[Merchants of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [the Levant.]265

[Merchants of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [the Levant.]

"cial Treaty now on foot than otherwise they will. But if they find that by the rejecting of this Bill, we are still under the same dependencies upon them, for those necessary Commodities, as we hitherto have been, they will then continue those hardships upon us, if not lay greater."

[Then he came to answer to the objections of Property.] "This Bill doth not invade their Property, since it leaves them their Incorporation intirely. They are still notwithstanding this Bill, an incorporated Company; their Laws, Rules and Regulations, as to Trade, are intirely preserved to them. No Man can come into that Company, notwithstanding the Bill, but must come to them for their Admission, must take the Oath of the Corporation, must subject themselves to their Laws and Rules of Trade, must pay what Impositions they shall think fit to lay upon the whole Community. And thereby bear all Burthens relating to the Company, equal with themselves. True it is, that if this Bill did give liberty of a free Trade thither, it might be construed an Invasion of their Property. But that is not the Case here; and so far it cannot be denyed, their Property is preserved to them, notwithstanding the Bill passes."

Answer to the Objections of Property.

"But then it is objected, that this Bill is to compel them to admit Persons into their Freedom at the Fine of 40s. Whereas they have by their Charter a Liberty, if they please, to exclude all admission into their Freedom, save by Service and Patrimony (as they not long since did by a By-Law of their own) or to set the Price of admission at 60l. (which they alledged they do at present) and this they say is an Invasion upon their Property. To which we answer."

" That their being obliged by the Bill, to admit Persons into their Freedom barely in it self, can by no reason be said to be a violation of their Property, since their Act of Parliament doth direct them (if not enjoyn them) to that."

" So that as before, a bare Obligation to an Admission cannot be said to be a violation of their Property."

" But then they object further, that the setting of their Fine of admission at 40s. as the Bill doth, is a violation of their Property. To which we answer:"

" That since there is no Sum specified, as the Fine for Admission, setting it at 40s. is no more a violation of their Property, than the setting it at 60l. because the difference of the Sums can no way alter the Matter, as to their Property. For if the setting of the Fine be the Violation, whether it be at 40, 50 or 60l. the Violation is equal. But forasmuch as the Terms of Admission are not in the least expressed either in their Charter or Act of Parliament, the adjusting of the Fine of Admission, as is done in this Bill, can by no Means be said to be a Violation of their Property."

" True it is, that if their Fine of 50 or 60l. had been expressed in their Act of Parliament, we must have admitted, that the lessening of it never so little might have been interpreted a Violation of their Property. But this is not the Case here, the Act of Parliament having vested them in a Property of no particular Sum, but a bare power of Admission: Which this Bill doth no way violate."

" If they can pretend to any thing of a Property in this Business of Admission, they must alledge that they have a Property to an arbitrary despotick Power; to admit, or not admit when they please; either exclude all Purchasers, as they have confessed they did lately by a By-Law of their own; or to set what Sums they will upon them, either 50 or 60l. or if they please 500l. For being not restrained by a Law, they may set it at what they please. But we hope your Lordships are of opinion, they have no arbitrary despotick Power vested in them, as a Property, by Act of Parliament: or if there was any such thing, your Lordships would think it not only convenient, but necessary to regulate it. For we humbly conceive it cannot well be allowed, that the Parliament would ever vest an arbitrary Power in any Company of Men whatsoever, by way of Property. But the Construction arising from the not expressing the Fine in the Act of Parliament, doth certainly lie much fairer on the contrary side. For we appeal to your Lordships, which is the most rational Consequence from the not expressing the Fine, either that (as they would interpret it) they may lay what Fine they please, or (as it is most rational to believe) they should lay none at all but admit Gratis. For by their having it in their Power to lay what they please, they may elude the Act by laying it so high as none will come to them. By the other, of admitting Gratis, the intention of the Act is secured. And which of these two Constructions are most rational, we submit to your Lordships."

" But this without Controversy is clear and evident, that no Fine being prescribed, either in their Charter or their Act; it is in the Power of this present Parliament, without Violation of Property, to adjust the Fine (if any be to be taken) to what Sum they in their great Wisdom shall think fit. Which is the only thing desired."

This was the substance of what was spoken, by the foresaid Gentleman, before the Lords, June the 7th, 1698. He spake also effectually to the same Arguments before the Lords at another Session, February the 1st, 1698-9. When the Bill passed.]


[ Click here to view Image of coat of arms, Merchants of the Levant or Turkey Company   ]

THE Company of MERCHANTS of LEVANT, or (more commonly termed TURKIE Merchants, being first incorporated by Queen Elizabeth, were afterward confirmed and enlarged by our Sovereign Lord King James I.

These Merchants by their Discoveries, made the first Trade into the Seignioury of Venice; and then into the Territories of the Grand Seignior, including the Trade of the East-Indies; which then was unknown to us by Sea; their Goods being brought by Caravans of Camels to Aleppo, and other Parts of Turkey. But since the discovery of the Indies by Sea, there is another rich and potent Company of Merchants incorporated, trading thither; which is to be spoken of by and by. And this Company doth in a great

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