[Merchants.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Foreign Merchants.]294

[Merchants.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Foreign Merchants.]

"with intent to Transport to any Foreign Parts, any kind of Ordnance of Brass or Iron, or to sell or deliver any such Ordnance to any Person to Transport the same upon Pains, &c. which her Majesty must extend against such Offenders, as did thereby strengthen the common Enemies against her Majesty and her Realms."

"And for a further Remedy against the Inconvenience that was generally seen in making of great Quantity of Iron Ordnance, and by selling the same to sundry Persons that had secretly carried the same out of the Realm, whereby the common Enemy had been furnished with the same, not only for Shipping, but also for Maritime Towns and Ports, which otherwise had not been able, nor durst have put their Ships to the Seas; therefore she straitly charged all Owners of Iron Works, Furnaces or Forges, or that made any Iron, that none of them should make any manner of Ordnance above a Mynion, and that to be of so many Pounds." This good Service the Merchants now did for the Nation, as well as for themselves.

The Ground of all this seems to be, that the Lord Admiral had granted a License of Transporting Iron Ordnance to Sir Thomas Leighton, who had made use of one Garret Swift to obtain it of the Admiral; and Sir Thomas, underhand, did promise to the said Swift, by a Writing dated in August 1592, that in consideration hereof, upon his obtaining the Suit, he would appoint him, the said Swift, his whole and only Deputy to execute the same under him during his Life, and for his Pains would give him the fourth part of all such Fees and Benefits as should any ways arise by the same.

The Ground of this Complaint.

In the Year 1590, John Allington Draper, moved that an Office might be set up for the making and registring all manner of Writings in the ordinary Contracts and Bargains, usually made between all Merchants, Owners, and Masters of Ships, before the going out of every Ship or Vessel; and that he, his Deputies or Assigns, might be the only Registers for that Office; and that no Ships should pass beyond Sea before they, the said Allington, or his Assigns, had made their Charter Parties, Bonds, Bills of Lading, or other Writings, concerning their Agreement for the Voyage; upon pain to forfeit, for every ship or Vessel so departing, 40l. the one Moiety to the Queen, the other to Allington or his Assigins; the Parties paying to the said Allington for the making of the said Writings, ratably as they had heretofore usually paid. The Reasons for the Queen's granting this were, that hereby the Queen, beside the Gain of 40l. yearly, and the Forfeitures, her Customs might be much the better assured and encreased from time to time. And it might be a general Benefit to the Common-wealth. For, whereas oftentimes corrupt Merchants pretended to pass with their Ladings from Port to Port within the Realm, yet when they were at Sea, they past into foreign Countries, as well to the Queen's Enemies as Friends: some without paying any Customs, some often colouring Strangers Goods; whereby the Queen did lose one half of her Customs, the Subjects the more unfurnished of Victuals, Corn, and other Commodities. All which, by the Diligence of this Patentee might be often discovered or prevented. Besides, from him might be presently, given a perfect Note, what number of Ships and other Vessels were yearly employed, by whom, whither, of what Burthen, and who were their several Owners and Masters. Lastly, that divers Suits of like nature, and not of greater Importance, yet much more beneficial, had been granted by the Queen to sundry Subjects, by vertue of her Highness's Prerogative only.

One moves for an Office for registering Contracts between Merchants, Owners and Masters.

The Reasons for it.

About 16 or 17 Years before, such a kind of Grant, Sir James Hawes being Maior, one Richard Candler Mercer, obtain'd of the Queen, viz. to make and register all manner of Assurances, Policies, Intimations, Renunciations, and other things whatsoever, that hereafter should be made upon any Ship or Ships, Goods or Merchandize, or any other thing or things in the Royal Exchange in London, or in any other Place within the City, by any manner of Persons of what Nation, Condition or Quality soever, to endure the Queen's Majesty's Pleasure; but with a Proviso, that if the said Office should be thought needful to be reformed for the better Benefit of the Subject that should have any Dealing herein; then, notwithstanding the same, upon suit made to her Highness, or her honourable Council, by Order to be directed in Writing, the said Candler should conform himself thereunto. But this Patent was soon complained of by the Notaries Public, and the Brokers, That it was an Intrusion upon them, and would be their utter undoing, as hath been shewn before. And upon this, this Patent seems to have been revoked. But now, after divers Years, another endeavoured to get the like Grant.

An Office for making and registring Assurances, Policies, &c.

Now as to the Merchants that were Foreigners born, I shall add a few Remarks. Of these there were very many residing and trading here in former times. In the Reign of King Richard III. London harboured abundance of Italian Merchants. And in the Parliament, in his days, was an Act made against their Abuses. It set forth the Evils and Incommodities they brought into the Realm. These Merchants are their specified to be Venetians, Apulians, Sicilians, Lucaners, Cataloyns [Catalonians perhaps, who were Spaniards] and others. The Act mentions, that these did in great numbers inhabit and keep House, as well in London as in other Cities and Burghs within the Realm; and took Ware-houses and Cellars to put therein their Merchandizes and Wares.

Foreign Merchants.

An Act in Richard III. Reign about them.

Their evil Doings were, (as was there specified) That they did deceitfully pack and meddle their Wares, and kept the same till such times the Prices were greatly enhaunced, for their great Lucre; That they sold them to all manner of People as well by Retail as otherways; as well within the Ports where they brought them, as elsewhere; That they Bought at the same Ports and Places, at their own Liberties, the Commodities of this Realm, and Sold the same again, at their Pleasures, within the same, as commonly and freely as any of the King's Liege People; and did not Employ a great part of the Money coming thereof upon the Commodities of the Realm, but made it over the Sea, by Exchange, to divers other Countries, to the King's great Damage and Loss in his Customs, and to the great impoverishing of his Subjects, of whom they ought to have bought the Commodities of the Realm; That the same Merchants of Italy, and other Merchant Strangers were housed, and took to them People of other Nations, and were with them daily, and did Buy, Sell, and make privy and secret Contracts and Bargains with the same People, to their great Encrease and Profits, and to the importune Damage of the King's Subjects, and contrary to divers Statutes; That these Merchants bought a great Quantity of Wool in divers Places, and Woollen Cloth and other Merchandizes of the King's Subjects. And part thereof they sold again to the same Subjects and others within the Realm, and much of the same Woolls they delivered to Cloth-makers, thereof to make Cloth at their Pleasure; King Richard III. therefore did make a Law, that these Italian and Foreign Merchants should cause their Goods and Commodities to be sold and bartered in Gross, not by

Their evil Doings, and unlawful Practices.