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Reflection of the early liberal ideas in disputes on methods of economic policy of England in the first half of the 17th Century .

galina of PITULKO


In article through a prism of the analysis of debatable subjects of trade policy by the English mercantilist authors of the first half of the 17th century early manifestations of the ideas which formed the basis of the liberal paradigm are considered.

The early manifestation of ideas on the basis of liberal doctrine through the prism of analysis of debatable themes of the trade policy by English mercantilist authors of the 1st half of the 17th century are discussed in the article.

freedom of trade, exclusive policy, trade crisis; liberty of trade, policy of monopolies, trade crisis.



Nikolaevna — to. and. N, associate professor; associate professor of history and world politics of SZAGS

Studying methods of state policy on the industry and trade and also various ideas stated, in particular, by the English mercantilist authors of the first half of the 17th century is of particular importance in the conditions of the modern global economic crisis.

The disputes on trade policy, and including on freedom of trade developed in the English press in the period of government of the first Styuartov in no small measure were stimulated events of economic life of England and, first of all, the crisis of 1621 — 1624 which captured national suknodely and torgovlyu1. In the British historiography the opinion dominates that crisis was caused by the implementation of the project of the London alderman William Kokeyn (1615) authorized by a crown 2. The essence of this project consisted in change of the existing practice of production and export of the rough unpainted cloth which were traditionally making the main article of export of the country. Actually, from the very beginning Kokeyn's plan was the tool of fight of the East Baltic company against the well-known and exclusive company of merchants adventurers. The author of the project belonged to the management of the Baltic corporation which expected to form the new company which had to concentrate in the hands all export of English sukna3. Thereby a blow to intermediary activity of the Dutches who were engaged in final manufacture of the English cloth was struck and the exclusive practice of the company of merchants adventurers which developed for centuries was at the same time broken. Kokeyn's plan was put in action under pressing of a crown, and the company of merchants adventurers also was forced to agree with it. William Kokeyn became the governor of the new company of "royal merchants adventurers" on cloth export.

Some contemporaries with alarm apprehended the taking place events. So, John Chamberlain wrote on October 12, 1614 the diplomat Isaak Veyk: "The company of merchants adventurers is dismissed also them

1 Cm.: Gould J. The Trade’s Crisis of the early 1620’s and English Economic Thought//The Journal of Economic history, 1955, vol. 15, No. 2, p. 121-133.
2 Hill Ch. Reformation to Industrial Revolution. — L., 1968.
3 Friis A. Alderman Cockayn’s Project and the Cloth Trade (The Commercial Policy of England in its main aspects: 1623—1625). — L., 1927, ch. 4.

the charter is cancelled that can entail dangerous consequences" 1. Similar fears were not unfounded: members of the newly minted company had to take out, as before, cloth for final completion to Holland. The experiment which lasted till 1617 failed, and Kokeyn tried to accuse immediately the old company of violation of conditions proekta2. "After the long and passionate debate" in January, 1617 the king restores the rights of the former company of merchants-avantyuristov3.

Symptomatically and in what form Kokeyn's plan was carried out: the company under its aegis replaced the old company of merchants adventurers; a number of the businessmen who were once entering a part former korporatsii4 was it. Let's note the important line having, in our opinion, basic character: to replace one adjustable company possessing the solid capital and commercial experience another came, headed by Kokeyn. Corporate form of trade was the cornerstone of the project and was approved by a crown. The corporationism continued to find support of official policy in foreign trade Styuartov, keeping a support and in influential trade and enterprise circles.

In spite of the fact that after restoration of the old company of merchants adventurers some signs of normalization were outlined in the sphere a suknodeliya and trade, in 1621 "the most sharp decline of the English economy of the first half of the 17th century" 5 begins. This decline which reasons are much deeper, than just failure of the Kokeyna project had strong impact on the subsequent course sobytiy6.

And journalism of this time hotly about -

1 The Chamberlain’s Letters. A Selection of the letters of John Chamberlain concerning life in England from 1597 to 1626/ Th. McClure. — N.Y. 1965, p. 212.
2 Friis A. Op. cit., p. 332.
3 The Chamberlain’s Letters. A Selection of the letters of John Chamberlain concerning life in England from 1597 to 1626/ Th. McClure. — N.Y. 1965, p. 215.
4 Friis A. Op. cit., p. 304.
5 Supple B. Commercial Crisis and Change in England, 1600 — 1642. A Study in the Instability of a mercantile Economy. — Cambridge, 1959, p. 52.
6 Coward B. Stuart Age. A History of England
1603 — 1714. — L., N.Y., 1980, p. 25.

suzhdat problems and methods of trade policy. So, emergence of the first work of Thomas Meng belongs to the beginning of crisis

— the prominent representative of the exclusive merchants which are written down by the subsequent historiographic tradition in founding fathers British merkantilizma7. The beginning of pamphlet war between two other authors of mercantilist sense also belongs to the same period

— Gerald Melyaynes and Edward Misseldenom8. Except works of the similar venerable authors who were traditionally drawing attention of researchers there are pamphlets, perhaps, not belonging to the category "landmark" at this time, but being of a certain scientific interest to characteristic of the early liberal ideas of this time.

So, the pamphlet "Ordinary People Tell the Truth." (1622) is written on behalf of the resident of London who set the task for himself in detail to tell about the "many affairs" happening in the country and demanding "exposure" 9. The work the anonymous author addressed to the king "by the humble notice" (by humble advertisement). For it it is obvious that trade is in decline, and its main manifestation was the fact that British "are forced to buy everything from neighbors". "our neighbors" were meant, most likely, as Dutches since they during this period dominated in international trade and "Amsterdam, but not London was the main transit point of the European trade" 10.

The anonymous author distinguishes those professional groups which cause damage to the state from compatriots. On the first place in such "tables of ranks" at it appear merchants and dealers, and lawyers follow already then. Representatives of trade are represented by it as the people anxious only with receiving profit. Pejorative characteristic of merchants is combined at the publicist with expression of hope for change of policy of a crown in relation to businessmen.

7 Mun Th. A Discourse of Trade from England with the East-Indies. — L., 1621.
8 Johnson E.A. Predecessors of Adam Smith/The Growth of British Economic Thought. — L., 1937, ch. 3 — 4.
9 Tom Tell-Troath: Or a free Discourse Touching the Manners of the Time. 1622 / / HMC, vol. 2, p. 400.
10 Coward B. Op. cit., p. 25.

Hinting at the corruption of visible ranks of the government (to which number belonged also the state treasurer) which became possible thanks to monetary dependence of officials on rich persons of City, the author of the pamphlet "Ordinary People Tell the Truth" directly does not accuse a crown of any transactions with wealthy merchants — all evil is attributed to the state treasurer. Thereby the pamphleteer reduces sharpness of contradictions between various groups of businessmen, between the yard and privileged dealers a little.

"The domination of merchants" is an only one part of the poblema mentioned by the pamphleteer. Other problem opened by him are exclusive grants. For the anonymous author trade monopolies — "dirty spots of General Welfare" which it is necessary "to wash away" 1. And, according to him, the lower house of parliament has to execute this work. He sees the task in showing "dissonance of the house" (discord at home)2, to find out, "why subject kingdoms so loudly cry". Assuring readers that can "prepare any long reasoning" on monopolies, the author of the anonymous pamphlet, nevertheless, avoids criticism of specific monopolists. Up to the end remains obscure whether only owners of private patents, or and all sociable merchants which are a part of various exclusive companies were had by it in mind.

One of manifestations of "dissonance" in the state to the publicist seems available "many thousands of the citizens" ready "to rebel, being without work". In pauperism growth to it the threat to an order seems. In the same way this circumstance disturbed other contemporaries. So, in the petition of clothiers in May, 1622 it was said to Privy Council: ".sredstvo to existence are taken away. to keep them from a plot will be difficult business" 3. The way out to the author of the pamphlet seems in the fastest investment of poor people with work. Laying aside illumination of possible measures against pauperism, he summarizes: ".ya I hope, nobody not

1 Tom Tell-Troath: Or a free Discourse Touching the Manners of the Time. 1622 / / HMC, vol. 2, p. 404.
2 Ibid.
3 Seventeenth-century economic documents/ed.

by J. Thirsk, J. Cooper. - Oxford, 1972, p. 15.

will begin to deny that British can receive the salary for the work just as any other nation". Allocating a pauperization problem, putting it in a row the most serious difficulties as poor people "are ready to rise", the anonymous author suggested quite general recipe - to allocate with work of paupers.

Judging by reasonings of the pamphleteer concerning topical issues of the present - exclusive trade, pauperism, but concerning quite superficially, he was far from trade business. Though probably in concrete life he faced manifestations of the same exclusive trade. Being a consumer of goods, he shows concern about the extended trade grants ranked by the pamphleteer as the category of "dirty spots of General Welfare". And, probably, the sharp criticism of all merchants is connected with its "not merchant" origin. The greed of businessmen in the image of the pamphleteer is nearly most important distinctive feature of representatives of trade circles. Let's remember that the famous poet and the traveler Walter Raleigh, unlike the creator of the pamphlet of 1622, placed the highest priority on merchants as "a necessary element of a social organism" 4 as it "truly enriches the kingdom" 5. The characteristic of merchants given Raleigh who was closely connected with commerce as we see, differs from theses of the anonymous author seeing only negative points in the generalized image of dealers markedly. The anonymous pamphleteer visibly outlines a circle of the problems concerning those his contemporaries who were not connected with trade: trade decline, domination of merchants and its pressure upon the policy of the government, increase in number of trade monopolies, corruption of officials of the highest rank, pauperism.

One of types of the state support of clothiers has to become, the pamphleteer, cancellation of all additional requisitions and duties, except traditional duty in 6 shillings 8 pence offers. The second step governmental poly-

4 A.Ya. Gurevich. Categories of medieval culture. - M, 1984, page 270.
5 Raleigh W. The Seat of Government//Maxims of State. — L., 1656, p. 70.

tics, according to the anonymous author, there has to be a following: ".esl the merchant adventurer after taxes are cancelled, will not accept cloth from the dealer. then, if its Majesty needs to develop trade in wide sizes, it is necessary to grant permission to all English merchants to buy and sell it, without reckoning with the privileges of merchants adventurers" 1. The anonymous author is sure that a similar measure — the admission of everyone to trade — will cause extensive and free trade without any difficulties. One of the core ideas of the pamphlet — an appeal to free trade, to broad participation in wholesale trade of all English entrepreneurs supported by favorable duty policy, actually, consists in it.

The same problems rise in other anonymous pamphlet — "Truthful Disclosure of the Reasons of Decline of Trade" 2. As well as the author of the pamphlet "Ordinary People Tell the Truth", the creator of "Truthful disclosure" is sure that England is plunged into the most severe crisis. At the same time he is not limited to the instruction on the fact that British are forced to buy everything from foreigners, but also itself offers ways of eradication of such practice. The anonymous author proves the consecutive adherent of the statute "About an istracheniye" (The Statute of Employment), forbidding export of money. Respectively the tone of the pamphleteer when it comes to infringement of interests of the British trading in foreign markets changes. Complaining about too big customs duties in Holland, he says himself the supporter of the most tough policy in relation to neighbors again: "Dutches should let know that it (the king of England. —

1 Ibid., p. 146-147.
2 Truthful disclosure of the reasons of decline of trade//Mercantilism / under the editorship of I.S. Plotnikov. — M.-L., 1935, page 141 — 151.

Of P.) will refuse the depository place in Delft and will attack them for what they interfere with sale of the English cloth by establishment of duty in 40 shillings from piece".

Unlike the author of the pamphlet "Ordinary People Tell the Truth" expressing the point of view of the ordinary consumer the second publicist, addressing a subject of exclusive trade, condemned not trade monopolies in general, but the privileges of only one exclusive company are the companies of clumps-tsov-adventurers. The author of "Truthful disclosure" puts forward the slogan of free trade as a necessary step of the government for an exit from a crisis situation in domestic to a suknodeliya and trade.

Thus, the early bourgeois idea of "free trade" in the conditions of increase of economic and social contradictions in England becomes more and more popular in certain circles of the English entrepreneurs deprived of an opportunity to participate in wholesale trade. Their understanding of estimated freedom is similar to which was found by authors of the beginning of the 17th century — the admission of all merchants on foreign market for the purpose of achievement of "trade in cloth in wide sizes". A number of authors considered that the way to it lies through permission from a crown to all English merchants to buy and sell cloth, "without reckoning with the privileges of merchants adventurers". Freedom — a desired alternative to exclusive trade, but possible only with support from above. Opposing the exclusive rights of merchants adventurers, some authors positioned themselves as adherents of revision of the existing system of trade, and the early liberal idea of free trade appeared in this context only right for recovery from the crisis of the beginning of the 1620th

Harrison John
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