CONCERNING The insupportable grievance of the Transportation of Leather.


Printed in the yeare, 1641.


TO THE HONOVRABLE Assembly of the House of Commons now assembled in Parliament.

The humble Petition and Remonstrance of many thou­sands, whose names are here subscribed, of the City of London, Middlesex, Southwarke, and other pla­ces of the Kingdome, in behalfe of themselves and of the Subject in generall.

SHeweth, that amongst other the grievances of this Kingdome, the insupportable burthen of the inhanced prices of all sorts of Commodities which are made of Leather is exceeding great, and doth daily increase, so that the whole Nation is much oppressed and impoverished thereby, especially the poorer sort of your Petitioners, who are not any longer able to un­dergoe the same.

That the same is caused by reason of the exportation thereof be­yond the Seas, and of the grossers and forestallers of Markets, Tan­ners, Curriers, Shoemakers, and other ill affected persons, who buy up and ingrosse great quantities to export, and inhance the prices of the rest.

That under pretence of exporting of small skins, all sorts of Lea­ther is sent away, whereby Roots, Shooes[?], and all Commodities that [Page] are made of Leather, is within these two or three yeares inhanced in the prices above eight shillings in the pound.

That the Patentees and others, as your Petitioners are infor­med, endeavour to procure an Act for the tolerating of their trans­portation of Leather, which if effected, will be a perpetuall damage to the King and Kingdome, and the utter ruine of many hundred thousands.

That the said oppression is heavier upon the Subject then any project whatsoever, or the insupportable burthen of Ship-money. All which more at large may appeare in your Petitioners humble Remonstrance.

Wherefore your Petitioners most humbly implore the just fa­vour of this great and Honourable Assembly, to give speedy redresse to this inconceiveable Grievance: And in the meane time that the transportation of all sorts of skins and Leather may be forthwith sequestred. And your Pe­titioners, together with the generall of the Kingdome, shall ever pray, &c.

Above twelve thousand hands subscribed to this Petition.


An Humble Remonstrance touch­ing the Grievances of Leather.

IT is a maxime in Phylosophy that all things in nature tend to perfection by rules of order and degrees of goodnesse, so in a commonwealth all things should be for its advancement by the rules of po­licy and experience, and whatsoever apeares to the con­trarie, that thing is to bee abolished, and the Projectors punished.

Now amongst the sufferings of this Kingdome, the In­supportable burthen of the inhanced prices of such com­modities as are made of Leather is exceeding great, and doth daily increase, so that the whole nation is oppres­sed and impoverished thereby, especially the poore, who are not able any longer to undergoe so great a misery.

Which grievance the petitioners doe here humbly re­monstrate and present unto the great judgement of this honorable assembly, wherein may be considered,

  • 1. the greatnesse of the evill,
  • 2. the causers therof,

Together with answers to some frivolous allegations which have or may be made therein.

For the greatnesse of the evill.

It is the greatest oppression that ever hath beene upon the subject, beyond all projects or monopolies that e­ver was set on foote in England, Sope, Starch, Tobacco, &c. but petty things to this, for many an able country man lost not above six pence or twelue pence in a yeare by one of these, and the poorer sort nothing at all, for they seldome bought any: But all sorts of people from the rich to the wandering begger, are sharers in this mise­ry of inhanced prices of Leather.

It is a grievance beyond the insupportable burthen of shipmony, as may plainly appeare by descending to some comparative particulars of severall

  • 1. Parishes in and about London, and
  • 2. Townes and Hamlets in the country.

For Parishes, Saint Olaves Southwarke hath in it above 3600. families, wherof 2800. are not able to pay subsidies or shipmony, and there is not a poore family that can be excused under ten shillings a yeare or more, which the charges of shoes and other things of Leather stands them in more then it did two or three yeares since, which amounts to above 1400. pound a yeare that the poore of this parish are put unto in the expence of an in­hanced commodity.

[Page 3]St. Brides in Fleetstreet, a Parish in the heart of Lon­don in respect of trade, yet there is above 700. poore families that was never within the list of Ship-mony, which after the same proportion is above 350. pound per annum, which is exhausted from these poore, who are most of them ready for reliefe of the Parish.

St. Sepulchres, hath in it almost 2000. poore families, St. Giles Cripplegate as many, which after the same pro­portion is 1000. pound per annum, which the poore of each severall Parish lose, enough to make many of them turne rogues and beggers, and thus wee might instance in other Parishes. Besides, it is conceived every Parish hath in it as many lodgers as there are families, which suffer in the prices of shoes that never payd Ship-mony.

So for Townes and Country Villages, some husband­men are assessed for subsidie, or shipmony, at two or three shillings a yeare, but in the inhanced prices of Lea­ther, what for boots and shoes for himselfe, and family and calveskins to cloath himselfe and children, and Leather for sadles, cartsadles, horse collers, and other accomodations about husbandry will amount to above five times as much as he payd for Ship-mony.

And which is most miserable, a poore man that hath nothing but what he gets by his day labour, and is so far from paying Ship-mony that he is ready for releife from the parish, what for cloathes for himselfe and family, and for calves leather to cloath himselfe, and children, to broyle in the woods hedging, and other servile work, is [Page 4] almost five times as much per annum as the husbandmans part of Ship mony.

A poore man is now compelled for every paire of shoes that he buyes for himselfe, to work three of foure daies more then he formerly used to doe, and in the meane time his wife and children want bread at home, for shoes are dearer by twelve pence in a paire then for­merly.

There is not a poore servant that sends his shoes to a Cobler but it costs a penny in three pence more then formerly, nor a begger that wanders from doore to doore but is oppressed, although hee hath nothing but what he begs or steals.

And it is an unanswerable rule, that to inhance the prices of any commodities that are usefull for supply of a Kingdome, is the increasing of theeves and beggers.

The rich escape not, although better able to beare it, for there is not a family of any ranke that can bee excu­sed in the inhanced prices of bootes and shooes under thirty or forty shillings per Annum, besides the leather of a Coach, and harnesse for foure horses is dearer by six pound then it was two or three yeares since; not a sadle, the headstall and ranes of a bridle, stirrup-leathers, nor a ring-halter for a cart horse, but is dearer by three-pence in the shilling then formerly.

If this misery befell but some particular men, it was [Page 5] an evill not to be permitted, but when all suffer, in all places, in the North the last yeare, the souldiers could scarcely get shooes for mony, many went barefoot which the King graciously commiserated, commanded his Atturney generall to enquire the causes, which was found to be transportation.

Whereupon the Lords of his privy Councell in Octo­ber last, by an Order from the Boord, stopped the trans­porting thereof, and in twelve dayes Leather fell 5. s. in 20. And afterwards when liberty was obtained to transport the peeces of Leather, did in as short a time rise as much.

The second thing to Remonstrate is the Causes of this Evill, and they are the Transporters, their Agents and Instruments.

The transporters, such as by tolleration and pretence of Law, carry away great quantities, which are Merchants and others that take licence from the Patentee; or such as in packs of Cloath, and other indirect means, convey away great quantities, which never com [...]s to be cu­stomed.

The Agents or Instruments of this Evill are divers.


  • 1 Factors.
  • 2 Tanners.
  • 3 Curriers.
  • 4 Shoomakers.
  • 5 Packers.

How Factors abuse the Kingdome.

The Factors being the Merchants Agents, forestall the Markets, goe to Tanners yards, and buy up great quantities of large skins for the transporters, which other­wise would be brought to the Market.

How Tanners abuse the Kingdome.

The first abuse is, the Tanners in Yorkeshire are per­mitted every yeere to carry 4000. raw rides by water, borne from London to Hull, a fit place for transportati­on; but whether they come at Hull when they are up­on the seas, is a question. And the pretence is to sup­ply the West-riding in Yorkeshire with sole Leather.

And whether the people of the West-riding want Leather, appeares not, for they complaine not, it is one­ly the Tanners pretence; nor does it appeare wherefore that part of Yorkeshire should want Leather more then any other part, or then the Bishopricke of Durham, Lan­caster, Lincolneshire, Northumberland, &c. save onely Hull is a fit place for transportation, and under pretence of 4000. hides, it is conceived they send away 40000. hides. And the truth is, about all the Port townes in England, Leather is exceeding deere, by reason of the transportation from them.

The second abuse is, the Tanners about London and other places, buy up and ingrosse great quantities of [Page 7] hides, and when they are tanned, secretly sell them to the transporters or Curriers, who buy them for the trans­porters.

The third abuse is, not tanning their Leather according to the Statute, in their fats, which they through cove­tousnesse sell forth to supply the Merchant before it be well tanned.

How Curriers abuse the Kingdome.

These, whose office is onely to dresse Leather, and by Law ought not to buy it, comply with the Tanners, and forestall the Markets, ingrosse great quantities into their owne hands; and when it is dressed, retaile part at inhanced rates to poore Trades-men, and secretly con­veigh the rest to be transported.

How Shoemakers[?] abuse the Kingdome.

These instruments of evill are secret enemies to the State and to their owne trade; for many of them week­ly buy great quantities of leather and spend little, but ei­ther for the transporter, or to cut into unwrought wares to be sent beyond seas in barrells or packs of cloath, to deceive the searcher and the Kingdome: So that many shoomakers that painfully worke for their livings, and almost twenty trades more, can scarce get leather for mony; whereby all the wares which these severall trades doe make, are inhanced to the subject.

How Packers abuse the Kingdome.

The Packers are sworne Officers, and should see that none but calfe skins bee sent away, who for their owne profit being paid per dozen, and it may be some­what largely too, permit skins of 16. s. and 18. s. a skin to be transported under the name of calfe skins.

To this which hath beene said, some frivolous Al­legations have or may be made.

Alleg. 1. The Legality of the Patent for transporting of Leather, hath beene questioned, and not excepted a­gainst.

Ans. The lawfulnesse of the Patent is not the thing, but that it is a grievance to the Kingdome.

Alleg. 2. However it is not comparable to Ship­mony, which might have beene raised ad infinitum, so Leather is not like to be.

Ans. We speake not what Shipmony might have been, nor of the illegality nor hainousnes of the offence, but[?] as it was a grievance, and so Leather is many de­grees beyond it.

And in the burthen of Shipmony, the poore was ex­cluded: but this grieveance of Leather falls heaviest up­on the poore, besides Shipmony every yeare decreased in its proportion, and Leather is every day dearer.

[Page 9] Alleg. 3. To stop transporting of Leather is against the Kings profit, he will lose the benefit of customes.

Ans. His customes will be greater, for then perfect wares will be made and exported, which will bring more customes to the King, for great quantities of Lea­ther is secretly sent away, which never comes to be cu­stomed.

Besides, it is against the rule of trade and of policy, to transport any native materiall unwrought, thereby the subject loses the benefit of manufacture, and puts it into the hands of strangers.

Ed. 3. was renowned for bringing the manufacture of cloathing from Gaunt into England.

Iames the first of Scotland, saies Buchanan, sent for the best Artificers he could get in all Europe, and gave them great rewards to instruct his people.

Selym the first Turkish Emperour, saies Valerius, procu­red 10000. Artificers to be brought to Constantinople.

What need such great Princes have been at such care and cost, had it not beene for the good of their Kingdomes, when they might with the poore Irish, have sent away their materials, and beggered their Nati­ons?

All. 4. Other Nations besides Ireland send away their materialls, for we have brought into England store of cotton wooll, Russia leather, silke and flax, in great a­bundance, [Page 10] and we send out but onely one poore com­modity of leather.

Ans. It is the greater advantage to this Kingdome, and dammage to those from whence it comes, to send a­way their materialls.

Besides we must take things with their circumstan­ces, Cotton wooll is a planted commodity that growes upon the ground, so doth not Leather, and it is sent from our owne Islands who have scarce people enough to plant it, much lesse to make it a manufacture, and Russia Leather is a trash commodity little worth, yet we are compelled nolens volens to buy it, or goe barefoote, and it is dearer to us then our owne good Leather would be, if it were not transported: so silke is wrought in such abundance, that the people are not able to make it into a manufacture.

And flax, the Country from whence it comes cannot spend all that growes, besides if they sent us not of their flax, then we should speed better, and put those former Statutes in force for sowing of Line seed, but whether it be a materiall or a manufacture, it is not fit to be trans­ported, and the Kingome want it.

All. 5. To inhance the prices of exportable wares is a great inriching to any Kingdome.

Ans. There is difference between wares ready wrought and unwrought materialls; besides, the proposition holds not; for inhance the prices of exportable wares to o­ther [Page 11] nations, and they will Lex talionis inhance importa­ble wares to us again, so we shall pluck beggery upon the Kingdome with both hands.

All. 6. That it is better to export Calves skins then to lose them, for otherwise they must be cast to the dung­hill, the Kingdome is not able to spend them.

Ans. The Kingdome cannot spend them, because they cannot get them to spend, they are all sent away, so that lawlesse necessitie compells us to make use of Russia Leather, although it is stubborne and spungie, not halfe so good as our worst calve skins; and this passes through severall hands, and paies severall customes before it comes to be cut; and of this trash and deare Leather this Kingdome is forced to use for bootes &c. which will doe little service.

Besides, the want of Calves skins are so great, and the prices so deare, that poore labouring men cannot get them to cloath themseves and children withall, to broyle in the woods and doe other servile worke.

All. 7. To stop transportation of Leather will be a losse to the Landlord, Grasier, Butcher, Tanner &c. for the Tanner cannot sell his Leather soe deare, nor the Butcher his meat and hides, nor the Grasier his live cattell, nor the Landlord set his ground so deare.

[Page 12] Ans. These are not gainers, all things consider [...] for what they get by these, they lose five times more [...] raising the prices of Leather raises the prices of all co [...]modities that are made of Leather, which comes [...] the hands of neare twenty trades to cut; nay it rais [...] other commodities, and provision; for it is observab [...] raise any one commoditie and it drawes up the prices [...] others after it, all which dammages the Kingdome, [...] ruines the poore.


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