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Notes

1. For a discussion of the persistence of these ideas into the post-Reformation era, see Mark A. Kishlansky, Parliamentary Selection: Social and Political Choice in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), chap. 1. For doubts about this interpretation, see David Harris Sacks, “Searching for ‘Culture’ in the English Renaissance,” Shakespeare Quarterly 39 (1988): 486–88; David Harris Sacks, “Parliament, Liberty, and the Commonweal,” in J. H. Hexter, ed., Parliament and Liberty from the Reign of Elizabeth to the English Civil War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), pp. 85–121. [BACK]

2. Russell, Parliaments and English Politics, p. 37. [BACK]

3. Elizabeth I’s confirmation is dated 8 July 1566; a translation from the Latin original appears in SMV, Book of Charters, vol. 1, p. 27; and both the original and translation are printed in Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 46–47. The statute is 8 Eliz. I, c. 19, and is printed in ibid., pp. 47–50. [BACK]

4. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 49. [BACK]

5. Ibid., pp. 49–50. The sanctions against illicit trading were severe: all goods conveyed “to or from beyond the seas” contrary to the original letters patent were to be forfeited, with half going to the Crown and the other half to be divided equally between the Society and the city Chamber. [BACK]

6. Fox and Taylor, eds., Guild of Weavers, pp. 91–92. [BACK]

7. John Neale, Elizabeth I and Her Parliaments, 1559–1581 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1953), p. 177. Neale points out elsewhere that jockeying for a position in the Commons in the Elizabethan period ordinarily began at the first rumors of a new Parliament: John Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950), p. 52. [BACK]

8. BRO, Old Ordinance Book, f. 26r–v. At the same time it was ordered that, in the future, nominations were to take place on St. Giles’ Day (1 September), two weeks before the actual election, presumably to permit canvassing. But the provision for nominations on St. Giles’ Day was repealed in the following year; ibid., f. 29r. Otherwise the procedure laid down in this ordinance was the one followed thereafter. Nominations to office had previously been made by seniority, with each member of the Common Council, beginning with the mayor, nominating in turn. In most cases this meant that only the most senior members of the council ever made a nomination. The new arrangement provided for each rank in the council to have its own nominee: the outgoing mayor was to nominate one person for each post; the aldermen together with the sheriffs and those councillors who had previously been mayor were to name another slate; and the remainder of the council a third. [BACK]

9. See Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, p. 907n. 76. [BACK]

10. Seyer, Memoirs, vol. 2, p. 243; John Evans, A Chronological Outline of the History of Bristol (Bristol: John Evans, 1824), p. 149. See also Adams’s Chronicle, p. 112. [BACK]

11. See PRO, SP 12/77/35; Bath MSS, Dudley Papers, vol. 1, ff. 224r–225r. [BACK]

12. J. B. Davidson, “Hoker’s Journal of the House of Commons in 1571,” Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art 11 (1879): 478. The version of Hooker’s journal printed by T. E. Hartley omits this and several other passages relating to the Bristol bill printed by Davidson, presumably because the original document in the Devonshire Record Office had become even less legible than it was in the 1870s: see T. E. Hartley, ed., Proceedings in the Parliaments of Elizabeth I. Volume 1: 1558–1581 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1981), p. 243n. 1. G. R. Elton offers a somewhat confused and unreliable discussion of this debate in his The Parliament of England, 1559–1581 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 131–32. However, a subsequent remark on this same episode corrects the main error and provides the necessary citation: p. 257 and n. 201. [BACK]

13. Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 209; see also CJ, vol. 1, p. 84; Simonds D’Ewes, The Journals of all the Parliaments during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, both of the House of Lords and the House of Commons (London, 1682), p. 160. [BACK]

14. Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 210; D’Ewes, Journals of all the Parliaments, p. 160. Francis Alford, a civil lawyer who was usually cautious and conservative, answered Fleetwood’s point by saying that although “hee might not speak of the prerogative aptly for that hee was not learned in the lawe, but made some remembrance of what hee had there seene concerning the act of Parliament for Southampton [in 1562–63], whereby it appeared that without an act of Parliament her Majestie’s letters patentes were not sufficient.” [BACK]

15. Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 210; D’Ewes, Journals of all the Parliaments, p. 160; Davidson, “Hoker’s Journal,” pp. 470–71. [BACK]

16. D’Ewes, Journals of all the Parliaments, pp. 160–61; Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, pp. 210–11. The MPs who spoke included Francis Alford, Edward Cleer, Sir Francis Knollys, Sir Nicholas Arnold, Sir Henry Norris, Mr. Christopher Yelverton of Gray’s Inn, and John Popham: Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 211. For a discussion of the implications of Popham’s argument see Sacks, “Parliament, Liberty and the Commonweal,” pp. 93–100; David Harris Sacks, “Monopoly and Liberty in Elizabethan England,” in Dale Hoak, ed., Tudor Political Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). [BACK]

17. D’Ewes, Journals of all the Parliaments, p. 161. [BACK]

18. CJ, vol. 1, p. 84; D’Ewes, Journals of all the Parliaments, p. 162; Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 247. [BACK]

19. CJ, vol. 1, p. 84. The other members were Sir James Croft, Sir Nicholas Pointz, Sir John Thynne, Sir Nicholas Arnold, Sir John White of London, Mr. John Newton, Mr. Francis Alford, Mr. Thomas Norton, Mr. Hall of York, and Mr. John Hooker of Exeter. [BACK]

20. Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 247; Davidson, “Hoker’s Journal,” p. 478; CJ, vol. 1, pp. 85, 86. [BACK]

21. LJ, vol. 1, pp. 679, 689; BRO, Old Ordinance Book, f. 29r. Our source tells us only of the bond imposed on Langley, but perhaps a similar bond was imposed on the Merchant Venturers. Unfortunately, we have no evidence as to what the order actually was. [BACK]

22. LJ, vol. 1, p. 690. [BACK]

23. Stat. 13 Eliz. I, c. 14, printed in Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 57. [BACK]

24. Ibid. [BACK]

25. Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 211. [BACK]

26. PRO, SP 15/20/19. [BACK]

27. Marchants Avizo, p. 5. [BACK]

28. PRO, SP 15/20/19; a version is printed in Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 54. [BACK]

29. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, ed. Kenneth Palmer, Arden Edition of William Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 1982), p. 129, Act 1, scene 3, lines 109–10. [BACK]

30. Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, ed. J. P. Steane (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), esp. act 2, scene 3. See also Thomas Delony, The Gentle Craft, in The Works of Thomas Delony, ed. Francis Oscar Mann (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912), pp. 109–33. On the rules governing the occupations and trades of London freemen, see William Bohun, Privilegia Londini: or, The rights, liberties, privileges, laws, and customs of the city of London, 3d ed. (London: James Crokatt, 1723), pp. 178–82; Sylvia L. Thrupp, The Merchant Class of Medieval London (1300–1500) (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962), pp. 5–6; Sylvia L. Thrupp, “The Grocers of London: A Study of Distributive Trade,” in Eileen Power and M. M. Postan, eds., Studies in English Trade in the Fifteenth Century (New York: Macmillan, 1933), pp. 261–72. The cases Bohun cites make clear that from the late sixteenth century, after the Statute of Artificers, the officials of London sought to narrow the freedom to trade so that only those apprenticed in an occupation that “useth buying and selling as Mercer, Grocer, may exercise another Trade of buying and selling.” Hence a shoemaker, trained in a “manual craft,” could not enter into trade. But in earlier days the custom seems to have been otherwise, and it is clear that craftsmen and others continued to claim the right to trade by wholesale throughout the seventeenth century. For a sketch of Simon Eyre’s actual career, see Thrupp, Merchant Class of London, p. 339. Thrupp gives Eyre’s original occupation as “upholder,” which might mean “upholsterer” or simply “shopkeeper.” [BACK]

31. Fox and Taylor, eds., Guild of Weavers, pp. 92–93. [BACK]

32. See Hartley, ed., Parliaments of Elizabeth I, p. 211. Popham’s argument in 1571 approaches the view later articulated by such lawyers as Lawrence Hyde, Nicholas Fuller, Edward Coke, and Francis Moore; see n. 16 above. [BACK]

33. PRO, SP 15/20/19. [BACK]

34. APC (1558–1570), pp. 193–94; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, p. 908n. 96. [BACK]

35. BRO, Old Ordinance Book, f. 29r–v. We do not know how many councillors were present at this meeting. The full membership of the council at this time was forty-three including the recorder (who appeared only occasionally, at the time of gaol delivery), but it was not unusual for there to be vacancies and absences at any given meeting. For example, on 12 September 1570 only thirty-seven members were present; there were even two absences among the aldermen. It is unlikely, however, that more than five members would be missing from the council at any one time. In other words, the twenty members who supported Langley on this occasion were just barely sufficient to carry the question. [BACK]

36. For details, see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, pp. 606–7. [BACK]

37. Latimer, Sixteenth-Century Bristol, p. 57. [BACK]

38. BRO, Old Ordinance Book, f. 30r; Latimer, Sixteenth-Century Bristol, p. 57. [BACK]

39. BRO, Old Ordinance Book, f. 30v. [BACK]

40. APC (1577–78), p. 354; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, p. xiii. [BACK]

41. PRO, SP 12/105/3. [BACK]

42. Wroth, “Elizabethan Merchant,” pp. 302–4; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, p. xi n. 4. [BACK]

43. PRO, C 66/1158/2256, mm. 1–12, esp. mm. 4–5. The new company’s jurisdiction also covered the entire Iberian peninsula, including Portugal, and it was granted wide powers to make binding ordinances for its membership and to punish interlopers. The charter is fully calendared in Cal. Pat. Rolls, Eliz. I (1575–1578), vol. 7, pp. 317–23, and extensive portions of the charter are printed in Shillington and Chapman, Commercial Relations of England and Portugal, pp. 313–26; see also Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. xii–xiii. [BACK]

44. The original membership of the Spanish Company numbered 396, of whom 223 were Londoners and only 75 Bristolians: PRO, C 66/1158/2256, m. 2; Cal. Pat. Rolls, Eliz. I, vol. 7, p. 318; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, xiii, xvii. For discussion of the relationship of the Spanish Company branch with the Merchant Venturers, see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 913–14n. 6. [BACK]

45. APC (1575–1577), p. 16. [BACK]

46. APC (1577–1578), pp. 408–9. [BACK]

47. On the dispute within Chester and between the Chester merchants and those of Liverpool, see Woodward, Trade of Elizabethan Chester, pp. 78–87; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. xviii–xxi. [BACK]

48. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 81–84. [BACK]

49. SMV, Book of Trade, p. 37; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. xxviii–xxix. [BACK]

50. Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. 1, 2, 4. [BACK]

51. PRO, SP 14/21/41; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 2–3; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. xxviii–xxix, 14, 15–16, 18, 95–113; Shillington and Chapman, Commercial Relations of England and Portugal, pp. 161–62. [BACK]

52. Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. 22–23. [BACK]

53. Ibid., pp. 23–24. [BACK]

54. Ibid., pp. 31, 47, 91–92. [BACK]

55. See n. 30 above; McGrath, ed., Records, p. 26. [BACK]

56. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 18, 43, 46; Croft, “Free Trade and the House of Commons,” p. 24. [BACK]

57. Croft, “Free Trade and the House of Commons,” pp. 21–22; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, p. 78. [BACK]

58. Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. 42, 44–45. [BACK]

59. Ibid., pp. 45–47. [BACK]

60. Ibid., pp. 43, 46. [BACK]

61. Ibid., pp. 55–56. [BACK]

62. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 1, pp. 112–13; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 3–5. [BACK]

63. Ibid. [BACK]

64. For the story of Hyde’s appointment to the recordership and the outcries it aroused among the Common Council and Bristol’s Merchant Venturers, see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 1, pp. 87–101; on the free-trade issue see T. K. Rabb, “Sir Edward Sandys and the Parliament of 1604,” AHR 69 (1963–64), pp. 661–69; Robert Ashton, “The Parliamentary Agitation for Free Trade in the Opening Years of James I,” Past and Present, no. 38 (December 1967); T. K. Rabb, “Free Trade and the Gentry in the Parliament of 1604,” Past and Present, no. 40 (July 1968), pp. 165–73; Robert Ashton, “Jacobean Free Trade Again,” Past and Present, no. 43 (May 1969), pp. 151–57; Croft, “Free Trade and the House of Commons,” pp. 17–27; Robert Ashton, The City and the Court, 1603–1643 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 84–98. [BACK]

65. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, f. 24r–v; see also ibid., f. 25r; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 6n. 3; McGrath, ed., Records, p. 8. [BACK]

66. McGrath, ed., Records, p. 8; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 67; Kramer, English Craft Gilds, p. 31n. 30. [BACK]

67. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 75–76. For an account of the procedures followed to assure the effectiveness of these rules, see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, p. 629. [BACK]

68. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 75. [BACK]

69. Ibid., pp. 78–79. [BACK]

70. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 26–27. [BACK]

71. Christopher Whitson was admitted to the freedom of the city of Bristol as a redemptioner in 1610, and a year later was selected to serve on the Common Council. His occupation at the time of his admission is not known, because when he was sworn to the burgess-ship he was listed only as a “yeoman,” a signification that in urban contexts often meant simply “not a servant” or “not a dependent”: BRO, Burgess Book (1607–1651), f. 79v; Anthony Salerno, “The Social Background of Seventeenth-Century Emigration to America,” Journal of British Studies 19 (1979): 37–38. [BACK]

72. In 1612 the Merchant Venturers claimed to draft their new membership rules “by vertue of their Charter.” They did so again in 1618, even after receiving Nicholas Hyde’s opinion: BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, f. 24r–v; McGrath, ed., Records, p. 8; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 68. Apparently they believed that the repeal of the 1566 statute affected only their exclusionary membership rules and the expanded enforcement powers granted to support them. Although their interpretation of the law may have been correct, since they were not forced to yield up the 1552 letters patent when they lost their case in Parliament in 1571, a prudent man would not lightly have risked testing this position, especially if it was challenged by the Crown: see Sacks, “The Corporate Town and the English State,” pp. 78–80. [BACK]

73. CJ, vol. 1, p. 275; See also Croft, “Free Trade and the House of Commons,” p. 26; McGrath, ed., Records, p. 6n. 2. [BACK]

74. SMV, Book of Trade, pp. 82–84, 85; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 9– 11, 14. [BACK]

75. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 9–12; on the Exeter merchants’ success in 1606, see Cotton, Elizabethan Guild, p. 177; Croft, “Free Trade and the House of Commons,” p. 26. [BACK]

76. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 12–14; for a similar certificate in 1624, see SMV, Book of Trade, p. 146. [BACK]

77. See MacCaffrey, Exeter, 1540–1640, pp. 136–59; HMC, Records of the City of Exeter, pp. 40–41; City of Exeter Record Office, MS Book 185, Merchant Venturers Dispute, 1558–59; Cotton, Elizabethan Guild. [BACK]

78. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 64–65; BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 1, pp. 116, 132; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 84–88; see also McGrath, Merchant Venturers of Bristol, p. 71. The Society also collected duties called anchorage, crannage, and plankage by virtue of an eighty-year lease granted to twenty-four merchant feoffees in 1601: BRO, Deed 00352 (5). [BACK]

79. McGrath, ed., Records, p. 136; SMV, Book of Charters, vol. 1, pp. 95, 101; APC (1623–1625), p. 485. See also BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 1, p. 135; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 65; McGrath, Merchant Venturers of Bristol, p. 71. [BACK]

80. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, f. 60v. [BACK]

81. PRO, SP 16/373/84. [BACK]

82. PRO, SP 16/373/84, 16/378/4, 16/379/1i, 2, 3, 34. [BACK]

83. PRO, SP 16/373/84, 16/379/1i, 34; BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, f. 81r–v. [BACK]

84. PRO, SP 16/373/1ii, 34; BRO, Common Council Proceedings, f. 83r–v; Adams’s Chronicle, p. 258. [BACK]

85. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 88–97; SMV, Hall Book, vol. 1, p. 24. For discussion of the terms of this charter, see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 647–48. [BACK]

86. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 100–101, 102, 104–5. [BACK]

87. SMV, Hall Book, vol. 1, p. 2. [BACK]

88. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 29, 261. [BACK]

89. Compiled from Beaven, Lists, and Return of the Name of Every Member of the Lower House of the Parliament of England, 1213–1874 (Parliamentary Papers, 1878), vol. 62, part 1. [BACK]

90. See, e.g., SMV, Book of Trade, pp. 104–13; BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, f. 96r–v; Miller Christy, “Attempts towards Colonization: The Council of New England and the Merchant Venturers of Bristol,” AHR 4 (1899): pp. 678–702; Latimer, Annals, p. 70; MacInnes, Gateway of Empire, pp. 96–106; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 635–38; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 9–14. [BACK]

91. The other four were Merchant Venturers, including the mayor. The remaining aldermen were Whitson and Guy, who were in Parliament, and the recorder, who was rarely present at aldermanic meetings. [BACK]

92. The conclusion on the frequency of electoral contests is based on analysis of the mayoral elections recorded in BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vols. 1–3. Nominations and voting were by voice until 1642, when, significantly, a secret ballot was introduced. The town clerk or an assistant recorded each man’s vote after his name in the minute book with the initials of the candidate for whom he voted. Between 1599 and 1642, twenty-five mayoral elections were uncontested, and a further ten show five votes or fewer in opposition to the successful candidate: Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 708–9. The only other hotly contested mayoral election in our period occurred in 1633. This election pitted Alderman Robert Aldworth, one of the main protagonists in 1626, against Mathew Warren, clothier, Christopher Whitson’s brother-in-law. In 1633, Warren was the most senior common councillor who had not yet served as mayor: BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, ff. 44r–45v. [BACK]

93. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, f. 134r. [BACK]

94. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, ff. 40r–41v; PRO, SP 16/41/80. For the Aldworth group’s leadership in opposing the membership of retailers and manufacturers in the Merchant Venturers, see McGrath, ed., Records, p. 7. [BACK]

95. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, ff. 142r–143v, compared to the register of Merchant Venturer members in McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 26–29. [BACK]

96. The overseas trading activities of Whitson’s supporters were established by comparing evidence derived from PRO, E 190/1134/10 and E 190/1135/6, to the votes registered in BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, 142r–143v. Evidence of Whitson’s rivalry with Aldworth can be found in Croft, ed., Spanish Company, pp. xliii, 18, 43, 46, 101; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 619–25; BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, f. 55r–v. For the relationship between Christopher Whitson and John Whitson, see BRO, Great Orphan Book, vol. 3, f. 250v. [BACK]

97. Cronne, ed., Bristol Charters, 1378–1499, pp. 165–66, 175–77; BRO, Old Ordinance Book, f. 52r–v; BRO, MS 04273 (1), ff. 44r–v, 48r; BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, ff. 38r–39v; Latham, ed., Bristol Charters, 1509–1899, pp. 11–13; D. M. Livock, ed., City Chamberlain’s Accounts in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (BRS 24, 1966), pp. xii–xiv; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 1, pp. 71–84. [BACK]

98. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, f. 95r–v. The candidates were designated by initials only. The voting was as follows: “E” m 8, “ll” m 7, “T” m 2; “C” m 24. “E” may have been Giles Elbridge, a merchant and common councillor; “ll” may have been Thomas Lloyd, a brewer and common councillor; “T” was John Thruston, a soapmaker but not a common councillor; and of course “C” was William Chetwyn, a merchant but also not a common councillor. William Chetwyn was the son of Thomas Chetwyn of Rudgely, Staffordshire, gentleman, and had been apprenticed to John Barker of Bristol, merchant. He became a freeman of the city on 4 July 1617 by virtue of his apprenticeship: BRO, Apprentice Book (1593–1609), f. 277v; BRO, Burgess Book (1607–1651), f. 93v. [BACK]

99. Farmer became a burgess by patrimony on 19 October 1639, three days after this election: BRO, Burgess Book (1607–1651), f. 283v. For Farmer’s connection with the earl of Berkshire and subsequent career, see George Bishop, The Throne of Blood (London, 1656), p. 109. [BACK]

100. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, f. 96r. The letter is dated Whitehall, 1 November 1639. [BACK]

101. Ibid., f. 96v. [BACK]

102. Ibid., ff. 96v–97v. [BACK]

103. Ibid., ff. 98r, 99r. The king’s letter is dated 20 November 1639. [BACK]

104. Ibid., f. 95r–v. Alderman Humphrey Hooke, for example, voted for “ll” whereas Thomas Hooke, his son, voted for “T.” In the second election both of these men voted for Farmer. It is clear that in the first election there was no consensus candidate, but there appears to have been no systematic effort to stop Chetwyn from obtaining the office. [BACK]

105. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 3, f. 98r–v; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 91; see also PRO, E 134/12 Car I/East. 21, E 134/12 Car I/ Mich. 39, E 134/13 Car I/East. 132; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 238–39. See also Sacks, “The Corporate Town and the English State,” pp. 77–78. [BACK]


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