Tuesday, January 6, 1656–7.
I was otherways engaged this day at home, so could not
attend. The gown and chalice sent the night before by the
woman. (fn. 1)
In the Clerk's book, (fn. 2) this day's journal was this.
Ordered, that Sir John Thorowgood be added to the Committee for Alehouses, Labourers, and Country Registers.
A Bill for the Excise and Customs, ut supra, read the second time and committed.
Ordered, that this Bill be debated in a Grand Committee
of the House on Thursday next, and the Committee to sit on
Tuesdays and Thursdays till the same be dispatched.
Ordered, that the Bill for continuing and assessing of a tax
for the maintenance of the militia forces in England and
Wales, be read to-morrow morning.
Ordered, that Sir William Roberts and Colonel Briscoe
be added to Mr. Scot's Committee.
Ordered, that the Bill for the regulating the making of
serges and perpetuanas (fn. 3) be read to-morrow, after the other
three Bills already appointed to be then read.
Ordered, that the petition of Sir Richard Lucy be read on
Saturday morning next.
In the Duchy Chamber sat the Committee of Trade,
where was debated the great question, adjourned till this day,
upon the petition of the Free Merchants against the Merchant
Adventurers; wherein was set forth what a great prejudice it
was to the Common wealth that the trade of the woollen manufactures should be ingrossed into the hands of one company;
it being the only staple trade of England, and ought to be
improved to the best advantage.
There were strong arguments brought on the account of
the free merchants, to prove that a free trade was most for the
good of this nation.
Sir Christopher Pack, who is master of the Merchant Adventurers' company, turned in the debate like a horse, and
answered every man. I believe he spoke at least thirty times.
Mr. Lloyd helped him as much as could be, but both reason and equity, and the sense of the Committee, being against
them, they were forced at last to give up the cudgels, but
with much ado. Sir Christopher Pack did cleave like a clegg,
and was very angry he could not be heard ad infinitum, though
the Committee were forced at last to come to a compact with
him, that he should speak no more after, that time. He said,
at last, he hoped to be heard elsewhere. The man will speak
well, and I heard that when the consultation was at Whitehall, about the admission of the Jews, (fn. 4) of all the head-pieces
that were there, he was thought to give the strongest reasons
against their coming in, of any man. Mr. Lloyd will speak
well, but we were too hard for them.
There were only those two, and Alderman Geldard, and
Major-General Bridge, and one or two more, of thirty-three,
that were for the merchant-adventurers. All the rest were
for free trade. Sir John Hobart, Captain Kiffen, Captain
Hatsell, and Mr. Robinson, spoke freely to it. And at last
the Committee came to this resolve: that it is for the good
and benefit of the Commonwealth, that the native merchants
may trade into Germany and the Netherlands, with all the
woollen manufactures of this nation, without prejudice to the
marts at Dort, and the other places in Holland. Cousin
Highmore will be well pleased with it. It will recompense
his loss by the vote, ut supra.
It seems his Highness had published a proclamation, not
long since, on the behalf of the merchant-adventurers against
the free traders, but they were surprized in it, and condemned
unheard, as Captain Kiffen made it out to the Committee.
They tell us it will so advance the woollen manufactures of
this nation, that both the clothiers and the wool-buyers will
be much enriched by it, and that the price of wool will rise
two or three or four shillings in a stone. I wish it be not