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Commercial Relations of England and Scotland 1603 - 1707
1660-1707


b. Trade with England

As has been said with the Restoration the union of England and Scotland came to an end, a result popular in both countries. The Scots supposed that their position would be the same as during the reigns of James I and Charles I, that is, that they would be regarded as natives as far as shipping and foreign trade were concerned. The first year's legislation of the English Parliament soon proved to them that they were mistaken. The Navigation Act of 1660 shewed that only the people of "England or Ireland Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweede" were to be allowed to share in English trade, plantation, foreign or coasting. Impositions and restrictions on the passage of goods between England and Scotland proved that Scotland was now looked upon as a foreign country. The attitude of England was described in the preamble of one of the Acts of 1660 : " And to the intent that the full and best Use and benefit of the principall native Commodities of the same Kingdomes and Dominion" (i.e. of England, Ireland and Wales), "may come redound and be unto and amongst the Subjects and Inhabitants of the same and not unto or amongst the Subjects and Inhabitants of the Realme of Scotland, or of any Forraigne Realmes or States." Scotland had been a financial burden to England when they were under the rule of the same Parliament, and for this and other reasons the parliamentary union was discontinued. At this time England was developing a strongly protective system, both industrial and commercial. Before the Civil Wars the regulations had not been so severe, nor so strictly enforced, and had been organised and administered by the King and his Council. But after the Restoration Parliament regulated the economic life of the country. They considered that the commercial incorporation of Scotland could be of no benefit to England, and, as they could not regulate or supervise Scottish trade in any way, it might be harmful. The Scots import and export restrictions differed from the English, and therefore prohibited commodities might be imported to or exported from England through Scotland. The Scots had had no "share in settling the Plantations, and yet they might set up a trade with them, and deprive England of some of the advantage which should accrue to her alone. Also the Scots had much trade and connection with Holland, and the English feared that the Dutch might, under cover of the Scots, obtain some share in English Plantation trade, and that Scotland might become a centre whence the Dutch should supply the Continent with English Plantation commodities. Therefore Scotland was to be allowed no share in English commerce, and was in fact treated like a foreign country. In both countries, but especially in Scotland, the old mutual dislike was still in existence, only increased by the late union. Mackenzie declares that "Scotland was entirely freed from the English soldiers and garrisons; and Lauderdale upon that accompt deserved well of his country and magnified himself in it as a great testimony of his love for Scotland..."

One of the first acts of the English Parliament of 1660 was to draw up new "Rates of Merchandise," in which duties were imposed on various Scots commodities, coals, beef, linen, skins, yarn, etc. Later, a tax of \d. per gallon was put on Scots salt. Also a tax of 20s. per head was imposed on cattle brought into England from Scotland between August 20 and December 20; and of 10s. per tun on Scots beer. All goods brought from Scotland into England had to be entered at Berwick or Carlisle. Then too the exportation of certain goods from England into Scotland was prohibited, especially wool and hides. Successive Acts dealt with navigation, excluding the Scots from trade with the Plantations and from any share in English coasting or foreign trade. These Acts raised a great outcry in Scotland, especially from the Convention of Royal Burghs. After petitions for relief from the various impositions had been sent in without effect, the Scots proceeded to retaliation. In 1661 their Parliament passed an Act of Navigation on very much the same lines as the English Act, but only to be put into force against English or Irish ships as long as Scottish ships were excluded from English and Irish trade. Of greater importance was the "Act for ane new Imposition on English Commodities." The preamble declared that "the endeavours of such persons as are setting up manufactories and trades have been and are much retarded by the importation of such forraign commodities as may be made within the King-dome." Heavy impositions were therefore laid on English cloths, hats, gloves, etc., and a duty of 80 per cent, on all goods not particularly specified in the Act. Before this Act was passed it had been found that the English imports to Scotland were twenty times greater than the Scots to England. The Act was at the time intended rather for retaliation than for protection, for the Privy Council was given power to remove all the impositions, as soon as "trade and commerce shall be restored to the condition it was in dureing the reigne of his Maiestie's father and Grandfather of blessed memory." The Act had some of the desired effect, in that the merchants and others trading to Scotland felt the impositions severely, and also petitioned the King to restore trade to the same condition as in the earlier part of the century. Great quantities of English manufactures and of English Plantation commodities had been imported to Scotland, and now, they said, "thousands of families who gett a comfortable subsistence in ye management of that Trade are now exposed to want and beggary."

The whole question of the regulations of trade between the two countries was brought before the House of Commons and the Council of Trade. They came to the conclusion that, as the imports from England to Scotland were considerable, the restraints on Scottish imports should be removed, to induce the Scots to take off their new duties on English goods. With regard to shipping they advocated the admission of the Scots to all trade, with this exception, they "shall not have intercourse or Trade from Scotland with any English Plantations." Notwithstanding the Council's opinion, however, the restraints were not removed. The Scots felt the restrictions very heavily. In 1665 the Scottish Privy Council wrote to Charles: "There hes bein so many addresses made to us for representing the sufferings of this King-dome by the want of trade occasioned by the late act of your Parliament of England imposing so great customes upon our native commodities that our whole trade with that Kingdome is totally destroyed....That wee found it our deuty humbly to intreat your Maty to interpose your authority for taking off these acts and restraints in behalf of this Kingdome and for that effect to make use of the late act of your Maties Parliament here Remitting wholly to your Maty the taking off of any imposition or restraint imposed in order to English commodities." Inspired by Charles, in 1667 commissioners from both kingdoms were appointed, and authorised to treat concerning freedom of trade. The Scottish commissioners demanded the repeal of the Navigation Acts, as far as Scotland was concerned ; the removal of the impositions on linen, cattle, salt, beer; of the unusual customs imposed of late in Northumberland and Cumberland; and also of the prohibition of the export of English wool and hides into Scotland. The English commissioners demanded that all impositions on English goods in Scotland should be removed, and proposed some concessions to the Scottish demands. On the question of the Navigation Acts the commissioners came to a deadlock. The Scots insisted that this point should be settled first. The English offered some minor concessions, liberty to import timber from the Baltic, and goods from Turkey and Muscovy for six years, but refused to allow any share in the Plantation trade. This was the liberty which the Scots particularly desired, and so the negotiations came to an end without any treaty being made. The English commissioners gave their reasons in answer to the Scottish argument that they should be allowed the same freedom as Ireland. "And whereas your Lopps doe in severall places give hints at Ireland, and seeme to make it a ground why this and other Priviledges should be granted to Scotland, because granted to Ireland the answere is most cleare and obvious (vizt.) that Ireland is not onely under one King with Us, as Scotland but belongs unto and is an Appendix of the Crowne of England, and Lawes made in the Parliament of England doe binde them, and no Law can be enacted by the Parliament of Ireland but what passeth of Privy Councell of England...by all which it is absolutely in our power when we grant priviledges to them to compell and keep them up to the restrictions and limitacions of them, all which is quite otherwise in relacon to Scotland." The English traders regretted the failure of the negotiations. They had had a flourishing trade with Scotland, but had " for some late years beene much Interrupted in their said Trades to the endangering their creditts and Estates, by reason of severall penall laws made in England and Scotland for Imposing divers high Dutyes and forfeitures on the Manufactures and Commodities of each Nation."

The Lord Keeper, in his speech to Parliament in October 1669, declared that the negotiations had "produced no effect, unless it were a Conviction of the Difficulty if not impossibility of settling it in any other way than by a nearer and more complete Union of the two Kingdoms." Accordingly, to meet the King's wishes, commissioners were appointed to treat for a complete union, but their negotiations were also unsuccessful. Neither country in fact was yet ready for a union. The Scots, even though they were extremely anxious for freedom of trade with the Plantations, did not wish to pay the price of an entire union for it. According to Mackenzie, "The people upon the first news of the Union shew a great aversion for it, and its contrivers...nor would the proposal of an Union have been less acceptable to the people at any time than at this, in which the remembrance of their oppression from the Usurper was yet fresh with them." Lauderdale was even more emphatic, "Yow cannot imagine what aversion is generally in this kingdom to the Union. The indeavour to have made us slaves by garrisons and the ruine of our trade by severe lawes in England frights all ranks of men from having to doe with England." Scots pride was against any proposal for union coming from their side. They did not wish to "seem so very fond and hastie before it appeared whither England wold hearken to this motion or not." England, on the whole, was indifferent to the question. Her statesmen, although they recognised that they had no control over the Scots Parliament, did not seem to imagine that Scotland could ever be in a position to menace English prosperity and power. Nor did they realise that England would not be able to export as many commodities to Scotland as before, and that the Scots would have to supply themselves by importing more manufactures from abroad, probably from Holland, or by setting up more manufactures of their own.

Until the end of William's reign no more negotiations for freedom of trade were opened. James VII on his accession assured the Scottish Parliament that he would " endeavour with all imaginable Care to open a free intercourse of Trade with His Kingdom of England/' but nothing came of his declaration. After the Revolution the Scots reproached themselves for not having secured trade privileges from England, before they voted the crown to William and Mary. No concessions were made to them either then or later in William's reign.

In spite of the restrictions trade between Scotland and England did not come to a total standstill. The chief Scottish commodities imported into England were cattle, salt and linen, and from the early years of James's reign until the Restoration no special impositions had been laid upon these articles in England. Coal, fish and skins were also imported.

For two or three years after 1660 cattle were not included in the list of Scots commodities on which new duties were imposed. Tolls had to be paid as before however on cattle entering Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Carlisle. In 1662, 318,574 cattle from Scotland passed through Carlisle, paying eightpence per head as toll there. In the same year Sharp wrote to Lauderdale, telling him that there was a rumour current in Scotland that the English Parliament intended to prohibit the importation of Scots cattle. "The money arysing by this trade," he says, "hes been the most sure and considerable stock for the returns of money" from England. The report was partly true, for in 1663 the Act for the Encouragement of Trade imposed a duty of 20s. on all Scots cattle imported between August 20 and December 20. The Burghs complained that the " great and heavie impositionis laitlie laid be the parliament of England upon coall salt bestiall and wther native comodities of this Kingdome is in effect equivalent to ane direct prohibitione of the importing of any such comodities from Scotland to England." The trade nevertheless seems to have continued, though doubtless somewhat diminished. In 1665 the Grand Juries of Yorkshire, in a petition to the House of Commons, complained of the importation of Scottish and Irish cattle. It was the occasion of "the greate want of money and decay of trade in this Country." The cattle "being fedd maintained and fatted with farre lesse charge, then can possibly be done in England, they fill and quitt the Marketts...and undersell those of English breed and feeding soe much that the ffarmers who formerly furnished other parts must and doe give over breeding and are forced to buy for themselves of that sort to their utter undoing and the Grasier cannot sell his fatt Cattle for the price they cost whereby industry is . layed aside trade decayed and putt into the hand of Strangers, our coyne carried out of the Kingdome, by those who buy little if anything amongst us." The imposition was objected to by the commissioners who treated for freedom of trade, and, though not apparently in connection with the negotiations, an Act of the English Council declared that " no duetie ought to be demanded or receaved for any Scots cattle coming into England." After this the trade continued without any interruption, about 15,000 of the best Scottish black cattle being sent to England every year. In 1704 the importation was forbidden by the Act for securing England from Dangers from Scotland. Although this Act was soon repealed no cattle were sent into England until the treaty of Union had been concluded. The Scots cattle dealers were more fortunate than the Irish. For, by the Act of 1663, whereas the Scots cattle paid a duty on entering England between August and December, the Irish cattle were liable between July 1 and December. This duty was said almost to destroy the Irish cattle trade, but a further blow was dealt it when in 1666 Irish cattle were prohibited from being imported into England at all. In spite of some agitation Scots cattle were not included in this prohibition.

Scots linen was another important import into England. This also had been free of duty until the Kestoration, when a duty of 3 was imposed on every hundred ells of Scottish "Twill or Ticking." Although complaints were made of this, as of all the impositions on Scottish imports, the trade in linen does not seem to have been very much affected by the duty. It remained the same until 1690, but some years before that there was some interruption in the trade. The "Noblemen and Gentlemen of Scotland and their tenents who make Lining cloath" sent in a petition to the Council in 1684. In this they declared that the manufacture of linen was one of the principal industries of Scotland, and that it was chiefly exported to England. "Bot of late this trade hes bein stopt and the petitioners countrymen whipt like malefactors through severall towns for following of their trade and very many of them have been forced to give bond never to return by which besides the affront and ignominy these prejudices aryse to the nation." The ten or twelve thousand men employed formerly in the trade "are now rendered miserable and ane burden both to themselves and the Government," while the loss to his Majesty's customs is great. This interruption can only have been temporary, for new works for making linen cloth were set up between 1690 and 1695. One of these was largely financed and worked by Englishmen4. The duty on Scots linen in England was raised in 1690 from 6. 17s. 9d. per hundred pounds value to 10. 8s. 0d., and again in 1698 to 15. 35. 0d. The increases in the duty decreased the sale somewhat, and the linen unsold in England became a drug on the market. The Scots already sent enough to continental markets to supply the demand there, and as much as possible to the Plantations. English anxiety to keep the Scots out of the colonial market was evident in an Act passed in 1704, "to permit the exportation of Irish cloth to the Plantations and to prohibit the Importation of Scotch linen into Ireland." This was passed just after the Act for securing England from the dangers from Acts passed in Scotland, and was doubtless inspired by the same feeling. The authorities found that the close connection of Scotland with the north of Ireland would lead to Scots linen being sent, under cover of Irish linen, to the Plantations. In spite of the high duties on linen it was one of the most important Scottish imports into England, generally amounting to about 40,000 value, or more, in the year. This was generally more than half the whole total value of Scottish imports into England.

The trade in salt had been, ever since the Union of 1603, a fruitful source of discord between the two countries. To this the latter half of the century was no exception. One of the first cares of the Convention of Burghs was to petition that no duty should be laid upon coal and salt, "that tread which is of greatest concernment of any commoditie cumes fra this kingdome." The Privy Council also sent in a petition to the same effect, but in 1662 a duty of eightpence per wey (a halfpenny per gallon) was imposed on Scots salt coming into England. This was " in effect a restraint upon that commodity they not being able to sell at such a rate." As it was "a mater that concerns the whole Kingdome and of great importance," the Privy Council were desired to lay the matter before Charles, but the duty was not removed. During the negotiations for a commercial treaty in 1668-9 many papers and petitions dealing with this subject were laid before the commissioners. The Scots wanted the duty to be reduced to a farthing per gallon, or to be abolished altogether, and they were supported by the traders in salt in the south of England. The manufacturers in and near North and South Shields and the north demanded that it should be continued at a halfpenny, and gave copious reasons in support of their petitions. The salt-works at Shields had, they said, become considerable about seventy years before, and had been much encouraged by the limitation of the yearly import of Scots salt in 1637. But the Scots "at there inrode upon England in 1644 violently destroyed of these salt workes at Sheilds and Sunderland to the number of 50 or 60 and thereby they made an open way for the Scotts trade of Salt with England and much impeded and prevented the Salt Trade for Sheilds undersellinge the Marketts in England. Whereupon the Parliament imposed in the year 1649 one penny halfepenny per Gallon on Scotch salt imported." But "the said duty being taken of upon the pretended union between England and Scotland An0 1654 many of their salt works were thereby ruined and pulled in peices by the owners and most of the owners of the remaining haste contracted great debts hitherto not discharged. For the prevencon of the growth of that Evill and the encouragement and preservacon of the said Manufacture his Matie was gratiously pleased An 1662 by and with the desire of his Parliament, to lay the duty of 1d. per Gallon upon all Scotts Salt imported into the Kingdom of England as a Ballance of ye Manufacture in both King-domes." The English manufacturers asserted that the cost of making salt in Scotland was less than in England. It could be made for 1. 4s. per wey in Scotland, but the expenses in England were 1. 15s. 1d. Therefore the duty was necessary in order to equalise matters. Cheaper production in Scotland was accounted for by the low price of coal, the low rate of wages, cheapness of food, and cheapness of freight. The Scots declared that if the duty were maintained they would not be able to sell their salt at all. Their supporters, English traders in Scots salt, accused the Shields manufacturers of trying "to rayse the Price of that Commodity upon your Majesties English Subjects to what rate they think fitt." The Scots salt was said to be of better quality and more fit for supplying the Navy and the fishing trade. Since the duty was levied they had not been able to buy or bring in Scots salt, "notwithstanding any allegacons of the English Salt makers for the cheaper making the said Commodity in Scotland then in England." They were therefore forced to use the Shields salt which was "so new and ill made that a great part thereof wastes into Brine in the Ships." Nor were they able to get sufficient quantities of that, and the price had already been raised from thirty-two to forty shillings. Charles himself was anxious to have the duty reduced, and ordered that only a farthing should be taken while the negotiations were going on. The commissioners protested against his making any move in the matter. They were "sure that Your Majesty and the board will not doe anything, wherby a just discouragement shalbe put upon the English traders to the ruine of many thousand familyes." The ruin of Scottish families and traders was evidently considered a matter of no importance. The end of these lengthy deliberations was that the duty of a halfpenny was continued. As a result the import of Scots salt into England declined very much, and by the end of the century only a very inconsiderable amount was sent there.

The development of the Scottish protective system brought with it heavy duties and prohibitions on the import of many manufactured commodities. From these the English traders suffered considerably. It has already been pointed out that the protective regulations were not strictly enforced, but nevertheless English imports to Scotland decreased. For some years previous to 1668 it was said that the English imports to Scotland did "overbalance what went out of Scotland to England fyftie or threescore thousand pounds Stirling per annum." But during the ten or twelve years previous to the Union, the average value of imports into Scotland was not much more than 65,000 yearly, while the value of Scottish imports into England was about 10,000 more. The English import was made up of small quantities of a number of commodities, of which hops, tanned leather, silk, both "thrown" and "wrought," tobacco, sugar, and dyeing materials were the most important. The "woollens" imported were not a large quantity after the "Act discharging the importing and wearing of Forreign Woollen Manufacture" of 1701 was passed. After that between 2000 and 3000 worth only was imported, or was entered in the customs books yearly. There was doubtless a great deal of smuggling between the two countries, especially in wool, of which the export from England now, as during the earlier period, was strictly prohibited. Charles's first Parliament hastened to pass "An Act for prohibiting the Exportation of Wooll, Woollfells Fullers Earth or any kind of Scouring Earth" from England into the "Kingdome of Scotland or any forreigne parts." Irish wool was only allowed to be sent to England. Two years later because "great numbers of Sheep and great quantities of Wooll... are secretly exported... in to the Kingdome of Scotland and other Forraigne parts" the export was again prohibited4. Further complaints as to the export of wool to Scotland do not occur until the later years of the century. The gradually increasing Scottish cloth-works found English wool necessary for their manufactures. Several references are made in the minutes of the New Mills cloth company to their practice of getting wool from England. "The Master and George Home having made report of their journey into the south of Scotland and north of Ingland that they have settled with James Robson for buying of wooll." On 19 July 1682, a certain George Archer, also engaged in buying wool, was to be told "to take notice especially of the risk on the Inglish side which the company will not bear the hazard of." Later the company decided to buy their English wool at the market in Edinburgh "as cheapest in probability." If the Edinburgh market had a regular supply of English wool there must have been a considerable trade in that commodity. But the Scots merchants found that it was still more profitable to export English wool to the Continent.

France, under Colbert's administration, had entered upon a policy of developing her trade and industry. England was extremely jealous of French power and influence, and the cloth manufacturers in particular feared French rivalry. The French makers of cloth were very anxious to obtain English wool to mix with their own, and offered very good prices for it. In Scotland the prospect of getting high prices abroad greatly encouraged the trade of bringing English wool across the Border. It was then exported to France or Holland, instead of being made up at home. This trade gradually increased, and a few years after the Revolution it had become a constant source of grievance to English authorities. In 1696 "An Act for the more effectual preventing the Exportation of Wooll" declared that "the several Inhabitants of the several Counties and Shires of this Realm next adjoining to the Kingdom of Scotland and to the Sea-Coasts do reap great Profit and Advantage by the Carrying out of Wooll, Wooll-fells...into the said Kingdom of Scotland, and exporting of them into France and other parts beyond the Seas....That from the first day of May 1696 no Wooll...shall be laid or loaden on any Horse or other carriage whatsoever or shall be carried or conveyed by Land to or from any Place or Places within the said Counties next adjoining to the said Kingdom of Scotland or within five miles of the Sea-coast.. .but between Sun-rising and Sun-setting." In 1698 "the said Exportation is still notoriously continued," and fresh regulations were therefore made. Owners of wool within ten miles of the coast in Kent or Sussex, or fifteen miles of the Scottish borders, were ordered to give account to the nearest officer of the amount of wool they had, and where it was housed. They were also to give notice before they removed any wool, and to say where it was to be carried. Next year another statute dealt with the export of wool from Ireland. It was to be brought to England only, and twelve ships and sloops were "constantly to cruize on the coasts of England and Ireland particularly betwixt the North of Ireland and Scotland," to seize all vessels suspected of carrying wool to Scotland or to foreign ports.

The complaints made by the Board of Trade, the manufacturers and others fully bear out the evidence of these statutes. In November 1697, the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in a "Representation relating to ye Genl State of ye Trade of this Kingdom," declared that the woollen manufactures were "much prejudiced by the growth of the like Manufactures made in other Countrys, much promoted by Wooll carryed from England, Scotland and Ireland. Wee are Informed that great Quantitys are frequently Landed in Holland from Scotland which wee Suppose is most carried thither out of England or Ireland, particularly there was landed at Rotterdam from Scotland in the beginning of October last 982 Bags." The Scots also sent English wool to Sweden. "The King of Sweden did about the Year 1680 levy a duty of above 50 per cent, upon our Woollen Goods imported thence, and encouraged Woollen Manufactures in his own Dominions, Carried on by the help of Wooll from England (as wee are informed) but Exported thither by way of Scotland." In 1699 the Commissioners of the Customs made special efforts to seize some of the vessels concerned in this trade. "Being informed that notwithstanding all Endeavours to ye Contrary greate Quantitys of Wooll were Carryed over ye Borders out of England into Scotland and from thence shipt to Holland, France, and other Partes of Europe. And being particularly Advertised thereof from Leith in Scotland about ye latter end of October last and that such Ships did often touch in Yarmouth Road, They directed ye Collector of that Port to cause all such Ships to be strictly visited and Searched." On December 12 the collector stopped the Ann of Leith, which had on board, besides her load of coals, "18 great packs and 14 small Packs of wooll and 4 hogsheads of Combed Wooll For which there was no Cocquett." Later another vessel with 28 packs of wool from Leith was seized. The Commissioners recognised samples of the wool sent them to be English, and ordered both wool and ships to be taken. But the Attorney General and Solicitor General decided that though the wool was forfeit, because it had been exported from England, the ships were not, as they did not carry it out of England.

A certain Frenchman, Toryn by name, seems to have been a great offender in this matter. In 1697 he was living at Wandsworth, but had "for Seven Years last Exported very great Quantities of Wool yearly from Edinburgh in Scotland to Ports beyond the Seas; which Wooll was brought into Scotland out of Northumberland." This Toryn may have been some connection of "Abraham Torin," Protestant refugee from France, who in 1692 was master of the hat manufactory in the Canongate, Edinburgh. The clothiers also complained of this smuggling trade. In January 1697, a petition was presented to the House of Commons from the inhabitants of Ripon, to the effect that the market for wool, which had always been held there twice a week, was "extremely lessened and is in Danger to be lost, for that many People presume to carry their wool into Scotland to the Prejudice of the Northern Woollen Manufactory."

A good deal of information as to the trade and the attempts at prevention is given in a petition, entitled, "The Deplorable Case of the Chief and other Agents or Officers that have been deputed and concerned in the Preventing the Carrying away and the Exportation of the Wool of this Kingdom." Upon the "pressing Solicitations of the Clothiers and Traders in the North parts of this Kingdom, and upon Information, that several Thousand Packs of Wool had been Yearly carryed from thence into Scotland and there shipt off with the Wool of their own Growth to France," some officers were, in 1698, sent to the north to prevent this trade. There they, "with the Hazard of their Lives, made many Seizures of Wool, to the great Comfort and Rejoicing of Many well meaning Traders." Finding their institution to be attended with so much success in the north, officers were then sent to all the maritime counties, where also they prevented the transportation of much wool. But the officers had spent "the most Part...of their own Substance" in the work, and therefore begged for a "present Supply of Money." They added to their petition some figures to shew the great value of their services. By the export of 30,000 packs of wool, which were in one year landed at three ports in France, His Majesty lost 75,000 customs, and 188,994 people lost a year's employment. Towards the end of the century the Scots cloth manufacturers began to complain of loss to their industry through the export of wool. After some agitation this was forbidden by the Privy Council in 1699, and in 1701 by Parliament. These Acts did not put a stop to the trade, but the amount exported decreased very much. In 1698 it was said that 360,000 stones of wool were sent abroad, chiefly to France. Of this, 170,000 stones were English. In 1700 only 7196 stones were exported, 4503 from England, and in 1704, 4362 stones, including 3091 of English wool. Much controversy between the growers of wool, the merchants and the manufacturers followed. The latter argued that their works could not subsist without a plentiful supply of wool. The growers and exporters declared that there was not a sufficient market for their wool in Scotland, and also that the export of English wool was profitable to the country. "Scotland, by allowing this export may have a considerable Trade in English wool, its an advantage no other nation would have neglected so long." In 1704 the matter was settled by a compromise. "Sheeps wool and Woollen Yearn whither of the grouth of this or any other Kingdom," and also skins with wool on them, might be exported, while the importation of woollen cloth was prohibited, and woollen cloth exported was freed from any impost. After this Act was passed, the smuggling over the border increased. In September 1705, the Commissioners wrote to Godolphin, in reference to a petition to Her Majesty from "ye Merchants Clothiers and other Traders in ye Woolen Manufacture in and about ye Towns of Leeds and Hallifax." In this they complained of "ye Great Decay of their Trade Occasioned by Vast Quantityes of Wooll which are dayly carried into Scotland from ye Counties of Durham, Northumberland and Cumberland and from thence Transported into France and other Forreigne Parts....Ye offenders have Grown so Bold that They come above 50 Miles and Carry Wooll off in Dispite of all Laws." The Commissioners suggest that the three "Kyding Officers" should receive an addition of 20 each to their salaries, with which to pay an assistant, "wch will be a further Encouragement and Security to them in the Discharge of their Duty." They also suggest that all the officers should be provided with fire-arms, "for their Defence against ye Inseults of ye Smuglers...which they conceive is all that can be done to Prevent this Clandestine Trade without the assistance of a Military Force." Defoe says that "Scotland freely and openly Exported their Wool to France, Germany and Sweden, to the irreparable Loss of the English Manufactures having great Quantities of English Wool brought into Scotland over the Borders, which it was impossible for England to prevent, so that the Famous Trade for Wool to France by Rumney Marsh, commonly called Owling, was intirely Dropt, and France not Supplyed only, but glutted with Wool."

In the wool trade the unsatisfactory state of the relationship between England and Scotland was particularly evident. England could not control the Scottish Parliament, and could not secure either the prohibition of the export of wool from Scotland, nor the co-operation of the Scots government in preventing the smuggling trade between the two countries. The prospect of securing her own and the Scots supply of wool was one reason which led England to consent to open her Plantation trade to the Scots. They, on their side, had found the English impositions on linen and salt a great hindrance to trade.


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