[Eastland] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Merchants.]263

[Eastland] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Merchants.]

While he was Governour, there being a endeavour to lay open the Trade of the Woolen Manufacture to every one that would; so injurious to this as well as other incorporated Societies of Merchants; he wrote and published in the Year 1689. a very rational Tract against it, tho' modestly without his Name set to it. It was intitled, REASONS, humbly offered by the Governor and Assistants and Fellowship of Eastland Merchants, against the giving a general Liberty to all Persons whatsoever, to export English Woolen Manufacture, whither they please. It was occasioned by a dangerous misapprehension, that a general liberty to all Persons to export the said Manufactures where they pleased, would conduce much to the Interest of the Nation, under a Supposition that it would encrease the Vent thereof. The Error whereof this learned Merchant shewed, by undertaking to prove these Assertions, or Affirmations.

Reasons against laying open the Woolen Manufacture Trade: Writ by him.

I. That a general Permission of Exportations, as before mentioned, would be a Means to debase the Reputation of our English Manufacture: and consequently render it less desirable and sought after abroad.

II. It would overthrow all the incorporated Companies of Merchants in England; as the Hamburgh and Russia, (tho' established by Parliament) the Eastland, the Turky, the East Indian, and the African. The Mischief consequential upon which would be as followeth. First, The Trade of England would thereby be lost, and come to be all, or at leastwise the greatest part, in the Hands of Foreigners; as it fomerly was before the said Companies were erected. Secondly, All the Privileges obtained by the said Companies from the Princes, States and Governors of the Places of their respective Residences, (which are of great advantage to the vending of our English Manufactures) would be utterly lost. Thirdly, The Navigation of England by degrees would be very much impaired and discouraged.

III. And lastly, A general Permission would be so far from answering the End proposed by it, of vending a greater quantity of our Woolen Manufacture than was before; that in all Probability it would in the End prove the Cause, and be the Occasion of vending a great deal less.

In this Treatise against a general Permission of Traders, the Writer set down what he found recorded under Queen Elizabeth, viz. That the English in her Reign, had for a good while together a profitable Trade, and good Sales for their English Manufactures, at Narve in the Baltic Sea, until at length in the Year 1565. a number of straggling Merchants, and unskilful Traders, resorted thither out of this Realm, with their Commodities. By which means in a little while the Trade, which before was good, was utterly spoiled. Insomuch that many of them went about the Town with Cloths upon their Arms, and a Measure in their Hand; and so sold the same by the Arfine (a Measure of that Country) to the great embasing of that excellent Commodity, the discredit of our Nation, and the final impoverishment and utter undoing of the same straggling Merchants. All which being made known to her Majesty, and her Privy Council, Order was taken at the next Parliament, that the Town of Narve, (then under the jurisdiction of the Mosovite) should be comprised within the Charter of the Russia Company; to prevent the like ill kind of dealings for the future, and making vile the principal Commodity of the Nation. And it was so done accordingly by Act of Parliament.

The Trade to Narve regulated.

This Gentleman was very instrumental in procuring the Act for the Enlargement of the Trade of the Russia Company; the Bill for which stuck a great while, the said Company opposing it vigorously, as infringing their Charters and Privileges. And who, after a full hearing of their learned Lawyers in the House of Lords, made a Speech himself in Person, in answer to all their Objections: and that with such an Evidence and Conviction of the publick Benefit of this Bill that lay before them, that he carried the Cause, and the Bill passed. Which Speech kindly communicated to me by Sir Fisher Tenche, Baronet, his Son, may deserve to be here recorded, as containing divers matters of considerable Remark about Trade, especially in those Parts. And was to this Tenor.

This Gentleman's Speech in the House of Lords upon the Russia Company's Bill.

"I Shall not trouble your Lordships with a repetition of what was argued by the learned Counsil at the last Hearing before your Lordships; no further than is necessary to lead your Lordships to a better understanding of what we shall further alledge on the behalf of the Bill."

"The intent of the Bill is for the enlarging of Trade to Russia: A Trade most certainly as capable of an enlargement, as any Trade that is driven out of England: whether we respect the greatness of the Czar's Dominions, or the present management of that Trade, in the Hands of those few Persons, (being not at most above ten or twelve) who are at present, the Managers of it."

" The largeness of the Czar's Dominions is known to all, as also that the Coldness of the Climate is proper for the vent of our Woolen Manufactures, and the Commodities of our Plantations."

" That those few Persons that have now the Trade, by vertue of their Charter, neither do, nor can carry it on, by many Degrees, to the Extent it will admit, it is evident: for their Stock (tho' some of them are able Men) is no way adequate to the carrying that Trade to its full Extent. And that they do not, appeareth by the great difference of the Shipping that is employed thither by us and our Neighbours. For in the Year 1697. there were at Archangel only 50 Sail of Ships: of which there were but 6 or 7 English at the most. And whereas they alledge, that the Trade at present is carried on to its full extent, and bring for Proof, that they have more Goods there than they can vend, it is no more than what all Merchants have, wherever they Trade: And doth from hence arise, not that the Country will not take off more Goods; but that they being few in number, can agree together to set what Price they please upon them."

" But I shall not further insist upon this, but confine my self to two Arguments which the Counsil either wholly omitted, or slightly insisted upon: and then endeavour to remove, that great objection they seem to insist so much upon: as, that the pressing of this Bill is an Invasion of their Property, vested in them by Act of Parliament: Which we doubt not to prove to your Lordships is no such thing."

" The first argument we do insist upon, is the matter of the Petition, as to the late Contract made with the Czar, to import Tobacco into his Dominions."

" There being a Bill depending in the Honourable House of Commons, to open and enlarge the Russia Trade, upon an easy admission; divers Merchants and others took the opportunity of the Czar's being in England, to attain, if possible, what had been long desired, but could as yet by no endeavours be obtained, viz. the "

Argument from the Tobacco Patent.