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414 Historical Account of COMMERCE.

Sept. the four rates ; that the introduâion of in trade, and even courted by the contenluch a number of forcigners, instead of be. ders for the empire ; tho' they themselves ing a support to the present happy establith. were of no capacity, by reason of their ment, might endanger the subversion of intestine divifions, and the little native our contitution, and that, inhead of in power which they respe&tively possessed, ta creating our manufa&uros, it would in the invade the general liberty. end tend greatly to their diminution, as In the 12th century, another trading peo. miny foreigners would come and rejde a- A ple began to appear in the world, by the mongst us for a time, in order only ta in. name of the O Easterlings : There were the form themselves in the nature of the seve inhabitants of several little maritime towns ral methods and managements of our ma in Germany, who, to defend themselves oufacturers and artificers, and after having against the frequent piracies, with which made themselves masters thereof, return the northern seas were then inserted, alagain into their native countries, and there sociated themselves together; and, in that carry on, or aflift in carrying on, many. fatuation, became so confiderable, that they factures of the l.ke kind; therefore they continued to the latter end of the 15th prayed that the bill might not pass into a century, the sole arbiters of peace and was law.

B in the north, and were, indeed, greatly However, tho' the bill was upon the re. considered by all the princes and states in port warmly opposed, and several divitions Europe ; tho' their remote fituation, and happened, yet the question was always divided interests, rendered them but little carried in favour of the bill by a great ma formidable to the liberty of the world. jority ; and on the 15th it was ordered to But, about the latter end of the 15th be ingrofred, and to be read a third time century, the trade of the world suffered a on the Wednesday morning following, be. greater revolution than it ever had done be. ing the 20th ; but the unfortunate death of C fore, and that part of it, which was added the prince of Wales happening that very to the power of Spain, made all Europe day, the 3d reading of the bill was put off tremble. For, about this time, the Por. till the 22d ; and from thence to April the tugueze found out a way to the East-Indies 36th ; and in the mean time petitions hav. by the Cape of Good Hope, and made ing been presented against it from Rocher. Lifbon the staple of all those commodities, fer, Southampton, Oxford, Salisbury, which the hither world was formerly supReading, and Gloucester, our ministers plied with thro' the ports of the Mediter. probably did not think fit to infift upon ranean, About the same time, the new having such an unpopular bill paffed into a D world was also discovered by the Spaniarde law, at such a critical conjuncture; there. under Ferdinand ; when gold and silver, fore on that day, when the order of the which till then were only to be acquired day was read, and a motion made for read. by long and painful applications to induftry, ing the bill the 3d time, the question was came in Miploads, from the conquered carried in the negative; on which it was kingdoms of Peru and Mexico, into Spain. ordered, that the bill should be read a The Dutch had, in their infancy, se. third cime on that day two months ; and veral dificulties to struggle with ; yet, on cho' the session continued till after that day, E the other hand, so many things conspired the bill was no more heard of.

to raise their power, that in a more time (To be continued in our next.]

they surmounted them all. The misfortunes

of Portugal, the severities of the inquifition From tbe Weltminster Journal, Sept. 14.

thro' all the dominions of Spain, the per

secution in France, and the troubles in EngMr. Touchit baving in two former Papers Jand, all happening at, or very near the

expatiated on ebe Inbumanity of plundering same time, made Holland an asylum for Sbipwrecks, and ebe Detrimext our Trade

all the trading and opulent people in Euand Navigation must suffer from ibat bar. F

rope : They proceeded intent upon trade barous and Savage Practice, proceeds, in only ; engaged in no wars on this fide the ebis, to give a port biftorical Account of world, but such as were for their preserCommerce, as follows.

vation, and even those within their own MRADE, which, thro' the perpetual country : They kept the confumption of

wars and calamities that attended the their poor free from exorbitant taxes, diffolution of the Roman empire, was at a time when their neighbours were almost lost in the world, began to revive under heavy debts ; and by this means again among the Italians in the sith century;G continued the price of labour at a moderate and, divided as they were into several petty pitch : But, above all, economy and temprincipalities and commonwealths, we perance were the usual recommendations Call find them, however, grow very con to places of trust and power in the state : liderable in general, from thoir acquisitions This begot an universal parsimony in the

people,

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1751.

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LETTER to a Member of Parliament:

415 people, and suspended those evils which broad ; and to this circulation of comsometimes grow from excessive riches, and merce it is, in reality, owing, that the which some of their neighbours already Atrength of Britain is so much greater, its began to feel in an increasing luxury and lands so much more valuable, and its inprofufion.

trinfick wealth fo much increased as they The trade and navigation of France was are fince the reign of Q. Elizabeth. abandoned before the middle of the 17th The encouragement given to the woollen century; for their commerce never four. A manufactures of England was the foundatia, ed but from the 1660, when Lewis XIV.“ on of its fourishing commerce, which was encouraged and raised it to the meridian foon- extended to Archangel in Russia, to glory it afterwards acquired, Notwith all the matitime towns of the Mediterrane. standing former ages gave great monarchs an, and to the coasts of Africa, Alia, and to the crown of France, none equalled America. this Lewis in provisions for, and a good He concludes with observing, that what. management of, trade and navigation ; ever affifts, promotes, and extends the as also in armaments by sca and land. By commerce of Britain, is confiftent with its there he acquired, and a long time main. B national interest ; and whatever diminith Cained, the sovereignty of the sea, defeat es, or circumscribes it, is repugnant thereing the powerful and united feets of Eng. to : From whence may be derived a true land and Holland in the year 1690 ; and notion of the interest of Great Britain, he lo improved and advanced navigation with respect to the other European powers; and commerce, chat, by these two power and also an opinion formed when that ina ful aids, he was enabled, without impove. tereft is really pursued, and when it is eirithing his subjects, to raise and maintain, ther neglected or abandoned. for many years, above 300,000 well dir- c ciplined troops, including 80,000 very fine A LETTER to a Member of Parliament, horse ; while at the same time, he fitted

fbewin! ibe Necefity and Practicability of out above 100 capital faips of war, and 40 extending Courts of Conscience, and County gallies : He also furnished above 100 strong Courti, to obe Narion in general; and of garisons with stores and ammunition; por. regulating Proceedings in Law. setsed several fine ports in both seas; and found supplies for all the extraordinary de

London, Aug. 5, 17513 principal powers of Europe.

D

legiNature primarily to consider, and England has been always remarkable for impartially to promote the prosperity of a commercial country ; its trade and ma the whole community, with as little prenufactures have always been considerable ; judice as poflible to that of individuals, by and Le Blanc observes, that this nation, extending to the nation in general, thore without being more fertile than the adja. Jaws, which, by long experience, have, cent countries, is inhabited by richer men; been found useful to a parc.thereof. that, wanting wood, it covers the sea with To a demonstration, which admits not its ships; and, tho'it produces few things, e of contradiction, it hath been evident, that: has a flourishing trade with all the wo id. the court of conscience, established in However, the commercial interest of Eng London, by charter or patent, in the reign land was but faintly underflood till the of James I. and Gince confrmed by sundry reign of Q. Elizabeth, who not only esta acts of parliament, has answered all the blished the woollen manufactories on the ends of its inftitution, by preserving debtors, ruins of those of the Netherlands, but also as well as creditors, from ruin, thro' need promoted the navigation and com nerce of less expences, and preventing the litigious her subjects ; opening a patrage for them from devouring the unwary and unthinking, into both the Indies, and exciting that spi

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From whence, on a rational principle, ic rit, which afterwards induced them to make follows, that the erecting such courts in each settlements in the most diftant parts of the great trading town in this kingdom, would globe. This princess, by a wise and hap. be a common benefit, by estabi.ning a py conjunction of the labours of her peo speedy and easy circulation of justice, and ple, boch at home and abroad, formed the securing the peace and prosperity of the. extension of the national weal h and pow. inhabitants ; feeing that the aggregate of er, without the least diminution of the peo several small debis, speedily and easily ple, contrary to the effe&ts of plantations G received, may relieve and re-instate an inmade from other countries, which have digent, but industrious creditor, and exsuffered at home, by aggrandizing them cite industry and frugality in an indolent selves abroad, and especially the Spaniarde : and extravagant debtor, and hinder the Whereas the domestick power of Bricain is drone, or epicure, from preying upon the constantly augmented, in proportion to the labour of the industrious bee. advantages derived from its settlements a.

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416 COURTS of CONSCIENCE recommended. Sept.

It is a wise maxim in government, that debts are supposed to appertain to men of the subjects persons and properties be as ability to bear the expence of recovering, well fecured, and both as lirele oppressed by or a disappointment by detaining them. their lovereign as possible ; and that a great, Great disputes among rich people, which but weak part of the community, be not are often lo perplexed as to make litigainjured by a less and more powerful. tion necessary, by having them traversed,

If that naturally must be allowed, then, and argued, will bear the expence (tho consequently, it follows, that the extraor. A even fuch are become almost intolerable) dinary expence of recovering small debts but it rarely happens, that the lower peofhould be reduced, that the labouring peo ple have any disputes, but what a man of ple might be obliged to pay, and their cré.. common understanding may readily decide, ditors enabled to recover their just debts, without any other skill or learning than without being liable to destruction, by of knowing the difference between .plain little follies and indiscretions, tending to right and wrong. As matters now ftand, oppress the mean and indigent, who are the inferior courts, in general, are so many Jeait able to bear the expence of litigation. inquisitions to torture the common people,

All mankind are not equally strong in B and to keep them in a perputual wrangle their rational faculties, to distinguish how amongst themselves. far their own resentment, or the infinuations Why may not a decree, or judgment, of incendiaries over-run their intereft ; given by 3 difcreet persons, properly chosen, neither are they all alike of honeft princi for 405. be just and equitable, without a ples : But every wise state will consider jury? To this it may be objected, that which are the most natural means to guard a minor number is eafier biassed than a the weak from ruin, and do the injured major : The answer is plain, that the juhtice : For when one subject is permitted C minor, chosen by the parishioners, are to ruin another, it alienates his affections judges of their own electing, esteemed ca. from him that effe&s it, and from that pable and inculpable ; but the major, fum. state which did not prevent it.

moned by a mercenary bailiff, sometimes Amongst the many conveniences re. are men of little penetration, prudence, or fulting from courts of conícience, is one principle, who therefore may ignorantiy or fingularly remarkable, that the creditor wiltully err in judgment (tho' to try by ju. and debtor have liberty (as in Denmark, in dicious, and impartial juries is one of the cases of greater confequence) to state their excellencies of our constitution.) More. own cafe ; and if injuftice or contumacy D over, let it be noted, that an error for a appear in an able debtor, the commissioners small fum is not so dangerous as that for a have power to grant execution against his great one : Tho' it is granted, that the person or effects : But, in case of inability, former may more affect the poor than the occafioned by loffes, fickness, or other latter will the rich. adversity, in another, they may decree pay. As the borough of Southwark, and the ment by gales, or by composition, with cities of Westminster and Lincoln, were out committing him to prison for what he Jately favoured with courts of conscience, is not able to pay, and without depriving E and the counties of Middlesex and Lincoln his family of fubfiftence by his labour, or with courts for the same, to the other the publick of an useful member.

trading lowns and counties in this kingdom Another conveniency of such courts is, have a proportionable occafion for them ; that in some places they are held twice a and, upon proper application, are as juftly week, and in the vicinage of debtor and entitled to them. creditor ; and those for counties about fix If a solution to the question proposed times a year, and at different places alter by an able penman, be necessary, and nately, for the accommodation of the inha. must be decisive, respecting the good or bitants in each district; the expence of the F evil resulting to the nation in general,

by the former being about 35. 4d. and of the lat practice of the law, viz. Whether the ter 38. gd. except upon execution against numbers of the raised or ruined are greater person or goods, when it is 2 or 38. more. a difficulty will attend such solution, with

Debts under 405. are more numerous out an ample scrutiny thro' the courts and than those above it, and, consequently, counties, which will be a work of time ; the quick and easy payment, or tedious but supposing them, and the circumstances and expensive detention of such sums, ex. from and to which one number is raised, hilarate or distress greater numbers of a G and from and to which the other is reduced, lower class and less ability, than those of be equal, would not a proportionable adgreater value do such who are interested vancement, in another manner, to such therein : For as the aggregate of debts or numbers who cccafioned ruin, and the pro. credits increase in value, fo the debtors or sperity of those who probably might have woeditors are not so numerous ; which been ruined, prove a great national advan.

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1751. ABUSES in the Proceedings at L AW. 417 tage ? For that is not the best constitution not love to work. The candor of his apwhich hath the best laws, but that which peal was so jocund and genuine, and caused hath such best administered, and executed such an universal smile, that he was dila for a publick advantage,

missed with impunity; as, doubtless, Bar. Alcho' our lawyers, in conversation tholdi would have been by his Prussian amongst themselves, conclude, that when majesty, if, upon enquiry into the comtrade flourisheth, then doth the law ; this plaint exhibited against him by the courts allows trade to be the principal and effi. A of justice, his conduct had appeared as usen, cient cause of such legal prosperity ; but ful, and not detrimental. were the members of our législature en. I forbear to publish the important reasons, quired of, I humbly conceive the answer which an eminent counsellor gave to his would be, that the law was intended to be friend, for a regulation of the common and the efficient cause of the flourishing, and Atatute laws of England, and the practice not of the ruin, or oppreffion, of trade, thereof, and the dseadfulconsequences which so far as they were dependent upon, or he apprehended would ensue upon the neg. might limve a connexion with each other; lect of it. but as it often proves otherwise, and as

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Nor Mall I particularize the pathetical utility can never be introduced too soon, surprize, which Peter the Great, a prince therefore it is said, that an a&t will be of uncommon capacity and extenfive parred in the next session of parliament for knowledge, Mewed in this kingdom, in preventing litigious fuirs, and to reduce the the reign of William Ill. upon that ac. time and expence for determining just ones : count ; it may fuffice that he penetrated This would animate freeholders, lovers of into the economy of the British customs their country, at the next election, to vote and constitution, and put in practice for those who zealousy promote it, and C what he esteemed laudable, and wore make babes to exult, who now whimperthy of imitation in his dominions ; but in their mother's womb.

hewed such an irreconcileable averfiən to I am well informed, that a cause came the practice of our laws, that before his Jately before an eminent man of the law, death, he regulated and shortened the prowherein the charges for a trining contro. ceedings of his own, which gave him much verly were of ro monstrous a fize, viz. pleasure and his fubje&s great tranquillity. 27 to 1, that the just judge being surprized This was not accounted the least glory in therewith, expressed his indignation against D

the annals of his reign, nor would the these incendiaries, who bring and inde like regulation be the least in his present lible odium and reproach upon the practice majesty's. of the law.

It is held for (and therefore I doubt Upon this subject, I refer to Sect. XIV, in not is) good law, that the king may, by the El'ay for a General Regulation of tbe Law, his role authority, by patent or charler, published anno 1727, by Chrif. Tancred, creet courts of judicature, with such powers Erq; dedicated to the then lord chancellor annexed, as in his royal wisdom he may King, concerning barretry, the ill conre. think proper, or by his council be advised; quences of it, and the remedy to prevent E whether our superior courts were originally it ; and also to an account that came, in ro established, is a point as much too cu. April lart, from Berlin, viz. His Pruffian rious and learned, as unnecessary for me to majesty having published repeated edias, decide. for preventing the pernicious practices of But if my memory does not deceive me, pettifoggers, which have hitherto proved all the lower and inferior courts have their ineffectual, has at last had recourse to a sovereign's grants for their bafis ; wherefore, method, which, it is believed, will be at his present majesty's royal prerogative entended with success; in Mhort, he has sent f titles him, more especially with the advice one Bartholdi, who had got a great deal of of his council, to annul such inferior courts money by setting people together by the as are onerous, to re&ify those that are ears, to Spandau, where he is to work in part so, or to abolish the whole, and upon the fortifications for the space of 3 institute others, under betier regulations. years.

inftead thereof, consistent with our own If all such pettifoggers in Europe were conftitution. That such power is vefted lo employed, the fortihcations would be in his majesty, not only to regulate then, made imprenable, unless Mr. Robertson but the superior courts of justice also, whis of Killmuck's answer to the fynod in G well known to the Hon.commons of Gre.co Scotland, when called before them for Britain, who therefore, on March 4, 1750, teaching school without licence, correfpond refulved as followeth, which was a fuf ed with their sentiments ; viz. I was bred ficient sandtion for appointing commishonapt e sobolar; and be bretbren upon ebe bencb to execute it ; viz. That an addreri know, Ibat we wbo wire bred sebelars, do thould be presented to his majefty, the September, 17.51.

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Method of erecting Courts of Conscience, &c. Sept. he would be pleased to give directions to not an attorney, for which the city of take a survey of the officers, clerks, and London hath given a precedent, and he ministers of ihe courts of justice ; and that to chure the summoner. The election for an inquiry be made into their fees, in order commiffioners and clerk, may be annually to reform the same, as to such as have been made under such powers and restrictions, impored upon the subject, contrary to right, as the courts of conscience for Southwark, and to eftablish what are reasonable and and that for the county of Middlesex, are legal."

A usually held. These courts may be as au • It is therefore humbly hoped, if his ma thentick as if a particular ad had been jesty, who makes the laws of the land the granted for each, by the whole body of the Fule of his government, prelerring a par legislature ; and if afterwards any alteliamentary sanction in cases of importance, ration or amendment be necessary, the before the exertion of his royal prerogat.ve, same gradual proceedings may be had to without it, fee meet to dispense with the effect it. power exerted by his predeceffors, and For fome trading towns and counties, vefted in him ; that out of his royal bene. which have occalion for such courts, have volence, and from the pressing petitions or

B not a sund, nor publick spirit to raise one addreifes of his trading subjects, to have fufficient to procure them ar Westminster; such courts of conscience, or county courts, and others have not discernment enough to for their own accommodation, or for a describe the common necessity and utility general extension of them, He will be of them : And, it is hoped, that the officers graciously pleased to recommend to his par

of the Hon. house of commons will not liament to be enacted (if the legislature, oppose lo publick an utility, from an apprewithout such recommendation from the Acnfion that their future fees will be dimithrone, do not graciously and voluntarily C nished by it, nor the commissioners be. enact) That if one of his majesty's justices of grudge their time and attendance, to comthe peace, in, or contiguous to, any great pleat this amicable association, fince we trading town, with the chief magistrate, ought not to serve ourselves only, but our. and fix or more principal inhabitants there selves and our neighbours, considering that of, and the high Meriff, with two justices he who serves us now, may be served by us of the peace, of any county, with fix or another time. more fubftantial freeholders, or principal But forasmuch as clerks may be prepofinhabitants of every hundred or riding, seffed, and summoners prove mercenary, within the fame, mall petition the bench D by giving intelligence to the litigants, of the of justices, of the general quarter seffions of names and residence of the commiffioncrs the peace for such county, for liberty to who are to try their cause, who may preerect courts of conscience, or county courts, viously influence such commiffioners in within the same ; particularly naming the their favour, whereby justice may be pertowns, parishes, ridings, or hundreds, verted ; therefore it is humbly hoped, that that are to be privileged therewith; and a clause will be inserted in all future acts inserting the times when, and the places for that purpose, to fine any clesk or sumwhere, the fame are to be held ; and the E moner for giving fuch intelligence, litigana said justices, in open court certifying, under for influencing, or attempting to influence their hands and feais, to the judges of the the commissioners, and commiffioners for next general aflizes for such county, their receiving any information or prepoffeffion consent and approbation of such intended in the cause, except in open court, upon institution; and procuring a certificate, any account whatsoever. under the hands and seals of the judges, in The reader is referred to the following open court, fignifying their consent and con instances, Thewing the care of foreign currence, directed to the chief magistrate f princes, &c. for exonerating their fubje&s of the town, or high heriff of the county, from.vexatious and expensive law-suits, for the time being; it may be lawsul for in their respeaive dominions. fuch parishioners, who have a right to ar. Berlin, Feb. 11, 1749. We hear from semble in their several vestries, and for the Cleves, that, in consequence of the new freeholders and principal inhabitants, in regulation made by the king, for the more the several ridings and hundreds in the fpeedy administration of justice, upwards counties, lo affemble and chufe a suitable of 150 law-suits have been tried in the number of discreet and fubftantial inha. dutchy last year. bicanis, in each parish or hundred, pro. G London, March 27, 1749. The astroportioned to the number of parishioners logers at Milan, who predicted from a . and freeholders, to serve as commissioners conjunction of malevolent planets in Libra, at: such courts, by rotation ; and they, by great troubles amongst the professors of the ballot, to chuse a clerk, who is a good law, are like to get much reputation ; his 24comptant, of uablemished character, cho Prusian najetty having begua, by cauf.

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