[Sea-Coal.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Iron Ordnance.]293

[Sea-Coal.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Iron Ordnance.]

So that in the latter part of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, these Coals bore 9s. the Chaldron. But in the Time of King Henry VIII. they were bought at Newcastle for 2s. 2d. the Chaldron. For one Thomas Barnaby, a Merchant in those Times, exciting a great Courtier in King Edward's Time, to promote Shipping, and increase the number of Mariners, which would turn so much to the Strength of England, shewed, how the sending Coals into France from Newcastle would set 6 or 7000 Mariners a work: Whereas then the French got the Benefit. For in Times of Peace there would be three or fourscore Ships of Normans and Britons at once, as soon as their Fishing was done, fetching Coals from thence. And as soon as they were departed, would come as many more. The Advantage of that Trade to the English would prove very considerable: For as he, the said Barnaby, had bought Coals at 2s. 2d. the Chaldron, so he had sold them in France for 13 Nobles. And this for the Commodity of Sea-coal.

Price of Coals in K. Hen. VIII. his Reign.

Let me yet add some Notices more modern, concerning this notable Commodity of Sea-coal. There was about the Year 1698. a Tax laid upon them of 5s. the Chaldron. Which the Citizens were extremely displeased at; and in a little Book drawn up chiefly for the Use and Information of the Parliament, printed Anno 1699. is shewed the Mischief of it: For it is entitled, The Mischief of the Five Shilling Tax upon Coals. This was taken off by the first Session of the next Parliament, and laid on again the last Session of the same. It was expected never to have heard of this Tax again, having been taken off in a full House, and after full and ample Examination by the Committee, and after the Experience of its Partiality, especially upon the Poor, and of its pernicious Consequences upon Trade and Navigation.

The Inconvenience of a Tax laid upon Coals.

J. S.

The said Book shewed, that 1400 Sail of Ships were employed in the Collier Trade, as appeared by the Coast-Books of the Custom-house in the Port of Newcastle. Which cost in building one thousand Pounds one with another. And that it was notorious, that the said Ships gave not, when this Tax was on foot, (nor never would give as long as it continued) one farthing Profit to the Owners. Here then was the Interest of 14000l. lost from the Proprietors of Shipping, and so from the Nation itself.

1400 Ships in the Collier Trade.

Therefore it was humbly represetned to the Parliament, that this Tax was inconsitent with the Safety of England, partial upon the Poor, pernicious to our Shipping, and Seamen, destructive of our River-men, viz. Boatmen, Keelmen, Bargemen, Ballastmen, Coal-heavers, &c. fatal to our Manufactures made with the Sea-coal, (especially Salt, Glass, and all sorts of gross Ironwork) that by this Coal-Tax must run into Coal Countries, or out of the Kingdom; and so highly injurious to the Royal Revenue.

Tax upon Coals, how injurious.

It appeared by the Custom-house Books for the Coast-Duty of 12d. per Chaldron on Coals at Newcastle, that there was exported from that Port communibus annis, in Times of Peace, 200000 Chaldrons of Coal, Newcastle Measure. And Newcastle hath but two thirds of the Collier Trade. So that the Writer said, that he might with Safety affirm, there was exported from Newcastle and its Member Ports, 300000 Chaldron of Coals: Which is in Tunnage of Shipping 795000 Tun. To which if we should add the over-Sea Collier Trade, he doubted not to affirm the Collier Trade employed 900000 Tunnage of shipping per annum. Which is more than two thirds of all the Tunnage of Goods imported or exported every where, from or into this Kingdom in English Bottoms. So that the Collier Fleet is the great Body of the Shipping of England; and all our other Trades are served by Detachments from it.

How many Chaldrons yearly from Newcastle; viz. 200000.

900000 Tunnage of Shipping in the Collier Trade.

This is the Navigation and Collier-Trade of England. But upon this Tax, there would not be exported (as he computed) from the North Coastways, above 150000 Chaldron, Newcastle Measure; nor half the Number of Ships and Sailors be employed upon the said Trade that was before the said Tax. For there would remain no further Occasion for Coals in the South, than for domestic Use: their Forges and Furnaces being run, by this Tax, either into the North, or out of the Kingdom. And instead of 100000l. per Annum, which was expected from this Tax, we should find it would not bring in above 50000l. And there would be a Fall in the Proceed of other Taxes above double the Sum. And one half of the Collier Trade failing, one half of the Men it supported at Sea, in our River, and at Land, would either be driven abroad, or reduced to live upon the Alms of the Parish. Twenty thousand Souls was the least we should find to fall into these miserable Circumstances. And this must make a vast Abate in the Proceed of the Taxes, the Pole-money, Births and Burials, the Excise of Beer, Ale and Salt, the Duties upon the Materials for Navigation, and the Branches of the Customs.

The Collier Trade like to be diminished.

Further, the Author computed, that if there were no Five Shillings Tax upon Coals, we should export from the North Coastways above 400000 Chaldrons of Coals, Newcastle Measure, which might be modestly computed and judged at 1200000 Tuns of Coals; having every day an increasing Trade. For Wood decayeth every where: and the Town groweth more populous, having many new Streets built out of her void Spaces and cumbersome Palaces. This 1200000 Tun of Coals is a Bulk of Cargo sufficient to employ 2000 Sail of Ships of the same Burden with those at present in the Collier Trade, and will maintain 20000 Seamen, and a tripple number of River-men, at the loading and unloading Ports: and alway living jollily and comfortably in their Business, must raise the Proceed of the Revenue far above what is expected from that foresaid Tax. Twenty Years Experience since the writing of this Book will shew, what Truth there is in that Argument.

The Benefit of being released of the 5s. Tax on Coals.

About the Year 1572. considerable Quantities of Iron Ordnance, cast here in England, were transported abroad. Whereby the Queen's Enemies, as it was feared, were supplied: and that by some License secretly obtained. But the Merchants of London, knowing how this might furnish the Enemies Ships to obstruct their Trade, and bring other great Damages upon the Queen and her Subjects, petitioned her in a great Body to withdraw this License; laying also their Reasons before her Majesty for it. But this Petition (whether it were shuffled off by some about the Queen) never came before her. But they petitioned a second time, for the preventing so great a Danger, beseeching her to take a full View and deep Consideration of their former Petition, together with the Reasons annexed thereto. The Issue was, that in September the abovesaid Year, there was a strict Restraint for transporting all Iron and Brass Ordnance, proclaimed. It set forth, "How the Queen was informed, that notwithstanding it was unlawful to transport any Ordnance out of the Realm, without special License, other than for her Majesty's natural Subjects, to be used in their shipping, and not to be aliened to any Stranger, yet this had been lately practised by some. Therefore for the stay hereof, her Majesty did strictly command all manner of Persons to forbear to ship, "

Iron Ordnance.