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LEWES ROBERTS, THE TREASURE OF TRAFFIKE, OR A DISCOOURSE OF FORRAIGNE TRADE. - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others 
A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others, with a Preface and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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LEWES ROBERTS, THE TREASURE OF TRAFFIKE, OR A DISCOOURSE OF FORRAIGNE TRADE.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS and COMMONS IN THE High Court of PARLAMENT now assembled.
PArdon me Right Honourable, if amongst your other more serious present affaires, I presume to dedicate to your acceptance and perusall this short discourse of forraigne Traffike: It hath ever beene accounted a branch of Englands Royall Stem, and a commoditie, that for many yeares, hath brought a wonderfull Revenue to Englands diadem; It now presseth to your presence as an agrieved weight, laden with many fetters, imposed thereon by the covetousnesse of some, and by the Envyers of our prosperous Traffike, yet seeing that like religious Pilots you guide the helme of our Kingdome with your hand, whilst your eyes are fixed on heaven, taking from thence the conduct of your earthly directions, it hopes by that your good and gracious aspect to be now freed from them all, and florish againe in its first lustre. It is now about forty yeares since it began to be ingrafted in our English Climate, and ever since found our soyle proper for its further grouth, but if it find not your Honors favourable protection and future cherishing, a few yeares more may see it withred and reduced to its first nothing. I dare not undertake in this discourse to demonstrate the burthens that cloggeth it in this Kingdome, the severall Societies of incorporated Merchants of the Citie of London being called before you, will best particularise the same, onely I have labour’d to shew, what may best gaine it in those parts of this Kingdome where it is wanting, and augment that portion thereof in those places where it is settled already. Let not then, Right Honorable, so excellent a Jem, and so hitherto profitable and eminent a revenew, for want of a little of your helpe, die in your dayes, nor yet perish in our age, but release it from those subtle Gives, that cunningly have been intruded upon its liberties, and goes about to kill the root thereof, decking it once againe as primarily, with some of those lasting and beautiful immunities that can and may make it live longer, and spred it selfe much fairer, that the times to come may deservedly attribute to your names and memory that splendor & glory it shall obtain by your benignity, so shall the King, our gracious Soveraigne, have just cause to commend your care for your preserving to Himselfe and Kingdome, this so noble a Royalty, your Honours be justly applauded for imploying your industrious hands and heads in pruning, and lopping the disordered branches of so excellent a graft, and the Merchants of this Kingdome that have hitherto sowne in Expectation, live in hope to reape a fruitfull crop of their forraigne adventures, and hartily pray for the good successe of all your other weighty affaires, and amongst the rest, so shall ever ascend the devout Orisons of
Your Humble Servant
L. R. Merchant of London.
To The Reader.
COurteous Readers, It is needlesse for mee here to tell you, how good a common wealths man a Regular merchant is, nor yet trouble you in relating the severall benefits accrewing to a Kingdome, by his adventrous paines and industry, this short discourse, though unpolished, if well considered, will I hope sufficiently speake the one, and questionlesse make good the other. My well-wishes to our Countries present Commerce, and the enlargement thereof, the great need in the encouragement to the one, and the insensible ruine and decay of the latter, was herein, and still is my greatest hope and obiect: I have lately discerned that our industrious Neighbours were ready at a deare rate to purchase that treasure by Traffike, which wee our selves, by means of the enviers of our Countreys forraigne Trade, were ready to yeeld them gratis, and as it were unsought, and for nothing; yet if it may be rightly said, as undoubtedly it may be accounted, that Englands trade is Englands treasure, why should our gracious King and his people lose that so excellent a profit in a moment, which cost his Merchants so many yeares to compasse, and so many hazards and charges to obtaine and settle, a few priviledges, and a little protection, a faire aspect, and a gentle encouragement, from both these honourable assemblies, will quickly settle this Kingdomes Traffike, and not only preserve it in its present splendour, but also easily augment and enlargeit, which will adde a wonderfull honour to our Soveraigns Name, throughout the World, and an eminent commodity and profit to the subjects of all his Dominions, which every true subiect I thinke doth earnestly wish for, and every honest Merchant doth truly pray far, as doth unfainedly,
Lewes Roberts, Merchant, and Captaine of the City of London.
THat we are not borne for our selves, is a saying no lesse ancient, then true:No Man is born for himselfe, but for his Countrey. the heathens as well as the Christians have held it a rule worthy to be practised, and every good man, of what quality and profession soever, that will give evidence to the world of his faire intentions, for the benefit, either of the publike or private, are daily seene to follow and observe it.
The religious Divine, that with much labour and long study, having learned himself the wayes of Godlinesse, is daily noted to take care and pains, to instruct others therein: the valiant souldier that weares his sword to defend himselfe, yet is ever ready to draw the same in defence of his Countrey; the skilfull Lawyer, that hath learned by the Lawes to make good his owne interest and right, is ever also ready to right the title of others, and the judicious Merchant, whose labour is to profit himselfe, yet in all his actions doth therewith benefit his King, Countrey, and fellow Subjects.
Politicians that have written of State Government, have observed three principall meanes,Three ways whereby a Kingdome is inriched. whereby a Kingdome may be inriched, the first whereof is by arms and conquest, but this way must be confessed to be, both chargeable, bloody, & hazardable. The second is, by planting of colonies, building of well scituated Townes, and the like, and this is also accounted uncertain, chargeable, and tedious. But the third and last is by traffike, and forraigne trade, which is held the most certain, easiest, and soonest way; money and time must bee consumed to effect the two former; but immunities, priviledges, and liberties to the Merchant, will not only assure, but perfect the latter.
The Artsman is still the best counsellor in his own profession.In the management of these, there is required an orderly proceeding, and Salomons counsell is the safest, that his advice is still to bee taken, who is best versed in the way that is prescrib’d; when our salvation is doubted, we apply our selvs to the learned Divine; when our countrey is invaded, the souldier is the best director: when lawes are to be instituted, the lawyer proves the best counsellor: so when a Countrey is properly seated for traffike, and the soveraigne willing, by forraigne Commerce to inrich his Kingdome, the Merchants advice is questionlesse best able to propagate the same.
Parents labour to inrich their posterity.To inrich a Kingdome is a worke of great excellency, and fittest the study of the Soveraigne, and where many things may concurre to effect it, that only is to bee chosen, which is most facile, and least troublesome. Many men plant trees, though they are sure never to see the fruit thereof, and thus the child oftimes enjoyes his predecessors labours.
King Henry the eight did enjoy the benefit of Henry the seventh, and other his Fathers and Predecessors prohibition of the exportation of our English wool, and the setling of cloathing here, and the drawing of Flemings hither, to make our manufacturies in England, and this turned him and his Kingdome to more profit than the suppression of so many religious houses, and the annexion of so many old rents to his Crown.Edward the sixth, his Staple of Trade.Edward the sixth, though in his infancy, yet saw how those haunse-townes flourished, where his English Staples were setled, and had he gon forward with his design, of settling the same in England, in apt and fit townes, for traffike, as he once intended, doubtlesse it had beene the most politick and surest way to inrich his Countrey, as ever had beene put in practice since the conquest, and his successors should have seene the fruits therof, in the opulency of their Towns, the riches of their Countrey, and abundance of shipping, as now Holand doth witnesse unto us.
The scope of this discourse for the benefit of England, and their Traffike.The consideration of this, and my wel-wishes to the inlarging and benefitting of my Countrey by traffike, and for the advancement of the Merchants thereof, hath drawne mee in this short Treatise to set downe in a briefe manner, the commodities, that doe arise to a Common-wealth, by skilfull Merchants and by a well ordered and regular trade, and Commerce, therewithall shewing, how this Commerce may bee facilitated, and how disturbed, how advanced, and how ruind, and how by the good government thereof, it may prove both profitable and honourable to a Countrey, and how by the ill management and irregular courses thereof, it may bee both prejudiciall and dishonourable.
No one way more conducible to inrich a Countrey, then is forraigne traffike.Statists have noted, that the Arts and Sciences are very many, that are commodious and beneficiall to a Common-Wealth, and which consequently beget abundance, wealth, and plenty, not only to the Prince in his owne particular, but also to his people and Countrey in the generall, but yet amongst all others they confesse none is more conduceable thereto, then Traffike and commerce especially when the same is governed and managed, both by well ordered rules, and by regulate and skilfull Merchants; and to the end, that the youth of this Kingdome, may be incouraged to undertake this profession, the painefull Merchant cherished in the prosecution thereof, and the Prince induced to give them imunities and protection: the particular commodities and benefits, and commodities that arise by Traffike, shall be here demonstrated, and if by my discourse the same shall be found really such, as by me and others it is conceived and here aleaged; the same may in the future be the more furthered and protected, and being found otherwise, it may as in reason it ought, bee both discountenanced and suppressed.
The riches consist in 3 things.Now the aboundance, plenty, and riches of an estate or nation, may be said, principally to consist in three things.
1. In naturall commodities or wares.
2. In artificial commodities or wares.
3. In the profitable use and distribution, of both by Commerce and Traffike.
Naturall commodities or wares, What.Vnder the title of naturall commodities, may be comprehended, such wares as are used in way of merchandizing, & are such as either the earth doth naturally & originally afford, or such as by the labor of the land is brought forth, and these I account the naturall riches, that bring plenty to a Kingdome or Countrey.
Naturall commodities of 2. sorts.Now the earth in it selfe may be said, to produce two severall sorts of naturall commodities, thence drawne from the very intrailes thereof, such as is gold, silver, copper, lead, and the like. The second are wares growing on the face thereof, such as are fruits, trees, graine, &c. and both these I terme naturall commodities, as produced either by the benefit of the Climate, soile, or temperature of the earth, where the same are taken up, planted, or found growing, and doe become thus to inrich a Countrey, as a man would say, of themselves;How they inrich a Countrey.but yet by the meanes of Commerce and Traffike, contributing thus naturally to the benefit and use of the inhabitant, and to the furtherance of universall Commerce; those things whose plenty (otherwise without Traffike, and transport to other Countries, where such is wanting) would prove altogether fruitlesse, unnecessary, and peradventure prejudiciall unto the owners and possessors, and this hath beene manifested in some parts of those rich Kingdomes of India, some years past, by their great quantity of spices, drugs, and Jemmes, which, not by the Commodity of Traffike, carried thence away, exported and vented into other parts, and to remoter Countries:Naturall Commodities are prejudiciall to a Countrey, without the helpe of Traffike. these excellencies which nature herein afforded them, would be prejudiciall to them, and their ground over-laid with sundry (though otherwise) excellent trees, and exquisite Minerals, whose fruit or worth would thus not be requested nor sought after, neither by their neighbours, nor yet by forraigne Nations, where the same are wanting, and which would consequently no way benefit a Countrey, nor yet by Commerce and commutation, supply them with those things in lieu thereof, that they in their necessities stand more in need of.
The benefits of the Earth neglected by whom, and how.Againe, the earth, though notwithstanding it yeeldeth thus naturally the richest and most precious commodities of all others, and is properly the fountaine and mother of all the riches and abundance of the world, partly as is said before, bred within its bowels, and partly nourished upon the surface thereof, yet is it observable, and found true by daily experience in many countries, that the true search and inquisition thereof, in these our dayes, is by many too much neglected and omitted, which indeed proceedeth from a liberty that every man hath to doe, with that his owne part thereof, which he possesseth what he pleaseth, proposing commonly to himselfe, a care to find out that which will bee most profitable to him for the present time, and because the rich and great of this world, and those that possesse the greatest part thereof, are seldome or never seene to reside upon their whole estate, nor yet found to husband their owne good, farther in this point (either by their servants or themselves) then by a present benefit and quickest profit, their farmers and tenants are oftnest observed to occupy the same; who like gleaners, sucke and draw thence the present profit and daily benefit thereof,The Farmers eate the marrow of the earth, to the prejudice of the owners. eating up the heart and marrow of the same, with greedy art, and continuall labour, not minding, or indeed not regarding the future interest and good of the possessor: & on the other side, where we find the owners themselves to reside upon their owne, yet tis observable, that some of them through Ignorance, some by negligence, and too many by bad husbandry, content themselves with the yearely rents thereof, or at most with the Revenues, that their predecessors drew therefrom before them; as being loath to take the paines, either by industry, improvement or care, to increase those their demesnes and estates, either by planting, cleansing, or manuring a waste or barren piece of ground, or by drayning a marshy bogge, or the like, and thus to inrich themselves by a faire advancement of their own; which in some forraine Countries, hath of late dayes taken such effect, partly by good orders, but especially by example, that Princes themselves, and States have thought it a worke worthy their owne paines,Sundry Princes have studied the advancement of their estates. and study, as the late labours of the State of Venice in Polisona de Rovigio, of the Duke of Toscany, about Leghorne: Pisa and Creso, of the Duke of Ferrara in the Valley of Comachio, of the States of Holand, in sundry and diverse parts of the Low-Countries, doe manifestly witnesse, which hath wrought such good effect, that they have thereby much benefitted themselves and subjects, and by this meanes, have quickened the diligence of the industrious, and punished the negligence of the sloathfull,No commodity can inrich a Countrey, without the helpe of Traffike. yet notwithstanding all the laborious hand, and paines of man, to plant, sowe, or bring things growing in, or upon the earth, to their perfection; the excellent temperature of Soyle or Climate, to bring forth either Jemmes, Spice, drugs, or grains, naturally produced from it, and whatsoever else the bounty and goodnesse of the Earth can naturally, or by labour yeeld or affoord to mankind; yet it must be here concluded, that all this would, neither in it selfe, inrich the inhabitants, nor yet bring abundance to a Kingdome or estate without the benefit of Commerce, and Traffike, which distributeth the same into forraigne parts, and by commutation with forraigne Nations, convert this naturall benefit of the Countrey, to the common benefit and plenty of those that are found to possesse, inhabite, and abide thereupon.
The artificiall wares and commodities of a Countrey, what.The second thing which I observed, that did inrich a Kingdome, is by artificiall commodities and wares, and these by a generall title, I may call the manufactories of all commodities.
2 Considerable points therein.In which two principall things are considerable, conducing to universall Traffike, and to the benefit of a Kingdome.
1 The number of work-men.First the number of the work-men, or Arts-masters, and this in the first place affords the aboundance of the things wrought: and secondly their sufficiency, ability, and skilfullnesse, and this is it that gives the true credit to the fabrikes and worke it selfe,2 Their abilities. and to the merchandizes so wrought and perfected.
Many unskilfull Arts-men, is hurtfull to Traffike.Now the over great number of workmen in all manufactories, would of it selfe be not onely improfitable to commerce, but also hurtfull, if they were not also as good, skilfull, and as cunning in their Art and mysterie, therefore to the end, not onely to make them such, but also to keepe them so, and multiply them. Wee see in many Countries, many societies and publike houses, erected for all sorts of manufactors, wherein some the poor and needy are instructed, the skilfull and good are cherished, incouraged, and rewarded, and in other the lasie and sluggish punished and imployed.
The excellent industry of the Germans, to set men on work.The Germans in this point, I thinke excell all other nations, who willingly admit of all skilfull Arts-men, into their societies and corporations, though otherwise strangers unto them, and of what nation and mystery so ever, incouraging them by large allowances and salaries, to practise with them, and teach and instruct their fellow townsmen. And if otherwise ignorant, yet are they then admitted to learne and practise what they see, by which course it is observed, that some of their Cities and especially their haunse Townes, flourish in all wealth,The fruits thereof. and are abounding in all riches, though otherwise peradventure, deprived of all naturall commodities, and furtherances of trade whatsoever. And to this end, was first granted and erected, the Companies,The originall of the Halls in London. Brother-hoods, Halls, and societies of these mysteries, in the City of London, many of which were at first founded with large immunities, and great priviledges, to be incouragements to the said manufactories, and to set the poore of those societies a worke, and the better to cherish these mysteries and Arts.Many Princes have been free of Halls in London. Many of our Princes have caused their names to be registred, in their societies and Corporations, for honour and incouragement to their Halls and Brother-hoods: and yet when all this is done, it must be granted, that neither the multitude of good able and skilfull worke-men, nor yet the great quantity of reall and substantiall manufactories,Artificiall commodities inrich not a Kingdome, without the helpe of Traffike. made and abounding in a Kingdome, can of it selfe either fully and throughly inrich or bring plenty to a place, without the helpe of Commerce, which is the arme and hand that must distribute, and send abroad both that store & quantity of artificiall commodities so wrought, and must export, and vent it into forraigne parts, as being otherwise a superfluity and overplus, and more indeed then the Country it selfe standeth in need of; and in lieu thereof, importeth and bringeth in by commutation and exchange, those things, and such as the place it selfe standeth in want of, and is thereby seene to be onely and properly inriched, for the worke-men by this meanes become to be incouraged, and the manufactories to be preserved, in their reall and substantiall goodnesse, worth, and value, to the honour of the Kingdome, benefit of the inhabitants, & to the furtherance and inlargement of the generall Commerce and Traffike thereof.
Traffike is only able to inrich a Country, which of it selfe is barren.These two points thus considered and granted, and that neither the naturall commodities of a Countrey, be they ner’e so rich or precious, nor yet the artificiall commodities of a Kingdome, be they never so many or excellent, can of themselves, without the assistance of Traffike, benefit a common-weale, or bring plenty or aboundance thereto; and consequently inrich the same. Come we in the next place to the third point, which is this trade it selfe, which of it selfe and by it selfe, can supply all defects,Foure considerations in the prosecution, preservation, and augmentation of trade. either of naturall or artificiall commodities, and that without the assistance and helpe of either, can yet produce both, and is alone effectuall to accomplish and perfect the same, though in a barren place, affording nether in the prosecution, preservation, and augmentation thereof; foure generall considerations, are in the next place to be noted and observed.
1 What wares to export, and what not.The first consideration is grounded upon those wares and commodities, that a well ordered Traffike is to export or not to export to the stranger, or forraigne country and people.
2 What to receive, and what not.The second consideration is grounded upon these wares and commodities, which this trade must receive from strangers or forraigne Countries, and their Entrie or import into a Kingdome or estate, or not to receive them, and banish the Commerce thereof.
3 What may facilitate, and ease this trade.The third consideration, is grounded upon the facility and ease of this Commerce in generall, collected by practise of forraigne nations, and accompanied with the meanes of the augmentation thereof.
4 What commodity and benefit, this trade produceth to a Kingdome.The fourth and last consideration, is grounded upon the commodity and benefit of this Traffiike in generall to a Kingdome or estate, where the same is orderly and regularly practised, and that by skilfull and discreet Merchants, bred up thereunto.
First what wares are to be exported, & what not.First then it is diversly observed, and that in sundry Countries, what the commodities and wares in themselves are which a well ordered Traffike ought to export and carry, into forraigne Countries and nations with whom they have Commerce.
1 Those whereof a place hath aboundance, and how far.Where in most countries it is generally observable, that those wares are only to be carried out, by way of merchandize, whereof the place it selfe hath aboundance and plenty, of which after that the place or Country is sufficiently furnished, the exportation thereof may be admitted and allowed, as contrarywise those commodities which the place may want, or stand in need of,Those which a place may stand in need of, are not exportable. Nor those that may be used to the hurt of the place. are in no sort admitted to be exported, nor in like manner those, whereof forraigne parts may use to the hurt and prejudice of the place it selfe, where we abide and remaine, as Armes, Horses, provisions, ammunition, or things designed to Sea or war, or the like. And amongst the rest in many countries, it is noted that the exportation of gold and silver, is also forbidden and prohibited, though in many places ill observed, and in some countries againe, the same is allowed and tollerated, so that the differing lawes of sundry Princes, in divers Kingdomes upon the exportation of gold and silver,Nor gold, and silver. as in some prohibited, and in some allowed and admitted, will in this place be worth our observation, and the rather that the reasons given thereupon, may be examined, and the benefit or prejudice arising thereby observed, where the same is either granted or denyed.Gold and silver, by some exportable, and by some not.
The reason why some Princes forbid the exportation thereof.First it must be considered and granted, that silver and gold is not growing in every Region, and therefore as things in themselves scarce, and by all Princes sought after, may be accounted a forraigne commodity, and the rather, for that the same carrieth with it, the preheminence, and predominancy over all other commodities, whatsoever the worldly rich doe possesse, and therefore by reason of the excellency, power, vertue, generall use, and need of it, when once it entereth into some countries and Kingdomes; the Princes thereof forbid the exportion and carrying out of the same, upon sharpe penalties and severe punishments for feare of the want and scarcity which may arise, and come thereby, yet it must likewise bee considered,The same found of no effect, where the contrary is allowed. as a thing granted and found true by experience, that in some countries and free Townes, where the exportation thereof is freely allowed and admitted, and the carrying out openly permitted by authority; no such want or scarcity is discerned; but contrariwise, all abundance and plenty thereof is noted, so that this being granted, the exportation thereof may bee allowed without prejudice to the state or Kingdome where we abide: now forasmuch as that this point will hardly find admittance in the opinion of many of our Sage Politicians, I will a little enlarge my selfe thereupon, endeavouring by forraigne example to make good this my assertion.
An example of both for proofe.There is two differing countries, the one a great Kingdome, where gold and Silver in the greatest plenty groweth, and the prohibition of exportation therof, strictly observed and most looked into, and the other a petty Dukedome, whose Prince is not owner, of neither silver, or gold Mines at all, yet publikely, and by authority admitteth an exportation of this commodity, shall serve here for demonstration and Example of this point.
The King of Spaine, richest in Mines, forbiddeth exportation of gold and silver,The King of Spaine then, being possessor of all the rich mines of silver and gold, in the West-Indies, found in themselves of farre greater value, then all the other mines yet discovered throughout the world, hath through all his Dominions, strictly prohibited by sharpe lawes, the exportation of his monies, out of any his Countries, and hath by sundry subtile decrees, and politicall ordinances, endeavoured to debarre all other, both neighbouring, and remote Kingdomes, and People else of partaking of his Spanish Reals, yet for all this it is observed, that the necessities of his great and ambitious undertakings, and the urgency of the Commerce of that his barren and poore Countrey,Yet finds small benefit by these restrictions. enforceth a passage and current dispersing, will he, nill he, thereof into all Countries over the face of the earth, so that in the height of all his store and plenty, and when hee was involved in the greatnesse of his greatest aboundance, his Countrey and Kingdomes, were yet notwithstanding, and still are, noted to be both scant, dry, and needy, of both silver and gold, and the common Commerce and Traffike of his most eminent and richest citties,And his countries are traded most, with blackmonies. to bee wholly performed by the use of blacke, and of Copper monies, to the great disorder and confusion of his trade, and the generall ruine and undoing of his Merchants and people, and though by this means,Turkey with whom Spain is ever in war, yet hath aboundance of Spanish Rialls.Turkey, with whom hee is, and ever hath beene, in greatest enmity, should consequently be more bare of his coynes, yet wee finde, that have either lived, or do Traffike thither, that almost throughout all the Grand Seigniors Dominions, which are both ample, large, and spacious; there is no silver coyne of note currant, but the Spanish Riols, and the same not carried thither by the hand of war, or the necessity of his designes in those parts, but by the hand of Commerce, and concurrence of Traffike, which fills all those Countries, and that in great abundance therewith.
The Duke of Florence hath no mines admits exportation, yet hath abundance of Rials.Now the Duke of Florence, which is onely the Lord of a pettie, but pretty Seigniory, barren in its selfe of mines, both of Silver and Gold, maketh contrariwise no open restriction, nor publike prohibition of exporting, of either gold or silver; and whereas in Leghorn, his only noted maritine towne of trade, a million of Ducats are freely and yearely openly laden, and shipped away, yet the Countrey wants it not, nor is found any way to be scant thereof, nor is it seene, seldom to arise, or fall in price or value; nor yet is there noted any brasse or copper monies in use amongst his Merchants in Traffique and Cōmerce, so that by this experienced demonstration, Spaine that should have most, is the most barren,Note. for all their prohibitions, and Toscany, that should have least, affords the most plenty, by reason of its liberty of exportation and freedome in the Commerce thereof. But it may be here alledged, that the naturall infertility of Spaine, and the naturall plenty of Tuscanie, may partly occasion, or else inforce the same; to which I answer and grant, this may have some concurrence, but no necessity;Spaine in its lowest ebbe, came to be the owner of the West-India. For when as Spaine in its lowest ebbe became fortunately owner of the rich West-India, that Prince then by this meanes had silver, but yet he wanted the other materials of Commerce, for the performance of that countries Traffike, which other places could best afford him, and which his monies might best, and did then procure him; and when the Portugal, by his happy discovery, had the East-India trade alone, yet he wanted Rials to purchase the commodities of East-India, which Spaine was then best able to afford him, but both these Kingdomes joyned now in one, and bowing to one and the same Scepter, it is observable that the West-India afords,West-India affords the monies to drive the East-India trade, and the East-India affords the spice, & that drives the West-India trade. now the monies to drive the East-India trade withall, and the East-India affords the rich spices, and drugs which must procure the sundrie needfull diversity of European commodities, to drive the West-India Traffike withall; so that a man would imagine Spaine as it now stands, should not at this day want any manner of thing to make it abound, either in monies, or in wares and commodities, and yet we find it to be both bare and poore in their Commerce; and notwithstanding, the so strict prohibition of the exportation of their silver and gold, and the authorizing of so much Copper-monies current amongst them, yet still his Kingdomes to remaine in great need and want thereof.Tuskanies fertility, is attributed more to the trade, then to the Country.
And as for the fertility and plenty of Tuscany, though it must needs be in some sort granted, yet its riches and aboundance is to be attributed, rather to the trade of the place, and to the excellent government of the Countrey, in matters of Commerce, then to the naturall Climate thereof, or industry of the inhabitants, for it is noted, that three well advised rules in Traffike, hath brought it to this height that now it is.Observable in 3 rules of Traffike.
1The first is the allowance of free and publike exportation of monies.
2The second is the easie duties and customes, paid upon all merchandize to the Prince.
3And the third is the goodnesse, and reall value of the Coyne current throughout the Duke dome:but this is from my purpose.
This one example then I hope will suffice, to make good the point before-going, (whereto many others might be alleadged) to prove that this tolleration of exportation of monies, makes not in it selfe the scarcity of silver and gold, nether yet the prohibition thereof makes the aboundance,Merchants must submit themselves to the Lawes of Princes, where they Traffike. but I will proceed no further in this point, save by way of caution, advise all Merchants to submit themselves, to the Lawes and ordinances of Princes, and conforme themselves to the customes of the Kingdomes and places to which they Traffike; which almost varies in every Countrey, one commodity being in one Kingdome prohibited, which in another is permitted and allowed; as we find, that Lead, a native commodity of this land, is lawfully exportable in England,Some wares transportable in some Countries, and prohibited in others. but is all counted a Contrabanda, and prohibited exportation in Spaine, and in many other Countries, when once it is imported: and we find that Woolls are prohibited also in England, yet allowed in Spaine, Iron againe allowed in Spaine, but prohibited in France, and Saile-cloth, Canvas, and the like, allowed in France, yet prohibited in Spaine; so is gold and silver, as aforesaid is mentioned, forbidden in England, Spaine, and France, yet allowed in Marsellia, Leghorne, Barbary, Turkey,Reasons for the prohibition of commodities, unpossible to be kept. and in many other places.
Divers reasons are given by States-men, for the probition of some peculiar commodities, as I said before, but indeed many of them are impossible to be observed in the execution; for that Countrey that will maintaine a free Commerce with his neighbour, makes in one Countrey, one commodity lawfull, which in an other is not lawfull, unlesse all commerce might be made by a kind of Example, and bartering of Commodities against commodities, and that also practised in regard of the merchandise or wares, which are not very necessary, and not in regard of those that are for the place of our aboade, and whereof wee cannot passe without; and in this case Merchants are forced to have recourse to their forraigne parts, and then they must take a law from them, in either giving them other merchandises, which may be as necessary for them, as theirs are for us, or in paying or contenting them with ready monies for the same, however it happen, this is found the generall Rule in this point,A generall rule observed in prohibited Commodities. that a Kingdome and State doth commonly admit of the exportation and carrying out of those commodities, and wares, which are native and growing in their Dominions, or of that whereof they have store and plenty, not regarding the lawes of other Countries, but yet some prohibitions in these very places, are made of exporting of some commodities of war-fare, as is seene of Iron Ordnance in England, and the like, for the possessing thereof by our neighbours, might at one time or other, annoy and prejudice our selves, or the place and countrey of our aboad: within the compasse of this consideration is also comprehended those artificiall commodities,Artificiall wares which are not exportable, and how far. and wares, which are not to be carried out and exported, and such are they as have not received their intire perfection at home, as is ordained by wools in England, which is not allowable, till wrought into cloath, and yet not in cloath neither, till the same hath received all necessary and fit perfection, by dressing, dying, and the like, for thus the meanes of workeman-ship is taken away from the Artist, and workman, which in some certaine workes, and fabrikes, exceedes the price of the substance, and matter it selfe, and thereby their lively-hoods deprived them, and a powerfull furtherance and helpe of Commerce is by this occasion cut off, and hindred.
The care of some Princes to set their people on worke.This point is by some Princes so narrowly watched, and so vigilantly looked into, that they are not satisfied with those materials, that grow amongst themselves, and in their owne countries, but they covet by all industry to draw others from their neighbours, or forraigne nations, to employ their subjects, and to put their people on worke, by this meanes, much enriching themselves, and honouring their Countrey; and adding a great helpe to the publike Traffike thereof; selling and venting them thus once wrought, even to those Nations, who many times have first sold and furnished them with the very first materials of the said Manufactories.
Examples of the Florentines care, in this point.Examples of this practise we find many, and that in sundry Countries and places, as the Florentine, who of all others exceeds in silk Fabrikes, yet at first provides much of his raw silke, in Valentia, in Spaine, in Naples, and other the neighbouring Countries, and having wrought and perfited the same in Toscany, returnes it to the proud and lasie Spaniard, and to other places in Damasces, Sattins, Taffeta’s, and the like; so bringing it backe wrought, to the self same place whence it first came out raw, to be sold and vented.
And of the Dutch, before their last wars with Spaine.The Dutch likewise, buyes his Woolls in Spaine, carries it home to his owne house, there spins it, weaves it, and workes it to perfection, then brings it backe into Spaine, in Sarges, Sayes, and such like stuffes: and so there againe sells the same to good profit, and vents it.
And of Manchester.The towne of Manchester in Lancashire, must be also herein remembred, and worthily, for their encouragement commended, who buy the Yarne of the Irish, in great quantity, and weaving it returne the same againe in Linen, into Ireland to sell; neither doth the industry rest here, for they buy Cotten wooll, in London, that comes first from Cyprus, and Smyrna, and at home worke the same, and perfit it into Fustians, Vermilions, Dymities, and other such Stuffes; and then returne it to London, where the same is vented and sold, and not seldome sent into forraigne parts, who have meanes at far easier termes, to provide themselves of the said first materials.
How far this is to be cherished.Now though it may be wished, that all other parts of our Countrey, could be so industrious, as thus to procure materials of Fabrikes, for the inriching of themselves, and inlarging of this Kingdomes Traffike, yet we find it in some places, an impossible thing to be performed: for where the Traffike or exportation of a native commodity, is of greater consequence to the Countrey, and over-valueth the commodity imported, it is safer then, and better to preserve the native, and to neglect the forraigne, then by too much preservation of the forraigne, to neglect and ruine the native.
Besides, the native commodity may be rich, and in its selfe, a necessary commodity, but the forraigne a meaner, and tending peradventure more to excesse, and superfluity, then to need and necessity, as the great quantity of native clothes, that are yearely shipped into Turkey, by the Levant or Turkey Company, having their full workeman-ship, and perfection in England, brings in returne thereof, great quantity of Cotten, and Cotten-yarne, Grograme-yarne, and raw silke into England, (which shewes the benefit accrewing to this Kingdome by that Company,)Staple and native commodities of a Kingdome, are in the first place to be cared for. for here the said cloth is first shipped out, and exported in its full perfection, dyed and drest, and thereby the prime native commoditie of this Kingdome, is increased, improved, and vented, and the Cotten-yarne and raw silke, that is yearely imported and brought in, is more (as experience tells us) then this Kingdome can spend, vent, or any way utter, either raw, in the same nature as it is brought in, or wrought in this Kingdome into manufactories: here the first as the most usefull, native, and excellent is to be first preferred and cared for, and the other yet so much cherished, that it may as much as possible it can, be wrought here,And the forraigne that sets the Subject on worke, in the next to be cherished. and perfited into Stuffes, partly to give a consumption to the materiall it selfe, partly to set the poore Artist here on worke, but principally to further the generall Commerce of this Kingdome and Countrey, and to helpe a valueable returne, for the English cloth exported: some States have seriously entred into consideration of this point, and have indevoured with all posible care, the furtherance thereof, where it was defective,King James, his provident care in this point. as King James of famous Memorie, inordered as I have been informed, that the white cloth shipped hence to the Netherlands, by a Nonobstante should have every tenth cloth thereof, died and dressed here, thus indeavoring by a wholesome order, to bring the whole shipping quantity, in use amongst them, that by this meanes, in time to come, all the said shipping might be drawne, to be dyed and dressed in our own Country, and not to be shipped white, as was then in use, and is still, to the great prejudice of that clothing; but had his Majesty then been pleased, to grant the lader thereof, some extraordinary priviledge, or to be free from custome, for any such cloth so shipped, in its full perfection, it would doubtlesse before this time, have wrought better effects in this point, then hitherto we see the former order hath brought to passe.
The indeavours of some other Princes in this point.Some again to further the same, have eased the native manufactories of their Countries, of all customes, imposts, and such like duties in the vent or exportation, thereby incouraging their Subjects to make them, and their Merchants, to send them abroad, and transport them, and some have againe, charged the forraigne Manufactories, which tended not immediately to need or use, with heavie taxes, thereby deterring the importation, and cherishing the native worke-man to make the same, and to indeavour the obtainement of perfection therein at home.
Some have also eased all raw materials, that have beene imported, being commodities, tending to set the poore subjects on work, as is Cotten, Hempe, Yarne, Flaxe, Woolls, raw silke, and the like; and all these practised in some places, have met with a happy successe, which hath both inriched the Subject, set the poore native artists on worke, and proved the maine furtherer of the Commerce of that Kingdome, where the same hath been daily, and industriously put in use and practised.
Second consideration what commodities are to be receaved, and what not.The first point grounded upon the considerable benefit of a well ordered Traffike, being thus handled, and having concluded what wares and commodities may be exported, and what may not, out of an estate or Kingdome, & what hath beene practised by forraigne nations with good successe; I come now to the second consideration before mentioned, declaring what wares and commodities must be receaved, and what must not be receaved into an estate, by the limitation of a well ordered trade and Commerce.
All commodities tending to riot, are to be prohibited importations.Some observing States-men have noted that a Prince should stop the entry, and importation by Commerce, unto all commodities, that tends to riot or excesse, as the principall meanes that impoverisheth a Kingdome, though many times it inrich the trader, and Merchant, amongst which precious Stones, rich Jemmes, exquisite perfumes, costly unnecessary Spices, and rich Stuffes, which serve more for pompe and show, than for need and use, are principally noted.
With their difficulties.But how difficult in an age or Kingdome of peace and plenty, this may be effected, I leave to the said statesmen to determine, yet presuppose that these commodities, such as they are, be admitted their importation, the Prince and soveraigne may notwithstanding be in his owne particular a gainer, though the subject or Countrey therein prove loosers, for if the use, or rather abuse of these commodities in a Kingdome, be so inveterate, as that the same cannot be hindred, by a moderate prohibition, yet they may be charged with such great customes and Imposts, as the merchant or importer may have no great desire to bring them in any quantity, fearing he shall not obtain the price they cost him; and the subject will likewise have no earnest desire to buy them, in regard of the dearenesse thereof, and though that sometimes this consideration will not, nor doth not restraine the rich and wealthy of a Kingdome, from procuring and purchasing such merchandises, yet the soveraignes treasure will by this meanes be augmented, and by this way it may supply in place of punishment, for the riot and excesse in private persons, and on the other side, the Subject desisting from the excesse, though the Soveraigne gaine not thereby, yet that Commonwealth will be both improved and benefitted, by this chiefe and good husbandry.
Needfull wares ever to be receaved.Now for such other commodities as may be receaved and imported, those are most welcome, which are noted to be the most needfull, & what the Countrey and inhabitants thereof wants, and such as tend to need or use, are still the most desired, Graine, Butter, Cheese, and all provisions for food, should every where be freely receaved, and that without duties or customes thereupon, as in Leghorne, in Tuskanie, in Spaine, and in many other places: The Merchants and bringers in of such, have ever a reward allowed them, to incourage them to a readinesse at all times, to bring in the same againe, at another time and season.
Needfull for wars.Also all ammunition for the defence of our Countrey, and for the offence of our enemies, as Horses, Armes, Powder, Cannons, Muskets, Bullets, Match, and all provision for Shipping, as Planks, Timber, Masts, Pitch, Cordage, Iron, Saile-cloth and the like, are ever to be receaved.
And wares that set the Subject a work, are to be receaved.Thirdly all such commodities, as may set the poore or richer sort on worke, by making of sundry sorts of Fabrikes, either of Linen, and Woollen, silke or the like, as are Cotten Wooll, and yarne, of which is made Vermillions, Fustians, Demities, & such others, also fleece-wooll, of which is made woollen-cloth, Sayes, Sarges, Perpetuanas, Bayes, and sundry other sorts, comprehended under the name of new Drapery with us, also Grograme-yarne of which is made, Iames, Grograms, Durettes, silke-mohers, and many others late new invented Stuffes, Flaxe, Hempe, and the Yarne thereof, of which is made all sort of Linens, fine and course, all Ropes, Tackles, Cables, and such like used in shipping, all raw-silke, and throwne, whereof is made all manner of Silke-Laces, Sattins, Plushes, Taffeta’s, Cally-maneos, and many others, all silver and gold in thred, and Bullion, whereof is made silver and gold Lace, Cloth of gold and silver, and many others, which may set on worke, not onely the poore industrious working Subjects, imploy the monies, and estates of the rich, but also much further Navigation and Commerce, and generally inrich the Prince and Kingdome, by the second Traffike of these Manufactories.
Yet with certaine Limitations.Yet many of these commodities and wares, are to bee receaved with some certaine restrictions, and limitations, according to the judgement and discretion of the Soveraigne; For if by incouragements or Immunities, the Merchant brings in the first materiall, as I may say, Cotten-wooll, the yarne thereof may then be prohibited, for thereby part of the poore mans labour is taken away, and so in Hemp, and Flaxe, and the like, if it be imported in good aboundance, the yarne thereof may be prohibited, for the cause before mentioned, and so may also such petty manufactories be denyed entrance, as playing Cards, gold and silver thred, and the like, whilst wee have the principall materials, whereof the same is or may be composed, & perfitted at home. And thus much shall serve to have said, concerning what wares may be receaved,3 considerations is to facilitate, & ease Trafficke. and what may not be receaved into a Kingdome, by the rules of a well ordered Traffike, the facilitating and acquisition of this Traffike, in a Countrey or place, comes in the next consideration to be handled.
The politike estate of Venetia,The practises of sundry Princes, to augment Trade. the Indicious Duke of Tuskanie, the cunning Hollanders, the industrious hauns townes, and others, that much indeavour and studie this point, have noted, and found out many particular points, which they have put in practise, as the most effectuall, operative, and efficient, conducing to the facilitating, ease, and augmentation of Traffike in generall, which gathered out of their practises, wee may put in use, and apply to our selves, for the increase of a Countries forraigne Traffike, which principally are these.
1 To further the commodious carriage of goods &c.First to further by all meanes, the commodious carriage of goods and merchandize both by Land and by water, either by Boats, Cartage, Horses, or other such conveiances, wherein is considerable as a thing necessary, that the Rivers be navigable or made so if possible, by labour, Art and industrie, then to remove all hindring Mills, Bridges, fishing weares, Bankes, Sholds, and such like impediments that may any way let or hinder the same.
2 No tolle upon Rivers, bridges &c.Secondly, that no Lord, or adjoyning commanding borderer, impose either custome, tolle, taxe, or duties upon the commodities, and wares so carried in Boates, Lighters or Barges, passing or repassing thereupon, or heavie acknowledgements, passing over Bridges, Causeyes, or the like, that may disturbe the publike Traffike, or be a charge to the generall Commerce of a Countrey.
3 To free the Seas from Pyrats.Thirdly, to keepe the Seas, and streames, free and safe from all Pyrats, theeves, and robbers, as the principall disturbers of the universall Traffike, of Kingdomes and nations, and the greatest overthrowers of the navigation, and Commerce of Cities and Countries.
4 To maintaine Boyes, Lights, and Castles, &c.Fourthly, to safeguard the Ports, Harbours, Roads, and Sea-Creekes, from them, to maintaine where is necessarie, fortified places, to defend the pursued, and to offend the pursuer, to maintaine and conserve the keyes, Peeres, molds, and other places of moredge, fastnings, anchoredge, and the like, and to set up and maintaine, Beacons, Watch-Towres, Lights by night, Sea-marks, and Boyes, for the safeguard of Mariners sayling either by night or day.
5 To keep the wayes from theeves, &c.Fiftly, to keepe the Land wayes and passages, free and safe also from Theeves and Robbers, to mend Causeys, high-wayes and decayed Bridges, to build alberges, Innes, lodgings and places of safety whare none is, in fit and commodious places, for the reposing and rest of men and beasts of carryage, where all accommodation, both for men and horses travelling, may be had at easie and reasonable rates and prises, and where all needfull things may bee obtained, for the travailer which he may ordinarily stand in need of.
6 To main taine the Posts, &c.Sixtly, to maintaine posts, and post-horses, by Land, and post barkes by Sea, also all Letter-carriers, and such like foot-posts, with priviledges, and fit stipends, for their paines and care therein.
7 To put downe Monopolies, &c.Seventhly, not to suffer any Monopolies, Pattents, and grants to private men, which may hinder the liberty, and freedome of Traffike, and if such bee discouvered, and found out, to punish the same rigorously and severely.
8 To invite industrious strangers by priviledges.Eightly, to invite by priviledges, the industrious strangers, and Merchants, to bring and import unto us, the wares and commodities, which wee cannot want, and those whereof the Countrey it selfe stands in need of, and that which may either advantage the publike, or the defence of the Countrey it selfe.
9 To discharge all great customes.Ninthly, to discharge all great custome, heavie imposts, and duties upon all goods and merchandize, or at least wise upon the Subjects goods, and upon all needfull and usefull commodities, or if the same stand not with the commodity of the Prince, yet at least wise so much of these customes &c. as the necessity of the state will beare, and trade may well permit, without overthrowing of the generall Traffike, and Commerce of the Countrey, and the dependances thereupon.
10 To establish Sea Lawes, for Merchants & navigator.Tenthly, to establish such Lawes, and ordinances for Merchants, and merchandizing affaires, and Sea causes, as that there be not onely faith and assurance, preserved amongst all negociators, Sea-faring men, and merchants whatsoever, but also amongst all manner of buyers, and sellers, and that there be likewise severe punishments decreed for fraudulent & publike deceavers, bankerouts, and robbers of the common Traffike, of a nation or Countrey.
11 To erect a Court of Merchants.Eleventhly, that in case of differences, debates, controversies, and the like accidents, hapning in Traffike amongst Merchants, there may be a summary, and speedy Justice executed, either by a quickned law, or a Court of Merchants, as it is observed and practised in many Countries, especially in that which concernes strangers, who oftentimes are noted to forbeare their Traffike into a place, no lesse, in regard of the charge and tediousnesse of suits, then for the tretchery and falshoods of the inhabitants of the Countrey.
12 The Coynes current to be constant and good &c.Twelfthly, and forasmuch as a permutation of Commodities cannot bee well made, without a certaine price set downe upon all merchandises, and that they cannot negotiate with all sorts of people, simply by Exchange, but that it is necessarie to make use of the monies and Coynes of Princes, in their severall distinct Countries, the value, price, and estimation thereof, must be therefore certaine, constant and firme, otherwise it would bring a confusion to the generall Commerce of a Kingdome, and every commoditie must then bee governed in esteeme and value, according as the monie shall bee current in price.
Neither is this onely sufficient, but the reall goodnesse, and true value of these Coines must bee easie, to bee judged, and knowne, not onely by the waight thereof; but also by the eye, and sound of the same, if it bee possible, the which may bee the easier done, if there bee no metalls used in Coine current, but onely silver and gold, which is sufficient in themselves, to expresse all summes, and quantitie, how little and small soever, and if everie peece both of silver and gold, bee Coyned by a certaine waight, thicknesse, and greatnesse, and in forme of certaine medalles, as the Grecians, Latins, Hebrewes, Persians, and Egyptians, in old time did use, it would prove a difficult thing for a man to be deceived therewith, and it would bee facile for all strangers, and Merchants, to bee soone experienced, and acquainted with them.
13 To give honour to merchants, and why?Thirteenth, whereas some ignorant estates and forraigne nations, doe contemne Merchants, and merchandizing, and such as exercise Traffike, holding and undervaluing, the Art of merchandizing in its selfe, as base and sordid, which too often is found in many places quickly to decay the publike commerce of some Kingdomes, for thereby it commeth to passe that they which have gotten a little wealth, retire themselves speedily to embrace some other vocation, to the which the common people carry more respect and honour, then to this.
It being a thing, which in all civill and well governed Kingdomes, ought carefully to bee avoyded, and removed, for the good and furtherance of the Traffike thereof; now indeed it must be granted, that there bee certaine trades, which should bee left to the poore and common people, to inrich themselves by: but there are others, more noble, which they only can best execute, that are conversant in forraigne Countries, which is that of Merchandizing in remote parts, by the benefit and commodity of the Sea,Merchandizing is the most profitable in an estate. and that by persons qualified and versed in forraigne regions, which in it selfe is the most knowing, profitable, beneficiall, and excellent in an estate, as shall bee shewed in this following Treatise, and to these more honour and respect should be attributed, then is now done, both in France, and in some other Countries, for if in all estates, the wise, judicious, and prudent Counsellours of a Prince, have thought it fitting, and requisite to invite the Subjects by honour, to the most dangerous and hazardable attempts and actions, which may bee profitable and conduce to the benefit and profit of the publike; these two of Navigation by Traffike, and of Commerce by navigation, being of that concurrent qualitie, and united disposition, they should propound and attribute more honour to those that shall deale therein, and exercise the same, then now it is noted they doe. And if true Nobilitie should have taken its foundation,Why such should be honoured. (as the Iudicious and Learned have observed heretofore) from the courage of men, and from their Valour, there is no vocation, wherein there is so many usefull and principall parts of a man required, as in these two, for they are not onely to adventure and hazard their owne persons, but also their estates, goods, and what ever they have, amongst men of all nations, and Customes, Lawes, and Religions, wheresoever they are inhabited.
And that not onely in common casualties, mishaps, and dangers, but sometimes to wrastle and stand even against the foure Elements, combined together, to threaten their ruine, and destruction, which is the strongest and most remarkable evidence and proofe, that possibly can bee alledged or spoken, of the constant and firme resolution of a man.
This sole point and consideration, hath beene the occasion, that some States have beene of opinion, and thought that this doore should be opened, to the adventuring Merchant to attaine unto Nobility, so as the Father and the Sonne have continued successfully for some ages therein; and which is seene in some sort to be practised in some places at this day, and if those Noble-men, (the upholders of a Land or Kingdome) who are commonly the richest and greatest in an estate, should practise and addict themselves to this Commerce, and Sea-Traffike (as some beganne to doe in Queene Elizabeths daies) being a thing not prejudiciall, nor hurtfull to their honour, or to their noble condition, doubtlesse it is, and would bee more honourable unto them, then to bee Vsuerers, and Bankers, as is observed in Italy, and many other Countries as they are, or to impoverish themselves, in doing of nothing, or nought worthie of note, but neglect their owne occasions, in spending, lavishing, and wasting, when peradventure they never gather any thing to what they have, or what formerly was left unto them, by their Ancestours.
The benefit of the Trade of Nobles and rich in a kingdome.Hence would grow many advantages, both to the publike and private, for that they that thus deale in traffike, having thus meanes, courage, and sufficiencie, for this Conduct and Enterprise, the same would bee farre greater, and more eminent in it selfe, then now it is, setting thus more ships to sea, and by being consequently better armed, and better furnished; and whereof the state in time of need, might make good use of, for its safety and defence; and withall it would carry the reputation of that Nation, farre further into remote Regions; the which they cannot doe, who being poore, and having little or no stock, but of one ages gathering, or peradventure taken up at Interest, and borrowed from others, wanting both power, meanes, and courage, either to hazard themselves in great, and eminent Enterprises, or to wade through the same, being once entred thereinto.
And for other particular Interest, this Commerce being wisely managed, and discreetly handled, what hazard soever they should run, there is more to be gotten thereby, then to be lost; And if Gentlemen in generall would thus apply themselves to traffike, as some within these late yeares have beene observed to doe, and that without wasting of their estates by vast Expences, or importuning their Soveraigne by disorderly demands and gifts, they should by all likelihoods benefit themselves more in one yeare, by a well govern’d traffike at sea, then peradventure at Court by ten years waiting and solicitations.
Finally, to conclude this point, Experience hath taught, and teacheth us daily, where those of great purses, and good judgements have exercised traffike, and where such have beene backed and encouraged by a gracious and furthering Soveraigne, and by a Prince that loveth Navigation, and favoureth Traffike; it hath mightily enriched both themselves, and the Princes and Estates, under which they have liv’d; as by the late examples of the Portugal, Hollander, Spaniard, and Venetian is made knowne, and manifested unto all the world.
14. To erect an assurance office.Next to erect and settle an office of assurance, with fit and skilful Iudges, which should determine, and give speedy Execution in their Decrees and Acts, betweene Adventurers, to avoide demurs, delayes, and hindrances, that happen by tedious suites in adventures at sea amongst Merchants.
15. To erect some Companies.Fifteenth, the only meanes conceived to settle the Commerce and Traffike of a Nation into forraigne Countries by sea, in the which the best purses will not bee drawne to hazard themselves in the Enterprise, is to compell the Merchants which trade at sea, to one and the selfe certaine place and countrey, to joyn one with another in a corporation, and Company, and not to make their Traffike by themselves asunder, or apart; for although that adventuring apart, the Gaine would probably be the greater to the Adventurers, when the enterprise succeeds happily; yet it is to be considered, that the losse which may happen, would wholly ruine him that attempts the danger alone; and if in making a joynt Company, or Society, the Gaine should turne to be the lesse; yet it is ever more assured, and the disorders by Traffike by a good government is still removed; and the losse being borne by many, it is consequently the lesse to every one that is interested therein; and thus dividing the Trade of the whole, according to either the places, or coasts where the same is made, forbidding them to attempt one upon anothers priviledges; and prohibiting all other private Subjects (of what quality soever) which shall not be Members or free Brothers of those Societies, to negotiate into those parts upon great penalties, and appointing certaine Governours, or others the greatest adventurers, to order and regulate the said Traffike and Companies; which Rules have found such good successe, both in Holland, England, and else-where, that it hath beene one of the maine causes, that hath brought the traffike of London, and of Amsterdam, to that present height and greatnesse, as it is now observed to be.
16. To lend money to the Merchant out of the common Treasurie.Next, for the furtherance of the Traffike of some Kingdomes, it hath beene observed, that great summes of monies have beene lent gratis, or upon easie rates and security, to skilfull Merchants, out of the soveraigne, or common Treasurie, which hath also found such good successe, as that the customes of that Prince have beene thereby much increased, the kingdome enriched, the poore set on worke, and the native Commodities thereof, vented to all parts of the world thereby.
17. By transportation of Bils.In the next place, it hath beene noted mainely to further the traffike of a Kingdome, the transportation of bils of debt, from one man to another, in liew of monies, as is used in some Countries; for thereby many Law suits are avoyded amongst Dealers, errors in Merchants accounts cleared, the Princes customes increased, the great stocke of the Kingdome, which continually lyeth in all Negotiators hands in dead Bils and Bonds, employed, Traffike it selfe quickned, and such a benefit enjoyed thereby to the Common-wealth, as cannot expressed.
18. Example of the Prince, a maine Furtherer of Trade.In the next place it hath beene observed in some places, where the poore for want of abilities cannot trade, and where the great or rich have not will, or dare not adventure their Estates in forraigne Traffike, that the examples onely of the Prince hath throughly effected it, and proved a maine Furtherer of the generall Commerce and Traffike of his Countrey; which doth not only hold in this matter of Trade, but in all other state matters whatsoever; for then it will be impossible for the rich Subjects to forbeare, when they see their Soveraigne bend his mind, and addict himselfe therunto. For the wise have observed, that Princes cannot frame an Age unlike unto themselves; and that it is easier (as one said)Cassiod. li. 3. for Nature to erre, then that a Prince should form a Common-wealth unlike himselfe: Iust if they be wicked, regular if they be dissolute, chaste if they be immodest, and religious if they bee impious.
Neither is it thus in these our dayes; History it selfe warrants the point, and makes it good in all former ages. For, under Romulus it was found that Rome was warlike; but under their Soveraigne Numa they were religious, under the Fabritii they were continent, under the Catoes Regular, under the Gracchi seditious, under the Luculli and Antonines, intemperate and dissolute; under Constantine the Great the Empire is Christian, but under Iulian idolatrous: Therefore, for conclusion, if the Prince love the Sea, his Subjects will be all Sea-men; and if he be a Lover of trade and traffike, the rich and powerfull of his Kingdomes, will be all Merchants.
19. By erecting a staple of Trade.In the next place, it hath beene noted as an effectuall meane, whereby traffike may be obtained and settled where none is, is by erecting a staple of trade, and to indow the same with freedome of traffike, which briefly may be termed to containe some of these before recited particulars, especially those of great priviledges, and small customes; for this will gaine Trade where none is, and being gotten mightily increase the same, when this shall fall out to bee in a Countrey, where God and Industry hath blessed the Land and people with wares, that are either rich or usefull, it will soone beget, maintaine, and inlarge the Trade of the place, so made a staple, as above is said.
Now for as much as this staple is in many countries a thing unknown, and that many men are ignorant of the benefit that the same may produce, I will a little inlarge my selfe thereupon, and in few words shew how it may turne a Kingdome to profit, and by perusing the commodity it affordeth to other nations, conceive it may yeeld the like to that Prince that coveteth the same, or putteth this rule in practise:A staple of trade what. A staple of Trade is a place then, where large immunities and priviledges, are granted to all Merchants of what nation soever; sometimes extending to native commodities onely, and sometimes to forraigne, and sometimes to both, with free liberty, to export and import all manner of wares, custome free, when, whither, and by whom they please, paying a small acknowledgement onely in liew of the said custome to the Prince, and wheresoever the same hath thus been seene to be settled in a Kingdome, it hath beene noted much to encourage the inhabitants thereof, and force them in a short time to become either great Merchants, or industrious Furtherers thereof; for the same would yeeld them occasion to be sharers in the traffike of other Countries, whereof before they neither had any profit, nor yet the Prince any customes thereby,The benefit of a staple by the experience of other Countries. the benefit of this staple of Trade may be the better discerned by looking upon the practise of those Countries, where the same is put in use, and especially by our Neighbours the Netherlanders, where the same is practised with wonderfull industry, paines, care, and conducible profit, instanced by these examples.
No timber in Holland, and yet they have the staple thereof.First it is well knowne to us, and all the world, that they have there no timber, nor yet Forests of any sort, of their own growth, yet the freedome of Trade begets them such fit materials, that the same builds them yearely above a thousand sayle of ships, partly serving to their owne use, but principally to sell to others; and that the huge pales of wainscot, Claboard and Deale are in their staple Cities.
No corne there, and yet they have the staple thereof.Next, they are found to have no corn growing almost in all their countries; for it is the East Countrey that affords the same in abundance; yet wee know that the greatest Store-houses, and staple Granaries of graine, is by the freedome of their trade in the low Countries; for Amsterdam (if report may gaine credit) is continually stored with 8. in 100000. quarters, besides what is by trade daily sold away and vented.
No fish there, yet the staple therof is in Holland.The maine shooles, and massy bulke of Herrings, from whence the industry and traffike raiseth to them so many millions yearely, proceeds merely out of our English seas; but yet the great Fishery (to the shame and wonderfull dishonour of England) is in the Low-countries; wherewith not onely their owne occasions at home are plentifully supplyed, but all Christendome besides abundantly stored, it being computed, that they send forth yearely into other Countries, above one hundred thousand last, which wee may account to bee two hundred thousand tuns.
No Vineyards nor salt in Holland, yet they have the staple thereof.The large and mighty vast Vineyards, and great quantity and store of salt, is noted to be in France and Spaine, yet the great Vintages, as I may say, and staples both of Salt and Wine, is found in the Netherlands, whereby they imploy yearely above a thousand sayle of their shipping.
No Woolls there, and yet they have the staple of many Factories.The Wooll, Cloath, Lead and Tinne, and divers staple English commodities, are properly and naturally of Englands production, but yet to the dishonour and prejudice of England, the great Manufactories of Dying, Dressing, &c. of them are seene in the Low-countries, whereby they not onely imploy their poore by labour, but their Mariners by shipping, and often times undersell the English, both in their owne countries, and abroad, with these and other our owne commodities.
Light customes increase trade, and heavy ruines it.Many others in this kind may be produced; for it is to be noted, that wheresoever such a staple of trade is erected, kept and maintained, there all forraigue and native commodities doe abound, for the supply of any other countrey, that may or doth want the same; and where the customes upon Merchants goods is small, it easily draweth all nations to trade with them; and contrariwise where great impositions are laid upon Merchants goods, the traffike of the place, will be seen soone to decay, to the prejudice of that place and kingdom.
Example thereof between England and Holland.The difference thereof is made evident in any two townes of severall Princes Dominions, in the one, where customes are easie, and there Merchants doe flock together from all parts of the world, and abundance of forraigne commodities are from all countries imported thither, that benefit the Merchant, the people, and the Prince; and in the other, where the customes are heavie and burthensome to a Merchant, and heavie upon his wares, and there none comes, nor brings any commodities, but what hee knows is liable, and must pay this custome to his and the countries great prejudice; which by an example or two I shall here manifest.
In a ship of 300 tuns come from Burdeux.Two ships laden at Burdeux, of equall burthen, and of three hundred tuns, the one goeth for England, and the other for Holland; she that commeth into England, payeth for custome, Prividge, Butleredge, and other charges thereon by booke of rates,Paying in England 1260. and in Holland 60.1. one thousand two hundred pounds and upwards, before she bee discharged, and the other going for Holland is discharged there for threescore pound sterlin, or there abouts; so that after they have there nnladen their said ship, and custome being paid, and the wines sold, the buyer can transport them againe into some other countrey; and, if hee should in the second place but gaine this custome that was paid in England, yea or halfe so much, hee would thinke to have gained very well thereby: but it is not possible for any English man to pay this great custome in England, and to transport them againe into another Kingdome, but he must be a great loser by them; for the Hollander can still undersell him, and yet be a gainer thereby.
In 200. tuns of Tobacco.The like may bee alleaged of two ships, of two hundred tuns a peece, comming alike laden, with 200. tuns of Tobacco from Barmuda, Saint Christopher, or any other English Plantation: now, this 200. tuns paying custome, &c. in England, will amount unto 10000 pounds, whereas in Holland the said 200. tuns will bee cleared for 120. pounds. Now though the said 200. tuns of Tobacco should be here againe shipped out within the yeare, and the impost repaid him, yet the Merchant loseth infinitly by bringing it into the kingdome, which he would account for wonderfull gaine, might hee enjoy the same upon all the whole parcell towards all his adventure, interest and charges.
These small customes will increase the totall custome of a Kingdome.But some Princes may imagine that this will too much diminish their customes, and draw their Revenewes to a low estate: but I rather hold the same will bee a meanes to increase the same; for though a Prince should for the ease of his people, and the augmentation of the trade of his Countrey, take but a small custome upon all forraigne goods imported, and thus exported, with the reservations mentioned in the second consideration of trade; yet he may have a moderate custome to be paid him, upon all goods vented within the Kingdome, as is now used in England; and the multiplicity of trade, which will be procured by this staple, and small custome, whereof there is not otherwise accrewing to the Prince any profit at all, will much increase the same in the totall. Presuppose, that this staple of traffike, furthered with such immunities, and smalness of customes, were in some one, two, or three convenient Towns settled here in England, let us consider the good in generall, that by the former assertion would produce to us.
Benefit arising to England by a staple of trade.First the Merchants would be enabled, to export the commodities of France, Spaine, Italy, Turkey, and Barbary, and of the East and West India, into the Kingdomes of Germany, Poland, Denmarke, Swethland, Pomerland, Sprucia, and Lifeland, and the merchandize of those other countries, which are both many and usefull, will againe be transported from the said staple, to those Southerne and Westerne Countries, and hereby the Merchants would mightily flourish by this inlargement of trade.
Secondly, divers sea-Townes, where this staple should be kept would be very much enriched.
Thirdly, the Mariners and shipping of this Kingdome, would hereby come to be very much enlarged and imployed.
Fourthly, many poore people, and other handy crafts men and labourers, would be hereby set on worke, and imployed.
Fifthly, the honour and reputation of this Kingdome will be much advanced in other countries, and much Bullion would thereby come to be imported.
Sixthly, it will keepe all sorts of graine at a reasonable price, both for the buyer and seller, and the countrey should alwayes bee well provided with corne, if dearth should happen, and thereby also retaine our coyne, which upon such an occasion is usually exported.
Lastly, the customes of England would be much increased by intercourse of trade, both by Importation and Exportation of all sorts of forraigne commodities, whereof we have no use our selves, and whereof His Majesty hath at present no custome at all, because there is no such course of trade in use.
Having thus shewed how this staple of trade is to be setled, and what benefit it brings with it to that countrey where the same is erected, and may bring to us were the same here settled; and because in all Kingdomes it is a worke of time and much difficulty, and that our ordinary States-men doe neither seriously consider, nor truly weigh the reall benefits that arise to a Kingdome and people by the hand of traffike; I will here in the last place, for conclusion of this consideration, shew that a maine Furtherer of a countries traffike, and the only way for the preservation thereof, being once acquired, is to settle by authority of the Soveraigne a selected number of able and discreet Merchants, with power and sufficient priviledge, to examine the disorders of traffike, and irregular Traders, and to reduce the same to such orders, and constitutions as may stand with the benefit and good of the Soveraigne, his countrey and subjects; and these merchants to be either sworne and admitted into the Princes counsell, or have a superintendency over the generall Commerce of the kingdom, by themselves entituled as State-merchants, or Merchant States-men; the benefit of whose endeavour, skill, judgement, and discretion thus authorised, I shall by these few rules offer to the consideration of the Iudicious.
By inlargement of traffike.It is by all Statesmen accounted a truth undeniable, that the wealth and welfare of all countries (where the subject exerciseth traffike with forraigne nations) is mainely furthered, and much advanced by the regular orders, and merchantlike rules thereof, and more especially in that of Englands, by nature commodiously seated to that end, and of purpose; the procurement of which wealth and welfare by the inlargement of Commerce, and the well ordering and regulating thereof, cannot be so fully effected, nor the hindrances fore-seene, nor the prejudices so soone avoided by a meere States-man, as the same can be by a discreet Merchant, qualified with power from the Prince to that purpose.
2. By importation and exportation of Bullion.Secondly, the importation of Bullion to the Princes Mint, or exportation of his coyne out of his countrey, cannot be so well fore-seene and prevented as by the Merchant, who by the course of traffike, knowes the impediments of the one, and the preventions of the other.
3. By under-valuing of native wares.Thirdly, the under-valuing of the home-bred, and native commodities of a Kingdome, and the over-valuing in that Kingdome of forraigne commodities, with the discommodity of both to the common wealth, nor the causes thereof, cannot be so well knowne to a States-man, nor by him be prevented, as the same can to a Merchant, qualified with power thereunto.
4. By new Plantations.Fourthly, the inlargement of trade by any new Inventions, Plantations, or Discoveries of new traffikes, cannot be by any so well furthered, as by a qualified Merchant, who best knowes by reason of his trade, what priviledges are fit to be granted, what customes inwards and outwards to be imposed, and for the incouragement of the Merchants, and Vndertakers in these said courses.
5. By rising and falling of customes.Fifthly, it is granted that the greatnesse of customes, and other duties upon Merchants goods, in all places diminisheth the trade of a Kingdome, and the smalnesse of the same inlargeth the trade thereof; now a meere States-man conceives not what commodities are fittest to be eased, and which are to be raised for the common good, and profit of the trade of that Countrey.
6. By imployment of workemen in the Manufactories.Sixthly, the generall imployment of all the poore of a kingdom in the workmanship of native, and homebred commodities, and forraigne materials imported (now too little regarded by many States-men in many Kingdomes) may with more ease and speed be put in Execution by a States-merchant then by a meere States-man, as is seene in the dying and dressing of clothes in England, and in the prosecution of the Fishing-trade, lately here set on foot by the care and industry of divers noble personages, and lost for want of experienced men in that profession to manage the same.
7. By furnishing decayed towns.Seventhly, as a matter worthy of a Princes consideration, the furnishing of decayed haven Townes, with inhabitants, Mariners, and shipping in a kingdome, and the needfull helps and furtherances thereto, with a profitable trade to maintaine both, to their, and the Prince and countries good, is better performed by a Merchant, then by a meere States-man.
8. By providing of corne in dearth.Eighthly, the continuall furnishing of a Kingdome with corne at cheape rates, yea even in times of Dearth, the want whereof some yeares past the last great Dearth, inriched Holland for seven yeares following, and impoverished England full as long, by their exportation of two millions of pounds, as is conceived that yeare out of all ports of this Kingdome in gold, wherein a meere States-man knows not the way, neither how to provide for the one, nor yet how to prevent the other; which notwithstanding a Merchant can with ease, and better husbandry accomplish and performe.
9. By setling of a staple of trade.Ninthly, the setling of a staple, or freedome of trade in a kingdome, in commodious and fit places, with fit and advantageable priviledges, and how the same is to be governed and directed, and wherein to be restrained and limited, is onely within the knowledge of a Merchant, and fittest for his direction, which a meere States-man doth not so well understand, nor can judge of.
10. By weakning the enemies by trade.Tenthly, Salomon saith, that wisdome is better then the weapons of warre, therefore a Merchant can in times of warres with forraigne Princes, better direct how to weaken his enemies, in course of their traffike, and preiudice them in the point of their profit, and crosse their designed intentions, for provision of warfare, more then the best States-man can doe by open hostility.
11. By treatises of peace in trade.Eleventh, In concluding of a peace, or in the making of leagues, and amity with forraigne Princes, the Merchant can advise of the fitting conditions, to bee insisted upon, and obtained in the point of traffike, for the advancement of his King and Countrey, which a States-man doth not so much regard, nay many times not yet understand.
12. By forraigne intelligence.Twelfth, A Merchant that hath beene resident, many yeares in forraigne parts, and sometimes hath remained all that time in one and the same Countrey, and hath afterwards continuall advice from his Factors there resident, by reason of his daily trading thither, of all the occurrences of the place, with their provisions made there for arming of horse, foot, or shipping, must needs consequently understand thereof, and the affaires of those parts, better then those that never were there, or but cursorily to see fashions, and that peradventure many yeares before that time.
13. By suppressing of trades depending upon exportation of coyne.Thirteenth, A Merchant knowes by his observations in course of trade, that there bee some trades in a Kingdome, which cannot subsist, nor bee driven without exportation of the coyne of that kingdome and place, or which cause the diversion of Bullion from the Mint of that place, which are not to bee cherished, as those trades are which doe neither; all which a meere States-man cannot so well comprehend, and take notice of.
14. By cherishing some trades that subsist by coyne.Fourteenth, A Merchant doth know that there be some trades againe, which cannot subsist without this exportation of the coyne of a kingdome, and have a necessary dependance thereon, which yet notwithstanding are to be cherished, sometimes equall, sometimes above other trades, by reason that the same trade begets another advantageable trade, that doth more profit to the kingdome, then the exportation of that coyne doth prejudice the same, which a States-man can neither discerne, nor take notice of.
15. By acts prejudiciall to trade.Fifteenth, A Merchant doth know what decrees and ordinances made in a Kingdome, doe further and enlarge the trade thereof, and which againe in themselves doe hurt and prejudice the same: also what decrees and ordinances are enacted in forraigne states or countries, that are injurious and hurtfull to the trade and countrey where he abides, and how to meet with, and prevent the same by counter Decrees, and Regulations; which a meere States-man doth neither know, nor can of himselfe prevent or have notice of.
16. By remedying the forraigne disorders in trade.Sixteenth, A Merchant doth find by his traffike into forraigne parts, what commodities, and what nations are eased by forraigne Princes within their dominions, to the end that by charging of some, and easing of other some, they covet to benefit some nations more then other, and further the vent of some commodities more then others, redounding to the prejudice and ill consequence of the Kingdome of his aboade and residency; which the Merchant can in a short time both prevent and remedy, to the good of that Kingdome where hee lives; but the States-man cannot in a long time find out, nor yet being found out remedy it, till peradventure the remedy be worse then the disease.
17. By carrying out or in of commodities hurtfull or beneficial to a kingdome.Seventeenth, A Merchant knoweth what commodities can bee drawne out of another countrey, to the benefit of his owne, and what commodities are carried out of his owne countrey, to the prejudice (as Iron-Ordnance are in England,) or benefit of another, and can by regular orders in the course of traffike hinder the importation, and exportation of what is hurtfull, or any way dammageable to the Kingdome of his aboade, and further the importation and exportation of such commodities as are prejudiciall to the traffike of the strange and remote Countrey; which the States-man for want of knowledge in merchandising cannot effect or accomplish.
18. By importation of materials for Manufactories.Eighteenth, A Merchant can advance his Countrey by the importation of materials for Manufactories to bee wrought at home, and by this meanes set multitudes of poore on work, to the great benefit of the place of his aboade, and can by reason of his travels into forraigne parts, where hee sees the naturall and profitable commodities of other Nations, transport the same, and sometimes plant them in his owne native soyle, for his Countries good and honour; which the States-man cannot without great difficulty performe and effect.
19. Forraigne decrees that prejudice navigation and shipping.Lastly, the Merchant best knowes what Decrees are constituted in forraigne Countries, that hinder the Navigation, and diminish the shipping of the countrey of his aboade, and what orders and injunctions are imposed at home, that insensibly ruine and destroy the same, either by meanes of grants, made to private persons to the prejudice thereof: or by innovations imposed by Farmers, or other Vnder-officers, that either destroyeth the same, or tendeth to the discouragement of Sea-men; which meere States-men cannot so soone discerne, nor yet in fitting times remedy.
To conclude this point, having thus shewed the courses that are used in sundry Countries, for the setling, preserving, and augmentation of Commerce in generall, and withall considered how farre in his owne person a Merchant is able to benefit, and advance his Countrey and place of his aboade, and how a staple of trade may bee erected, settled, and priviledged with fitting liberties, to gaine an ample traffike where none is, and shewed withall the commodities that arise to the Countrey, where the same is so settled and maintained.
The endeavours of sundry Princes to gaine traffike.I will now, for conclusion of this third consideration, run through and briefly survey the marvellous care, cost and paines, that severall Princes have willingly beene at and undergone, to compasse the same.
By what hath beene saide then in this consideration, and upon this point, it may be gathered, that the obtaining and acquisition of a traffike at the first is very difficult, being as a precious Iewell which must be sought after, courted and purchased with many priviledges, liberties & immunities, and sometimes with the very example of the Prince himselfe, because that the honour, benefit, and commodity that doth still attend it (as I shall declare in the close of this discourse) extends it selfe both to the Soveraigne, his Nobles, Kingdome, and subjects in generall: and to the end that it may appeare, that all Iudicious Princes, and Politick States-men have thus judged thereof, and found the effects of the same answerable to this my assertion; I will here briefly declare, and shew the industrious paines, and painefull endeavours of sundry the wisest Princes of Europe, to acquire, purchase, and obtaine this so excellent a Iewell.
The practise of the Duke of Florence to get the trade of Leghorne.The Dukes of Toscany, being ever accounted expert Exchangers, finding that their Dukedome, by reason of the want of a Sea-port, for the receit of shipping, was very unfit to entertaine a trade by Navigation, purchased the town and Territory of Leghorne, of the Common-wealth of Genoa, at the rate (as some report) of one hundred and twenty thousand Dollers (it being then a poore Fisher-towne, capable only to receive small Barkes, and that of no considerable burthen) and did, for the inlarging of his traffike by sea, adde a faire and pretty new-built Towne to the old, fortifying the same with Wals, Ditches, Castles, a Bannia for his slaves, and a Lasseretta, or a Pest-house, to receive both the goods and persons of such as should arrive there from contagious and infected parts; then he gave a dwelling to all for seven yeares gratis, that would come to inhabit there, then hee erected a watch-Tower with a strong mould to preserve the ships that anchor there from the violence of all weathers; he gives his Merchants many priviledges, cuts a ditch for twenty miles, to convey and cary up all commodities to Pisa, and so to Florence the Metropolis of his Dukedome; to conclude, by making it a free scale, and that all manner of goods, wares, and monies may bee freely shipped inwards, and outwards, without any charge or custome; and that when commodities doe arrive, which the purses of his subjects will not, or cannot purchase, he hath himselfe bought up the same, and that sometimes to his losse and prejudice, he hath I say by these and other the like meanes within this 25. or 30. yeares, made this the greatest port of traffike in all the Mediterranean seas, to his owne great honour, and to the exceeding profit, and commodity of himselfe, and all his subjects in generall.
Of the Hollanders to support their trade.The Hollanders, who have neede of all the politike helps that can be, to support the charges of their war against a potent enemy, who is continually ready at their doores to give them the alarme, yet so well doe study this point of traffike, and make so much of Commerce in their countrey, where indeed they hold but a hand-full (as it were) of land to abide in; though, I say, they have annuall Armies afoot, which doth cost them infinite, vaste, and great sums to maintaine and nourish, and that their very bread, meate, and beere which is eaten by them, doth first pay the States an excise thereon; yet in all their extremities, dangers and debts, they have erected many staples of trade in their countries, and also raised an East-India and West-India Company of Merchants, with large priviledges, which they have prosecuted with happy & good success, wheron, notwithstanding their great disbursements, they impose little or no customes at all, their interests are easie, their Companies countenanced, and protected by the Estates, and their Fleets are ready in our Channell, to safe-guard and defend both the Merchants, Mariners, and Fisher-men from the depredation, and violence of either enemies or Robbers.
Of the Venetians.I am not able to recount how, and with what care and industry the Venetians maintaine their traffike, and the liberties of their subjects; in point of Commerce they ease them of customes, give large priviledges to their Mariners, injoyne their ancient gentlemen, and Clarissimi to use the sea, make daily sundry advantagable decrees and orders for the suppressing of forraigne traffike, and advancing of their owne, keepe a selected Court of the best experienced Merchants, to superintend other Commerce, and have a stocke ever in readinesse by the name of Cottimo to expend both in Turkey and other places, for the defence of their Merchants and their Estates, from all wrong and injuries.
Of the East Kings of Portugall.Yet none of these comes neere the care and industrious prudence, practised by Iohn and Emanuell, Kings of Portugall, in erecting, prosecuting, and setling the trade of the East India, with such provident decrees and immunities for the ordering of their returnes, Lectures for the instruction of their Pilots, and Sea-men, building of Forts and Holds to make good and preserve their traffike, to their exceeding honour and profit in getting those small Ilands of India; but of most notable consequence, Mosambike, Ormus, Dieu, Goa and Mallacca, fit Receptacles of trade and strength, and which have to this day preserved to them the Commerce of all others, the parts of India. Isabella, that famous Queene of Castile, having by her Christian Piety spent her owne estate in prosecution of the wars against the Moors of Granada, Murtia, &c. when yet she and her husband Ferdinando’s Crownes and Revenues were drawne dry, and farre ingaged in chasing those Barbarians out of their Kingdomes, then when Henry the seventh, accounted amongst the wisest of our English Kings, had unhappily refused Columbus, the Genoes his offer, for the discovery of the Westerne Continent, now termed America, then I say being laden with her greatest debts and engagements, her Coffers empty, her Church plate spent, and all drawne to the lowest ebbe by loanes and interests, then did shee for incouragement to all her subjects, and for to comply with the resolution of the brave Italian, pawne her owne wearing Iewels, to set him out in three Carvels; where how he thrived, and how that Kingdome, Prince and People have beene bettered thereby ever since, the whole Christian world may witnesse at this day, as England hath had just cause to repent of ever after.
Of Hen. the 7 of England.But Henry the seventh having now seene his errour, and apparently discerned what hee had lost by his parcimony, endeavoured to make amends to his Kingdome, and people, calling hither Sebastian Cabot, also a skilfull Pilot, Genoes giving him both encouragement, honours, and employment; but the issue of his endeavours did not answer that King’s expectation, though after his life the same was prosecuted in King Henry the eighth’s dayes with various successe.
And though Margaret Countesse of Flanders did, in envy to him, set up Perkin Werbeque to disturbe the peace of England, and that that mocke Prince came at length to bee a Scullion in his Kitchin; yet that wise Prince found another more noble revenge to himselfe, and more profitable to his people, by setling here the Manufactories of Clothing, and the strict prohibition of the Exportation of English woolls, which cost him in two yeares (as I have beene informed) neare one hundred thousand pounds, a mighty masse of monies, the Prince and times considered: but England soone found the benefit thereof; for in Anno 1515.Anno 1515. the English having removed their staple from Bridges to Antwerpe, where the aforesaid Kings of Portugall had then settled their Contractors, for the vent of their new gained East-Indian spices, it was noted by those Registers of Commerce kept in that place, and left to posterity by Guicciardin, that hath written their Chronicle, that the English Company of Merchant-adventurers did bring thither clothing to the summe of NA, which was in value 9. of 15. parts of all the other commodities and wares brought thither of all other the nations whatsoever.
Of Edward the 6.What a brave designe Edward the sixt his Grandchild had, for the setling of sundry staples for that and other commodities in England, and how that by reason of the then poverty of his Merchants, hee intended, upon security, to lend them out of his Treasury great summes for the effecting thereof;Of Queene Elizabeth. I have briefly touched before, and for conclusion of this point, looke a little into Queene Elizabeths dayes, who though she was ever accompanied with state affaires of mighty consequence, sometimes at home, and sometimes abroad, yet was she ever so careful to set forward traffike, and encourage Navigators, that both Earls, Lords, Knights, Gentlemen, and of every degree, willingly thrust themselves in search of new traffikes and adventures, and to her dayes are wee beholding for the trades of Barbary and Italy, and other places, and for the discoveries of Turkey, Egypt, India, Russia, Muscovia, and Greenland, and the trades setled by the English therein; which hath since found such fortunate successe, to the benefit of our now happy Soveraigne, and his Crownes, that the customes were in her time, some yeares before her death, farmed but at fourteen thousand pounds, which Smith, commonly called Customer Smith, in one yeare petitioned for reliefe, as having beene a loser thereby, and now in lesse than fifty yeares is come to five hundred thousand pounds yearely, if report gaine credit to the Kings purse; and how much more the Farmers have made thereof, His Majesties custome bookes can best manifest.Customes increased in 50. yeares in England, from 14 to 500. thousand pounds a yeare. If then Princes of all ages, and the wisest of all Princes, have made it part of their study,Princes that have gained traffike must be carefull to preserve it. and have in many occurrences prejudiced themselves, and their estates, to win this so excellent a benefit, how carefull need all Princes to be when the same is brought to perfection, to preserve and cherish it, and not to suffer the liberties of their Merchants to be incroached upon, the freedome of their traffike, to be fettered by heavy imposts, customes, and Innovations, which are like Cankers that doe insensibly eate out and ruine a trade before the Prince, or the wisest of his Counsellors, can see how to prevent or remedy it.
Townes that have lost their traffike by want of care and good order.The want of this care, and provident foresight hath lost many kings the traffike of their Kingdomes, which were the best Iewels of their Crownes, and the richest flower in their Diadems:Antwerpe.The want of good orders in the government of the trade of Antwerpe, and the imposing of heavy customes upon the Merchants there trading, hath within this fifty yeares brought that Towne to the lownesse wherein now wee see it.Lyons.Lyons in France hath suffered wonderfully by the same inconveniences;Marsilia.and Marsilia within the dayes of my knowledge had a wonderfull great traffike for many places of Turkey, Barbary, Spaine, and other kingdomes, and was then able to shew many ships imployed in merchandise, carrying thirty and forty peeces of Ordnance, and now which is not above 24. in 25. yeares past, the best of their vessels have not above ten peeces, and of those but very few neither.
English East-India trade.Here I could also particularize the fetters, Incroachments, and Intrusions that have within these late yeares been laid upon the East-India traders of England, and their liberties, and what they have suffered both abroad and at home, by the ill wishers of their prosperity; but what will it availe them, or benefit our countrey, to travell into the disturbations, crosses, and afflictions, which they have, to their prejudice, felt, and to their losse suffered? It sufficeth me here to say, that the want of due and timely protection, and incouragement from the Estate, hath reduced them to that bad point, and low passe, wherein we now observe them to bee; and that for the future erecting of such a brave society, a great deale of time, and money must be expended, and many larger immunities then formerly must be granted, ere the same can be reduced to that pristine flourishing estate we lately have beheld it to be in.
Turkey, and Moscovia Company in England.I could also here, by way of addition, say somewhat of those disturbances, that the Turkey, Moscovia, and other Companies of London have groaned under; but I trust the goodnesse of our Soveraigne, and the wisdome of his Counsellors, will rectifie the same, or remunerate them by fitting encouragements some other wayes; lest thereby the same be reduced to the present condition of the East-India Company, to His Majesties great losse and dishonour, and to the wonderfull prejudice of his people and kingdomes.
Now, having thus handled the 3. first considerations of trade, and observed that neither naturall nor artificiall commodities of a kingdom can inrich a countrey without the helpe and hand of traffike; and then shewed what commodities by a well ordered traffike, a Kingdom must suffer entrance, and what prohibit, and what againe to send out, and also what to forbid, and withall shewed the particular meanes and wayes that Princes are observed to use to gaine, settle, preserve, and augment the same with the laborious and studious courses that have beene taken by sundry late Princes to obtaine and purchase this so beneficiall a commodity:The reasons that doe move Princes to covet trade in their Kingdomes. I come now to the last point and consideration before mentioned, wherein the rest is for the most part comprehended, being the reasons and causes that move all estates, Kings and Empires to covet the same, which I may say doth extend it selfe into foure heads and principall parts.
1 Honourable.The first is, that traffike with forraigne nations is notable in respect of the honour and reputation thereof.
2 Rich.Secondly, excellent in point of riches, both to the King, his Countrey, and Subjects.
3 Strong.Thirdly, eminent in regard of strength offensive and defensive, that it brings with it to the Countrey and Princes where it is orderly managed, and regularly practised by skilfull Merchants.
Traffike is honourable to the people and country.First then, a well governed traffike, practised in a Kingdome, by judicious and expert Merchants, to forraigne and remote countries, will easily bee granted, and confessed to bee both honourable, and of singular reputation, both to the Soveraigne in his particular, and to the nation in generall. I need not seeke farre for examples, nor search much for arguments to make this good and manifest, but only looke upon this our kingdome wherein wee live.Experienced in the English. How had ever the name of the English beene knowne in India, Persia, Moscovia, or in Turkey, and in many places else-where, had not the traffike of our Nation discovered and spread abroad the fame of their Soveraigne Potency, and the renowne of that peoples valour and worth? Many parts of the world had, peradventure even to this day, lived in ignorance thereof, and never dreamt of the inhabitants of so small an Iland, had not the traffike of the Merchants by Navigation made it famous over all those remote Regions.
And in the Portugall and Hollander.Nay, the Portugals, and Hollanders, an obscure people, in comparison of the English, and enjoying but a handfull of those subjects, that are comprehended under the Scepter of great Britaine, have by this onely meanes given witnesse and good testimony, to many powerfull remote nations, of their countries worth and honour.
What brought the Portugall nation to be famoused in Affrica and Asia, or the Spanish name to bee notable in America, but her traffike and Commerce.
The commerce, and not the conquests of the English have made them famous in India.It is not our conquests, but our Commerce; it is not our swords, but our sayls, that first spred the English name in Barbary, and thence came into Turkey, Armenia, Moscovia, Arabia, Persia, India, China, and indeed over and about the world; it is the traffike of their Merchants, and the boundlesse desires of that nation to eternize the English honour and name, that hath enduced them to saile, and seek into all the corners of the earth. What part is there unsearched, what place undiscovered, or what place lyes unattempted by their endeavours, and couragious undertakings?League contracted by the English Merchants with forraigne Princes. most of which hath beene accompanied with such fortunate successe, that they have contracted Leagues and Amity with the Mogull, Persian, Turke, Moscovite, and other mighty forraigne Princes in their Soveraignes name, and to his honour; which even in our Fathers dayes was not knowne to us, either to have any such condition, or being the Merchants of England. And to speak truth of London, maintaining now at their charge an Agent in Moscovia, an Ambassadour and three Consuls in Turkey, and certaine Presidents and Agents also in India,At their own charge 100000.1. yearely.Persia, and many other places thereof, which by computation cannot cost them lesse then one hundred thousand pounds yearely (which thought it may be alledged is for their own profit, & the benefit of their traffike into these parts) yet for as much as that it is not chargeable to their Soveraigne, nor prejudiciall, but profitable to his Kingdomes, it must be granted that the same brings honour to his name, and a great benefit both to him and his subjects; and it is more then can be paralleld in all other Christian or heathen Countries now in the world.
The Danes, Sweeds and Germans not knowne in India, &c.The Danes and Swedish nations are potent, and the French are yet more powerfull in Europe; yet if you travell into India, Persia, and many of those Easterne Kingdomes of the world, they know of no such people, Kings or Countries, but hold all Europe to be inhabited by the Portugals, English and Dutch; nay the French are hardly knowne in Moscovia and Russia, save by name, but not by their worth or actions; and the Emperour of Germany, the greatest of our Christian Princes, for all his eminence and power in Christendome, is not in India, knowne, no nor yet in Persia, save for some leagues, which the Sophy would sometimes have contracted with him, to the prejudice of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire.
So that by what hath beene said, the Commerce of Merchants, though many times it be accompanied with losse and prejudice to themselves, and estates, and that they are enforced to expose their fortunes to the mercy of mercilesse stormes and tempests, & be subject to the Lawes of Heathenish Princes, and groan under the heavy customes of many Soveraignes and Infidels; yet is it still attended upon with a great deale of honour to their owne Prince, and reputation to his subjects: Therefore I will conclude here this point, that a well ordered traffike managed by skilfull Merchants, hath beene, and ever will be, honourable to that Kingdome and Soveraigne, where the same is duely practised, and carefully protected, and preserved.
2. Traffike is excellect in point of Riches, two wayes.The second point is in regard of Riches, and the benefit that traffike bringeth with it, where the same is preserved with fitting priviledges, and practised with regular order and method; and this Riches extendeth itselfe two wayes.
1. To the King and his Nobles.In the first place to the Soveraigne, his Nobles and Gentry, in the particular of their owne estates and Interests.
2 To his people.Secondly to his subjects, the inhabitants in generall; As to the Sea-men, Husbandmen, Artificers, Labourers, and others.
How it inricheth the King.First for the Prince, or Soveraigne, it particularly inricheth him by his customes and imposts, imposed inwards, and outwards upon all commodities and wares, either imported or exported, in or out of his Kingdomes and Dominions, by the Merchant, and also by venting, and dispersing of such wares, and merchandises, as hee appropriateth to himselfe, either by purchase, prerogative, or by right of his Crowne; as we find it to doe by the Gabell of Bay-salt, to the King of France, by the property of silke to the King of Persia, by the Mines of Copper to the grand Signior,How the Nobility. and by the preemption of Tyn to His Majestie of England, and next it proveth beneficiall to the Nobility and Gentry, by the improvement of their lands, by the improvement of their lands, by the sale and working of their clothes, by the use of their Timber, by the vent of their Cattle, Graine, and other provisions, and in many regards, which experience daily maketh evident, both in this, and all other Kingdomes where the same is practised.
How the countrey.Secondly, it inricheth the inhabitants of a countrey in the generall, by setting Arts-men on worke, by imploying the poore, by furthering and incouraging of all professions whatsoever; for every Arts-man, Worke-man and Artificer, is conducible one way or other to traffike, and every hand is set on worke, where a well governed Commerce is observed to be driven, and exercised by judicious and skilfull Merchants, and to the whole countrey in generall it is found beneficially by venting the native commodities of that land, as experience tels us, in Persia by the vent of their raw silkes, in France by the vent of their Wines, Oyles, Lynens, Graine, &c. in Zante by the vent of their Corrence, in Spaine by the vent of their Wines, Fruits, Sugars, &c. and in England by the vent of their Tinne, Cloath, Lead, &c. as the like may be said of many other countries.
3 Traffike produceth strength two wayes.Thirdly and lastly, it produceth strength and safety to the Kingdome and people, where the same is duly and orderly practised.
That which begets wealth, also doth beget strength.Now this strength and safety may be considered two wayes; either defensive or offensive; if my former assertions be granted, That a well ordered trade doth enrich a Prince, his nobles, gentiles and Subjects, as of necessity it must, it will be easie for mee to make good this point also; for that which produceth Riches, doth consequently also beget strength and safety, so farre forth as treasure is accounted the principal nerve and sinnew of war, either offensive, or defensive; but to come to some particulars.
How traffike doth beget strengsh.It furnisheth the Prince, and his subjects, having maritime ports, with plenty of shipping, and store of Mariners, to manage and sayle the same, in all occasions of the state and countrey by sea; and it furnisheth the same with all fitting Ammunition of and for warre, as Powder, Armes, and other the like necessaries; and by land it maketh the countrey a Magazine, not only for war-like provisions, brought in for the use of the Prince, and the Kingdome it selfe, but also for all other neighbouring countries that stand in need thereof.
An excellent plot of the Hollanders to inrich themselves.I may here fitly bring in Holland to make good this point to all the world, who, though exercised in continuall warfare, and daily pressed, and sometimes oppressed by a potent Enemy; yet their industrious traffike into forraigne parts, is handled and practised with so much benefit, countenanced from the State and good Iudgement, that the same doth not onely supply their owne occasions, with what warlike provisions they want, but withall have thereof in such abundance, that from their owne states they furnish freely all other neighbouring countries whatsoever therewith; for the Arts-men that are by them employed daily, in building of ships, casting of Artillery, making of Muskets, shot, powder, swords, pikes, corslets, cordage, Canvas, and the like Habiliments of warre, doe not only supply their owne turnes, and necessities, and that both cheape and plentifull; but herein proceed so farre, contrary to the politike Rules of many countries, that they sell, and vent their over-plus; yea even to the Spaniards their very enemies conceiving it, no ill trick of thrift, nor yet small point of State-stratagem, to draw thus the monies and wealth of their greatest adversaries to be a reward to their owne labour and industry, and so sell as it may be said (for monies to their foes) the very sword, which peradventure may afterwards be imployed in the cutting of their owne throats, but being instruments considerable, and which must necessarily be had in warre, and which will be by their enemies had elsewhere for monies, if not of them, they chuse rather thus to sell them, and so by permitting an unusuall policy of state, endeavour for their monies to give them with their owne consents, and that voluntarily, and of their owne accord, what they cannot with their best of policie otherwise prevent, and what their enemies will bee furnished withall, in despight of their utmost endeavours else-where.
I need not insist further upon this point, having declared the honour, benefit, and strength, both offensive and defensive, which doth arise to a Common-wealth or Countrey by a well ordered traffike, managed by Regular and Iudicious Merchants, I could here adde to what I have said before in the behalfe of the Merchant, and shew that as hee can in many things advance his countrey before a meere States-man, so also declare the Nobility of his art, and the excellency of his profession, no one vocation in the world requiring a more generall knowledge, and inspection into all other professions then this doth; and withall make it appeare, that hee is the best of Common-wealths men, both towards his Prince, and fellow-subjects; and that for the most part all other professions live, and have their subsistence from others, hee only giving by traffike a lively-hood to others, and no way dependent, but upon himselfe, and his owne labour and endeavours; as it will easily appeare to any judicious man that shall examine his profession, and compare the same with others.
But I will conclude this discourse, and take it by what hath beene said for granted, as for a truth undeniable, That the excellency of a well ordered traffike, is such and so singular, and the effects thereof so notably beneficiall to a kingdome, and in its selfe so admirable, and the discreet and skilful Merchants endeavours so laudable, and his art so eminently honorable, that it requireth and duly challengeth.
A Royall Protection, and Reall Encouragement from all Kings and Princes, a faire respect from all Nobles, a love from all persons, and well wishes from all those their Countreymen, that tender the Profit, Advancement and Honour, both of the King and Countrey, &c.