AN ANSVVER To Those Printed Papers published in March last, 1640. by the late Patentees of Salt, in their pretended defence, and against free trade.

Composed by IOHN DAVIES Ci­tizen and Fishmonger of London, a well-wisher to the Common-wealth in generall.

Sal sapit omnia. Ne scis quid valeat.

Printed in the yeare, 1641.

To the Honourable House of COMMONS now assembled in PARLIAMENT.

THe ensuing Treatise, concerning the opposing of the project and Pa­tents for Salt, tending to the good of his Majesty, and of the Subjects in ge­nerall, (wherein all faithfull endeavours on the Authors part are performed) is most humbly presented, praying, that if any error is therein committed, (whereof he is not conscious) may by this Honou­rable Assembly be pardoned.

An Answer to those Papers (falsly intituled, A true Remonstrance of the state of the Salt businesse, &c.) lately published in print in March, 1640. by the Projectors of the first and second Patents for Salt, in their owne pretended defence, and against the free trade of all Merchants, Na­vigators, and Traders for Fish and Salt of the City of London, and all other Ports, and of all Salt makers and Salt refiners, and of all other his Majesties Subjects within the ex­tent of their severall Patents between Bar­wicke and Weymouth, as followeth.

IN this Answer it will not be necessary to bee limited within the strict time where the Proje­ctors began▪ which was in Anno. 1627. thereby to serve their own occa­sions, but is intended to declare the truth of the most usuall and constant prices of Salt at the City of London, as it hath beene sold for 40. yeares last past, as in the sequell shall appeare.

[Page 2] That in Anno 1600. even till the latter part of the yeare, 1627. the most usuall price ei­ther of white or bay Salt, was neare about 50. s. or 3. l. a Wey, and often sold under that price, as can be sufficiently proved.

That in the said yeare 1627. the Warres began betweene the Kings Majesty of Great Britaine, and the French King, and the King of Spaine; in which time, till the peace was concluded betwixt those Kings, the commo­ditie of Salt was very deare and scarce, espe­cially French Salt, which was at 6. s. or 7. s. a bushell at the City of London, which came to passe in regard the Salt-workes in France were destroyed.

First, at the Ile of Ree by the Duke of Buckinghams designe.

Secondly, by the French King himselfe in the warres when he tooke in Rochel.

And thirdly, by intemperate Raine which fell that time in France. So that the King­dome of France it selfe, which was wont to supply many other parts, as England, Ireland, Holland, the Eastland, and Germany, was thereby necessitated with want of that com­modity for its owne occasion. And there­fore not to be admired, that the French King [Page 3] made an Edict in Anno 1630. that no Salt should bee exported out of his Kingdome, (untill his store should bee supplyed againe.) Which scarcity in France for that present, forced all men to send into Spaine for Salt, and thereupon a great number of Ships from all parts arriving there at one time, gave the King of Spaine occasion to make use of the present necessity, and layd a great Impost on the Salt that should bee transported from thence.

The very same cause also moved the Kings Majesty of Great Britaine, and the Lords of the Councell, to order in that time of scar­city of Salt, by meanes of a Petition exhibi­ted to the Lords by the Lord Maior of the City of London, and divers other Ports in Anno 1630. that no Salt should be transpor­ted into any forraigne parts, which was effe­ctually granted them by the Lords. But when in one or two yeares after, and that in France there were erected Salt-workes, and Salt was made plentifully againe, as in the yeare 1632. then by the Edicts of the said Kings, the great imposition of Salt in Spaine and France ceased, and Salt became cheape againe, and Trade free as in former yeares, [Page 4] as about 3. l. or 3. li. 10. s. per Wey, for Eng­lish or French, and 4. l. per Wey for Spanish Salt at most, which continued till Decem­ber, 1634.

So that the cause of the dearth of Salt in France, Anno 1628. till Anno 1632. hap­ned through Warre and intemperate Wea­ther, as before is specified, and not by the pleasure of Princes, by laying of a great Im­post upon it, as they the Patentees falsly pre­tended; but the Projectors were desirous to make that an occasion of bringing their co­vetous desires to effect, and about that time they beganne to devise to bring an Impost on the English native Salt, which was and is dearer to the makers of it then any other salt spent in this Kingdome. For French and Spanish Salt being made onely by the heat of the Sunne, stands not the makers of it in a­bove 10. s. or 20. s. or 30. s. a London Wey at the most, according to the drinesse, or the wetnesse of the Summer, whereas the Eng­lish Shields Salt at 1. d. per Gallon, (which is the cheap price the Patentees boast of stands the makers of it in 53. s. 4. s. the like Wey at least, being also the weakest Salt of all other by one third part, and therefore cannot beare [Page 5] any Impost, without destroying the Eng­lish manufactures, as these Projectors have all this time practised, to the destruction thereof, although they pretended the con­trary.

It is to be observed, that a Wey of Salt at the City of London, containeth 40. Bushels, and every Bushell 10. Gallons, which is the right measure according to the Statute; from which, in most other Ports it much diffe­reth.

That in December, 1634. the first Pro­jectors, consisting of twenty two in number, (whereof five were Knights, the other seven­teene had the titles of Esquires and Gentle­men) having determined and practised for­merly to doe mischiefe in this Land wherein they were borne and bred, and being all or most of them unexperienced in the matter they tooke in hand, devised and obtained this Monopoly of Salt, mis-informing his Majesty, and the Lords of the Councell, that it would be a great benefit to this Kingdome of England, and that of Scotland, to erect workes for the making a sufficient quantity of Salt, &c. and at a certaine moderate price, [Page 6] (as they so termed it) not exceeding 3. l. a Shields Wey, which is after the rate of 5. l. 12. s. for a Wey delivered at London, which is an intolerable exaction upon a native ma­nufacture, made and spent in this Kingdome, as by their Patent more fully doth appeare; (although the Salt pannes in those places were erected long before, and not by these Patentees.) Which Patent being obtained by them, they practised to oppresse the Sub­ject from January 1635. untill August 1638. all which time the first Patentees having made a Monopoly, in taking all the old Workes and Pannes at the Shields into their hands, forced white Salt at the City of Lon­don to the price of 4. l. 15. s. per Wey, and for the most part to 5. l. per Wey, and so in all other Ports according to that rate.

And Bay Salt, by reason of their great Im­post of 48. s. 6. d. per Wey, which was rai­sed by a privy Seale, procured by Edward Nuttall, and others his associates, (but nothing brought to accompt for his Majesty, as yet appeares) was not all that time sold at Lon­don under 5. l. 10. s. per Wey, at least, but commonly at 5. l. 13. s. 4. d. per Wey, or 6. l. whereas the Westerne parts, which were free [Page 7] of their Patent, as Southampton, Exeter, Pli­mouth, Bristol, &c. had it in that time at or about 3. l. the like Wey, and sometimes un­der that price, which was most unjust and un­equall, that the Easterne parts should suffer so much thereby, not onely in the price, but also in hindrance of Navigation, and losse of Trade.

That about July, 1638. the first Patentees having difference with Master Murford of Yarmouth, who had a Patent granted before theirs at Shields, prevailed against them, and some of them of the first Patent being wea­ried with the designe, voluntarily laid downe their Patent.

That after the first Patentees gave over their Patent, the Salt-makers at Shields in August, 1638. reassumed their Pannes, and sold Salt there cheape againe, and thereby both Scottish and Shields Salt was sold at London for 3. l. per Wey, or near thereabout, untill January following, that Thomas Horth and his associates obtained a grant of their Patent, which they presently after put in exe­cution, yet Horth and his associates of the se­cond Patent had no time to raise the price of [Page 8] white Salt at Shields to that height as they desired; for the Scots presently after the first Pacification in August, 1639. brought it downe at London to 2. l. 17. s. per Wey, whereas Horth and his Associates in June and July 1639. would sell none at London under 4. l. 10. s. per Wey.

That whereas the first and second Proje­ctors of both Patents, to cleare themselves of the great wrong done by them to his Maje­sty and his Subjects, doe in their printed Pa­pers lay the blame on the traders in Salt of the City of London, seeking therby to glosse over their oppressing the Subjects even in the face of this Honourable Parliament, still pre­tending as formerly, that what they did was for his Majesties profit, benefit of Naviga­tion, support of home manufacture, and ge­nerall good of the subject, and many such like things, all which pretences are meere falshoods and suggestions.

For first his Majesties Revenew is no way increased, as doth appeare by their payments into his Majesties Exchequer, being in all but 700. l. whereas they have received Im­post, and remaine debtors to his Majesty ma­ny [Page 9] thousands, as by further examination and proofe of their accompts will appeare.

Secondly, Navigation hath beene much hindred thereby, as by a former Petition of the Trinity house to his Majesty and the Lords of the privy Councell appeareth, as al­so it hath beene sufficiently proved before the Committee for the Salt businesse, by the Master and Wardens of the Trinity Compa­ny, who are most sensible of the destruction and advancement of the Shipping and Navi­gation of this Kingdome.

Thirdly, they have so cherished the home manufacture, by laying a heavy Impost upon it, that those that had 240. Pannes of their own, and were thriving people at the Shields, before their Patents were of force, and were the makers there of Salt, are by the meanes of these Patentees become so poore, that the greater part of them are not able to buy coals to set their Pannes on worke. And those the Patentees who bought 34. Pannes of the old traders, did cease working for the most part of the yeares 1639. and 1640. by reason they could not attaine to their intended price of 56. s. 8. d. per Wey at the Shields. So that [Page 10] whereas there was formerly made at the Shields before their Patents began about 16000. Wey per annum, they made in the time of the first Patent, which continued a­bout three yeares and a halfe, not above 10000. Wey per annum. And in the time of the latter Patent but 8000. Wey per annum, even before the comming in of the Scottish Army into those parts: by all which appeares how much they have destroyed the native manufacture, and have no wayes advanced or increased it, as they pretended.

Fourthly, for their pretences of the gene­rall good of the Subject, in place whereof they have so oppressed the Subject in gene­rall, that not onely the traders in Salt of the City of London, have justly complained of their grievances to the Honourable Court of Parliament, but also Salt-refiners of Essex and Suffolke, also many Merchants in the West parts as far as Weymouth, as also from Yarmouth, and many other ports North as farre as Newcastle, that came up to London onely to informe the Court of Parliament of the great burden they have beene forced to lye under, even to many of their undoings: And many more would come up, had they [Page 11] not beene so impoverished by them the Pa­tentees, that they are not able to beare their charges in comming so farre to complaine of their grievances. In generall, they have been the oppressors of Fishermen, and all the sub­jects of these North East parts of England, to the value of many thousand pounds in e­stimation, above fourescore thousand pounds since the time of their entring into these Pa­tents, which can be made plainly to appeare by one yeares importation for forraigne and Scottish Salt, collected out of the Custome­house bookes, and Meters bookes of London, and for native Salt out of their owne bookes.


In the yeare 1637. (which was in the time of their first Patent) of Bay and Spanish Salt there was imported but 1364. Wey, which at 48. s. 6 d. per Wey, is impost 3307. l. 14. s. whereas in the yeare 1634. when the trade was free there was 4620. Wey of forraigne Salt imported, by which may be observed the decay of forraigne Trade during the time of their Impost.

That the Impost of forraigne Salt was re­ceived and taken of all the Subjects between [Page 12] Barwicke and Southampton, by vertue of Privy Seale dated in May 1636. procured by Edward Nuttall, and others his associates, but nothing brought to accompt by them, nor paid to his Majesties use for the two yeares and 6. moneths, (as can yet appeare.)

That of Scottish and native white Salt Shields measure, there were expended for land use about 16000. Weyes, which at 10. s. per Wey Impost, and 10. s. per Wey in­crease of price, which came to passe by the Patentees contracting with the Scotch for deare selling, and can appeare to be damage to the subjects at least in one yeare, in the price of the white Salt 16000. l.

That for Fishers use of Scottish and native Salt, an estimate of 3000. Shields Wey, and upwards, at 3. s. 4. d. per Wey Impost, and 6. s. 8. d. increase of price, is at least 1500. l.

Whereby it appeares that the subjects suf­fered in one yeare by the first Salt Patents, 20807. l. 15. s.

That the Patentees for Salt continued their first and second Patents above 5. yeares.

[Page 13] By all which it is manifest how profitable these Patents have beene to the Patentees, how little benefit hath accrued to his Maje­sty thereby, how great a burden to the Sub­jects in generall, and to the old Salt makers, and the Merchants for forraigne Salt, and all Fishermen, who use great quantities thereof, and to all traders in the same in their particu­lars. But if any trader in Salt hath either joyned with those Patentees in any indirect way, thereby to uphold them, or the extreme price of Salt, they are not hereby intended to be excused, but to be left to the conside­ration of the Honourable House of Parlia­ment.

And whereas Horth and his Associates seek to justifie their Patent, comparing it with that which Master Murford intended (which would also have beene alike illegall with theirs, by laying an Impost on native Salt (as they have practised.)

For answer thereunto is said, that the un­lawfulnesse of Murfords Patent intended, cannot make that of Horths to bee lawfull which was practised by him. For as well that of Horths, as also the first Patent, have [Page 14] beene sufficiently discussed by the Commit­tee appointed by the Honourable House of Commons now assembled in Parliament, for the hearing of that businesse, and is by them most justly condemned to be illegall, a Mo­nopoly, and prejudiciall to the Common-wealth. For so it is, that a Monopoly is a kinde of commerce in buying and selling u­surped by a few, and sometimes by one per­son, and forestalled by them or him from all others, to the gaine of the Monopolist, and to the detriment of other men.

That the latter Patentees further proceed in their justification, declaring the low rates the subjects have beene served at since the time of the settlement of their Patent, which is (as they say) at 1. d. ob. per Gallon at the most, which in truth is a most intolerable ex­action on the subject. For 1. d. ob. per gallon is no lesse then 50. s. a Sheilds Wey, which is but five eight parts of a London Wey, and so the fraught being added, which is 10. s. a Shields Wey, without Impost, it will stand the Adventurer in no lesse then 4. l. 16. s. a Wey London measure; whereas it may bee afforded, delivered at London, for 3. l. 12. s. per Wey, which is after the rate of 35. s. per [Page 15] Wey to the Salt makers at Shields for their Wey, at which said price of 35. s. per Wey, the old Salt makers say, they can afford it, but not under.

And for the rare of 1. d. per Gallon, which is the cheape price they so much boast on, it being but 33. s. 4. d. a Wey Shields measure, at which price, if they sold any so cheape, it was much against their wills, for they desired and alwayes sought to settle it at 56. s. 8. d. per Wey Shields measure for land use, and 46. s. 8. d. for the fishing Sea expence, which are the prices laid downe in the latter Patent: yet it is true, that they sold some at lower rates: but they were forced thereto by meanes of the great plenty that was brought in by the Scots, who sold it at London, Yarmouth, and some other Ports at 3. l. a Wey, in Anno 1639. and some under that price, as aforesaid, whereupon the Patentees gave over making Salt at Shields in their 34 pannes, in regard they could not attaine to their intended price of 56. s. 8. d. a Shields Wey, yet some of the old Salt makers still wrought, (though to their great losse, and some of their undoings) selling it not for above 30. s. per Wey, yet notwithstanding they the Patentees took [Page 16] of them the old Saltmakers, without any moderation or compassion, the full impost of 10. s. for every Shields Wey, for Land use, and 3. s. 4. d. per Wey, for the fishery expence. For they had forced the old Salt­makers and Salt refiners to enter into bond, for the payment therof unto them, which if they refused to do, they violently forced them of the Shields, of great Yarmouth, and Salt Refiners of Essex and Suffolke thereunto by imprisoning of some, committing of others into Pursuivants hands, and causing others to come up and answer at the Councell Table, to their great expence both of money and time, which extreamity Horth used in that time he was governour more then any other either of the first or second Patentees.

That in the Months of September, Octo­ber and November last, Salt became deerer then it was in eight or nine yeares before, which came to passe partly by reason of the great impost continued by the Patentees of the last Patent, both on the native and for­raigne Salt, and partly by reason of the im­barring of the Scottish trade, and the com­ming in of the Scottish Army, at that time into Newcastle and Shields, so that white Salt was sold in October last at the port of [Page 17] London at 6. l. 10. s. per Wey, and Bay Salt in November last, was sold at the port of London for 8. l. per Wey, in regard Ma­ster Strickson, Master Nuttall, and Master Duke, three of the last Patentees continued the taking impost even untill this present Parliament, which three were also chiefe of the Projectors of the first Patent.

That the 23. of November last, the Ho­nourable Assembly of Parliament upon a Pe­tition of the traders in Salt of London, injoy­ned the Patentees to bring in their Patents & cease taking impost, and thereupon the price both of White and Bay Salt did fall at the port of London to 3. l. a Wey, and some for lesse: but the windes proving contrary in the latter part of December, January and Fe­bruary last, for above ten weekes together: And also small store of Salt having been laid up in London, or made at Shields by reason of the troubles in those parts with the Scot­tish Army, the store of white Salt for want of supply was soone spent here at London: and had it not beene that the Parliament be­fore that time had taken off the Impost of forraigne Bay and Spanish Salt, whereby there was good quantities of forraigne Salt [Page 18] brought in, this City of London had been so necessitated for Salt, as the like hath not been knowne. Yet from the Kings Store house, and the East India Company, and other such like places, there was some small quantities of white Salt found, which supplyed the present want thereof, and was sold in those deerest times at or neere Billingsgate by some of the Traders in Salt for 6. s. 8. d. per Bushell at most, but Bay Salt all that time was sold for 22. d. or 2. s. a bushell, and not above all that time, which was in the Moneth of February, but before that Moneth was expired, and ever since it hath beene sold for 2. s. per Bu­shell, and five peckes to the Bushell, at or neare Billingsgate.

And whereas the Patentees alledge that white Salt was sold for 2. s. a pecke, at that instant day, when they published their prin­ted papers, it is manifestly to bee proved that ten or twelve daies before they published them, white Salt was cryed in London streets at 5. d. a pecke, and so ever since, which proves their printed papers to be scan­dalous and false, in laying forth so many im­putations upon the Traders in Salt, as though they were the cause of deare selling, which [Page 19] was only their continued impositions, and the occasion of the time as afore is shewed.

That before the Patentees had obtained their Patent for Salt, there was imported year­ly to London great quantities of Spanish, Straits, and French Salt, by Merchants, Na­vigators and Traders. And that many hun­dred Weyes thereof were from thence yearly transported for Flanders, Holland, Denmarke, and the East Countrie, whereby ships had their imployments both inwards and out­wards, his Majesties Customes improved, and many poore people, as Porters and Labou­rers had their maintenance thereby; which trade of Importation is in a manner wholly decayed since the time these severall Patents were obtained.

Objections and Observations.

THat their Patents are found by the Committee appointed by the Parlia­ment for hearing the Salt businesses to be illegall, and a Monopoly, by reason they brought an impost on the native Manu­facture, and many other oppressions to the Subject.

[Page 20] That the prosecution hath beene most vio­lent by imprisonments, and forcing many out of their Trades, and also Salt Refiners and Saltmakers, at Shields and great Yar­mouth from their works; and the first Paten­tees forced divers at Shields to let them their Pannes at a Rent, which after two yeares and sixe monthes use, they returned into their hands much decayed, and not satisfied for Rent.

That they would have forced his Majesties Subjects to the only use of white Salt, which is not so sufficient for fishing Voiages and many other uses, as the forraigne.

That they forced the price both of white & Bay Salt, in the time of their Patents, to one third part more then otherwise it would have beene sold for.

That there was a far greater quantity of Salt made in England before their Patents began, then in the time of the continuance of their Patents.

That Horth at a hearing at Councell Table the 19. of December, 1638. to maintaine [Page 21] his unjust cause in taking his Patent, and up­on some speech, which was moved about the insufficiency of white Salt for preserving of Fish, and an ancient Trader there saying, that the very scales fell off through the weaknesse of the white Salt; he the said Horth did most falsly reply and affirme, that Codde and Ling Fish had no scales, which he did to convince them of error who came to oppose him: and he with others (whose names are well knowne) did then and there before his Majesty and the Lords of the Councell so farre maintaine it, that they were believed, and that the others that spake the truth, were rejected, whereby the King and Lords were abused by the said Horth and others, by de­nying that to the creature which it had re­ceived in the creation either for defence or ornament.

That it is and hath beene proved both be­fore his Majesty and the Lords, and also be­fore the Committee by the Trinity house Masters, that if forraigne Salt be prohibited, or some heavy impost be laid upon it, Navi­gation will be much hindred and decaied.

That Horth alone above the rest of his part­ners [Page 22] obtained a Commission out of the Ex­chequer, and did thereby put men to their corporall oaths, to confesse what Salt of their owne or of others, they knew to be impor­ted, and told the Commissioners hee was at Councel about that particular, and his Coun­cell advised him, it must bee so, and to bee sure, would bee with the Commissioners himselfe, and urge it.

That the settled moderate rate (as the Pa­tentees pleased to call it) of 56. s. 8. d. per Wey Shields measure, will stand the Ad­venturer delivered at London in 5. l. 6. s. 8. d. per wey, which is now since their Patent cea­sed sold at this City of London for 3. l. 10. s. per wey, and long before their Patents be­gan, it was sold cheaper, (that time of three or foure yeares of hostility with France and Spaine, when there could be little forraigne Salt imported, onely excepted.) And Bay Salt at present is sold at 3. l. per wey.

That beyond the power of the Patents, Horth constrained the Salt refiners of divers Counties to pay a double Impost.

That if the commodity of Salt be free for [Page 23] all men to import, or make it, there cannot be that ingrossing, forestalling, or regrating made▪ which may be done by a few mono­polizing Patentees, who having the com­mand of it all, may conferre the commodity upon some few particular Traders, for some sinister respects, to the destruction of others in their Trades, (as the late times of their Pa­tents have made manifest.) And for those 27. yeares afore specified, the commodity of Salt being then free of Impost, the price was alwayes reasonable, and would be so now, and so continue, without the helpe of any Projector.

That a free trade which is now so much desired of the subject, and a settled price, de­sired of the Patentee, cannot consist, for a constant price forced upon a native manufa­cture is a principall part of a Monopoly.

That forraigne Salt being absolutely ne­cessary for speciall uses, the inhibition there­of cannot be admitted, but to the great pre­judice of the subject.

That these Projectors, which pretend so much of supporting the home manufacture of Salt, have in a maner destroyed it, by lay­ing [Page 24] so heavy an Impost upon it, as 16. s. for every London Wey. And if it be not sup­ported by taking off the foresaid Impost, it is like utterly to decay, and then indeed (the Salt Wiches onely excepted) this Kingdome must wholly depend upon forraigne parts, for all the Salt shall be therein expended.

(The premisses considered) the humble request to the Honourable House of Com­mons now assembled in PARLIA­MENT, is, That they would be pleased, that the Projectors and late Patentees for Salt may be brought to an account upon the pre­misses, that so it may appeare what profits have accrued to his Majesty, and what dis­advantage to the Subject, and what persons have beene molested and vexed by reason of them, that so reparations and redresse may be made to the parties so vexed and grieved, as in the judgement of the Honourable Assem­bly shall be thought expedient.


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