The Merchants Remonstrance
In the time of the late Warre,
Revived and inlarged.
Wherein is set forth the inevitable miseries
which may suddenly befall this Kingdome by want
of Trade and decay of Manufactures.
With Copy of
A Letter to the Kings Majestie presented unto Him at
Hampton Court, October 30. 1647.
1. The want of such a due regard as was fit for the preservation of
Trade in the time of the late Warre.
2. Some of the bad effects it hath since produced.
3. The offer of the Authors opinion what may best bee done for
A Letter to the Right Honorable the two Houses of
Parliament: To the Army under the command of
His Excellency Sir Tho. Fairfax: And to the rest of
His Majesties Subjects in generall.
Whereunto is annexed,
A Discourse of the Excellencie of Wooll, manifested by the Im
provement in its Manufactures, and the great good thence
arising before the late Warre.
By JOHN BATTIE of London Merchant.
MY Profession being that of a Merchant, thou must expect the Language and stile in this REMONSTRANCE, answerable thereunto: Let thy thoughts be upon the matter it selfe, weigh it well, for it is of such concernment to the welfare of the whole Kingdome, that it must stand and fall with it.
Farewell. John Battie.
I Perused with no lesse profit then pleasure your manuscript, wherein you discourse with so much judgement of Trade; discovering the causes of the present impairment thereof, and how it may be improved hereafter: Whereby I find that a publike soule, and the affections of a good Patriot dwell in you; things, Godwot, which are rarely found now in England, such is the hard fate of the times, wherein men scrue up their braines, and stretch all their sinews to draw water to their own Mills only, though to the prejudice of the Common-good: But they are much out of their account, who think, that private fortunes can long subsist, if the publike begin to languish; unlesse a care be had of Ware River, Middletons pipes will run but poorly, and every one will find it in his private Cisterns.
This Tract of yours may serve for a true prospective to the Euglish Merchant to see the visible calamities that are already upon him; as also for a Larum bell to awake his slumbring spirits to a timely prevention of farre greater; And well fare your heart for it: So I rest:
Your faithfull friend to dispose of James Howell.
TRade is the life of a State, Manufactures are the sinews of Trade, and Money is the soule of both. There is such a necessary connexion and dependency betweens them, that the one cannot subsist without the other; The last doth animate the second, and the second supports the first, and the first gives motion and quickning to the other two. Now of all sorts of Trade, Trafficke hath been alwayes esteemed the most noble, because the most hazardous; And Trafficke is most proper and usefull to Islands, whose security and power depends principally upon shipping, and navall strength. Amongst Islands, this of great Britaine hath been from all times held the most rich, and renowned, as well for the fertility of the soyle, and temperature of the ayre; as for the substantiall and necessary native commodities it affords in such plenty to advance Trade, [Page 2] and oblige all other Nations. Now there is no greater enemy to Trade than War, be it in what Countrey it will; our Neighbours the Hollanders excepted, who by so long a habit of War seems to make a Trade of it; They are the onely men who by the advantage of their scituation can fish best in troubled waters; witnesse the tumults of Germany, and these of England and Ireland. Yet forraigne war is not so great a disturber of Trade, nor halfe so destructive, as intestine; For as the fire that's kindled within doores, and in the bedstraw, as it were, rageth more violently: so civill War ruines Trade faster then any other, and makes poverty and desolation post in one after the other, wheresoever it is kindled. Now the drift of this small Remonstrance is, to shew the great misery that may suddenly befall this Kingdome through want of Trade, and the evill effects it may produce.
First, for that the chiefest way of enriching a Kingdome, is the expence of its native or home commodities (that can well be spared) in forraigne parts; if it faile, the Manufacture must cease, by which meanes many thousands of poore Families, which have no other maintenance but by their daily labour, or by what each dayes worke will afford them, will be suddenly exposed to beggery.
Secondly, divers Workmen or Artificers, through want of imployment here, will doubtlesse goe into other Countries, and exercise their Trade, whereby it may come to the knowledge and practise of strangers, as I feare is already: being at the penning hereof informed, that in Zeland there are Loomes set up for Perpetuano's, and other Stuffes: And that in other places they are not idle setting up daily Loomes for Cloth, &c.
It will perhaps be objected, that if our Wooll (which is the chiefe materiall) be wanting, they will faile of the exercise of their Trade in forraigne parts: I answer, that such Wools may be had elsewhere, as will serve their turne, by the due mixture of such sorts as will fit and agree best together.
The store of course Cloth made in High Germany, where about 20000. English Clothes, narrow Lists (commonly called by the
Merchant Adventurers, Franckfort sorts) each Cloth containing 28. yards in length, were yearely spent, and since not above 2000. vented of the said sorts; the cause whereof, was that unhappy Project of dying and dressing of Cloth by Sir William Cockaine and others: which so much incensed the Germanes (for if it had taken effect, many Families of Clothworkers and Dyers would have been destroyed) that they used their utmost endeavours to practise the making of the said sorts of Clothes; which had such successe, that in a very short time the expence of those sorts of English Clothes, was brought downe from so great, to so small a number. That Project found the like or worse entertainment in Holland, and other parts of the Low Countries, where, before that time, many thousands of finer sorts of English Clothes were more vented then now are; so that it was observed, that whereas before the said Project was put in practise, there were about eighty thousand English Clothes of all sorts per annum, exported by the old Company of Merchant adventurers, that in the new Companies time and since, not much above thirty thousand: whence this Inference may be easily drawne, That Innovations in a State or Commonwealth are alwayes dangerous, and sometimes destructive.
Before the late war between us and Spaine, there were sent hence thither great store of knit Stockings; but the Importation of all English commodities into that Kings dominions being prohibited, his Subjects put in practise the making of Stockings, and in those quantities, and at such easie rates, that since wee have had peace with that King, it hath been free for English Merchants to import those of the Manufacture of our Countrey; yet very few are sent, for that they cannot bee afforded at such low rates as those made there.
That people did then also practise the making of Bayes, which tis probable, had taken such effect, that if the warre had continued betweene the two Kings somewhat longer, the vent of English had been there quite lost. As it was with the vent of our broad Cloth in the time of Queene Elizabeth of famous memory, with the which Manufacture, our Merchants drove a great Trade in the Dominions of Spaine, not any in those times, nor before, being there [Page 4] made.
And among the Merchants inHer Majesties time, were Sir Thomas Gresham, Her Majesties Cape or chiefe Merchant, and Sir John Spencer an Alderman of London, both of no little note: the former, famous for the building of the Royall Exchange (so named by Her Majestie) at his owne charge, which cost with the purchase of the ground, as I have heard, 36000. l. or thereabout, a great deale of money, specially in those times. The latter much taken notice of in regard of his great estate, which was thought to be 300000 l. or rather more, both which got a great part of their respective Estates, especially the former, by their Trade in English Cloth in the parts of Spaine before said: But upon the breaking out into a warre with that King (some great reason of State doubtlesse urging) he not onely prohibits all Commerce or Trade with England, but likewise the importing of all English Commodities by all others in amity with Him, by which meanes His Subjects comming to want their usuall supplies of our Cloth fell into making of Cloth themselves procuring some Workefolke from abroad, and is since so much increased, that store hath been and is still sent into the parts of Italy and elsewhere, so that we came wholly to lose the vent of that Manufacture not onely in those parts, but also in others, which make use of the Cloth of Spaine, otherwise ours, tis like, might have found vent in the said parts.
Hence it followeth, that warre with forraigne States is destructive to our Manufactures. The totall losse then of our broad Cloth in Spaines Dominions, and the great decay of the said Manufacture caused by the aforesaid project of Sir William Cockaine, gave it such an incurable wound, as it could never since bee healed, nor like, having contracted such a Malignant humour in the body of the Manufacture of our old Drapery, that it corrodeth daily more and more like unto an exulcerated Cancer, or Canker, never ceasing untill it hath pearced the vitall parts.
And so is it like to bee with the Manufacture of our new Drapery, viz. Bayes, Kersies, Perpetuano's, Sayes, Stockings, &c. which came to a great height in the time of King James and of our Gracious King Charles till of late, giving such a life to trade, that it seemed not to be very sensible of the decayed condition of our old Drapery, but like- [Page 5] wise it, viz. our said new Drapery is already fallen into a very consumptive disease, causing it to languish and waste much, and unlesse some good meanes bee forthwith used to restore both old and new to some measure of strength againe, they will daily grow more and more infirme, till at last for recovery leave or forsake this our English Aire and goe into forraigne, specially where they first received breath, which was chiefly Flanders; for till King Edward the thirds time wee had little or no broad Cloth made here in England, but shipt out our Wooll for the parts of Flanders before said, which in those times was to be had very cheape.
And the King foreseeing the great good the making of Cloth would bee unto this Kingdome, attempted to put it in practise, and to that end he procured sundry Workemen from abroad, endowed them with sundry priviledges and immunities, and put them upon making of Cloth, which in processe of time tooke such effect, that partly by reason of the want of our Wooll, and partly in regard of the goodnesse and cheapnesse of the said Cloth, Flanders came almost to lose that Manufacture, but upon this Innovation or change, Flanders prohibited the Importation of all English Cloth, so that our Clothiers (who had store on their hands) could not vent them: The King buyes the Cloth and burnes it, lest the Clothiers should have been inforced for want of imployment to give over the making, supposing it seemes that the people of Flanders would be inforced at last in some measure to make use of those made here.
The premisses considered the preservation of our Manufactury, me thinks should bee as Thornes or Goads unto out sides, to put us in minde that in all respects wee ought to have such an especiall care thereof as not to attempt any thing which may in the least expose our Manufactures to the hazard of losse, no losse almost that can befall this Kingdome being comparable unto it.
But admit that forraigne Nations, notwithstanding what hath been said, will in some measure have need of some of our Woollen Manufactures, wee shall not bee able to furnish them therewith, the chiefe materiall Wooll being wanting; which want must follow when our Sheep are destoyed; and with [Page 6] them, all other kinde of Cattell, if this most unnaturall war continue but a short time.
The Hollanders are an industrious and diligent people, and watch all opportunities to ingrosse all the Trade they can into their owne hands, they have certainly a vigilant eye over our Actions, that Lethargie which hath seized on us, will make them the more watchfull; they will make no little use of our distractions; they will be ready to take hold of what wee let loose, and with great eagernesse pursue what wee let goe; wee shall not so soone be out, as they will be in.
Lastly, if the Trafficke of this Kingdome be once lost, what will then become of it? what will then be preserved?
Our Ships, the wals of this Land will rot, and moulder away.
Our wealth and Estates will be consumed, and no meanes left for recovery.
Tenants will bee disabled from paying their Landlords, and they, viz. the Landlords, for want of supplyes of moneys by their usuall Rents, will not be able to furnish themselves, & Families with commodities needfull, vented by men of sundry Trades, viz.
Woollen and Linnen Drapers.
Vintners, &c. Together with most sorts of Handicraftsmen, or Artificers.
Part of the commodities wherein they deale, being native, or of our owne Conntrey, both for the materials and Manufacture, and part brought into this Kingdome from forraigne Countries. Now those sorts of Tradesmen failing of the vent of their commodities, the Trade of Merchants into other Kingdomes must cease, there will be no need of them, thence will follow the decay of Ships, Mariners, and sundry sorts of Artificers, Labourers, and many others that have their dependency upon them. This mischiefe will not be altogether confined and bounded within our owne Land, it will extend it selfe (like an Epidemicall disease) into all or most other King [Page 7] domes where we have Trade: For, if wee take not off the commodities of those Countries in exchange of ours, they must suffer, and that not a little by it, and for remedy partly, for want of their accustomed imployment, and vent of their said commodities; and partly, by reason of the want of ours, bee inforced to seeke out, and learne others Trades, and very likely pitch or fall upon the making of such as are here made: For, as in the Body naturall, there is such a sympathy and connection of the parts, that if any of them bee distempered, the rest b[...]th a sense thereof: so it may bee said of the Body of Trade, one Part bath such a dependency upon another, that if any one faile in any remarkable manner, the rest will in time suffer thereby.
The Merchants Strangers, both here and abroad, in regard of these troubles, have withdrawne most part of their Estates hence, and will have shortly little in this Kingdome: We shall have no little want and misse of their monies, which wee receive of them here, partly by Exchange from forraigne parts, made over, or remitted by our Factors, in returne of such commodities as wee usually send hence to our said Factors; and partly, by the taking up of their monies here by Exchange, to bee repayed by our Factors abroad; which monies are commonly imployed in the commodities of this Kingdome, which hath been no little furtherance to the more abundant vent of our Manufactures, and hath been otherwise a great helpe to our Merchants, specially to some of the younger sort, who had small stocks wherewith to begin their Trade; the want whereof, I meane of the Strangers Money, must cause a great decay of Trade; and if once gone, as is almost, though a present Peace should follow, it will not bee so easily brought back; They will in the Interim finde or use other wayes and meane for imployment of the same.
By losse of Trade all sorts of people will faile of imployment in all parts, and so wanting meanes to maintaine themselves and Families, be driven into such straights (for Necessitas turpia coget) that they will lay hold on of what is next for their support; neither Lawes Divine, norhumane, will bee able to restraine them, a generall confusion of, and in all things will [Page 8] follow. This Nation will become contemptible, and a scorne to all others, and be subject to be invaded and made a prey of by forraigne people.
Having thus briefly given a touch of the miserable effects the want of Trade may produce, which want (as beforesaid) must follow, if these sad distempers continue: I humbly leave the prevention to the Trustees of the Kingdome, whose hearts I beseech God may be forthwith moved to take a matter of so great concernment into their serious consideration, not forgetting how easie a thing it is, Principiis obstare. And that as War in generall, so intestine War is one of the greatest scourges of God Almighty, and a visible Argument of his displeasure, and vengeance upon a People.
Most Gracious Soveraigne,
AS mens mindes for the most part are chiefly busied or fixed on those things which concerne their vocations, so mine. And as mine is that of a Merchant, so had many thoughts of the great decay of Trade, (which a civill War would undoubtedly produce) and the irrecoverable losse would thereupon ensue, which moved mee neere upon three yeares past to commit to writing what was offered unto me touching the same, wherewith acquainting some friends, they importuned me not a little to publish it in print, which was accordingly done, intituling it, The Merchants Remon-strance; one of the Copies whereof I make bold with this to present unto your Majestie, with my humble desires you would bee pleased, when you shall thinke fit (your other great affaires permitting) to afford it the perusall, or there of to cause a view to be taken, hoping it may prove of good use unto your Maje-stie, and what I more say touching that subject, viz. matter of Commerce or Trade, which is of no little concernment unto your Majestie, and the whole Kingdome; yea, it is such, that no earthly good almost is or can be for or in a kingdome greater then a flourishing Trade; All sorts of people from the greatest to the meanest are better'd by it, where it is wanting or in a sparing manner, the people become beggerly and contemptible both at home and abroad, it ought therefore to bee all mens endeavours to advance, cherish and preserve it. But [Page 10] not long to detaine your Majestie, it will not be amisse to acquiant you with the motives inducing me to take the boldnesse to trouble you with these lines. And that is,
First, to shew there was not that due regard had as was fit to the preservation of Trade in the time of this late War, other great affaires of the Kingdome (it seemes) not permitting.
Secondly, to give a touch of some of the bad effects it hath since produced.
Thirdly, to offer my opinion, what may best bee done for remedy.
That a due regard was wanting, the destruction of Sheepe, and the exportation of Wooll (the chiefe materiall of this Kingdomes Manufacture) make it plainely appeare.
The badeffects. Divers Artificers or Workmen for want of imployment in this Kingdome embarked themselves for Holland, where setting up Loomes for Broad Cloathes, Perpetuano's and other stuffes, wanted not Masters to set them on work, and are made in such quantities, specially Perpetuano's, that store is sent thence into sundry parts; besides store made, it seemes, else-where: here being letters lately from Legorne, which tell us, that our Perpetuano's in respect of their dearenesse and badnesse of making finde bad vent, the Italian Merchants preferring those before them that are made in Narbon in France, and Alli-cant and Majork in the King of Spaines Dominions. And for our Broad Cloth, our Merchants, Traders to Hamburg and Rotter-dam have not found such bad vent as of late; and to make it the worse, the dearenesse here of Wooll may be a cause, for that they cannot be afforded at such low rates as usually have been, that sort of Wooll, which before the War might have beene bought at or after the rate of 9 d. and 10 d. is now worth 16 and 17 d. per pound.
That Commodities may have the better vent or expence, two things are chiefly necessary: First, the goodnesse, secondly, the cheapnesse: both which properties having beene heretofore found in English Cloth caused it to be so much desired in for-raigne parts, that the people of those parts minded little the making of any other in any considerable quantity, untill that [Page 11] unhappy Project of Sir William Cockain and others, (as is in the Remonstrance set forth fol. 3.) and in the time of this late War (for the reason before said) much increased, and that not a little, by what I heare, viz. that some Broad Clothes made in Holland have been imported, and passed as returned Cloathes for faults, as oftentimes it happeneth Cloathes are for defects not discovered before the sale there, which found, the buyer returns them back to the Seller, and the Seller or Factor sends them over againe, to the end that satisfaction may bee had from the Clothier, of whom they were here bought.
I cannot blame the Officer (whose charge it was or is to take notice of such Returne) in not making a better search, for how could it enter into his breast that Clothes made in a forraigne part should be brought over as Merchandize into this Kingdome? he might thinke it according to our English proverbe, like the sending of Coles to NewCastle: I give the more credit unto it, being informed that the dearenesse of Wooll here, and consequently of Cloth, gave encouragement to some Merchant or Merchants to buy in Holland some English Wooll formerly shipt thither, and reship it for these parts, making entery or passing it in the Customebouse, before the landing, for Spanish or some other sort of Wooll.
Another of the bad effects, and that no small one, is the great decay or consumption of the Coyne of the Kingdome, and that may bee made appeare sundry wayes, I'le onely mention two, viz. the exportation or carrying of it out, and want of Importa-tion for supply.
And first for exportation. The Scots have not drawne a little from us by severall wayes, and some hath been sent into Ireland: And then some Merchants, chiefly in respect of the falling or lownesse of the Exchange caused by the decay of Trade (the like not knowne in many yeares) have exported, it seemes, great store of Gold, much having been exchanged for Silver from 2 d. to 8 d. per pound, and more (as have been told) by the which they have raised good profit, which I could make to appeare, if it were not to give encouragement to some men (that are too greedy after their owne private gaine, not caring [Page 12] in the least how much the Kingdome in generall may suffer by it) to practise the like. And as our Gold Coyne, so our Silver it seemes, hath by such like men been in no little measure transported into the parts beyond Sea, being informed there have been severall summes from 100 l. and under to 500 l. sterling of late knowne paid in Holland at a payment. And so much briefly for exportation.
Secondly, the defect or want of supply by Importation, and they are chiefly likewise two. The first is want of the frequent Returne in forraigne Coyne, and sometime in Bullion by divers Merchants; for part proceed of our Manufactures exported in regard of the then highnesse of the Exchange, which highnesse was principally caused by the amplenesse or largenesse of Trade. Secondly, the want of the King of Spaine or his Contractors, Coyne and Bullion, which was sent from Spaine by our Ships into the Downes, and after, a good part was brought up hither to London, and coyned, and the product partly remitted hence by bills of Exchange for Antwerp, and partly charged thence upon their Factors here, so that the said Coyne and Bullion becomming English, remained among us: Whence, first did arise an Improvement of our Kings Revenew by the Minting or coynage: Secondly, a great addition to the Coyne of the kingdome; Thirdly, a benefit to Merchants in matter of Exchange; Fourthly, a profit to Owners of Ships; and fiftly and lastly, a great helpe or furtherance to the generall Trade of the King-dome: But the case being now altered, the Mint, as at present, so is like for the future to have little to doe; our houshold plate is melted, coyned, and the money wasted: the Merchants bring in none, for the reason before mentioned;
Spaines Contractors dare not send any, for feare of a bad issue of these divisions, and the Armies Souldiers guarding of the Tower, adde unto theirs and other mens feares. And to manifest the feare of the said Contractors sending any hither, I am certainly informed that the value of sixty thousand pounds was lately sent by an English Ship, named the Angell, fromSpaine for Amsterdam, whence it may be easily conveyed in specie, or kind, or made over by Exchange for Flanders. Spaine we heare, and the Estates [Page 13] of the united Provinces are agreed, 'tis confidently beleeved they are, not any hostile Act having of late been offered between them showes it to be so: the agreement for some reason of Estate not yet published: the Hollanders, &c. forbeare therefore yet openly to trade into the Dominions of that King, but so soone as they safely may, 'tis very probable their Ships will bee the Conveyers of Spaines Coyne for the parts of Flanders; and if once a conveyance be practised that way, though these unhappy differences bee amongst us reconciled, not any use to that purpose will be made of our Ships, and that is likely so to be, for I heare from a friend at the penning of this (who came lately out of Zeland) that some of Spaines money was landed at Middleburg brought from Spaine by a ship as hee supposed, of that place. And now againe as this was ready for the presse, we have certaine notice of great store of Bullion and Coyne come from Spaine to Amsterdam sent thither by a Ship or Ships of Hamburg, whence it may easily be, as before said, sent to Flanders, &c.
And now having done with another of the bad effects, partly caused by the decay of Trade, not holding it fit to trouble your Majesty with more, I come to the Remedy or Medicine, wherein I'le be very briefe, consisting of no more then onely one Ingredient, but is so soveraigne and of such efficacy and virtue, that it will give some present ease to the Malady, which done, some other good helpes may bee afterward made use of to give it more, to the restoring it to some measure of strength, but not the least expectation of bringing it to its former vigour, in regard the evill hath not onely taken deepe roote, but is already growne to a great height. And in this the Physitian may be a good patterne for us, who meeting with an incurable disease (as some diseases are in their owne nature) is able by art to make it the more easie to be borne, or when hee findes his Patient by reason of much paine to take no rest, and that much danger threatens, seemeth to neglect the cause of the disease, and insists on that which more urgeth (which is the giving of him ease) lest the disease grow on stronger, or other symptomes forthwith follow more grievous then the disease: Even so it might be best for us to doe that which most urgeth, that [Page 14] is the speedy endeavouring to save the remnant of our Trade, lest worse Symptomes by our remisnesse and delayes, then have yet, befall.
Wee have letters lately from forraigne parts, that say, there is a peace concluded or great hopes thereof in Germany, it must, however, at last so be, it behoves us therefore in the interim to be the more carefull of preserving our Manufactures, for the people in divers places in the Empire having made a notable progresse in making the like, it may be much teared, they may so proceed after a peace is setled, that wee may come totally to lose the vent of all the Species or kinds of our said Manufactures, as we did the vent of our Broad Cloth in Spaine in the time of Queene Elizabeth of famous memory, never to be recovered.
But to the Soveraigne remedy or medicine before mentioned; It is the speedy settlement (as I humbly conceive) of the so much unsetled Estate of this Kingdome according to the knowne Lawes: It is not the abatement of Tunnage and Poundage, as the case now stands with us, will much conduce to the saving or inlarging of Trade, or to the better vent of our Manufactures, it may rather prove of bad consequence, for if wee make an abatement, forraigne Princes and States, which now make little account or esteeme of us: witnesse the Emperour of Muscovia, who hath taken all our Merchants priviledges from them, which may prove the undoing of all our Trade in his Territories.
As also the Gran Signior by his so much adhering to the strange suggestions of Sir Sackvile Crow against our Levant Merchants, which had like to have been the losse of all the Estates they had in his Dominions, which to save, cost no small summe of money, and yet not knowne what the issue may be, notwithstanding what your Majestie hath since done in their behalfe, viz. by sending or dispatching hence of another Ambassadour, and your effectual writing unto the Gran Signior touching that businesse, it shewes however, how sensible your Majestie is and was of their great and unjust sufferings: but as have said, if wee make an abatement of duties upon goods, they in forraigne States may make an Inhaunsment, now that they are fallen into the making of such Manufactures as are [Page 15] here made, the better to advance and put forward the mak ing of their owne, and for other advantages they may make unto themselves thereby. This Remedy or Medicine may make the disease worse, but timely application of the other will doubt esse make it better and more easie, (as have said) to be borne, for then will your Majesties Subjects of all degrees, and in all parts be encouraged to go on with confidence in the usuall wayes of their severall professions and callings, improving that little which they have yet left, which otherwise will inevitably at last be consumed, and the Trade of the Kingdome almost lost, specially in forraigne parts, which being chiefly in Woollen Manufactures, must cease, if the materiall be wanting, which want must follow, if that small remainer of Sheep be consumed, and such a consumption will ensue, together with the Workmasters of the said Manufactures, some of them through want of meanes to subsist with by their usuall labour, here in their native Countrey, will doubtlesse as divers already, as before said, goe and seeks it in forraigne parts, and others staying at home take other bad courses for their support, as is in theRemonstrance set forth, if these distractions still continue. Thus have I as briefly as I could made bold to make knowne unto your Majesty (according to my weake ability) the most materiall of what hath been offered unto me touching this subject, humbly desiring your Majesty would be pleased to make such a favora-ble const [...]uction thereof, as he undoubtedly doth of your earnest and longing desire of a speedy composure of these unhappy diffe-rences and the welfare of your Majesties subjects. That is
I T is the part of every true lover of his Countrey, specially in a time of publick sufferings, to employ his utmost endeavour for the generall good, and not to have the least thought on particular or private ends; then will he have his thoughts much busied about the state and condition of it, which, if finds good, will bee ready, in as much as in him lyeth, so to keepe it; if bad, seeke an amendment, and if danger threaten, indeavour the prevention. Now wee being still in a way of losing our Golden Fleece, the onely life, as it were, of our Manufactures, and consequently of all the considerable part of the Trade of the Kingdome: it behoves us all to recollect and call up all the wisdome and knowledge wee have, and imploy the same to the prevention of so great, so irreparable a losse. To which end or purpose I have taken the boldnesse to addresse my selfe unto His Majestie the head of our Body politique, as in the first place I was and am in duty bound; shewing the cause, some of the bad effects, and remedy of the melady, of the which find His Majestie [Page 17] very sensible (O that wee his Subjects were the like) as also very ready to doe whatsoever in reason may be expected from a Gracious King.
And now I addresse my selfe unto you all, being members of the same Body politique, and the matter of equall concernment to both King and People, humbly desiring, that as His Majesty on His part, so you would on yours be sensible of the sufferings of Trade, and as He, so you would also be ready to joyne togther in a way of timely prevention of such further mischiefs, as by decay of our Manufactures, may befall it, that your Children and all future Ages which shall succeed, may not have the least cause of complaint against you for any remisnesse or neglect of or in a worke of such high concernment to the Commonwealth. Which if, they will be ready to say, what a kind of men were our Forefathers?
The King was willing and ready, but they not, and so blame them for the nondischarging of their duty to their Countrey, condemne them for their great ingratitude both to King and Kingdome, and lastly cry out, O that wee never had had our being from such Ancestors!
I need not in this place trouble you with repetition of any particulars mentioned in the Letter to His Majestie, but referre you to the same, of the which it is my earnest desire you will [...] take a view, as likewise of the ensuing discourse of the excellency of our Wooll in the improvement by or in our Manufactures. Of all which, and of what is here said, that a benigne construction may bee made, it is the humble desire of Him that is a true lo-ver of all good men, and a hearty welwisher of the welfare of this poore distressed Kingdome; and to that end hee heartily prayeth for the removall of all feares and jealousies, a totall forgetfulnesse of all errours and misunderstandings on all sides, an unfained reconciliation of all differences between King and People, as also between Subject and Subject, and a speedy setling of a firme and lasting peace; which ought, or rather is and still will be the prayer of all good men, as it is againe and a-gaine of Him, that is His Majesties humble and loyall Subject, and the Kingdomes cordiall Servant,
HAving this lying by me ready for the Presse came His Majesties Gracious Message from the Isle of Wight, dated Novembr. 16. of the which all impartiall and unbiased men take speciall notice, still declaring His earnest and longing desire of a speedy settlement of these unhappy differences, well knowing that the continuance will on all sides be destructive to the well being of this Kingdome, espe-cially unto Trade.
'Tis not very improbable, notwithstanding His deepe insight in matters of Estate, which are so obscure and intricate, that 'tis impossible for the wisest Statesman on earth of himselfe, yea I may say hundreds of Statesmen joyned together, to foresee and know all the mischiefes which occurre and happen in an Estate or may befall it, without the helpe and information of others, but more especially of or from such men, that have either a present sense thereof in their owne particular, or in regard of their Negotiations at home or abroad in forraigne parts: besides His Majestie neither hath been, nor is in such a capacitie or condition as formerly, to receive such intelligence as was or is fit for the prevention of such evills as may befall anEstate.
'Tis not (I say) improbable but that small information, which His Majestie had from mee by my weak [...] pen (without vaineglory bee it said) shewing not onely the great sufferings of this Kingdomes Trade by the present decay of our Woollen Manufactures, but also the danger of losing hereafter the totall vent of all or most of them in forraigne parts, might bee some motive unto Him so speedily to send unto the two Houses of Parliament so gracious a Message, though His Majestie, indeed needs not the least quickning to the effecting of any thing which He conceives may conduce to the welfare of His subjects; but whether or no that which was made knowne unto Him by me was any mo- [Page 19]tive unto Him; His Majestie being, as have said, very ready to afford His assistance to the good of Trade, and to the rectifying of what else is amisse, mee thinkes you should (the sad condition not onely of Trade, but all things else considered) forthwith joyne with Him. And I beleeve that you of the two Honorable Houses of Parliament, as also divers of you of the Army, with many more of His Majesties Subjects, are very inclinable so to doe, but that some feare of future safety (as I conceive) of the which is neare and deare unto you, possesseth you in regard of the bad effects, farre beyond your expectation or the least of your thoughts, which the wayes you have taken to rectifie, what before this Parliament was amisse, have produced.
But admit you should run some hazard of losse, the ancient Romans may be a good president for you to follow, Their Histories tell us, they wa [...]ed all private interest for the publique good, not any thing was so neare and deare unto them, so great was their respect and love unto their Countrey, having stillin their thoughts, non nobis navi [...] sumus.
But be assured you have no just cause of any such feare, as you may fancy unto your selves, 'tis true indeed the disaffections of many men one unto another are very great, in regard of their mani-fold sufferings by adhering to this or that side, but not the least doubt, but that His Majestie would first on His part be unfaignedly reconciled with you, He hath often declared it, and then would be so forward and carefull as could be desired to reunite the so much disunited affections of His subjects, and no doubt but would take effect: All men (except such as have their subsistence by divisions) greedily thirsting after a quiet settlement of these unhappy differences, and that an inviolable peace may follow, so hatefull now unto them are differences and dissentions, whence their sufferings have been so great; and right well know, that the continuance would make them at last so insufferable, that they should be enforced into a desperate condition, and not care in the end how or in what manner they might free themselves.
But I have done, onely desire I may first have leave to adde that which followes, though perhaps it may at first sight bee [Page 20] thought by some impertinent to Trade, yet if well weighed, it may be judged otherwise, hope however it will not give offence. And that is in point of this Kingdomes Honour in the person of the King, which by the Lawes of God and man we are all bound to maintaine. If the King (the life as it were or fountaine of Honour) lose His due respect, disrespect on all sides will follow, viz. to the Nobilitie, Gentry, Magistrates, and to all men in authoritie, and command, even to masters of private families, and Commanders or masters of Ships, it is already too too apparent, wee have the sad experience of it not onely at home but also abroad in forraigne parts.
Secondly, if Honour be taken from the King, it's taken from His hopefull Progeny, the like Kingly Issue not knowne at this day on earth, so that the Blood Royall of England in times past so famous and so highly esteemed both at home and abroad, will come to lose its re-spect, and at last become so contemptible, that not any Prince of worth will match with us, but if by us kept up and maintained in its ancient repute and esteeme, the greatest Prince or Princes in Christendome will bee ready to match with us, which may prove many wayes very advantagious to the Crowne of England.
Hereunto is annexed a Discourse of the improvement of Wooll in our Manufactures, which may well deserve the notice of all His Majesties Subjects in generall.
THat if I should say our Wooll was so rich a Jewell before the late War, being as it were the Basis or foun-dation upon which the Frame of Englands Trade did stand: and that it exceeds in worth the Spanish Silver Mines in West India, and that Spaine might farre better want those Mines, then England could Wooll, I should not say amisse; for that Spaine without the Silver issuing from the said Mines would be able to draw Trade unto it from forraigne Parts, in respect of the native fruits or commodities it affords, which England, if Wool be wanting, could not in any considerable measure doe. It is not its Lead, Tin, and Coales would doe it: these three would beget very little Trade, and consequently little employment. And that it is such aJewell, as I say, or of so much worth unto this Kingdome, may bee demonstrated, partly by the imployment of people in and about the Manufa-ctures: And partly by the Improvement by or in its Manu-factures.
And first for Employment. The Spanish West India Mines were not in a manner comparable unto i [...] by many degrees, it may bee rather said, there could be no reasonable comparison between them, for admit that in the Mines are or were fiftie thousand men employed: they are of the meanest sort of man-kind, most of them Negro's brought as Merchandize out of the parts of Africa into India, Heathens, unlesse since their comming thither converted to Christianity: poore contemptible Slaves, subject to the Arbitrary power and wil of a harsh master, inforced and kept out of their native Countrey, and no hope of return, bereaved of all the comforts of life, unlesse such as are in a manner common with brute beasts. Thus much for the number and condition of most of the people in that imployment.
And now for the Employment in or about our Manufactures; And first to make an estimateof the number of our people that were employed about our said Manufactures, as some in pre-paring or fitting the Wooll for the Kembers or carding of it, others in Kembing, others in spinning, and some in Knitting, Weaving, Tucking, Carrying, &c. me thinkes the number could not be so few or so little as a Million throughout the whole kingdome and Dominion of Wales: the which to make more probable, there were many Clothiers, each one giving employment to 500. persons, and others gave more: As for or to the condition of the people I need not say much, it is sufficiently knowne unto us, they live amongst us: they were of both Sexes, men and women, and of all ages, from Childhood to decrepit Old age capable of worke, the greatest part of the poorer sort, yet lived comfortably by their labour.
I might adde unto this Employment of the poorer sort, another arising or proceeding from our Manufactures, & that was by sundry materialls imported in returne of the proceed of the said Manufactures exported, by meanes whereof many thousands of other sorts of poore people in this Kingdome were daily likewise set on worke, and got thereby their livelihood, but what hath been already said may sufficice to shew the Excellency of our Golden Fleece touching matter of Imployment and that about our Manufactures, as more properly and more directly arising from Wooll it selfe in its owne nature.
Secondly, for the improvement of Wooll, it may briefely bee made to appeare by foure of our Manufactures; for what may be said of them, may of the rest; and these transported white, as they are bought of the Clothier, not medling with Dying and Dressing, though both these adde unto the Improvement, viz.
- A Saye sent to Naples.
- A Perpetuano Ell broad to Dantzigk.
- A Colchester double Bay, commonly called a hundred Bay, sent to Spaine.
- A Broad long Cloth sent to Hamburg.
But before I come to shew the Improvement of it in or by the [Page 23] said particulars, I thinke not amisse first to goe on with what I have more to say touching our Manufactures thence arising, and concerning the aforesaid mines, as in relation th'one to the other in regard of their Excellency in matter of Trade and otherwise, and hope to show so much worth in our Woollen Manufactures, that with the Imployment it affordeth as aforesaid, may bee very fitly compared not onely to the Silver proceeding from the said Mines, but also unto Spaines whole West India Trade, or rather to exceed it: And the better to make good what I say, it will not bee much impertinent to this discourse, to shew what Silver is, though knowne to most men.
It is no other thing then a Minerall digged out of the bowels of the earth, as Lead and Tin, exceeding all other metalls (except Gold) in purenesse and finenesse; and thus much briefly of the nature of it. Now in regard of its purenesse or finenesse (as before said) it gained such credit at first in most parts of the world, where Trade was, that the people were then willing to receive it, as since, and still men are, in exchange of any or all other Commodities: so that it cannot bee accounted any thing else then a Species or kind of Merchandize, but the chiefest indeed and most generall of all, Gold excepted, drawing all things necessary for mans use unto it, where it was known, and was and is fit it should so be, partly in respect of its portablenesse or carriage when divided by the coynage into small parts or parcells, that men might have it ready, as well for small as great disbursments or payments for such things as they should have need of to exchange it for, and partly when in a time of scarsitie or want of a Commoditie in one Countrey, and that that Countrey had not any other to exchange for what was wanting but Silver or money made thereof. As for other uses of Silver, as Plate for the Table, &c. needlesse to say any thing: And thus much for the use of Silver or money made of it.
And now I come to th'other most generall Species of Merchandize, viz. our late Woollen Manufactures, and that in this place as b [...] iefly as may bee, for that I shall inlarge my selfe when I come to the Improvement. It might well indeed have beene accounted and termed the second generall and chiefe Spe- [Page 24] cies of Merchandize in the whole Universe in the time of King James and of this our most Gracious Soveraign King Charles till of late yeares. Our Woollen Manufactures, having those times gained such credit, and so desired in all forraign parts, where we traded, that wee could not want any thing in exchange of them, returning home all other sorts of Merchandize of the growth and Manufactures of forraigne parts here in use, and was the cause of the Imployment of more Ships here in one yeare, then Spaines whole Trade to and in India in ten.
A considerable quantity of our said Manufactures were yeerely sent from Spaine by the Spaniards to India, which being there sold or exchanged for Silver and other India commodities, the said Silver & commodities were sent in returne of or for them: The truth is that our Manufactures gave such a quickning and life to that Trade, that without them it was very dull and languished not a little And notwithstanding the great quantities of our said Manufactures, which were exported into forraigne parts, yet wee were alwayes well furnished with the like at home for our own use, so that those exported were superfluous and could well be spared: Spaine could not say, it was so with the Silver it hath or had yeerely home out of India, for before the yeere came about, little was left even in their best and richest Cities.
As for the Countrey, a man might travell to many Villages and meet not with a peece of 8 ryalls, which is the value of 4 s. 4 d. Sterling, or our money, but of Copper coyne, indeed, there's good store, and that must serve in stead of Silver and Gold. Now to make any reasonable estimate of the value or what summe of money the Manufactures of this Kingdome might or did yearely amount unto, not onely of those sent abroad, but also of those spent at home, is not possible, but that it was to a very great value not the least doubt, the great Trade driven therwith within this Kingdome and Dominion of Wales for their owne use, and the great quantities exported into forraigne parts, giving hundreds of Ships imployment to and againe, bore sufficient testimony: so that it may be thought, they equalled the value, if not exceeded all the Silver, Gold, and all other Commodities imported out of India into Spaine in one yeare, [Page 25] which might be estimated to import the value of 4 or 5 Millions of pounds of our English money, by the which may be gathered in how great measure His Majesties Subjects in generall in one kind or other were benefitted by the Trade arising from the said Manufactures.
To the which may be added the great benefit other Kingdomes and States had thereby, partly in matter of duties paid unto them upon or by the same, as also upon such commodities as wee had from them in returne of the Proceed, amongst which, chiefly Spaine, for the great duties paid there, a very great increase of that Kings Revenue. And partly in matter of Trade not onely at home among themselves, and their neighbouring countries, but also into others farre more remote: as for example: The Gran Signior or Great Turkes Subjects in Constantinople & Aleppo send a good part of the Clothes they buy there of our Levant or Turkey Merchants into divers parts of this Dominions many hundreds of miles distant thence.
The Spaniards carry great store, (as have said) into West India. The Portuguezes or Portugall Merchants into East India, some, but more to Brazil, and other parts belonging to the Crowne of Portugall. The Hollanders and Hamburgers into Russia, as also into parts within the Baltick Sea and sundry other Countries, notwithstanding the Trade we have our selves in most of those parts with the like Manufactures. I could inlarge my self much in shewing the great benefit they further have by our said Manufactures, but this may suffice. And now I come to the Improvement of Wooll in our Manufactures by the foure particulars before mentioned.
And first for the Say (a sort commonly called a Hundscot Say) contayning in length 24. yards or thereabout, and might weigh 13. pound, to the making whereof might so much Wooll bee spent as stood in or cost the Clothier 17 s. and was sold to the Merchant in those times, I meane, before the warre, for 52 s. which shipt for Naples and the proceed returned in Naples throwne Silk, (a good returne for the setting of the poore on worke,) came to be sold here by the Merchant for a matter of 4 l. 7 s. 6 d.
Secondly, the Perpetuano Cont. in length 23. yards and might[Page 26] weigh 16. pound, the Wooll for its making might stand the Clothier in 21 s. and was sold by the Merchant for 62 s. which sent to Dantzigk, and the proceed returned in the best Flax (a good returne likewise to set the poore on worke) came to bee sold by the Merchant for a matter of 5 l.
Thirdly, the Baye cont. Flemish Elis 52. each Ell being 1/ [...] of a yard English measure (for by the Flemish Ell Bayes are sold by the Clothier) and might weigh 38. pound; the Wooll for its making might cost the Clothier 35 s. and was sold to the Merchant at 2 s. per Ell, is 5 l. 4 s. which sent for the parts of Spain, and the proceed returned in Oyle, Leakage deducted, came to bee sold by the Merchant for 9 l. 6 s. 8 d.
Fourthly, the Cloth cont. in length 32. yards, and might weigh 76. pound, so much Wooll for its making might be spent as cost the Clothier 4 l. and was sold to the Merchant for 12 l. which sent to Hamburg, and the proceed returned in Steele came to be sold for 15 l.
A further proofe of the Improvement might be made in another of our Manufactures, viz. a paire of white Worstead knit Stockings for a man, to the making whereof might be spent so much Wooll as cost 6 d. and sold by the maker or knitter for 4 s. But what have said of th'other 4 particulars may suffice to shew the Excellency of it, viz. Wooll by the improvement in our Manufactures.
Now here being a great Advance or Improvement raised from Wooll the materiall of our said Manufactures, beside what was gained by the first owner of the Wooll, or Wooll Grower, viz.
- From 17 s. Which the Wooll of the Say cost to 52 s. the Clothiers price, and after to 4 l. 7 s. 6 d. the Merchants price of the returne for proceed.
- From s 21 Which the Wooll of the Perpetuano cost to 62 s. the Clothiers price, and after to 5 l. the Merchants price of the proceed
- [Page 27]From 35 s. Which the Wooll of the Baye cost to 5 l. 4 s. the Clothiers price, and then to 9 l. 6 s. 8 d. the Merchants price of the re-turne of the Proceed.
- From 4l. Which the Wooll of the Broad Cloth cost to 12 l. the Clothiers price, and then to 15 l. the Merchants price of the Proceed.
It will be thought, the Clothiers and Merchants Gaines were not a littie, specially the Merchants, to which answer. And first for that of the Clothier, who, if he gained clearely a matter of 2 s. by a Saye of the price of 52 s. thought it well, the rest of the money went among the Workefolk, which were many, some of their payment being no more then from 2 d. to 6 d. for a dayes worke: A small gaine for the Clothier it may be thought indeed to be no more then 2 s. in 50.
And so the gaine unto other Clothiers may bee judged to bee thereabout arising unto them from other Manufactures in such a proportion as was answerable to the value or price of their Manufactures: as if a long Cloth of 32. yards might bee sold to the Merchant for 10 l. which being 4 times the value of the Saye this Gaine might be 4 times so much, as that of the Saye, viz. 8 s. and sometime lesse according as the market rul'd.
Secondly, the Merchants Gaine, it was then so little, and is now lesse then it may be made appeare for some yeares past, most of them have not gained by their Trade one time with another 10 per Centum per Annum: and for the most part raise their Gaine by their Commodities exported, and lose by what is imported, but this indeed more particularly by that Company or Fellowship, commonly called by the name of Merchant Adventurers. That Trade is certainly best for the Kingdome, by which the Gaine ariseth from what is exported, and losse by what is imported. So that this great advance of or from the materiall Wooll commeth to arise; first from the Manufacture or making: & secondly, from sundry sorts of charges or duties, whence that duty of Tunnage & Poundage, commonly called Cu[Page 28]stome was much improved, Trade increased, Ships imployed, and all His Majesties Subjects of all professions in one kind or other were bettered or profited by it.
And now having done with this discourse, leave it unto rationall and knowing men to judge of what excellency our Wooll was in its Manufactures before the late Warre, and well weighing what have said thereof, suppose it will be concluded that it farre exceeded all Spaines Silver mines in West India, as also all other commodities usually imported into Spaine out of that vast part of the world; well may I terme it so, being judged to be the fourth part of the whole, though a very great part not inhabited, at least not by Christians.
O that wee had been so provident before this Kingdome was so unhappily engaged in a War, as to have looked back to the times of King James of famous memory, and before the said War to these of our most pious and prudent King Charles, we should have seene what a flourishing Estate the Trade of this Kingdome, to the inriching of many thousands was brought unto, to what it was in former times, when hardly a Merchants Ship of the burthen of 150. Tuns was to be had, and since are many from the said burthen of 150 to 600 Tuns, and some greater: an undoubted signe of the great increase of Trade, and no little addition to the strength of the Kingdome, for the which, wee have no little cause, not onely to remember but also highly to commend the great wisdome and care of these two most worthy Princes: but in stead thereof, there want not some malignant and most unworthy spirits among us, that are ready to cast foule aspersions upon them, traduce their government, blast their best actions, and desire rather a perpetuall oblivion, then a thankfull remembrance of their majestie.
O most transcendent and monstrous ingratitude both to God and man! To God, in not acknowledging his goodnesse in bestowing on us such great blessings. To man, for remunerating or returning so much evill forto much good. Surely, me thinkes, if we as Tradesmen, before we were ingaged, as I say, in a War, had had the least thought of decay onely of Trade, and had not looke further into the many more dismall calamities (of the which we have [Page 29] already more then a bitter taste) that would certainly befal this kingdome by a civil War, it would or might have been motive sufficient unto us to have employed our utmost endeavors for its preservation, but (alas) most of us, like men demented, or bereaved of their wits, run a quite contrary course, wee did what in us lay to further and hasten its destruction, and to that end we could not be at quiet or at rest, till wee were quit of our monies, and redouble our diligence in and about the speedy advancing of that which would undoubtedly bee its bane, and expose the kingdome to the hazard of utter ruine.
The Author having done with this discourse assumes the boldnesse to adventure on a few lines of Poetry, which though it be out of a Merchants Road, and may perhaps be thought by some not to become this subject, hope, never the lesse, it will admit a candid construction, the intention being good, though in the manner or way of expression there may be failing.
HEre are now Letters out of the parts of Italy advising the nonsending of any more of our W [...]llen Manufactures, for that those of the like kind made in other Countries and sent thither, are not onely better but cheaper. But some perhaps will object, that though for present wee lose the vent of our Manufactures, wee may hereafter regaine it, and that when Wooll comes to be had at such low rates as formerly, which when that will be God knowes: Let not such men flatteringly satisfi themselves with so vaine a hope, but remember what hath been said of the losse of the totall vent of our broad Cloth in Spaine in the time of Queene Elizabeth, and what hath been further mentioned of the late great increase of Woollen Manufactures elsewhere, to the great decay of the vent of Ours, and the no little impoverishing of the stock of the Kingdome.
Some things, indeed, if not totally lost, are recoverable; but would be a peere of the greatest indiseretion to expose a thing of such high concernment (as have said) to the Commonwealth to the hazard of losse, when there may bee wayes of prevention. And withall consider that when one State hath got a thing from another to it selfe, which is or may be advantageous unto it, it will use all the meanes possible to keepe and advance it: I need not send you further off then our owne home for a president, you may please to turne backe to Folio 5. in the Remonstrance, and you shall finde what this State did in King Edward the thirds time to get the Manufacture of Broad Cloth from Flanders, and what was afterward done to keepe it here in this kingdome. Besides People in these times are more knowing in matters concerning Trade, and have better meanes to improve them to more advantage then in former times: many things which in former ages lay hidden and not thought upon, have beene discovered in these latter, and more will be in the future; mans braine is still a working.
PAge 9 line 20. read may say, p. 11. l. 20. r. entry, p. 19. l. 9. r. that, l. 15. waved,
p. 24. l. 3. r. in those, p. 26. l. 32. r. 21 s. p. 27. l. 25. r. lesse, that, p. 30. l. 12. r. the.