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The GOLDEN FLEECE Defended; OR Reaſons againſt the Company of Merchant Adventurers; Humbly offered to the conſideration of the Honourable HOVSE of COMMONS.

1. IT taketh away the NATIVE LIBERTY of every man; in the principal commodity of the NATION: It being the birthright of every man to be alike free to tranſport, that, or any o­ther Comodity, into what parts beyond the ſeas ſeemeth moſt advantagious unto him.

2. It abridgeth the FREEDOME, of every FREEMAN of the CITY of LONDON, every Freeman by the Charter of the City being free to tranſport, or import any Commodity, not prohibited by Law.

3. It tendeth to the diſcouragement of CLOTHIERS, whoſe markets and ſale of their clothes, are reſtrained to a few Mer­chants, (in compariſon of what they would be if trade were free) and who, by their orders, and times of ſhipping (ſhipping together in one or two ſhips) have power to uſe the Clothiers (eſpecially the younger, and inferiour traders) how they pleaſe to worke them into neceſſities, and ſo to what rates and con­ditions they will, and in concluſion, quite weary them out of all trade.

4. It tendeth to the diſcouragement, and impoveriſhing of all WEAVERS, CLOTHIERS and DYERS, in that the oppreſſions, and neceſſities of the Clothier, fall upon the Weavers, Cloth-workers, and all whom they imploy: alſo the Mercharts being but few, employ few workemen, and uſe ſuch as they doe employ at their pleaſure; and wherein alſo the Wool-maſters are not a little concerned.

5. It tendeth to the abatement of Merchants:

  • (1) becauſe they take but few Apprentices:
  • (2) becauſe they take ſuch onely, whoſe friends give great ſummes of money with them; and are provided of great ſtocks, who having ſerved their times, more like unto Gentlemen then according to the anci­ent, provident, diſcipline of Apprentices of London, finding the Companies Orders to be ſcanty in allowances of trade to young men, and their freedome in reſpect of Oathes, and Stints, and Brokes, to be indeed but as a bondage, many of them en­gage not at all in trade, but live upon uſury, or ſpend their times in unproſitable wayes.

6. It keepeth downe and oppreſſeth the inferior Members of the Corporation:

  • (1) Becauſe the old, and great traders, are allowed the largiſts Stints, or to tranſport the greater number of clothes, whereby they have the greater command over the Clothier, and all workmen.
  • (2) Becauſe a great part of the trade is driven by cloth of knowne marks much deſired beyond the ſeas; all which the great traders get into their hands, and will ſell them ſome­times for loſſe rather then an inferior trader ſhall ſell them to profit, if at any time he get them, which is almoſt a thing im­poſſible.
  • (3) The inferior trader with his ſmall portion, meane­ly qualified, is nevertheleſſe conſtrained to pay the ſame im­poſitions to the Company, the ſame Cuſtome to the State, to ſhip when the great traders ſhippeth; to ſtay untill the great traders great quantities are up; if he happen to be the laſt (as having need to lengthen out the time upon which he buy­eth moſt of his goods) he is many times ſhut out, and then no remedy till next ſhipping without incurring great brokes.
  • (4) When his ſmall parcell is come to the Mart townes, he muſt ſhew his goods, only when the great ones ſhew theirs; if they cannot give the ſame time upon ſale, or at the ſame rates (though they have little choiſe of known ware to invite) their goods will be blowne upon, and their time will eat them out; if they doe ſell at the ſame rate of profit per cent. they ſell ſo little, that it amounts to nothing; whilſt the other ſells ſo much, ſo ſpeedily, hath ſo much command of moneyes at low rates (Chamber Money) that at low profit per cent. in a ſhort time he gets to an Aldermans eſtate, whilſt the others are worne to nothing; and yet upon a pretence, both of profit and honour, he muſt not carry his goods from the Mart towne, though indeed it be as bad in point of honour, whether the Engliſh Nation, or the ſtaple commodity, Engliſh cloth, or Engliſh Merchants be conſidered, there being not more pelting, and abject fawning in Birching Lane after Cuſtomers, then is commonly uſed by Merchants in humoring their buyers, and grocers in Roterdam; and nothing but ſnarling, and backbiting, circumvention, partiality and in­juſtice, to be found in their judiciall proceedings, either there, at Hamborow, or London: By all which it followeth, the Com­pany tendeth to make ſome few men extreame rich, to breed prodi­gall ſervants, leading a dance of pride and prodigality, to all o­ther tradeſmens ſervants, as their Maſters do unto other tradeſ­men, ſtriving who ſhall exceede in faſhions, diet, houſing, and houſholdſtuffe, in ſo much as a common Citizen is (in theſe times) more like a Noble man or Gentleman, and the ancient moderation of the City quite loſt, whereas were trade free there would be in lieu of theſe few rich men, a multitude of plaineable traders, that upon publicke occaſions of State, would from a plen­tifull hand fill the publike treaſury, and that freely too, their in­tereſt being common freedome, ſubſiſting by the lawfull protection of the Commons of England; whilft the others, out of their great eſtates, disburſe ſparingly, diſputingly, if not grumblingly: And no marvell, for their intereſt is Prerogative, ſubſiſting by Arbitrary and purchaſed grants, not by lawfull authority, which is eaſily diſcerned by their fines, for when by their wealth, and the folly of the chooſers, they are any of them, put into any Of­fice of truſt, or Magiſtracy, they ever favour thoſe that adhere all to Arbitrary Government, and diſcourage and diſcountenance ſuch as adhere to common freedome, and equall Government; and (if throughly ſought into) this will be found the principall ſpring & Originall of the late Rmoneſtrance, called by ſome The Cities Remonſtrance; and of the perverſe diſputing ſpirit that hath lately appeared towards the Houſe of Commons; ſuch a chain of miſchiefes neceſſarily depend upon this one evill in trade.

7. It tendeth to the deſhonour of God, and the wounding of conſci­ence by the commonneſſe of unreaſonable Oathes, and the too too lamentable and frequent breach of them.

8. It tendeth to the deſtruction of Clothing in this Nation,

  • (1) Be­cauſe through the diſcouragements aforeſaid, many Clothi­ers and other workmen have forſaken the Land, and ſet up Cloth-making in divers parts beyond the ſeas.
  • (2) Becauſe the trade of cloth being confined to one or two Mart townes onely, and not diſperſt into every haven and creeke (as it would be were it free) there is an un••ſerved liberty taken to bring into the Ne­therlands great quantities of our Engliſh wools, and Fullers earth; the great Merchants in their Mart townes nothing at all re­garding it, whereby cloth in theſe times, and of late is made in abundance, and if not well looked unto, in time, will utterly ex­hauſt the woollen, or clothing trade quite from us; and it will ne­be ſo well looked unto, by any Law or proviſion, as by the diſ­perſing of the Trade into every place (which freedome will occa­ſion) where every trader for his own profit, and livelihood, will be neceſſitated to looke to it, and by all meanes to reſtraine it.

9. It tendeth to the diſcouragement of Seamen.

  • (1) By reſtrai­ning them from dealing in any woollen commodities for their owne accounts though never ſo little.
  • (2) In that they make very few voyages in the yeare, and make uſe of none but ſuch as will ſubmit to their Orders.

10. It tendeth to the vexation of moſt of the good Townes beyond the ſeas, and to alienate their hearts from the Engliſh, taking great offence and ſcorne, that for the Engliſh cloth they muſt be com­pelled to fetch what they uſe, onely from one Towne in their owne Country, at great charge and trouble, which otherwiſe would be brought home to them, and every towne might have an equall ſhare of the benefit of the entertainment and expences of Engliſh Merchants. And for this cauſe alſo, they chuſe to make uſe of the cloth that is made in their own Country, rather then to ſubmit to ſuch inconveniences.

11. It much alienateth the hearts of a numerous people, both in Cities and all Countries from the PARLIAMENT, being much grieved that their knowne liberties of trade wherein they are ſo univer­ſally concerned, ſhould from time to time be bought and ſold for money, and that they could never yet obtaine a compleat remedy therein, though often and earneſtly Petitioned for; whereas were this trade once ſet abſolutely free, the joy of the people in generall, both Sea-men and Land-men, would be ex­ceſſive, and their thankfulneſſe ſo great that they would think nothing too precious to be ſpent in defence of that authority that ſhould ſhew ſo much regard unto their welfare and hap­pineſſe.


About this transcription

TextThe golden fleece defended; or Reasons against the Company of Merchant Adventurers; humbly offered to the consideration of the Honourable House of Commons.
Extent Approx. 12 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 3 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
Additional notes

(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A85337)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 160163)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 61:E381[5])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationThe golden fleece defended; or Reasons against the Company of Merchant Adventurers; humbly offered to the consideration of the Honourable House of Commons. [4] p. s.n.,[London :1647]. (Caption title.) (Imprint from Wing.) (Signatures: A².) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "March 19. 1646".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Company of Merchant Adventurers of England -- Early works to 1800.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-04 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A85337
  • STC Wing G1016
  • STC Thomason E381_5
  • STC ESTC R201408
  • EEBO-CITATION 99861922
  • PROQUEST 99861922
  • VID 160163

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