James the Second, 1685: An Act to encourage the Building of Shipps in England. [Chapter XVIII. Rot. Parl. nu. 18.]

Pages 20-21

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 6, 1685-94. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1819.

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A more than ordinary Decay in building Ships in England.

Whereas for some yeares past and more especially since the laying a Duty upon Coals brought into the River of Thames there hath beene observed a more than ordinary Decay in Building Shipps in England and particularly in New Castle Hull Yarmouth Ipswich Alborough Dunwich Walderswick Woodbridge and Harwich where many stout Shipps were yearely built for the Coale and other Trade which were of great use to his Majestie in time of Warr and a Nursery for able Seamen but by the Discouragement that Trade hath ever since laine under occasioned chiefely by the freedome which foreigne Shipps and Vessells bought and brought into this Kingdome have enjoyed in the Coale and other Inland-Trade equall to that of English built Shipps the Merchants Owners and others have not beene able to build as formerly which hath caused many of our English Shippwrights Calkers and Seamen to seeke their Imployments abroad whereby the Building-trade is not onely wholly lost in severall of the aforementioned places and in others very much decayed but alsoe the Importation of Timber Plank Hemp Pitch Tarr Iron Masts Canvas and other Commodities used in building and fitting out Shipps are greatly lessened to the apparent p[re]judice of his Majestyes Customs the losse of a considerable Imployment for Shipping and consequently of all other Trades depending thereupon to the too great Advantage of Forreigne Nations.


Foreign-built Ships employed in the Coasting Trade to pay 58. per Ton for every Voyage above other Duties; Duty applied to the Chest at Chatham and Trinity House at Deptford.

Bee it therefore enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majestie by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and the Commons in this present Parlyament assembled and by the Authoritie of the same That all Foreigne-built Shipps and Vessells which shall henceforth be bought and brought into the Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwicke upon Tweede and be imployed in carrying or transporting any Goods or Merchandize from Port to Port as aforesaid for every Voyage shall pay to his Majestie his Heires and Successors at the Port of delivery of their respective Ladeing (before the Delivery thereof) over and above all Dutyes now paid or that shall hereafter be payable by English-built Shipps the Summe of Five shillings per Tun to be collected and received by such Person or Persons as his Majestie shall appoint in that behalfe One moyety whereof to be for the use of the Chest at Chatham the other moyety to the Master Wardens and Assistants of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond for and towards the Reliefe of wounded and decayed Seamen their Widows and Children

III. Foreign Ships already in English Hands 18. per Ton above other Duties.

Duty applied as the 58. Duty.

And whereas there are now in England belonging or pretended to belong to English Owners many Forreigne-built Shipps and Vessells which doe transport Coals and other Goods from Port to Port in England as aforesaid paying noe more Duty than English Shipps pay Bee it further enacted by the Authoritie aforesaid That all such Forreigne Shipps (which are not free) for every Voyage shall pay after the Feast of St. Michaell in the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred eighty and nine at the Rate of Twelve pence per Tun over and above all Dutyes now paid or that shall hereafter be payable by English-built Shipps to be disposed of unto the Chest of Chatham and the Trinity-House of Deptford-Strond by Moyeties as aforesaid and for the uses before-mentioned which said last mentioned Duty of Twelve pence per Tun alsoe shall be collected and recieved in manner aforesaid at their respective Ports of delivery of their respective Ladeing before the delivery thereof

IV. The said Duties to be recovered as by 12 Car. II. c. 4.

And bee it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That his Majestie shall have the same remedy for receiving and recovering of the Dutyes above mentioned as are provided in a certaine Act of Parlyament made in the Twelfth yeare of the Raigne of our late Soveraigne Lord King Charles the Second Entituled A Subsidie granted to the King of Tonnage and Poundage and other Summes of Money payable upon Merchandize Exported and Imported.

V. The said Duties not to be farmed.

Provided alwayes That the said Dutyes of Five Shillings per Tun and Twelve pence per Tun or any Part thereof hereby imposed upon such Forreigne built Shipps which have beene heretofore or shall hereafter be bought or brought into England shall not be sett to Farme to any Person or Persons for any terme or time or for any Rent or certaine Payment whatsoever but that the severall Persons who shall be appointed to receive the same shall actually receive the said whole Duty payable by every such Shipp and account for the same as by this Act is directed.