The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letters Patent Re Register For General Commerce, With Explanation By Arthur Gorges
Dating:undated [Original Published 1611]
Ref:48/2/1A-10B: 1B, 11A, 11B BLANK

                    A TRUE TRANSCRIPT
            And Publication of his Majesties
                    Letters Pattents./.
           An Office to be erected and called
               the Publicke Register for
Whereunto is annexed an Overture & explanation of the Nature & purport of the said Office for their better Vnderstanding and direction that shall have occassion to use it, By Sir Arthur Gorges Knight
     Printed at Britaine Bursse for Iohn
        Budge and sold at his shopp 1611.

James by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, defender of the Faith &c.
To all <to> whom these presents shall come. Greeting
Wheras all Trade & Commerce whatsoeuer amoungst our welbeloued Sudjects, doth chiefly consist either in Buying and Selling, or Borrowing and Lending; And for that a great defect is dayly found in the policie of our State for want of some good Trustie & ready meanes of Intelligence & intercourse betweene our said subjects in that behalfe. By meanes whereof, in any men oftentimes upon occassion of necessity & sudden accidents, are inforced to put away and sell landes leases or other goodes & chattels, to great losse & disadvantage for want of good & ready meanes to give generall notice & publique Intelligence of such their intentions to many that would (if they knew thereof) as willingly buy as the others would gladly sell, For redresse & remedy whereof our Trusty & well beloued Servants Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Walter Cope Knights, Gentelmen of our Priuie Chamber haue out of their carefull endeavour found out and devised a most safe easie & [deletion] speedy way to the great advancement & help of Generall Commerce and Trade amoungst our well beloued Subjects; whereby to serve the turnes and occassions as well of Borrowers [catchword: as]

as Lenders and of Buyers as of Sellers, by plaine and direct course of reciprocall intelligence & interchangable Correspondency, for the ready notice & understanding of one anothers minds We in our Princely care & Providence for the generall good of our People which we must desire & tender haue thought it fit & iust that the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Wallter Cope should recieue from vs some favourable approbation & lawfull Authoritie to establish further & aduance this their industrious care & faithfull endeauour for the publique good; whereby much ease comfort & benefit would vndoubtedly ensue to our subjects of this our Realme of England and the Dominions of the same in the knowledge & vse thereof. Know you therefore that wee reposing great trust & confidence in the prouidence integrity and fidelity, of the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Wallter Cope for their honest iust & respectiue dealing herein of our especiall grace, certaine knowledge & meer motion haue giuen and graunted & by these presents for Vs, our Heyres & Successors doe giue and graunt absolute ful and free license power and Authoritie unto the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Walter Cope, & their Executors Administratours & Assignes and to their Deputy and Deputyes, during the terme of 21 yeares next and immediatly ensuing the Date of these presents to Erect, set up, [catchword: keepe]

keepe & maintaine in any places, Citties or Townes within our Realme of England & the Dominions of the same where the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Walter Cope, their Executors Administrators or assignes shal thinke most fit and convenient, a publique Office Roome or place of resort or repaire of people for the Notice of Borrowing and Lending of Moneyes & for the better knowledge of buying selling or Exchanging of Lands tenements or hereditaments leases or any other goodes or chattels whatsoeuer which they or their Deputyes shall thinke fit, and worthy to be entered & registered; and to keepe one or more Kalender or Kalenders, Register or Registers, for the Registering of all and singular such Landes tenements, hereditaments leases wares Commodities moneyes or any other thinges or Chattels, that shall by the meere motion or good liking of the owners themselues or their Factors for them be brought to such office & Offices there to be entred and Registered, to be bought sold morgaged, pawned borrowed or lent which Office in euery Citie Towne or place where it shall be kept shall be called by the name off The Publique Register for generall Commerce. And also that it shall <& may> be lawfull to and for the said Sir A: Gorges and Sir W. Cope their Executors Administrators or Assignes & their Deputie & Deputies, of & in the said office from time to time during the terme [catchword: of one]

of one & twenty yeares, to keepe entries to make searches and to continue Registers in places Convenient of all such Landes tenementes hereditaments, leases, goodes, chattels profits, commodities or merchandises whatsoeuer, which they the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Walter Cope their Executors Administrators or assignes or their Deputy or Deputyes or any of them shall thinke worthy to be entered[altered from Registered] in the said Office & that in all thinges according to the true intent and meaning of these presents, without let or hinderance or interuption of any our louing subjects whatsoeuer, yeelding & paying therefore during the terme aforesaid to Vs our heires or Sucessours[altered from Executors] from the Feast of Saint Michell the Arch Angell next ensuing the date hereof the yearly Rent of 40 lb of lawfull Mony of England payable at the 2 vsuall feasts of our Lady and Saint Michell by equall portions.   And wee doe therefore by these presents for Vs our Heyres & successors prohibite forbid and straightly charge <& command> all and every of our subjects whatsoeuer that none of them during the said Terme of 21 yeares, by these presents granted doe attempt vndertake or presume to imitate erect or Excercise any like Publicke Office or Register of Intelligence or Entercourse for Trade or Commerce upon paine of our Indignation and high displeasure. Alway provided that noe man be compelled to make Entry or Search [word deleted] in the said office at all nor when such Entry or [catchword: Search]

Search shall voluntarily made, shall pay any more for such search or Entry then shall please himselfe. And also that euery man bee lefft to his owne Election and free choice to use any Scrivner, Broker, friend servant or Factor or any other for the causes aforesaid in as free liberall and ample a manner as they haue heretofore vsed and Accustomed. And that euery man who for secrecy or other causes known to himselfe, shall bee unwilling to vse his owne name in the proceedings hereof may vse the name of his Servant friend Factor or any other at his owne will and pleasure. Provided also and our will and pleasure is that the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Walter Cope, or either of them theire or either of their Executors administrators or assignes, shall at or before the feast of Saint Michael the Archangell which shall be in the yeare of our Lord God 1612, finde by Experience that they shall not be able by the gaines arising by reason of this office to defray the maine charges, expences and Rent incident to the said Office & Officers; in respect thereoff shall be minded vtterley to relinquish and give up the said Office, and the Excercise thereoff and all proffit and beneffit which thereoff may arise or grow; and the same their or any of their Intentions and Minds therin, shall significe vnto the Lord Treasurer of England for the time being vnder their handes and Seales That then these our Letters Pattents as to them or either of them, their or Either of their Executors Administrators or assignes, or any of them which shall soe signfie vnto the said Lord Treasurer of England [catchword: for the]

for the time being his or their mind or intention, vtterly to relinquish and give up the said Office and excercise thereoff, and all benefits<TRANS SWITCH="3"></TRANS> and<TRANS SWITCH="2"></TRANS> proffit<TRANS SWITCH="1"></TRANS> which thereoff may<TRANS SWITCH="3"></TRANS> or<TRANS SWITCH="2"></TRANS> can<TRANS SWITCH="1"></TRANS> arise or grow, shall be utterley voyd and the said Party or Partyes, soe signifying as is aforesaid their Executors &[altered from or] administrators and assignes <or> to be from the time of such signification, discharged of the said yearly rent before in these presents reserved which should afterwards incure and grow due, and the other party and partyes claiming interest in the said Office, and other the promises by and [word deleted] vnder the said Letters Patents and not soe signifying his or their mind and Intention, vnder his or their hand and seale unto the said Lord Treasurer of England for the time being as is aforesaid, and their Executors administrators and assignes, to stand from thenceforth sole Officers and Officers and bee solely and only chargable towards us, our Heyres & successors, for and with the said yearly rent in and by these presents reserved and for and with all other Covenants and things which acording to the Tenour and true meaning of these presents ought to be performed by the said Sir Arthur Gorges and Sir Walter Cope their Executors Administrators or assignes as is aforesaid.
In witnesse whereof we haue caused <these> our Letters to bee[altered from by] made patent, Witnes ourselfe at Westminster the .5 of March, In the eigth yeare of our Raigne of England France and Ireland: and of Scotland. the 44.
                        per me deprivato Sigilo
                 Examinatur per me Thomam Martin.

               To the Vnpartiall Reader
In matters of this nature where a Loyall desire hath endeavoured to performe an acceptable service to the Commonwealth albeit the successe sort not in every point, answerable to hope & expectation: yet this may stand for a maine comfort, that the intention is free from all publique offence or privat wrong and therefore respects not the scandall or taxe of those malignant humors which are accustomed to caast corrupt aspersions on honest designes, But because this proiect hath meerly and solely proceeded from mine owne poore conceit and labour, (ayming specially at the advancement of mutuall Commerce, the bonds & sinewes of humane society) I haue thought good for the avoyding of all doubtfull construction or mistaking (which might blemish it in the birth) to deliuer it into the world with a perspicuous Overture and direction concerning the purport and vses thereoff, because they are but briefly touched and in Gennerall Tearmes set downe in the Pattent.
                                      ARTHUR GORGES.

               An Overture and Explanation
                  of the Purport and vse
                      of this Office
First, it is to be understood that this Office to be knowne and called by the name of the Publique Register for generall Commerce is indeed but the very resemblance of a publique Market whereunto all men may freely repaire, and, resort to Trade and Traffique without constraint or restraint at their owne willes & pleasure. And as in Markets many Commodities are sold and met withall more easily and better cheap in one <selfe> place then by seeking up and downe the Countrey for them with more Trouble and at dearer Rates in severall places, soe is it by the use and benefite of this Office which as a publique Market is solely in his Majesties power to authorise & priveledge.
Secondly, this publique Market is a place which all men may easily find out & freely repaire unto, for speedy meanes of help upon any extremity of forfeitures of bonds or Counterbonds, or Danger of Morgages of Landes or goods by breach of dayes when they know not suddenly where to provid themselves of Monyes upon good security; for that every man (especially those that dwell in remote Shieres, is not acquainted with a Broker, nor knowes asuredly where [catchword: to find]

to find one to serve his turne upon such urgent occassion, or if he doe it will be at a deare Rate, which defect this register shall be able to supply with very conscionable and moderate consideration, taking nothing of any but what the partyes themselves shall in Reason thinke fit and competent for the serving of their Turnes, by the travell of the Officers.
Thirdly by instance to make it more plaine, such men as haue monies lying by them, that they would expose after <8> 9 or ten in the hundered may if they please make it knowne and haue it Registered in this Office whereby such as repaire unto this Register to borrow, may also receive notice and direction accordingly for such summes as they desire by assignement from the officers if the security be good and liked off.
Fourthly, by way of example also to expresse the vse and benefite of this Office for Buying and Selling Suppose that one hath a house or Landes <left margin: or a house> in Wiltshire that he would gladly sell suddenly to rayse Monyes without too great losse but knowes not generally <deletion> how to make it <generally> knowne to the world and that there are <some> others as desirous to buy Lands or a house in that shiere at a reasonable rate, and cannot learne or get knowledge of any such yet by recourse to this Register they may easily informe themselves and haue mutuall intelligence of one anothers mindes perfectly, and readily albeit they dwell farre assunder: whereas now <many times> both parties are in a care and cannot serve their turnes accordingly, vndergoing thereby much inconvenience, which this Office with great ease doth Remedy.   [catchword: Fiftly]

Fiftly the parties themselves that doe either lend or borrow to buy or sell, may vse it with great security & secrecy as they shall thinke fitt by vsing other mens names then their owne other places then their owne houses and other Friends or factors for themselves if they be soe disposed. So as by this free <plaine> and easy course all men may rest sattisfied that their is noe cunning intent by meanes of this Office, to defraud men, nor by the Practise thereof to discover mens wealth or secret[altered] Estates, further then to themselves shall seeme good.
Sixthly, it is neither desired or meant that any should leave their monyes or goodes that they would lend or sell in the charge or Custody of this Office but in such places as the owners themselves shall thinke most safe & convenient, whereby such as would borrow or buy, may (if they please) by this Register be directed to those places or persons that would lend or sell to serve their Turnes mutually. And by this Course all Men may rest secure of the Integritie and fayre dealing that shall be vsed concerning other mens monyes and goodes; which the Patentees seeke not to have the Custody or the exposing off for their privat profit. but will rather avoyd the accidents and dangers of such hazards, & losses, as might happen in soe great a charge, by misreckoning robbing or many other wayes which wee see soe often happens unto men in [deletion] their owne privat houses. And such a misfortune might be both a disparagement to our credit by wrong Constructions and also [catchword: a taxe]

taxe and preiudice to the proceedinges and reputation of this Office (which consisting meerly of the good opinion of the world for the iust dealing to bee vsed therein) if it be found contrary or Corrupt, it cannot subsist but will dye in itselfe as vnprofitable.
Moreover whereas many men dweling far from London are now inforced to repaire thither, to their great travaile and Charge to serve their turnes many wayes in these forenamed kinds by the benefit and vse of this Office they shall be much eased. For it is intended by the favour of God) That in severall places of this Realme this Publique Register shall be kept in some such Chiefe Cities or Townes as shall be found most convenient to serve the Countries next about them in these affaires & to hold Correspondence with the Citie of London.
Againe it is very certaine that divers Landes, leases houses Woodes and Chattels which have beene sold privatly at very Low Rates, to the noe Little losse of the owners would haue beene purchased at more indifferent prices if they had beene more publikly knowne for it often falleth out that those that would gladly buy such doe seldome or never get knowledge of the Sellers intent, till the thinges desired be past recovery to the preiudice of both parties which defect this publique Register will be a great meanes to supply.
Furthermore their are a world of extraordinary thinges which are but few mens Mony and the Owners themselves would gladly vent if they [catchword: knew]

knew how, but lie concealed or in effect lost in sale, because that divers others which would as willingly buy such at valuable prices know not how or where to Recouer them. But here is to be vnderstood that noe commodities of base qualitie or inferiour values shall be entered into this Register, but such as the officers shall thinke fit to be dealt in, without disparagment of the place. Besides[altered from Because] it offten falleth out that men upon Extremity are driven to pawne thinges of good value for smal summes to serve[altered] their Turnes with monies, vntill they can sell them outright, wherein they use the Meanes of Scrivners or Brokers, in whose handes they Leave the said Pawnes, selling very reasonable Rates <prices> on them./. allowing also a reward, and yet notwithstanding it is offten seene and spoken off that many Scriveners or Brokers to whom such things haue beene comitted in trust would neuer vent them at the owners prices, exept they might make a greater surplusage to themselues then the rate limited, And by that meanes many haue beene kept in want of such reliefe, as their owne goods would afford them. whereby at Last their pawnes haue eaten themselves out in Vsury, or at least haue beene sold to great losse, the owners wanting meanes to redeeme them to which greevance this publique Register may yeeld a comfortable Remedy./.
Moreouer, whereas many Conscionable men would willingly expose their Monyes for eight or 9 in the hundered, but cannot make it knowne and therefore doe put their stockes into the handes of Brokers or Scrivners [catchword: to]

to imploy <for> them: soe it is that those Brokers doe for the most part take 10 in the 100 <left margin: for those Monyes> which the owners doe afford at a cheaper rate<[hand?]> thereby wronging both the lender and borrower, which inconvenience this publique Register would easily remedy by giving all men safe and ready meanes to expose their owne Monyes: besides the assurance neuer to bee deceived in their trust, which now many times happen when Brokers or Scrivners doe chance to [word deleted] <fall> banckrout.
Furthermore whereas there is dayly occassion of returning and paying of Monyes from one part of the Kingdome to another by meanes of Trade & Commerce: and therein is found a great defect for want of some safe & speedy Meanes of direction, for interchangable correspondency in that behalfe (because that then men are <now en>forced eyther to convey those monies that they are to pay or receiue, by Carriers Clothiers or Servants who are many times robbed or else men are driuen to be at extradorinary cost for the returnes of Monyes by Letters of Exchange) by the use of this publique Register men may if they please greatly ease and Remedy both these inconveniences. And to expresse the manner of doing of it by example (which is the plainest way of Instruction) Suppose that any Gentelman, Merchant or Tradesman of the North upon occasion of busines being come to London giues Notice there unto this Register that [catchword: he]

that hee can make present payments of Monyes in Yorke at a certaine day, to serue the turnes of any Londoners, or others in that place, if they will deliuer the like sumes in London: and soe accordingly may any Londoners or others search the Register to that or the lyke intent, whereby to give himselfe knowledge of any interchangable Correspondency for payments or receits at York And in this sort may men mutually vnderstand one anothers mindes for Trade & Commerce, and with no lesse facility & security serue their turnes one of another in matters of this kind throughout all those Cityes of this Kingdome where this publike Register shall bee erected & kept which will be free for all men to repaire unto at their pleasures./. But herein is to be understood that this publique Register shall not be made soe Vulgar as to bee kept in euery chiefe City or Shiere Towne within the Realme but in those necessary and Commodious places that shall be found most fitt for the publike good, and to performe those beneficiall Offices that are promissed & may be expected by the vse of this publique Register for the advancement of a Generall Commerce./.
Againe, to give those men that would borrow full sattisfaction how they [catchword: shall]

shall be assured when they come to this Register for direction in that behalfe, and haue giuen the Officer such gratuity as in reason and out off his owne free will he hath though fitt, in regard of [the?] note or direction deliuered to serue his turne, for the summes that upon good security he would take up, and not bee disappointed or loose his reward giuen: If it so fall out for such Accidents may happen that either the party that should lend this mony bee from home, or else how otherwise soe disposed of his stocke (since the Intelligence given to this Register) that hee cannot Instantly serue the turne of him that would borrow, let that party againe returne to the Office, & shall either presently haue another note, whereby to serue his turne, or else he shall receiue the reward that he hath giuen the Officer in that behalfe: Whereby may plainly appeare that there shall be noe shiftes used either to frustrate men of their desired purpose and hope in this Office, or tricks to draw reward for that which by the vse of the Office or Trauell of the Officer is nor merited.
And in this point I haue thought fitt to giue good Caution both for that such chances may <sometimes> fall out, and besides that it is not Vnlikly but that this Objection may bee made And therefore very pertinent to the purpose and to [catchword: avoyd]

avoyd doubts: plainly to set downe an answer and certaine resolution what men may depend upon and how they shall be dealt withall in such cases thereby to auoyd all Scruple. And as in matters of borrowing soe upon occassions of buying, the lyke course and restitution shall be used./.
But because amongst all these Overtures and relations, there hath not beene any mention made either when or wher this publick register shall be kept<TRANS SWITCH="3"></TRANS> and<TRANS SWITCH="2"></TRANS> erected<TRANS SWITCH="1"></TRANS> the which it may be presumed men will expect should haue beene in this disCourse related Touching that point, it is very requisite this much to say that the Office is of such a Nature, as that it will require many things necessary for the compleate Ordering and fitting thereoff, as also noe lesse care and circumspection in the choice of such Offices and Clerkes as shall be answerable and sutable to that integritie and iust dealing that is promised by the pattent in the behalfe of the patentees. Besides, to finde out and fashion a convenient place fit for this Office could not be done suddenly nor in hast considering that our Patent was not past the Seale little more then a Month since, and before that time the Pattentees not assured whether it should passe or not: and therefore noe reason for them to make preparation for that which lay not in their owne power to dispose off./.    [catchword: Not]

Not withstanding if the project it soe fall out, that the proiect (in manner as it is expressed) proue acceptable to the World in regard of the publique good, which is the true scope and End thereof, <left margin: this may suffyse that all expedition shall be used for the Erecting thereof> and sufficient notice giuen by some publique manner of intelligence in what place it shall be kept. Lastly whereas his excellent Majestie according to the Custome of former times and of all well policed States hath in his Princely Disposition pleased to giue Grace and preferment to diuers honest Projects and profitable Inventions which haue truly tended to the publique good without wronging the particular right of any, and in that regard hath likwise vouchsaffed to graunt his Letters Patents for the sole priueledge & practise of this new Invented Register to the Patentees, if any vndutifull or malignant spirit for a selfe priuate gaine, will expostulate the iustnesse of this proceeding it is thus truely and briefly answered
That it is in all equity <as> honourable for his Majesty to provide as good meanes [deletion] for the ease and benefite of his people in gennerall (without any abridgment of former Liberty) as it is lawfull or iust for any private Scrivner or Broker <or other> to provid a course to advance his owne particular estate and proffit which is offten done to the detriment of many, And now that the Nature, use and Scope of this pub- [catchword: lique]

this publique Register is plainly and truly manifested; I leaue all men to their owne sense and liking and the successe hereof to the Eternal guider of all Things