Of a free trade. A discourse seriously recommending to our nation the wonderfull benefits of trade, especially of a rightly governed, and ordered trade. Setting forth also most clearly, the relative nature, degrees, and qualifications of libertie, which is ever to be inlarged, or restrained according to that good, which it relates to, as that is more, or lesse ample.
Parker, Henry, 1604-1652.
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Of a Free Trade A DISCOURSE Seriously Recommending to our Nation the wonderfull benefits of TRADE, especially of a rightly Governed, and Ordered Trade.

Setting forth also most clearly, The Relative Nature, Degrees, and Qualifica∣tions of LIBERTIE, Which is ever to be inlarged, or restrained accor∣ding to that Good, which it Relates to, as that is more, or lesse ample.

Written by HENRY PARKER Esquire.

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.
Doing all things thou doest none:
Businesse too vast makes thee a Drone.

LONDON: Printed by Fr: Neile for Robert Bostock, dwelling in Pauls Church-yard, at the Signe of the King's Head. 1648.

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TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFULL JOHN KENRICK Alderman of LONDON, Governour of the Merchant Adventurers of ENGLAND. TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFULL ISAAC LEE, Deputy of the said Company of Merchant Ad∣venturers residing at Hamburgh. To all other Deputies, Assistants and Members of the said Famous Company.

Worthy Gentlemen:

IF in this brief Argument (which here treats of your Charters, and maintains your priviledges) there be any thing beseem∣ing an Advocate of yours: I desire the intire advantage thereof may redound solely to your selves. For indeed the Merit of your Cause is such, as would require an able Orator: and when I first applyed my self to serve you herein, I perceived your inter∣est was the same as the Common interest of all Merchants, and that could have no termination, but in the common interest of our Nation: But if there appear any Error, or Fayler in these papers: if the workmanship be found too unworthy of the stuffe: I shall then desire of all my Readers, that the blame may be onely mine: and that none but my self may suffer the least disadvantage by my defects, and disabilities. I am certain all wise, impar∣tial Judges will distinguish betwixt that which is mine in this weak peece, and that which is yours: and if they cast some disdain upon me for not Page  [unnumbered] pleading your cause, as I might: they will not proceed to a condemnation of your cause, for being no better pleaded here then it is.

In Queen Elizabeths dayes a Tract to this very purpose was Printed by Mr. Wheeler (a learned Gent: that preceded me in this place) were that Tract now re-printed, perhaps our Times would be better satisfied in this Case. It came not to my fight, till after I had formed the lump of this, and given it all those rude lineaments almost, which it now bears: and I was induced then to persist in my resolution of finishing this, and not of retroce∣ding; the rather; because I saw my stile and method varied much from his: because, the face of the times (which has great influence upon the State and fate of Merchandize) was not the same when He wrote, as it is now:, because, his Tract was in bulk more then twice, as great as mine; because, He might give some light to me in some things, and I adde some to Him in other things; and so both might be more effectuall for the ends proposed by both, then either: because, if He was more satisfactory in matters of this particular Company, I had some thoughts in my self, that I was more proper for the affairs of Merchants in generall. These reasons kept from abortion this Essay of mine at that time: but for how long a space it was repreived, I cannot prognosticate: nor do I much regard how soon its fatall houre ap∣proaches, so the businesse which it aymed at may survive, and prosper. Gen∣tlemen, my reputation in this case must run some hazard, and stand or fall, as the vogue of this age pleases: yet my intention is to be judged of onely by you; wherefore let that onely finde your fair acceptation, and favourable construction, and that shall be a sufficient encouragement to

Hamb: Decemb. 30. 1647.

Your Worships obliged, faithfull Servant,


Page  1


MAN is taught by the rules of Wisdom to begin at the End of his Actions, and to give the first place in his intention, to that which is to have the last in Execu∣tion. Now the end of this discourse is improvement of Trade; and it being a thing of late much controverted by di∣vers; whether Freedome in Trading be a proper means, or no, to improve Trade: These two Termes (Freedome and Trade) must be the subject matter of this Discourse. As for Trade the word is plain, and needs no explanation: and the thing is as obvious to every mans understanding, and so needs no definition. I will therefore premise something very briefly concerning the value, and importance of Trade, that my end here aymed at, to which my intention must needs give the precedence, may not seem in∣considerable to any: and then cursorily from my first Terme, I shall addresse my self to my second.

My Lord Cook in his Commentary upon our Great Charter (where the Merchants contentment is so prudently provided for) tels us, that Traffick is the Merchants livelihood, and that the livelihood of the Merchant is the life of the Common-weal, such as the King himself, and every Subject of the Land has an interest in. He observes also that the Merchant is the good Bay∣liffe of the Realme, aswell to export Native, as to import forrain Commodities for the benefit and necessary defence of the same. This Politick Argonante in Law amongst matters of Law, thinks it no extravagance to deliver his judgement of matters in Trade; and if we rightly analyse his judgement herein, we shall finde, Page  2 that not a word of it falls to the earth without its due weight. The Merchant indeed has a great dependance upon him both of Land and Water men, and is often commander of great summes of ready mony (greater then other men commonly though better landed, and estated can raise upon suddaine, pub∣lick exigences) and so even in his gowne at home he is a proffit∣able member of the Commonwealth: but look upon him in his imployment serving the State by his traffick, and so he is more then profitable, He is necessary to the well beeing, nay to the beeing of the State. Those things which he exports conduce perhaps more to profi, and things imported to securance: yet tis well intimated here that both exportation, and importation do conduce to both. Native Commodities more immediatly afford us Treasure: yet Treasure is as well firmamentum belli, as ornamentum pacis: and forrain commodities more usually are ma∣terialls for Shipping, Armes, supplyes in times of dearth, and distresse, &c. yet somtimes we retayle the same to strangers for gaine, and thereby convert them into ornaments of peace, as well as instruments of defence. How prodigiously did Antwerpe formerly in a very few yeares aggrandize it selfe? and what an excesse of splendor has Amsterdam attaynd to since? yet (for ought I know) Nature has bestowde no more previledge upon those two Townes whereby to advance themselves with such facility: then it has upon Bristoll, & Newcastle amongst us. Sure then, the Hollander and Fleming may infuse this secret into us from that wonderous degree of opulence, and pompe, which both by Trade have ascended unto▪ that importation of exotick commodities, if subtilly managed, may become as great an im∣provement, as exportation is to other It is visible in the Hol∣lander that the mines of Perne are as serviceable to Him, as to the poore Iudian, that diggs in them that the F••…rs of Russiia are e∣qually parted betwixt Him and the Muscovite: that the plaines of Cots-would, and Lemster do as well graze his sheepe, as they do the Englishman▪ And there was a time when the Antwer∣pian might have boasted as truly, that Arabia was his grdine, that Spayne was his Orchard, that Norway was his Forrest. That City (tis true) which abounds with commodities of its own, has an easier, & shorter way to prosperity then that City which Page  3 is de••itate of the like helps, and opportunities, and yet experi∣ence discovers daily to us, that some Cities which have little of their own, being industrious, slowe with more abundance, and swim in greater supefluity; then some other sloathfull Cities, that naturally want nothing. Hence is the difference betwixt the Merchant and the Husbandman, the Husbandmans thrift is in vendendo, not emendo as old Cato tells him: But the Merchant has found out a way, how he may be emax, and vendax in the same thing, and often times the retaylor findes the second sale more beneficiall to Him, then the first was to the Proprietor. Nay even the more unusefull Crawmarys of Nrinburgh though they argue no thrift in them, that buy them at last hand, yet they also are no contemptible mines of Gold and silver to those which make, or buy them for a second utterance. Furthermore, if from Merchandize it selfe, and these good Bayliffes of the Realme, which so actively purvey in all parts of the world habi∣table, and uninhabitable for Treasure, armes, and all other things, that partain to pleasure, health, and necessity: if from them, we turn to the instruments, of their negotiations our Ships, the wooden walls, and fortification of our State, of what re∣spect ought these to be? Even these (under God) in times of Peace prevent War: in times of War procure Peace: in times of plenty they releive our Friends abroad, in times of dearth they releive us at home. For examples, tis losse of time to offer any in this argument, every man can tell how stupendiously Tyre, Sydon, &c. of old, and Ʋenice, Belgia and other latter Signioryes have flourisht since by the gaines of Merchandize, whilst their puissance, and magnificence has been more raised, and propaga∣ted by the Merchant, then either by the Husbandman, souldier, or Scholler. Tis admirable to see what vast revenues are pur∣chast by some Nations (especially where Democracy takes place) out of meere commerce; and how far other Nations in the mean time (especially such as are swayde by Monarchs) though more commodiously situated, and advantagiously qualified o∣therwise do neglect the same. The reason hereof may be, be∣cause in popular States the Merchant usually has more share in administration of publick affaires: whereas in Monarchies, those that have the charge of the rudder, have commonly little Page  4 insight into Trade, and as little regard of Traders. Howsoever either some singular happinesse has hitherto attended Spaine, and Portugal, or else doubtlesse the feats of Merchandice have been in more then ordinary esteeme with their Kings: for both these have not onely inriched their own homes by Sea adventures, but also acquired thereby greater Dominions then their own. For indeed besides those purchases which have been made in the East Indies, we see in Mexico, and Peru, there is a new Hemisphere ad∣joyned now to that old half world, which the Assyrians, Persians, Grecians, Romans with so much sweat, and blood laboured to subjugate heretofore. And if the Sun find no degree in all his circuit, where He can obscure himself from the Crown of Spaines Subjects; the thanks thereof is due to the Art of an old Naviga∣tor: and probably had Hen: 7. given as much credit to Columbus as Ferdinand did, either the Austrian Family had not spread its wings so wide, or the Kings of England had not been so closely intrenched within the foure British Seas, as now they are. But I purposely wave the ostentation of many, and great instances, and therefore the whole weight of this Argument shall onely be hung upon the single epitome (as it were) of this pety jurisdicti∣on here, wherein we now reside.

All the Land-intradoes, which tillage or pasturage yeelds to this Town of Hamburgh are not much more considerable then some Gentlemen and Esquires inherit in England; yet the wilde Ocean, as these restlesse Copemen plow it with their Fleetes, and harrow it with their nets; (though they creep into that too through a River, not wholly at their command) is forced to pay them as great a Tribute, and ample a rent as three the richest and goodliest Counties of England are annually worth. Never∣thelesse England more abounding with all habiliments, and ne∣cessary accommodations of Trade, and seeming to be as much courted by the circumambient Sea, as any part of the Universe, for want of incouragement to her Merchants at home, and Plan∣tators abroad owes little of her grandour, and power to that Element. Forrein Nations easily become greater gainers by tra∣ding into England, then the English can by trading abroad: 'tis too probable, that forrein Merchants reserve an intire gain to themselves out of all their own▪ Commodities brought in hither: Page  5 yet share a half profit with us, in all our Commodities exported hence by them. And thus whilest we leave many benefits to our emulous hostile neighbours, which by the same industry (as they commendably use) might by us be anticipated to our own be∣hoof; our own supine sluggishnesse is the cause that we remain so much the weaker, and our Enemies become so much the stronger. Thus much of the advantages of traffick; thus much of the necessity of that noble profession, which teaches us to be the curious, & laborious marriners of all the worlds Oceans, Straits, and Creeks; if we have any desire to be more formidable to our Enemies, or more aidfull to our Friends, or more gainfull to our selves, this may be held sufficient.

From the benefit, I come now to the Freedom of Trade: I mean, that particular degree of freedom, which is at this day pleaded for, and patroniz'd by some, that professe themselves no un∣friends to Trade. Herein this method shall conduct me: In the first place, I shall inquire, whether that Freedom, which is affect∣ed by these times can stand with due order, and discipline, or not: secondly, whether Trade probably can flourish, or not, without due order and discipline: and in the last place, I shall answer such Arguments, as are framed for liberty, and do militate against our Order and Discipline.

Liberty in a right acception, and understanding, is that which delivers, and exempts us from some evill noxious, and offensive to us; such as is oppression, too much restraint, &c. but it includes not any wilde condition, such as leaves us loosly in all things to our own discretion. That famous Roman, that had the happines to set Greece (in that age the Eye of the world) at liberty, and did break in sunder the yoke of Macedon, when He saw in the people too much wantonnesse, and immoderation, He advised them to more continencie, and to retire into narrower bounds; Vt saltem meram libertatem non haurirent. Herein he seemed wisely to distinguish betwixt that sheere, unmixt freedom, which uses to intoxicate us, and to bring detriment, and danger with it; and that allayed, or mixt freedom, which God, and Nature have made so sweet to all Generous mindes: whose property it is ever, to set restraints to it self in some things, as well as to take re∣straints Page  6 off from us in other. In politicks, there are Free Mo∣narchs, and there are Free Subjects: and the freedom of Mo∣narchs is not incompatible with the freedom of Subjects: for nei∣ther is it necessary to the freedom of a Prince, that He should be unlimitable in all things, and beyond controll as well when He destroys, as when He saves: nor to the freedome of a Subject to live absolved from all Laws, and obedience. Without all questi∣on, He is the freest Prince that has the most power to do good, and the least to do harm: and He is the freest Subject, who is to pay his obedience to the mildest Laws, and indulgentest Magi∣strates. So in Ethicks: He injoyes the purest and most refined free∣dome in his own breast, which has the least furious passion to serve, and the least impetuous appetite to master; not He that is becalmed, as it were, and finds no mobility at all in his spirit. The variovs Luminaries in Heaven have their distinct magni∣tudes, motions, and stations: and the blessed Intelligences in the Heaven of heavens (nay even those spirits that are falne from blessednesse) retain severall distances of power, place, and office. All these things prove to us, that restraint, and liberty, are rela∣tive things, and not to be accounted simply good, or simply bad in themselves. When restraint deprives us of that good which is in temperate liberty it degenerates into oppression: when it onely saves to us that good, which is in harmonious order, it is fully answerable to Liberty. So liberty when it onely discharges us from that evill, which is in oppression, it approaches to the perfection of Order: but when it dissolves all Order, it precipi∣tates us headlong into confusion.

Liberty is either intensive, or extensive, and both wayes it must be reduced to a just standart: for if it be in degree too void of temperature, and qualification the ruder sediment of the people cannot bear it, it strangely inebriates them: and if the degree of it be moderate, yet the dilatation of it to too many makes it in∣commodious. There are two vitious extreames in government; the one is rigorous, and makes nothing lawfull, or safe to any: the other is remisse, and leaves all things free and safe to all: now by the consent of all; that extreame, which straitens too much, is not so desperately ill, as that which inlarges too much. The reason is, because those which govern are fewer in number then Page  7 the governed: and therefore clashing, and confusion (which must needs inevitably follow, where all limits, and restraints are taken away) is lesse dammageable amongst a few, then it would be amongst many.

Liberty therefore may well be compared to fresh waters, it is potable, and sweet whilst it endures a just confinement in the vaines and channells of the earth. But when it once refundes it selfe into the bosome of the briny Ocean, it retaynes no longer its former rellih. And even so we must censure of Liberty by the last, whilest it produces good effects it remains Liberty, the name and thing agree well: but when it supplyes to us no good at all, or bereaves us of some good greater then it supplyes, it remaines no more then the shadow, or meere misnomer of Liber∣ty. Exempli gratiâ: If all Land-inclosures were every where layde open, and all evidences cancelled, upon which mens pri∣vate interests, and proprieties depend, many poore men would expect to have their conditions meliorated; yet undoubtedly their expectations at last would faile them; and together with community in all things a generall confusion of all persons, and things would breake in to the fatall destruction both of poore and rich.

Our common Proverbe puts us rightly in mind, that he which dwells every where, dwells no where: that every mans interest is no mans intrest, & that every mans businesse is no mans busines: now this being true in matters of Husbandry, and in all other in∣terests, and negotiations, why should it not be as true in matters of commerce, for if agriculture generally be more necessary then trade: and if confusion in agriculture be more mischeivous then confusion in Trade, yet by the same consequence confusion in trade? is as mischievous to Traders, as confusion in tillage would be amongst those that till the earth.

Thus much of the word Freedome generally taken, I must now speake more particularly of that Freedome, whose expedience, or inexpedience is so much question'd in the busines of Trade.

Freedome and restraint are things opposite (we see) yet both admitting of severall degrees, and limitations, they are not so opposite but that some kinde of restraint may be reconciled to some kinde of freedome, for in as much as it is sometimes conve∣nient Page  8 to be restrained, though not alwaies, and from all things; and sometimes it is inconvenient to be loosed, or inlarged though not alwaies, and from all things: in regard that re∣straint at sometimes onely upholds Order, and liberty at other times introduces confusion: Our mayne Quaere, is onely this; Whether that restraint in Trade which hitherto has been esta∣blish't amongst such and such Companies of Merchants, be con∣ducing to Order, or no: And whether that Freedome of Trade which irregular Interlopers dispute for be the usher of confusion, or no.

For the just discussion of this, the benefit of Order, regulation, and approved discipline amongst Merchants, is to be considered and brought into the scole of this hand, whilst the advantage of opennes, loosenesse, and unconfinednesse in trading is to be brought into the other.

For out of all question, liberty is not to be poized by the meer sound of its name, but by the solid priviledges which it brings with it, & in like manner restraint is not to be rejected except one ly for the certaine, substantiall disadvantages which are found to accompany it. Let us then draw up an exact ballance.

The 1. Benefit which we now injoy by our government, and incorporation is in things appertaining to Gods worship, & the true Religion: though we live amongst Lutherans, Papists, Jews, Mahometans, Pagans: Yet we have a free exercise of our Religi∣on, and in some places the Ordinances are as duly, profitably, and comfortably administerd amongst us, as if we were in the besome of our own Church.

How much this priviledge tends to the honor of God, the pro∣pagation of the true faith, how much to the prosperity of trade (Godlinesse having not onely the promises of the world to come, but also of this life) & how much to be bewail'd the want of the Word, and Sacraments is amongst our Merchants in Spaine, Italy, Portugal; let all men judge. Yet how this divine blessing can be continued amongst us, after that we are bound together by no links of Association, but that we may trade at large arbitrarily where we list, how we list, and when we list, is worthy to be considered; and I beleive all men who have a true sence, and tincture of Religion in their hearts will consider it Page  9 seriously. The next benefit is in matters of Justice: Though we are far distant from our own Judges & Courts, and cannot have timely recourse to the remedie of our owne Laws, nay though we should otherwise be exposed to the snares, and rigors of forrein Laws, and Magistrates, we are now (in matters where appeale is not requisite) tryed by men of our own Religion, of our own Nation, and education, and such also as are present up∣on the place.

All Partners that enter into a joynt Trade for the most part Covenant here mutually, and voluntarily in all cases of dispute, and doubt to stand to the judgment of this Court, I never saw any Indentures hitherto without that expresse clause in them. Nay even strangers here have often declined their owne Tribu∣nals, and submitted their cases to our decisions, and I never yet heard of any of them that departed not from our Court ful∣ly satisfied both with our Justice, and expedition: it cannot there∣fore be expected, that our own Merchants which know so well what a priviledge it is to be judged by Merchants, especially be∣ing present upon the place, and such as guide their judgments by the same Merchants Law, as is in force in England, should not set a great price upon this especiall priviledge. Hen: the 4th. and Hen: the 7th. were as wise Kings as ever raign'd in England, and when the one of them granted our Charter, & the other inlarged the same, the main consideration, which both of them had in their eyes, was the prevention of many mischeifs empeachments, & obstructions which at that time sensibly oppressed Merchants, and confounded Trade, ob defectum boni, & sani Regiminis.

A Third Benefit which we are now capable of by being incor∣porated into Companies is, that hereby we are inabled to do many egregious works of charity, which by our disfranchise∣ment would all be utterly lost, and extinguisht.

The Merchant Adventurers are but one branch of the Mer∣chants of England, and the Merchants here residing are but one branch of the Merchants Adventurers, yet how many hundreds has this branch sustained, and releived in cases of necessity? and how many widowes, and poore families doth it constantly feed and refresh? About 16 yeers since, when the expedition of Mar∣quise Halmilton had miscarried here in Germany many, sick, di∣stressed souldiers that were the wofull splinters of his broken ar∣army Page  10 came hither, and were not onely saved from perishing, but also shipt for England at this Companies charge. M: Ant: Beding-field was then our Deacon, and had the charge of the poores box, he is now a Parliament man, and can averre upon his knowledge that this society issued no lesse at that time within 6 months space then 400 pound, for such devout purposes.

A Fourth Benefit afforded by our present Governments, is, that hereby we are render'd far more considerable instruments to serve and honour our own Country, then else we should be, and that not onely in Trade, but also in diverse other eminent, publick Offices.

As we are now imbodied, and compacted, we can by our com∣mon seales raise great summes of mony: We are in a qualifica∣tion to entertaine Princes, to oblige Cities, to procure right, and timely intelligence, and sometimes to prevent publick misunder∣standings: and so to merit much oftentimes of the Nation, from whence we are.

That formidable Armado which in 1588 was designed to swal∣low us up, had inprobability been far more fatall then it was if it had been appointed sooner, and arrived when Queen Eliza∣beth was not so well appointed as it found her afterwards. And yet this is well known, that Grsham and other Merchants by taking up the monys at Genoa, and our Company by doing the like at Keeler Mart in Holsteine: did so prevent Philip that his Invasion was retarded thereby for a whole year, and that retard∣ment being so much to the disadvantage of Spaine, and to the ad∣vantage of England, was under God a powerfull meanes of pre∣serving us. Charles the 5th. by calculation found that in Ant∣werpe 20000 Soules, and in all the Low Countries at least 60000 had a lively-hood, and subsistance from the English Trade: where∣fore when he was very resolute to bring the inquisition into Ant∣werpe, and remained unmoovable against all other arguments, and supplications of that Town: yet this motive, that the Eng∣lsh Company would be dislodged by introducing of that ri∣gor, diverted him from his purpose.

Also when the same Charles had transferred all his signiories, & Dominions to his son Philip, that branch of the Merchant Ad∣ventures appeared in gallant state to grace those Solemnities, Page  11 consuming above 2000 Crowns in sumptuous furniture, shewes and triumphall arches. In the yeer 1581. likewise the Duke of Alanson in the same City was entertained by 80 English Merchants of the same Company, all bravely mounted on horse back, apparelled in black velvet, & most of them with brooches & chains of gold about their necks: for which they received thanks from Queen Elizabeth and the Lords of her Councell. The King of Bohemia, and some of our Kings Nephews (besides di∣verse Embassadors) have found some seemly receptions also from us here at Hamburgh, and from our brethren at Roterdam, upon severall occasions, but I forbeare prolixity in this point. An other excellent singular Benefit of our government is, that thereby we are put into a capacity of injoying all that is good and profitable in union, and all that is good, and profitable in division withall. Take away that Order, and Harmony that is now setled amongst us, and has been setled by all our Kings, and countenanced by all our Parliaments from Hen: the 4th. till this very day, and as fully confirmed by this Parliament as by any: and our Trade will become instantly both stragling, and con∣fused: and as a stragling Trade will deprive us of whatsoever is good in union, so a confused Trade will abridge us of all that is good in a due method, and distribution.

This may be demonstrated most plainly in a military bodie: 20000 men well armed, and imbattaild, are of greater force, then 40000 drawn together in an unformed, undigested heap; and when that shall be accounted an Army of so many Souldiers ef∣fective, this shall be despised as a rout of so many men rudely conglomerated, and thronged together. For 'tis not sufficient that there be together in one Feild a due proportion of Com∣manders and Souldiers, of Horse and Foot, of Arms offensive, and defensive: all these must be severally ranged, and distantly im∣ployed: the Commander must move here, the Souldier there, the Horse must charge here, the Foot there; such a Regiment must be assigned its post here, such a Brigade must advance there: wise men know experimentally, that there is an art in division some∣times, such as in many cases gives life to Union: and it is as true on the contrary: that the queintest division makes miserable Mu∣sick, when it is not subservient to Union. For let a Battail be Page  12 marshall'd in all its members, and parts according to the most exact rules of souldery either ancient, or moderne: yet if the Trumpets sound contrary points of warre, if the superior Com∣manders give contrary Orders, if all these curiously fashion'd digestions, and divisions be not inspirited with one, joynt designe, which like the soul is to over-rule all the Organs, what can be expected from this great, moliminous frame? Now if we make any doubt whether or no the use of Tacticks be as great in mer∣catorian, as in military affairs let us come to neerer application, and bend our selves to consider, as well what the want of union, as what the want of distribution usually occasions amongst Traders.

Union amongst Merchants cannot be denyed to be of exceed∣ing great importance, for in all places where we six our residence, we see, it makes as more valuable, and acceptable: Whilest we are lookt upon as an orderly, united Society, we are known to be able to make, or divert a Trade in or from any one Town, or Province. How soon was Bruges in Flanders despoyl'd of its fame, and opulence after our Company withdrew from it? and how soon did Antwerpe transcend Bruges in fame, and opulence after our Commodities were stapled in Brabant? When 'twas too late, Bruges, besides inlargement of former priviledges, could offer us moneys, and descend to strange intreaties for the wooing and winning of our return: but Antwerpe had first prevailed with us, and having prevailed, it sent forth its Magistrates to meet, and welcome us with processions. And well it was for Antwerpe, that the English were so taken with their civilities, for in the space of 60 or 70 yeers, whereas it had, before it was our Mart, not above foure able Merchants, and six Ships, it became the glorious Ma∣gazine of all Europe. The like instance might be given in Stodt, and Hamburgh, the same cause that now makes Hamburgh rich, did once do the like at Stodt: and the same cause that made Stodt poore, may hereafter perhaps work the same effect in Hamburgh. Who sees not therefore that from the benefit which strangers re∣ceive from us, whilest we are thus associated, and made capable of marrying our Company to them, arise those reciprocall obli∣gations, and speciall dowries, as it were, which they by their concordates confirm unto us? Where we are unprofitable, we must Page  13 expect to be held despicable: and what extraordinary profit can other Nations expect from our Merchants, when they appear onely as so many individuall persons, or stragling Traders.

The English had at the Narre in Leisland a good Trade, and good sales for our Native Commodities for a while, but about 1565. divers stragling Merchants resorted thither out of England and so brought themselves, and their wares into great contempt. Divers of them went about the Town with Cloth in their arms, and Measures in their hands, and so when they had shamefully imbased our English Draperies, to the disreputation of our Coun∣trey, and decay of themselves, the Lords of the Councell at the next Parliament were inforced, for prevention of the like sordid, Pedlar-like traffick thereafter, to comprise the Narre within the Muscovie Companies Charter.

Thus is Union, or a politick Association amongst Merchants, beneficiall to the places where we trade, and by resultance bene∣ficiall to our selves, and in the last resort beneficiall to our whole Nation: for all these interests are so interweaved, that the benefit of the Stranger is requited with the benefit of the English Mer∣chant; and the benefit of the English Merchant is to be regarded as the benefit of the English Nation. For in some things that which immediately advantages the English Merchant, advanta∣ges mediately the English Nation: even as in other things that which immediately brings prosperity to the English Nation, me∣diately brings prosperity to the English Merchant. This is to il∣lustrate the Commodities which flowe from our Union, now the Commodities which flowe from a due distribution, and division in Trade are no lesse visible. The whole world almost is now apt∣ly cantoniz'd amongst several Societies of our Merchants, whilest some trade East, some West, some neerer, some further off; and were it not for this apt partition, it would unavoidably fall out, that some Mart Towns would prove over-pester'd, or like a Com∣mon of Pasture over-layd, whilest others in the mean time would be left utterly unfrequented. And sure if the world were not spa∣cious enough for a our Traders, some pretence might be fra∣med, why all men ought to be licenced in all places: but since the contrary is most true, and no man is so straited for want of roome, but that He may trade in some places to his own advan∣tage, though he be bounded that he may not trade in all places Page  14 to other mens disadvantage: nothing but an emulous desire to interfere with others, and to incumber trade could provoke men to be opposite to our regular distributions. I need not amplifie hereupon, tis enough that I further refer to the example of our thriving Neighbours in Holland; whosoever will behold Order in its beauty, and perfection amongst Merchants there, He may observe them so politickly associated, and their Associations so equally distributed, that no one impedes the other abroad, nor no one Town ingrosses all Trading to it self at home.

Hitherto I have instanced in the manifold expediences of Or∣der, and Government, especially in matters of piety, equity, cha∣rity, and policy as well in relation to the Common weal of Mer∣chants, as to the Common-weal of England: now whether there be any thing in freedom of Trading that can preponderate, and excell all these, I leave to all sober men to discern; if there be, I wish it may prevail, and obtain a just preference before all these: if there be not, more need not be inferred out of these premisses: sober men cannot be affected with the name, or empty sound of a relative, that is rather to be judged by its circumstances, effects, and additions then by it self: sober men cannot but distinguish betwixt that true freedome which alwayes dis-inthrals us of some evill, and that shadowy ghost of freedome, which often de∣nudes us of our greatest priviledges. I hope I have now dischar∣ged, what was to be expected from me in my first point, and made it apparent that the freedom in Trade which is to be ad∣measured, and ballanced with all these expediences here enume∣rated had not need to be of large extension.

It remains now that I come to my next head, and therein in∣quire whether trade be likely to flourish or no, being stripped, and robbed of all those powers and preeminences which our Charters convey to us.

I have hitherto lookt upon Merchants as Travaylers sojourn∣ing abroad, I must now come neerer, and looke upon them as ve∣ry Merchants, buying, selling, bartering, bargaining, &c. with other Nations; & from generall Order, and harmony amongst Merchants, I must come to instance in such, and such species of that Order, and harmony, which has hitherto been so fortunate to them. And first let us looke into that provision of our Govern∣ment, which limits the education, and admission of Apprentices, & though I have not leisure to cite all our rules concerning the Page  15 same which are very many, & each of them very usefull, yet consi∣der the sumum genus it self, see if the breeding of Apprentices be not absolutely necessary. Grant to all without exception an open license to trade at large, & who will indure the strict duty and bondage of Apprenticehood? and yet without that strict duty, and bondage, who can be sufficiently instructed, and pre∣pared to gaine all those Arts, and subtilties, which we know are absolutely necessary to all Traders. In all sciences, and occupa∣tions breeding is necessary, but amongst Merchants it is more then ordinarily necessary: For if Divines may pretend somthing to divine, secret illapses from above; and souldiers by their generall tacticks learned in one Countrey, may be qualified for command in all Countries; and if agriculture be a skill that de∣pends much upon naturall sagacity: yet with Merchants 'tis far otherwise. For unto a Merchant not onely a breeding, but a particular breeding in such or such a place, in such or such a Trade is requisite. He that is experienced to trade in Russia is not thereby inabled to trade in Spaine, and he that can deale warily enough with Indians, Turks and Barbarians, is not alwaies prepa∣red enough to cope with the Jews, Hans Townes, and Hollanders. Questionlesse to license all men to trade without breeding, nay without the particular advertisements, and preparations of such a breeding is to send men naked into battell, and to ren∣der them up as a prey to vulpine, circumventing neighbours. I might here take occasion to commend the training up of our Youths on this side the seas, as it is publickly advantagious, there being infused into them thereby somthing of the Souldier, and somthing of the Scholler, and indeed (if I am not deceived) there is commonly instilled somthing into them, that better qualifies them to serve the State, then what we see in meere Schollers or Souldiers. I wish our young gallants which learn in France to weare ribbons, and in Spain and Italy to be perfidious, and do worse things, did alwayes return home as much improved, and as well accomplisht as our Merchants use to do. But this is not within my lists, and that thought shall supersede me.

For our next evidence, we may appeal unto our many Orders made to prevent, and reform, the ill and faulty making or Cloth, and other English woollen Commodities, without which Orders all our Manufactures would be falsified, and corrupted, and con∣sequently Page  16 our Nation disparaged, all buyers of Cloth at home, and abroad abused, and Trade it self much desolated. At the sol∣licitation of our Merchants, wholsome Statutes have been Enact∣ed, and to second them strict Proclamations have been publisht: and to back them the Merchants have appointed Officers, fur∣nisht stipends, and applyed divers other preventions, that our Draperies might be kept to their just measures, weights, and numbers; yet we find all is too little. The Clothiers begin to so∣phisticate of late more then ever, and all our power will be insuf∣ficient to withstand them; except the State reach forth their help∣ing hands yet further; and do more exactly poize both our ends and pretensions. The clamors of the Clothiers against the Mer∣chants priviledges arise chiefly from this offence, though they are commonly palliated with other pretexts, and tis a wondrous thing, that when they are sensibly gainers by transgressing Laws, and we are as sensibly at a charge to maintain them, they should be so well, and we so ill interpreted.

In my Lord Cooks opinion nine parts of ten of all our English Staple Commodities, are such as we sheere from the Sheeps back, we had need therefore be carefull how abuses break in upon us in these Commodities, and how we countenance those that are the abusers, and yet thereby discountenance the zealous reform∣ers of the same. M: Anth: Wither is now a Justice of Peace about London, He was once imployed by the Merchant Adventurers besides others about reforming of these abuses, let it be inquired what a liberall yeerly stipend He obtained for the same.

In the third place we may produce our many prudent Orders against mis-shipping, whereby, first, the Shipping of the Kingdom is the better maintained, in as much as by our government it is not permitted to any particular men for cheapnesse sake either to ship in forrein bottoms, or in vessels of our own that are unde∣fensible. Secondly, by our regularity in shipping many fraudu∣lent attempts of such as use to steal customes, bribe searchers, colour strangers goods, &c. are disappointed. Thirdly, by the due observation of our rules, whilest we ship our goods hand in hand together we go stronger through the Seas, are in lesse fear of Rovers, and other dangers. We also are lesse injurious to our common Trade, yea and to particular persons amongst our¦selves: in as much as now we forestall not one another, nor bring Page  17 down our common prices by the precipitate haste of some few; by this means also forrein buyers are accommodated by their certainty, knowing in due season when to repair to our Marts; and we are not disaccommodated by our uncertainty, because we know when to sell, and when to forbear selling, and thereby we keep our Commodities from being blown upon, either by having our. Ware-houses too full at sometimes, or too empty at others.

In the fourth place, the many Cautions, Orders made by us for the reglement of our sales may justly be here cited: by some of these, we are limited to such certain shew-dayes partly for our own ease, and partly for the buyers advantage. The Cities of Lubeck and Bremen have lately been urgent with us to set more shew-dayes here at Hamburgh then two in a week: but we seeing our Trade no ampler, then it is at present, found the inconveni∣ence of altring our Shew dayes, and so denied them satisfaction in that point. By others of our Orders we are restrained from gi∣ving gratifications to Merchants or Brokers, from all pety sales, and retails, which (if allowed) would reduce us soon to ignoble, vulgar Pedlars: by others we are bound from giving credit without liquid Bils, and specialties, also from pawning Bils, or rebating under such a certain rate, and hereby we prevent may Suits with strangers, and many strifes amongst our selves. By others we are inhibited from allowing Tare out of the Mart Town, or out of due time, or without due inspection: and we are all convinced, that were it not for regulation in this matter of Tare, there were no abiding in Germany. How our Trade lan∣guishes in Holland at this time by reason of Oppression in matter of Tare is known too well, our Councell Table in King James his dayes took notice of it, and sought the redresse of it: and sure our Merchants hitherto have onely continued trading there, out of some hope of better times, and conditions hereafter, as Hus∣bandmen use to manure the earth in times of dearth, as well as in times of plenty. Commissioners from Lubeck and Bremen se∣conded by the Senate of this Town have assailed us lately, and eagerly pressed us to allow the same Tare, as is in Holland, but our answer was resolute, that rather then to submit to such a thraldome we should be forced to abandon all Trade in Germany.

Many more instances then these (if it were not for prolixity) Page  18 might be made: but as those which have any knowledge in Merchandice will acknowledge these are matters of grand mo∣ment, and importance: so to other men that are ignorant, or carelesse of our affairs, more would be to little purpose. I will onely adde this, that as we injoy many conveniencies by being an united, imbodied Fraternity, so by vertue of the same we are guarded and protected from many inconveniences. As we have a jurisdiction amongst us, we are inabled upon all new emergen∣cies to contravene new devised arts of fraud, and circumvention in bargaining, selling, &c. by making new Orders against them.

Also as we are a Corporation, we are armed thereby with a competence of power to inforce, & execute our Orders so made, and if any violence of forrein States, and Potentates contrary to our Intercourses, and Treaties of amitie enterposes to our preju∣dice, or if any new Tolls, imposts, or exactions oppresse us, we are in this posture better qualified to relieve, or vindicate our selves, then else we should be. A thousand private men intend∣ing their own particular interests as so many particular men, having no common purse, nor publick Officers to solicite the busines of them all, cannot expect that authority with forrein States, nor hope to make so vigorous a resistance against oppres∣sions and innovasions, as one hundred Merchants may, that are closely linked, and cemented together under one, and the same policie. For want of such policie, all other Nations were long since eaten out of their Trade by the Antwerpians, and Esterlings, and had the Merchant Adventurers been destitute of those po∣wers, and immunities which Hen: the 4th. Hen: the 7th. and o∣ther famous Kings of England establisht amongst them, they also had been long since driven out of Trade in like manner.

One man is woolvish to another, as the old Proverbe adver∣tises, nay when Bears will not prey upon Bears, nor woolfes up∣on woolfes, man will scarce prey upon any other then man. And yet this notwithstanding private man to private man is not so unnaturall; as Nation is to Nation: for amongst particular 〈◊〉 the primary Lawes of our Creation, which injoyne us to do as we would be done unto, and to be kindest to them that are neeest in kinde, are not so totally abrogated to us, and eraced on of our consciences, as they are amongst Nations.

If there be any fiercer feude, and violenter antipathy then Page  19 other, tis commonly seem amongst those States that are most con∣sanguineous, and neerest conjoyned in other relations, and as for doing to other Nations, as we would have done unto us; that sems a ridiculous principle amongst Stats-men, inasmuch as to do justice to a stranger when he is plaintiffe against a Native, is no lesse reputed then to do injustice to a Native: and to let slip any advantage whatsoever that is offered us of spoyling forreiners, is the same accounted as to spoile domesticks.

Republicks have no breasts, or seats where any such thing as conscience or true honour can reside; were it not for fear of re∣quital, and return of injuries from those that are injured, all peo∣ple would be at the same passe, as Argiers is now at.

That bold Roman that expostulated with Alexander, why it might not be as lawfull for him to seize boats, as it was for Prin∣ces to invade whole Empires, seemed to conceive that the Laws of Nature extended to communities of men, as well as to indi∣vidualls: but alas that would neither justifie his private roving at sea; nor condemne Alexanders royall roving by land.

In matters of warre Monarchies especially, and in matters of Trade Republicks, lay hold of all advantages, as if their patri∣moniall rights were never bounded by any thing but invincible difficulties, and necessities, nor honour had any rules to measure things by but those of profit, and disprofit.

This is the reason why the Jewish Lumbards are odious for their excessive gains exacted, and extorted out of all such as they contract with, and therefore are pursued as petty Pirats: but the Hollanders and Hans Townes for the same exploits done more publickly are extolled as great Merchants, nay are crowned as glorious Conquerors. We that live here in Hamburgh, and our Brethren in Holland are too sensible of this: our often removals from one Mart Town to another, to ease our selves of insuppor∣table pressures most fedifragously brought in upon us, have pre∣served that life in our English Trade that is yet remaining in it: yet the vast expences of our removings have left us in a sad con∣dition.

This concludes my two first points: I am now in order to an∣swer such arguments as are brought for a free Trade, and such ob∣jections as are urged against our priviledged way of Trading.

The first Argument is founded upon this maxime: Bonum quo Page  20 communius, eo melius: If Merchandize (say our Adversaries) be good for the Common-weal, then the more common it is made, the more open it is layd, the more good it will convey to us. But all grant Merchandize to be good rgo. Ans. To detect the fallacies of this Argument: we must confesse that this maxime is true of all such good things as are absolutely, or infinitely good: yet we may deny that Merchandize is either absolutely, or infi∣nitely good. For first, Merchandize secundum quid, that is, if it be rightly managed, and regulated may be profitable to such a man, or such a State: but (we all see) that Merchandize at some∣times, for want of good government, and order, undoes many private men, and in their undoing proves injurious to the State. Secondly, Merchandize may be reckoned amongst good things, but not amongst things infinitely good, therefore though the diffusion, or inlargement of it may bring profit to the State unto such bounds, and degrees; yet this is no proof, but that there are bounds, and degrees beyond which it may not be diffused, nor can be inlarged without disprofit. Those good things which are ample enough to satisfie all, may be extended to all, and the further they are extended, the more good they do: but Trade is not of that amplitude as to satisfie all men in all places, and at all times, and therefore not within the same Maxime. If there were in the fruits, and increase of the earth an over-flowing abundance to sustain all, and answer all mens desires without our labour and sweat, then hedges and ditches would be to no purpose: but since the earth is not so profuse of its favours, nor so immense in its revenues, we must maintain mounds, and ter∣riers; priority of possession, expence of toyl, purchase, &c. must be regarded, or else we shall all be soon at a losse.

Before the Land of Canaan was fully stockt, Abraham and Lot might intercommon freely, and graze their Herds sociably in all places where they travelled; but in processe of time, when their flocks became more numerous, and when consequently the sur∣face of that milk-and honey flowing Countrey began to shrink before them, they were both necessitated to journey severall wayes, and to provide for themselves more •…x, and distinct ha∣bitations. The water is a more unmeasured element then the earth, and therefore formerly it was ever held a common patri∣mony to all: yet since Navigation is improved to this degree, Page  21 even this also is now disterminated, and made subject to imagi∣nary lives for avoiding of incroachments, and strife about fish∣ings, &c. And not onely navigable Rivers, but Seas, and Oceans begin to submit to particular Proprieties, and to own the speci∣all prerogatives of such, and such signiors. Lawyers say, Cujus est Solum, ejus est etiamus{que} ad Coelum: wherefore if neither Aire, Water, nor Land resist the Laws of propriety, we cannot think the Trade of Merchants is a thing more emptie, and uncapable of limits and rules, then any of the Elements: if our grounds may be pester'd with cattell; if Ponds may be over-stockt with Fish; if the several Climates of the lower Region be severally peopled, and frequented with fowl that seem to understand their severall seasons: we can hardly imagine that such a Countrey, or such a Mart Town in such a Countrey should not be over-charged with too great a confluence of Merchants.

Second Argument. That which seizes too great matters into the hands of too few, and so is in the nature of a Monopoly, has been alwayes condemned as a preventing Trade, and held inju∣rious to the major part of mankind: but such is the Trade which priviledged, and incorporated Merchants drive, &c.

Ans. The force of this Objection is, that if Trade may not be set at liberty to all, yet it may be set at liberty to more then it is, except we will incur the name and blame of Monopolists. In be∣half of the Merchant Adventurers who have, I think, the fullest Charters, & have ever met with the greatest oppositions, though I am not so well acquainted with other Companies, I may with much confidence give these Answers hereunto. First, though Wools endraped be the main matter of our Trade, yet we deal not onely in those Draperies, but also in all kinds of Wares, and, other Merchandizes. Secondly, neither doth our Company alone transport these Draperies: all other English Merchants, nay the Hans Towns, and all other Strangers in amity with the Crown of England, at their pleasure may buy, and vend again all sorts of English Wares that are fully manufactured, as uncontrollably as they bring in their own Commodities. Wherefore it cannot be said that this chief Trade of the Kingdom is ingrossed, or mo∣nopoliz'd by us in either of these two respects, for as much as our priviledges neither confine that Trade to us alone, nor us to that Trade alone.

Page  22 Thirdly, The name of Monopolists cannot be fixed on them in respect of the bounds allotted them for their Trade: for by cal∣culation we finde there are above 6000 persons free of our Com∣pany, and from the Some in France to the Scaw in Germany, (the nihil ultraes of our commerce) is no extraordinary proportion, for such a proportion of men, let the number of the Merchant Adventurers be compared with the number of all other Mer∣chants, and then compare this space of earth in France and Ger∣many with all the globe besides; and it will soon appeare, that the confines of our Trade are rather too narrow, then other∣wise. Some hundreds, nay thousands of our Company that are capable of our freedome by service, or by Patrimony are faine to leave their callings, & to betake themselves to other imploy∣ments: and necessity hath now taught us to confine our selves to a certaine stint of Apprentices, in regard that our Trade is too narrow for our Traders, & therefore whilest we are inforced to break out, what can invite other men thus to break in, and to invade our precincts?

Fourthly, The price that is set upon our priviledges cannot condemne us of monopolie: for if a sufficient number could not be admitted by service, or patrimony: yet the State hath left a door open for any that are qualified for trading to be ad∣mitted upon a meane, inconsiderable rate.

Any Out Port Merchant might have had his freedome for 25. l. stering, and any of London for 50. l. and those which neglected that opportunity, are yet capable for the double summe.

Fifthly, The stint which we set upon our selves in buying cloth cannot be objected to us, as savouring of monopolie: For first the whole Company by common advice, and consent sets this stint for its own good; and as the whole Company best under∣stands its own interest, so neither has it, or can it have any inter∣est, but such as is consistent with the interest of the State. 2ly, the Company had never resolved upon any such stint, but in con∣templation of the narrownesse of Trade: and so far is this stint from making trade more scarce, that it self was ordained meerly as some ease and remedie against the scarcity of Trade.

We know well that tis possible for some one Merchant to exceed fourty others in purse, or credit; yet sure it cannot be expedient for the Common-wealth, that one Merchant should graspe too Page  23 much, and swell up to an excessive bulk, whilest fourty other Mer∣chants being over shadowed by him, can attain to no growth at all. Thirdly, As the stint of Clothes is now set, it remains larger then is made use of by diverse, the fourth part of our Merchants scarce ever buyes to the fourth part of Clothes that is allowable by the stint, wherefore it is a most indirect and preposterous thing to call that a monopolie, or straitning of Trade; which is the onely remedie against monopolie, & the meer effect of strait∣nsse in Trade.

They which know the difference betwixt Common certain, and Common sans number; and see how the Husbandman in dressing his vine, makes it more fruitfull by paring away the luxuriant products of its fertility, wil easily judge by these stints, that the Merchants were grown too numerous for their Trade, and not that their Trade was grown too copious for their man∣naging. Sixtly, As our Trade cannot be called an ingrossing Trade, or a monopolie in respect of any other of its priviledges or powers, so neither can it be accused thereof in regard of our covinous, false dealing in Marchandize. Tis true, our Company in Qu: Elizabeths daies found much opposition from the Hans Townes, and in that bando which was procured against us, to remoove us from Stadt, the main pretence was monopolie used by the English Merchants, but for a further Account of that mat∣ter, we are to be informed: that the Hans Towns had antiently by their great skill in Merchandize, made themselves very fa∣mous, and procured to themselves priviledges in many Coun∣tries. Amongst other Nations also that did priviledge them, the English was not the last, or least.

In London therefore they had the Steelyard assigned them with power to exercise Merchant Law there, for their own better re∣gulation: and amongst many other old immunities, they were to pay for wares brought in, and carried out one and a quarter per centum custome, and no more.

This Custome whilest the cheife Trade of the land was in Wooll undraped, was no great losse to us: but after that the full Art of clothing was made ours in Ed: the 3ds. daies, and the Wooll Trade was almost quite decaied, our State found that it lost exceedingly by passing out cloth at the old Custome, and Page  24 that the Hans Towns priviledges were diverse otherwaies abu∣sed to our publick detriment. Hereupon after some contests, (Ed: the 6th. raigning Anno 1550.) the said priviledges were lookt into, and found both defective in themselves, and also for∣feited by diverse breaches of conditions: the formalities of their incorporation were so voide, that none could safely con∣tract with them, and therefore being detected of diverse injuries in colouring of forrein goods, not within the verge of their pri∣viledges, and other falshoods: it appeared, that they were such an uncertain, misconstituted body, that they were not lia∣ble to any account, nor answerable for any trespasse.

This procured a judgment to annull, and abrogate the Hans Towns priviledges, and in Anno 1557. under Phil: and Mary, our Customes were improoved from 14. d. to 6. s. 8. d. per Cloth payable by the English and 13. s. 4. d. by strangers, and this improovement did but equall the old Custome of wooll undra∣ped. Till the death of Q: Mary, whilest Spain and England were united, the Hans Townes seeing their profit so far impared, and Trade in England in so good a measure advanced, grw sullenly envious, but durst attempt nothing.

Neverthelesse Anno 1564 when Queen Elizabeth was at enmity with the Spanyard, with more resumed courage the Hans Towns laboured to suppresse the growth of our Merchandize: and ther∣fore to make the King of Spaine their abettor against us in Ger∣many, and the Netherlanders, they made themselves parties a∣gainst us in Spaine, by furnishing armes, amunition, &c. Thus some acts of hostility were done on both sides, Queen Elizabeth in a defensive way seized some of their Ships sent to supply the Spanyard, and the Spanyard at their solicitation banisht us out of the Low Countries, and caused us to be interdicted Germany also.

Anno 1567. the English Merchants being expelled out of the Netherlands, contracted for entertainment at Hamburgh for 10 yeers: these 10 yeers being expired, no longer residence could be had there, inasmuch as all the Hans Towns could not injoy us wholly to themselves, & for any one to injoy us, they thought it unequall, and prejudiciall to the rest.

From Hamburgh we remooved to Embden, and there the same Page  25 parties prosecuting and renewing their clamors of a monopo∣lizing Trade in the English, a new Edict from the Emperor Anno 1582. was thundered out against us. The Grave of Embden no∣thing troubled at this Edict, sent his Chancellor Doctor Moller, since Syndicus of Hamburgh to the Spiers, who there defended the English Trade against the slanderous imputation of monopo∣lie, and for a while gave such satisfaction, that the Emperours Edict was not put in execution against us.

Queen Elizabeth also in 1595. wrote thus to the Emperour, Monopolium de quo Hanseatici subditos nostros criminantur calumniae potius quam verae accusationis rationem per se ferre videtur. To wipe off this calumny, we can also instance in severall letters of atte∣station under the Common Seals of Antwerpe, Midlebourgh, Emb∣den, Stadt justifying our faire, and just manner of trading: and if such legible proofs be not so available, wee could appeal to all the places where ever we resided, as so many visible argu∣ments, prooving fully for us, that our way of traffick hath not been onely blamelesse, and just, but also strangely fortunate and propitious.

From Embden (for the Spanyard prevailing in Freisland had now made those parts dangerous to us) we betook our selves to Stadt, and there we continued till 1597. so desirous was each of the Hans Towns singly to have harboured us, if all jointly had not envied that single advantage: and being there then disac∣commodated, 10. or 11. of the cheife Towns under the States sent to invite us, and made offers of large accommodations amongst them.

We may further take notice, that Ed: the 6th. reserved for the Hans Towns after forfeiture of their priviledges, as ample a freedome of commerce, as for any strangers whatsoever: That Queen Mary restored the said Towns upon ingagement that their inordinate Trade should be forborne, and this ingagement be∣ing violated, She yeelded to a new Treaty about a sit modera∣tion of their Intercourses. Yet the Hans Towns did not onely neglect to send Commissioners within the time perfixed, but at the same time publisht an Edict at Lueck, prohibiting all Trade with the English, Queen Mary for her husbands sake was much a freind to the Austrian familie, and for the Austrians sake to Page  26 these Easterlings, and therefore she offered again another Trea∣tie in 1557. but this offer was rejected likewise with an oppro∣brious pretence, that in England they could expect no competent Judges of their cause. If they durst not trust their cause to England in Q: Maries dayes, because it was a Monarchy, then they judged dishonorably of all Monarchies: if they made no difference of Monarchies, but diffided in it, because it was a forrein State, where they should not be their own Judges, this reflects also up∣on all forrein States: but the truth is, they had an ill cause, and so were diffident of all Judges, but themselves. Howsoever Queen Elizabeth in 1560. offered yet a new Moderation, and this not accepted of from the beginning of her Reign, she commanded they should be used here as her own Subjects, and better then any other Forreiners. This is also most certain, till She saw her Subjects driven from Hamburgh in 1578. and an exaction of 7 ¼. per centum set upon all English Goods at Lunenburgh in 1579. and all the English generally ill Treated at Dantzig, Deventer, &c. and not onely her Enemies of Spaine assisted by them, but other Princes also exasperated against Her, She made little difference betwixt them and her own Subjects. I hope this will be a suffici∣ent justification of our English Trade: and now since it appears, that this opposition was procured to us by strangers and ene∣mies, that sought not to reduce us to a fair Trade, but to eject us out of all Trade: me thinks it should be very unworthy of any Englishman to make use of the same Objections.

3. Arg: That Trade which is not onely complained of by Strangers, but Natives also, and in all ages has encountred with so many Complainants, is likely to be a Monopolie, or some private, anticipating, indirect way of commerce: but such is that of all Merchants incorporated by particular Charters, &c. All priviledged Merchants, especially the Adventurers of England (whose priviledges are lookt upon as so ample) have had Adversaries alwaies to wrestle, and contest with both abroad, and at home: yet this may be truly said of them (as of Cato) they have been as often absolved, as accused: and their Patrons have ever been far more honorable, then their Adversaries. Clothiers, Interlopers, some Officers of the Outports, and Court projectors have molested them on the one side: but on the other side Parlia∣ments, Page  27 Kings, Privy-Councellors, and the wisest of Statesmen have protected them, and their Cause; and upon a full, and due hearing it continually appeared, that their friends had honour∣able, but their opposers dishonourable ends. As for the Clothier, He stomacks much that He must be so strictly held to the Statute, and may not digresse from the just weight, and measure, that is there set for his Clothes. The Interloper takes offence, that with∣out contributing for Himself, He may not injoy the benefits of that policy, which is maintained at other mens charge: that the same hedges which keep other men from trespassing him, should keep him from trespassing other men. The Outport Officer is pre∣vented of some bribes, for stolne customes, false-colour'd goods, &c. by the regular shipping of our Merchants, and by our Mini∣sters, which keeps too severe a check upon him, and therefore his indignation is raised. In the mean time the begging Courtier, He finds it profitable for the Common-wealth, that accusations should be favoured, and that all Complainants should be heard: for whether the Complaints be true or false, just, or unjust, profit comes in to Him both wayes, and the Innocent must gratifie him for his quietus est, as well as the nocent for his impunity. King James anno 1613. found that his Progenitors had been deceived in their Grants to us, and therefore suspended and sequestred our Priviledges: but in anno 1616▪ and 1617. after that the Mer∣chants had been drained of 20, or 30000 l. and Cockayns new pro∣ject (so obstructive to Trade) was falne to the ground of it self, the same ancient Charters, and Liberties were revived with more honourable testimonials then ever; the Courtiers were again sensible that King James and his Progenitors had been well ad∣vised in their Grants.

The Merchants Adventurers long before the Art of Endra∣ping Cloth was introduced into England, had Priviledges abroad from the Dukes of Brabant, and other Potentates. Edw: the 3d. having transplanted the Manufacture out of the Netherlands, for the better watering, and cherishing of it, confirmed to the said Adventurers whatsoever had been granted in the yeer 1248. by John D: of Brabant. Hen: the 4th. seeing the good effects of his grandfathers indulgence, added a more beneficiall and large Charter of priviledges in Feb: 1406. H. 5. H. 6. Edw: 4. and R. 3.Page  28 were followers of that good example by severall ratifications, But H. 7. seeming to transcend all his Predecessors in policie, and desiring to testifie the same by his care of Merchants, proceeded further to dilate their priviledges, and preeminences. Polydor Virgil gives him this Encomium: Mercatores ille saepenumerò pecuniâ multa data gratuito juvibat, u Mercatura (As una nctis aeque mor∣talibus tum commoda, tum necessaria) in surregno copiofier esset. In his Reigne (enmities and hostilities interrupting our commerce with the Burgundians) we had a Staple provided for us at Calais; and then under our own Soveraigne, within our own Domini∣ons we saw our own fellow Subjects as tenderly entertained with divers Franchises, and Indulgences, as if they had capitulated with a strange Prince.

Since H. 7. all his Successors have confirmed, or inlarged what was granted before; within few yeers also this King; and since that, this Parliament in 1643. have added strong ratifications, and that not without honourable acknowledgements of this fa∣mous Companies services to the publick. Moreover in the times of Hen: 4. and Hen: 7. some Complaints were preferred by Clothiers, &c. against the Merchant Adventurers: but after due examination, and hearing, the Company had a favourable issue, and not onely obtained a fuller establishment of former Charters, but also new expresse clauses against stragling Mer∣chants, and all other intermedlers, that might empeach, or di∣sturbe their Trade. Other Informations were under Edw: 6. ex∣hibited against the same Company by some of their own Bre∣thren: but after the Councell Table had taken a full cognizance thereof, the two chief of the Informers were committed to the Fleet, and the rest were Fined, and more strictly injoyned to sub∣mit to the Companies Orders for the future. The same Inform∣ers also not so acquiescing, made new addresses to the Parlia∣ment held after by Queen Mary: but the busines was soon quash∣ed there also, and the accusers without further remedie dis∣missed.

The like or more grievous Complaints were revived by the Clothiers, &c. in Queen Elizabeths dayes, but what event did at∣tend them? after that the Cloth Trade was set at liberty for a while, after that the George at Westminster was made as free a Page  29 Mercat for Cloth as Blackwell-Hall in London, and upon triall the poore people of Wiltshire, Glocestershire, &c. saw their miseries not relieved, but increased by dissolving the Company of Merchant Adventurers: The Lords of the Councell anno 29. Eliz: to pre∣vent mutiny in those parts, were fain to send for the Merchant Adventurers, and desire them cheerfully to proceed in their Trade, to which no countenance, nor assistance from them should be wanting for the future.

Alderman Cockayns Project in King James his dayes was guild∣ed over with a more specious pretext then that in Queen Eliza∣beths, and when our Company was at that time dissolved, Trade was not absolutely layd common (as before) without all man∣ner of regulation: but to prevent general confusion (which had proved it self continually so fatall) a new Company was erect∣ed, and incorporated: yet neither so could this project prosper, or subsist. King James in his Proclamation Anno 1617. publisht for the restitution of our Company and its and 〈◊〉 Priviledges, (after that the consumption, and miserable languishment of Trade for above two yeers space had better instructed him) at∣testated to the world the excellent method, and discipline of our ancient Corporation, and now ineffectuall his 〈◊〉 looser juris∣diction had proved for the vending of our 〈◊…〉 manu∣facture. And it should seem this was susti•••…〈◊…〉 the world, yet the Courtiers would not be so satisfied for they thought they had gratified the Common-wealth in restoring the ancient Company of the Adventurers, and that they had grati∣••• the Merchant Adventurers in restoring them to their due rights, and therefore to inclose by bargain for themselves a gra∣tification of 20, or 30000 li. was no ill office.

There is another clog remaining upon our Trade to this day, and it is continued still upon the same reason: the Merchant Ad∣venturers at first were stinted to a certain number of Clothes, which number in their exportations they might not exceed: now it appears since to the State, that that number was too strait, and that it is very inexpedient for Trade to circumscribe our Mer∣chants rigorously with that stint; and yet notwithstanding Courtiers must be ill feed for releasing Trade of this inexpe∣dience. The Earl of Cumberland in Queen Elizabeths dayes was Page  28〈1 page duplicate〉Page  29〈1 page duplicate〉Page  28〈1 page duplicate〉Page  29〈1 page duplicate〉Page  30 sweetned with a Present for obtaining an inlargement of our stint; but that Present now is become a Rent, and is successively granted by Patent; and though the Patentee be a single person, and cannot be said properly to gratifie the Common-wealth, yet He receives such a yeerly revenue in consideration that the Com∣mon-wealth shall not be disserved: and this revenue it self being an Incumbrance upon our Draperies, and raised out of Wooll∣growers, Clothiers, Merchants Retailors, and so charging Trade in generall, is no lesse then a disservice it self to the Common-wealth. Thus we see our Charters have been often times, and se∣verall wayes attempted against: and yet if they had not been so much shaken, their power of resistance had not been so experi∣mentally known; for the more the Anchor is straitned, the faster hold it ever gains.

4th. Arg: Since every man is presumed to be most knowing in that Craft wherein He has been bred up; we may presume the Clothiers in matters of cloth to be more knowing then the Mer∣chant.

Ans. First, in the making of Cloth we deny not but there may be more skill in the Clothier then in the Merchant: but the que∣stion here is about the uttering and vending, not about working or preparing of cloth: and therfore, it follows not that the breed∣ing of the Clothier does so much inable him to sell cloth, especi∣ally in great quantities, and that to forrein Nations, as the Mer∣chants: but rather the contrary, even by the truth of the same granted rule. Forasmuch as there is not onely an Art and Myste∣rie in the sale of cloth as aforesaid, but also an Art more abstrase, eminent, and exquisite then that is which consists in the Mecha∣nicall way of making and dressing the same.

Secondly, the State is not to consider what is most beneficiall to the Merchant, what to the Clothier separatim, or whether the benefit of the one alone, or of the other be more to be favour∣ed, but how they may be both favoured conjunctim, and how the State may be most benefited by twisting their interests both to∣gether. Now then generall interest of the State requires that all our Lnificia, or English commodities be raised in price unto other Nations as high as may be without injustice, or inconvenience, and that as many persons and professions in England as may be, Page  31 may come to be sharers in the generall interest. If the question then be, whether the Merchants interest, or the Clothiers do more conduce to this publick reason of State; sense it self will presently distinguish, that the Merchants advantage is more compliant with the publick then the Clothiers. For the Clothi∣ers ayme is to drown that gain, which the Merchants industry and imployment now serves for, and which by his service is kept within the bounds of our own Island, to the maintaining of so many families at home, and busying so many men, and Ships abroad, and thereby to abridge the same the more to Natives, the more it is publicated unto strangers. The Hollanders are so subtill as to clog our English Woollen manufactures with great Impositions, and to free their own of the same, that the prices of their meaner Draperies may be raised up to our better ones, or the prices of our better Draperies may be beaten down to their meaner ones: but our subtiltie must be for the pleasure of our Clothiers to intercept from the Merchants all that liveli∣hood which they now earn, and by vilifying of our own Wares to prostitute the same unto Strangers: nay and by the same means to expose themselves to the danger of having worse trea∣tance from forreiners, then now they have from their own Coun∣treymen.

Thirdly, if more regard be had of the Clothier, then of the Merchant, or State, yet constant experience teaches us, that this favour and preference which the Clothier challenges herein above the Merchant, is no reall favour, nor preference at all. For it has been alwayes seen, that the setting at liberty of the Mer∣chants Trade has proved more obstructive to the Clothier then to the Merchant, in as much as the Merchant has a more large imployment, and can better subsist without the Clothier, then the Clothier can without the Merchant. Moreover as it doth not alwayes fall out, that the breaking up of the Merchants Trade brings any present quicknesse to Trade: so if it doth, that quick∣nesse never a••s; 'tis but bonum presens; 'tis but like cold water to a feaverish man, it procures some short refreshment, but repays that short refreshment within a short space after with a prolon∣gation of sharper extremities. So it proved it in Qu: Elizabeths times; so it proved in King James his times; and so it is likely to Page  32 prove hereafter: wherefore if men of Mechanicall education will onely contemplate present things, and neither look forward nor backward, Statesmen may, and must disaccommodate them for the present, that they may be accommodated the better for the future.

5th. Arg: That power in private men which onerates the chief Commodities of the Realm with arbitrary impositions to maintain it self, is dangerous: but such is the Merchants power, &c. Ans. Our Companies ordinary charge is scarce consider∣able in respect of the great summes we deal for; and the extra∣ordinary charge is alwayes drawn on by some extraordinarie, unavoidable inconvenience: for example, the removals of our Residence from one Mart Town to another is commonly a great burthen to us, but that burthen is undertaken to avoid some greater detriment, and without it either we should loose old pri∣viledges, or be made to submit to some new exactions: or be some other way aggrieved in a worse degree. Now this is for the com∣mon good, and we may rather expect favour from the Kingdom, then disfavour for such services.

Secondly, we have a Bill now in the Houses, prepared for His Majesties Assent, and in that Bill the future Impositions of our Company are reduced to a certaintie.

Thirdly, there is an absolute necessity of these Impositions, for neither can our Trade prosper without government, nor govern∣ment be maintained without some charge: neither is our govern∣ment necessary onely for our selves, but also for the Clothier, for as much as we are a good skreen, or bank betwixt the Mer∣chant stranger, and the English Clothier, and were not the prices of our clothes kept up by us, and that partly by the charge of our government, the Clothier would be more inslaved to the Stranger, then now He is.

Lastly, our Accounts are kept most exactly, and audited pun∣ctually, and the hands through which all things passe are so many that there can be no error, nor fraud. The Hans Towns in Germany, anciently 72. in number, found it expedient to incor∣porate, and maintain a common correspondence: for which end Lubeck of the Wendish, Brunswick of the Saxon, Dantzig of the Prusse, and Cullen of the Westphalish Towns was appointed to be Page  33 chief; and the chief of all was Lubeck. These Towns so united for adjusting all common, and particular interests obtained se∣verall places of Residence in England at London, in Norway at Ber∣gen, in Russia at Novograde: in the Netherlands at Antwerpe: and in each of these residencies they had their Alderman, Assistants, Se∣cretaries, Treasurers, Stewards, and other Officers, by whom their publick affairs were administred, and Merchant Law was exercised. Wherefore if the expence of their government was more then countervailed by the benefit of their unity; and if they were gainers by that expence, why should that be impru∣dent in us which was prudent in them? or why should that be dammage to us, which was profit to them?

The ordinary pleas for Freedom are thus answered, and the Objections against Reglement in Trade removed; we will now onely re-inforce all that has been said in a word, or two.

The most solid glory, and magnificence that ever dazel'd hu∣mane eyes upon earth: was that of Solomons royall Court, at that time, when his unparralleld wisdome had made Silver as stones in Jerusalem, and Cedars as vulgar as Sycamores used to be in other places.

Tis written of his raigne (by an inspired Author) that it made Silver of no account, that in one yeer there flowed into his Ex∣chequer 666 Talents of pure Gold; that besides all his Masses of Ophir gold, he abounded with other various Treasures, preci∣ous stones, &c. such as the Merchants of Spices, the Governours of the Countrie, and the Kings of Arabia did import. Solomon was no warriour, nor born Lord of many Nations, nor did his Jewish Signiory extend it selfe over any large Tract in the universe: tis onely written of him, that he had at Sea a Navie of Tarshish with Hirams, & the same Navie once in 3 years returned home fraigh∣ted with gold, silver, ivory &c. Hiram being hitherto straitned in the mediterranean Seas, could not gaine the Stronds of Arabia, Persia, India, China, &c. without incompassing the Capes or Afri∣ca, and crossing the Suns torrid line: but upon terms of partner∣ship Solomon is now able to let him in to that Southern Ocean by a way far more compendious.

Pharaoh on the further side of the red sea is Solomons neer Allye: and the Edomites on this side are his tributary servants: hereup∣on Page  34 things▪ are so composed betwixt the Jews, and Tyrians, that it is as beneficiall for the Tyrans to serve the Jews with their skill in Astronomy, and Hidrography, as for the Jews to serve the Ty∣rians with their harbours, and ships. Therefore the Queen of Sheba (till her eyes were ascertained with substances) might well withhold her beleife from entertaining, that stupendious report which was blowne about the world concerning Solomon; and well might her spirit after sinke within her, when her eyes had once encountered with the radiant Majesty of Solomon, whereby the blasts of Fames Trumpet were so far drowned, and transcen∣ded. Of all Solomons successors we read of none but Jehsaphat, that ever thought of rigging new navies in Ezion-geber; and He neverthelesse though he had the Edomites his homagers, and was also much renowned for his wisdome, and grandour, found this designe unfeasible, and the way to Ophir altogether unpassable. This is a cleer chrisis to indicate how profound the judgment, and how broad the comprehension of Solomon was, before whom (till apostacie had alien'd his God from him) no difficulties were able to stand: yet 'twas not so admirable in Solomon, that he amassed such incredible treasures, as that he amassed them by Peacefull arts, and not by the dint of his sword.

The tragicall exploits of Alexander, and Caesar, may be accoun∣ted magna, & splendida Latrocinia, if they be compared to the feats of Merchandize exercised by Solomon and the other Kings of Tyre and Arabia; and yet we may doubt too, whether the spoile of the East to Alexander, or of the West to Caesar were equall in va∣lue to all Solomons Cargazoons.

Whilest the cruelld predations of war impoverish, dispeople and by horrid devastations root up, and so shrinke (as it were) great Empires into small Provinces: Merchandise on the other side beautifies, inriches, impowers little States, and so al∣ters their naturall dimensions, that they seem to swell, as it were, into spacious Empires. This martiall Hero has inscribed upon his Statue: that he has fought so many picht battells, that he has ••th his rapid lightnings spread a suddain conflagration over so many Kingdomes; that with the losse of 100000 fellow Souldiers he has purchased the slaughter of 1000000 Enemies, at least such as he would needs make, and stile his Enemies. But Page  35 in the mean time that gentle unbloody Prince which by his se∣verall dispersed Carricks visits each climate of the world onely to plunder the Earths caverns of her Mettalls, or the Rocks of their Diamonds, or the Deepe it self of its pearles; merits to be celebrated for the common benefactor of mankind, aswell for the necessaries which he convaies unto other Nations, as for the more pretious wares▪ which he recovers out of the darke abisse of na∣ture, and relades for the use of his own Subjects.

Howsoever this one instance of Solomon (to lay aside all other instances of Princes, that have engaged themselves in such like mercatorian negotiations) makes it plain, that the most Maje∣sticall of all Kings that ever raigned, was the most ample ad∣venturer that ever traffickt, and that he had not been so great a Prince, if he had not been so ample a Merchant: for it is more then probable that al the Tributes of Judea were inconsiderable in comparison of the returns which Tarshish did afford.

It must needs follow therefore from the same very instance, that the devouring, piraticall Trade of war is not so honoura∣ble, or so fit to magnifie Princes, and make happie Nations, as that ingenious just Art of commerce, which may be exercised without rigor, or effusion of blood.

I shall then close up all with this application to our own Nati∣on: if Merchandise be truly noble: if the raies which streamed so plentifull from Solomons diadem were more supplyde by traf∣fick, then by tribute; let not England totally neglect Merchants. Let us look into the causes that make Trade so dead amongst us at present, and the fittest remedies that possibly may recover it. In the East Indies we know who they are, that by cruelty have opprest us; In Russia we may take notice who they are, that by subtilty have supplanted us. Here in Germany our Priviledges are ill kept; in Holland they are worse.

In many Countries the manufactures in Silkes, and Cot∣tonwools increase. In High, and Low Germany the store of sheep is increased, and of late the kinde of them especially in Silesia is much improoved, hereby, and by the help of Spanish woolls, nay of English woolls too, & Fullers Earth daily exported against Law, our English Draperies are extreamely brought low.

The late obstructions and calamities of civill war in our King∣dome, Page  36 concurring with other annoyances done us by the Kings Agents abroad, and millitary Commissions upon the Sea, have added more to our ruine. Moreover, in other things the Times seeme to looke towards a Reformation, but in matters of Trade Order and regulation it self is opposed, and confusion under the Name of Liberty is now more then ever publickly pleaded for. The King by his Proclamation had formerly a etted his Pro∣genitors grant to us, and the Parliament lately has corroborated the Kings Proclamations, yet nothing can secure as against in∣truding Interlopers. By this meanes Merchandize is brought to a low ebbe, 20 Ships yearly in former times did attend us here in Hamburgh, now 6. are sufficient to supply us, and though our Company be in this Consumption; some other Companies waste away worse then ours. All these mischeifs perhaps are not re∣mediable, yet let us use the best remedies we can, and such as are most seasonable.

In Platoes Opinion those Common-wealths were most likely to prosper where learned men ruled, or Rulers were learned. Within the circle of Platoes learning let us comprehend the my∣steries of commerce. In Solomons dayes that kinde of learning did wonderfull things towards the advancing of States; and of late as Venice a City of Merchants has been the Bulwark of Eu∣rope against the Turk: so the Seates in the United Provinces by Trade more then Arms, have gotten the sword of Arbitration into their hands. Spain, and France, and other Nations no ware fain to court those Merchants, which not long since were belowe their scorn. Let it then be lawfull to propose: either that a cer∣tain number of able Merchants may be made Privy Councellors: or so many Privy Councellors specially designed to intend mat∣ters of Trade; or let some other H•••••… Councell be im∣powred solely▪ to promote the Common weal of Merchants.

Page  31

By the King. A Proclamation for the better Or∣dering the Transportation of Clothes, and other Woollen Manufactures into Germany, and the Low-Countreys.

VVHereas We have taken into our Princely Considera∣tion the manifold benefits that redound to this King∣dom by the Manufacture of Woollen Clothes, and the Transpor∣tation and venting thereof in forrein parts: and finding how much good government, and managing the said Trade in an Orderly way will conduce to the increase, and advancement of the same: We for the better settling of Order therein for the time to come, have thought fit with advice of Our Privy Coun∣cell, to declare Our Royall pleasure herein: And do therefore hereby strictly will and Command, that no Person, or Persons, Subject, or Subjects of this our Realm of England, shall at any time from and after the Feast of Purification, &c. now next coming, Ship, transport, carrie, or convay, or cause to be shipped, &c. ei∣ther from Our City and Port of London, or from any other City, Town, Port, Haven, or Creek of this Our Realm of England by way of Merchandice any White-clothes, coloured Clothes, Clothes dressed, and Died out of the Whites, Clothes called Spa∣nish Clothes, Bayes, Kersys, Perpetuanoes, Stockings, or any other English Woollen commodities unto any the Cities, Towns, places in Germany, or the 17. Provinces of the Netherlands, save onely, and except to the Mart, and Staple-towns of the Fellow∣ship of Merchant Adventurers in those parts for the time being, or to one of them.

And further, to the end that the said Trade may be hereafter reduced, and continued in an orderly and well govern'd course: We do hereby declare Our Royall pleasure to be, that the Fel∣lowship of Merchant Adventurers shall admit into their Freedom of their said Trade all such our Subjects dwelling in our City of London, and exercised in the Profession of Merchants: and not Page  30 Shop-keepers, except they give over their Shops, as shall desire the same, for the Fines of 50 li. apiece; if they shall take their Freedom before Midsommer next; And that the said Fellowship shall likewise receive and admit into their Freedom such our Sub∣jects of the Outports of this Our Kingdom, as being exercised in the Trade of Merchants shall desire the same, paying them 25 li. apiece for their Fine or Income: if they shall take their said Fre∣dom before Michaelmas next▪ And that the Sons, and Servants of such as shall be so admitted, as aforesaid, shall pay to the said Fellowship at their severall admissions thereunto the summe of 6—13—4. apiece. And that all such persons, as shall not accept, and come into the said Freedom before the dayes herein prefixed, shall pay the double of the Fines before limited respectively, in case they shall afterwards desire to be admitted into the said Fellowship.

And Our further will, and pleasure is, and We do hereby command and inhibit all, and every of our Subjects, not being Free of the said Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers, that they, or any of them shal not presume to Trade in any the fore-named Commodities into any the parts or places of Germany, or Low-Countreys from or after the said Feast of Purification next ensuing, upon pain of Our high displeasure, and of such punishments as Our Court of Star-Chamber, whom We especially charge with the execution of Our Royall pleasure herein, shall think fit to in∣flict for such contempts.

White Hall: Decemb. 7. 10. of Our Reign. 1634▪

Page  35

Die. Merc. 11. Octob. 1643. An Ordinance of the LORDS and COMMONS in Parliament Assembled.

For the upholding of the Government of the Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers of England, to the better main∣tenance of the Trade of Clothing, and Woollen Manufacture of the Kingdom.

FOr the better incouragement and supportation of the Fel∣lowship of Merchant Adventurers of England, which hath been found very serviceable and profitable to this State: and for the better government, and regulation of Trade, especially that an∣cient and great Trade of Clothing, whereby the same will be much advanced to the Common good, and benefit of the people: The Lords and Commons in Parliament do Ordain: that the said Fellowship shall continue, and be a Corporation, and shall have power to levie moneys on the Members of their Corporation, and their goods, for their necessary charge, and maintenance of their Government: and that no person shall Trade into those parts, limited by their Incorporation, but such as are Free of that Corporation, upon forfeiture of their goods. Provided, that the said Fellowship shall not exclude any person from his Free∣dom, and Admission into the said Fellowship which shall desire it by way of Redemption, if such person by their custome be ca∣pable thereof, and hath been bred a Merchant, and shall pay 100 li. for the same, if He be Free, and an Inhabitant of the City of London, and trade from that Port, or 50 li. if He be not Free, and no Inhabitant of the said City, and trade not from thence: and that the said Fellowship shall have power to imprison Mem∣bers of their Company in matters of their government, and to give such an Oath, or Oaths, to them as shall be approved of by both Houses of Parliament. Provided, that all rights confirmed by an Act of Parliament, or ancient Charters, shall be hereby sa∣ved. And the said Lords and Commons do further Ordain, Page  30〈1 page duplicate〉Page  35〈1 page duplicate〉Page  34 That withall convenient expedition, a 〈◊〉 shall be prepared in Order to an Act of Parliament to be passed in this present Par∣liament, for the further setling, and full confirming of the Pri∣viledges to the said Fellowship, with such other clauses, and pro∣visions as shall be found expedient by both Houses of Parlia∣ment. This Ordinance to remain in full force, untill a Bill or Act shall be prepared and passed, according to the intent and true meaning of this Ordinance. And it is Ordered, that this Ordi∣nance be forthwith Printed and publisht, that all persons con∣cerned therein may take notice thereof, as appertaineth.

Jo: Browne Cler: Par.

〈◊〉: Elsyng Cler: Par. Dom. Com.