The Letters of John Paige, London Merchant, 1648-58 London Record Society 21. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1984.
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127. to William Clerke at Madrid
22 March 1658
a. My last unto you was of 12 Jan. where I gave you notice what passed between your brother [George] and myself with Mr Francis Clarke and how I paid him £125 for your account. The rest was paid by your brother. Since which time I have received none from you until this of 16 Feb. Neither indeed have I written you, which hath not been for want of respect but rather want of subject. I wonder mine of 12 Jan. was not come to hand, whereas your brother had answer of his the same date.
I take notice what letters you have from the African Islands [i.e. the Canaries]. We have now some of 16 Feb., and for corn they will have enough, there having gone from hence, France and Holland near 1,000 ts, and so many ships for a second vintage as I never saw the like, which carried good quantities of goods with them. That trade is spoiled. Those rogues which do our business cheat us and take all the gains to themselves. We have a ship gone with 300 hhds pilchards and £1,000 in pack-goods, but she will not return except can get some of our effects invested in cochineal, campechena, Varinas tobacco or Campeachy wood, which I much doubt. For wines, this time a year we will not have a pipe. Perhaps others may load her upon freight with wines.
I take notice what you writ about A[braham] Lee [of San Lucar]. It's true he hath had a little business this year, but he hath so abused his principals by giving them such a parting blow as that they will scarce come there again. So that I look upon him now as in a very bad condition. However, according to your order, I here remit you 3 bonds of his which are all due and attested in the form you desired. Of the first bond I have received in part of Mr [Christopher] Boone £121, so there remains £79 of that, and the other 2 entire, not a penny paid on them. Had I known he would have served you thus, he should not have gone hence. Here he hath not a penny, rather owes great sums of money. If your leisure would permit, perhaps it might be worth your time to go and speak with him. And when this will not take, tell him I shall make all his principals to know who he is and that one word of my mouth in that nature may take all his business from him by showing the bonds, which as hitherto I have been private.
127b. This winter hath been so sharp as that for 3 months we had nothing but frost and snow, at which time no man could endure to sit and write an hour. So that you may not so much admire your account is not finished. True it is I have failed of my promise in it several times, and I think you or another may be as guilty of that as myself. Neither do I urge this as an argument of excuse, nor hath it been delayed out of any prejudice intended by me to you. But rather you will find it's [to] my own [prejudice] and that you may be taken of your opinion of having a farthing in my hands of yours. For every pound that I have of yours in my hands I'll be bound to give you double interest for its detainment, provided you will but oblige yourself to pay me but single interest for what you may owe me. I have not been 4 days abroad this fortnight to comply with your desire, neither shall I take that pleasure intended this spring, being now posting up my books and to give a period to your account. In the meantime I cannot but resent your over-earnestness. Did it come from a stranger, I should not so much admire at it. …