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We can advise no better course for raising some increase of profit than to put them in lease; it requiring the industry of private persons to look into things of so small value and so variable a nature.
PERQUISITES OF COURTS.
For estimate, we find in the year ending at Mich®. 6° Jacobi, profits of this nature have amounted to 42131., not comprehending the Duchy. We find also the fees and allowances to Stewards and Bailiffs to be 42291., whereby it is manifest the charge exceedeth the receipt. And to give your Lps a better taste of the great loss the Crown hath received in the gathering of revenue of this nature, there hath been produced unto us a note extracted out of the years of Q. Elizabeth a primo ad 40m. of all the Auditors' offices except the western circuit, and that about London; during which 40 years the profits of the fines and amercements did amount to 345751., and the fees and allowances of officers for the collection thereof did not only swallow up the whole profit, but did cast upon the Crown a charge of 255041. more.
For advice, we conceive the best course for raising profit of perquisites of Courts is to put them in lease for some short time: whereby the charge will cease, and the profit is like to be improved by private industry ; which may afterwards be used for a precedent to the King for further improvement when the leases should expire.
OUTLAWRIES. We hold it a matter worthy the consideration, but we have not been able to cast it into such a frame, as we dare advise to be safe and convenient.
TENURES AND OTHER CASUALTIES.
We are informed by the officers that there hath been an im
provement this last year, beyond the former years, of 15001., and hope is given by them that sine strepitu, and with reasonable using of the subject, there may be further improvement in good
It is desired by the officers of the Alienation that a Proclamation like unto some Proclamations that came forth some two years since, should be published concerning Alienations, which are not of record ; whereof hitherto the King hath had small benefit : which motion as we do allow, and have thought of some additions to the Proclamation for the King's better service, according to their desire, so nevertheless we wish it forborne for a time.
Estimate. We do find that the whole charge that is put in process of this revenue is about 40001. per annum, whereof 2000 marks, amounting to a third part or thereabouts, is only answered, and the rest excused ; of which rest about 7001. per annum is put over to several Liberties, and 8001. is put over to the Duchy.
Of which 7001. there is good hope of improvement by perusing the Charters of Liberties, because it is probable the most part have not this royalty contained in their charters.
But for the 8001. turned over to the Duchy, if it be duly turned over there can be no present improvement made, because it is already let out in farm.
There is also 9001. per annum nihiled; wherein it is likely there may be some service of improvement by taking away the abuses of these returns.
We do only advise that the Charters of Liberties be looked into by the learned Counsel, and that some conference be had with the Barons, for repressing of the abuses of the Nihils.
MINT AND SILVER.
Touching the bringing of Silver to the Mint, we have had both the merchants and the mint men before us; and we have been by the merchants informed that in their conceit, if the King would abate 64 of his coinage for silver at his Mint, his Ma'y were like to receive as much or greater profit in the increase of quantity as he shall lose by the abatement of his price in coinage ; but because they did not speak it in an undertaking and confident manner; and because the mint men do likewise oppose unto it, doubting that it would work little effect, and might hinder the plentiful coming of gold to the mint, we dare not advise any alteration, but think it worthy of your Lps better consideration.
There was also incidently propounded by the Merchants to have certain Spanish silver coins, being of as good or better touch than our own, to be made current by Proclamation, for encouragement of importation and plenty in the realm ; But because it is a matter of State and not referred unto us, we did not entertain it in consultation.
For other means of drawing silver to the Mint, we leave it unto the former certificate of Mr. Chancellor of the Duchy and M'. Sollicitor, which was both by the merchants and the mint men, being read unto them, approved.
[IV.] New Projects.
Busses. We conceive the proposition to be of very great hope, but we take it that which was referred unto us was not to consider of the main business, which we conceive to be rather a matter of estate than matter tending to the K's present profit, which is the proper subject of our labours. And therefore leaving the dispute of the matter itself, we took into consideration the privileges which were desired: wherein for the general, we do not deny but that which must be undertaken by private purses needeth the comfort of the more privileges; but in the particular examination of those privileges we fell upon a main stop and impediment, which did arrest our further consultation : which was, that the Company of Busses desireth a free trade, as far as concerneth their own fishing, as well in exportation to all foreign parts, as in the importation of all foreign commodities whatsoever by way of return for their fish, as the procidewe’ thereof. Whereupon
i See above, p. 255.
we making doubt that the largeness of that desire might cross divers charters already granted under the great seal to divers companies of merchants already established, or otherwise that it might tend to their discontentment, thought it necessary to have the merchants before us, to accommodate it (if it were possible) by consent. Whereupon there attended us persons of good quality, for the company of Merchants Adventurers, of the French and Eastland merchants, and of the companies of Muscovy and Turkey; who did all severally, directly, and mainly impugn that privilege ; and did conceive and maintain it to be contrary to their former liberties, and prayed the benefit of their charters; though to our judgments some alleged stronger, some weaker reasons; whereupon finding no hope of reconciling the question, we are humbly to leave it to your Lps consideration.
USURY. We have seen variety of projects in this kind, but could not satisfy ourselves that any of them could be so framed but will tend to a great discouragement and decay of trade and merchandise, which is principally maintained upon credit by the younger sort of merchants, insomuch as the very noise and speech thereof was conceived might be hurtful. And whereas there was some remedy propounded for one of the principal objections against all those projects (which is the disclosure of men's estates) that it might be avoided by the raising of a Bank or Exchange, whereby the borrowing might be the more secret ; we did find a great inconvenience that will ensue upon that remedy. Forasmuch as the younger sort of traders who may have particular credit with friends, or certain persons, cannot be like to have a general credit with the bankers; the rather because it cannot but appear to them who they are that are often borrowers, and thereby the weakness of their estates far more discovered by that means than when they borrow of general persons.
APPRENTICES. We have received in this also variety of projects, for the raising of benefit as well upon an office of enrollment for the indentures of apprentices, pretended to be grounded upon the Statute 5 Eliz: as upon another branch of the same statute, against those that use trades having not served seven years ; but we could not satisfy ourselves in either point that profit could be raised, notwithstanding many cautions and limitations propounded unto us, without great inconvenience; the rather for that it would be the first and leading precedent of profit in generality made by a penal law in his Matys time, otherwise than in ordinary form of law.
l'surpe in MS.
We have examined what profit may be made to the King upon Starch in two natures; either by imposition at the port upon foreign starch imported, with a prohibition of making starch within the realm, or by a corporation of Starchmakers within the realm, with privilege of sole uttering of starch and payment of some profit to the King. Thereupon we have considered as well of the convenience as the point of law incident to this proposition.
And for convenience, which might be best understood from men of experience, we had before us some of the late Corporation of Starchmakers, from whom we received information in three points.
First that that corporation had continued about two years and a half, during which time the profit to the King was answered.
Secondly that the price of starch during the time the corporation stood, was much about that rate that now it is.
Thirdly that for matter of nuisance, starch was now as generally made and with like inconvenience or more than while it was under government by means of the corporation; which informations how true they are we cannot affirm.
For the point in Law, we cannot find any ground of prohibition, but it must be one of these three ; either that the common law forbiddeth it: or that the Statute law doth forbid it: or that the prohibition must rest only upon the King's prerogative and proclamation.
And if the prohibition should be grounded upon the common law, then it must be held malum in se, and so not to be dispensed withal; if by statute law, we find no other statute but that of 5 E. 6 of engrossing and resale; and the grounding of a prohibition upon that law hath received a blow by,a judgment in the Common Pleas; so that it must fall upon the strength of a Pro