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The Intellectual Foundations of Political Economy

17th & 18th Century Foundations

Englands Treasure by Forraign Trade. or The Ballance of our Forraign Trade is The Rule of our Treasure

Written by Thomas Mun of Lond. Merchant, and now published for the Common good by his son John Mun of Bearsted in the County of Kent, Esquire.

Printed by J.G. for Thomas Clark, and are to be sold at his Shop at the South entrance of the Royal Exchange, 1664

Chapter 1 Chapter 8 Chapter 15
Chapter 2 Chapter 9 Chapter 16
Chapter 3 Chapter 10 Chapter 17
Chapter 4 Chapter 11 Chapter 18
Chapter 5 Chapter 12 Chapter 19
Chapter 6 Chapter 13 Chapter 20
Chapter 7 Chapter 14 Chapter 21

To the Right Honourable, Thomas Earl of South-Hampton,

Lord High Treasurer of England, Lord Warden of the New Forrest,
Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter, and one of his
Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council.

My Lord,

I Present this ensuing Treatise to your Lordship as its proper
Patron, to whom, by vertue of your great Trust (the greatest,
doubtless, in this Kingdome) the management of his Majesty's
Treasure, and improvement of his Revenue, are most peculiarly
The title of it (Englands Treasure by Forraign Trade) alone
bespeaks your notice, the Argument, (being of so publick a
nature) may invite your perusall but the Tract it self will, I
hope, deserve your Lordships Protecton. It was left me in the
nature of a Legacy by my Father, for whose sake I cannot but
value it as one of my best Moveables, and as such I dedicate it
to your Lordship.
He was in his time famous amongst Merchants, and well known
to most men of business, for his general Experience in Affairs,
and notable Insight into Trade; neither was he less observed for
his Integrity to his Prince, and Zeal to the Common-wealth: the
serious Discourses of such men are commonly not unprofitable.
To your Lordships judgement I submit this Treatise, and my
presumption herein to your Pardon.
My Lord,
Your most faithful and obedient Servant,
John Mun

England's Treasure By Forraign Trade or The Ballance of our
Forraign Trade is the Rule of our Treasure.

My Son, In a former Discourse I have endeavoured after my manner
briefly to teach thee two things: The first is Piety, how to fear
God aright, according to his Works and Word: The second is
Policy, how to love and serve thy Country, by instructing thee in
the duties and proceedings of sundry Vocations, which either
order, or else act the affairs of the Common-wealth; In which as
some things doe especially lend to Preserve, and others are more
apt to Enlarge the same: So am I now to speak of Money, which
doth indifferently serve to both those happy ends. Wherein I will
observe this order, First, to shew the general means whereby a
Kingdome may be enriched; and then to proceed to those particular
courses by which Princes are accustomed to be supplyed with
Treasure. But first of all I will say something of the Merchant,
because he must be a Principal Agent in this great business.
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Chapter 1

The Qualities which are required in a perfect Merchant of
Forraign Trade.

The love and service of our Country consisteth not so much in
the knowledge of those duties which are to be performed by
others, as in the skilful practice of that which is done our
selves; and therefore (my Son) it is now fit that I say something
of the Merchant, which I hope in due time shall be thy Vocation:
Yet herein are my thoughts free from all Ambition, although I
rank thee in a place of so high esteem; for the Merchant is
worthily called The Steward of the Kingdoms Stock, by way of
Commerce with other Nations; a work of no less Reputation than
Trust, which ought to be performed with great skill and
conscience, that so the private gain may ever accompany the
publique good. And because the nobleness of this profession may
the better stir up thy desires and endeavours to obtain those
abilities which may effect it worthily, I well briefly set down
the excellent qualities which are required in a perfect Merchant.
1. He ought to be a good Penman, a good Arithmetician, and a
good Accomptant, by that noble order of Debtor and Creditor,
which is used onely amongst Merchants; also to be expert in the
order and form of Charter-parties. Bills of Lading, Invoyces,
Contracts, Bills of Exchange, and policies of Ensurance.
2. He ought to know the Measures, Weights. and Monies of all
forraign Countries, especially where we have Trade, & the Monies
not onely by their several denominations, but also by their
intrinsique values in weight & fineness, compared with the
Standard of this Kingdome, without which he cannot well direct
his affaires.
3. He ought to know the Customs, Tolls, Taxes, Impositions,
Conducts and other charges upon all matters of Merchandize
exported or imported to and from the said Forraign Countries.
4. He ought to know in what several commodities each Country
abounds, and what be the wares which they want, and how and from
whence they are furnished with the same.
5. He ought to understand, and to be a diligent observer of the
rates of Exchanges by Bills, from one State to another, whereby
he may the better direct his affairs,and remit over and receive
home his Monies to the most advantage possible.
6. He ought to know what goods are prohibited to be exported or
imported in the said forraign Countreys, lest otherwise he should
incur great danger and loss in the ordering of his affairs.
7. He ought to know upon what rates and conditions to fraight
his Ships, and ensure his adventures from one Countrey to
another, and to be well acquainted with the laws, orders and
customes of the Ensurance office both here and beyond the Seas,
in the many accidents which may happen upon the damage or loss of
Ships or goods, or both these.
8. He ought to have knowledge in the goodness and in the prices
of all the several materials which are required for the building
and repairing of Ships, and the divers workmanships of the same,
as also for the Masts, Tackling, Cordage, Ordnance, Victuals,
Munition and Provisions of many kinds; together with the ordinary
wages of Commanders, Officers and Mariners, all which concern the
Merchant as he is an Owner of Ships.
9. He ought (by the divers occasions which happen sometime in
the buying and selling of one commodity and sometimes in another)
to have indifferent if not perfect knowledge in all manner of
Merchandize or wares, which is to be as it were a man of all
occupations and trades.
10. He ought by his voyaging on the Seas to become skilful in
the Art of Navigation.
11. He ought as he is a Traveller, and sometimes abiding in
forraign Countreys to attain to the speaking of divers Languages,
and to be a diligent observer of the ordinary Revenues and
expences of forraign Princes, together with their strength both
by Sea and Land, their laws, customs, policies, manners,
religions, arts, and the like; to be able to give account thereof
in all occasions for the good of his Countrey.
12. Lastly, although there be no necessity that such a Merchant
should be a great Scholar; yet is it (at least) required, that in
his youth he learn the Latine tongue, which will the better
enable him in all the rest of his endeavours.
Thus have I briefly shewed thee a pattern for thy diligence,
the Merchant in his qualities; which in truth are such and so
many, that I find no other profession which leadeth into more
worldly knowledge. And it cannot be denied but that their
sufficiency doth appear likewise in the excellent government of
State at Venice, Luca, Genoua, Florence, the low Countreys, and
divers other places of Christendom. And in those States also
where they are least esteemed, yet is their skill and knowledge
often used by those who sit in the highest places of Authority:
It is therefore an act beyond rashness in some, who do dis-enable
their Counsel and judgment (even in books printed) making them
uncapable of those ways and means which do either enrich or
empoverish a Common-wealth, when in truth this is only effected
by the mystery of their trade, as I shall plainly shew in that
which followeth. It is true indeed that many Merchants here in
England finding less encouragement given to their profession than
in other Countreys, and seeing themselves not so well esteeemed
as their Noble Vocation requireth, and according to the great
consequence of the same, doe not therefore labour to attain unto
the excellencie of their profession, neither is it practised by
the Nobility of this Kingdom as it is in other States from the
Father to the Son throughout their generations, to the great
encrease of their wealth, and maintenance of their names and
families: Whereas the memory of our richest Merchants is suddenly
extinguished; the Son being left rich, scorneth the profession of
his Father, conceiving more honor to be a Gentleman (although but
in name) to consume his estate in dark ignorance and excess, than
to follow the steps of his Father as an Industrious Merchant to
maintain and advance his Fortunes. But now leaving the Merchants
praise we will come to his practice, or at least to so much
thereof as concerns the bringing of Treasure into the Kingdom.
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Chapter 2

The Means to enrich this Kingdom, and to encrease our Treasure.

Although a Kindom may be enriched by gifts received, or by
purchase taken from some other Nations, yet these are things
uncertaim and of small consideration when they happen. The
ordinary means therefore to encrease our wealth and treasure is
by Forraign Trade, wherein wee must ever observe this rule; to
sell more to strangers yearly than wee consume of theirs in
value. For suppose that whe theis Kingdom is pletifully served
with the Cloth, Lead, Tinn, Iron, Fish and other native
commodities, we doe yearly export the overplus to forraign
Countries to the value of twenty two hundred thousand pounds; by
which means we are enabled beyond the Seas to buy and bring in
forraign wares for our use and Consumption, to the value of
twenty hundred thousand pounds; By this order duly kept in our
trading, we may rest assured that this order duly kept in our
trading, we may rest assured that the Kingdom shall be enriched
yearly two hundred thousand pounds, which must be brought to us
in so much Treasure; because that part of our stock which is not
returned to us in wares must necessarily be brought home in
For in this case it cometh to pass in the stock of a Kingdom,
as in the estate of a private man; who is supposed to have one
thousand pounds yearly revenue and two thousand pounds of ready
money in his Chest: If such a man through excess shall spend one
thousand five hundred pounds per annum, all his ready mony will
be gone in four years; and in the like time his said money will
be doubled if he take a Frugal course to spend but five hundred
pounds per annum; which rule never faileth likewise in the
Commonwealth, but in some cases (of no great moment) which I will
hereafter declare, when I shall shew by whom and in what manner
this ballance of the Kingdoms account ought to be drawn up
yearly, or so often as it shall please the State to discover how
much we gain or lose by trade with forraign Nations. But first I
will say something concerning those ways and means which will
encrease our exportations and diminish our importations of wares;
which being done, I will then set down some other arguments both
affirmative and negative to strengthen that which is here
declared, and thereby to shew that all the other means which are
commonly supposed to enrich the Kingdom with Treasure are
altogether insufficient and meer fallacies.
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Chapter 3

The particular ways and means to encrease the exportation of our
commodities, and to decrease our Consumption of forraign wares.

The revenue or stock of a Kingdom by which it is provided of
forraign wares is either Natural or Artificial. The Natural
wealth is so much only as can be spared from our own use and
necessities to be exported unto strangers. The Artificial
consists in our manufactures and industrious trading with
forraign commodities, concerning which I will set down such
particulars as may serve for the cause we have in hand.
1. First, although this Realm be already exceeding rich by
nature, yet might it be much encreased by laying the waste
grounds (which are infinite) into such employments as should no
way hinder the present revenues of other manufactured lands, but
hereby to supply our selves and prevent the importations of Hemp,
Flax, Cordage, Tobacco, and divers other things which now we
fetch from strangers to our great impoverishing.
2. We may likewise diminish our importations, if we would
soberly refrain from excessive consumption of forraign wares in
our diet and rayment, with such often change of fashions as is
used, so much the more to encrease the waste and charge; which
vices at this present are more notorious amongst us than in
former ages. Yet might they easily be amended by enforcing the
observation of such good laws as are strictly practised in other
Countries against the said excesses; where likewise by commanding
their own manufactures to be used, they prevent the coming in of
others, without prohibition, or offence to strangers in their
mutual commerce.
3. In our exportations we must not only regard our own
superfluities, but also we must consider our neighbours
necessities, that so upon the wares which they cannot want, nor
yet be furnished thereof elsewhere, we may (besides the vent of
the Materials) gain so much of the manufacture as we can, and
also endeavour to sell them dear, so far forth as the high price
cause not a less vent in the quantity. But the superfluity of our
commodities which strangers use, and may also have the same from
other Nations, or may abate their vent by the use of some such
like wares from other places, and with little inconvenience; we
must in this case strive to sell as cheap as possible we can,
rather than to lose the utterance of such wares. For we have
found of late years by good experience, that being able to sell
our Cloth cheap in Turkey, we have greatly encreased the vent
thereof, and the Venetians have lost as much in the utterance of
theirs in those Countreys, because it is dearer. And on the other
side a few years past, when by excessive price of Wools our Cloth
was exceeding dear, we lost at the least half our clothing for
forraign parts, which since is no otherwise (well neer) recovered
again than by the great fallof price for Wools and Cloth. We find
that twenty five in the hundred less in the price of these and
some other Wares, to the loss of private mens revenues, may raise
above fifty upon the hundred in the quantity vented to the
benefit of the publique. For when Cloth is dear, other Nations
doe presently practise clothing, and we know they want neither
art nor materials to this performance. But when by cheapness we
drive them from this employment, and so in time obtain our dear
price again, then do they also use their former remedy. So that
by these alterations we learn, that it is in vain to expect a
greater revenue of our wares than their condition will afford,
but rather it concerns us to apply our endeavours to the times
with care and diligence to help our selves the best we may, by
making our cloth and other manufactures without deceit, which
will encrease their estimation and use.
4. The value of our exportations likewise may be much
advanced when we perform it our selves in our own Ships, for then
we get only not the price of our wares as they are worth here,
but also the Merchants gains, the changes of ensurance, and
fraight to carry them beyond the seas. As for example, if the
Italian Merchants should come hither in their own shipping to
fetch our Corn, our red Herrings or the like, in the case the
Kingdom should have ordinarily but 25s for a quarter of Wheat,
and 20s for a barrel of red herrings, whereas if we carry these
wares our selves into Italy upon the said rates, it is likely
that wee shall obtain fifty shillings for the first, and forty
shillings for the last, which is a great difference in the
utterance or vent of the Kingdoms stock. And although it is true
that the commerce ought to be free to strangers to bring in and
carry out at their pleasure, yet nevertheless in many places the
exportation of victuals and munition are either prohibited, or at
least limited to be done onely by the people and Shipping of
those places where they abound.
5. The frugal expending likewise of our own natural wealth
might advance much yearly to be exported unto strangers; and if
in our rayment we will be prodigal, yet let this be done with our
own materials and manufactures, as Cloth, Lace, Imbroderies,
Cutworks and the like, where the excess of the rich may be the
employment of the poor, whose labours notwithstanding of this
kind, would be more profitable for the Commonwealth, if they were
done to the use of strangers.
6. The Fishing in his Majesties seas of England, Scotland and
Ireland is our natural wealth, and would cost nothing but labour,
which the Dutch bestow willingly, and thereby draw yearly a very
great profit to themselves by serving many places of Christendom
with our Fish, for which they return and supply their wants both
of forraign Wares and Mony, besides the multitude of Mariners and
Shipping, which hereby are maintain'd, whereof a long discourse
might be made to shew the particular manage of this important
business. Our Fishing plantation likewise in New England,
Virginia, Groenland, the Summer Islands and the New-found-land,
are of the like nature, affording much wealth and employments to
maintain a great number of poor, and to encrease our decaying
7. A Staple or Magazin for forraign Corn, Indico, Spices,
Raw-silks, Cotton wool or any other commodity whatsoever, to be
imported will encrease Shipping, Trade, Treasure, and the Kings
customes, by exporting them again where need shall require, which
course of Trading, hath been the chief means to raise Venice,
Genoa, the low-Countreys, with some others; and for such a
purpose England stands most commodiously, wanting nothing to this
performance but our own diligence and endeavour.
8. Also wee ought to esteem and cherish those trades which we
have in remote or far Countreys, for besides the encrease of
Shipping and Mariners thereby, the wares also sent thither and
receiv'd from thence are far more profitable unto the kingdom
than by our trades neer at hand: As for example; suppose Pepper
to be worth here two Shillings the pound constantly, if then it
be brought from the Dutch at Amsterdam, the Merchant may give
there twenty pence the pound, and gain well by the bargain; but
if he fetch this Pepper from the East-indies, he must not give
above three pence the pound at the most, which is a mighty
advantage, not only in that part which serveth for our own use,
but also for that great quantity which (from hence) we transport
yearly unto divers other Nations to be sold at a higher price:
whereby it is plain, that we make a far greater stock by gain
upon these Indian Commodities, than those Nations doe where they
grow, and to whom they properly appertain, being the natural
wealth of their Countries. But for the better understanding of
this particular, we must ever distinguish between the gain of the
Kingdom, and the profit of the Merchant; for although the Kingdom
payeth no more for this Pepper than is before supposed, nor for
any other commodity bought in forraign parts more than the
stranger receiveth from us for the same,yet the Merchant payeth
not only that price, but also the fraight, ensurance, customes
and other charges which are exceeding great in these long
voyages; but yet all these in the Kingdoms accompt are but
commutations among our selves, and no Privation of the Kingdoms
stock, which being duly considered, together with the support
also of our other trades in our best Shipping to Italy, France,
Turkey, and East Countreys and other places, by transporting and
venting the wares which we bring yearly from the East Indies; It
may well stir up our utmost endeavours to maintain and enlarge
this great and noble business, so much importing the Publique
wealth, Strength, and Happiness. Neither is there less honour and
judgment by growing rich (in this manner) upon the stock of other
Nations, than by an industrious encrease of our own means,
especially when this later is advanced by the benefit of the
former, as we have found in the East Indies by sale of much of
our Tin, Cloth, Lead and other Commodities, the vent whereof doth
daily encrease in those Countreys which formerly had no use of
our wares.
9. It would be very beneficial to export money as well as
wares, being done in trade only, it would encrease our Treasure;
but of this I write more largely in the next Chapter to prove it
10. It were policie and profit for the State to suffer
manufactures made of forraign Materials to be exported
custome-free, as Velvets and all other wrought Silks, Fustians,
thrown Silks and the like, it would emply very many poor people,
and much encrease the value of our stock yearly issued into other
Countreys, and it would (for this purpose) cause the more foraign
Materials to be brought in, to the improvement of His Majesties
Customes. I will here remember a notable increase in our
manufacture of winding and twisting only of forraign raw Silk,
which within 35 years to my knowledge did not employ more than
300 people in the City and suburbs of London, where at this
present time it doth set on work above fourteen thousand souls,
as upon diligent enquiry hath been credibly reported unto His
Majesties Commissioners for Trade. and it is certain, that if the
raid forraign Commodities might be exported from hence, free of
custome, this manufacture would yet encrease very much, and
decrease as fast in Italy and in the Netherlands. But if any man
allege the Dutch proverb, Live and let others live; I answer,
that the Dutchmen notwithstanding their own Proverb, doe not
onely in these Kingdoms, encroach upon our livings, but also in
other forraign parts of our trade (where they have power) they do
hinder and destroy us in our lawful course of living, hereby
taking the bread out of our mouth, which we shall never prevent
by plucking the pot from their nose, as of late years too many of
us do practise to the great hurt and dishonour of this famour
Nation; We ought rather to imitate former times in taking sober
and worthy courses more pleasing to God and suitable to our
ancient reputation.
11. It is needful also not to charge the native commodities
with too great customes, lest by indearing them to the strangers
use, it hinder their vent. And especially forraign wares brought
in to be transported again should be favoured, for otherwise that
manner of trading (so much importing the good of the
Commonwealth) cannot prosper nor subsist. But the Consumption of
such forraign wares in the Realm may be the more charged, which
will turn to the profit of the kingdom in the Ballance of the
Trade, and thereby also enable the King to lay up the more
Treasure out of his yearly incomes, as of this particular I
intend to write more fully in his proper place, where I shall
shew how much money a Prince may conveniently lay up without the
hurt of his subjects.
12. Lastly, in all things we must endeavour to make the most
we can of our own, whether it be Natural or Artificial, And
forasmuch as the people which live by the Arts are far more in
number than they who are masters of the fruits, we ought the more
carefully to maintain those endeavours of the multitude, in whom
doth consist the greatest strength and riches both of the King
and Kingdom: for where the people are many, and the arts good,
there the traffique must be great, and the Countrey rich. The
Italians employ a greater number of people; and get more money by
their industry and manufactures of the raw Silks of the Kingdom
of Cicilia, than the King of Spain and his Subjects have by the
revenue of this rich commodity. But what need we fetch the
example so far, when we know that our own natural wares doe not
yeild us so much profit as our industry? For Iron oar in the
Mines is of no great worth, when it is compared with the
employment and advantage it yields being digged, tried,
transported, brought, sold, cast into Ordnance, Muskets, and many
other instruments of war for offence and defence, wrought into
Anchors, bolts, spikes, nayles and the like, for the use of
Ships, Houses, Carts, Coaches, Ploughs, and other instruments for
Tillage. Compare our Fleece-wools with our Cloth, which requires
shearing, washing, carding, spinning, Weaving, fulling, dying,
dressing and other trimmings, and we shall find these Arts more
profitable than the natural wealth, whereof I might instance
other examples, but I will not be more tedious, for if I would
amplify upon this and the other particulars before written, I
might find matter sufficient to make a large volume, but my
desire in all is only to prove what I propound with breviity and
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Chapter 4

The Exportation of our Moneys in Trade of Merchandize is a means
to encrease our Treasure.

This Position is so contrary to the common opinion, that it will
require many and strong arguments to prove it before it can be
accepted of the Multitude, who bitterly exclaim when they see any
monies carried out of the Realm; affirming thereupon that wee
have absolutely lost so much Treasure, and that this is an act
directly against the long continued laws made and confirmed by
the wisdom of this Kingdom in the High Court of Parliament, and
that many places, nay Spain it self which is the Fountain of
Mony, forbids the exportation thereof, some cases only excepted.
To all which I might answer, that Venice, Florence, Genoa, the
Low Countreys and divers other places permit it, their people
applaud it, and find great benefit by it; but all this makes a
noise and proves nothing, we must therefore come to those reasons
which concern the business in question.
First, I will take that for granted which no man of judgment
will deny, that we have no other means to get Treasure but by
forraign trade, for Mines wee have none which do afford it, and
how this mony is gotten in the managing of our said Trade I have
already shewed, that it is done by making our commodities which
are exported yearly to over ballance in value the forraign wares
which we consume; so that it resteth only to shew how our monyes
may be added to our commodities, and being jointly exported may
so much the more encrease our Treasure.
We have already supposed our yearly consumption of forraign
wares to be for the value of twenty hundred thousand pounds, and
our exportations to exceed that two hundred thousand pounds,
which sum wee have thereupon affirmed is brought to us in
treasure to ballance accompt. But now if we add three thousand
pounds mor in ready mony unto our former exportations in wares,
what profit can we have (will some men say) although by this
means we should bring in so much ready mony more than wee did
before, seeing that wee have carried out the like value.
To this the answer is, that when wee have prepared our
exportations of wares, and sent out as much of every thing as wee
can spare or vent abroad: It is not therefore said that then we
should add our money thereunto to fetch in the more mony
immediately, but rather first to enlarge our trade by enabling us
to bring in more forraign wares, which being sent out again will
in due time much encrease our Treasure.
For although in this manner wee do yearly multiply our
importation to the maintenance of more Shipping and Mariners,
improvement of His Majesties Customs and other benefits: yet our
consumption of those forraign wares is no more than it was
before; so that all the said encrease of commodities brought in
by the means of our ready mony sent out as is afore written, doth
in the end become an exportation unto us of a far greater value
than our said moneys were, which is proved by three several
examples following.
1. For I suppose that 100000 l. being sent in our Shipping to
the East Countreys, will buy there one hundred thousand quarters
of wheat cleer aboard the Ships, which being after brought into
England and housed, to export the same at the best time for vent
thereof in Spain or Italy, it cannot yield less in those parts
than two hundred thousand pounds to make the Merchant but a
saver, yet by this reckning wee see the Kingdom hath doubled that
2. Again this profit will be far greater when wee trade thus
in remote Countreys, as for example, if wee send one hundred
thousand pounds into the East-Indies to buy Pepper there, and
bring it hither, and from hence send it for Italy or Turkey, it
must yield seven hundred thousand pounds at least in those
places, in regard of the excessive charge which the Merchant
disburseth in those long voyages in Shipping, Wages, Victuals,
Insurance, Interest, Customes, Imposts, and the like, all which
notwithstanding the King and the Kingdom gets.
3. But where the voyages are short & the wares rich, which
therefore will not employ much Shipping, the profit will be far
less. As when another hundred thousand pounds shall be employed
in Turkey in raw Silks, and brought hither to be after
transported from hence into France, the Low Countreys, or
Germany, the Merchant shall have good gain, although he sell it
there but for one hundred and fifty thousand pounds: and thus
take the voyages altogether in their Medium, the moneys exported
will be returned unto us more than Trebled. But if any man will
yet object, that these returns come to us in wares, and not
really in mony as they were issued out.
The answer is (keeping our first ground) that if our
consumption of forraign wares be no more yearly than is already
supposed, and that our exportations be so mightly encreased by
this manner of Trading with ready money as is before declared: It
is not then possible but that all the over-ballance or difference
should return either in mony or in such wares as we must export
again, which, as is already plainly shewed will be still a
greater means to encrease our Treasure.
For it is in the stock of the Kingdom as in the estates of
private men, who having store of wares, doe not therefore say
that they will not venture out or trade with their mony (for this
were ridiculous) but do also turn that into wares, whereby they
multiply their Mony, and so by a continual and orderly change of
one into the other grow rich, and when they please turn all their
estates into Treasure; for they that have Wares cannot want mony.
Neithr is it said that Mony is the Life of Trade, as if it
could not subsist without the same; for we know that there was
great trading by way of commutation or bartr when there was
little mony stirring in the world. The Italians and some other
Nations have such remedies against this want, that it can neither
decay nor hinder their trade, for they transfer bills of debt,
and have Banks both publick and private, wherein they do assign
their credits fromone to another daily for very great sums with
ease and satisfaction by writings only, whilst in the mean time
the Mass of Treasure which gave foundation to these credits is
employed in Forraign Trade as a Merchandize, and by the said
means they have little other use of money in those countrerys
more than for their ordinary expences. It is not therefore the
keeping of our mony in the Kingdom, but the necessity and use of
our wares in forraign Countries, and our want of their
commodities that causeth the vent and consumption on all sides,
which makes a quick and ample Trade. If wee were once poor, and
now having gained some store of mony by trade with resolution to
keep it still in the Realm; shall this cause other Nations to
spend more of our commodities than formerly they have done,
whereby we might say that our trade is Quickned and Enlarged? no
verily, it will produce no such good effect: but rather according
to the alteration of times by their true causes we may expect the
contrary; for all men do consent that plenty of mony in a Kingdom
doth make the native commodities dearer, which as it is to the
profit of some private men in their revenues, so is it directly
against the benefit of the Publique in the quantity of the trade;
for as plenty of mony makes wares dearer, so dear wares decline
their use and consumption, as hath been already plainly shewed in
the last Chapter upon that particular of our cloth; And although
this is a very hard lesson for some great landed men to learn,
yet I am sure it is a true lesson for all the land to observe,
lest when wee have gained some store of mony by trade, wee lose
it again by not trading with our mony. I know a Prince in Italy
(of famous memory) Ferdinando the first, great Duke of Tuscanie,
who being very rich in Treasure, endevoured therewith to enlarge
his trade by issuing out to his Merchants great sums of money for
very small profit; I my self had forty thousand crowns of him
gratis for a whole year, although he knew that I would presently
send it away in Specie for the parts of Turkey to be employed in
wares for his Countries, he being well assured that in this
course of trade it would return again (according to the old
saying) with a Duck in the mouth. This noble and industrious
Prince by his care and diligence to countenance and favour
Merchants in their affairs, did so encrease the practice thereof,
that there is scarce a Nobleman or Gentleman in all his dominions
that doth not Merchandize either by himself or in partnership with
others, whereby within these thirty years the trade to his port of
Leghorn is so much encreased, that of a poor little town (as I my
self knew it) it is now become a fair and strong City, being one
of the most famous places for trade in all Christendom. And yet
it is worthy our observation, that the multitude of Ships and
wares which come thither from England, the Low Countreys, and
other places, have little or no means to make their returns from
thence but only in ready mony, which they may and do carry away
freely at all times, to the incredible advantage of the said
great Duke of Tuscanie and his subjects, who are much enriched by
the continual great concourse of Merchants from all the States of
the neighbour Princes, bringing them plenty of mony daily to
supply their wants of the said wares. And thus we see that the
current of Merchandize which carries away their Treasure, becomes
a flowing stream to fill them again in a greater measure with
There is yet an objection or two as weak as all the rest:
that is, if wee trade with our Mony wee shall issue out the less
wares; as if a man should say, those Countreys which heretofore
had occasion to consume our Cloth, Lead, Tin, Iron, Fish, and the
like, shall now make use of our monies in the place of those
necessaries, which were most absurd to affirm, or that the
Merchant had not rather carry our wares by which there is ever
some gains expected, than to export mony which is still but the
same without any encrease.
But on the contrary there are many Countreys which may yield
us very profitable trade for our mony, which otherwise afford us
no trade at all, because they have no use of our wares, as namely
the East-Indies for one in the first beginning thereof, although
since by industry in our commerce with those Nations we have
brought them into the use of much of our Lead, Cloth, Tin, and
other things, which is a good addition to the former vent of our
Again, some men have alleged that those Countries which
permit mony to be carried out, do it because they have few or no
wares to trade with all: but wee have great store of commodities,
and therefore their action ought not to be our example.
To this the answer is briefly, that if we have such a
quantity of wares as doth fully provided us of all things needful
from beyond the seas: why should we then doubt that our monys
sent out in trade, must not necessarily come back again in
treasure; together with the great gains which it may procure in
such manner as is before set down? And on the other side, if
those Nations which send out their monies do it because they have
but few wares of their own, how come they then to have so much
Treasure as we ever see in those places which suffer it freely to
be exported at all times and by whomsoever? I answer, Even by
trading with their Moneys; for by what other means can they get
it, having no Mines of Gold or Silver?
Thus may we plainly see, that when this weighty business is
duly considered in his end, as all our humane actions ought well
to be weighed, it is found much contrary to that which most men
esteem thereof, because they search no further than the beginning
of the work, which misinforms their judgments, and leads them
into error: For if we only behold the actions of the husbandman
in the seed-time when he casteth away much good corn into the
ground, we will rather accompt him a mad man than a husbandman:
but when we consider his labours in the harvest which is the end
of his endeavours, we find the worth and plentiful encrease of
his actions.
Back to Top

Chapter 5

Forraign Trade is the only means to improve the price of our

It is a common saying, that plenty or scarcity of mony makes all
things dear or cheap; and this mony is either gotten or lost in
forraign trade by the over or under-ballancing of the same, as I
have already shewed. It resteth now that I distinguish the
seeming plenties of mony from that which is only substantial and
able to preform the work: For there are divers ways and means
whereby to procure plenty of mony into a Kingdom, which do not
enrich but rather empoverish the same by the several
inconveniences which ever accompany such alterations.
As first, if we melt down our plate into Coyn (which suits
not with the Majesty of so great a Kingdom, except in cases of
great extremity) it would cause Plenty of mony for a time, yet
should we be nothing the richer, but rather this treasure being
thus altered is made the more apt to be carried out of the
Kingdom, if we exceed our means by excess in forraign wares, or
maintain a war by Sea or Land, where we do not feed and cloath
the Souldier and supply the armies with our own native
provisions, by which disorders our treasure will soon be
Again, if we think to bring in store or money by suffering
forraign Coins to pass current at higher rates than their
intrinsick value compared with our Standard, or by debasing or by
enhancing our own moneys, all these have their several
inconveniences and difficulties, (which hereafter I will declare)
but admitting that by this means plenty of money might be brought
into the Realm, yet should we be nothing the richer, neither can
such treasure so gotten long remain with us. For if the stranger
or the English Merchants bring in this money, it must be done
upon a valuable consideration, either for wares carried out
already, or after to be exported, which helps us nothing except
the evil occasions of excess or war aforenamed be removed which
do exhaust our treasure: for otherwise, what one man bringeth for
gain, another man shall be forced to carry out for necessity;
because there shall ever be a necessity to ballance our Accounts
with strangers, although it should be done with loss upon the
rate of the money, and Confiscation also if it be intercepted by
the Law.
The conclusion of this business is briefly thus. That as the
treasure which is brought into the Realm by the ballance of our
forraign trade is that money which onely doth abide with us, and
by which we are enriched: so by this plenty of money thus gotten
(and no otherwise) do our Lands improve. For when the Merchant
hath a good dispatch beyond the Seas for his Cloth and other
wares, he doth presently return to buy up the greater quantity,
which raiseth the price of our Woolls and other commodities, and
consequently doth improve the Landlords Rents as the Leases
expire daily: And also by this means money being gained, and
brought more abundantly into the Kingdom, it doth enable many men
to buy Lands, which will make them the dearer. But if our
forraign trade come to a stop or declination by neglect at home
or injuries abroad, whereby the Merchants are impoverished, and
thereby the wares of the Realm less issued, then do all the said
benefits cease, and our Lands fall of price daily.
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Chapter 6

The Spanish Treasure cannot be kept from other Kingdoms by any
prohibition made in Spain.

All the Mines of Gold and Silver which are as yet discovered in
the sundry places of the world, are not of so great value as
those of the West-Indies which are in the possession of the King
of Spain; who thereby is enabled not onely to keep in subjection
many goodly States and Provinces in Italy and elsewhere, (which
otherwise would soon fall from his obeisance) but also by a
continual war taking his advantages doth still enlarge his
Dominions, ambitiously aiming at a Monarchy by the power of his
Moneys, which are the very sinews of his strength, that lies so
far dispersed into so many Countreys, yet hereby united, and his
wants supplied both for war and peace in a plentiful manner from
all the parts of Christendom, which are therefore partakers of
his treasure by a Necessity of Commerce; wherein the Spanish
policy hath ever endeavoured to prevent all other Nations the
most it could: For finding Spain to be too poor and barren to
supply it self and the West Indies with those varieties of
forraign wares whereof they stand in need, they knew well that
when their Native Commodities come short to this purpose, their
Moneys must serve to make up the reckoning; whereupon they found
an incredible advantage to adde the traffick of the East-Indies
to the treasure of the West: for the last of these being employed
in the first, they stored themselves infinitely with rich wares
to barter with all the parts of Christendom for their
Commodities, and so furnishing their own necessities, prevented
others for carrying away their moneys: which in point of state
they hold less dangerous to impart to the remote Indians, than to
their neighbour Princes, lest it should too much enable them to
resist (if not offend) their enemies. And this Spanish policy
against others is the more remarkable, being dome likewise so
much to their own advantage; for every Ryal of Eight which they
sent to the East-Indies brought home so much wares as saved them
the disbursing of five Royals of Eight here in Europe (at the
least) to their Neighbours, especially in those times when that
trade was only in their hands: but now this great profit is
failed, and the mischief removed by the English, Dutch, and
others which partake in those East-India trades as ample as the
Spanish Subjects.
It is further to be considered, that besides the disability of
the Spaniards by their native commodities to provide forraign
wares for their necessities, (whereby they are forced to supply
the want with mony) they have likewise that canker of war, which
doth infinitely exhaust their treasure, and disperse it into
Christendom: even to their enemies, part by reprisal, but
especially through a necessary maintenance of those armies which
are composed of strangers, and lie so far remote, that they
cannot feed, clothe, or otherwise provide them out of their own
native means and provisions, but must receive this relief from
other Nations: which kind of war is far different to that which a
Prince maketh upon his own confines, or in his Navies by Sea,
where the Souldier receiving money for his wages, must every day
deliver it out again for his necessities, whereby the treasure
remains still in the Kingdom, although it be exhausted from the
King: But we see that the Spaniard (trusting in the power of his
Treasure) undertakes wars in Germany, and in other remote places,
which would soon begger the richest Kingdom in Christendom of all
their mony; the want whereof would presently disorder and bring
the armies to confusion, as it falleth out sometimes with Spain
it self, who have the Fountain of mony, when either it is stopt
in the passage by the force of their enemies, or drawn out faster
than it flows by their own occasions; whereby also we often see
that Gold and silver is so scant in Spain, that they are forced
to use base copper money, to the great confusion of their Trade,
and not without the undoing also of many of their own people.
But now that we have seen the occasions by which the Spanish
treasure is dispersed into so many places of the world, let us
likewise discover how and in what proportion each Countrey doth
enjoy these Moneys, for we find that Turkey and divers other
Nations have great plenty thereof, although they drive no trade
with Spain, which seems to contradict the former reason, where we
say that this treasure is obtained by a Necessity of Commerce.
But to clear this point, we must know that all Nations (who have
no Mines of their own) are enriched with Gold and Silver by one
and the same means, which is already shewed to be the ballance of
their forraign Trade: And this is not strictly tyed to be done in
those Countries where the fountain of treasure is, but rather
with such order and observations as are prescribed. For suppose
England by trade with Spain may gain and bring home five hundred
thousand Ryals of 8. yearly, if we lose as much by our trade in
Turkey, and therefore carry the mony thither, it is not then the
English, but the Turks which have got this treasure, although
they have no trade with Spain from whence it was first brought.
Again, if England having thus lost with Turkey, do
notwithstanding gain twice as much by France, Italy, and other
members of her general trade, then will there remain five hundred
thousand Ryals of eight cleer gains by the ballance of this
trade; and this comparison holds between all other Nations, both
for the manner of getting, and the proportion that is yearly
But if yet a question should be made, whether all Nations get
treasure and Spain only lost it? I answer no; for some Countreys
by war or by excess do lose that which they had gotten, as well
as Spain by war and want of wares doth lose that which was its
Back to Top

Chapter 7

The diversity of gain by Forraign Trade.

In the course of forraign trade there are three sorts of gain, the
first is that of the Commonwealth, which may be done when the
Merchant (who is the principal Agent therein) shall lose. The
second is the gain of the Merchant which he doth sometimes justly
and worthily effect, although the Commonwealth be a loser. The
third is the gain of the King, whereof he is ever certain, even
when the Commonwealth and the Merchant shall be both losers.
Concerning the first of these, we have already sufficiently
shewed the ways and means whereby a Commonwealth may be enriched
in the course of trade, whereof it is needless here to make any
repetition, only I do in this place affirm, that such happiness
may be in the Commonwealth, when the Merchant in his particular
shall have no occasion to rejoyce. As for example, suppose the
East-India Company send out one hundred thousand pounds into the
East-Indies, and receive home for the same the full value of
three hundred thousand pounds; Hereby it is evident that this
part of the Commonwealth is trebled, and yet I may boldly say
that which I can well prove, that said Company of Merchants shall
lose at least fifty thousand pounds by such an adventure if the
returns be made in Spice, Indico, Callicoes, Benjamin, refined
Saltpeter, and such other bulkey wares in their several
proportions according to their vent and use in these parts of
Europe. For the fraight of Shipping, the ensurance of the
adventure, the charges of Factors abroad and Officers at home,
the forbearance of the Stock, His Majesties Customs and Imposts,
with other petty charges incident, cannot be less then two
hundred and fifty thousand pounds,which being added to the
principal produceth the said loss. And thus we see, that not only
the Kingdom but also the King by his Customs and Imposts may get
notoriously, even when the Merchant notwithstanding shall lose
grievously; which giveth us good occasion here to consider, how
much more the Realm is enriched by this noble Trade, when all
things pass so happily that the Merchant is a gainer also with
the King and Kingdom.
In the next place I affirm, that a Merchant by his laudable
endeavors may both carry out and bring in wares to his advantage
by selling them and buying them to good profit, which is the end
of his labours; when nevertheless the Commonwealth shall decline
and grow poor by a disorder in the people, when through Pride and
other Excesses they do consume more forraign wares in value then
the wealth of the Kingdom can satisfie and pay by the exportation
of our own commodities, which is the very quality of an unthrift
who spends beyond his means.
Lastly, the King is ever sure to get by trade, when both the
Commonwealth and Merchant shall lose severally as afore-written,
or joyntly, as it may and doth sometimes happen, when at one and
the same time our Commodities are over-ballanced by forraign
wares consumed, and that the Merchants success prove no better
than is before declared.
But here we must not take the Kings gain in this large sense,
for so we might say that His Majesty should get, although half
the trade of the Kingdom were lost; we will rather suppose that
whereas the whole trade of the Realm for Exportations and
Importations is now found for to be about the yearly value of
four million and a half of pounds; it may be yet increased two
hundred thousand pounds per annum more by the importation and
consumption of forraign wares. By this means we know that the
King shall be a gainer near twenty thousand pounds, but the
Commonwealth shall lose the whole two hundred thousand pounds
thus spent in excess. And the Merchant may be a loser also when
the trade shall in this manner be increased to the profit of the
King: who notwithstanding shall be sure in the end to have the
greatest loss, if he prevent not such authority courses as do
impoverish his Subjects.
Back to Top

>Chapter 8

The enhansing or debasing our Moneys cannot enrich the Kingdom
with treasure, nor hinder the exportation thereof.

There are three waysby which the Moneys of a Kingdom are commonly
altered. The first is when the Coins in their several
Denominations are made currant at more or less pounds, shillings
or pence than formerly. The second is when the said Coins are
altered in their weight, and yet continue currant at the former
rates. The third is when the Standard is either debased or
enriched in the fineness of the Gold and Silver, yet the Moneys
continue in their former values.
in all occasions of want or plenty of Money in the Kingdom we
do ever find divers men, who using their wits for a remedy to
supply the first and perserve the last, they fall presently upon
altering the moneys; for, say they, the raising of the Coins in
value will cause it to be brought into the Realm from divers
places in hope of the gain: and the debasing of the monies in the
fineness or weight will keep it here for fear of the loss. But
these men pleasing themselves with the beginning onely of this
weighty business, consider not the progress and end thereof,
whereunto we ought especially to direct our thoughts and
For we must know, that money is not only the true measure of
all our other means in the Kingdom, but also of our forraign
commerce with strangers, which therefore ought to be kept just
and constant to avoid those confusions which ever accompany such
alterations. For first at home, if the common measure be changed,
our Lands, Leases, wares, both forraign and domestique must alter
in proportion: and although this is not done without much trouble
and damage also to some men, yet in short time this must
necessarily come to pass; for that is not the denomination of our
pounds shillings and pence, which is respected, but the
intrinsique value of our Coins; unto which we have little reason
to add any further estimation or worth, if it lay in our power to
do it,for this would be a special service to Spain, and an act
against our selves to indear the commodity of another Prince.
Neither can these courses which so much hurt the Subjects, any
way help the King as some men have imagined: for although the
debasing (for once only) to the Mint, yet all this and more would
soon be lost agian in the future great In-comes of His Majesty,
when by this means they must be paid yearly with mony of less
intrinsique value then formerly; Nor can it be said that the
whole loss of the Kingdom would be the profit of the King, they
differ infinitely: for all mens estates (be it leases, lands,
debts, wares or mony) must suffer in their proportions, whereas
His Majesty should have the gain only upon so much ready mony as
might be new Coined, which in comparison, would prove a very
small matter: for although they who have other estates in mony
are said to be a great number, and to be worth five or ten
thousand l. per man, more or less, which amounts to many millions
in all, yet are they not possessed thereof all together or at
once, for it were vanity and against their profit to keep
continually in their hands above forty or fifty pounds in a
family to defray necessary charges, the rest must ever run from
man to man in traffique for their benefit, whereby we may
conceive that a little mony (being made the measure of all our
other means) doth rule and distribute great matters daily to all
men in their just proportions: And we must know likewise that
much of our old mony is worn light, and therefore would yield
little or no profit at the Mint, and the gain upon the heavy,
would cause our vigilant neighbours to carry over a great part
thereof, and return it presently in pieces of the new stamp; nor
do we doubt that some of our own Countrymen would turn Coiners
and venter a hanging for this profit, so that His Majesty in the
end should get little by such alterations.
Yea but say some men, If His Majesty raise the mony, great
store of treasure would also be brought into the Mint from
forraign parts, for we have seen by experience that the late
raising of our Gold ten in the hundred, did bring in great store
thereof, more than we were accustomed to have in the Kingdom, the
which as I cannot deny, so do I likewise affirm, that this Gold
carried away all or the most part of our Silver, (which was not
over worn or too light) as we may easily perceive by the present
use of our Moneys in their respective qualities: and the reason
of this change is, because our Silver was not raised in
proportion with our Gold, which still giveth advantage to the
Merchant to bring in the Kingdoms yearly gain by trade in Gold
rather than in Silver.
Secondly, if we be inconsistent in our Coins, and thereby
violate the Laws of forraign Commerce; other Princes are vigilant
in these cases to alter presently in proportion with us, and then
where is our hope? or if they do not alter, what can we hope for?
For if the stranger-merchant bring in his wares, and find that
our moneys are raised, shall not he likewise keep his Commodities
until he may sell them dearer? and shall not the price of the
Merchants exchange with forraign Countries rise in proportion
with our Moneys? All which being undoubtedly true, why may not
our Moneys be carried out of the Kingdom as well and to as much
profit after the raising thereof, as before the alteration?
But peradventure some men will yet say, that if our Moneys be
raised and other Countries raise not, it will cause more Bullion
and forraign Coines to be brought in than heretofore. If this be
done, it must be performed either by the Merchant who hath
exported wares, or by the Merchant who intents to buy off our
Commodities: and it is manifest that neither of these can have
more advantage or benefit by this Art now, than they might have
had before the alteration of the Money. For if their said Bullion
and forraign Coins be more worth than formerly in our pounds,
shillings and pence, yet what shall they get by that when these
moneys are baser or lighter, and that therefore they are risen in
proportion? So we may plainly see that these Innovations are no
good means to bring treasure into the Kingdom, nor yet to keep it
here when we have it.
Back to Top

Chapter 9

A Toleration for Forraign Coins to pass current here at higher
rates then their value with our Standard, will not encrease our

The discreet Merchant for the better directing of his trade and
his exchanges by bills to and from the several places of the
world where he is accustomed to deal, doth carefully learn the
Parity or equal value of the monies according to their weight and
fineness compared with our Standard, whereby he is able to know
perfectly the just profit or loss of his affairs. And I make no
doubt but that we trade to divers places where we vent off our
native commodities yearly, of a great value, and yet find few or
no wares there fitting our use, whereby we are enforced to make
our returns in ready mony, which by us is either carried into
some of the Countries to be converted into wares which we want,
or else it is brought into the Realm in Specie; which being
tolerated to pass current here in payment at higher rates then
they are worth to be Coined into sterling mony; that seemeth very
probable that the greater quantity will be brought in: but when
all the circumstances are duly considered, this course likewise
will be found as weak as the rest to encrease our Treasure.
First, the toleration it self doth break the laws of
entercourse, and would soon move other Princes to perform the
same acts or worse against us, and so frustrate our hopes.
Secondly, if mony be the true measure of all our other means,
and forraign Coins tollerated to pass current amongst us, at
higher rates than they are worth (being compared our Standard) it
followeth that the common wealth shall not be justly distributed,
when it passeth by a false measure.
Thirdly, if the advantage between ours and forraign Coins be
but small, it will bring in little or no Treasure, because the
Merchant will rather bring in wares upon which there is usually a
competent gain. And on the other side if we permit a great
advantage to the forraign Coins, then that gain will carry away
all our starling mony, and so I leave this business in a Dilemma,
and fruitless, as all other course will ever prove which seek for
the gain or loss of our treasure out of the ballance of our
general forraign trade, as I will endeavour yet further to
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Chapter 10

The observation of the Statute of Imployments to be made by
strangers, cannot encrease, nor yet preserve our Treasure.

To keep our mony in the Kingdom is a work of no less skill and
difficulty than to augment our Treasure: for the causes of their
preservation and production are the same in nature. The statue
for employment of strangers wares into our commodities seemeth at
the first to be a good and a lawful way leading to those ends;
but upon the examination of the particulars, we shall find that
it cannot produce such good effects.
For as the use of forraign trade is alike unto all Nations,
so may we easily perceive what will be done therein by strangers,
when we do but observe our own proceedings in this waighty
business, by which we do not only seek with the vent of our own
commodities to supply our wants of forraign wares, but also to
enrich our selves with treasure: all which is done by a different
manner of trading according to our own occasions and the nature
of the places where unto we do trade; as namely in some Countrys
we sell our commodities and bring away their wares, or part in
mony; in other Countreys we sell our goods and take their mony,
because they have little or no wares that fits our turns: again
in some places we have need of their commodities, but they have
little use of ours; so they take our mony which we get in other
Countreys: And thus by a course of traffick (which changeth
according to the accurrents of time) the particular members do
accommodate each other, and all accomplish the whole body of the
trade, which will ever languish if the harmony of her health be
distempered by the diseases of excess at home, violence abroad,
charges and restrictions at home or abroad: but in this place I
have occasion to speak only of restriction, which I will perform
There are three ways by which a Merchant may make the returns
of his wares from beyond the Seas, that is to say in mony, in
commodities, or by Exchange. But the Statute of employment doth
not only restrain mony (in which there is a seeming providence
and Justice) but also the use of the Exchange by bills, which
doth violate the Law of Commerce, and is indeed an Act without
example in any place of the world where we have trade, and
therefore to be considered, that whatsoever (in this kind) we
shall impose upon strangers here, will presently be made a Law
for us in their Countreys, especially where we have our greatest
trade with our vigilant neighbours, who omit no care nor occasion
to support their traffique in equal privileges with other
Nations. And thus in the first place we should be deprived of
that freedom and means which now we have to bring Treasure into
the Kingdom, and therewith likewise we should lose the vent of
much wares which we carry to divers places, whereby our trade and
our Treasure would decay together.
Secondly, if by the said Statute we thrust the exportation of
our wares (more than ordinary) upon the stranger, we must then
take it from the English, which were injurious to our Merchants,
Marriners and Shipping, besides the hurt to the Commonwealth in
venting the Kingdoms stock to the stranger at far lower rates
here than we must do if we sold it to them in their own Countys,
as is proved in the third Chapter.
Thirdly, whereas we have already sufficiently shewed, that if
our commodities be over ballance in value by forraign wares, our
mony must be carried out. How is it possible to prevent this by
tying the Strangers hands, and leaving the English loose? shall
not the same reason and advantage cause that to be done by them
now, that was done by the other before? or if we will make a
statute (without example) to prevent both alike, shall we not
then overthrow all at once? the King in his customes and the
Kingdom in her profits; for such a restriction must of necessity
destroy much trade, because the diversity of occasions and places
which make an ample trade require that some men should both
export and import wares; some export only, others import, some
deliver out their monies by exchange, others take it up; some
carry out mony, others bring it in, and this in a greater or
lesser quantity according to the good husbandry or excess in the
Kingdom, over which only if we keep a strict law, it will rule
all the rest, and without this all other Statutes are no rules
either to keep or procure us Treasure.
Lastly, to leave no Objection unanswered, if it should be
said that a Statute comprehending the English as well as the
stranger must needs keep our money in the Kingdom. What shall we
get by this, if it hinder the coming in of money by the decay of
that ample Trade which we enjoyed in the freedom thereof? is not
the Remedy far worse than the Disease? shall we not life more
like Irishmen than Englishmen, when the Kings revenues, our
Merchants, Mariners, Shipping, Arts, Lands, Riches, and all decay
together with our Trade?
Yea but, say some men, we have better hopes than so; for the
intent of the Statute is, that as all the forraign wares which
are brought in shall be imployed in our commodities, thereby to
keep our money in the Kingdom: So we doubt not but send out a
sufficient quantity of our own wares over and above to bring in
the value thereof in ready money.
Although this is absolutely denied by the reasons afore
written, yet now we will grant it, because we desire to end the
dispute: For if this be true, that other Nations will vent more
of our commodities than we consume of theirs in value, then I
affirm that the overplus must necessarily return unto us in
treasure without the use of the Statute, which is therefore not
onley fruitless but hurtful, as some other like restrictions are
found to be when they are fully discovered.
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Chapter 11

It will not increase our treasure to enjoyn the Merchant that
exporteth Fish, Corn, or Munition, to return all or part of the
value in Money.

Victuals and Munitions for war are so pretious in a Commonwealth,
that either it seemeth necessary to restrain the exportation
altogether, or (if the plenty permits it) to require the return
thereof in so much treasure; which appeareth to be reasonable and
without difficulty, because Spain and other Countries do
willingly part with their money for such wares, although in other
occasions of trade they straightly prohibit the exportation
thereof: all which I grant to be true, yet notwithstanding we
must consider that all the ways and means which (in course of
trade) force treasure into the Kingdom, do not therefore make it
ours: for this can be done onely by a lawful gain, and this gain
is no way to be accomplished but by the overballance of our
trade, and this overballance is made less by restrictions:
therefore such restrictions do hinder the increase of our
treasure. The Argument is plain, and needs no other reasons to
strengthen it, except any man be so vain to think that
restrictions would not cause the less wares to be exported. But
if this likewise should be granted, yet to enjoyn the Merchant to
bring in money for Victuals and Munition carried out, will not
cause us to have one peny the more in the Kingdom at the years
end; for whatsoever is forced in one way must out again another
way: because onely so much will remain and abide with us as is
gained and incorporated into the estate of the Kingdom by the
overballance of the trade.
This may be made plain by an example taken from an
Englishman, who had occasion to buy and consume the wares of
divers strangers for the value of six hundred pounds, and having
wares of his own for the value of one thousand pounds, he sold
them to the said strangers, and presently forced all the mony
from them into his own power; yet upon cleering of the reckoning
between them there remained onely four hundred pounds to the said
Englishman for overballance of the wares bought and sold; so the
rest which he had received was returned back from whence he
forced it. And this shall suffice to shew that whatsoever courses
we take to force money into the Kingdom, yet so much onely will
remain with us as we shall gain by the ballance of our trade.
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Chapter 12

The undervaluing of our Money which is delivered or received by
Bills of Exchange here or beyond the Seas, cannot decrease our

The Merchants Exchange by Bills is a means and practice whereby
they that have money in on Countrey may deliver the same to
receive it again in another Countrey at certain times and rates
agreed upon, whereby the lender and the borrower are accommodated
without transporting of treasure from State to State.
These Exchanges thus made between man and man, are not
contracted at the equal value of the moneys, according to their
respective weights and fineness: First, because he that deliverth
his money doth respect the venture of the debt, and the time of
forbearance; but that which causeth an under or overvaluing of
moneys by Exchange, is the plenty or scarcity thereof in those
places where the Exchanges are made. For example, when here is
plenty of money to be delivered for Amsterdam, then shall our
money be undervalued in Exchange, because they who take up the
money, seeing it so plentifully thrust upon them, do thereby make
advantage to themselves in taking the same at an undervalue.
And contariwise, when here is scarcity of mony to be
delivered for Amsterdam, the deliverer wil make the same
advantage by overvaluing our money which he delivereth. And thus
we see that as plenty or scarcity of mony in a Common-wealth doth
make all things dear or good cheap: so in the course of exchanges
it hath ever a contrary working; wherefore in the next place it
is fit to set down the true causes of this effect.
As plenty or scarcity of mony do make the price of the
exchange high or low, so the over or under ballance of our trade
doth effectually cause the plenty or scarcity of mony. And here
we must understand, that the ballance of our trade is either
General or Particular. The General is, when all our yearly
traffique is jointly valued, as I have formerly shewed; the
particular is when our trade to Italy, France, Turkey, Spain and
other Countreys are severally considered: and by this latter
course we shall perfectly find out the places where our mony is
under or overvalued in Exchange: For although our general
exportations of wares may be yearly more in value that that which
is imported: whereby the difference is made good to us in so much
treasure; nervertheless the particular trades do work diversly.
For peradventure the Low Countreys may bring us more in value
than we sell them, which if it be so, then do the Low Countrey
Merchants not only carry away our treasure to ballance the
accompt between us, but also by this means mony being plentiful
here to be delivered by exchange, it is therefore undervalued by
the takers, as I have before declared; And contrariwise if we
carry more wares to Spain, and other places than we consume of
theirs, then do we bring away their treasure, and likewise in the
Merchants exchange we overvalue our own money.
Yet still there are some who will seem to make this plain by
Demonstration, that the undervaluing of our money by Exchange
doth carry it out of the Kingdom: for, say they, we see daily
great store of our English Coins carried over, which pass current
in the Low-Countries, and there is great advantage to carry them
thither, to save the loss which the Low-Countrymen have in the
Exchange; for if one hundred pounds sterling deliverd here, is so
much undervalued, that ninty pounds of the same sterling money
carried over in specie shall be sufficient to make repayment and
full satisfaction of the said hundred pounds at Amsterdam: Is it
not then (say they) the undervaluing of our Mony which causeth it
to be carried out of the Realm?
To this Objection I will make a full and plain Answer,
shewing that it is not the undervaluing of our money in exchange,
but the overballancing of our trade that carrieth away our
treasure. For suppose that our whole trade with the Low-Countries
for wares brought into this Realm be performed onely by the Dutch
for the value of five hundred thousand pounds yearly; and that
all our commodities transported into the said Low-Countries be
performed onely by the English for four hundred thousand pounds
yearly: Is it not then manifest, that the Dutch can exchange only
four hundrd thousand pounds with the English upon the Par pro
Pari or equal value of the rspective Standards? So the other
hundred thousand pounds which is the overballance of the trade,
they must of necessity carry that away in mony. And the self same
loss of treasure must happen if there were no exchange at all
permitted: for the Dutch carrying away our mony for their wares,
and we bringing in their forraign Coins for their commodities,
there will be still one hundred thousand pounds loss.
Now let us add another example grounded upon the aforesaid
proportion of trade between us and the Low Countreys. The Dutch
(as aforewritten) may exchange with the English for four hundred
thousand pounds and no more upon the equal value of the monies,
because the English have no further means to satisfie. But now
suppose that in respect of the plenty of mony, which in this case
will be here in the hands of the Dutch to deliver by exchange,
our mony (according to that which hath been already said) be
undervalued ten per cent. then is it manifest that the Dutch must
deliver four hundred and forty thousand pounds to have the
Englishmans four hundred thousand pounds in the Low Countreys; so
that there will then remain but 60000 pounds for the Dutch to
carry out of the Realm to ballance the accompt between them and
us. Whereby we may plainly perceive that the undervaluing of our
money in exchange, will not carry it out of the Kingdom, as some
men have supposed, but rather is a means to make a less quantity
thereof to be exported, than would be done at the Par pro pari.
Further let us suppose that the English Merchant carrieth out
as much wares in value as the Dutch Merchant bringeth in, whereby
the means is equal between them to make their returns by exchange
without carrying away of any mony to the prejudice of either
State. And yet notwithstanding the Dutch Merchant for this
occasions or advantage will forsake this course of exchange, and
will venture to send part of his returns in ready mony.
To this the answer is, that hereupon it must follow of
necessity, that the Dutch shall want just so much means in
exchange with the English, who therefore shall be forced to bring
in the like sum of mony from beyond the Seas, as the Dutch
carried out of this Realm; so that we may plainly perceive that
the monies which are carried from us within the ballance of our
trade are not considerable, for they do return to us again: and
we lose those monies only which are made of the over-ballance of
our general trade, that is to say, That which we spend more in
value in forraign wares, than we utter of our own commodities.
And the contrary of this is the only means by which we get our
treasure. In vain therefore had Gerald Malines laboured so long,
and in so many printed books to make the world believe that the
undervaluing of our money in exchange doth exhaust our treasure,
which is a mere fallacy of the cause, attributing that to a
Secondary means, whose effects are wrought by another Principal
Efficient, and would also come to pass although the said
Secondary means were not at all. As vainly also hath he
propounded a remedy by keeping the price of Exchange by Bills at
the par pro pari by publick Authority, which were a new found
Office without example in any part of the world, being not only
fruitless but also hurtful, as hath been sufficiently proved in
this Chapter, and therefore I will proceed to the next.
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Chapter 13

The Merchant who is a mere Exchanger of money by Bills cannot
increase or decrease out treasure.

There are certain Merchants which deal onely upon all advantages
in th' Exchange, and neither export nor import wares into the
Kingdom, which hath caused some men to affirm, that the money
which such mere Exchangers bring in or carry out of the Realm is
not comprehended in the ballance of our forraign trade; for (say
they) sometimes when our sterling mony hath been undervalued and
delivered here for Amsterdam at 10 per cent less than the equal
value of the respective Standards, the said mere Exchanger may
take here one thousand pounds sterling. & carry over onely nine
hundred thereof in specie, which will be sufficient to pay his
Bill of Exchange. And so upon a greater or a lesser summe the
like gain is made in three months time.
But here we must know, that although this more Exchanger deal
not in wares, yet notwithstanding the money which he carrieth
away in manner afore-written must necessarily proceed of such
wares as are brought into the Kingdom by Merchants. So that still
it falleth into the ballance of our forraign trade, and worketh
the same effect, as if the Merchant himself had carried away that
money, which he must do if our wares be overballanced, as ever
they are when our money is undervalued, which is expressed more
at large in the 12 Chapter.
And on the contary, when the mere Exchanger (by the said
advantages) shall bring money into the Kingdom, he doth no more
than necessarily must be done by the Merchant himself when our
commodities overballance forraign wares. But in these occasions
some Merchants had rather lose by delivering their money at an
under-value in Exchange, than undertake to hazard all by the Law;
which notwithstanding these mere Exchangers will perform for them
in hope of gain.

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Chapter 14

The admirable feats supposed to be done by Bankers and the
Merchants Exchange.

Although I have already written something concerning the
Merchants Exchange, and therin of the undervaluation of our
money, and of the mere Exchanger, with their true causes and
effects; Nevertheless it will not be impertinent to pursue this
business yet a little further, and thereby not onely to
strengthen our former Arguments, but also to avoid some cunning
delusions which might deceive the unskilful Reader of those books
entituled, Lex Mercatoria, pag. 409, and The maintenance of free
trade, pag. 16. wherein the Author Gerard Malynes setteth down
the admirable feats (as he termeth them) which are to be done by
Bankers and Exchangers, with the use and power of the Exchange:
but how these wonders may be effected he altogether omitteth,
leaving the Reader in a strange opinion of these dark mysteries,
which I cannot think he did for want of knowledge, for I find him
skilful in many things which he hath both written and collected
concerning th' affairs of Merchants, and in particular he
discourses well of divers uses, forms and passages of the
Exchange, in all which as he hath taken great pains for the good
of others, so do his Works of this kind deserve much praise: but
where he hath disguised his own knowledge with Sophistry to
further some private ends by hurting the publick good; there
ought he to be discovered and prevented, unto which performance
(in this discourse of treasure) I find my self obliged, and
therefore I intend to effect it by shewing the true causes and
means whereby these wonders are done, which Malines attributeth
to the sole power of the Exchange. But first for order I think it
fit to set down the particular feats as they stand in his said

The admirable feats to be done by Exchange.

1. To lay their mony with gain in any place of the world where
any exchange lyeth.
2. To gain and wax rich, and never meddle with any Princes
3. To buy any Princes commodity, and never bring penny nor
pennyworth into the Realm, but doe that with the Subjects mony.
4. To grow rich and live without adventure at Sea or travaile.
5. To do great feats having credit, and yet to be nought worth.
6. To understand whether in conjecture their mony employed on
Exchange, or buying of wares will be more profit.
7. To know certainly what the Merchants gain upon their wares
they sell and buy.
8. To live and encrease upon every Princes subjects that
continually take up mony by Exchange, and whether they gain or
9. To wind out every Princes treasure out of his Realm whose
Subjects bring in more wares than they carry out of the Realm.
10. To make the Staple of money run thither where the rich Prince
will have it to be brought, and pay for it.
11. To unfurnish the poor Prince of his provision of mony, that
keeps his wares upon interest mony, if the enemy will seek it.
12. To furnish their need of mony that tarry the selling of their
wares in any Contract untill they make them come to their price.
13. To take up mony to engross any commodity either new come or
whereof they have some store to bring the whole trade of that
commodity into their own hands to sell both at their pleasure.
14. To hide their carrying away of any Princes mony.
15. To fetch away any Princes fine mony with his own or any other
princes base mony.
16. To take up Princes base mony and to turn into his fine money,
and to pay the deliverer with his own, and gain too.
17. To take upon credit into their hands for a time all the
Merchants mony that will be delivered, and pay them with their
own, and gain too.
18. To make the Realm gain of all other Realms whose Subjects
live most by their own commodities, and sell yearly the overplus
into the world, and both occupie that encrease yearly, and also
their old store of treasure upon exchange.
19. To undoe Realms and Princes that look not to their
Commonwealth, when the Merchants wealth is such, that the great
houses conspire together so to rule the Exchange, that when they
will be deliverers, they will receive in another place above the
Standard of the Mint of the Princes mony delivered: and when they
will be takers, they will pay the same in another place under the
Standard of the Mint of the Princes mony taken up.
20. To get ready mony to buy any commodity that is offered cheap.
21. To compass ready mony to get any offered bargain out of
another mans hands, and so by outbidding others oftentimes to
raise the wares.
22. To get a part and sometimes all his gains that employeth mony
taken up by Exchange in wares, and so make others travail for
their gain.
23. To keep Princes for having any Customs, Subsidies or Taxes
upon their mony, as they employ it not.
24. To value justly any Wares they carry into any Countrey by
setting them at that value, as the mony that bought them was then
at by Exchange in the Countrey whither they be carried.

If I had a desire to amplifie in the explanation of these
wonders, they would afford me matter enough to make a large
volume, but my intent is to do it as briefly as possibly I may
without obscurity. And before I begin, I cannot chuse but laugh
to think how a worthy Lawyer might be dejected in his laudable
studies, when he should see more cunning in Lex Mercatoria by a
little part of the Merchants profession, then in all the
Law-cases of his learned Authors: for this Exchange goes beyond
Conjuring; I think verily that neither Doctor Faustus nor Banks
his Horse could ever do such admirable feats, although it is sure
they had a Devil to help them; but wee Merchants deal not with
such Spirits, we delight not to be thought the workers of lying
wonders, and therefore I endeavour here to shew the plainness of
our dealing (in these supposed feats) to be agreeable to the
laudable course of Trade.
And first, To lay our Money with gains to any place of the
World where Exchange lieth. How can this be done (will some men
say) for Amsterdam, when the losse by Exchange is sometimes eight
or ten per cent more or lesse for one moneths usance? The answer
is, That here I must consider, first, that the principal
efficient cause of this losse, is a greater value in Wares
brought from Amsterdam then we carry thither, which make more
Deliverers then Takers here by Exchange, whereby the Mony is
undervalued to the benefit of the taker: hereupon the Deliverer,
rather then he will lose by his Money, doth consider those
Countreys, unto which we carry more Wares in value than we
receive from them; as namely, Spain, Italy,and others; to which
places he is sure (for the reasons aforesaid) that he shall ever
deliver his money with profit. But now you will say, that the
mony is further from Amsterdam than before; How shall it be got
together? yes, well enough; and the farther about will prove the
nearest way home, if it come at last with good profit; the first
part whereof being made (as we have supposed) in Spain, from
thence I consider where to make my second gain, and finding that
the Florentines send out a greater value in cloth of Gold and
Silver, wrought Silks, and Rashes to Spain, than they receive in
Fleece Woolls, West-India Hides, Sugar and Cochineal, I know I
cannot miss of my purpose by delivering my money for Florence;
where (still upon the same ground) I direct my course from thence
to Venice, and there finde that my next benefit must be at
Frankfurt or Antwerp, untill at last I come to Amsterdam by a
shorter or longer course, according to such occasions of
advantage as the times and place shall afford me. And thus we see
still, that the profit and loss upon the Exchange is guided and
ruled by the over or under ballance of the several Trades which
are Predominant and Active, making the price of Exchange high or
low, which is therefore Passive, the contrary whereof is so often
repeated by the said Malynes.
To the second, fourth, fourteenth, and twenty third, I say,
that all these are the proper works of the meer Exchanger, and
that his actions cannot work to the good or hurt of the
Commonwealth, I have already sufficiently shewed in the last
Chap. and therefore here I may spare that labour.
To the third. It is true, I can deliver one thousand pounds
here by exchage to recieve the value in spaine, where with this
Spanish money I can buy and bring away so much Spanish wares. But
all this doth not prove, but that in the end the English money or
commodities must pay for the said wares: for if I deliver my
thousand pounds here to an English-man, he must pay me in Spain,
either by goods already sent, or to be sent thither; or if I
deliver it here to a Spaniard, he takes it of me, with intent to
employ it in our wares; so that every way we must pay the
Stranger for what we have from him: Is there any feats in all
this worthy our admiration?
To the firth, thirtenth, twentieth, and twenty first. I must
answer these Wonders by heaps, where I finds them to be all one
matter in divers formes, and such froth also, that every Idiot
knowes them, and can say, that he who hath credit can contract,
buy, sell, and take up much money by Exchange, which he may do as
well also at Interest: yet in these courses they are not alwayes
gainers, for sometimes they live by the losse, as well as they
who have less credit.
To the sixth and seventh. Here is more poor stuff; for when I
know the current prices of my Wares, both here and beyond the
Seas, I may easily conjecture whether the profit of the Exchange
or the gain which I expect upon my Wares will be greater. And
again, as every Merchant knows well what he gains upon the Wares
he buyeth and selleth, so may any other man do the like that can
tell how the said Merchant hath proceeded: But what is all this
to make us admire the Exchange?
To the eighth and twelfth. As Bankers and Exchangers do
furnish men with money for their occasions, so do they likewise
who let out their money at interest with the same hopes and like
advantage, which many times notwithstanding fails them, as well
as the Borroweres often labour onely for the Lenders profit.
To the ninth and eighteenth. Here my Author hath some secret
meaning, or being conscious of his own errours, doth mark these
two Wonders with a => in the Margin. For why should this great
work of enriching or impoverishing of Kingdomes be attributed to
the Exchange, which is done onely by those means that doe over or
under-ballance our Forraign Trade, as I have already so often
shewed, as as the very words of Malynes himself in these two
places may intimate to a judicious Reader?
To the fifteenth and sixteenth, I confess that the Exchange
may be used in turning base money into Gold or Silver, as when a
stranger may coin and bring over a great quantity of Farthings,
which in short time he may disperse or convert into good money,
and then deliver the sume here by exchange to receive the value
in this own Countrey; or he may do this feat by carrying away the
said good mony in specie without using the exchange at all, if he
dare venture the penalty of the Law. The Spaniards know well who
are the common Coiners of Christendome, that dare venture to
bring them store of Copper money of the Spanish stamp, and carry
away the value in good Ryals of Eight, wherein notwithstanding
all their cunning devices, they are sometimes taken tardie.
To the 17. The Bankers are always ready to receive such sums
of mony as are put into their hands by men of all degrees, who
have no skill or good means themselves to manage the same upon
the exchange to profit. It is likwise true that the Bankers do
repay all men with their own, and yet reserve good gain to
themselves, which they do aswell deserve for their ordinary
provision or allowance as those Factors do which buy or sell for
Merchants by Commission: And is not this likewise both just and
very common?
To the 11. I must confess that here is a wonder indeed, that
a poor Prince should keep either his wars or wares (I take both
together as the Author sets them down both ways differing in his
said two books) upon interest mony; for what needs the Enemy of
such a poor Prince deale with the Bankers to disapoint him or
defeat him of his mony in time of want, when the interest it self
will do this fast enough, and so I leave this poor stuff.
To the 19. I have lived long in Italy, where the greatest
Banks and Bankers of Christendom do trade, yet could I never see
nor hear, that they did, or were able to rule the price of
Exchange by confederacie, but still the plenty or scarcity of
mony in the course of trade did not always overrule them and made
the Exchanges to run at high or low rates.
To the 22. The Exchange by bills between Merchant and
Merchant in the course of trade cannot hinder Princes of their
Customs and Imposts: for the mony which one man delivereth,
because he will not, or hath not occasion to employ it in wares,
another man taketh, because he either will or hath already laid
it out in Merchandize. But it is true, that when the wealth of a
Kingdom consisteth much in ready mony, and that there is also
good means and conveniencie in such a Kingdom to trade with the
same into forraign parts, either by Sea or Land, or by both these
ways; if then this trade be neglected, the King shall be defeated
of those profits: and if the exchange be the cause thereof, then
must we lean in what manner this is done; for we may exchange
either amongst our selves, or with strangers; if amongst our
selves, the Commonwealth cannot be enriched thereby; for the gain
of one subject is the loss of another. And if we exchange with
strangers, then our profit is the gain of the Commonwealth. Yet
by none of these ways can the King receive any benefit in his
customes. Let us therefore seek out the places where such
exchanging is used, and set down the reasons why this practice is
permitted; in search whereof we shall only find one place of note
in all Christendome, which is Genoua, whereof I intend to say
something as briefly as I can.
The State of Genoua is small, and not very fertile, having
little natural wealth or materials to employ the people, nor yet
victuals sufficient to feed them; but nevertheless by their
industry in former times by forraign trade into AEgypt, Soria,
Constantinople, and all those Levant parts for Spices, Drugs, raw
Silks and many other rich wares, with which they served the most
places of Europe, they grew to an incredible wealth, which gave
life unto the strength of their Cities, the pomp of their
buildings, and other singular beauties. But after the foundation
and encrease of that famous City of Venice, the said trades
turned that way. And since likewise the greatest part thereof
doth come into England, Spain, and the Low Countreys by
navigation directly from the East Indies, which alterations in
the traffique, hath forced them of Genoua to change their course
of trading with wares, into exchanging of their mony; which for
gain they spread not only into divers Countreys where the trade
is performed with Merchandize, but more especially they do
therewith serve the want of the Spaniards in Flanders and other
places for their wars, whereby the private Merchants are much
enriched, but the publique treasure by this course is not
encreased, and the reasons why the Commonwealth of Genoua doth
suffer this inconvenience, are these.
First and principally, they are forced to leave those trades
which they cannot keep from other Nations, who have better means
by situation, wares, Shipping, Munition and the like, to perform
these affairs with more advantage than they are able to doe.
Secondly, they proceed like a wise State, who still retain as
much trade as they can, although they are not able to procure the
twentieth part of that which they had. For having few or no
materials of their own to employ their people yet they supply
this want by the Fleece-wools of Spain, and raw Silks or Sicilia,
working them into Velvets, Damasks, Sattens, Woollen-drapery, and
other manufactures.
Thirdly, whereas they find no means in their own Countrey to
employ and trade their great wealth to profit, they content
themselves to do it in Spain and other places, either in
Merchandize, or by exchanging their monies for gain to those
Merchants who trade therewith in wares. And thus wheresoever they
live abroad for a time circuiting the world for gain; yet in the
end the Center of this profit is in their own Native Countrey.
Lastly, the government of Genoua being Aristocracie, they are
assured that although the publique get little, yet if their
private Merchants gain much from strangers, they shall doe well
enough, because the richest and securest Treasure of Free State,
are the riches of the Nobility (who in Genoua are Merchants)
which fallth not out so in a Monarchy, where between the comings
in of a Prince, and the means of Private Men, there is this
distinction of meum & tuum, but in the occasions and dangers of a
Republick or Commonwealth, where Liberty and Government might be
changed into Servitude, there the Proper substance of private men
is the publique Treasure, ready to be spent with their lives in
defence of their own Soveraignty.
To the 24. If a Merchant should buy wares here with
intentions to send them for Venice, and then value them as the
Exchange comes from thence to London, he may find himself far
wide of this reckoning: for before his goods arrive at Venice,
both the price of his Wares and the rate of the Exchange may
alter very much. But if the meaning of the Author be, that this
valuation may be made after the goods arrive, and are sold at
Venice, and the money remitted hither by Exchange, or else the
money which bought the said wares here may be valued as the
Exchange passed at that time from hence to Venice; Is not all
this very common and easie business, unworthy to be put into the
number of Admirable feats?
To the tenth. Although a rich Prince hath great power, yet is
there not power in every rich Prince to make the staple of Money
run where he pleaseth: for the Staple of any thing is not where
it may he pleaseth: for the Staple of any thing is not where it
may be had, but where the thing doth most of all abound.
Whereupon we commonly say, that the Spaniard, in regard of his
great treasure in the West Indies, hath the Fountain or Staple of
money, which he moveth and causeth to run into Italy, Germany,
and the Low Countreys, or other places where his occasions doe
require it, either for Peace or War. Neither is this effected by
any singular Power of the Exchange, but by divers wayes and means
fitting those places where the money is to be employed. For if
the use thereof be upon the confines of France to maintain a War
there, then may it be safely sent in specie on Carriages by Land;
if in Italy, on Gallies by Sea; if in the Low Countreys, on
Shipping by Sea also, but yet with more danger, in regard of his
potent enemies in that passage. Wherefore in this occasion,
although the Exchange is not absolutely necessary, yet as it very
useful. And because the Spaniards want of Commodities from
Germany and the Low Countreys is greater in value than the
Spanish Wares which are carried into those parts, therefore the
King of Spain cannot be furnished there from his own subjects
with money by exchange, but is and hath been a long time enforc'd
to carry a great part of his treasure in Gallies for Italy, where
the Italians, and amongst them the Merchants of Genoua
expecially, do take the same, and repay the value thereof in
Flanders, whereunto they are enabled by their great trade with
many rich commodities which they send continually out of Italy
into those Countreys and the places thereabouts, from whence the
Italians return no great value in wares, but deliver their money
for the service of Spain, and receive the value by Exchange in
Italy out of the Spanish Treasure, which is brought thither in
Gallies, as is aforewritten.
So that by this we plainly see, that it is not the power of
Exchange that doth enforce treasure where the rich Prince will
have it, but it is the money proceeding of wares in Forraigne
trade that doth enforce the exchange, and rules the price thereof
high or low, according to the plenty or scarcity of the said
money; which in this discourse, upon all occasions, I think I
have repeated neer as often as Malynes in his Books doth make the
Exchange to be an essential part of trade, to be active,
predominant, over-ruling the price of Wares and Moneys, life,
spirit, and the worker of admirable feats. All which we have now
briefly expounded; and let no man admire why he himself did not
take this pains, for then he should not onely have taken away the
great opinion which he laboured to maintain of the Exchange, but
also by the true discovery of the right operation thereof, he
should utterly have overthrown his par pro pari; which project
(if it had prevailed) would have been a good business for the
Dutch, and to the great hurt of this Common-wealth, as hath been
sufficiently proved in the 12. chapter.
Now therefore let the learned Lawyer fall cheerfully to his
books again, for the Merchant cannot put him down, if he have no
more skill than is in his Exchange. Are these such admirable
feats, when they may be so easily know and done in the course of
trade? Well then, if by this discovery we have eased the Lawyers
minde, and taken off the edge of his admiration, let him now play
his part, and take out a Writ of Errour against the Par pro Pari;
for this project hath misinformed many, and put us to trouble to
expound these Riddles.
Nay, but stay awhile, can all this pass for current, to
slight a business thus, which (the Author saith) hath been so
seriously observed by that famous Council, and those worthy
Merchants of Queen Elizabeth of blessed memory, and also
condemned by those French Kings, Lewis the 9th, Philip the fair,
and Philip de Valois, with confiscation of the Bankers goods? I
must confess that all this requires an answer, which in part is
already done by the Author himself. For he saith, that the
wisdome of our State found out the evil, but they missed of the
remedy; and yet what remedy this should be no man can tell; for
there was none applyed, but all practise and use in Exchange
stand still to this day in such manner and form as they did at
the time when these Feats were discovered, for the State knew
well that there needed no remedy where there was no disease.
Well then, how sahll we be able to answer the proceedings of
the French Kings who did absolutely condemn the Bankers, and
confiscated their goods? Yes, well enough, for the Bankers might
perhaps be condemned for something done in their exchanges
against the Law, and yet their profession may still be lawful, as
it is in Italy and France it self to this day. Nay we will grant
likewise that the Banks were banished, when the Bankers were
punished; yet all this proves nothing against Exchangers, for
Kings and States enact many Statutes, and suddenly repeale them,
they do and undo; Princes may err, or else Malynes is grosly
mistaken, where he setteth down 35 several Statutes and other
ordinances enacted by this State in 350 years time to remedy the
decay of Trade, and yet all are found defective; only his
reformation of the Exchange, or Par pro Pari, is effectual, if we
wuld believe him; but we know better, and so we leave him.
I might here take occasion to say something against another
project of the same brood that lately attended upon the sucess of
this Par pro pari, as I have been credibly informed, which is,
the changing and re-changing here within the Realm, of all the
Plate, Bullion and Monies, Forraign or Sterling, to pass only by
an office called, The Kings Royal Exchanger, or his Deputies,
paying them a Peny upon the value of every Noble: which might
raise much to their private good, and destroy more to the
publique hurt. For it would decay the Kings Coinage, deprive the
Kingdom of much Treasure, abridge the Subjects of their just
liberty, and utterly overthrow the worthy trade of the
Goldsmiths, all which being plain and easie to the weakest
understandings, I will therefore omit to amplify upon these
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Chapter 15

Of some Excesses and evils in the Commonwealth, which
notwithstanding decay not our Trade nor Treasure.

It is not my intent to excuse or extenuate any the least excess
or evil in the Commonwealth, but rather highly to approve and
commend that which by others hath been spoken and written against
such abuses. Yet in this discourse of Treasure, as I have already
set down affirmatively, which are the true causes that may either
augment or decrease the same: so is it not impertinent to
continue my negative declarations of those enormities and actions
which cannot work these effects as some men have supposed. For in
redress of this important business, if we mistake the nature of
the Malady, we shall ever apply such cures as will at least
delay, if not confound the Remedy.
Let us then begin with Usury, which if it might be turned
into Charity, and that they who are Rich would lend to the poor
freely; it were a work pleasing to Almighty God, and profitable
to the Commonwealth. But taking it in the degree it now stands;
How can we well say, that as Usury encreaseth, so Trade
decreaseth? For although it is true that some men give over
trading, and buy Lands, or put out their Money to use when they
are grown rich, or old, or for some other the like occasions; yet
for all this it doth not follow, that the quantity of the trade
must lessen; for this course in the rich giveth opportunity
presently to the younger & poorer Merchants to rise in the world,
and to enlarge their dealings; to the performance whereof, if
they want means of their own, they may, and do,take it up at
interest: so that our money lies not dead, it is still traded.
How many Merchants, and Shop-keepers have begun with little or
nothing of their own, and yet are grown very rich by trading with
other mens money? do we not know, that when trading is quick and
good, many men, by means of their experience, and having credit
to take up money at interest, do trade for much more than they
are worth of their own stock? by which diligence of the
industrious, the affairs of the Common-wealth are increased, the
moneys of Widows, Orphans, Lawyers, Gentlemen and others, are
employed in the course of Forraign Trade, which themselves have
no skill to perform. We find at this present, that
notwithstanding the Poverty we are fallen into by the Excesses
and Losses of late times, yet that many men have much money in
their chests, and know not how to dispose thereof, because the
Merchant will not take the same at interest (although at low
rates) in regard there is a stop of trade in Spain and in France,
whereby he cannot employ his own meanes, much lesse other mens
moneys. So that for these, and some other reasons which might be
alledged, we might conclude, contrary to those who affirm, that
Trade decreaseth as Usury encreaseth, for they rise and fall
In the next place, we hear our Lawyers much condemned; the
vexation and charges by multiplicity of Sutes do exceed al the
other Kingdomes of Christendome, but whether this proceed from
the Lawyers Covetousness, or the Peoples Perverseness, it is a
great question. And let this be as it may, I will enquire no
farther therein than our present discourse doth require,
concerning the decay of our Trade, and impoverishing of the
Kingdom: Sure I am, that Sutes in Law make many a man poor and
penniless, but how it should make us trade for less by one single
penny, I cannot well conceive. For although amongst the great
number of them who are vexed and undone by controversies, there
be ever some Merchants; yet we know, that one mans necessity
becomes another mans opportunity. I never knew as yet, a decay in
our Trade and Treasure for want of Merchants, or Means to employ
us, but rather by excessive Consumption of Forraign Wares at
home, or by a declination in the vent of our Commodities abroad,
caused either by the ruinous effects of Wars, or some alterations
in the times of Peace, whereof I have spoken more fully in the
third Chapter. But, to conclude with the Lawyers, I say, that
their noble Profession is necessary for all, and their Cases,
Quillets, Delayes and Charges, are mischievous to many; these
things indeed are Cankers in the Estates of particular men, but
not of the Common-wealth, as some suppose, for one mans loss
becomes another mans gain, it is still in the Kingdome, I wish it
might as surely remain in the right places.
Lastly, all kind of Bounty and Pomp is not to be avoided, for
if we should become so frugal, that we would use few or no
Forraign wares, how shall we then vent our own commodities? what
will become of our Ships, Mariners, Munitions, our poor
Artificers, and many others? doe we hope that other Countreys
will afford us money for All our wares, without buying or
bartering for Some of theirs? this would prove a vain
expectation; it is more safe and sure to run a middle course by
spending moderately, which will purchase treasure plentifully.
Again, the pomp of Buildings, Apparel, and the like, in the
Nobility, Gentry, and other able persons, cannot impoverish the
Kingdome; if it be done with curious and costly works upon our
Materials, and by our own people, it will maintain the poor with
the purse of the rich, which is the best distribution of the
Common-wealth. But if any man say, that when the people want
work, then the Fishing-trade would be a better employment, and
far more profitable; I subscribe willingly. For in that great
business there is means enough to employ both rich and poor,
whereof there hath been much said and written; It resteth only
that something might be as well effected for the honor and
wealth, both of the King and his Kingdoms.
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Chapter 16

How the Revenues and Incomes of Princes may justly be raised.

Now that we have set down the true course by which a Kingdom may
be enriched with treasure; In the next place we will endavour to
shew the ways and means by which a King may justly share therein
without the hurt or oppression of his Subjects. The Revenues of
Princes as they differ much in quantity, according to the
greatness, riches and trade of their respective dominions; so
likewise is there great diversity used in procuring the same,
according to the constitution of the Countreys, the government,
laws and customs of the people, which no Prince can alter but
with much difficulty and danger. Some Kings have their Crown
Lands, the first fruits upon Ecclesiastical Livings, Customs,
Tolls and Imposts upon all trade to and from forraign Countries;
Lones, Donations and Subsidies upon all necessary occasions.
Other Princes and States leaving the three last, do add unto the
rest, a custom upon all necessary occasions. Other Princes and
States leaving the three last, do add unto the rest, a custom
upon all new wares transported from one City, to be used in any
other City or place of their own dominions, customs upon every
alienation or sale of live Cattel, Lands, Houses, and the
portions or marriage mony of women, licence mony upon all
Victualling houses and Inkeepers, head mony, Custom upon all
Corn, Wine, Oyl, Salt and the like, which grow and are consumed
in their own dominions, &c. All which seem to be a rabble of
oppressions, serving to enrich those Princes which exact them,
and to make the people poor and miserable which endure them;
expecially in those Countreys where these burdens are laid at
heavy rates, at 4, 5, 6, and 7. per cent. But when all the
circumstances and distinction of places are duly considered, they
will be found not only necessary and therefore lawful to be used
in some States, but also in divers respects very profitable to
the Commonwealth.
First there are some States, as namely Venice, Florence,
Genoua, the united Provinces of the Low Countreys, and others,
which are singular for beauty, and excellent both for natural and
artificial strength, having likewise rich Subjects: yet being of
no very great extent, nor enjoying such wealth by ordinary
revenues as might support them against the suddain and powerful
invasions of those mighty Princes which do inviron them; they are
therefore enforced to strengthen themselves not only with
confederates and Leagues (which may often fail them in their
greatest need) but also by massing up store of treasure and
Munition by those extraordinary course before written, which
cannot deceive them, but will ever be ready to make a good
defence, and to offend or divert their enemies.
Neither are these heavy Contributions so hurtfull to the
happinesse of the people, as they are commonly esteemed: for as
the food and rayment of the poor is made dear by Excise, so doth
the price of their labour rise in proportion; whereby the burden
(if any be) is still upon the rich, who are either idle, or at
least work not in this kind, yet have they the use and are the
great consumers of the poors labour: Neither do the rich neglect
in their several places and callings to advance their endeavours
according to those times which do exhaust their means and
revenues; wherein if they should peradventure fail, and therfore
be forced to abate their sinful excess and idle retainers; what
is all this but happiness in a Commonwealth, when vertue, plenty
and arts shall thus be advance all together? Nor can it be truly
said that a Kingdom is impoverished where the loss of the people
is the gain of the King, from whom also such yearly Incomes have
their annual issue to the benefit of his Subjects; except only
that part of the treasure which is laid up for the publique good;
wherein likewise they are both just and profitable.
Yet here we must confess, that as the best things may be
corrupted, so these taxes may be abused and the Commonwealth
notoriously wronged when they are vainly wasted and consumed by a
Prince, either upon his own excessive pleasures, or upon unworthy
persons, such as deserve neither rewards nor countenance from the
Majesty of a Prince: but these dangerous disorders are seldom
seen, especially in such States as are aforenamed, because the
disposing of the publique treasure is in the power and under the
discretion of many; Neither is it unknown to all other
Principalities and Governments that the end of such Excesses is
ever ruinous, for they cause great want and poverty, which often
drives them from all order to exorbitance, and therefore it is
common policy amongst Princes to prevent such mischiefs with
great care and providence, by doing nothing that may cause the
Nobility to despair of their safety, nor leaving any thing undone
which may gain the good will of the Commonalty to keep all in due
But now before we end this point in hand, we must remember
likewise that all bodies are not of one and the same
constitution, for that which is Physick to one man, is little
better than poyson to another; The States aforewritten, and
divers others like to them cannot subsist but by the help of
those extraordinary contributions, whereof we have spoken,
because they are not able otherwise to short time to raise
sufficient treasure to defend themselves against a potent enemy,
who hath power to invade them on the suddain, as is already
declared. But a mighty Prince whose dominions are great and
united, his Subjects many and Loyal, his Countries rich both by
nature and traffique, his Victuals and warlike provisions
plentiful and ready, his situation easy to offend others, and
difficult to be invaded, his harbours good, his Navy strong, his
alliance powerfull, and his ordinary revenues sufficient, royally
to support the Majesty of his State, besides a reasonable sum
which may be advanc'd to lay up yearly in treasure for future
occasions: shall not all these blessings (being well ordered)
enable a Prince against the suddain invasion of any mighty enemy,
without imposing those extraordinary and heavy taxes? shall not
the wealthy and loyal subjects of such a great and just Prince
maintain his Honour and their own Liberties with life and goods,
alwayes supplying the Treasure of their Soveraign, untill by a
well ordered War he may inforce a happy Peace? Yes verily, it
cannot otherwise be expected. And thus shall a mighty Prince be
more powerful in preserving the wealth and love of his Subjects,
than by treasuring up their riches with unnecessary taxes, which
cannot but alter and provoke them.
Yea, but say some men, we may easily contradict all this by
example taken from some of the greatest Monarchs of Christendome,
who, besides those Incomes which here are termed ordinary, they
adde likwise all, or the most of the other heavy Contributions.
All which we grant, and more; for they use also to sell their
Offices & Places of Justice, which is an act both base & wicked,
because it robbeth worthy men of their Merits, & betrayeth the
cause of the innocent, whereby God is displeased, the people
oppressed, and Vertue banished from such unhappy Kingdomes: Shall
we then say, that these things are lawfull and necessary because
they are used? God forbid, we know better and we are well assured
that these exactions are not taken for a necessary defence of
their own right, but through pride and covetousness to add
Kingdome to Kingdome, and so to usurp the right of others: which
actions of Impiety are ever shadowed with some fair pretence of
Sanctity, as being done for the Catholick Cause, the propagation
of the Church, the suppression of Hereticks, and such like
delusions, serving onely to further their own ambition, whereof
in this place it shall be needless to make any larger discourse.
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Chapter 17

Whether it be necessary for great Princes to lay up store of

Before we set down the quantity of Treasure which Princes may
conveniently lay up yearly without hurting the Common-wealth, it
will be fit to examine whether the act it self of Treasuring be
necessary: for in common conference we ever find some men who do
so much dote or hope upon the Liberality of Princes, that they
term it baseness, and conceive it needless for them to lay up
store of Treasure, accounting the honour and safety of great
Princes to consist more in their Bounty, than in their Money,
which they labour to confirm by the examples of Caesar,
Alexander, and others, who hating covetousness, atchieved many
acts and victories by lavish gifts and liberal expences. Unto
which they add also the little fruit which came by that great
summ of money which King David laid up and left to his son
Solomon, who notwithstanding this, and all his other rich
Presents and wealthy Traffique in a quiet reign, consumed all
with pomp and vain delights, excepting only that which was spent
in building of the Temple. Whereupon (say they) if so much
treasure gathered by so just a King, effect so little, what shall
we hope for by the endeavours of this kind in other Princes?
Sardanapalus left ten millions of pounds to them that slew him.
Darius left twenty millions of pounds to Alexander that took him;
Nero being left rich, and extoring much from his best Subjects,
gave away above twelve millions of pounds to his base flatterers
and such unworthy persons, which caused Galba after him to revoke
those gifts. A Prince who hath store of mony hates peace,
despiseth the friendship of his Neighbours and Allies, enters not
only into necessary, but also into dangerous Wars, to the ruin
and over-throw (sometimes) of his own estate: All which, with
divers other weak arguments of this kind, (which for brevity I
omit) make nothing against the lawful gathering and massing up of
Treasure by wise and provident Princes, if they be rightly
For first, concerning those worthies who have obtained to the
highest top of honour and dignity, by their great gifts and
expences, who know not that this hath been done rather upon the
spoils of their Enemies than out of their own Cofers, which is
indeed a Bounty that causeth neither loss nor peril? Whereas on
the countrary, those Princes which do not providently lay up
Treasure, or do imoderately consume the same when they have it,
will sodainly come to want and misery; for there is nothing doth
so soon decay as Excessive Bounty, in using whereof they want the
means to use it. And this was King Solomons case,
notwithstanding, his infinite Treasure, which made him
overburthen his Subjects in such a manner, that (for this cause)
many of them rebelled against his Son Rehoboam, who thereby lost
a great part of his dominions, being so grosly mis-led by his
young Counsellors. Therefore a Prince that will not oppress his
people, and yet be able to maintain his Estate, and defend his
Right, that will not run himself into Poverty, Contempt, Hate,
and Danger, must lay up treasure, and be thrifty, for further
proof whereof I might yet produce some other examples, which here
I do omit as needless.
Only I will add this as a necessary rule to be observed, that
when more treasure must be raised than can be received by the
ordinary taxes, it ought ever to be done with equality to avoid
the hate of the people, who are never pleased except their
contributions be granted by general consent: For which purpose
the invention of Parliaments is an excellent policie of
Government, to keep a sweet concord between a King and his
Subjects, by restraining the Insolency of the Nobility, and
redressing the Injuries of the Commons, without engaging a Prince
to adhere to either party, but indifferently to favour both.
There could nothing be devised with more judgement for the common
quiet of a Kingdom, or with greater care for the safety of a
King, who hereby hath also good means to dispatch those things by
others, which will move envy, and to execute that himself which
will merit thanks.
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Chapter 18

How much Treasure a Prince may conveniently lay up yearly.

Thus far we have shewed the ordinary and extraordinary incomes of
Princes, the conveniency thereof, and to whom only it doth
necessarily and justly belong, to take the extraordinary
contributions of their Subjects. It resteth now to examine what
proportion of treasure each particular Prince may conveniently
lay up yearly. This business doth seem at the first to be very
plain and easy, for if a Prince have two millions yearly revenue,
and spend but one, why should he not lay up the other? Indeed I
must confess that this course is ordinary in the means and
gettings of private men, but in the affairs of Princes it is far
different, there are other circumstances to be considered; for
although the revenue of a King should be very great, yet if the
gain of the Kingdom be but small, this latter must ever give rule
and proportion to that Treasure, which may conveniently be laid
up yearly, for if he should mass up more mony than is gained by
the over-ballance of his forraign trade, he shall not Fleece, but
Flea his Subjects, and so with their ruin overthrow himself for
want of future sheerings. To make this plain, suppose a Kingdom
to be so rich by nature and art, that it may supply it self of
forraign wares by trade, and yet advance yearly 200000 l. in
ready mony: Next suppose all the Kings revenues to be 900000 l.
and his expences but 400000 l. whereby he may lay up 30000 l.
more in his Coffers yearly than the whole Kingdom gains from
strangers by forraign trade; who sees not then that all the mony
in such a State, would suddenly be drawn into the Princes
treasure, whereby the life of lands and arts must fail and fall
to the ruin both of the publick and private wealth? So that a
King who desires to lay up much mony must endeavour by all good
means to maintain and encrease his forraign trade, because it is
the sole way not only to lead him to his own ends, but also to
enrich his Subjects to his farther benefit: for a Prince is
esteemed no less powerful by having many rich and well affected
Subjects, than by possessing much treasure in his Coffers.
But here we must meet with an Objection, which peradventure
may be made concerning such States (whereof I have formerly
spoken) which are of no great extent, and yet bordering upon
mighty Princes, are therefore constrained to lay extraordinary
taxes upon their subjects, whereby they procure to themselves
very great incomes yearly, and are richly provided against any
Forraign Invasions; yet have they no such great trade with
Strangers, as that the overbalance or gain of the same may
suffice to lay up the one half of that which they advance yearly,
besides their own expences.
To this answer is, that stil the gain of their Forraign Trade
must be the rule of laying up their treasure, the which although
it should not be much yearly, yet in the time of a long continued
peace, and being well managed to advantage, it wil become a great
summe of money, able to make a long defence, which may end or
divert the war. Neither are all the advances of Princes strictly
tied to be massed up in treasure, for they have other no less
necessary and profitable wayes to make them rich and powerfull,
by issuing out continually a great part of the mony of their
yearly Incomes to their subjects from whom it was first taken; as
namely, by employing them to make Ships of War, with all the
provisions thereunto belonging, to build and repair Forts, to buy
and store up Corn in the Granaries of each Province for a years
use (at least) aforehand, to serve in occasion of Dearth, which
cannot be neglected by a State but with great danger, to erect
Banks with their money for the encrease of their subjects trade,
to maintain in their pay, Collonels, Captains, Souldiers,
Commanders, Mariners, and others, both by Sea and Land, with good
discipline, to fill their Store-houses (in sundry strong places)
and to abound in Gunpowder, Brimstone, Saltpeter, Shot, Ordnance,
Musquets, Swords, Pikes, Armours, Horses, and in many other such
like Provisions fitting War; all which will make them to be
feared abroad, and loved at home, expecially if care be taken
that all (as neer as possible) be made out of the Matter and
Manufacture of their own subjects, which bear the burden of the
yearly Contributions; for a Prince (in this case) is like the
stomach in the body, which if it cease to digest and distribute
to the other members,it doth no sooner corrupt them, but it
destroyes it self.
Thus we have seen that a small State may lay up a grat wealth
in necessary provisions, which are Princes Jewels, no less
precious than their Treasure, for in time of need they are ready,
and cannot otherwise be had (in some places) on the suddain,
whereby a State may be lost, whilest Munition is in providing: so
that we may account that Prince as poor who can have no wares to
buy at his need, as he that hath no money to buy wares; for
although Treasure is said to be the sinews of the War, yet this
is so because it doth provide, unite & move the power of men,
victuals, and munition where and when the cause doth require; but
if these things be wanting in due time, what shall we then do
with our mony? the consideration of this, doth cause divers
well-governed States to be exceeding provident and well furnished
of such provisions, especially those Granaries and Storehouses
with that famous Arsenal of the Venetians, are to be admired for
the magnificence of the buildings, the quantity of the Munitions
and Stores both for Sea and Land, the multitute of the workmen,
the diversity and excellency of the Arts, with the order of the
government. They are rare and worthy things for Princes to behold
and imitate; for Majesty without providence of competent force,
and ability of necessary provisions is unassured.
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Chapter 19

Of some different effects, which proceed from Naturall and
Artificial Wealth.

In the latter end of the third Chapter of this Book, I have
already written something concerning Natural and Artificial
Wealth, and therein shewed how much Art doth add to Nature; but
it is yet needful to handle these particulars apart, that so we
may the better discern their severall operations in a
Common-wealth. For the effecting whereof, I might draw some
comparisons from Turkey and Italy, or from some other remote
Countreys, but I will not range so far, having matter sufficient
here in Great Britain and the united Provinces of the Low
Countreys, to make this business plain: wherefore, in the first
place, we will begin with England briefly, and onely in general
terms, to shew the natural riches of this famous Nation, with
some principal effects which they produce in the disposition of
the people, and strength of the Kingdome.
if we duly consider Englands Largeness, Beauty, Fertility,
Strength, both by Sea and Land, in multitude of warlike People,
Horses, Ships, Ammunition, advantagious situation for Defence and
Trade, number of Sea-ports and Harbours, which are of difficult
access to Enemies, and of easie out-let to the Inhabitants wealth
by excellent Fleece-wools, Iron, Lead, Tynn, Saffron, Corn,
Victuals, Hides, Wax, and other natural Endowments; we shall find
this Kingdome capable to sit as master of a Monarchy. For what
greater glory and advantage can any powerful Nation have, than to
be thus richly and naturally possessed of all things needful for
Food, Rayment, War, and Peace, not onely for its own plentiful
use, but also to supply the wants of other Nations, in such a
measure, that much money may be thereby gotten yearly, to make
the happiness compleat. For experience telleth as, that
notwithstanding that excessive Consumption of this Kingdome
alone, to say nothing of Scotland, there is exported communibus
annis of our own native commodities for the value of twenty two
hundred thousand pounds Sterling, or somewhat more; so that if we
were not too much affected to Pride, monstrous Fashions, and
Riot, above all other Nations, one million and an half of pounds
might plentifully supply our unnecessary wants (as I may term
them) of Silks, Sugars, Spices, Fruits,a nd all others; so that
seven hundred thousand jpounds might be yearly treasur'd up in
money to make the Kingdome exceeding rich and powerful in short
time. But this great plenty which we enjoy, makes us a people not
only vicious and excessive, wastful of the means we have, but
also improvident & careless of much other wealth that shamefully
we lose, which is, the Fishing in his Majesty's Seas of England,
Scotland, and Ireland, being of no less consequence than all our
other riches which we export and vent to Strangers, whilest in
the mean time (through lewd idleness) great multitudes of our
people cheat, roar, rob, hang, beg, cant, pine and perish, which
by this means and maintenance might be much encreased, to the
further wealth and strength of these Kingdomes, especially by
Sea, for our own safety, and terrour of our enemies. The
endeavours of the industrious Dutch do give sufficient testimony
of this truth, to our great shame, and no less perill, if it have
not a timely prevention: for, whilst we leave our wonted
honourable exercises and studies, following our pleasures, and of
late years besotting our selves with pipe and pot, in a beastly
manner, sucking smoak, and drinking healths, until death stares
many in the face; the said Dutch have well-neer left this swinish
vice, and taken up our wonted valour, which we have often so well
performed both by Sea and Land, and particularly in their
defence, although they are not now so thankful as to acknowledge
the same. The summ of all is this, that the general leprosie of
our Piping, Potting, Feasting, Fashions, and mis-spending of our
time in Idleness and Pleasure (contary to the Law of God, and the
use of other Nations) hath made us effeminate in our bodies, weak
in our knowledge, poor in our Treasure, declined in our Valour,
unfortunate in our Enterprises, and contemned by our Enemies. I
write the more of these excesses, because they do so greatly wast
our wealth, which is the main subject of this whole Books
discourse: and indeed our wealth might be a rare discourse for
all Christendome to admire and fear, if we would but add Art to
Nature, our labour to our natural means; the neglect whereof hath
given a notable advantage to other nations, & especially to the
Hollanders, whereof I will briefly say something in the next
But first, I will deliver my opinion concerning our Clothing,
which although it is the greatest Wealth and best Employment of
the Poor of this kingdome, yet neverthelesse we may peadventure
employ our selves with better Safety, Plenty, and Profit in using
more Tillage and Fishing, than to trust so wholly to the making
of Cloth; for in times of War, or by other occasions,if some
forraign Princes should prohibit the use thereof in their
dominions, it might suddenly cause much poverty and dangerous
uproars, especially by our poor people, when they should be
deprived of their ordinary maintenance, which cannot so easily
fail them when their labours should be divided into the said
diversity of employments, whereby also many thousands would be
the better enabled to do the Kingdom good service in occasion of
war, especially by Sea: And so leaving England, wee will pass
over into the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
As plenty and power doe make a nation vicious and
improvident, so penury and want doe make a people wise and
industrious; concerning the last of these I might instance divers
Commonwealths of Christendom, who having little or nothing in
their own Territories, do notwithstanding purchase great wealth
and strength by their industrious commerce with strangers,
amongst which the united Provinces of the Low Countreys are now
of greater note and fame: For since they have cast off the yoke
of Spanish slavery, how wonderfully are they improved in all
humane policy? What great means have they obtained to defend
their liberty against the power of so great and Enemy? and is not
allthis performed by their continual industry in the trade of
Merchanidize? are not their Provinces the Magazines and
Store-houses of wares for most places of Christendom, whereby
their Wealth, Shipping, Mariners, Arts, People, and therby the
publique Revenues and Excizes are grown to a wonderful height? If
we compare the times of their subjection, to their present
estate, they seem not the same people; for who knows not that the
condition of those Provinces was mean and turbulent under the
Spaniards government, which brought rather a greater charge than
a further strength to their ambition; neither would it prove over
difficult for the neighbour Princes in short time to reduce those
Countreys to their former estate again, if their own safety did
require the same, as certainly it would if the Spaniard were sole
Lord of those Netherlands; but our discourse tends not to shew
the means of those mutations, otherwise than to find out the
chief foundation of the Hollanders wealth and greatness: for it
seems a wonder to the world, that such a small Countrey, not
fully so big as two of our best Shires, having little natural
Wealth, Victuals, Timber, or other necessary amunitions, either
for war or peace, should notwithstanding possess them all in such
extraordinary plenty, that besides their own wants (which are
very great) they can and do likewise serve and sell to other
Princes, Ships, Ordance, Cordage, Corn, Powder, Shot, and what
not, which by their industrious trading they gather from all the
quarters of the world: In which courses they are not less
injurious to supplant others (especially the English) than they
are careful to strengthen themselves. And to effect this and more
than hath been said (which is their war with Spain) they have
little foundation besides the Fishing, which is permitted them in
His Majesties Seas, being indeed the means of an incredible
wealth and strength, both by Sea and Land, as Robert Hichcock,
Tobias Gentleman, and others have published at large in print to
them that list to read. And the States General themselves in
their proclamation have ingeniously set out the worth thereof in
these words following, The great Fishing and catching of Herrings
is the cheifest trade and principal Gold Mines of the United
Provinces, whereby many thousands of Households, Families,
Handicrafts, Trades and Occupations are set on work, well
maintained and prosper, expecially the sailing and navigation, as
well within as without these Countreys is kept in great
estimation; Moreover many returns of mony, with the encrease of
the means, Convoys, Customs and revenues of these Countreys are
augmented thereby and prosper, with other words following, as is
at large expressed in the said Proclamations, set forth by the
States General for the preservation of the said trade of Fishing;
without which it is apparent that they cannot long subsist in
Soveraignty; for if this foundation perish, the whole building of
their wealth and strength both by Sea and Land must fall; for the
multitude of their Shipping would suddainly decay, their revenues
and customs would become small, their Countreys would be
depopulated for want of maintenance, whereby the Excize must
fail, and all their other trades to the East Indies or elsewhere
must faint. So that the glory and power of these Netherlanders
consisteth in this fishing of Herrings, Ling and Cod in His
Majesties Seas: It resteth therefore to know what right or title
they have thereunto, and how they are able to possess and keep
the same against all other Nations.
The answers to these two questions are not difficult: for
first, it is not the Netherlandish Author of Mare Liberum, that
can intitle them to Fish in His Majesties Seas. For besides the
Justice of the cause, and examples of other Countreys, which
might be alleged, I will only say, that such titles would be
sooner decided by swords, than with words; I do believe indeed
that it is free for the Fish to come thither at their pleasure,
but for the Dutch to catch and carry them away from thence
without His Majesties licence, I harbour no such thought. There
may be good policy to connive still, and so long to permit them
this fishing as they are in perfect league with England, and in
war with Spain. But if the Spaniards were Masters of the United
Provinces as heretofore, it would neerly concern these Kingdoms
to claim their own right, and carefully to make as good use
thereof for increase of their wellth and strength, to oppose that
potent enemy, as now the Netherlanders do, and are thereby well
enabled for the same purpose: by which particular alone they are
ever bound to acknowledge their strong alliance with England,
above all other Nations, for there is none that hath the like
good means to lend them such a powerful maintenance. Nor were it
possible for the Spaniard (if he had those Countreys again) to
make a new Foundaton with the power of his money, to encrrase his
strength, either by Sea or Land, to offend these Kingdoms, more
than he is now albe to perform with the conveniency of those
Provinces which he hath already in his possession; for it is not
the Place, but the Employment, not the barren Netherlands, but
the rich Fishing, which gives Foundation, Trade, and Subsistence
to those multitudes of Ships, Arts and People, whereby also the
Excises and other publick Revenues are continued, and without
which Employment at the said great Dependences must necessarily
disbandon and fail in very short time. For although I confess,
that store of money may bring them materials (which they
altogether want) and Artsmen to build them Shipping, yet where
are the wares to fraight and maintain them out in Trade, what a
poor number of Ships will this employ? or if the uncertain
occasions of War must support them, will not this require another
Indies, and all too little to maintain the tenth part of so many
Ships and Men as the Hollanders do now set on work by the Fishing
and other Trades thereon depending? But if it be yet said, that
the Spaniard being Lord of all those Netherlands, his expence of
the present War there will cease, and so this power may be turned
upon us. The answer is, that when Princes send great Forces
abroad to invade others, they must likewise encrease their charge
and strength at home, to defend themselves; and also we must
consider, that if the Spaniard will attempt any thing upon these
Kingdomes, he must consume a great part of his Treasure in
Shipping, whereby the means of his invading power of Money and
Men to land will be much less than now it is in the Low
Countreys: Nor should we regard them, but be ever ready to beard
them, when our Wealth and Strength by Sea and Land might be so
much encreased by the possession and practise of our Fishing, of
which particular I will yet say something more where occasion
shall be offered in that which followeth. And here in this place
I will onely add, that if the Spaniard were sole Lord of all the
Netherlands, he must then necessarily drive a great trade by Sea,
to supply the common wants of those Countreys, whereby in
occasion of war, we should have means daily to take much wealth
from him; whereas now the Spaniard using little or no trade in
these Seas, but imploying his Ships of warre to the uttermost of
his power, he only takes, and we lose great matters continually.
Now concerning the second question, Whether the Hollanders be
able to possess and keep this fishing against all other Nations.
It is very probable, that although they claim now no other right
than their own freedome in this Fishing, seeming to leave the
like to all others; yet if the practise of any Nation should seek
either to Fish with them or to supplant them, they would be both
ready and able to maintain this Golden Mine, against the
strongest opposition except England, whose harbours and In-lands
with other daily reliefs are very needful, if not absolutely
necessary for this employment, and whose Power also by Sea, is
able (in shsor time) to give this business disturbance, and utter
ruin, if the occasion should be so urgent as is afore supposed:
Neither is it enough for any man to contradict all this by saying
the Hollanders are very strong by Sea, when both Sea and Land
encounter them with a greater power; we must observe from whence
their strength doth grow, and if the root may once be spoiled,
the branches soon will wither; and therefore it were an error to
esteem, or value them according to the present power and wealth,
which they have obtained by trade or purchase; for although this
were far greater then indeed it is, yet would it soon be consumed
in a chargeable war against a potent enemy, when the current of
those Accidents may be stopt and turned by preventing the
substance it self (which is the Fishing in His Majesties Seas)
that gives Foundation, and is the very Foundation of their
strength and happiness: The United Provinces (we know) are like a
fair bird suited with goodly borrowed plumes; but if every Fowl
should take his feather, this bird would rest neer naked: Nor
have we ever seen these Netherlanders as yet in their greatest
occasions to set forth neer so many ships of war at once as the
English have often done without any hinderance of their ordinary
traffique; It is true indeed, they have an infinite number of
weak Ships to fish with, and fetch Corn, Salt, &c. for their own
victualling and trading, the like to fetch Timber, Plank, Boords,
Pitch, Hemp, Tar, Flax, Masts, Cordage, and other Ammunitions to
make those multitudes of Ships, which unto them are as our
Ploughs to us, the which except they stire, the people starve;
their Shipping therefore cannot be spared from their traffique
(as ours may if occasion require) no not for a very short time,
without utter ruin, because it is the daily maintenance of their
great multitudes which gain their living but from hand to mouths
upon which also depends the great excises, and other publique
revenues, which support the State it self: Neither indeed are
those Vessels strong or fit for war; and in their proper use of
Fishing and trade they would become the riches, or the purchase
of a potent Enemy by Sea, as they partly find by one poor town of
Dunkirk, notwithstanding their great charge of Men of war, strong
Convoys, and other commendable diligence, which continually they
use to prevent this mischief: but if the occasion of a more
powerful enemy by Sea should force them to double or treble those
charges, we may well doubt the means of their continuance,
especially when (by us) their fishing might nevertheless be
prevented, which should procure the maintenance. These and other
circumstances make me often wonder, when I hear the Dutch
vain-gloriously to brag, and many English simply to believe, that
the United Provinces are our Forts, Bulwarks, Walls, out-works,
and I know not what, without which we cannot long subsist against
the Spanish forces; when in truth, we are the main fountain of
their happiness, both for war and peace; for trade and treasure,
for Munition and Men, spending our bloud in their defence; whilst
their people are preserved to conquer in the Indies, and to reap
the fruits of a rich traffique out of our own bosoms; which being
assumed to our selves (as we have right and power to do) would
mightily encrease the breed of our people by this good means of
their maintenance, and well enable us against the strongest
enemy, and force likewise great multitudes of those Netherlanders
themselves to seek their living here with us for want of better
maintenance: whereby our many decayed Sea-towns and Castles would
soon be re-edified and populated in more ample manner than
formerly they were in their best estate. And thus these forces
being united, would be ever more ready, sure, and vigorous than a
greater strength that lies divided, which is always subject to
delays, divesion, and other jealousies, of all which we ought not
to be ignorant, but perfectly to know, and use our own strength
when we have occasion, and expecially we must ever be watchful to
preserve this strength, lest the subtilty of the Dutch (under
some fair shews and with their mony) prevail, as peradventure
they lately practised in Scotland, to have had a Patent for the
possessing, inhabiting, and fortifying of that excellent Island
of Lewis in the Orcades; whose scituation, harbours, fishing,
fertility, largeness and other advantages, would have made them
able (in short time) to offend these Kingdoms by suddain
invasions, and to have defened the aforesaid Fishing against his
Majesties greatest power, and also to send out and return home
their Shipping prosperously that way, to and from the East and
West Indies, Spain, the Straights, and other places, without
passing through his Majesty's narrow Seas, where in all occasions
this Kingdome now hath so great advantage to take their Ships,
and prevent their best Trades, which would soon bring them to
ruine, whereby (as they well know) we have a greater tie and
power over them than any other Nation. And howsoever the said
Island of Lewis might have been obtained in the name of private
men, and under the fair pretence of bringing Commerce into those
remote parts of Scotland; yet in the end, when the work had been
brought to any good perfection, the possession and power would no
doubt have come to the Lords, the States General, even as we know
they have lately gotten divers places of great Strength and
Wealth in the East Indies, in the names and with the purse of
their Merchants, whereby also their actions herein have been
obscur'd & made less notorious unto the world, untill they had
obtain'd their ends, which are of such consequence, that it doth
much concern this Nation in particular, carefully to observe
their proceedings, for they notoriously follow the steps of that
valiant and politick Captain, Philip of Macedon, whose Maxim was,
That where force could not prevail, he alwayes used bribes, and
money to corrupt those who might advance his fortune; by which
policy he gave foundation to a Monarchy; & what know we but that
the Dutch may aim at some such Soveraignty, when they shall find
their Indian attempts and other subtil plots succeed so
prosperously? Do we not see their Lands are now become too little
to contain this swelling people, whereby their Ships and Seas are
made the Habitations of great multitudes? and yet, to give them
further breed, are they not spared from their own wars to enrich
the State and themselves by Trade and Arts? whilest by this
policy many thousands of strangers are also drawn thither for
performance of their martial employments, whereby the great
revenue of their Excises is so much the more encreased, and all
things so subtilly contrived, that although the forraign Souldier
be well paid, yet all must be there again expended; and thus the
Wealth remains still in their own Countreys; nor are the
strangers enriched which do them this great service.
I have heard some Italians wisely and worthily discourse of
the natural Strength and Wealth of England, which they make to be
matchless, if we should (but in part) apply our selves to such
policies and endeavours as are very commonly used in some other
Countreys of Europe; and much they ahave admired, that our
thoughts and jealousies attend only upon the Spanish and French
greatness, never once suspecting, but constantly embracing the
Netherlanders as our best Friends and Allies; when in truth (as
they well observe) there are no people in Christendome who do
more undermine, hurt, and eclipse us daily in our Navigation and
Trades, both abroad and at home; and this not only in the rich
Fishing in his Majesty's Seas (whereof we have already written)
but also in our Inland trades between City and City, in the
Manufacture of Silk, Wools, and the like, made here in this
Kingdom, wherein they never give employment or education in their
Arts to the English, but ever (according to the custome of the
Jewes, where they abide in Turkey, and divers places of
Christendome) they live wholly to themselves in their own Tribes.
So that we may truly say of the Dutch, that although they are
amongst us, yet certainly they are not of us, no not they who are
born and bred here in our own Countrey, for stil they will be
Dutch, not having so much as one drop of English bloud in their
More might be written of these Nethelanders pride and
ambitious endeavours, whereby they hope in time to grow mighty,
if they be not prevented, and much more may be said of their
cruel and unjust violence used (expecially to their best friends,
the English) in matters of bloud, trade, and other profits, where
they have had advantages and power to perform it: but these
things are already published in print to the view and admiration
of the world; wherefore I will conclude, and the summ of all is
this, that the United Provinces,which now are so great a trouble,
if not a terrour to the Spaniard, were heretofore little better
than a charge to them in their possession, and would be so again
in the like occasion, the reasons whereof I might yet further
enlarge; but they are not pertinent to this discourse, more than
is already declared, to shew the different effects between
Natural and Artificial Wealth: The first of which, as it is most
noble and advantageous, being alwayes ready and certain, so doth
it make the people careless, proud, and given to all excesses;
whereas the second enforceth Vigilancy, Literature, Arts and
Policy. My wishes therefore are, that as England doth plentifully
enjoy the one, and is fully capable of the other, that our
endeavours might as worthily conjoyn them both together, to the
reformation of our vicious idleness, and greater glory of these
famous Kingdomes.
Back to Top

Chapter 20

The order and means whereby we may draw up the ballance of our
Forraign Trade.

Now, that we have sufficiently proved the Ballance of our
Forraign Trade to be the true rule of our Treasure; It resteth
that we shew by whom and in what manner the said ballance may
bedrawn up at all times, when it shall please the State to
discover how we prosper or decline in this great and weighty
business, wherein the Officers of his Majesties Customes are the
onely Agents to be employed, because they have the accounts of
all the wares which are issued out or brought into the Kingdome;
and although (it is true) they cannot exactly set down the cost
and charges of other mens goods bought here or beyond the seas;
yet nevertheless, if they ground themselves upon the book of
Rates, they shall be able to make such an estimate as may well
satisfie this enquiry: for it is not expected that such an
account can possible be drawn up to a just ballance, it will
suffice onely that the difference be not over great.
First therefore, concerning our Exportations, when we have
valued their first cost, we must add twenty-five per cent.
thereunto for the charges here, for fraight of Ships, ensurance
of the Adventure, and the Merchants Gains; and for our Fishing
Trades, which pay no Customs to his Majesty, the value of such
Exportations may be easily esteem'd by good observations which
have been made, and may continually be made, according to the
increase or decrease of those affairs, the present estate of this
commodity being valued at one hundred and forty thousand pounds
issued yearly. Also we must add to our Exportations all the
moneys which are carried out in Trade by license from his
Secondly, for our Importations of Forraign Wares, the
Custome-books serve onely to direct us concerning the quantity,
for we must not value them as they are rated here, but as they
cost us with all charges laden into our Ships beyond the Seas, in
the respective places where they are bought: for the Merchants
gain, the charges of Insurance, Fraight of Ships, Customes,
Imposts, and other Duties here, which doe greatly indear them
unto our use and consumption, are not withstanding but
Commutations amongst our selves, for the Stranger hath no part
thereof: wherefore our said Importations ought to be valued at
twenty five per cent. less than they are rated to be worth here.
And although this may seem to be too great allowance upon many
rich Commodities, which come but from the Low Countreys and other
places neer hand, yet will it be found reasonable, when we
consider it in gross Commodities, and upon Wares laden in remote
Countreys, as our Pepper, which cost us, with charges, but four
pence the pound: so that when all is brought into a medium, the
valuation ought to be made as afore-written. And therefore, the
order which hath been used to multiply the full rates upon wares
inwards by twenty, would produce a very great errour in the
Ballance, for in this manner the ten thousand bags of Pepper,
which this year we have brought hither from the East Indies,
should be valued at very near two hundred and fifty thousand
pounds, whereas all this Pepper in the Kingdomes accompt, cost
not above fifty thousand pounds, because the Indians have had no
more of us, although we paid them extraordinary dear prices for
the same. All the other charges (as I have said before) is but a
charge of effects amongst our selves, and from the Subject to the
King, which cannot impoverish the Common-wealth. But it is true,
that whereas nine thousand bags of the said Peper are already
shipped out for divers forraign parts; These and all other Wares,
forraign or domestick, which are thus transported Outwards, ought
to be cast up by the rates of his Majesties Custome-money,
multiplyed by twenty, or rather by twenty five (as I conceive)
which will come neerer the reckoning, when we consider all our
Trades to bring them into a medium.
Thirdly, we must remember, that all Wares exported or
imported by Strangers (in their shipping) be esteemed by
themselves, for what they carry out, the Kingdom hath only the
first cost and the custom: And what they bring in, we must rate
it as it is worth here, the Custom, Impost, and pety charges only
Lastly, there must be good notice take of all the great
losses which we receive at Sea in our Shipping either outward or
homeward bound: for the value of the one is to be deducted from
our Exportations, and the value of the other is to be added to
our Importations: for to lose and to consume doth produce one and
the same reckoning. Likewise if it happen that His Majesty doth
make over any great sums of mony by Exchange to maintain a
forraign war, where we do not feed and clothe the Souldiers, and
Provide the armies, we must deduct all this charge out of our
Exportations or add it to our Importations; for this expence doth
either carry out or hinder the coming in of so much Treasure. And
here we must remember the great collections of mony which are
supposed to be made throughout the Realm yearly from our
Recusants by Priests and Jesuits, who secretly convey the same
unto their Colleges, Cloysters and Nunneries beyond the Seas,
from whence it never returns to us again in any kind; therefore
if this mischief cannot be prevented, yet it must be esteemed and
set down as a cleer loss to the Kingdome, except (to ballance
this) we will imagine that as great a value may perhaps come in
from forraign Princes to their Pensioners here for Favours or
Intelligence, which some States account good Policy, to purchase
with great Liberality; the receipt whereof notwithstanding is
plain Treachery.
There are yet some other petty things which seem to have
reference to this Ballance, of which the said Officers of His
Majesties Customs can take no notice, to bring them into the
accompt. As namely, the expences of travailers, the gifts to
Ambassadors and Strangers, the fraud of some rich goods not
entred into the Custom-house, the gain which is made here by
Strangers by change and re-change, Interest of mony, ensurance
upon English mens goods and their lives: which can be little when
the charges of their living here is deducted; besides that the
very like advantages are as amply ministred unto the English in
forraign Countreys, which doth counterpoize all these things, and
therefore they are not considerable in the drawing up of the said
Back to Top

Chapter 21

This conclusion upon all hath been said concerning the
Exportation or Importation of Treasure.

The sum of all that hath been spoken, concerning the enriching of
the Kingdom, and th' encrease of our treasure by commerce with
strangers, is briefly thus. That it is a certain rule in our
forraign trade, in those places where our commodities exported
are overballance in value by forraign wares brought into this
Realm, there our mony is undervalued in exchange; and where the
contrary of this is performed, there our mony is overvalued. But
let the Merchants exchange be at a high rate, or at a low rate,
or at the Par pro pari, or put down altogether; Let Forraign
Princes enhance their Coins, or debase their Standards, and let
His Majesty do the like,or keep them constant as they now stand;
Let forraign Coins pass current here in all payments at higher
rates than they are worth at the Mint; Let the Statute for
employments by Strangers stand in force or be repealed; Let the
meer Exchanger do his worst; Let Princes oppress, Lawyers extort,
Usurers bit, Prodigals wast, and lastly let Merchants carry out
what mony they shall have occasion to use in traffique. Yet all
these actions can work no other effects in the course of trade
than is declared in this discourse. For so much Treasure only
will be brought in or carried out of a Commonwealth, as the
Forraign Trade doth over or under ballance in value. And this
must come to pass by a Necessity beyond all resistance. So that
all other courses (which tend not to this end) howsoever they may
seem to force mony into a Kingdom for a time, yet are they (in
the end) not only fruitless but also hurtful: they are like to
violent flouds which bear down their banks, and suddenly remain
dry again for want of waters.
Behold then the true form and worth of forraign Trade, which
is, The great Revenue of the King, The honour of the Kingdom, The
Noble profession of the Merchant, The School of our Arts, The
supply of our wants, The employment of our poor, The improvement
of our Lands, The Nurcery of our Mariners, The walls of the
Kingdoms, The means of our Treasure, The Sinnews of our wars, The
terror of our Enemies. For all which great and weighty reasons,
do so many well governed States highly countenance the
profession, and carefully cherish the action, not only with
Policy to encrease it, but also with power to protect it from all
forraign injuries: because they know it is a Principal in Reason
of State to maintain and defend that which doth Support them and
their estates.

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