in Haberdashers' Hall, and was engaged under hand and seal to give the man that obtained it so much in behalf of my Lord Chancellor; but it seems my Lady Duchess of Albermarle had before undertaken it for so much money, but hath not done it. The Duke of Albermarle did the next day send for this Moyer, to tell him, that notwithstanding this order of the King and Council’s being passed for release of his brother, yet, if he did not consider the pains of some friends of his, he would stop that order. This Moyer being an honest, bold man, told him that he was engaged to the hand that had done the thing to give him a reward; and more he would not give, nor could own any kindness done by his Grace’s interest; and so parted. The next day Sir Edward Savage did take the said Moyer in tax about it, giving ill words of this Moyer and his brother; which he not being able to bear, told him he would give to the person that had engaged him what he promised, and not any thing to any body else; and that both he and his brother were as honest men as himself, or any man else; and so sent him going, and bid him do his worst. It is one of the most extraordinary cases that ever I saw or understood; but it is true.’

Samuel Moyer returned to business, serving again on the court of both Levant and Royal African Companies and on the committee of the East India Company. He was a rich man with £3200 invested in the East India Company, and had been allocated £9000 of Episcopal land. However he had not forgotten his past and his will left five pounds to Richard Goodgrome, a fellow prisoner in the Tower and a radical Fifth Monarchist regularly sent to the Tower for seditious preaching. His mother, Lydia, was living in Clapham when she died in 1675 but was buried elsewhere.