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Commercial Relations of England and Scotland 1603 - 1707
1603-1650


a. Industry in Scotland

James, although his residence and court were removed to London, did not at all neglect the internal interests of his kingdom of Scotland. In fact after his accession in England, his authority in Scotland was more absolute than it had been before. The Privy Council was his instrument, and through it he carried out his schemes for the establishment of order, economic development, and ecclesiastical settlement in Scotland. The existence of a single authority for both kingdoms made an organised effort to suppress disorder on the Borders possible. There was no longer any danger of English or Scottish raids, and a Commission of five Englishmen and five Scotsmen was appointed to suppress feuds and establish order amongst the unruly Border clans. They carried out their instructions mercilessly, unscrupulously and thoroughly, with the result that it was said, with some truth, that the "Middle Shires" were "as lawful, as peaceable and as quiet as any part in any civil kingdom in Christianity." James also endeavoured to establish his authority and some degree of order in the Highlands and Islands. Peace on the border and some security from Highland raids naturally tended to encourage the Lowlanders in the pursuit of the arts of peace, and in this they received all encouragement from the government. As a result there was considerable economic activity in Scotland during the early part of the seventeenth century until the beginning of the religious struggles and the Civil Wars.

The encouragement and improvement of already established manufactures, the introduction of new methods, the regulation of import and export, and the interests of foreign trade all received the attention of the King and his Council. The development of the manufacture of cloth was a favourite project which had for some time occupied the attention of the authorities. Various efforts were made to improve it during the sixteenth century, and in 1597 the "hame bringing of Englis claith" was forbidden. The production of native cloth was not however sufficient, and the prohibition was rescinded two years later. In 1600, efforts were made to introduce foreign help to improve the manufacture. It was said that "the unskilfulness of our awin people heirtofoir, togidder with the unwillingnes to suffer ony strangeris to cum amangis thame, has bene ane of the caussis that hes hinderit" the growth of the manufacture of wool; "they being unhable, without the help of strangeris quha ar better acquent with that tred to attine to ony perfectioun in that work." Liberty was therefore given for a hundred families of foreign cloth-workers to settle. They were to be naturalised, and made free burgesses of any burgh in which they should settle. Several families did immigrate, although they were not welcomed by the Scottish artisans.

In 1620 a patent was given to the town of Edinburgh for making cloths, and a long list is given of the different varieties which were made. Amongst them were "cairseyis," "freissis and kiltis," "quhyte cottounes," "bumbaseyis," "growgraynes," "cottoun Fustianis," "seargeis " etc., also some materials known by the strange names of "Stand-afar," "Over keik," and "Fair a far aff." Three years later, in accordance with James's wishes as expressed in a letter to the Privy Council, a standing committee for manufactures was appointed, with a large scope for action. It was to consider chiefly the wool manufacture, what was needed for its encouragement, how new works should be set up, what variety of manufacture was best for home use, and what for exportation, whether foreigners should be brought in, and whether societies should be formed. On all these points the Committee was to confer, and then to "sett down ordinanceis thairanent." The members however did not meet very often, and do not seem to have done very much in setting up new works or .introducing new processes. The existing works were carried on very successfully. "Plaiding" was one of the most important of Scottish manufactured exports. In 1634 and 1635 there was much discussion as to the way in which it should be done up for sale. The manufacturers seem to have sold it in "hard rolls," not "open folds," so that the purchasers could not see what they were buying. This tended to give a bad name to Scots cloth abroad, and so the Council decided that it must be laid out for sale in folds for the buyers to examine. The other varieties of cloth which were made were more for home use than for export, and were not manufactured in any very large quantities. Some of these were new manufactures, brought in by the efforts of James and Charles; but their care resulted more in the increase of the quantity produced by the old methods than in the introduction of new cloth industries.

The question of the wool supply was an important problem during this period, and indeed throughout the seventeenth century. It was felt that, in order to encourage the cloth manufacture, the supply should be plentiful and the price low. But when the export was prohibited, complaints were at once made by the wool-growers, and also by the merchants and shippers, who declared that their trade abroad would be ruined. And as a matter of fact, the manufacturers were not, as a rule, able to use all the wool in the kingdom. Also wool was one of the principal exports, especially to Holland. It was therefore difficult for the Council or Parliament to decide on a definite policy, and in consequence the regulations varied from time to time. On the whole, perhaps the export was more often prohibited than allowed, but customs officials were neither strict nor numerous, and the laws prohibiting the export were more often than not entirely ignored.

The export of wool was forbidden in 1602, but the prohibition was evidently disregarded, for in 1612 and 1614 it was said that "woll hes bene transportit in verie grite quantities," and the prohibition was re-enacted1. In 1616 the matter was brought up before the Convention of Royal Burghs, who considered that "the haill countrey woll mycht be wrogt at hame." At the same time, they "planelie and flatlie refusit...to undertak any burdyne in that mater." Nevertheless the export was prohibited again. Although the efforts to encourage the cloth manufacture had been fairly successful, yet "since his sacred Majestie's happy arryvall to the commandment of both kingdomes by his Hienis solide government the store is sua increased" that licences had of late been granted for export. So in 1623 the whole question was most exhaustively discussed, information being got from landowners and Justices of the Peace as to the price of wool in different shires. The result was that export was again prohibited, but, as before, licences were granted for transporting wool, and the prohibition gradually fell into abeyance. Theoretical prohibition and practical freedom therefore sum up the history of the export trade in wool during the early part of the century.

The English Privy Council were exercised over the same question, which later in the century became of very great importance. In 1622 the export of wool from England was forbidden, because the "Cloth & Stuffes of this Our Kingdom, haue not that Vent in foraine parts which formerly they haue had." In 1632 the export was again forbidden. The discussions of this question illustrate the different stages of economic development of the two countries. The English export of cloth was of far greater importance than the export of wool, and the export of wool was forbidden in order that the cloth trade should "be maintained. In Scotland, on the other hand, the export of the raw material was a very important branch of her trade, and, although a considerable amount of coarse cloth was exported, the main object of the Scottish Council was that sufficient cloth should be made to supply the home demand.

The freedom or restraint of the export of other products besides wool also came under consideration. The question of the export of several native commodities—coals, wool, cattle, etc.—and of the import of foreign victual came up before the Council in 1626, and the whole matter was discussed at great length. The burghs and people generally wanted restraint of export and free import; the landowners and coalowners desired free export and restricted import. Finally, the export of victual was allowed when the prices were under certain fixed sums. The question of the free export of coal was one which had already received much attention. Complaints had often been made of its export on the grounds that the supply would become exhausted, and also that it raised prices for the home consumer. The Council now declared that the prices to Scottish dealers were to be 55. per ton less than the price to foreigners, if they were going to sell it again by retail, and 25. less if they were going to export it. The rates on coal were doubled in 1634 to raise revenue, and also as a protection against exhaustion of the supply by too much exportation. A few years later (1641) it was found that the "trade hath not only beene deserted by strangers in regarde of the said extraordinarie imposition; to the undoing of manie of our poore subjects who had thair subsistence thairby, bot also to the utter mine of the maisters of the saide coale works." The extra duty was therefore taken off.

The reform of the tanning industry was another question which occupied the attention of the Council. There were many complaints about the quality of Scots leather due to "the ignorance and unskilfulness of the tannaris." It was suggested that twelve persons skilled in the "trew and upright form of tanning" should be brought from England for a year to introduce better methods. Lord Erskine was appointed undertaker in 1619, and had to pay the expenses of bringing in the strangers, getting a patent of monopoly of tanning for thirty-one years, and receiving 4s. per hide sealed by him as good for twenty-one years. The Scottish tanners were not at all anxious to receive instruction. The cordiners, who were for the most part tanners, combined, "maligning and repineing aganis this intendit reformatioun...and resolvit so far as in thame lyis to croce and hinder the same, and to foister and interteine thair former ignorance of the speciall pointis of that trade." In order to "mak this intendit reforma-tioun seam distaistful to the people...they haif verie extraordinarlie raised and highted the pryceis of thair bootis and shoone." The cordiners were at first successful in their resistance, for the Council declared in 1622 that "the whole panes tane thairin ar lyke to prove void and ineffectuall." A few years later, however, the development in the leather trade through the improvement of tanning was noted, and there was an agitation for free exportation of hides. This was not yet allowed, but licences were occasionally granted to certain merchants or burghs to export some of their stock of hides.

Several new industries and new processes were introduced during this period. In 1611 a monopoly for twenty-one years was granted to Nathaniel Udward for making linen cloth. He intended to bring in a number of strangers from Holland to introduce " the best making and usuall form and manner as is maid in Holland." Thus the yarn which was now exported and wrought abroad would be made up at home. This Nathaniel Udward was a person of great activity, quite one of the most enterprising merchants and manufacturers of the time. He was granted, in 1619, a patent of the sole right of making soap in Scotland for twenty-one years. Hitherto foreign soap only had been used, "with the quhilk saipe this kingdome is most shamefullie and mischeantlie abused, the samyn being compoised of suche pestiferous and filthie ingredientis as no civile kingdome, yea even the very rude barbarianis, will nocht allow nor permitt the lyk to be sauld amongis thame." In view of the contemporary reputation of Scotland for dirtiness, it is interesting to read that this "pestiferous and noysome saipe" was said to produce "mony schameful and havie imputationis aganis this kingdome especiallie be strangearis hanting and frequenting this kingdome quha may not abide the stinkin smell of the naiprie and lynning clothes waschin with this filthie saip." Udward's manufacture was not, however, able to supply the whole kingdom, and the restraint on the import of foreign soap was withdrawn in 1624. Udward was also, in 1628, granted a patent for the manufacture of ordnance, the first attempt of that nature in Scotland.

In the same year a patent was granted to two London merchants and one Scot for the sole right of refining sugar in Scotland for thirty-one years, both imported and exported sugar to be free of duty for twenty-one years. The manufacture of glass also received attention. Glass works were set up in 1619, and a Venetian was brought to serve as master. The glass used in Scotland had formerly been brought from Dantzig. A commission was appointed two years later to inquire into the state of the manufacture. They recommended that pieces of glass of each kind manufactured should be brought from England to serve as patterns for the Scots manufacture. The import of foreign glass was forbidden for thirty-one years. In England, Scots glass was the only kind which was allowed to be imported.

The ever-active Udward in 1631 obtained a monopoly for the manufacture of salt, for which he had invented a new process. If his invention succeeded in Scotland, he was to be allowed to manufacture it in England and Ireland also. At the same time it was suggested that the amount of salt to be imported into England should be restricted, and also the importation of foreign salt into Scotland. Objections were raised to both proposals. The restraint of the export to England would reduce the quantity produced, and then both coal and salt-works would be injured, as it did not pay to work the coal unless it could be used in the salt manufacture. Foreign salt was necessary for the salting of fish, a very important industry, as Scotland exported large quantities of salted fish both to France and Spain.

The condition of the fishing industry was a matter of great concern, especially to Charles I. The fishing on the Scottish coasts was of course a very valuable national asset, but it was far from being developed to the utmost extent. The disturbed state of the Highlands and Islands was a great drawback to fishing in the seas and lochs there. It was said in 1605 that the fishermen were debarred by the "violence and barbarous crueltie, abusis, and extortiouns of the hielandis and cuntremen" from that "maist profitabill and easie fisching." The state of these parts improved a little through James's efforts, but then the Dutch stepped in and took a large share of the fishing. Englishmen also began to fish in Scottish waters. In 1623 the burghs complained of the "heavie hurt the haill borrowis of this realme doth sustain be the Inglish-men and Fleymings who hes laitlie taken upone tred of fishing in the North and West Yles of this kingdome." They were further alarmed by the permission given by Charles in 1627 to the Earl of Seaforth to erect a burgh in Stornoway, which was to be settled with Dutchmen who were to undertake the trade of fishing. This prospective intrusion of the Dutch also aroused English jealousy: "from our fish they ground their stock of all their other adventures and make Holland the Staple for all Christendom, from Scotland they serve France, Germany and all the Countries within the Baltic sea." Scots and English both "agreed as to the necessity of expelling the Dutch from Scottish waters, but there the agreement ended. England wanted to share the benefits of the fishing, while the Scots were almost as anxious to exclude the English as the Dutch. A project was made for forming a great company, with an elaborate organisation, of Scots, English and Irish, for carrying on the fishing all round the coast. Charles was much interested in the scheme, and wrote many letters to the Scottish Privy Council urging them to further its promotion. One of these ended with the -words: "this is a worke of so great good to both my kingdomes that I have thought good by these few lines of my owne hand seriouslie to recommend it unto yow The furthering of which will ather oblige or disoblige me more than anie one business that has happened in my time."

A committee was appointed to consider the whole -question. They found the "associatioun with England to be verie inconvenient to the estait." The Scots first of all insisted on the reservation of all the fishing in the lochs and bays, and within fourteen miles of the •coasts, so that the English would have been in no better position than they were before the association was formed. They also raised many difficulties as to the settlements of the English on the coasts to cure their fish, and as to their trade with the natives. The negotiations almost came to grief on the subject of the reservations. Charles wrote to the Earl of Menteith in 1631: "yow must deall about the reservations for the fisching busines to keip these places from being reserved that I have told you of, becaus I foresee that otherwise that great business, whereof I have had so great a care of, will run a hazard." In the end the only reservations made were of the fishing between "St Tabsheid and Ridheid," and the "Mules of Galloway and Kintyre," that is, of the Firths of Forth and Clyde. Letters Patent were issued erecting the company, and a charter constituting the association sent down to Scotland. The government was vested in twelve councillors, half Scottish, and half English and Irish. To propitiate the Scots, the charter was drawn up with "speciall care to preserve the dignitie of that our ancient kingdome." The company at first seemed to carry on its work vigorously, especially the English members, who occasionally complained of their treatment in the Highlands. But the disturbances arising from the Civil War interrupted this, as many other pursuits, and after the Restoration it was found to be very much neglected.

The results of the reign of James and of the first part of that of Charles in Scotland, economically speaking, was a considerable industrial development, greatly due to the personal interest of both sovereigns, manifested chiefly through the action of their Privy Council. But the latter part of Charles's reign was far from favourable to continued economic prosperity. In spite of the increased taxation to meet the expense of the army in England and the devastation caused by Montrose's campaigns, industry and trade were still carried on for a time, though under ever-increasing difficulties. Cromwell's invasions, however, devastated the country and dealt a very severe blow to Scottish economic prosperity, from which it did not recover for many years.

In 1643 the Privy Council appointed a commission to establish manufactories, and in 1645 the Act in favour of manufactories was passed. This Act granted various privileges and exemptions for the benefit of manufacturers, including an exemption from serving with the army or having soldiers quartered on them. It was the first of a series which established a system of parliamentary protection of industry in Scotland, continued after the Restoration, and becoming fully developed by the Act of 1681. The increasing expenses of army maintenance made new taxation necessary, and in 1644 an excise was established. The commodities taxed were ale, beer, wine, aqua vitae, tobacco, cattle, sheep, silk stuffs, cloths and coal, but all the manufactures of the kingdom were exempted. The government shewed its desire as far as possible to encourage, or at all events, not to handicap industry, but doubtless the strain of supporting an army had begun to tell upon the country before the English invasions with their disastrous results alike to industry and commerce laid the country desolate.

b. Trade with England. Colonisation and Trade in America. Colonisation in Ireland

Trade with England

Scottish trade during this period was earned on along much the same lines as before the Union. Scotland did not gain any share in England's foreign trade. Her merchants still confined themselves to voyages to France, Spain and the Baltic, and did not venture to join in the East Indian, African or Levant trades. Nor did they share in the' Plantation trade which was gradually becoming of great importance to England. Only one Scotsman is mentioned as trading from Scotland to America before 1660, an Aberdeen merchant. Farther north the enterprising Udward began a fishing trade in the Greenland seas, but he met with much opposition from the English companies who traded thither.

In her European trade, which was by far the most important, Scotland suffered from her connection with England throughout the seventeenth century. She became involved in the wars which her sovereign waged as King of England, which handicapped her trade and from which she did not derive any benefits. This was especially the case with France and Holland, with whom she chiefly traded. During these wars her trade with England's enemy was prohibited, though as a matter of fact the prohibitions were not always regarded. She was taxed to support them and had also to maintain herself in a state of defence while they continued, while she reaped no benefit from them in the end. For the support of the Elector Palatine in 1621, £1,200,000 Scots payable in three years was granted to James, "the greatest taxatione that ever was granted in Scotland heirtofoir in aney age." In 1625 a grant of £400,000 was made to Charles for support in his war with France. These additional burdens fell very heavily on the mercantile classes, who were already suffering from the hindrance to their trade caused by the war.

James's desire to make his two kingdoms one was shewn by his union scheme. Although that was a failure, he afterwards did all he could to bring the administration of England and Scotland as near uniformity as possible. His ecclesiastical policy was directed towards the setting up of the same form of Church government in Scotland as in England. Of less importance but more wisdom was his introduction of the English Justice of the Peace system into Scotland. In commercial affairs, he tried to make the laws relating to navigation in Scotland conform to those in England. In 1615 he issued a Proclamation in England enforcing the earlier statutes with regard to navigation. These declared that only English ships should be- used in shipping goods to or from English ports. In Scotland this policy had never been followed, but in the same year James suggested that regulations of the same nature should be made there. There was much discussion of the proposal. The chief reason urged against it by the burghs was, that if they should restrain their trade to native ships, other nations would do likewise. This would mean "decay and wrack to our schipping," as a large number of ships were employed by foreigners, and "the half of the number of schippis quhilkis ar presentlie in Scotland will serve for our awin privat tred." The Privy Council were of another opinion. They declared that "the cuntry, quhilk of laite yeiris wes furnist with a nomber of good and strong schippis is now become empty of schipping.. .whereas yf according to the loveabill custome of all otheris weile governit commonwealthis no strangearis shippis wer sufferit to be frauchtet be the subjectis ot this cuntrey quhen Scottis and Inglis schippis may be had the shipping of this cuntrey wald daylie incresce." The skippers were also anxious for the restraint. The Council decided that for the south and east, "France, Flanderis, Spayne and Italie and utheris southe and west pairtis and portis quhair this kingdome hes commerce" the restraint should be made. The freight prices were to be settled by representatives both of the merchants and of the skippers. But it was not found possible to regulate the "easterlyne" trade, as from those parts were brought necessary commodities such as timber, pitch and tar. These the country could not do without, but the native ships were not fitted for carrying them, therefore importation in foreign vessels was still allowed. According to the Proclamation of 1615, the term "native" ships included also English ships. These regulations, however, soon fell into abeyance.

The fact of the Union and the sovereign's anxiety to draw the two nations together seem to have resulted in some increase of the trade between the two countries, though neither nation was at all popular with the other. The English expressed many fears at the time of the Union that herds of impoverished Scots would descend upon them, and, like the lean kine of Egypt, would devour their prosperity. The King did his best to restrain his more needy subjects from following him. "Homers" were forbidden to pass into England. Skippers were forbidden to take any "beggarlie passengeris" thither. Later a licence was required for anyone who wished to go to England. These were only to be granted to "gentlemen of goode qualitie and merchantis for traffique." James suited his own convenience in prohibiting one class of person from repairing to his English court—persons who came to sue for debts due from the King, "whereas thair is no sorte of importunitie more ungratious to His Majesty." A few Englishmen seem to have repaired to Scotland, artisans, as the tanners who were introduced, and a few glass workers; also some manufacturers, two who set up a sugar-refining work, some who had patents for searching for saltpetre, or for working gold and silver mines, and others. On the whole, however, there does not seem to have been much settlement by either nationality in the country of the other.

The merchants repairing to England were still looked upon as strangers, whatever their legal position might be. Those trading to London found it necessary in 1612 to appoint an agent to look after their interests there, as they were "wonderfullie abusit be the serchours customers and others thair." In ports on the east coast—Yarmouth, Hull, Lynu, etc.—they complained of being made to pay larger entry and officers' fees than they had formerly paid in London. Soon after the Proclamation of 1615 the farmers of the customs in London proposed to search all Scottish ships coming to that port, which was not done in any other country and was only suggested "to trouble his Majesties good subjectis." James took this matter into consideration, and after representations from the Scottish Privy Council on the question, he refused to grant permission to search Scots ships. Complaints and disagreements were very common, especially with the Scots merchants, who resorted to England more than English merchants to Scotland. This was the case in particular branches of trade as well as in general commercial relations. In any direction where the interests of the two countries clashed, England was always anxious to regulate Scottish affairs to meet her convenience. She manifested the same spirit as in her dealings with Ireland and with the Plantations. England was to be the head, her interests were to be supreme, and their affairs were to be regulated as best to conduce to her prosperity. England forgot that Scotland was neither a conquered country nor a dependency settled with her own "blood and treasure." And in time she found that there was a strong Scottish national spirit, and that her own interests would be better served by concession than by coercion.

The negotiations regarding the wool trade in James's reign are an illustration of England's attitude. The cloth trade was the most important of the English industries at this period. The supply of raw material was a question of great importance, and the export of wool was forbidden. All through the. seventeenth century there was friction between the two countries regarding this trade. England wanted first of all to prevent the Scots from taking English wool to Scotland, and then exporting it to supply the rivals of England; and also, if possible, to secure that English manufacturers should be able to command the supply of Scots wool also, and that it should not be exported to any other country. For a few years before 1622 there was no restraint on the wool trade between the two countries, and during that period there were some complaints of the export of English wool through Scotland to the continent, The Merchant Adventurers complained in 1616 that the Hollanders had prohibited the use of their cloth, and were promoting their own manufactures. They demanded that the export of wool from Scotland should be forbidden, as well as from England. The export from Scotland had been forbidden at different times, but the prohibitions were never strictly enforced. In 1622 the export of English wool to Scotland was prohibited in order that it might not be supplied to foreign markets by the Scots. The English authorities then considered that the Scots wool supply might be reserved exclusively for their use. Commissioners from both nations were ordered to meet, "to aduise of the best way, how the Woolles of that Our Kingdom of Scotland which shall not there be draped may be brought hither into England...that all parts of Our Dominion may mutually be helpful one to another, and further their common good and that our neighbouring nations may not be furnished with Wools...from any our Realms or Dominions, and thereby be enabled to hinder the vent of our Cloth...it being the most staple commodity of this our realme of England." But wool, in spite of occasional prohibitions, was one of the chief articles of Scottish trade. The point of view of the Scots commissioners was therefore different. If "the vent sould be absolutlie restreaned to Ingland...quhen Englische salbe assured that we have no privilege to vent our woollis bot with thame...they will contemne and scorne to give pryces for our Wooll to the countreyis great prejudice." In the end nothing was done, the English commissioners "being maid to understand that the mater wes not of that importance as wes pretendit." Although no definite arrangement was made, a good deal of Scots wool was brought to England, some by land and some by sea. There was a good deal of trade between the two countries by sea, especially in coal, which was brought to London in large quantities. The ports to which the Scots most resorted were London, Bristol, Plymouth, Yarmouth, Newcastle, and also some ports in North Wales. In 1620 the Bristol merchants complained that the owners there were "few and poore in regard of the frequent resort of Scottish shippes hither." When the Bishops' War broke out in 1639, commercial intercourse with England was stopped, and Scottish trade suffered considerably. All Scottish ships in English ports were arrested4, and others were taken which were sailing to foreign ports. In 1640 over fifty Scots ships were-. detained in various English harbours, besides several in Ireland. These were all released on the conclusion of peace. The English were said to have suffered more than the Scots from the stoppage of trade, especially from a dearth of coal, of which large quantities were usually brought from Scotland to London and other English towns. After the peace in 1640, there was no prohibition of trade until the English invasion in 1650. The royalist privateers and pirates were, however, a great hindrance to trade in spite of the Commonwealth fleet. They infested the coasts, and even made it difficult for the Scots to victual their forces in England. In 1644, on the representation of the Scots commissioners, eight ships were appointed to guard the Scottish coasts, but they do not seem to have been of much service. Communication with France and Holland was much hindered, "to the utter ruine of many merchants." The burghs suffered so much that in 1644 a grant was made to them of £15,000 to compensate them for their losses by sea and land, and in 1647 another grant of £20,000. The trading estate as a whole, though fairly prosperous during the early years of the seventeenth century, yet suffered considerably during the decade 1640 to 1650, and was in no condition to support the losses incurred during the English invasions and occupation.

Of the resentment of the English merchants at any infringement of their privileges on the part of the Scots, there is, during this period, an instance in the Greenland trade. The ubiquitous Udward, in 1627, obtained from Charles, under the Great Seal of Scotland, a patent to trade and make oil by fishing in Greenland and in the islands adjoining. "The oil was to be used in the soap-works which had been set up in 1619. The English Muscovy Company, which had the monopoly in England of trading thither, attacked the two ships which were sent out, forcibly preventing them from taking any share in the fishing. They declared that the Scottish patent was not in force in England, and that the Scots were merely interlopers. In 1630 matters were further complicated, for two Englishmen, one who had formerly belonged to the Muscovy Company and another, "an adwersary to the Company," made preparations for trading from Yarmouth under the Scots patent. The intrusion of English interlopers still further alarmed the English company, and they resisted the ships which sailed under cover of the Scots patent with "wild outrages, ryotts, Murther and effusion of blood." The Scottish Privy Council, aroused by the slight to the powers of the Scottish Crown, remonstrated against its liberties and privileges being "trod underfoot." It was declared that "the question now standeth between the two nations," and urged that a committee of both should be nominated to settle the matter. This was agreed to, and several well-known men were appointed on both sides: the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Marshal, and Secretaries Coke and Windebank for England; the Earls of Stirling, Roxburgh and others for Scotland. The committee seem to have agreed that the holder of the Scots patent should be allowed to bring a certain quantity of oil from Greenland to Scotland, for the use of the Scottish soap manufacturers only. About this time Edward transferred his patent to a certain Thomas Horth, who carried on the trade for some time, although he also had some disagreement later with the English companies.

Colonisation and Trade in America

Although the Scottish nation as a whole was not at this time imbued with the trading and colonising spirit, there were some few individuals of the type of Raleigh and the Gilberts who were anxious that the Scots should have some interest in the New World. The best known of these was Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, poet, statesman, courtier, adventurer. He, in 1621, sought and received a grant of the land between Newfoundland and New England, to be held of his Majesty from his kingdom of Scotland. The land was given the name of New Scotland. James took a great interest in the scheme of plantation, and suggested for its encouragement that a certain number of baronetcies should be created, to be granted to the larger settlers, as had been done in the Ulster plantation. Each baronet was to have a grant of 30,000 acres, on which he was either to establish six settlers or to pay 2000 marks. It was considered a "fitt and convenient means of disburding this His Majesties said ancient kingdome of all such younger brether and meane gentlemen quhois moyens ar short of their birth worth or myndis." The promoters also hoped that the settlement would prove advantageous to Scottish trade. But there was no eagerness to join in the project, which seems strange considering the number of Scotsmen who flocked to join foreign armies. About a hundred and ten baronets were created, of whom twelve were English, but a number of these were made after the settlement had been given up, and few, if any, took any practical interest in the scheme.

The first settlers were sent out by Alexander in 1622. They spent the winter in Newfoundland, surveyed the coast of Nova Scotia, and returned home next year. Later another detachment of settlers went out, and in 1627 two ships, one from London and the other from Dumbarton, sailed with powder, ordnance, etc. for their use. Next year Alexander's son joined the colonists with four ships, returning to Scotland in 1628, leaving seventy men and two women in Nova Scotia. The sole right of trading in the "Gulf and River of Canada," for beaver skins, furs and hides, was granted to the two Alexanders, father and son. Connection with the English settlements was to be encouraged. In 1631 licence, under the Scottish seal, was given to William Clayborne, one of the Council in Virginia, to "keep a course for interchange of trade" with Nova Scotia and New England. Unfortunately the situation of the Scottish colony was ill-chosen. In 1603 a settlement had been made by the French, and New Scotland was situated in the territory which they considered they had taken possession of as Acadia and New France. Port Royal was the headquarters of their settlement. In 1613 an Englishman, Captain Argall, took possession of the fort there and dislodged the French. No English settlement was made, however, and the Scots found neither French nor English colony when their small band of settlers went out. They also established themselves at Port Royal. In 1630, however, on the conclusion of peace between England and France, the latter claimed Nova Scotia by virtue of the settlement of 1603. The Scots urged that the French had given up their settlement at Port Royal, and had never laid claim to the land since the Scots charter had been granted. Also they had settled before the outbreak of the war. Charles hesitated to give up the claims of his Scots subjects, but in 1632, by the treaty of St Germain-en-Laye, it was provided that Port Royal should be abandoned. Quebec, which had been gained by the English, was also given up. Nova Scotia was taken by the English again in 1656, and the Alexander family asserted their claim to it, but without success. It was again given up to France by the peace of 1667.

Scotland was unfortunate in her seventeenth century colonising attempts. Nova Scotia was in French, Darien in Spanish territory, and both had to be given up. But the "thoughts of the nation were not yet turned to trade and there was no national remonstrance when the earlier settlement was abandoned. Nor were there present any of the peculiarly aggravating circumstances of the Darien episode. Charles was genuinely interested in this Scottish scheme, and did his best to maintain it. William, though certainly driven by necessity, acted with callousness. But, had Scotland been able to maintain her settlement in Nova Scotia, she might have found an outlet for her energies and a market for her goods, and much of the bitterness of the latter part of the century might have been avoided.

One or two other commercial schemes are recorded in the manuscripts of the period, grandiose and vague in theory, and never put into execution in practice. In 1633 Charles wrote informing the Lord Advocate that the Earl of Stirling, Sir John Hay and others were going to form a society for trade. He was ordered to grant a warrant to them of power to form companies of any who would undertake any u new traffique in America Asia Africa and Muscovie not formerlie used in that Kingdome." In the next year a patent was drawn up giving thirty-one years' monopoly of the trade in Africa, between the Senegal River and the Cape of Good Hope, to certain persons unnamed. It does not seem, however, that any advantage was taken of these powers. Only one merchant had sufficient enterprise to establish a trade to America from Scotland, one John Burnett of Aberdeen. He was " the sole Merchant of our Kingdom of Scotland, that hath supplyed the plantacon of that our Colony of Virginia and become our tenant there." In 1637, orders were given that all tobacco from Virginia should be brought to London. Burnett feared that he was included in the order, but Charles in the next year wrote to the Governor and Council of Virginia, declaring that it was "noewayes intended to impeach the freedome of comerce and Traffique into our Kingdom of Scotland by the Natives thereof," and that Burnett was to have "free comerce and Traffique from our Kingdome of Scotlande to that our Colony and from thence back again." Unfortunately Charles's liberal policy in this respect was not followed by the Parliaments of his son.

Colonisation in Ireland

Though unsuccessful in their American colony one settlement of great importance was made by the Scots during James's reign. This was the plantation of Ulster, which not only modified the whole character of the North of Ireland, but contributed later numbers of sturdy Scots-Irish to the building up of the American colonies. The rebellion of Sir Cahir O'Dogherty in 1608 and its punishment made an opportunity for planting a colony in Ulster, as had been attempted in the previous reign in Ulster and Munster. In the first scheme for this plantation 90,000 acres were set aside for which the Scots might apply, and this was quickly taken up by seventy-seven would-be settlers. Finally the scheme was revised by the English Privy Council, and 81,000 acres in Donegal, Tyrone and Fermanagh were distributed amongst fifty-nine Scottish undertakers. They had each to give security that they would fulfil certain conditions, build a substantial fortified house or castle and establish a certain number of settlers, differing according to the size of the estate. The Earl of Abercorn, Lord Ochiltree and other well-known names were amongst the list of undertakers. They took over a number of men, and also cattle, sheep, etc. for stocking the land. The traffic between the north of Ireland and the west of Scotland became so great that the passage became a constant ferry. The boatmen and skippers saw their advantage here and raised prices to "ane extra-ordinarie heicht," but after some complaints the Justices of the Peace on the west coast were directed to fix the rates of freight and passage. Great care was taken to prevent undesirable persons from crossing over, and also to prevent the passage of stolen goods. Every person had to have a licence before he could be received on any ship, and traffic with Ireland was only allowed at certain ports. These were Corshorne, Portpatrick, Kirkcudbright, Bal-lintrae, Ayr, Irvine, Largs, Dumbarton and Glasgow. At these there was much traffic, first of all in carrying over the settlers and their effects, and later in trade between the colony and the south and west of Scotland. The settlers were very successful, and became a hard-working and prosperous agricultural community. A great deal of their produce seems to have found a market in Scotland— butter, eggs and cheese especially were imported—and the Irish trade became one of great importance to the ports on the Clyde and the south-west coasts.

c. Trade with France, Holland, etc.

The beginning of the Scottish breach with France was made in the sixteenth century, when in 1560 the Scots accepted the Reformed Religion. The breach was widened with the union of the crowns of England and Scotland in 1603. The bonds of union—a common sovereign and a common Protestantism—were more obvious than the seeds of dissension—different forms of Protestantism, different Parliaments and different commercial interests. The Scots, conscious of the last, held firmly to their trading privileges in France, which were retained during the first part of the seventeenth century, although not without frequent applications for renewal. But the old friendly feeling and continual intercourse were quickly becoming things of the past. The English connection brought with it also more active disabilities, arising from English wars with France, in which Scotland was an unwilling participator, and from the danger that Scotland would be included in the retaliations caused by English policy.

As early as 1614, a difficulty of this nature arose. In reply to the English Proclamation of that year, prohibiting any goods from being imported into England except in English ships, the French king issued an edict to the same effect for France, "to the grate preuidice of the merchant estait of the kingdome of Scotland." The Scots factors at once complained to the Parliament of Paris, pointing out that the French still had liberty of trading in Scotland, in spite of the English regulations. The French decision was that the edict "did no wayes extend towards the subiects of the Kingdome of Scotland, their ancient friends and allayes," and that the Scots were still as free within the dominions of France as they had ever been. The year before, the Scots privileges in Normandy had again been ratified. Scotland's next alarm was that her merchants might be involved in the difficulties of Louis XIll's Huguenot subjects, because they were also of the Reformed Religion. They urged the King to order his ambassador in Paris to ask Louis to continue the Scots privileges. The French king promised to do so, "for the love he carried to the Scotts nation the most ancient allayes of the French crown."

The wars with Spain and France which broke out in 1625 and 1627 were serious checks to Scottish as to English trade. For a few months in 1626 no ship-owners were allowed to undertake any voyage, except with licence of the Privy Council, as his Majesty might require some of the vessels to serve in the fleet. The import of wine from France was also forbidden, except in Scots bottoms. Both the Scottish and English ships which sailed to Bordeaux and other ports at the vintage time in the next year were arrested. The Scottish ships were, however, released in a short time because of their ancient league. In the same year no offers were made for the farm of the impost on wines when it was rouped. This was chiefly accounted for by the interruption of trade with France. Shortly after this the import of French goods was forbidden altogether. This was followed by remonstrances from the merchants. They declared that they now had to take the native commodities, which they usually disposed of in France, to the Low Countries. If they were not allowed to get French goods there, their trade would be ruined, for they already got a sufficiency of the products of the Low Countries. Trade would then decay, for the "Easterlynne trade being in these difficult tymes interrupted and in a manner relinquished," there would be no vent for their commodities, and they would remain on the merchants' hands. Later they complained that English merchants were allowed to import French wines from the Low Countries to England, and the merchants begged his Majesty "to vouchsafe the lyke princelie indulgence to your subjects of this Kingdome." In 1629, in view of his Majesty's visit to Scotland, the prohibition on the import of French wines was at last discharged.

In 1635, by an arrest of the "gritt counsall of the estait of France," the Scots merchants were exempted from some new duties imposed in Normandy. When the Bishops' War began in 1639, there was some alarm in England because it was rumoured that the French were sending help to the Scots "to foment our disorders for their own interests." It was said too that they were laying heavy burdens on English merchants and favouring the Scots "after the old manner2." In spite of this report, the Privy Council wrote to complain to Charles, in 1642, of "the sufferings and losses of our subjects by the infringement of those ancient priviledges and liberties" -which they had formerly enjoyed in France. The Council Avas authorised to send some one to France to endeavour to have the privileges renewed, and the Earl of Lothian was dispatched. He seems to have been successful in his mission. Although the Scots retained their privileged position in France during this period, it was not without some effort, and the connection was not so close as it had been during the last two or three centuries. Nevertheless enough of the old tie remained to alarm the English when, as during the Bishops' War, they feared that France would encourage the Scots; and still more when, later in the century, they began to look upon France as their principal rival, both commercially and politically.

During this period England and the Netherlands were at peace, and accordingly Scottish trade with the Netherlands was carried on without much interruption. The war with Spain, however, put a check for a time to almost all Scottish trade, because of the danger from Spanish ships of war and from privateers sent out from Dunkirk. These were such a menace to Scots shipping that the merchants dare not put to sea at all for a time. Charles sent some ships to defend the coasts, but as they declined to leave the harbours they were not of much use as convoys. On the whole, the merchants who traded to Campvere flourished and formed there a community of some importance. They were "attached to the true Principles of Liberty," and are said to have furnished the supporters of the same principles with arms and ammunition "to an immense Value." But after the King's death these merchants, in common with the Scottish nation, lent their support to the restoration of the monarchy.

Spanish trade was of course interrupted by the war of 1625-32. Even earlier, the Scots merchants trading thither had some trouble. They had bought a number of Flemish ships, and these, during the war of Spain with the Low Countries, were arrested and confiscated when they reached Spanish ports. The skippers therefore begged the Council to certify that they were the lawful owners of the ships which they had bought.

In the Portugal trade the merchants complained of an Englishman, consul at Lisbon, who exacted the same duties from the Scots ships trading thither as from the English, and then did nothing to guard their interests. The Burghs therefore appointed a consul of their own, a Scot residing in Lisbon, granting him a duty of a ducat from every Scottish ship coming to Lisbon.

The Baltic trade was important and flourishing. It was said to be a very necessary trade, and was carried on partly in foreign ships. The imports from the east were more numerous than the exports thence, for the merchants declared that "the said trade cannot be, nor never wes interteyned with the native commodityis of the countrey, bot that of necessitie some moneyis must be exportit to that effect." The exports were chiefly skins, woollen cloths and stockings.

But more numerous than the Scots who traded to Germany were those who settled there and traded in the country, mostly as pedlars. Dr Fischer says, "There was a very large Scottish immigration to Danzig, Konigs-berg and Poland from the end of the fifteenth Century and earlier, gradually increasing until the end of the eighteenth." The traveller Lithgow in 1640 called Poland the "mother and nurse of the youths and younglings of Scotland, clothing, feeding and enriching them with the fatness of her best things, besides 30,000 Scots families that live incorporate in her bowels." The Scots pedlars and small merchants were not welcomed by the burghers either in Poland or Germany, and to defend themselves they were banded together in Brotherhoods in both countries. Some who settled in the large towns were admitted to the number of the citizens. Charles II thought it worth while to try to get financial support from the Scots in Poland, desiring that the King should not permit any to "enjoy the Hbertie they have in that kingdome but such as shall approve their loyaltie and good affection to us by some supply of money."

The Swedish trade increased considerably in the seventeenth century, Stockholm being the favourite port. In 1636 there were sixteen Scots ships employed in importing salt to Sweden.

The Scots, although they had not taken up with any enthusiasm the project of settling in America, left their native country in great numbers for the Continent. Thousands went to serve in the Thirty Years' War, where Leslie and many other warriors of the Civil War served their apprenticeship. Mackay's regiment, 4000 strong in 1626, a detachment of 6000 in 1631, and many others, joined Gustavus Adolphus; and there were many Scots fighting on the other side. A number also took up service in Russia. In 1632 Charles solicited permission for one James Wallace and his servants to pass freely through Denmark, Sweden and Russia, as he was appointed a messenger for conveying letters to and from the Scottish subjects in the service of the Russian Emperor. The military spirit was more active in Scotland during this time than the trading spirit. Religious affairs also became more and more absorbing. The Scottish trading interest, before the Civil War began, were a fairly prosperous community, but they carried on their trade along the same lines and in the same manner as their forefathers, almost untouched by the influences which had effected such changes in English trade in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Note.—The blank in the Burgh Records from 1631 to 1649 deprives us of a very important source of information on the commercial and industrial history of these years.


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