Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. V.: That our Home and Forreign Market is Incumbered, and prejudiced by extraordinary and unequal Charges, and Cloggs in our Merchandize above what are in our Neighbour-Nations, viz. In the building and furniture of our Ships, Victuals, Sea-mens Wa - A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others
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SECT. V.: That our Home and Forreign Market is Incumbered, and prejudiced by extraordinary and unequal Charges, and Cloggs in our Merchandize above what are in our Neighbour-Nations, viz. In the building and furniture of our Ships, Victuals, Sea-mens Wa - 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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That our Home and Forreign Market is Incumbered, and prejudiced by extraordinary and unequal Charges, and Cloggs in our Merchandize above what are in our Neighbour-Nations, viz. In the building and furniture of our Ships, Victuals, Sea-mens Wages, Customs, Interest-Money, &c. with the Consequences in our Manufactures and Forreign Trade; more particularly of the decay of our Woollen Manufacture: our Exportations now confined to our Importations and Imported Treasure, how to be enlarged, our casual dependence on the Trade of Spain.
SUpposing this or any other Nation had all the aforesaid Grounds of Trade, viz. All sorts of Home and Forreign Materials of Manufacture, sufficient numbers of People, and those instructed in Manufacture, supposing them never so industrious, that there were no want of Ships, Sea-men, or Stocks of Money, Ports or Plenties at home, yet there is another thing necessary, which is a good and quick Vent and Market for Commodities; without which all Manufactures will decay and expire, all other Exportations must fail, and the Trade from Port to Port can be no longer practicable or valuable.
For if the Manufacturer cannot sell his Manufacture, he hath laboured to his great loss; so if a Merchant buy Goods at one Forreign Port which he cannot sell at another Forreign Port, he hath at least lost his Voyage, and the Charge of it; so if the Market be not absolutely closed up, yet if it be prejudiced and spoiled to any great degree, the Merchant or Manufacturer will either discontinue presently, or will Trade less and less, and will fling up speedily if the Market doth not mend; for if men of Trade cannot sell for reasonable profit, but will be forced to live much worse and poorer than other men of the like degree and estate in the same Nation, they will not continue long in so unprofitable a Toil.
The Home and Forreign Market bear such a Simpathy one with the other, that Obstructions in the Market at home, may arise from Obstructions in the Forreign Market, as well as immediately from Causes at home.
For if the Forreign Market for Exportable Commodities fail in any degree, there must be a less and worse Vent and Market at home for these Commodities; if the Forreign Market come to take off a lesser quantity yearly than before, or at a lesser price, the Natives must sell a lesser quantity, and at a lesser price, to their Exporters and Merchants, who will not buy more than they can Vend again, nor so dear that they cannot vend them with sufficient profit.
Now the course of our English Forreign Merchandize hath begotten an Obstruction in the Forreign Market, because our Merchants are liable to greater Charges in their way of Trade than the Merchants of our Neighbour Nations.
For all necessary Charge of the Merchant in his course of Trade is super-added to the Original Cost of his Commodity, so that the Merchant, upon sale of the Commodity Exported, is under an Obligation to pay himself his Charge, and yet to sell so, that he may make himself a reasonable gainer besides.
Then if a Forreign Merchant bring the same Manufacture or Commodity to the same Forreign Port with less charge, he will be able to under-sell the English-Merchant as much as his charge is less, and yet shall get reasonable profit.
And if the Merchants of other Nations be able to sell for less, they will, nay perhaps must, (supposing that they drive an open Trade, and upon their distinct Stock) for then being incapable of combining to Impose prizes, and desiring a quick Market (which is the life of Trade,) they will be worked down by the Forreign Buyers to take as moderate profit for their Goods as they can afford them at.
The Consequence of this is, that the English Merchant must either forbear Exporting, or else must sink his prizes on the English Manufacturers, whereby the English Manufactures must be stifled or discouraged.
’Tis true, That if a Nation hath some rich and necessary Material and Manufacture within it self, exclusive to other Nations, it hath the Monopoly of this Manufacture to the rest of the World, and therefore cannot be under-sold, but may vend it so as to pay all extraordinary Charges with sufficient gain to the Manufacturer and Merchant; which was heretofore the Case of England in the Woollen Manufacture.
But if a Manufacture or Commodity be common to England and Holland, or England and France, and the Hollanders or French can bring this Manufacture or Commodity cheaper to a third Forreign Port than the English, the Hollanders or French under-selling the English, will beat the English out of the Manufacture; It is accompted that the odds of two per cent. nay of one per cent. will produce this advantage.
An inequality of Charge on Merchandize must also influence the Trade from Port to Port; For if the English and Dutch Merchant coming to the same Port with the same Forreign Commodity, the Dutch can ordinarily under-sell the English; it must also be of the same Consequence in this Port of Trade.
This happens to be the Case between the English and Dutch, the Dutch being upon their defection from Spain, driven into great Exigencies, and therefore becoming studious and emulous how to advance their Trade, have contrived all imaginable ways how to Trade cheap, whose Example other Neighbouring-States and Kingdoms have followed in a great degree, and the French amongst the rest, whilst the English do not only proceed in their former more chargeable methods of Trade, but have clogged their Navigation and Merchants more and more, whereof I shall give some Instances, and shall leave the Computation of the odds to the Reader.
First, The Dutch have found and long used such a way of building their ordinary Trading Ships and Vessels, that they will sail with eight or ten men, when an English built Ship of about the same Burthen shall not sail without near thirty men, so that the English Merchant must ordinarily be at more Charge for Wages and Victuals by two Thirds than the Dutch.
Secondly, The English Customs for Forreign Goods Imported and Re-exported (though half the Customs paid are returned upon Re-exportation) are near twenty times greater than the Dutch Customs, and for some home Commodities Exported, if not for all, are greater than the Dutch or French Customs, which does work a further Charge on the English Merchants. For,
Thirdly, By this means our English Merchants are ordinarily forced to keep near a fourth part of their Stocks dead at home to answer Customs, so that a Dutch Merchant may drive the same Trade with a much less Stock.
Fourthly, The late Act of Navigation, and the Act of 14 Car. 2. Cap. 11. confining the English Trade to Shipping built with English Timber (which is now exceeding scarce and dear.) The Dutch, French, Danes, Hamburghers, &c. can have Ship-Timber in Germany, France and Denmark, for less than half the price of ours. So by means of the same Acts of Navigation, have the Dutch and French their Cordage, Masts, Sails, Tackle, Pitch and Tar, (being all necessary and chargeable Ingredients of Navigation) very much cheaper than the English, so that the Hollanders, or French, or Danes, nay, almost any other of our Neighbours, can build and apparel a Ship, or fit up and repair, at a less charge by half than the English can do; the reason of this is more at large Discoursed by Mr. Roger Cooke in his late Ingenious Treatises Of Trade.
18 Car. 2. Cap. 2. & 20 Car. 2. Cap.And Fifthly, By means of the late Irish Acts against Importation of Cattel the Dutch and French can and do Victual their Ships cheaper with Irish Victuals than the English can do in England, whereas before, England could Victual cheaper than any Nation in Europe.
Note, no Interest is allowed in France.Sixthly, The English pay 6 per Cent. Interest for Money, and the Dutch but 3 per Cent. or less, which is to our English Merchants of a strange ill Consequence, if we consider our extraordinary Charges in Victuals Wages, Shipping, and the money kept dead to answer Customs, besides the Interest of the Stock actually imployed in Merchandize and Wares; for the Interest, with Interest upon Interest running up continually, does still increase the Charge and Clogg upon our Merchants, but especially must disable us to make England a Storehouse of Forreign Goods, since although they should be bought and Imported as cheap as in Holland, they must yet become dearer for Re-exportation by the odds in the Interest; if the Annual Interest per Cent. were the same, yet the odds in the Stock imployed would produce a vast odds in the Interest.
Seventhly, The Act of Navigation obliging us to sail with ¼ of our English Sea-men (of which we have but a few in Comparison of the Dutch, who have at least ten times more than we) hath given occasion to our Seamen to raise their Wages: To all which may be added our present Charge of Passes, supposing that any Forreign Nation can Trade without Passes, or procure them for less money: the like may be said of our late Charge of Ballastage, &c.
Nay the Dutch are so curious, that for more cheapness and convenience, they build Ships of divers makes, sorts of Timber, and manner of Tackling, for almost every Trade: whereas the English build or use but one sort, and that the most chargeable.
Suppose then, that the English and Dutch should both Manufacture Silk, Linnen, Woollen, &c. and that an English and Dutch Merchant buying up these Manufactures at the same Rate at Home, should Export them to a third Port where they are Vendible, ’tis plain that the Dutch Merchant being at less charge by at least two thirds for Wages and Victuals, at less charge for Customs or Port-Duties, at a less charge by half in building and fitting up his Ship, and being so much eased in the Interest of money, and other the said particulars, may under-sell the English Merchant a great many times 2 per Cent.
Sir Walter Rawleigh, in his time, observes, That if an English and Holland Ship of 200 Tun a piece be at Dantzick, the Hollander should serve the Merchant cheaper by 100l. than the English, being sailed with nine or ten Mariners, but ours with thirty, yet our English Carpenters keep their old way of building to this day, and know no other.But much more will he be able to under-sell the English Merchant in the Trade from Port to Port, because of the excessive height of our Customs for Goods Imported and Re-exported, or if an English Merchant go directly from one Port to another, he will still lie under the other inequalities of Charge.
Nor are the English for the same Reason capable of any Imployment in meer Carriage for any Forreigners, unless, perhaps, during the Convulsions of a War amongst other Nations.
And for the same Reasons the English can never drive any considerable Fishing-Trade, though we pay no Custom for Fish.
This cheapness of the Dutch, and other Forreign Navigation and Trading, doth not only give advantage and preference to their own Manufactures, but to the Manufactures of all other Nations where there is an open, free and reasonable Market; as suppose the Dutch buy French, German, or Italian Manufactures as cheap as the English Merchant can buy the like Manufactures in England, he may be able to under-sell the English Merchant and Manufacture in a third Port, with gain to himself.
And hence it is that the Dutch, and other Forreign cheap Navigation, hath given rise and growth to the French, Dutch, German, Italian, and other Forreign Manufactures; which, with the difficulties on our Trade at home, hath worked us out of near all our Manufactures, except what remains to us of our Cloathing-Trade.
So the cheapness of the Dutch, and other Forreign Navigation and Trading, hath in a manner beaten us out of all the Trade from Port to Port, and Fishing-Trade; the English retaining little from Port to Port, but the East-India Trade, for Callicoes, Pepper, &c. a Trade which continues upon a particular reason, distinct from all the rest, as I shall also shew in the next Section.
And upon the former Reasons, and others mentioned in this and the two next Sections, we must expect that the Dutch and French may in a short time destroy our remaining Woollen Manufacture; the Dutch taking advantage of our mis-management of our Cloth-Trade, of which I shall give a further account, found ways of getting our fine Wooll, which mixing with fine Spanish, and by that mixture making a cheaper and more serviceable fine Cloth than with all Spanish, have been long high our Competitors in the Trade of fine Cloth, and have near actually beaten us out in the Northern Eastland and German Trades, and share with us in the Turky-Trade, both Dutch and French getting what quantities they please of our long and middling-Wooll out of England and Ireland (which they now have cheaper than the English Clothiers from Ireland) do mix it with French, Polonia, or other Forreign Woolls, (which are two thirds cheaper than ours) and therewith make vast quantities of coarse Cloths, Druggets and Stuffs, which being acceptable and Merchandizable, they Export to Spain, Portugal, Germany, and most other Parts.
Their Competition in the Cloathing-Trade, joined with some Polonian, Silesian, German, and other later Manufactures of coarse Woolls, have already sunk our Forreign Market and Vent; this hath sunk the price of our raw Wooll, as necessarily it must, and as their Manufactures increase, and ours does expire, the French and Dutch must have our Wooll for what they please; and if they cannot have it at their own Rate at one of our Ports, they will go to another, and our necessitous People having their Wooll in their hands, will sell almost at any Rate; which is so far the Case in Ireland already, that is there openly Exported at 6 or 7s. the Tod; and then if we compute what a Tod of Wooll may stand the French or Dutch in, considering their cheap mixtures of French, Polonish, and other course Woolls, we may very suddenly expect to have our English Woolls at about 4s. the Tod; for if the English Clothier gives more for his Materials than the French or Dutch, he cannot live: It is now in most parts of England at about 12s. or 13s. the Tod, in some places at 10s. where of late years it was 30 and 40s. the Tod.
The French and Dutch have long maligned this English Manufacture, and have now made a mighty progress towards its extirpation, and therein of the great support of our English Nation; (doubtless the Wooll-Sacks were placed in our House of Parliament to give us a precaution of it:) The Dutch of late have been somewhat checked in the Turky-Trade by the War; but the French are more vigilant and vigorous in the increase and vent of their Woollen Manufacture than ever; and the Dutch are now at Peace again.
I know some alledge, that these Nations may support their present Woollen Manufacture without our Wooll, which our own English Clothiers, on their own experience, deny; They say that a mixture of fine English, and fine Spanish, makes a Cloth so much cheaper and more serviceable than of all fine Spanish, That it must needs beat out any Forreign Manufacture made of all fine Spanish, (which is always near twice as dear as our finest English Wooll) and therefore have the English and Dutch near subverted the Venetian Cloth-Trade in Turkey; On the other side, They say that the German, Polonia, Silesian, and French, are so coarse of themselves, that although they may be wrought into an ill sort of Composition, perhaps fit for Sailors, or such like; yet it is not Merchandizable; but in mixture with English or Irish; good dressing and dying will make very vendible and serviceable Stuffs, Druggets, and coarse Cloths.
Nor is there any shadow of reason to believe otherwise, considering how Ravenous the French and Dutch have been after our Wooll, since they set up their Woollen Manufactures; why have they and their Agents been lurking on our Coasts and in our Creeks to filch it away for so many years? why have they given treble as much for it as for Polonia or French? shall we think the Dutch and French such Fools and mad-men as to make so laborious and dear a Purchase of an unnecessary Commodity? We are told of some fine Sclavonian Woolls which the Dutch make use of, but withall that they are not comparable to ours; nor of any considerable bulk; and are assured by those who should best understand it, that no Nation but England hath a sufficient store of Wooll to drive a Forreign Trade of any Consequence.
There is no question, but that if we did manufacture all our Wooll, we might again near Monopolize the Merchandize and Forreign Trade of Woollen-Cloathing, though perhaps some Forreign Manufactures of coarse Woolls might be kept up for the use of the ordinary poorer people at Home; at least it must be admitted, that if we did manufacture all our English and Irish Wooll, it would find vent in the World, since it is now all manufactured in England, France and Holland, and doth find vent in the aforesaid mixtures; by which the bulk of the Manufacture must be much increased.
Then if the question be how we shall arrive to the sole Manufacture of our own English and Irish Wooll, it must appear upon what hath been said, that the only safe Expedient must be by easing our Navigation and Trade equally with Forreigners, in which Case having so much advantage in the Materials, we could not fail of an answerable success in the Manufacture; long Experience hath demonstrated that the meer prohibiting of the Exportation of Wooll is but a Cobweb, the Dutch and French being constantly supplied with what quanties they please to have, and ever will be, as long as their advantages in Trade will enable them to give more for our Woolls than our English and Irish Natives: for so long the Interests of our People will teach them ways to Elude or Baffle the Prohibition; For this reason our late Act of 12 Car. 2. Cap. 22. which makes it Felony to Export Wooll, hath nothing remedied the mischief. Upon what hath been said, I may further add, That those who think to better our Trade in general by the forceable subversion of the Dutch Trade and Navigation, are as much mistaken; since the Hamburgers, and other Trading States, the French, and other Kingdoms, who have eased their Merchandize and Navigation, would then take the place of the Dutch, and would share the Trade, and exclude the English, unless our Trade were equally eased.
I shall conclude this Section with this farther Observation, That for the opening of a sufficient Forreign Vent and Market for our Home Commodities, whether Manufactures, Fish, or others; it is not only necessary to remove all unequal cloggs on meer Exportations, but also those on Imported Goods; because that whilst the English Merchant, by the Charges on Imported Goods, is ordinarily disabled to Trade from Port to Port, the value of our English Exportations must be in a manner confined to the value of the Goods Imported, and consumed at Home, and the Treasure we Import in specie yearly.
Whereas were the cloggs on our Imported Goods taken off, we might yearly vend of our own Home Commodities to the value of all the Forreign Goods we should then Import and Re-export, to serve the Occasions of all other Nations, (for these we might purchase by Barter or Sale of our own) whereby our Exported Home Commodities would then amount to much more, probably to more than ten times the value they now do yearly; All which in the course of Trade from Port to Port would resolve into more and more Treasure and Riches of all sorts.
And therefore, let the Treasure now Imported in specie be more or less, ’tis evident, that were our Merchants enabled to Trade from Port to Port, as the Dutch and others can and do, as our Manufactures, and other Home Commodities, Exported yearly, would be vastly more in quantity and value, so would the Treasure Imported yearly.
Secondly, The Exportation of English home Commodity is yet farther confined, when instead of home Commodity to answer the Imported Goods and Treasure, we Export so much Treasure as we do; In which Case if the Treasure Exported be more than is Imported yearly, this Kingdom must insensibly be beggered by meer Trade.
This may be feared to be our Case, because there are very few Forreign Nations (I think none worth the naming but Spain) where our Merchants can ordinarily sell our Commodity for ready money, or with so much advantage, that they can afford to return with the price received, but will be obliged to better their Adventures by laying out the money again on Consumptive Forreign Goods, or else apply it to satisfie Forreign Debts by Bills of Exchange; This many of our Spanish Traders do, so that our Merchants Import much less Treasure than they receive; and it may not be improper to be added here, that whilst the virtue of our whole Trade (as now managed) does still depend so much on that with Spain, our Support is very single and casual, and the Consequence must be fatal, should the Spaniard be rendred either unable or unwilling to Trade longer with us; our Case is already thus far worse than it was, that Spain is grown poor and weak, and the Dutch and French share and grow upon us in this Trade.