Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XI.: Of the great increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them; by which there is grown a greater want of Money in England than was in Antient times, and of the Causes thereof, and of the Remedies which may - A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money
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CHAP. XI.: Of the great increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them; by which there is grown a greater want of Money in England than was in Antient times, and of the Causes thereof, and of the Remedies which may - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money 
A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money from the Originals of Vaughan, Cotton, Petty, Lowndes, Newton, Prior, Harris, and Others, with a Preface, Notes, and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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Of the great increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them; by which there is grown a greater want of Money in England than was in Antient times, and of the Causes thereof, and of the Remedies which may be applied.
BECAUSE this Title is of a very curious and perplexed Search, I am inforced contrary to a Logical Method, to set down my Conclusion first, and to explain by the cleerest Expressions I can think of, what it is I intend to prove, and by what ways, and then to set down my Probations afterwards. I intend then to prove that the price of all things, which is the Proportion between Money and the things valued by Money, at this present is much encreased from what it was in antient times: and because I will set down a time certain of Antiquity, I will take the 25th year of Edward the Third, when a pound of Gold of sterling standard made 15l. sterling, and a pound of Silver of the same, made 25s. sterling. I intend to prove that this increase of price and Proportion is not meerly according to the raising of the Money, which hath bin since that, and is about the rate of three for one, as the Money hath been raised, for then the price and proportion should be only nominally, and not really encreased, for that if we pay now 3s. for that which in the 25th year of Edward the Third cost but 1s. and if we pay now 3 Crowns for that which cost then but one; yet if then there was as much fine Gold in one Crown as now there is in 3, the price should only be increased in name; but the Proportion between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them, would remain the same. But I intend to prove that this increase of Proportion hath bin real, and that the price of things in general is now grown six times as much or eight times as much as then they cost, in name of Shillings, Crowns and Pounds and in reallity of fine Gold and Silver, to double, and almost treble the Proportion of all things, valued by Gold and Silver, in respect of what it was in the 25th year of Edward the Third. Then I intend to prove that this real increase of Proportion, by which all things valued by Money, are valued at more than double, almost treble, the quantity of fine Silver and Gold, that then they were, is grown principally, and in a manner solely, out of the great quantities of Gold and Silver come into the Kingdom of Spain out of the West and East-Indies, within this Hundred years or thereabouts, and thence dispersed into other parts of the World, whereby it is come to pass that the value of Gold and Silver is become more vile and cheap; and generally all things valued by them, are rated higher, at double and almost treble as much Gold and Silver as they were rated at in the 25th year of Edward III. or thereabouts; as one Scale pres’t down doth necessarily make the other rise higher: From those Proportions it will necessarily follow that if the Kingdom of England should have at this day as much Gold and Silver in fineness and weight, or peradventure half as much more, as it had in the 25th year of Edward the Third; yet, because the increase of the Proportion between Gold and Silver and the things valued by them is so much greater than it was then, to wit, above double and almost treble; that the Kingdom of England is so much poorer and more disabled than it was then, by how much it wants of that quantity of Gold and Silver, which may, in Proportion to things valued by them, countervail the quantity which then was in England, and this great Mischief and Disability doth not only hold in the present Stock, but in the Fruit and growing Wealth of the Kingdom.
Lastly, Having discovered this great Evil, the Danger whereof is not apprehended as it deserves, together with the Causes of it, I intend to set down what Remedies are propounded unto it.
Now when I shall compare the Prices of things at this day with those of antient times, if I should go to set down all things particularly the Labour and Search were beyond measure, and the variety of the Proportions of prices would not be very great between several things, but the same things in several seasons would exceedingly differ in price, and the proofs, would be very disputable so as no certain conclusion would be drawn from them: as for Example, of Corn, Cattel, and Fish, the Proportions of price would not hold the same, and every of these would differ in several seasons for several causes; as Corn through unseasonable weather, Cattel through murraign, Fish through Warr; and every one of these through many other accidents are able to raise or draw down the price again: Cloth, Linnen, Leather, and such like, would have the like variety of prices through the same, and through other causes, as through Impositions laid upon them, new Inventions, whereby the Manufactures may be the more easily and speedily made, engrosing of them, false making of them, want of work-men.
And if these things, which are most necessary for man’s life, are subject to so many varieties of Prices through several causes; how much more uncertain would those Materials prove, which serve only to delights and magnificence, as precious Stones, Pearls, Hangings, Pictures, Embroideries, and such like; which are subject to so many causes of varieties of price, as things necessarie, and are moreover subject to the Humours and Fancies of the Times, by which their price is raised or abased.
But there is only one thing, from whence we may certainly track out the prices, and which carries with it a constant resultance of the Prices of all other things which are necessary for a Mans life; and that is the price of Labourers and Servants Wages, especially those of the meaner sort. And as there is to be found no other certain and constant Cause of the raising of the Prices of all things, but two; viz. the one the raising of the values of Moneys, the other the great abundance of Gold and Silver coming into these parts, in this latter Age, out of the Indies: And although the hire of Labourers did continually rise (when Money was raised), yet it did rise so much and no more, as its value was raised; but after the Discoverie of the Indies, you shall finde the price of the Laborers wages raised in Proportion far exceeding the raising of Moneys, and therefore, for my part, I am certainly perswaded that as long as the values of Moneys are raised, and the Indies do yield that abundance of Gold and Silver which they do, that both the hire of Labourers, and generally the price of all things, especially of things necessary for life, will rise, although for a year, two or three, through uncertain Accidents, sundry particulars may stand at a stay or abate: But that the hire of Labourers and Servants carrieth with it a resultance of the prices of all things generally necessary for a mans life: Besides, that Reason doth convince that there must be a convenient Proportion between their Wages and their Food and Raiment, the Wisdom of the Statute doth confirm it, which doth always direct the Rate of Labourers and Servants to be made with a regard of Prices of Victuals, Apparel, and other things necessary to their use. In the 25th year of Edward the Third, it was provided that in time of Hay-making, none should pay above one penny in the day; that for threshing of one quarter of Wheat or Rye, none should pay above 2½d., and for threshing of a quarter Oats, Barly, Beans and Pease, above one penny half penny; that a Master Carpenter shall have 3 pence, another Carpenter but 2d. a day; a Master free-Mason but 4 pence, a Tyler 3 pence; but either of their servants, a penny half penny: all this is in the Summer time, for in the Winter Wages lessened, and without meat or drink, or any other courtesie, and that in the Country, where Wheat was wont to be given, they shall take for the Bushel ten pence, or Wheat at the will of the Giver.*
In the Twelvth year of Richard the Second these Rates did still continue (so likewise the Money did still continue the same in goodness) but there was further added like wise a yearly rate for Servants wages; and there was allowed by the year for a Bailiff 13s. 4 pence, with a Livery: a Master Hind was rated at 10s. a Carter at 10s. a Shepheard at 10s. an Ox-heard or Cow-heard at 6s. 8d. a Driver of the Plough at 7s. at the most: and all these but the Bailiff, without cloathing or other courtesie. In the Thirteenth of Richard the Second, It was provided that the Justices of the Peace might rate the Daylabourers according to the dearth of Victuals, which seemed to have growth through some accidental Dearth, which then hapened: in the Thirteenth of Henry the Fourth there was raising of Moneys to about the 6th part more, by Advice in Parliament, but there was no new Rate for Servants Wages, until the sixth of Henry the Sixth, the price of things growing higher by reason of the raising of Moneys: It was provided by Statute that the Justices of the Peace might rate as well the Hire of day-labourers as the Wages of Servants, as they should find fit in the Sessions, notwithstanding the former Statute of the 25th of Edward the Third, and 12th of Rich. the Second, and notwithstanding the Money had not been raised above a sixth part, which I attribute to the great want of Servants and Laborers, the Kingdom being then exceedingly exhausted by the long continuance of the Wars in France: but in the 49th of Henry the Sixth Money was exceedingly raised, so as a pound of Sterling Gold made 22l. 10s. and a pound of Sterling Silver made 37s. 6d. which accounting Gold and Silver together was half as much more as they were valued, in the 25th of Edward the Third.
In the 11th of Henry the Seventh (c. 22) there was a new Statute for the rating of Servants wages and the hire of Day-laborers, which in a manner doth agree with the 23rd of Henry the Sixth: but I find this almost only difference between them, that by the 23rd of Henry the Sixth, the Meat and Drink of the Day-labourer is valued but three halfpence, but by the 11th of Henry the Seventh, it is valued at 2d., which correspondeth almost exactly with the raising of the Money in the 49th of Henry the Sixth, the Pound of sterling Gold being (then) brought from 16l. 13s. 4d. to 22l. 10s. 0. and the Silver from 30s. to 37s. 6d.: From the 11th of Henry the Seventh until the 6th of Henry the Eighth, there was no new Rate upon hire of Labourers or Servants wages: but that year there was a new Statute, which notwithstanding was little or nothing different in the Rates from the former, except in some Particulars which are not pertinent to this Inquiry.
So likewise hitherto did the value of the King’s Money remain the same, and so continued until the 18th of Henry the Eight, when the Commission was given for the Alteration of the Coins to Cardinal Wolsey, which brought in great Confusions among the values of Money, which together with the excessive quantities of Gold and Silver, which about those times began to be brought into Christendom out of the West-Indies, were the occasion that the Statutes for Labourers and Servants were no further observed because the prices of all things being much inhansed, Labourers and Servants could not live upon their Hire and Wages ordained by the Statute: and this is acknowledged in the Preamble of the Statute of the 5th of Q. Elizabeth (which is the next Statute for the rating of Servants and Labourers wages, after the 6th of Henry the Eigth) by which Statute all former Statutes for Labourers and Servants are repealed, and an exact Course set down how the Rates for the wages of Servants, and Hire of Labourers shall hereafter be set down by the Justices of Peace, in Sessions, having regard to the price of victuals, and other things for maintenance: so having thus deduced the Rates of Servants and Labourers from time to time. It remaineth now only that I examine some of the late Rates set down in the Counties Adjacent, and compare them with those of the 25th of Edward the Third, and 12th of Richard the Second, and that I do calculate how much these later Rates do exceed the Ancient: and deducting from the later Rates so much as the values of the Moneys of Gold and Silver hath been raised, which induceth rather a nominal than a real Increase of the price, it will follow, That whatsoever increase hath been more of the Rates, that it hath grown from the great quantities of Gold and Silver brought into Spain out of the Indies, within these Hundred years.
In the Statute of 25th of Edward the Third, the threshing of a Quarter of Wheat or Rye, is rated at ijd. ob. By the Rate, in Middlesex, of the 17th of King James, which is the last Rate made there, the Threshing of a quarter of Wheat is eighteen pence, which is above seven times as much as in the old Statute; the stone, either of Wheat or Rye in Essex by the rate now in force is 16d. which is above six for one, wherein it is to be observed that in that they shall give more: and yet we know that the Bushel, and consequently the Quarter in many of the remoter sheirs containeth half as much more as in these Counties near unto London. The threshing of a quarter of Barley, Oats, Pease, or Beans, by the Statute of 25th of Edw. the Third, is rated at 1½d. ob; but by the said Rate in Middlesex the quarter of Barley is rated at 10d. and Beans and Peas at nine pence, which, by a medium comes to be between six and seven times as much. And by the said rate in Essex they are rated at ten pence and eight pence which by a medium, comes to six times as much; and in this likewise the aforesaid Observation of the difference of the measure doth hold.
By the said Statute of 25th Edward III. it is provided that in time of Hay-making none shall pay above a penny for Hay-making, but by the said rate in Middlesex, the hire of a man a day for Hay-making is 10 pence, for a woman is viii pence, and by the same rate in Essex, the hire of a man is rated at xii pence, and the hire of a woman at ix pence, which, by the medium, is ten times as much as the old rate. By the said Statute of 25th Edward III. the work of a master-Carpenter is rated at iii pence a day, a second Carpenter ii pence, a Tyler iii pence, and the Servant of either of them one penny half penny, in the Summer time, without meat or drink or any other courtesie. By the said rate of Middlesex, (17th James I.) master Carpenters and Tylers are rated at xx pence a day, which accounteth to near seven times the old rate. The second sort of the said work-men at 16 pence a day, which amounteth unto 8 times the old; and Labourers of the best sort at 12 pence a day, of the second sort at ten pence a day, which, by medium, is neer eight times the old rate. By the said rate in Essex, Master-Carpenters and Tylers are rated at 16 pence a day, which is not six times the old rate, their Servants 12 pence, which is eight times the old rate.
It is said in the said Statute of 25th of Edward III. That in those Counties where Wheat was wont to be given for work, they should take ten pence for the Bushel, or Wheat at the will of the Giver, by which clause it appeareth that 10 pence was then a large price, even in those Counties where the Bushel was bigger, or else it had been a great Rigour to leave it to the will of the Giver.
By the Statute of the 12th Richard the Second, the yearly wages of a Bayliff was rated at thirteen shillings and four pence, and by the aforesaid rate in Essex the wages of a Bayliff is rated at three pounds three shillings and eight pence, which is (near) five times the old Rate. By the said Statute of 12 R. a master Hind is rated at ten shillings, a Carter at ten shillings, a Shepheard at ten shillings, an Ox-heard at six shillings and eight pence, a Cowheard at six shillings and eight pence. By the said Rate in Middlesex Carters are rated five pound wages, which is ten times the old rate. By the said rate in Middlesex the best sort of Plough-men, Carters, or Shepheards are rated at three pound. The second sort of Hinds and all Servants in Husbandry at two pound six shillings and eight pence, which amounteth in the first, to six times the old rate, and in the second to seven times the old rate; a woman labourer or Dairy woman by the said Statute at Six shillings. By the said rate in Middlesex, the best women servants are rated at forty shillings a year, the second sort at thirty three shillings and fourpence, which by medium amounts to six times the old rate, and somewhat more; and by the said rate in Essex, the best women are rated at thirty three shillings and four pence, the second sort at one pound six shillings and eight pence, which by a medium amounts to five times the old Rate.
And if any man shall object, That the present rates will not, generally through the whole Kingdome, hold thus high, though they are thus rated in the parts near adjoyning to London:
It may be answered. That by the old Statutes it was provided, that in no place any higher rates than these should be given; but they might give less, where less in former times had been used to be given.
But on the other side it may be much more probably objected, That the rates are now greater than they are here set down, because it is not so strictly observed as it should be; whereas when the old Statutes were first made it is probable that the Rates were with the largest, and were more strictly observed than they now are: and although this computation of the wages and hire of Servants and Labourers be (as I conceive) the most certain way of comparison of the prices of all things between that time of King Edward the Third and this present; yet for Confirmation I will add unto it another Observation, wherein we shall find the same Proportion to hold in a Subject much more general, and therefore so exactly calculated. But therein I must appeal to the well grounded Judgment of my Reader, and that is that I will set down the entire receipts as I find them by undoubted Records of divers years of Edward the Third; and then I will briefly represent the actions of War in the said years, besides the ordinary expence within the Kingdom, and will appeal to the Judgment of the Reader, whether the said ordinary expence and the said actions of War could be now maintained, but by a Proportion so much larger as the rates of wages are now encreased, which I compute between six and eight times as much as they were in the 19th year of Edward the third.
The whole receipts of the Kingdom, as appeareth by the Pell of the Introitus amounted to 72,826 pound 11 shillings 5 pence; in that year the King sent over six hundred men of Arms, and six hundred Archers into Gascoign, under the Conduct of the Earl of Derby, and divers other great Lords, who gathering unto them the other Garrisons, did not only maintain a body of an Army in the field a great part of that year, but recovered divers Towns by Siege: all that year the King did likewise maintain some auxiliary forces of good importance, the Number is not set down, for the aid of the Duke of Brittany under the Command of Sir Thomas Dayworth. And that Year the King likewise made a voyage in great magnificence into Flanders, and continued there long in Treaty with Jacques van Arteveld and the Flemings, to withdraw them from the Homage of their Earl unto his Allegiance. The 20th year of Edward the Third, the whole Revenues of the Kingdom in the Pell, amounted to 154,139 pound, 17 shillings 5 pence. This year the same forces were maintain’d in Gascoign, which did freely ransack and spoil all Xaintong and Poitou, by the favour of the Kings great Victories elsewhere.
And in July the King went over in person, and landed in Normandy, and wasted a great part of that Province, and ransacked many of the principal Towns: his forces transported thereto, are by Hollingshead reckoned 4,000 men at Arms, and 10,000 Archers, besides a great Number of Footmen, but not defined. In the end of Summer he fought that famous Battel of Cressey; and in the beginning of Winter did set his Siege before Calais. This Year likewise was the King of Scots taken prisoner at the Battel of Durham, by the Queen: The 21st year of his Reign his Receipts amounted unto 226,113 pound, five shillings and five pence; almost all this year the King continued his Siege before Calais, having reinforced his Army, both out of England and Gascoign, and kept the Sea by his own Shipping and the Easterlings; and in the end of the year, notwithstanding that the King of France having assembled all his Puissance, sought to rescue it, the Town was yielded, and an English Colony transported thither, and Victuals besides; all this year the King continued his auxiliary forces in Brittany with great success.
Now if King Edward the Third had with his Revenue furnished out Money for these great actions of War, besides the Magnificence of his own house and other necessary expences of his Kingdom, I do appeal to the Judgment of the Reader whether the ordinary expences of the King’s house, and other necessary things within his Kingdom, and the like actions of War could be maintained (not speaking of the success) at this day with any frugality without any other increase of comings in, equal in Proportion to the increase of the hire of Labourers and Servants wages; which I compute at six times or rather at 8 times as much as then it was. And I am sure that whosoever shall exactly weigh all Circumstances, shall find that of the two, this latter comparison will exceed the former.
Having thus, with as much exactness as possible I can, and as I conceive is incident to this subject, made proof of the Proportion between Gold and Silver and the things valued by them, as it now stands compared with what it antiently was; and namely in the 25th year of Edward the Third; the next that I have undertaken to prove, is, that the different Proportion which is really grown between Gold and Silver, and the things valued by them, doth principally and indeed solely arise of the great quantities of the said Mettals, which in these hundred years was brought out of the East and West-Indies. Now although there be many other causes which may produce this effect, as Scarcity or Abundance of the things valued by Money, War, Depopulation, and all other Accidents, by which, either these Mettals are exhausted, or the things valued by them are consumed or made less useful; yet, as before is shewed, all those are temporary and subject to continual variety up and down, and therefore cannot be the causes of a constant effect as this is. And, as for the continual raising of the values of Moneys, it is formerly shewed, that really that breeds no disproportion between Gold and Silver and the things valued by them; but only it breeds an alteration in the Proportion between the species of Money, so named, as Pounds, Crowns, Shillings, &c. and the things valued by them; and accordingly in the Examination of the Rates of the hire of Servants and Labourers, it might be observed that it punctually arises according to the raising of the value of Moneys, until the discovery of the West Indies, and the navigation of the East-Indies, which have brought in so great a glut of these mettals. There is no other constant cause to produce the real disproportion, but only the abundance of Gold and Silver, by which of necessity they must grow cheaper and abased in their value. A certain Author who wrote about the year 1620, doth calculate, that in the space of 100 year there was at that time brought into Spain and Portugal 900 Milions of Pezoes, worth six shillings and sixpence sterling a piece in Gold and Silver; which calculation doth seem to be excessive amounting to nine millions every year of Gold and Silver out of the Indies, of all which infinite Summ, not one jot did come into these parts in former times out of the West Indies, and very little or nothing out of the East: how is it then possible but that it must abase the value of the Mettals?
And if it be said that we waste this excessive supply in our excesses of Luxurie, as in Guildings, Embroideries, Inlayings, and the like, so as the mass of the said Mettals increaseth not; it is answered, That neither were former times exempt from those vanities; neither are they now sufficient to consume the greatest Proportion of this stock.
And if it be objected that the greatest part of the Stock is drayned away every year to the Eastern Countries:
It is answered, That this is only true of Silver; and yet the Silver cannot be so drained away, but that a great part doth remain in Europe. Now if the Rate of things valued by Money be six times as great as it was in 25th of Edward the Third, allowing the values of Moneys to be raised to treble what they then were by the same names, yet there will be a real Increase of a double Proportion, to what then was of Gold and Silver in weight and fineness, to things valued by them; and if the rate be raised to eight times what it then was, the real increase of the Proportion will be almost treble to what it then was.
To understand then whether this Kingdom be now of the same Wealth and Ability which then it was: We must find out whether there be now double or treble the quantity of Gold and Silver in weight and fineness in this Kingdom which then was, and whether the fruits and growing wealth of the Kingdom will produce double and almost treble the quantity of Gold, in weight and fineness, to what it then did. I am absolutely perswaded that we shall fail of it very much, of which the most certain and assured proof were to calculate for so many years together the quantity of Gold and Silver coined in those days; and then by a medium to compare it with so many years in these times; though this proof were not demonstrative, but probable.
But in those days the Mint was kept at Calais, as well as in the Tower, and much more of the Money of this Kingdom was coined there than here, the Records whereof are all lost and dissipated.
But that our Wealth doth not answer that increase of Proportion at this day, I will endeavour to satisfie the Reader by two Arguments; the one drawn from the Abundance or Scarcity of Gold and Silver; the other from an Effect of it.
For the first it is this, I have alwayes understood it to be observed by all men intelligent and practised in matters of Trade, that although all Commodities in general are raised in price, in comparison of what they antiently were, yet in general that our domestick Commodities are not raised answerable in proportion to Forrein. Now we have a very small quantity of Silver produced within our own Countrey, and of Gold none at all, so that the Stock of these Mettals is in a manner raised wholly out of the over-ballance of our domestick Commodities with forrein: if then ours do not rise in price from what antiently they did bear proportionable unto Forrein, it is a strong Argument to prove that our Stock of these Mettals does not increase in a Proportion answerable to the increase of the Price of other things valued by Money.
The second Argument is from the Effect; now one of the greatest Effects of the abundance of Gold and Silver, is, the Ability which the Kingdom hath to set forth and maintain great actions of War in forrein parts: then let us set forth before our eyes the many and great Armies which Edward the Third did raise and maintain both of Strangers and his own Subjects in the first year of his Warrs against France, and withal let us take into our consideration the Calculation made, in AnnoNA by expert Commissioners, of the charge of one Army to be raised, transported, and maintained for one year, in Forrein Countries, 25,000 Foot and Horse, and proportionable Artillery, which doth account unto NA and then I doubt not but that every mans own Conscience will convince him that at this day the Kingdom is not able to maintain the like actions in forrein parts which then it did: and yet at that time there were forces maintained against Scotland; a great part of the Realm was imployed upon Monks and Friers improfitable members; besides the substance of a great part of the Wealth of the Kingdom (drawn of) by the See of Rome: and the trade of the Kingdom was in no comparison so great as it is now, and this is an undoubted Effect of this truth, That the increase of our stock of Gold and Silver is not in a Proportion answerable to the increase of the price of other things valued by Money; neither can there be any other analogical reason given of the present disability but this, That although that we do draw some drops of this Indian spring, whereof Spain is the Cistern, yet we do draw them at the second hand, we draw them upon hard terms and conditions, and we do not draw them neer in that Proportion as the prices of all things do arise upon our hands, by the great increase of those Mettals; and the consequence of this hath more advanced the affairs of Spain in these times than can be imagined, for that hereby all the other States of Europe have bin abated half in half. I will propound France for Example, which Kingdom notwithstanding draweth much more Money out of Spain than we do, by reason that the French consume little of the Spanish commodities, make the return of their own for a great part in Gold and Silver.
The Author of the Denier Royal undertaketh to prove that St. Lewis in France, who was contemporary with Henry the Third of England, whose whole Revenues in those days amounted not unto 300,000 French livres, did notwithstanding in Proportion to all things valued by Money, raise more out of his Kingdom than Lewis the thirteenth who now reigneth, and whose Revenue amounteth, unto 3,600,000 pound sterling.
And although he bringeth such Arguments and Authorities for his assertions, as for my part, I cannot see how they can be answered: yet the difference is so great that I could hardly assent to his Conclusion, were it not for this reason. In the time of St. Lewis, Provence, Dauphiny, Gascoign, Brittany and other parts were distracted from the Crown of France, and yet did he transport such Armies and maintain them so long in the Holy-Land, Egypt and Affrick, besides the payment of an excessive Ransom to the Mammalukes for his Liberty, as this present King was not able to do the like, though his Revenue were three times as much as it is, of which there can be no other cause answerable to the effect, but the excessive increase of the price of all things, more than the increase of Gold and Silver in the Kingdom. And if these Kingdoms of England and France are so much impaired in ability by this Means, how much more must those Kingdoms be disabled which are more remote, and draw these Mettals from Spain but at a second or third hand: I am perswaded that the consequence of this hath more advanced the affairs of Spain in these later times than the success of their Armys: neither can any other Remedy be propounded to this Mischief but one, which is to fetch these materials of Money from the fountain it self. And for my part I do confidently believe that future times will find no part of the Story of this Age so strange, as that all the other States of Europe have endured this ruinous Inconvenience with so great Indifference, or rather Stupidity, so long, and that they have not combined together to enforce a liberty of Trade in the West Indies; the restraint whereof is against all Justice, Trade being de Communi Jure an appendant of Peace, and against the Example of former Ages.
It is true, that the Romans who of all other Nations were most advantageous in their publick Contracts, did enjoyn the Carthaginians, that they should not sail beyond certain Promontaries with their vessels of War, but never debarred Commerce and Trade into any parts.
And the Muscovites and those of China, who forbid all Access unto Strangers into their Dominions, do notwithstanding permit all Fairs and Markets in their parts and entries of their Countries for commerce with other Nations, with whom they have no Capitulations of Peace.
But the Spaniards and Portugals do not only forbid all access and commerce to the West and East Indies within their Dominions, but do define and bound their Dominions, in a manner unheard of to all former Ages, and with an arrogancy more than humane; for whereas all other Nations, since the World began, have claimed and denominated their Dominions either from their own possession or the possession of their Ancestors, the Spaniards and Portugals, in a contrary way, draw certain imaginary Mathematical lines through Heaven and Earth, and claim for theirs all that lieth within the compass of these lines, as if they would incroach upon God in Heaven, as well as upon Men on Earth.
[* ]See Sir F. M. Eden on the Poor, I. pp. 32-33.