Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECT. XII.: Instances in late Increases and Excesses of our Forreign Importations, and therein of the Decay of some other of our own Manufactures which supplyed our Home Uses, viz. in Linnens of all sorts, more dear fine Linnens used; incidently of the - A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others
Return to Title Page for A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce from the Originals of Mun, Roberts, North, and Others
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
SECT. XII.: Instances in late Increases and Excesses of our Forreign Importations, and therein of the Decay of some other of our own Manufactures which supplyed our Home Uses, viz. in Linnens of all sorts, more dear fine Linnens used; incidently of the - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Instances in late Increases and Excesses of our Forreign Importations, and therein of the Decay of some other of our own Manufactures which supplyed our Home Uses, viz. in Linnens of all sorts, more dear fine Linnens used; incidently of the late and present Huswifery of English Women: In Ticking, in Imported Woollen Manufactures from Holland, France, and Ireland; In Cordage, Cables, Sayls and Sea-Nets; in Iron, in Brandy, in Wines of all sorts, these risen in price; the particular odds in our former and present Canary-Trade; in Coffee, in Earthen Ware, Pitch, Tarre, Hemp, Flax, and Forreign Timber bought dearer, and far more Timber Imported: In Imported Silks of all sorts; in Laces, and many other things, and thereupon our late French Overballance Considered. To which Added, our late losses by the French Capers, and Money Exported to France by our Travellers, &c. The National Overballance inferred, this cleared by a Deduction of our Trade, with Relation to the Dutch and French, and therein of their gradual Increase, and our Decay in Trade; Whence the Growth of the French and Dutch Revenues and Strengths observed; a farther Calculation of our late and present Overballance; incidently of some further Advantages in Trade Forreigners have upon us.
IN order to take a right Measure of the Overballance, it is observed in the Eighth Section, That if the beneficial part of our Trade become worse, and the Consumptive Importations increase, it will sooner induce an Overballance, and will cut deepest on the National Stock of Treasure.
Now it will much evidence the Increase of our Importations, if any of our own Manufactures which are of necessary Use at home, are lost, or impaired in any Considerable degree of later Years, because, the People must be then supplyed by the like Forreign Goods, to a greater degree than before.
I shall first instance in Linnen, lately a Considerable Manufacture in Cheshire, Lancashire, and the Parts adjacent; it was also the Huswifery of our English Ladies, Gentlewomen and other Women; which general Employment of our Women, (although most designed for the private Uses of Families) did keep very many Thousands of Linnen Looms at work in England, and did supply the greatest part of our National occasion for Houshold and Coarse Linnens of all sorts.
But all this Manufacture of Linnen in Cheshire, Lancashire, and elsewhere, is now in a manner expired; and the Huswifely Women of England now employ themselves in making an ill sort of Lace, which serves no National or Natural Necessity; most of the rest spend their times much worse, or are idle, bringing a Scandal on themselves and their Families; so that there is hadly a working Linnen Loom left in a County: which Idleness and Unprofitable living of our Women, gives the Dutch a farther great Advantage upon us, whose Women are mainly serviceable in Trade.
Suppose all the People in England one with another bestow 5l. a piece more in Forreign Linnen Yearly, than they used to do; what a Vast Summe must this amount to? And this being of so Universal Use, how soon may the Increase of this Importation alone turn the Ballance of the English Trade? There is hardly any Nation in Europe but hath a Manufacture of Linnen, at least for Home-Uses, except England; from Scotland we have much, and in Ireland it is a growing Manufacture much encouraged.
The Canary Wines are computed at about 13000 Pipes yearly, which at 20l. per Pipe, amounts to 260000l. per Annum; and that our Commodities Exported thither do amount to about 65000l. per Annum.Thus do we swallow and piss out inestimable Treasures, and contemn our own excellent and more wholsom Drinks, which might be improved to a much greater Perfection, both for our Use at home, and Trade abroad; and whilst every one is an Ambitious Pretender to a Critical Palate in Wine, and is ready to impeach the Guilty Drawers for Mixtures, Molossus, and Arsenick, we are contented to let our Brewers abuse our own Liquors as they please.
Of All others our late Overballance in the French Trade, hath been most Prodigious; and such have been the Arts to attain it, that it would require a particular Treatise by it self: But it will be necessary to what I have undertaken, to give some brief Accompt of it, and in what it did consist; and the rather, that something of the Variety of the French Exportable Manufactures and other Goods may Appear.In Anno (63) and (73). I shall begin with what Mr. Fortrey reports in his Book twice Printed, and Dedicated to his now Majesty, and therefore I presume of good Authority.
He tells us, That upon a Jealousie the French King had conceived of the Ballance of the English Trade, there was an Estimate thereof given in to the FrenchKing; whereby it appeared, that there was yearly Exported of French Goods by the English, to the value of 2500000l. viz.
1. In Velvets plain and wrought, Sattins plain and wrought, Cloth of Gold and Silver, Armosynes and other Merchandizes of Silk which are made at Lions, of a great value.
2. In Silk-Stuffs, Taffeties, Poudesoys, Armosyns, Clothes of Gold and Silver, Tabbies plain and wrought, Silk Ribbands and other such like Silk-Stuffs as are made at Tours.
3. In Silk Ribbands, Galloons, Laces, and Buttons of Silk, which are made at Paris, Rouen, Chaimant, S. Eslieres in Forests.
4. A great quantity of Serges, which are made at Chalons, Chartres, Estammes, and Rhemes; and great quantities of Serges made at Amiens, Crevecoeur, Blicourt, and other Towns in Picardy.
5. In Bever, Demicaster, and Felt-Hats, made in the City and Suburbs of Paris, besides many others made at Rouen, Lyons, and other places.
6. In Feathers, Belts, Girdles, Hatbands, Fans, Hoods, Masks, gilt and wrought Looking-Glasses, Cabinets, Watches, Pictures, Cases, Medals, Tablets, Bracelets, and other such like Ware.
7. In Pins, Needles, Box-Combs, Tortoiseshell-Combs, and such like.
8. In Perfumed and Trimmed Gloves, that are made at Paris, Rouen, Clendosme, Clermont, and other places.
9. In Papers of all sorts which are made at Auvergne, Poictou, Limosin, Champaigne, and Normandy.
10. In all sorts of Ironmongers Wares that are made in Forrests, Auvergne, and other places.
11. In Linnen Cloth that is made in Brittany, and Normandy, as well Course as Fine.
12. In Houshold-stuff, consisting of Beds, Mattresses, Coverlids, Hangings, Fringes of Silk, and other Furniture.
13. In Wines from Gascoigne, Mantois, and other places on the River of Loyer, and also from Burdeaux, Rochel, Nante, Rouen, and other places.
14. In Aqua-vitæ, Cyder, Vinegar, Verjuise, and such like.
15. In Saffron, Castle-Soap, Honey, Almonds, Olives, Capers, Prunes, and such like.
16. Besides 5 or 600 Vessels of Salt loaden at Maron, Rochel, Bovage, and the Isle of Oleron, and Isle of Rhee.
But that the Commodities Imported out of England into France, consisting chiefly of Woollen Cloathes, Serges, Knit Stockings, Lead, Pewter, Allom, Coals, and all else did not amount to above a Million yearly, which left the over-ballance 1600000l.
’Tis true, that since this there was an Estimate of the French Overballance taken in England by some English Merchants, from the Entries of the Port of London, by which it was computed, that the French Overballance amounted to about a Million; This was presented by our Merchants to our Lords Commissioners upon a Treaty of Commerce with France in (74.) (which came to no conclusion) and afterwards to the Parliament; which seems to impeach the Estimate of the French Overballance reported by Mr. Fortrey, as to the Quantum.
This I need not contend, since if the French Overballance had been no more than a Million, it was enough to impoverish us, considering our Importations from other Forreign Nations; But that I may not totally desert Mr. Fortrey, I shall take notice, that this English Computation was taken from the Entries of the Port of London only, from whence there may not be any so Just a calculation for all the rest of our Ports; and that the Entries do not comprehend any of those French Commodities which were prohibited by our former Laws, and are therefore Imported without Entry, which are accompted to amount to some Hundreds of thousand pounds yearly, perhaps near to another Million. But on the other side, that the French Entries must be certain as to the Exportations from France; that Mr. Fortrey would not be willing to falsify with His Majestie of England, nor the French Ministers with the French King, in a matter so important.
Nor is it to be thought that our Importations from France decreased in quantity or value since Mr. Fortrey wrote, to the time of the Prohibition, but rather increased; whereof our Merchants then gave an instance in Wines and Brandies, from the Entries of the Port of London, as followeth:
‘From Mich. 1663 to Mich. 1664. There was Imported into the Port of London 6828 Tuns of French Wine, and then the quantity of Brandy was so small and inconsiderable, that it deserves not to be noted.
‘From Mich. (67) to Mich. (69) There was imported into the Port of London in the said two years, 17000 Tuns of French Wine, and of Brandy about 3000 Tun.
‘From Mich. (72) to Mich. (74) Was Imported into the Port of London 22500 Tuns of French Wine.
‘From Mich. (71) to Mich. (73) Was Imported to London, 7315 Tuns of Brandy.
‘From Mich. (73) to Mich. (74) Was Imported to London, as near as can be computed, 5000 Tuns of Brandy, and every Tun of Brandy consuming about 5 Tuns of Wine, makes the quantity of 25000 Tuns of Wine.
This I the rather take notice of here, because from hence it doth also appear, that the Additional Impositions on French Wines and Brandies by our Parliament in (67) did not make the Importation of them less tolerable or practicable than before, and therefore were only Impositions on the English Subject.
Nay, the French have been able to raise the Prices of their Wines and Brandies upon us, even since (67) as the same Merchants represented. For,
‘In (67) Langoon Wine in France was not above 43 Crowns per Tun, clear aboard.
‘And all sorts of Clarrets are risen double the price, since the year (67).
So said the Merchants in the year (74) and whosoever will take the pains to look into the Custom-Books, will find a mighty Increase of Imported French Wine and Brandy since (74) to the time of the Prohibition; and that, for several years last past, our Importation of French Linnen, Silks, and other Commodities, have also continually grown upon us, whereof we have an infallible Evidence in the continual Rising of our Customs.
I have heard that the quantity of French Wines Imported in 1676 made about 36000 Tuns of Wine, and that about the years (50) (51) and (52) the quantity yearly Imported was about 3000 Tuns of Wine.
But on the other side, the French Policies have been as industrious to suppress our English Trade, upon which they have gradually imposed more and more Taxes, and at last so great, that it amounts to a Prohibition; as may be instanced in our Woollen Manufacture.
‘In the year 1632, the Duty on an English Broad Cloth Imported into France, was 6 Livres.
‘In Anno (44) it was raised to 9 Livres.
‘In Anno (54) to 30 Livres.
‘In Anno (64) to 40 Livres, and yet did the English continue to Export considerable quantities of our Woollen Cloathes into France.
‘But in Anno (67) being after Mr. Fortrey wrote,Mr. Fortrey first Printed his Book in (63). it was raised to 80 Livres, which is about 50 per Cent.
‘A piece of Serge in Anno (32) per 1 Livre.
‘In Anno (54) 5 Livres.
‘In (64) 6 Livres.
‘In (67) 12 Livres, which also amounting to about 50 per Cent. was equal or worse than an express Prohibition; so that all our Exportations of our home-Commodities to France in the year 1669, amounted but to 171021l. 6s. as it was Calculated from our own Entries (if my Copy be true.)
It will not be a Digression to shew how Industrious the French Polices have been to suppress our Trade to other Nations.
It is now about five years since that our Merchants,Mr. Mun of Forreign Trade pag. 149. Notes, ‘That all the great Losses we receive at Sea in our Shipping, either outward or homeward bound, ought to be considered in the Ballance; for the value of the one is to be Deducted from our Exportations; and the value of the other from our Importations. observing the Dutch & other Neighbour Nations to be in War, but ours in Peace; they had now golden hopes of driving a mightier Forreign Trade than ever; for which purpose they thought it convenient to buy many Dutch-built Ships, and somwhat the rather because they had lost many Ships in the late War: But the Act of Navigation standing in their way, they obtained His Majesties License for it.
But thereupon, there presently came out a French Edict for the seizing of all Ships bought in any Enemie’s Country, which did discourage many of our Merchants from buying any Ships, yet many were bought and escaped safe to our Ports; these and many English Ships our Merchants forthwith freighted and sent out, in prospect of a swelling Trade, and vast Returns of Treasure.
But immediately there came out swarms of French Capers, who seized on those Dutch-built ships, though they had all necessary Passes; and from thence, finding the sweetness of it, they fell to taking of our English-built Ships, on pretence they carried Enemies Goods, whereof they themselves would be the Judges, and did actually seize all sorts of English-built Ships, laden meerly on the account of English Merchants, they took meer English Coasters; nay, they retook many of our Ships which had been actually discharged in France; they plunder’d our Ships, and grievously beat and wounded our generous Seamen (who never before dream’t of any thing but the Sovereignty of the Sea) and killed many.
Then were our Ships carried into the French Ports, and our Merchants put to prove the property of their own Ships and Goods before French Judges, in the new erected French Admiralties, by a long and tedious proceeding; by which, and also in the French Court, and by the Treachery of their own Agents, they were put to vast Expences.
There were about 400 Sail of our Merchants Ships seized in this manner, many of which the French thought fit absolutely to condemn; and such as were released were kept, some three Months, some six Months, some twelve Months, and some longer, and then were Discharged with great Damage, by Plunder and Expence in France, besides the first Violences; and after all, lost the intended Fruit of their Voyages, of which, doubtless the French were very sensible: And what is yet worse, the French King making the utmost advantages of every thing, got Thousands of our Seamen by extraordinary Pay, to engage in his Service, to which he doth still indear them by Money, and all imaginable encouragements.
All which being done in times of Peace, could only be intended to impoverish and disable our Merchants Trade and Nation, notwithstanding their pretence of carrying Enemies Goods: this is evident as well from the said Edict, and from the Nature of the whole Transaction, as by another Edict set forth by the French King about the same time, giving Liberty of Trade to any Nation (without exception) that would take French Passes; for it being foreseen that the English would not take any, because of the English Claim to the Sovereignty of the Seas, it left other Nations then at enmity with France, at Liberty to take Passes, and by Consequence to Trade; who accordingly did, and traded without controul, particularly the Dutch: So did the Swedish Ships at the same time openly Trade to and from Holland, and other Countries then at enmity with France; without any Disturbance from the French Capers.
This might administer further Considerations; I shall only at present accommodate it to the Matter in question, being the Overballance of Trade; which must needs have been the higher upon us, as our Merchants received more Injuries and Losses of this Nature.
To this I shall add, that it is an incredible Sum of Money which our English Gentlemen and Travellers of all sorts spend yearly in France,Here may be added the vast Sums and Riches which already are, and Annually will be Transported by Papists to France, and other Parts; but principally to France. to learn unprofitable Apish affected French Fashions, and Modes in their Carriage, Talk, Cloaths, Eating and Drinking. It is below any of these English Mounsieurs to enquire into the Trade of France; This Expence is not near ballanced by the Expence of the French Travelling Gentry, or others in England; the French that come hither, being ordinarily such as come to get Estates by vending French Manufactures, Wines and other Commodities, Dancing, Cookery, &c. and when they are grown Rich, do generally Transport themselves, and their Estates into France, and so Spirit away our Wealth.
In the mean time, considering what the utmost gain of our Trade might be, during the 76 years mentioned in the Accompt from the Mint, it must be evident from what I have already said, that we have been Over-ballanced many 100000l. per Annum, of later years. The Particulars I have mentioned in this, and the last Section, being such as have happened, or worked more signally and vigorously upon us during the years mentioned in the said Accompt; which (that I may prevent Alterations) I shall endeavour to clear, by a brief Deduction of our Trade during the same 76 years, which I cannot do without some Relation to the French and Dutch Trades; of whose Rise and Growth, and their Consequential Increase of Strength and Power, I shall therefore also give some Accompt.
I shall begin with that of the English:
Before the Dutch were cemented into States, the English had far greater Advantages in Trade than any Neighbour Nation, by the greater Plenty of our more excellent Oak-Timber, Victuals, Numbers of Seamen,home-Materials of Manufacture, our great Woollen-Manufactures, our Fishery, and other our valuable Commodities mentioned before: Besides the German, Flemish, and French Trades. That of the Sound, and Streights, our Adventurous Merchants and Mariners in Edw. the Sixth’s time Discovered the North-East Passage by Sea to Muscovy, which Trade was before driven by the Merchants of the Hans-Towns a-cross the Baltick: Such was our good success, that by the great Commerce our Merchants brought, and by the Embassies and Applications of our succeeding Princes, especially Queen Elizabeth, the Czar granted them a Free Trade at his Port Archangel, (that is) without paying any Impost; which he would not grant to others: whereby the English became possessed of the whole Trade of a great Advantage; besides which, our Woollen-Manufactures were not a little improved in Bulk and Value, by means of those Flemmings or Walloons driven out by the Duke of Alva, and entertained by Queen Elizabeth; spoken of before.
In this Condition was our Trade when the Dutch United Provinces came to a Settlement, being about 90 Years since; the Dutch hereupon found themselves obliged to study all Imaginable wayes of Gain by Trade; For the People driven into these Provinces by the Spanish Tyranny and Persecution for Religion, were very Numerous, the Country very narrow, and yielding little of the Necessaries of life, and the Long and Continual Charge of their War with Spain very great; from which Necessity followed much Contrivance and Industry, and thence those Arts and easie Methods of Trade which have wrought so great Changes in most Parts of Europe, if not throughout the world.
First there followed these Alterations in the Trade of Europe; the Dutch fell into a mighty Trade or Employment of carrying and dealing from Port to Port, far beyond what was ever used in these Parts before; which Trade they engrossed, beating out the Antwerpians, English, and all others, Except in what related to Muscovy, (secured to the English by our Privileges there) and what related to Spain during the Wars with that Crown; the Portuguese, having before found out the way by Sea to the East-Indies, and having by that cheaper passage beat the Venetians out of that Trade, and planted mighty Factories and Forces in the Indies; the Dutch before, the Year 1600, being informed of the Riches of that Commerce by one Cornelius Houtman a Fugitive from the Portuguese, engaged in a Trade thither, and in the Year 1602, by the Authoity of their Union, established their East-India Company; who upon their original Fund, being 600000l. Sterling, made so great a progress in that Trade, that besides several Considerable Dividends before made, upon a Compute in the Year 1608, their Stock was increased to near Three Millions Sterling: and in this great Carriere very speedily supplanted the Portuguese in this Trade: their success was little less in the Fishing Trade for White Herrings, Ling and Codfish on the Coasts of England and Scotland, which they extended beyond what we ever did, incroaching daily on the English, being enabled thereto by their more easie Methods of Trade; and the English the more disabled by our Application to the Plantation-Trade in the time of King James, whereof the Wise Sir Walter Raleigh, by the occasion of his Travels, taking notice, about 60 years since gave a Caution of it to King James, shewing the Reasons, and proving that the Dutch then got 1372000l. per Annum Sterling by this Trade, by the Accompts he took at several Ports, (and yet he mentions not their Trade in the Streights, and but one Port in France, viz. Roan:) notwithstanding which the Dutch still getting advantages upon us, had near beaten us out before the end of King James his Reign; and soon after became Compleat Masters of it.
Thus was this our Fishing-Trade, of great and certain Profit, and of high Importance for the Support of our Navigation aad Coasts, supplanted; in the place of this, we had our Plantation-Trade, of which having spoken so much before, I shall say no more, than that it brought in great Customes: Yet, not forgetting, that King James succeeding Queen Elizabeth, (who to reduce the late portentous greatness of the Austrian Family, had supported the Dutch) made a Peace with Spain, which gave the English a particular Advantage in the Trade of Spain for a time, viz. till the Dutch made a Peace with that Crown; and since that hath continued a very beneficial Market for many of our Commodities, being there vended for ready-money: Our Trade to Muscovy remaining secured to us by our Privilege there, and our Clothing Trade by our Wooll, and the ignorance of other Nations in that Manufacture. We had a remaining Fishery at Groenland, Iseland, and Newfoundland; we continued some other Exports of lesser Note mentioned before; but the Woollen-Manufacture being our chief Jewel, we kept the Monopoly of it during the Reign of King James, and for the greatest part of the Reign of King Charles the First, and generally raised the prices; by all which, and for that our Imports were less than of late they have been, the Ballance of our Trade, during the Reigns of these Princes, was kept up to the degree, we may Compute it by the Accompt from the Mint, which though somewhat, was but a narrow scantling, considering how prodigiously the French and Dutch Trades were improved and grew up by us continually; yet have we since lost, or much Impaired all these principal Advantages in Trade, as I have already shewn.
Before I shew how these Limbs of our Trade became so much disabled, it will be necessary to observe what Influence the Dutch Trade had upon the French.
All the Exportable Commodities of any Note the French formerly, and till this last Age pretended to, were Corn, Wine, and Salt: whereof that of Corn was as Considerable as any; the other two being but sparingly Exported, at least in Comparison of what have been Vended of late Years: besides these, they had Skins, Tallow, and Woad, and some Fruits of little Consequence; which whole Trade could bring in no great matter.
But the Dutch being ravenous after Trade, and like Bees thrusting themselves into every Creek or Corner for Commodities to sell again, and barter away for Profit, presently gave a far mightier Vent to the French Wines, with which they not only plentifully supplyed most other Nations, but drank good store themselves, being their principal Home-Consumption; of Salt they took off yet greater quantities, not only for present Merchandize, but to use in their prodigious Fishery. As the Vent of these grew greater, more were provided in France; hence also did their Infant-Manufactures of Linnen, Silk, Paper, Brandy, and those Numbers of others enumerated by Mr. Fortrey, and doubtless many more, grow up to Gyants; the hungry French tasting the sweet of the Gain, did not fail to supply this busie People, though doubtless not without the Conduct of an extraordinary Wisdom; Since ’tis apparent, that the Dutch manner of Trading made the same Overtures to other Neighbour Nations;See before in Section the 7th Pag. the wise Sir Walter Raleigh observed how free and easie they had made their Commerce by lowering their Customes and Duties; they let in the French Protestants by a Toleration, and carefully Superintended the Increase of their Manufactures. Thus as the French Shop came to have more things of Delicacy and Variety, it drew in more Customers, and the English amongst the rest; and as a great part of Trade is driven in Fantastical Dresses, and Toys of many sorts, the French took care to provide an Abundance, with which they gulled the rest of the World: Hence were their Princes at first called Fashion-mongers; but they did not rest there, they soon became Portentous Tradesmen in the most solid and valuable Commodities in the World, and thence Lord Mayors of the Continent; doubtless the present French King thinks it his high Concern, and values himself upon it, of which we have an Evidence in his nice and early looking into his great Shop-Books or Entries, to find out the Ballance of his Trade with England, and by making his Shop easie in the Approach viz. by his increasing his free Ports, (for in truth, it would be a very strange Project of Gain, for a Tradesman to set a Toll on every man that comes in at his Door) the same appears by an hundred other instances.
Thus have the Dutch in a blind pursuit of their particular Interests, built up a Prodigie of Power, which (having of late propagated a great Navigation of its own, as I shall more particularly shew) is now so swelling, and of so Serpentine a Nature, that it is ready to devour those who first gave it life.
The yearly value of the late and present Exports from France, may be computed by what the English only took off, which supposing to be more moderate than Mr. Fortrey Reports, (which yet I do not admit) viz. but two Millions Sterling, what a vast yearly Sum must it amount to? Since there is great reason to think, and I speak upon the best Authority I can meet with, that the Dutch have taken off seven or eight times more yearly than the English; For besides the mighty quantities of Salt, Wine, and Brandy, which they themselves Consume, they Export vastly more of these, and All other French Commodities, to other Nations; the French Trade being indeed the principal foundation of most of the ordinary Dutch Trade from Port to Port.
Besides the Dutch, the Hamburghers, Lubeckers, Swedes, Danes, and most or all other Mercantile Nations in this Part of the World, do yearly Freight themselves at the French Ports, (which must be one reason, and perhaps as yet the principal, why the French Language is become so Universal:) whilest the French take very little Consumptive Commodity from these, nor yet from the Dutch or English, but East-India Spice, Callicoes, &c. a Trade which the French King hath also manifestly designed to engage in, by an Association and Contribution of Stock in France, and his Attempts to get footing in divers places of the East-Indies; some time will shew what his Success may be, or whether at a Lump, he hopes to unite the Dutch Trade and Strengths in those Parts to himself, by an Union of the Dutch Provinces and their Navigation to his present Empire; and whether then our English Factories there will be able to preserve themselves against daily Violations, and utter Extirpation. In the mean time upon what hath been said, let the Reader compute, how many Millions Sterling must already yearly enter into France, by the Annual Vent of so Prodigious a Store of Commodities; it must be much the better part of Twenty Millions. I find it affirmed by a small Piece lately Printed, Intituled, An Accompt of the French Usurpations upon England; which seems written by a man of good Judgment, That from the Northern Countries only, the French Wines now bring in 25 Millions of Florens; their Salt, 10 Millions of Florens; Brandy, 5 Millions; their Silks, Stuffs, Toyes, and Fripperies, 40 Millions of Florens more. What then do the French receive from all the other Regions of the World, for these, and other things?
All which hath been visible in the gradual Increase of the French Power, from the time the Dutch Provinces began to Trade. It must be admitted that both before and since the French Monarchy became Absolute (this being a great and populous Nation) was able to bring Considerable Armies into the Field; but they could get little or no ground by Arms on any of their Neighbours, or soon lost what they got: The People were abject and recreant, and more the Ridicule, than the terror of their Neighbours; the English and Spanish Treasures and Strengths were notoriously too big for them; the English Conquered them several times; the Spaniards more lately beat them out of Navarre, Naples, and Millan, and by their Faction in France, drove Henry the 3d. out of Paris, and most of his other best Cities, and afterwards not above 80 years since supported the Holy League with Arms and Money against Henry the 4th, under the Conduct of the Duke of Mayence; both which Princes fell by the hands of Priests; for the Spaniards were then the strongest side. This Superiority of the Spanish Power made all the Kings of France from Charles the 8th, to Lewis the 13th inclusive, glad to seek a Support from the English; and the more to endear themselves, got to be Knights of the Garter (except Francis the 2d. a King of one year, and no more) these were, Lewis the 12th, Francis the 1st, Henry the 2d, Charles the 9th, and the said Henry the 3d, and the 4th; if we go higher to Lewis the 11th, who next preceded Charles the 8th, we may Compute his Treasure and Grandure by a Reckoning found in the Chamber of Accompts at Paris,Heylin’s Geogr. 236.of 2s. for new Sleeves to his old Doublet, and three Half-pence for liquor to grease his Boots; ’Tis like he was the poorer, because he and the rest paid a kind of Tribute of 50000 Crowns per Annum to the King of England for 100 years together; before this, they were almost continually wasted by the English, till our Dissentions at home called our Forces away, leaving Charles the 7th, Predecessor of this Lewis the 11th, to take Possession of what he pleased, except Calais.
But soon after the French Ports were frequented by the Dutch Navigation, we find the State of France begin to alter;He began his Reign in the year 1589, and Reigned till 1610. Next Lewis 13th, who died 1642, and since, the present Lewis the 14th. the said Henry the 4th, having reduced the Holy League, grew a Mighty Prince, added la Bresse, Bearne, and Basse Navarre to the Crown, and enjoyed a 10 years Peace, though at last Murthered. Lewis the 13th. was yet more powerful; besides the Reduction of the Huguenots, and of above 300 Walled Towns then in their hands, he added or revested to that Crown, the Dukedoms of Barre, and Lorrain, and other acquests in Germany, Italy, the Belgick Provinces, and other parts of the Spanish Dominions; in which, and in Italy, he was able at once to maintain five Royal Armies in the Field; keeping no less than 120000 Men in Pay and Action for many years together, besides his Garrisons; and yet is the Power of France since vastly increased, whereof every man is or has reason to be sensible. I shall refer the particular Consideration of it till the last Section.
In the mean time, I shall only add what I find in Dr. Heylin’s Book of Geography, p. 238, (who being to give an Accompt of the Revenue of that Countrey) tells us, ‘That Lewis the 11th gathered one Million and an half of Crowns, Francis the 1st. brought them to three Millions; his Successor Henry the 2d. to six; Charles the 9th. to seven; Henry the 3d. to ten; Henry the 4th. from two to five Millions, Sterling.’ This he attributes meerly to the more Despotical Power, and greater Tyranny of the later Princes; and might be so in some measure: For in the time of Charles the 7th. whilst in War with the English, there was an Act by the Three French Estates, that the King might raise Money in case of Necessity; which Power, ’tis likely, was not at first used so immoderately as it was after: However we cannot think Henry the 4th could leap from two Millions to five Millions Sterling, without a great Importation of Treasure, which does not grow on the Peoples backs like Wooll; the advance of the French Trade and Treasure being the true Reason, we may believe the Revenue of Lewis the 13th. was raised to more than double this, viz. Ten Millions Sterling; and that since it is doubled again, viz. Twenty Millions, (as good Judges of it as I can meet with say, ’tis now above Twenty Millions Sterling) For the Treasures of the World being drawn into France, as into a Gulf, must answerably advance that King’s Revenue, and diminish the Treasures of other Nations; which ’tis probable is partly the Cause that the Price of most Commodities in Europe are sunk; since according to the former Maxims, if there be less Money in the hands of other Trading Nations than before, they must and will buy for less.
Having thus far pursued the Growth of the French Trade, and Power; I shall now return to the English, as they were invested with the several Trades before mentioned in the time of our two last Kings, viz. King James, and King Charles the First, and shall endeavour to shew, First, how we come to lose the Monopoly of the Woollen Manufacture; which was the Effect of many Concurring Causes; the Dutch were generally vigilant after all Trade, and particularly this, so much they shared with us long before, that they Dyed, Dressed, and Vended vast quantities of our white Cloaths Exported thither, by which they made an incredible Gain. Sir Walter Raleigh about 60 years since, in his Observations on Trade presented to King James, proves, England in 55 years, had lost 55 Millions of pounds by the Dutch Dyeing and Dressing our white Cloaths; But withal, the Dutch by their vast Navigation and Universal Trading, gave them a greater vent than we otherwise could do, unless by an equal Regulation of our Trade, the English had been made as Capable; without any thing of that, this course was taken; one Sir William Kokayne, and other Merchants, hoping to make an advantage to themselves, got a Patent for the Dyeing and Dressing of our Cloaths, with Power to hinder the Exportation of our white Cloaths; wherein we have our two usual Expedients in Trade, viz. a Restraint to a Company, and a Prohibition; by which our Vent was lessened, and the Dutch the more provoked to attempt this Manufacture at home; to which they had great encouragement by their Situation for the Trade of Germany; and the rather because our Hamburgh Company, who by their Patent have the sole Trade on that Coast, for about six or seven hundred Miles, kept but two Staples, viz. at Hamburgh and Dort, remote from each other, and from many of those Countries which they supplied: So as many of those who come to our Markets, must pass and repass, through several Principalities, with much Danger and Payments of Tolls and Taxes; and besides, we raised our Prices, and set such terms on the Buyers, that others as well as the Dutch, were much disaffected; whereupon an Opportunity was offered: For about the year 1636. Two hundred Families of our Manufacturers being about to forsake Norfolk and Suffolk, and Transport themselves to our Plantations, by reason of the then Persecution of Dissenters, the Dutch invited them into Holland, where the Dutch did not only entertain them, but in Leyden, Alkmaer, and other places, planted them Rent-free, and Excise-free, seven years. After these went more and more Colonies, which settled at Rotterdam, Middleburgh, and Flushing, where a fourth part of the Inhabitants are English, or of English Extraction: Besides vast numbers of English dispersed elsewhere in those Provinces.
The Dutch having gotten the Manufacturers, had half done their work; they wanted nothing but Wool, which if they might have on any tolerable Terms, their Advantages in the way of Trade, must enable them to out-doe us, this they Imported from Spain, England, and Ireland, and elsewhere, falling amain upon the Woollen Manufactures of all sorts; so that about the year 1640, they pretended to something of a Cloth Trade in Germany, and soon afterwards took occasion to supply our Eastland and Northern Markets more and more; especially with fine Cloth; getting ground upon us continually, they bought our Woolls dearer at first, but have gradually sunk the Prices; our Vigilant Neighbours, the French, started with them, or soon followed their Example, as did the Flemings, the Silesians, Polanders, and some others mentioned before; by all which, these and other Parts of the World were as much supplied with Coarse Cloths, Druggets, and Stuffs; but the Dutch would not rest here; Trade was their business, and they observed, the virtue of ours (such as we had) depended wholly on Accidents, and particularly that of Muscovy on our Privilege; which therefore they found ways to evacuate, by bestowing Money amongst the Grandees of that Court, and furnishing them with an Objection against our Merchants, as being Londoners, and therefore (as they insinuated) must be concerned as Actors in the horrid Murther of His late Sacred Majesty, which it was in vain for our Merchants to dispute, when the Judges were Fee’d on the other side; this powerful Metal (whereof the Dutch are never sparing on such occasions, and therein have a farther advantage upon us) had so radicated their Interests with the Boyars, that notwithstanding all Applications in an Honourable Embassy to the Great Czar from his now Sacred Majesty, by the Earl of Carlisle, our Privilege could never be regained.
Soon after this, there followed two things convenient to be taken notice of for the prevention of misapprehensions on either side; one was, that between the year (50) and (60) we had an Accidental Opportunity of increasing our Treasure with the loss of our People, viz. by the Stocking Ireland with Inhabitants and Cattle, after the Reduction of the Irish Rebels, and by furnishing it with all sorts of Goods and Necessaries, then much consumed or spoiled by the Wars and Disorders there; which on a sudden, brought us almost all the Treasures of Ireland; which supposing but a Million and an half, or but a Million, was considerable.
Another, which prevented us of as much Money as we thus got, if not of more, and doubtless exhausted us of some; In the year 1654. the late Usurper Oliver Cromwell (whose guilty fears made him Jealous of the English, and seek a support from France) did in Conjunction with France make a fatal War upon Spain; which, besides the seisure of our Spanish effects, and our vast Losses at Sea in that War, interrupted our Trade with Spain, and gave the Dutch better footing, but opened our French Trade; at once weakening the Ballance of our Trade, and the Ballance of all Europe.
Thus it was before the year 1660. But in regard our Imports were then of far less quantity and value than they were after, ’tis presumeable that our Trade might be yet beneficial, especially considering our then Irish Trade; but our Importations increasing, we find what Mr. Mun, a Principal English Merchant thought of it, by what he saith in his Book of Trade, Printed in (63). But,Pag. 61. as appears by the Preface, was Written some time before;As for Mr. Mun’s proposal to Export Money in Trade, I have spoken to it before; and besides, he recommends the Reduction of the Customs, and easing of Trade, which (if fully done) it might be then convenient. the words are these, “The whole Trade of the Realm for Exportations and Importations is now found to be about the yearly value of four Millions and a half of Pounds; It may be yet increased 200000l. more by the Importations and Consumption of Foreign Wares, by this means we know the King shall be a Gainer near 20000l. (viz. by the Customs;) but the Common-wealth would lose the whole 200000l. and the King shall be sure in the end to have the greatest loss, if he do not prevent such unthrifty courses as do impoverish his People.” By which words, I take it as very plain, that before he wrote, our Exportations and Importations were computed to stand even; which is the more enforced by the latter words, viz. “That the Commonwealth would lose the whole 200000l. the People be impoverished, and the King the greatest loser at last.To these and all the rest, add what losses have accrew’d by inclosing our African Trade to a Company and Joynt-Stock, and by the Act of 15 Car. 2. 7. Licensing the East India Company, and all others to Export Treasure and such other late losses, as being mentioned in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th Sections, have been omitted in this and the last Section.
Our Overballance appears to me to be so much of late years, that it might be wondred how any of our late Treasures could yet remain amongst us, did we not also Consider that our Trade by degrees, in length of time, had before the year (60) brought a great Treasure into England, and that these our latest Prejudices and Losses have not been working upon us many years. But if the Overballance continue, it must soon sweep away what remains; which Mr. Fortrey Prophetically foretold in these words:
“Hereby it may appear how insensibly our Treasures must be exhausted, and our Nation Beggared, whilst we carelessly neglect our own Interests, and Strangers abroad are diligent to make their advantages upon us.
Sir William Temple, in his excellent Treatise of the Dutch,Pag. 231, 232, 234. does presage the like.
Having laid it as a Ground, That “Whatever the Exportation wants in value, to Ballance, the Importation must of necessity be made up with ready Money; he tells us, That by this we find out the Foundation of the Riches of Holland, as of their Trade, by Circumstances already rehearsed; for never any Countrey Traded so much, and consumed so little; they buy infinitely, but ’tis to sell again, either upon Improvement of the Commodity (viz. by Manufacture) or at a better Market: (viz. in the Trade from Port to Port.)
“By all this Accompt of their Trade and Riches, it will appear that some of our Maxims are not so certain, as they are Currant in our Common Politicks: As first, That the example and encouragement of Excess and luxury, if employed in the Consumption of Native Commodities, is of advantage to Trade; the Custom or humour of Luxury, and Expence cannot stop at certain bounds; what begins in Native, will proceed in Forreign Commodities; and though the example rise among idle Persons, yet the Imitation will run into all degrees, even of those, by whose Industry the Nation subsists: and besides, the more of our own we spend, the less we shall have to send abroad; and so it will come to pass that while we drive a vast Trade, yet by buying much more than we sell, we shall come to be poor.
“Whereas, when we drive a very smal Traffick abroad, yet by selling so much more than we bought, we were very Rich in proportion to our Neighbours. This appeared in Edward the Third’s time, when he maintained so mighty Wars in France, and carried our Victorious Arms into the heart of Spain, Whereas in the 28th year of that King’s Reign, the Value and Custom of all our Exported Commodities, amounted to 294184l. 17s. 2d. and that of our Imported, but 38970l. 03s. 06d.; so as there must have entred that year into the Kingdom, in Coin or Bullion, or else have grown a Debt to the Nation, 255214l. 13s. 08d. and yet we then carried out our Woolls unwrought, and brought in a great part of our Cloaths from Flanders.
Whence Two things may be remarked: First, That ’tis much in vain to increase the value of our Exports, if at the same time we increase our Imports to a yet greater value, being now (perhaps) an 100 times more than their then value.
Secondly, That although Edward the Third revived the Order of the Round Table, he did not perform his great Atchievements by the meer virtue of Knight Errantry; there is no doubt but our succeeding Princes were enabled to make their Conquests in France, by the advantages of our former Trade, then far more considerable than the French.
I shall only add, that this Consumption by our Importations, will not be prevented, but rather augmented by our late Prohibition of French Goods; as I shall demonstrate in the last Section.