State Papers, 1659: July (3 of 3)

Pages 714-719

A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 7, March 1658 - May 1660. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.

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Table of contents

July (3 of 3)

An account of public revenues of Dunkirk.

Vol. lxv. p. 311.

Wee humbly certifie, that the revennews of this town, so far as wee can by intelligence informe ourselves, are such as doe belong unto,
1. The state of England.

2. The governor of the town.

3. The town and corporation itselfe.

4. The town-major.

The revennews belonging unto the state of England are customes, part excise, contribution money, pountguelt, which is weigh money, and measure money, houses and lands, and prisson money.

Of customes.

The revennews of customes due to the state arriseth upon goods imported and exported, seizures, and confiscations.

There are sower sorts of duties received for all goods imported and exported, two whereof doe belong to the state, one to the town, and one to the governor.

1. The first belonging to the state is the duty of custom, which is about 2½ per cent. according to the vallue mentioned in a written book of rates, a coppy whereof is annexed hereunto in French and English.

Memorand. That townsmen and forreigners pay custom alike for all things, excepting the stranger paieth for wine 3 guilders per tonn more than the townsmen doe.

2. The second belonging to the state is lastage or tonnage, which by estimation is about halfe one per cent. payable according to the package of the said goods.

3. The third is called Octroy, which is about one per cent. of the vallue of goods aforesaid, except wine, brandy, salt, and corn, which paieth a small matter more, which duty belongeth unto the town. A more particular accompt whereof is rendered under the head of town duties.

4. The fowerth dutie is called governor's which is a small duty paiable for all goods going out of this town by land carriage, or per water, into the country, which is likewise mentioned under the head of governor's duties.

Of seizures.

The revennews of seizures and confiscations are uncertain, being contingent. The laws and customs of this place touching seizures are strict and severe, according to many statutes made concerning the same. Some cases of seizures are as followeth:

1. Touching goods imported.

Upon the arrivall of any vessell into the jurisdiction of this port, the master of the said vessell is immeadiatly to make report at the custom-house from whence he came, and with what lading, and to signe his said report, which is entred in the collector's book; after which the severall merchants doe make their respective declarations, every one at one time reporting his whole adventure in the said shipp both for quantity and quality; after which declaration the collector giveth him a licence to land his goods, which licence the merchant is to deliver to the officer or waiter appointed to deliver the said shipp; which goods are brought unto a publick warehouse for examination: if more be found in the vessell then was first entred per the said master, the officer immeaditely maketh seizure of the said goods and shipp, which are ordinarily condemned by the judges of a court called the chamber of license, according to severall laws made to that purpose, whereby sometimes the master is fined in a penaltie at the discretion of the said judges, sometimes the shipp is confiscated, the said goods over-entred, condemned, and the proprietors thereof (if discovered) are fined at fower times the vallue of the said goods.

If the master or shipper shall deliver any goods to a merchant, before the said merchant shall bring a license from the custome-house for the delivery thereof, notwithstanding the said master hath made entry of the said goods at his first report, he shall be sentenced, and fined, at the discretion of the aforesaid judges, and the said goods so delivered are likewise confiscated.

If the master entereth more goods than are found upon delivery, the master paieth the duty of the goods so entred, as if they had been there.

2. Touching goods exported.

The merchant exporting any goods out of the harbour, either by seas, or by rivers, into the countries, must first goe to the custome-house, and make declaration of the time, quantity and quality of the said goods, and take out a cockquet or license for the report thereof; and in case any goods be found in the shipp by an officer, before any such declaration hath been made, and licence obtained, the said ship and goods are seizable, and ordinarily condemned by the aforementioned judges, and fower times the vallue of the said goods.

If so be any merchant shall make a short entry of any goods outward-bound, upon the discovery thereof, by the officer, he is to be fined above the double vallue of all the goods that he hath in the said vessell, as well that which is entred, as that which is not, and the shipper also fined at the discretion of the said judges.

Noe post entries are admitted of any goods inwards or outwards.

Memorand. The aforesaid court of licence doth consist of three judges, one secretary, one advocate-fiscall, and one serjeant, who are paid a certain salary out of the revennew of customs, who are subject to sitt, as need shall require, at the request and desires of the officers to that purpose.

Memorand. That the benefitt of seizures is divided into 3 parts, one-third to the state, one-third amongest the officers, and one-third to the discoverer of the same, being officers, or others.

Of excize.


Goods excizable, by the custom of this place, are only beer, wine, and brandy.


Strong beer paieth 4½ gilders, or 7 s. sterling per Flemish tonn, containing about 4 or 5 gallons more than an English barrell.

Small beer paieth 15 souce, being about 14 d. sterling per barrell.


Wine of all sorts paieth 27½ gilders per hogshead, being about 41 s. 4 d. sterling.


Brandy paieth excise 15 souce, or 14 d. sterling per stoup, conteining about five English pynts.

Memorand. That the town hath allwaies claimed the benefitt of the whole excize as belonging unto themselves, per grant from the Spanish states, under which they have been for the severall services of the town, excepting souce, or 18 d. sterling upon every barrell of strong beer, and 5 souce upon every barrill of small beer, which belong to the state, as also excepting 3 souce upon every stoup or pottle of brandy sent out of the town, which doe belong likewise unto the state.

Memorand. That the aforesaid 20 souce, and 5 souce upon strong and small beer, is farmed by the lord Lockhart to the brewers of this town for 6000 gilders for 2 years from the 3° October, 1658. to the 3° October, 1660.

Memorand. That the town hath agreed with the lord Lockhart, upon consideration of the aforesaid 3 souce upon every stoup of brandy sent out of the town as aforesaid to be received by them, as allso for the procurement of his countenance and favour, that ⅓ part of the revennews of the whole excise shall be paid for the use of the commonwealth of England, which is, according to their former agreement, made with the French, when the town was under their jurisdiction, and which was not allowed to the Spanyards whilest under their jurisdiction.

Memorand. That for the first 3 moneths after this town was surrendered, the lord Lockart did receive for the use of the state out of the revennews of the excize aforesaid the sum of 1200 gilders, which is 4800 gilders, or 369 l. 4 s. 9 d. sterling per ann. and for the 9 moneths ending the last of June last, he did receive the summ of 21154 gilders for the state, which is after the rate of 26442 gild. 10 souce, being about 2034 l. 0 s. 10 d. sterling per ann. so that by this agreement there doth accrew unto the state more then was paid to the 4 states of Flanders, 21642 gilders, or about 1664 l. 15 s. 9 d. sterling per ann.

Of contribution-money.

Contribution-money is money paid by the country adjacent, distinguished into severall lymittations and precincts called per the name of Castelines, and is by agreement made by the lord Lockhart, and the said Castelines, upon consideration of protection from plunder, and free quarter of the English soldiers with Castelines are six in number, viz.

The castelny of Bergh paieth per ann. 10000
The castelny of Bourbourgh 03000
The castelny of Cassell 25000
The castelny of Furns 13000
The town of Bell 05500
The town of Poppering 01800

Which said 58300 gilders is about 4484 l. 12 s. sterling money.

Memorand. That the said contribution-money is paiable at three paiments in equall proportion by the yeare for the use of this garrison.

Of pountgelt, weigh-money, and measure-money.

Pountgelt is a certain small revennew coming in upon goods weighable and measurable, which is received (as we conceive) by the keeper of the prisson, the benefitt whereof, together with some other small and petty revennews are disposed towards the payment of the charges of criminall prissoners, executioner, &c.

Of houses and lands.

There doeth belong unto the state of England two houses scituate in this town, which formerly did belong to the king of Spaine, in one whereof capt. Johnson, commissary, now liveth, and the other is imployed for a store-house for ammunition, being allwaies so employed by the Spanish and French governors.

What houses, lands, and personall estates, within the jurisdiction of this town, doe belong unto the subjects of Spain, and are sequestrable, being not included in the articles of capitulation, upon the surrender of the town, wee cannot as yet understand, (though wee hear there are some things considerable of this nature) but doe humbly leave the same to be inquired into by such as shall be authorized for that purpose.

Of prisson-money.

Lastly, The prisson of this town belongeth to the commonwealth, the revennews whereof are disposed likewise to maintein the said prisson, and the prisoners therein.

Memorand. The whole revennews of the state, since the taking of the town, being from the 27° June, 1658, unto the first of July, 1659, (by which) the whole publick revenues may be estimated communibus annis, were as followeth, viz.

l. s. d.
For customs inwards 74700 8 11[?]
For customs outwards 03798 18 00
For attach, lastage, or tonnage, inwards 15485 12 09
For the same outwards 00323 15 00
For seizures 01028 18 04
For contribution money 58300 00 00
For excise 25354 00 00
168991 13 00

Which 168991 gilders, 13 souce, is about 12999 l. 7 s. 4 d. sterling.

Besides the small and petty revenues not brought into the publick treasury, but expended about the administration of justice as aforesaid.

Of the governor's duties.

There belongeth to the governor, by the custom of this place, a certain duty upon the goods goeing from the town into the country, which is usually called the governor's duty, collected by whome he shall appoint, which the last year did amount unto the sum of 31055 gilders, 16 souce, 3 den. which is about 2388 l. 17 s. sterling.

As allso the moyety of another duty, which is called ship-money, viz. 30 souce for every great ship above a certain burthen, and 15 souce upon every ship under the said burthen, which the last yeare did amount unto 406 gilders, 12 souce, 6 den. which is about 31 l. 5 s. 8 d. sterling.

Memorand. That the governor's dutyes the last year, ending the 30th of June last, did amount unto 2419 l. 18 s. 8 d. sterling.

Of town-duties.

The third sort of publick revenews are such as doe belong unto this town and corporation, which are as followeth:

1st. First, The duty of Octroy, which is about 1 per cent. of all goods coming in and goeing out of this town, which the last year, ending the 30° June last, did amount unto 28809 gilders, 7 souce, 11 den. which is about 2216 l. 3 s. sterling.

Memorand. The magistrates of the town do affirm, that 2/3 parts of the said revenew of Octroy are imploied for the fortifications of the old town, and the gates thereof, barracks where the soldiers and troopers do lodg, making of stables for their horses, repairing of the key, courts of guard, &c. and the other third part is imploied in paying the yearly interest of 178600 gilders, which is about 13738 l. sterling principall money, amounting to above 12000 gilders.

Memorand. Wee did make inquiry after the proprietors of the said principall money, whether it or any part thereof did not belong unto any of the subjects of the king of Spain; and the magistrates of the said town did promise to give us an account thereof, but did not perform accordingly; which therefore wee left to be further inquired into by those whom the parliament or your honors shall authorize for that purpose.

Secondly, There belongeth likewise to the town 2/3 parts of the revenew of excise, which the last year, ending the 30. June, 1659, did amount unto as followeth, viz.

Gilders. Souce. Den.
The 2/3 of the excize of beer 25333 6 8
The 2/3 of the excize of wyne 15333 6 8
The 2/3 of the excize of brandy 8333 6 8
49000 0 0

49000 gilders amount to about 3769 l. 4 s. 8 d. sterling.

Thirdly, There accreweth allso to the town a revenue upon burning wood, amounting unto about 1000 livers per ann. which is about 77 l. sterling, which is paid in part of salary to the treasurer of the town. 1000 gilders.
Fowerthly, Some small rents belonging to the town amounting per ann. to 350 gilders.
Fifthly, There is a duty paid to the town by the brewers, viz. 6 gilders for every time the brewers kindle their fire, when they brewed their beer, which did amount to the last year as aforesaid 1638 gilders.
Lastly, A small duty called ballast-money, which the last year aforesaid did amount to 97 gilders.

Memorand. The severall sumes of the town revenues aforesaid did amount as followeth, viz.

The duty of Octroy 28809 17 11
The excize of beer, wine, and brandy 49000 00 00
The revenue of burning wood 1000 00 00
The revenue of small rents 350 00 00
The duty of brewers for kindling their fires 16300 00 00
The duty of ballast-money 97 00 00
80894 17 11

which said 80894 17 11 is about 6222 l. 13 s. 6 d. sterling.

Memorand. That the said revenues are disposed of per the said town for the maintenance of their government, severall fortifications, the administration of justice, releise of the poore, &c. whether at the discretion of the town, or according to the rules prescribed them by their superiors, we cannot understand.

Memorand. We understand, that the duties aforesaid are imposed upon the goods afore specified, augmented, or diminished, by the town and corporation itselfe, whereunto they have been impowered by the fower states of Flanders, by vertue of authority from the king of Spain; which imposition (if there be no appeall against it within fifteen daies after the first making and publication thereof) is binding; but if there be no appeal within the said time, it is not bynding; for the people concerned therein had about fifteen daies time to make their appeal unto the said states of Flanders, in case they judged it an agrevance; and the said states of Flanders did allow 6 weekes more unto them to prosecute their said appeale; and in case of appeal and prosecution as aforesaid, the states, upon hearing all parties, did determine the same: if there was an appeal, and no prosecution within the time aforesaid, the same imposition was valid and bynding.

Memorand. The government of the town of Dunkirke doth consist of a bailiff, a major, 9 aldermen, 1 treasurer, one town-clerk, and 9 common counsellors.

The major, 9 aldermen, treasurer, and 9 councellors, are yearly renewed by the commonwealth of England, or their deputy. The bailiff, 2 recorders, and town-clerk, do remain in their respective places during life.

The office of the bailiff is to put in execution the orders and commands of the state, as allso the ordinances and sentences of the magistrates, &c. having for salary (besides perquisits) 556 gilders, as allso 81 gilders more for a new gown per ann.

The office of the major and aldermen is to make by-laws for the good of the town, to dispose of the revenues, to administer justice criminall and civill, whose sentences in criminall matters have been executable, notwithstanding appeale from whose sentences in civill cases there might be appeals to the parliament, or their deputies.

The major hath yearly 250 gilders, and 81 gilders to buy him a gown.

The 9 aldermen have 156 gilders salary, and 81 gilders apeece to buy them gowns yearly.

The treasurer receiveth all the town revenues, and issues them out according to the vote of the magistrats, having salary 180 gilders, besides 81 gilders yearly for a gown.

The 2 recorders are counsellors to the magistrats to give their advice and assistance in a due and legall administration of justice, and are to attend them upon summons, having for their pains 775 gilders and a gown per peece yearly as aforesaid.

The town-clerk is the register of all proceedings at law, having for his pains severall established fees out of all causes depending, and the yearly of 156 gilders, and 12 gilders for a gown.

The 9 common-counsellors are to appear upon the summons of the magistrats in certain cases, as in the execution of justice in criminal cases, or otherwise at the discretion of the magistrates, having for their pains yearly 18 gilders per peece.

Of the town-major's duty.

The fourth and last publick revenew of this town is such as doth belong to the townmajor.

The town paieth to the said major 50 gilders per mensem, which is 600 gilders per ann. which is about 46 l. 3 s. 2 d. sterling.

Item, He receiveth of every ship coming in laden with wines 6 stoups, which is about fower gallons of wine.

Item, He receiveth of every great vessell above a certain burthen 15 souce, and of every small ship under the said burthen 7½ souce, which the last year did amount to 406 gilders, 12 souce, 6 duckets.

Item, All fishermen coming from sea into this harbour with fresh fish doe give the townmajor a small quantity thereof, according to the fishermens pleasure, but without obligation.

Item, Every strainge fisherman coming into the harbour with fresh herrings, are obliged to give him 200 herrings.

Item, Every billander for every time he goes from the key to the river of Furnes, and from the said river to the key, paieth to the said major 3 souce.

Item, He hath one garden scituated out of the Newport-gate, which he letteth for his own use.

Memorand. Whatsoever other claims he makes, not here mentioned, are arbitrary, and without authority.

Memorand. That all the publick revenews of the said town (besides contingent perquesits, &c. before mentioned) did amount unto the last year, ending 30. June last, as followeth:

Gilders. Souce. Den. l. s. d.
The states revenew 168991 13 0 12999 7 4
The governor's revenew 31462 8 9 2419 18 8
The town revenew 80894 17 11 6222 13 6
The town-major's revenew besides perquesits 1006 12 6 77 8 10
282355 12 2 21719 8 4

Concerning the settlement of the revenews of custom and excise, and the regulation thereof for the best advantage of the commonwealth, and the reduction of it (so far as it is practicable) unto the laws and rules used in the port and cittie of London, according to your honour's commands, we humbly offer, that,

Forasmuch as the laws and rules for the collection of excise are made by the town and corporation itselfe, and 2/3 of the revenew thereof accrewing to their own use; and forasmuch as the duties of customs are of divers sorts and kinds, and the revenews thereof belonging some to the state, some to the governor, and others to the town, and all of them very much various, and differing from the laws and rules used in the port and citty of London; and furthermore, Forasmuch as wee could not fynde convenient and sufficient instruments to carry on the affaires hereof, if any such regulation should have been indeavoured to have been made, the present officers (excepting Mr. Delavall, collector) being for the most part Dutchmen, that understand not English, and well acquainted with their present customs and manners, and the rest of the officers English, and ignorant of custom affairs: And, lastly, Forasmuch as it hath been signified to us, that the said town and corporation doth intend to send some of their members shortly into England with an addresse to the parliament, with full power and authority to negotiate and settle the affaires of their corporation, and to acquiesce in what shall be done by them hereabouts, wherein the affairs of custom and excise must come under consideration, any alteration whereof without their compliance and consent upon the reasons aforesaid might be matter of grievance and offence to them: Wee thought good to suspend our endeavours in this kind for the present, judging it more advantageous unto the commonwealth to continue the affaire of custom and excise to the condition and hands as wee found it, presuming, that such a settlement may be made, when the said persons shall come over as aforesaid, and with their compliance, as may be most advantageous for the commonwealth, and satisfactory unto the town and corporation itselfe.