[Merchandise.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Sea-Coal.]292

[Merchandise.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Sea-Coal.]

desired Account: For they could find no more of their first Ewr.

In the Year 1583. Alderman Hart, Mr. Spencer, Hoddesdon, and divers other Merchant Adventurers, attempted a Discovery, in order to Trade, of the hithermost Parts of America, to the Latitude of 40 Degrees, or thereabouts, under Captain Carleil: Who excited them thereto by many considerable Arguments of the Profitableness thereof; the Country being very fruitful, inhabited with a savage People of a mild and tractable Disposition; and that of all other Places, which were unfrequented at that day, it was the only fittest and most commodious for us to intermeddle withal. For first, it was not any long Course, but such as might be performed to and fro in four Months, after the first Discovery thereof. Secondly, one Wind sufficed to make the Passage; whereas most other Voyages of like Length were subject to three or four several Winds. Thirdly, it was to be performed at all times of the Year. Fourthly, the Passage was upon the high Sea; whereby they were not bound to the Knowledge of Dangers, or any other Coast, more than of that Country, and of ours here at home. Fifthly, those Parts of England and Ireland, which lie aptest for the proceeding outwards and homewards upon this Voyage, were very well stored of goodly Harbours. Sixthly, that it was to be accounted of no Danger at all, as touching the Power of any foreign Prince or State.

A Voyage by Carleil to the Northern America.

Such as desire to know more of the Voyages set out by the Merchants Adventurers, for Discovery of foreign Parts of the World, and for settling a Traffic there, may consult Hackluit's Voyages; where the various Histories thereof, in the Northern, Western and Eastern Regions of the Earth, are set down at large.

About the Year 1590. the Number of the chiefest Merchants in London increased greatly. I find 280 Names to one Petition. And of the Court of Aldermen these Merchants signed it, William Row, Maior, Richard Hayward, Richard Martyn, William Webbe, Cuthbert Buckle, John Spencer, William Masham, Anthony Radclyff, Hugh Offley, Henry Billingsley, Richard Saltonstal, William Elkyn, Stephen Soame, Thomas Skyner, Richard Gourney.

Number of Merchants 1590.

Of the Commodities which were of the Growth or Manufacture of England, it is not my Business to make a distinct Declaration. But among other things sent abroad by the Merchants, I find, that about the Year 1580 and odd, much Beer was transported, and became a great Commodity in Queen Elizabeth's Reign. But the exporting of it was often forbid by that Queen's Proclamation: For commonly it was a Cause of enhancing the Price of Corn. Yet even upon Prohibitions, special Licenses were granted by the Lord Treasurers. Thus he allowed one Lyster, in the Month of November, to brew and transport 500 Tun of Beer for the Queen's Use: And in the same Month another Ship was laden with 350 Barrels of Beer to Embden; and in the same Month again a Ship of Amsterdam laded 300 Barrels of Beer more. And in the same Month four Ships of Embden more were laden with 800 Barrels. Which shews in what Request our English Beer was then abroad.

Beer a great Commodity transported.

Among the Commodities of the Growth of England sent abroad, as well as spent here at home, the Sea-Coal of Newcastle deserves some mention. This is the great Commodity that supplies the City with Firing, both for dressing of Food, and for the Operation of divers Trades and Manufactures exercised there. About the Year 1590 and odd, Sea-coal began to advance its Price far higher than ever before; being enhanced by sinister Ways and Means of some at Newcastle; a few engrossing the whole Commodity to themselves. And besides, the Coals were not so good as they used to be, by their sending out the best into foreign Parts, and sending the worst to be spent in the Realm. The Price of Sea-coal of the best sort went at 4s. the Chaldron, many and many a Year before now. Then there happened a Leasing of the Mines; which was called the Grand Lease: Which Grand Lease was assigned to one Mr. Sutton. And then the Price came to 6s. the Chaldron; and so continued during the time that Sutton enjoyed the Lease. Then it was assigned over to the Town of Newcastle: and then the Price began to increase to an excessive Rate. First to 7s. then to 8s. and was now grown to 9s. Neither could be so had, unless the Buyer would be content to take of both sorts, viz. the Good and Bad together.


The Price formerly.

Of this the Lord Maior made complaint to the Lord Treasurer Burghley, against the Town of Newcastle; setting forth the Causes of these Abuses, and then the Remedies for the Reformation of them. The chief Causes were, certain Inhabitants of Newcastle, called Freehosts, to whom the Grand Leases were first made over to the Use of that Town, being to the Number of sixty Persons, or thereabouts. These of later times had compounded and made over their whole Right to a far less Number, viz. some eighteen or twenty Men. Who having before Coal-pits of their own, engrossed the whole Commodity, and reduced the Trade into a few Mens hands: combining together to sell their Sea-coal at their own Prices; and so advanced the Price, as was said before, to 9s. the Chaldron, one with the other. The said few Persons, being Men of great Wealth, had, besides the Grand Lease, taken and engrossed all the Coal-mines about the said Town; namely, the Mine of Stella, the Bishops Mine, sometimes farmed by one Mr. Tempest and others, the Mine of the Lordship of Ravensworth, the Mine of Mr. Gascoin, the Mine of the Lordship of Newborne, and divers others. Of these Mines or Pits they opened or shut up such and so many as they thought good, for the advancing of their private Gain. Whereby the Freehosts, who were wont to make Suit for the Sale of their Coals, and offer the same unto the Shipmasters, (which made a Cheapness) were now sued unto, and made it a matter of Favour and Preferment, whom first they would serve; ordering the Prices at their own pleasures.

The Maior complains of the Price advanced.

Th Causes.

The Remedies propounded were, that the Lords of the Privy Council would take Order, that all Owners and Farmers of Coal-mines might open them, and make Sale of their Coals at reasonable Rates, not exceeding the Price of 7s. the Chaldron, and to lade the same at most opportune Places without any Restraint. And that they be enjoined to have good store of Coal digged before-hand, and ready to be laden: Whereby the Shipmasters might not be enforced to stay for their Lading, as they had sometimes four, five or six Weeks together: Whence the Price of Coals became increased.

The Remedies.

The Town of Newcastle made a great Benefit by these Coals long ago. For in these latter times of Queen Elizabeth, were yearly shipped hence unto several Places within the Realm and beyond the Seas, by computation, five or six Hundred Thousand Chaldrons. The Toll whereof, after the Rate of 4d. the Chaldron, amounted to the Sum of 10000l. a year. Which went to the Chamber and Corporation of that Town; beside the Revenue which grew to the Inhabitants of that Place for the Sale of their Coals.

Benefit of Coals to Newcastle.