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Commercial Relations of England and Scotland 1603 - 1707

c. Trade with Ireland

During this period there was a good deal of trade and trafficking between the west of Scotland and Ireland, especially with Ulster. A great deal of the trade of the Clyde ports was with Larne, Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry and other north of Ireland ports. From these they received chiefly provisions, butter, cheese, beef, etc., and also timber, hides and tallow. The Scots sent thither chiefly linen, plaiding, stockings, etc. The import of Irish cattle and horses was forbidden in 1667 and 1668, and of "Irish victuell" a few years later. As usual the prohibitions were but little regarded, and the Privy Council books contain records of many prosecutions for infringement, and of renewed Proclamations for enforcing the regulations. Occasionally in time of "dearth and skaircetie of victuell," the prohibitions were removed, or licences were given for importing meal, corn, and other grain. Licences were also given for importing horses, and in 1682 this prohibition was removed, as "it is absolutely necessar for tilleadge and laboureing that Irish horses be imported." To facilitate communication between the countries a horse post was established and harbours were improved. There was a considerable emigration of small farmers and servants to Ireland. In 1678 complaint was made that "sundry tenents and persons of mean quality have gone over to Ireland...which if not prevented may tend to the great prejudice of heretors and others in some places of this kingdome who were theirby lyke to be left destitut of tenents and servants." Therefore a licence from the Privy Council was required before any "tenentsócottars or servants" could be transported to Ireland.

When the exportation of Irish wool and woollen manufactures to "foreign parts" was prohibited, it was feared that the wool would be sent to Scotland, "it being impossible to hinder the Scotch with their broad open boates to carry off in 3 houres from Ireland all the Wooll that Kingdome will supply them with, and when it is in Scotland the Law cannot reach them there and they are att Liberty to carry that Wool to France or to any other Markett." About the same time (1699) another pamphleteer wrote concerning the Scots in Ireland: "that nation has in a great measure engrossed the whole Trade of this Kingdom and a good part of our Lands, and I doubt not but in time they will swallow down all the English Interest here, for they are so nationale that from the Noble to ye pedlar with his Pack they are all Brokers for one another and all the will they have could never have procured them a better handle than ye late English act, for Provoking out ye English here, for one Englishman that has left us we have 6 Scots in his roome." The Act referred to here is that same Act forbidding the transport of Irish wool abroad.

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