That the Trade to Affrica, is only Manageable by an Incorpora­ted Company and a Joynt Stock, Demonstrated in a Letter to a Member of the Present House of Commons, by a Gentleman in the CITY.


BEing no less your Servant upon the account of your Merit and Quality, than of the many Acts of Friendship that you have at all seasons exercised towards me; you have an indisputa­ble Right of Commanding my Service, and I own my self obliged to yield you an entire Obedience in all that you are pleased to exact, which lieth within the Circle of my Power to perform.

Now, I need not tell you, that the Affrican Company as Established, did, neither mould them­selves into a Society, upon a previous Combination of a few Wealthy and Covetous Gentlemen; nor did they enter into the present Method of managing that Commerce, by wresting it out of the hands of others, that had promoted and improv'd it to the Honour of the Government, and to a National advantage; but they Embarq'd in it upon the Invitation and Encouragement of King Charles II. and His Privy Council, as well as upon the Perswasion of many other Persons of Quality and Sense; and this they did at a Juncture and Season, when it was fallen under such a Decay, that it was apprehended by all people of Thought and Prospect, to be in danger of being totally lost.

And as it could not then escape your Observation, no more can it now your Memory, that the Trade of Africa was about twenty years ago, not only so abated, but sunk to such a degree, that it became a matter of State, challenging the utmost Wisdom and Care of his then Majesty, and of those of the profoundest prudence, and of the largest Mind, for the publick good, who were at that time in the Ministry, how to Revive and Restore it, so as to render it consistent with the Honour of the Government, useful to the American Plantations, and of ampler advantage to the Nation, both in the Export of our Manufacture, and in the supplying us with larger quantities of the Produce which That Countrey yields, and Ours doth require.

Nor is it unworthy of remark, that the Credit and Reputation of the Trade to Affrica was then so low, that tho' encourag'd by the Kings Invitation to all His Subjects, to joyn in the recovery of it; and tho' further'd by the Subscriptions of many Wealthy, Prudent, and Great Men, who upon a National, rather than Personal Motives, pursu'd the restoring the Kingdom to a gainful share in it; yet the Book laid open for receiving Subscriptions proportionate to such an Undertaking, continu'd so above Nine Months, ere a Stock could be obtain'd adequate to so large a Coast, where not only so many difficulties were to be encountered and conflicted with, but where so great and expensive Forts and Defences were to be Erected for the securing the Traffick there, and the preserving those Factors, Officers, and Servants that should be employed in it.

And as the whole Stock, after so much time wasted in attendance upon Subscribers, amounted at last but to One Hundred and Eleven Thousand Pounds; so those who have from that time hitherto been entrusted with the Conduct thereof, have not only preserved it entire for the support of that Trade, but notwithstanding the vast Disbursments they have been at in Purchasing and Erecting Castles, and Forts for the security of it, they have made such improvements both in the encrease of the Stock, and the enlargement of the Traffick, as those parts are capable of admitting.

But as all publick Undertakings, tho' first attempted at the expence of a few, are upon the being improved to Personal and National Advantage, liable to be invaded by selfish and avaritious per­sons, who after they have declined the hazzard and expence needful either to give birth unto, or to bring such designs to perfection, are covetous to participate in the gain of them; so it hath been the misfortune of the present African Company, to have their Trade broken in upon, and the advan­tages arising by a Traffick which they had recovered to the Nation, and rendred safe to the Dealer, Ravished from them by Interlopers, who while they pursue nothing but their private Interest, do cover themselves with the Mantle of pretended Zeal for publick Liberties and Rights.

Now Sir, the whole Stock, that was either Originally, advanced, or which upon an improvement hath been reserved out of the Dividends, for the carrying on and encreasing of the African Trade, being entrusted and lodged in the hands of a certain number of Managers, you cannot therefore but commend the Integrity of the present Governing Members of the African Society, and their Fidelity to the Trust reposed in them, if they do not tamely abandon either their own Cause and Interest, or the Cause and Interest of those for whom they are Trustees, and of whose Estates they are Guardians; but if by all those ways that are Just and Legal, they endeavour to defend and vindicate their own and the Companies Right, to a quiet and undisturbed Possession of the Affrican Trade.

And whereas through the Companies having no other Authority for precluding others from that Trade, but what they derive from Charters granted unto them by our late Kings, several have [Page 2] taken the confidence, not only to dispute the Power of our Kings in the granting Charters of this Na­ture; but have in defiance of those Charters, challenged a Liberty of Trade into those parts of Africa, which are reserved unto the Company by them; you cannot avoid praising the Temper, Modesty, and Prudence of the African Society, who from a sensibleness of their own incompetency to Judge of the Validity of Charters granted by Sovereign Princes, and for the preventing Quarrels with their fellow Subjects, and the obviating expensive Suits in Courts of Law, did the last Session apply in way of Petition to the Legislative Power, for obtaining a Law in Confirmation of what they have hitherto only enjoyed by Charter.

Which as it hath given occasion, to those no less peevish than clamorous Papers against the Company, that led you to require my thoughts on this Subject; so I doubt not, but both to discover unto you the frivolousness and impertinency of all those Allegations, upon which a certain sort of angry Men are endeavouring to alter the present Method of the Affrican Trade; and withal, to demonstrate unto you, that the taking it off this Foot and Basis, will prove the subversion and ruin of it.

And seeing the benefit of the whole Community, and not the profit of a few, as the Complainants themselves do acknowledge, is the Standard whereby we are to Judge, both of the necessity and of the National benefit of all particular Commerce and Traffick, and of the several Regulations under which they are to be managed; I do thereupon affirm, that the Trade to Affrica, can neither with Honour to the Government, Profit to the Kingdom, nor with safety to the Merchant, be carried on and upheld in any other Method, save that of an Incorporated Company, and of a Joynt Stock.

Nor can any thing administer greater Evidence that I am not mistaken, than that all the European Na­tions, who are Competitors with the Company in that Trade, do in this way both support their Traffick thither, and enlarge it there. For tho' it might be possible, that some Nations, either upon worse motives, or by meer casualty and chance, might fall into this way of Traffick thither; yet it is impossible that all should concur and centure in one and the same method, but upon an evident im­practicableness of managing it with safety and advantage in any other manner.

And as there is no managing of that Trade, but under the protection of Forts and Castles; so they could never have been erected, nor can they be maintained, but by an Incorporated Company acting upon a Joynt Stock. 'Tis only under the protection of Castles, Forts, and an Armed Strength, that the Companies Factors, Servants and Goods, can be safe from the Treachery and Rapine of the Natives, and from the Violence and Depredation of their European Rivals. Were it not by reason of those places of Shelter and Defence, none of those whom the Company is forced to employ for transacting their business, would ever be perswaded, or able to live amongst so perfidious a people as the Negroes are known to be. Nor could any thing less, than the security enjoy'd by Forts and Castles, encourage the Merchant to venture his Estate into a Country, where his Effects must otherwise lie exposed both to Hostility and Treachery,

And as the Affrican Trade cannot be supported to any advantage, without large quantities of Goods upon the place, waiting for, and attending a Market; so nothing but Forts and Castles can prove secure Warehouses for the preservation of those Goods in the interim. Nor are they only the safe Receptacles, both of the Commodities exported thither, till they can be vended, and of those purchased there, till they can be transmitted hither; but they are also the only Stores for Food and Physick, without which, neither Factors, Souldiers, nor Sailers could be supply'd with the necessa­ries, much less accommodated with the comforts and conveniencies of life.

Nor can any Body of Men, but an Incorporated Society acting by, and upon a Joynt Stock, gain and maintain such an Intelligence, as may upon so vast and extended a Coast, either give life unto, or procure an advantage by Trade. As persons trading thither unprovided of setled Factors and Facto­ries, can neither have an extended nor a certain and constant Intelligence; so without such an In­telligence, there is no knowing what may be vended of our Manufacture in the several parts of Affri­ca, nor what may be obtained of their Produce. For as all Commerce there, is managed by way of Barter; so every place doth neither take off the like quantity of our Commodities, nor afford the like proportion of their own. Nay, it often happeneth, that through an eruption of War among the Natives; those places which administer a large and gainful Trade one year; yield either none, or that which is, both very little in it self, and as little beneficial to us in another.

Moreover, it is only by means of an Incorporated Company; that the English in their Dealing and Trafficking with the Natives, can be restrained to a due Observation of the Rules and Measures of Humanity, Truth and Justice. For as Traders at random, do seldom propose any thing, besides and beyond their private ends, so it is easie to be imagined, on what Insolences, Frauds and Rapines, scattered and particular Men will venture, upon the hope and prospect of enriching themselves, when there is no Common and Established Society accountable for the miscarriage of every individual. And especially seeing it is indifferent to them, whether the Trade be lost for ever afterwards to the Nation; Provided that they have by Treachery and Violence, compass'd before hand the Wealth that they aimed at. Nor is it probable, that they who come seldom, and may be but once into those parts, and who have none residing upon the place to be responsible for their behaviour, should comport themselves with that temper Moderation, and Justice, that the Servants of, and the Agents for the Company are obliged to do, and that, not only because their Factors who remain upon the place, are liable to the Revenge and Recentment of the Natives, for every misbehaviour towards them; but because the Offenders themselves are accountable upon their return hither, in case they be complained of by the Companies Correspondents and Agents from thence

[Page 3] Nor can any Society but that which is Established upon, and which acteth in the way of a Joynt Stock, either enlarge the African Trade further, or preserve it in that extent to which it is already brought, and whereby it is become so profitable to the Nation. For as there are no Kings of those extended Territories, and of that uncontrouled Soveraignty, upon the African Coast, who upon the having Residents from hence with them, can allow and secure unto the Merchant any large and safe Trade; so there are no Cities or great Towns where through the setling Consuls and Factors, we may as is practic'd in other parts of the World, drive a safe Commerce for the Sale of our own Commodities, and for the Purchase of theirs. But the Chief Trade of Africa, is either managed at the Companies Castles and Forts where the Neighbouring Natives buy what they want and sell what they can spare, or else it is maintained by the sending small Vessels to the remoter Parts and Rivers, where by Barter our own Goods are put off, and theirs fetcht away. Both which ways of Traffick as they are only practicable by a Company managing a Trade upon an United and Joynt-Stock; So they are inconsistent with, and repugnant unto the granting every one that will a right to Trade.

Further, As there is no carrying on the African Trade, to such an advantage, as may both encourage the Merchant, and reward his Cost, Hazard and Industry; but by having large Quan­tities as well as various sorts of Commodities lodged in the Country to attend both the Season, and the Changeableness of Trade; so nothing can be more evident, than that as this is not practica­ble, without Castles and Forts where Goods may be secured, no more is it to be effected to the de­gree which it ought, by what is Transported by Single Adventurers and in Private Cargoes.

Again as there is no preserving the Trade of Africa without the being able and provided, to assist those Princes, in whose Territories our Traffick lies, with Money, Arms, and Ammunition, to impower them against those with whom they are in War; so this being an undertaking which no Single and Private Person, either will or can pretend unto, it may therefore lay every think­ing Man under a Conviction, of the Necessity of an Incorporated Company and a Joynt Stock, for an­swering the Exigencies, which the preserving the African Trade, the gaining and keeping the love of the Natives, and the preventing their being obliged to the Aid and Assistance of other Europeans, and thereby coming under a dependance upon them, may crave and bespeak a Relief and Supply of.

Moreover, As nothing but an Established Company acting upon a Joynt-Stock, can either at first raise, or for any long time maintain Forts and Castles; so were it not for those upon the Coast of Africa, where the Company hath both supplies of Men, to furnish their Ships with Navigators, in case of Mortality among the Sailors, and Stores of Timber to repair them upon decay, as well as other necessaries to relieve them under losses, it would many times be impossible to perform their Voyages, so that several Ships must be left to perish upon the Coast either through want of Men to Sail them, of Materials to render them Navigable, or of Supplies to relieve the Mariners.

Finally nothing doth more demonstrate that the African Trade, ought to be managed in the way of a Joynt Stock, than that both the Open and the Regulated Way, have upon Tryal and Experience been found dishonourable to the Nation, and destructive of that Commerce. For whereas that Trade, though Incorporated by King James the first lay open to all that would engage in it, during the whole time of the last Civil War, yet instead of its being rendred thereby either Honourable and Advantagious to the Kingdom, or Safe and Enriching to the Managers, the Traders grew poor, and most of the Traffick was lost from the Nation, and the little that remained, lay at the discretion of those who Rival us in Commerce. And whereas the miserable Estate, to which it was reduced, by every Mans Trading ad libitum gave an occasion Anno 1662 to the Revival of the African Trade, under the care of an Incorporated Company, and upon the Fond of a Joynt Stock; so that Company through the losses which they sustained by the violence of the Dutch An. 1664, became necessitated to throw it into a more unconfined method, and to give liberty to any ships to Trade into those parts under the Regulation of Three Pounds per Tun. But alas even this Method, after a Tryal of six years, was so far from being found subservient to the profit of the Kingdom and the enlargement of the African Trade, that the King upon a belief that it would be lost to the Nation, if suffered to conti­nue on that Foot, did with maturest advice both of Statesmen and Merchants give an Establishment to the present African Company.

Of which after the fullest enquiry I can make into its Conduct, I may presume to say, That ne­ver any Society hath more fully answer'd the ends of its Institution, than that hath done. For as it hath rendred the African Trade safe to the Kingdom in defiance of all our Competitors, so in token of their having preferred the profit of the Nation to their own gain, they have used to carry out greater quantities of English Manufactures than the Consumption of those parts doth require, or their produce require. Nor have they since they were Incorporated, exceeded Seven per Cent. for One Year with another in all their Dividends, but whatsoever they have gained beyond that, by their In­dustrious and prudent management of the Stock, it hath been all applyed either to the enlarging, or to the securing of the Trade.

And Sir suffer me to tell you, That as the loss of 7 per Cent. in case of the suppression of the Company, can be no great prejudice to persons, who for the most part have not above 4 or 5 Hundred Pounds in the Stock, and who besides their having considerable Estates in Land, do many of them drive a Trade to other places; so were it not out of respect to the prosperity of the Kingdom, more than out of regard to their private gain, they would instead of opposing, pursue the laying open the Guiney Trade. Seeing there can be nothing more apparent, than that through the knowledge they [Page 4] have of the Country, and by reason of the Interest, which their Factors and Servants have acquired them among the Natives, they are in a condition upon such a Change and Event, to supplant and ruine all those who shall presume to drive the African Trade in competition with them.

And now Sir, to come to what some men stile Objections against the African Company, I do think it may be no rudeness to stile them groundless and impertinent assertions. For whereas,

I. They do charge the Company, with hindring the vent of the Woollen Manufacture, by Trading inconsiderably themselves, nor suffering others, a tenth part of the product of England is not Exported for Guiney, as might be, if the Trade were open, or managed by a Regulated Company. I do hereunto answer several things.

1. This Objection reflects on the Wisdom of the Company, as much as upon their Honesty; and it makes them false to their own Interest, as well as unkind and unjust to the Nation.

2. 'Tis a gross mistake, that a Trades being Open, or its being Incorporated, giveth the measure of what may be exported of our Manufacture. Seeing that depends upon what the Natives there can take off, and give us returns for, and not upon what the Nation here can make, or the Mer­chant carry thither. Nor is it the selling much in one year, but the constant vent that either the Na­tion or the Traders shall grow opulent by. And this can be much better effected by an Incorporated Company, than by particular persons trading at random.

3. The Company is so far from being chargeable for sending less thither than can be vented, that they had, by their last advices, in their Castles and Forts Goods unfold, to the value of 80000 pounds.

4. Whereas the Trade when managed from hence by every Man at pleasure, became both a re­proach to the Nation, and was by our Rivals wrested from it, through our having abused the Na­tives with false and decayed Ware, who though never so simple, yet being cheated once, they would not be so twice; the Company hath not only recovered the credit of the Nation, and retrie­ved the Trade, by taking care to have all the Commodities good in their kinds, which they export thither, but they have much enlarged it, by furnishing the Negroes with such Ware as their mean and indigent condition will allow them to take off, and have enriched and promoted the Trade of the Kingdom, by the Fabrick of several new Manufactures not made before in England.

And whereas it is Objected,

II. That the Company advanceth the Trade of other Nations, seeing by forbearing to supply the Coast with Goods, other Nations fill it and beat us out of Trade with their Manufactures, when our own would at the same time sell better among the Natives, if we would supyly the Market.

Now tho most of what is here suggested, be only a Repetition of what was lately alledged, and is already answered, and serveth rather to declare the pregnancy of their Malice, than either the Fertility of their Wit, or their integrity; yet for the silencing of their Clamour, as well as the gra­tifying their Importunity, I do offer these several things in way of Answer.

I. That were it not for the Forts and Castles which only an Incorporated Company, Trading upon a Joynt Stock, can maintain; Foreigners instead of leaving us any share in that Trade, they would Engross the whole. Nor is it to be supposed, that private persons can upon their narrow. Fonds, con­tend against the Power and Craft of those other European Nations, who manage their Traffick thi­ther by a Joynt Stock.

II. As it is by means of Forts and Castles, that other Nations have acquired and secured a Trade upon the African Coast, so there is no hindring or abridging them in the venting of their own Manu­factures, unless we can beat them out of those Strengths and Fortresses. Which as it may be unjust for any to attempt; so I'm sure that the laying the African Trade open, hath not the least tendency to ac­complish it. But the throwing it either into that, or into a Regulated Method, were, instead of gaining upon our Competitors, or a weakning of them in their Traffick to become a prey unto them, and to lose our own, or at best to hold it precariously upon the Terms, and in the Degrees that they shall think fit to allow.

III. 'Tis a renouncing of all Truth and Modesty, and an attempting to impose upon the King­dom by Impudence and Falsehood, to say that other Nations beat us out of our Trade with their Manufactures; seeing there is no Nation whatsoever, that vendeth those quantities of Woollen Goods there, as the English African Company doth. And if Men would so far hearken to Reason, as to pur­sue a regular course for narrowing and abridging our Foreign Competitors, in what they are now in a condition to sell to the Natives of Africa, it must be by preventing the Exportation of our Wool, and thereby denying them the means of fabriquing Cloaths in their own Territories at home, and not by restraining them from transporting them to Africa when they are made, or from selling them when they are there.

IV. The Authors of this Objection must be persons of a strange Forehead, and must take those to whom they Address to be very credulous and easie of belief, seeing the chief Complainant Mr. Gardner well knows, that the last year the Ship Swan found the African Coast so well sup­plied by the Company with English Manufacture, that of a small Cargo in which the Owners had a share, of twenty Sayes consigned to the Master Giles Daniel, to be sold at any place on the Coast, between Cape Mount and Taccarada, yet the said Master in 49 days stay on that Coast, could sell but two pieces of Sayes, so was forced to leave the other 18 at the Companies Castle, together with several other Goods, for want of vent.

[Page 5] And whereas it is objected, 3dly. That the Company set what Price they please upon the Manu­facture of England, so lower the Price of Wool, ruine the Workers and Dealers in the Woollen Manu­facture, because there is but one Buyer.

To this, how frivolous soever it be in its self, and how much despised by Men of Sense and Thought, I shall to gratifie the querulous humour of those Gentlemen, return these few things by way of Reply.

1. 'Tis impossible that the Company should be able to fix and determine the price of the Woollen Manufacture, seeing the whole Trade to Africa cannot take off the hundred part of what is Fa­briqu'd in England. Nor therefore,

2dly. Can it be subject to one Buyer, seeing there are many hundreds that Trade to other places, who buy of the Clothiers as well as they.

3dly. All Woollen Manufactures, whither proper for Guiney and bought up by the Company, or more agreeable to the vent in other places, and purchased by the respective Dealers thither, are much fallen from what they formerly went at, and that not upon the account of the Trades being managed by a single Buyer, but by reason of the plenty and cheapness of Wool at home, and of the great Manufacture of Woollen Cloaths made by our Competiters in Trade abroad.

4thly. Most of the Goods sent to Africa, being of a different Quality from that which is vended elsewhre; it is not to be imagined that the Labourers in the Woollen Manufacture, would meerly for the gratifying of the Company, concern and employ themselves about what they need, if they did not find their profit and advantage in it. Nor,

5thy. Did I ever hear that those clamorous Gentlemen, have at any time for the encouraging the Woollen Manufacture of England, been willing to afford a higher price than others have bought for. And were I to enquire into their conduct in relation to the Commodities they deal in, I do not doubt but that they would be found to act with less Honour and Generosity, as well as with less Mercy and Justice, than those do whom they accuse and slander.

And whereas it is objected,

4. That the Company ruineth Their Majesties Plantations, partly by not supplying them with a ne­cessary quantity of Negroes, partly by taking excessive Rates for those they sell, and partly by fur­nishing the Planters with Negroes that are unfit.

I do thereunto answer many things.

I. That by all which doth yet appear in the several Papers published by the Complainants, they only seek a liberty for themselves to Trade, but have proposed no advantages, either to this Nation, or the American Plantations, but what they do already enjoy by the Affrican Company.

2dly. The Company hath and doth yearly Import more Negroes into the Plantations, than the Planters have at reasonable Rates, been either willing, or able to pay for. And it were more be­coming those angry and calumniating Gentlemen, to propose ways whereby the Planters may pay the Company the Debts they have contracted, being indebted to the Company above 170000l. Ster­ling, than to clamour because they do not trust them, beyond the hope and prospect of any satis­faction.

3dly. It is not likely that private Traders, either would or could Import more Negroes than the Company doth. Nor is that the thing which is aimed at, but the design is, that the Rich Planters having liberty to fetch Negroes, may furnish themselves with the best, and then to oblige those Plan­ters that are poor and needy, to take off the worst upon such terms, as they shall think fit to sell them.

4thly. As it is demonstrable, that the Company are both abler, and will find their Interest in it, to bring more Negroes than private Traders can do; so it is no less evident, that the indigent and ne­cessitous Planters will be more mercifully, as well as equally dealt with by the Companies Factors, whose business it is to carry themselves indifferently to all, than they can expect or hope for from their fellow Planters, whose advantage it is to supplant, if not ruine to them.

5thly. The great increase in the Produce of the Plantations, since the Company had the manage­ment of the Negro Trade, is both a sufficient confutation of their wanting hands, and of the Com­panies neglecting to supply them. For as it is by Negroes, that their ground is cultivated, and the whole product of it Manufactured; so it is easie to conclude, that they have not been scanted in hands, by the vast encrease of the Produce of their grounds beyond what it was.

6thly. Nor is it possible for the Company to enhance the price of Negroes, seeing that as they cannot in expectation of a Market, without loss as well as expence, keep them for any long time after their arrival at the Plantations, and by consequence cannot prescribe a Rule to the Buyers; so the Company not being the alone sellers, they must comply with the Rates that others are willing [Page 6] to dispose them for. For as every Master of a Ship is furnished with Negroes to sell, through the Companies allowing him one of five towards the defraying the Freight of the rest, so it is observed that they do usually sell theirs at a dearer price, tho' for ready payment, than the Company have for their own, albeit, obliged to allow credit in a very large measure.

7thly. As the Company would not have departed from that Order of the Council the 12th. of Nov. 1680. by which they were restrain'd to certain prices at Jamaica for their Negroes, if the Planters would have complied with the payments that they were to make, and have taken them by Lott, and not by Head; so that Order was upon a full hearing at the Council the 12th. of April 1684. Re­versed and Repealed by reason of the Planters ill payment. And yet it can be proved that notwith­standing the Cancelling that Order, the Company was so careful of the Plantations, that from the year 1680. to 1688. they made Provision to supply Jamaica by sending Cargoes to purchase 25000 Negroes, whereby the Debt on that Island to the Company, encreased 40000l. more than it was be­fore the making that Order.

Finally, whereas it is objected, That the Company doth greatly oppress Their Majesties Sub­jects, by their exacting 30 and 40 per Cent for those Ships, which they afford License unto, to Trade to Guiney.

To this I have likewise divers things to Reply.

1. That it is unjust to complain of that, as an injury, which they desired as a favour. And the Com­pany may have just reason to take it amiss, that what they yielded in order to prevent the clamour of a Monopoly, and to beget a general satisfaction, should give occasion for a new accusation, and encrease the cry.

2 As the Company upon their first settlement, proposed by a Declaration which they Emitted for the Encouragement of the Plantations, that they would deliver Negroes at Barbadoes for 15 pound a head; at the Loward Islands for 16 pound; and at Jamaica for 17 pound; so it is observable that the Planters after several Contracts made for Negroes upon those Terms, where the first that departed from being concluded by those Offers, and that renounced the benefit of them; for they chose rather to give from 30 to 40 per Cent. to have suitable Cargoes, and to take the benefit of the African Trade, than submit to be supplyed by the African Company at the aforementioned Rates.

3. The utmost that the Company have taken, doth not exceed what may be justly expected to­wards the support of their Charge, the interest of their Money, and the liberty of fetching Angola Negroes. For as the Companies Annual Charge is 15 per Cent. on the whole Trade; so being out of their Money about two years, it may well be expected they have 10 or 12 per Cent. per Annum more where they give credit for Goods in the way of Trade, and whereby in all probability the Buyers may pay the Company with their own Money.

4. The Company in order to silence all Complaints, and to create a satisfaction in all Their Ma­jesties Subjects, have this year declared, That whosoever will buy their own Cargoes, and oblige themselves to Trade only beyond the Cape Foamosa, such shall thereupon have Licences granted them at the rate of 15 pound perCent. And seeing the Company through their being at the Charge of 15000l. per Annum, for preserving the African Traffick, do not trade at a cheaper rate themselves, it cannot be accounted a burthen imposed upon their fellow Subjects to take of them the same terms.

So that now Sir upon the whole, I do not only presume the having given you satisfaction in this matter, but I have that confidence in the Wisdom and Justice of the Parliament, as to promise my self that so Judicious and August an Assembly, will be so far from laying the African Trade Open, which were in effect to destroy it, that they will by a Law confirm that Right unto the Company, which they have been so long in the possession of by a Charter. And as I can be under no appre­hension, that so wise a Body as the Parliament of England, will deprive a Society of their Property, which their Castles and Forts unquestionably are, without allowing them a just and valuable consi­deration; so I dare affirm, That all which is hitherto proposed for their satisfaction, is not only fri­volous and uncertain, but wholly impracticable Nor doth it seem reasonable, that after they have by vast Expence, excellent Conduct, and indefatigable Industry recovered, enlarged and secured a Trade, and made it of as National Advantge, as it is well capable of being, that others should step in both to rob them of the profit, and to worm them out of it. And as such a procedure must infallibly discourage all Men from undertaking any Noble and Generous Design hereafter: So it is easie to foresee how fatal and mischievous this may prove to our Posterity, if it doth not to the pre­sent Generation.

Nay Sir, suffer me to tell you, That the setling the African Trade under a Regulated Company, which is the great Method, that crafty and confident Men do propose, and which weak Persons are inclined to hearken unto; will be so far from rendring it more enlarged and National, that it will reduce it into fewer hands than it now is in, and will exclude many from all benefit by it, who under the present Establishment, have both a share in it, and do partake of the gain and profit arising from it. For while it is supported and carryed on by a Joynt Stock, Persons of all Qualities, Sexes, [Page 7] and Ages, are capable of being Adventurers in it, and of having equal Advantage by it with the ve­ry Managers themselves; whereas upon the exchanging this way of management into the Method of a Regulated Company, not only all Females, Children and Persons of great Figure and lofty Title, must be shut out, but it must immediately lapse into a few hands, and those such who are both the most wealthy and opulent, and whose alone Province is Traffick and Commerce.

Yea whereas some intregneing Gentlemen study to flatter and delude several Persons of Interst, to destroy the present Incorporated African Company, and to establish a Regulated one in its room, and that upon a suggestion that the Members of the latter, will both supply the Plantations with more Negroes, and at cheaper Rates, than those of the former hath done, I will therefore farther add, that nothing is more demonstrable, than that disappointment in both these must necessarily attend such a change. For as Merchants disinterested in the Plantations, will never engage themselves in the Negroe Trade, both because of the vast credit they will be forced to give, and by reason of the uncertainty in payment that they must at last submit unto; so we may be sure, that how careful so­ever the rich Planters will be to provide for, and to furnish themselves with a multitude of lusty hands; yet they will not judge it for their Interest to supply their poor Neighbours, either with such numbers as their grounds do require, or with those of that Ability that their work doth bespeak, or lastly at such easie rates as they may grow rich by their labour. But the poor Planter for want of ready payment must engage his Plantation to his Neighbour, whose Interest it is not to shew Mercy, but upon failure of payment by bad Crops or the like, to suppress others that his own Commodity may better turn to account.

But to conclude, If there be any just doubts arising about the Powers granted by Charter to the present African Company; or if there be any inconveniencies in their managing of themselves pur­suant to that Right, which they judge vested in them: I do presume that they will with the ut­most alacrity and chearfulness, submit themselves in all to the Authority of Parliament, and will expect from the Wisdom of the Great Senate, the Redress of all that may be either inconvenient to themselves, or injurious to others. And as they propose nothing by craving a Law for confirmation of their Charter, but the Honour of the Government, the Prosperity of the American Plantations, and the promoting and encreasing the Wealth of the Kingdom; so I do not question, but that they are able to represent such Wayes, Means, and Methods unto the Parliament, as that all those ends may be fully answered. I am

SIR, Your most Obedient Servant.

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