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Netherlands Scottish History
The Scottish Staple at Veere


The present work on the Scottish Staple was projected by the late Professor John Davidson. The notes left by him consisted, firstly, of an accumulation of facts in regard to the Staple; secondly, of an account of various aspects of Scottish economic history; and thirdly, of a sketch of the history of the Staple to about the middle of the eighteenth century. In addition to this, in a fourth volume, bearing the title The Organisation of the Staple, a few pages only were written.

To complete a work thus outlined by another writer is a task of peculiar difficulty, as perhaps can be realised only by those who have attempted it. I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to expand the book on the lines which I think Professor Davidson would have adopted. In the first part, in the subjects dealt with in the various introductory chapters, I have followed closely the order indicated in Professor Davidson's notes, and the chapters, as completed, embody all that he wrote on these general questions. It is not, I think, improbable that Professor Davidson may have intended to expand this part into an economic history of Scotland. Indeed the history of the Staple should properly be regarded from such a wider point of view, but the second part, dealing with the history of the Staple port, has grown so large that I feel that no apology is required for refraining from a task which would necessarily demand many years of incessant research and study. While the preliminary chapters are somewhat disconnected, I hope that they may be found sufficient to indicate the economic conditions in which the institution of the Staple arose. In dealing with the history of the Staple, I have relied chiefly on the Records of the Convention of Burghsa mine of information in regard to the economic history of Scotland—and on An Account of the Scotch Trade in the Netherlands, written by the Rev. James Yair, a minister of the Scottish church at the Staple port, who had access to papers now unfortunately lost. The Acts of Parliament, the Register of the Privy Council, and the Records of various burghs also contain much useful information. The history of the trading agreements of two countries cannot, however, be satisfactorily written from the point of view of one country only, and there are many incidents in the history of the Staple on which the Scottish Records throw little light. Apart from the Dutch chroniclers and the works of Ermerins, the eminent Dutch antiquary, there is much that is useful in the records of Bruges and Middelburg, and the archives at Veere contain much that is of interest in the history of Scotland. For the use made throughout the book of these sources of information I am solely responsible. In writing of the Scottish Staple town I have used the form "Campvere," although on the title-page the modern form is preferred. I have done so for the sake of uniformity in the text, as I have not infrequently quoted from various Scottish Records, in which the older form is almost invariably used. It is rather curious that this form should have been so consistently used in Scotland to as late a date as 1847, when the last memory of the Staple system disappeared from Oliver & Boyd's Almanack. With almost equal consistency "Veere" has been the form used in the Netherlands, even in the earliest chronicles of Zealand. My acknowledgments are due to many who have extended ready assistance to me in this work by giving me access to papers in their custody. To Mr. Th. H. R. van Riemsdijk, keeper of the archives at The Hague; Mr. H. Turing, British Consul at Rotterdam; Mr. R. Fruin and Mr. W. O. Swaving, of Middelburg; Mr J. W. Perrels, of Veere; to the Convention of Burghs and their agent, Mr. J. L. Officer; and to the librarian of the University of Edinburgh, I wish to express my indebtedness. For the illustrations my thanks are due to the Burgomasters of Veere and Middelburg, and to the authorities of the British Museum. I am also greatly indebted to Mr. D. P. Heatley, of Edinburgh University, for the interest he has taken in this work. In addition to much that I owe him in other matters, my thanks are due to him for reading a large part of this book in manuscript. By Professor Nicholson I was also encouraged to undertake this work.

To the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland I also wish to express my thanks.

A. GRAY.

London, 3rd December, 1908.

You can read this book in pdf format here!


 

 


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