[Merchants.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [of the Canaries.]270

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

Powers of formidable, foreign Competitors to deal with.

That soon after the Revolution, the Interlopers brake in upon the Privileges of the Royal African Company's Charter; and Anno 1697. the Parliament granted a Permission to all the Subjects to trade to Africa, paying to the Company a Duty of 10l. per Cent. for their Exports, towards the defraying the Charge and Expences of their Forts and Settlements. And ever since the Trade hath fallen into great Disorders and Confusions: For that, since this Liberty allowed, the Prices of Goods and Merchandizes imported into Guinea are diminished, at least the one half of what they produced formerly. And the Prices of Negroes are advanced to much more than double of their former Prices. Which proceeded from the Advantage the Natives take of having Variety of Chapmen. Whereas before they could have Recourse only to the Company's Settlements and Ware-houses.

A free Trade to Africa granted by Parliament An. 1697.

The Decay of this Trade, whence proceeding.

That foreign Rivals in this Commerce did upon occasion foment and encourage the Divisions among the Traders here, who had different Interests. And they instructed the Natives, how to make their Advantages hence.

That after this Act, in one Year the separate Traders sent eighty one Vessels to Africa: But for some Years last past they have not sent out above one fifth of that number of Ships per Ann. by reason of Losses and Disappointments, &c. That finding it impracticable for themselves, or the separate Traders, to trade profitably on the Foot of the present Constitutions, they have not traded for near so much as otherwise they would have done. So that the Planters in America complained, that for these five or six Years past, the Company and separate Traders together have not supplied them with sufficient numbers of Negroes: and that those they get, do cost them more than double the Prices they formerly paid.

That without some fixed Society, vested with a considerable Joint-Stock, there can be no sure Dependance upon having the British Plantations supplied with sufficient numbers of Negroes at moderate or certain Rates, nor upon making any advantageous Contracts with the Spaniard or Portuguese, to furnish them with Negroes in their West-Indies.

That it would be very difficult to regain a Trade, if once lost; especially this of Guinea: which all the neighbouring Nations earnestly thirst to gain from us. And which, if deserted for a very short space of Time, would be certainly possessed by the French or Dutch. And that the only means to preserve the same, is by investing the Company with Privileges, suitable to those granted to the Companies of other Nations. But that if this were granted, as the Company had paid in several additional Sums of Money upon the respective Shares of that joint Stock, in order to preserve this Trade, so essential to the Nation, they would advance a further Stock, sufficient to support and improve the said Trade in every Branch thereof.

Danger of the Loss of this Trade.

Here follows what Improvements this Company hath made to that Trade. Besides their old Forts, which they have rebuilt and enlarged, they have purchased the Danes Fort, and built several other Fortifications, of Sherbrow, Dickes-Cove, Succondee, Commenda, Queen Anne's Port, Annamadoe, Winebah, Accra-Whidah: Besides settling several other Factories on the Gold Coast. The Charge of all which, with the providing of them with great Guns, small Arms, Ammunition, and Stores of all sorts, their constant Supplies and Repairs, and the Interest of that Money so long ago advanced, and laid out, hath amounted to several Hundred Thousand Pounds. So that all things considered, the Company's Estimation of them will appear to be very moderate, whatsoever private Traders do, or may maliciously suggest to the contrary.]

The Improvements the Company have made.


[ Click here to view Image of coat of arms, Canary Company of Merchants   ]

THIS Company was incorporated by King Charles II. who by his Charter bearing date the 17th of March, 1664. made them a Fellowship by the Name of the Governour and Company of Merchants trading to the Canary Islands; to be managed by way of a joint Stock; and granted to them and their Successors as large Privileges as to the other Companies of Merchants.

R. B.


These Merchants trade to all the seven Islands anciently called the Fortunate Isles, and now the Canary Isles, which are these following, Grand Canaria, Teneriff, Palma, Gomera, Iterro, Lanzeroce, and Fuerta Ventura.

Their Trade.

This Company have granted them, the Use of a Common Seal, and to bear a Coat of Armes, which is thus blazoned, Argent, St. George's Cross, and on a Chief, Azure, a Lyon of England, between two Bunches of Grapes, Or. For their Crest, on a Helmet and Wreath of their Colours the Mountain called the Peke Teneriff proper. And for their Supporters two Faulcons.

Their Atchievment.

The Commodities exported, are chiefly all sorts of English Woolen Manufactures, as Bayes, Kersies, Serges, Perpetuanoes, Sayes, Norwich Stuffs, and Fustians; also Hats, Stockings, all manner of Haberdashers Wares, Iron and Tin wrought; likewise store of Poor Jack, Pilchards, Herrings, Beef, Pork, Wheat and other Grains; also many sorts of Linnen Cloth, both of Germany, Flanders, Holland and France; likewise Pipe-staves and Hoops, with several other Commodities. And for these are imported great Quantities of Canary Wines, divers sorts of West India Commodities, as Varinas, Tobacco, Hides, Logwood, Indico, Cochineal, Campechiana, &c.

Commodities exported.

Goods imported.

These Merchants, for the Management of their Affairs, are governed by a Governour, Deputy Governour, and Assistants of Twelve, which are yearly chosen at a General Court of the Adventurers, between the 15th and 25th of March. They keep their Courts monthly, or weekly, as their Occasions require.]

Their Government.

Besides these Societies of Merchants Incorporated, there are others not incorporated, yet formerly were; namely, the Spanish Merchants, the Portugal, Italian, French, Dutch, and those trading to the West Indies. Which Places now are open to any one to trade unto. And there are such as keep a Trade, some to some of those Places, others to others, but not in a Joint-Stock with

Companies not incorporated.

R. B.