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A87609 A discourse consisting of motives for the enlargement and freedome of tradeĀ· Especially that of cloth, and other vvoollen manufactures, engrossed at present contrary to [brace] the law of nature, the law of nations, and the lawes of this kingdome. / By a company of private men who stile themselves merchant-adventurers. The first part. Aprill. 11. 1645 Imprimatur, Na. Brent. Johnson, Thomas, marchant. 1645 (1645) Wing J849A; Thomason E260_21; ESTC R212472 22,833 55

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furnished this Island and wherein she hath given every freeborn Inhabitant equall interest as matter for his industry to work upon Surely she never intended that a thin handfull of men a small contemptible number in comparison of the whole being but a few trading members though their Company consists of a greater number should appropriate to themselves the disposing and venting of the two thirds of this generall grand Commodity as by diligent computation the Merchant-Adventurers are observed to doe Secondly it is against the Law of Nations in regard that no Monarchy or Kingdom whether elective or successive nor any other Commonwealth or State throughout Europe hath the like example What a hubbub would there bee in France if the vent of Wines were passed over to some peculiar men to furnish England withall or in Spaine or Naples were the fruits and oyles of the one and the silks of the other being their prime Commodities engrossed by a few hands But admit there were some extraordinary restraints in trading to remote Countreys and that there were joynt stocks it maketh nothing to justifie the Company of Merchant-Adventurers We know our East-India Company * Which yet hath beene lately questiened in Parliament as a Monopoly their Charter there disclaimed by themselves at illegall here and in Holland have limitations and have a Bank of their owne because the Purses of private men cannot extend to set forth Ships for making of such long adventurous costly voyages But the Trade which is beaten by our Merchant-Adventurers to Hamburgh and Rotterdam is of another nature for it is hard by home and as it were at our doores and may be performed by Ships of any seize the transfretation being short so that thought they seeme to arrogate soly to themselves the names of Merchant-Adventurers there are none that deserve it lesse their hazard being so small and their voyage so short Thirdly this Incorporation is repugnant to the positive Lawes of this Land as manifestly appears by Magna Charta Petition of Right Statutes of Monopolies and severall others but for brevity sake let it suffice to insert here that famous Statute which was enacted by one of our wisest Kings Henry the seventh which continueth yet in full force unrepealed and runnes thus Lo the discreet Commons in this present Parliament assembled 〈◊〉 H. 7.1.6 sheweth unto your discreet wisdomes the Merchant-Adventurers inhabiting and divelling in divers parts of this Realm of England out of the City of London that where they have their passage resort course and recourse with their goods wares and merchandize in divers coasts and parts beyond the Sea aswell into Spain Portugall Britain Ireland Normandy France Civill Venice Dansk Eastland Freezland and other divers and many places regions and countreys being in league and amity with the Kingour Soveraign Lord there to buy and sell and make their Exchanges with their said goods wares and merchandizes according to the Law and Eustome used in every of the said Regions and places and there every person freely to use himselfe to his most advantage without exaction fine imposition or contribution to bee had or taken of them or of any of them to for or by any English person or persons And in semblable wise they before this time have had used and of right owen to have and use their free passage resort and recourse into the coasts of Flanders Holland Zealand Brabant and other places thereto nigh adjoyning under the obeysance of the Arch Duke of Burgoyn In which places the universall Marts be commonly kept and holden foure times in the year to the which Marts all English men and divers other Nations in time past have used to resort there to sell and utter the commodities of their Countreys and freely to buy again such things as seemed them most necessary and expedient for their pofit and weale of their Countreys and parts that they be come fro till now of late that by the Fellowship of the Mercers and other Merchants and Adventurers dwelling and being free within the City of London by confederacy made among themselves of their uncharitable and inordinate covetousnesse for their singular profit and lucre contrary to every English mans Liberty and to the Liberty of the said Mart there which is that every person of what Nation that he be of should have their free liberty there to buy and sell and make the commutations with the Wares Goods and Merchandizes at their pleasure have contrary to all Law Reason Charity Right and Conscience amongst themselves to the prejudice of all English men made an Ordinance and Constitution that is to say That no English man resorting to the said Mart shall neither buy nor sell any goods wares or merchandizes there except he first compound and make fine with the said Fellowship Merchants of London and their said Confederates at their pleasure upon paine of forfeiture to the said Fellowship Merchants of London and to their Confederates of such merchandizes goods or wares so by him bought or said there which Fine Imposition and Exacion at the beginning when it was first taken was demanded by colour of Fraternity of Thomas Becket Bishop of Canterbury at which time the said Fine was but the value of an old Noble sterling and so by colour of such feigned holinesse it hath beene suffered to be taken for a few yeares passed and afterwards it was encreased to an hundred shillings Flemish and now it is so that the said Fellowship and Merchants of London take of every English man or yong Merchant being there at his first comming forty pound sterling for a fine to suffer him to buy and sell his owne proper Goods wares and Merchandizes that he hath there By occasion whereof all Merchants not being of the said Fellowship and Confederacy withdraw themselves from the said Marts whereby the woollen Cloth of the Realm which is one of the greatest Commodities of the same by making whereof the Kings true Subjects be put in occupation and the poore people have most their living and also other divers Commodities of divers and severall parts of this same Realm is not sold ne uttered as it was in times past but for lack of utterance of the same in divers parts where such Clothes be made they be conveyed to London where they be sold farre under the price that they be worth and that they cost to the makers of the same and at sometime they be lent to long dayes and the money thereof at divers times never paid And over that the Commodities and Merchandizes of those parts which the said Fellowship Merchants of London and others their Confederates bring into this Land is so said to your said Complainants and other the Kings true Subjects at so deare and high exceeding pr●…e that the buyer of the same cannot live thereupon by reason whereof all the Cities Towns and Burroughs of this Realme in effect be fallen into great poverty ruine and decay and as now in