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ing about in it, without any impositions | while in any part of the city, with the ex-
Both changes began long before the thirteenth century, but they were not properly effected till some time after its close. London was a chief resort of merchants for many centuries before they made it a permanent residence for purposes of trade, and even then their dealings were carried on in public markets long before we hear of shops and warehouses. The London of the Plantagenets, all included, of course, within the city walls, and then with plenty of vacant space in it, was full of markets. There were the Chepe, or Westchepe, now Cheapside, where bread, cheese, poultry, fruit, hides, onions, garlic, and like articles, were sold by dealers at little wooden stalls, movable and flexible, and not more than two and a half feet wide, ranged along the roadside, and the Cornhill, where grains and articles manufactured of wood and iron were bartered at similar stalls; the pavement at Gracechurch, and the pavement before the convent of the Minorite Friars at Newgate, for miscellaneous dealings, whither merchants were allowed to come and take up their temporary stations; the market of St. Nicholas Flesh Shambles, the precursor of our modern Newgate, and headquarters of butchers, and the Stocks Market, on the site of the present Mansion House, appropriated to the fishmongers on fish-days, and to the butchers on flesh-days, both of which were furnished with permanent stalls. Near to the Stocks Market was the yet more important market of Woolchurch-Haw, adjoining the church-yard of St. Mary Woolchurch, the great meetingplace of the wool and cloth merchants;
As the numbers of markets, shops, and selds increased, the varieties of trades and callings of course became likewise more numerous. There were in the fourteenth century almost as many different trades as there are in the nineteenth. We read of barbers, bowyers, spurriers, goldsmiths, silver-smiths, sword-smiths, shoeing- smiths, brewers, vintners, bakers, millers, cooks, pie-makers, salt-dealers, grocers, fishmongers, butchers, poulterers, furriers, dyers, shoemakers, hatters, tailors, and old-clothesmen. But the separation between wholesale and retail dealers, merchants and tradesmen, was much less clearly marked than now it is; and those who bought goods in large quantities, either from foreign merchants for sale at home, or from the English producers for exportation, for the most part dealt promiscuously in articles of all sorts. The divisions of commerce, however, were gradually becoming more distinct; and even now there was, at any rate, the one broad separation of trades in articles of food from trades in articles of clothing and manufacturing art. With food the great merchants of England had least to do. Some of them made it part of their
business to buy up corn, and send it for sale in foreign markets; but this was the only article of food exported to any great extent; and the imports, with the exception of the salt trade, almost monopolized by the people of the Cinque Ports, were mainly managed by merchants from France, Flanders, Spain, Italy, and Germany, who came with ship-loads of commodities, and sold them in London and the other great ports. But by far the greater quantity of the food consumed in England was of course produced in the country, and here there was comparatively little wholesale trade. Over and over again it was sought by acts of parliament to regulate and improve these branches of commerce, and to put them into the hands of larger and more respectable merchants; and not without some reason. Rogues and swindlers were as plentiful then as now, and it was much more difficult to see and hinder fraud in small than in large dealers. "It is found"-to cite an ordinance of Edward I., as one out of the hundred illustrations that might be given -"that certain buyers and brokers of corn buy corn in the city of peasants who bring it for sale, and on the bargain being made, the buyer gives a penny or a halfpenny by way of earnest, telling the peasants to take the corn to his house, there to be paid for it. And when they come there, and think to have their money at once, the buyer says that his wife has gone out and taken with her the key, so that he can not get at his cash-box; but that if they will come again presently, they shall be paid. And when they come back, the buyer is not to be found, or, if he is found, he makes some other excuse to keep the poor men out of their money. Sometimes, while they are waiting, he causes the corn to be wetted [with the view of making malt], and when they come and ask for the price agreed upon, they are told to wait till such a day as the buyer shall choose to name, or else to take off a part of the price. If they refuse to do that, they are told to take back their corn-a thing that they can not do, because it is wetted, and not as they sold it. By such bad delays, the poor men lose half their money in expenses before they are settled with; and, therefore, it is provided, that the person toward whom such knavishness is used, shall make complaint to the mayor, and, if he can prove the wrong done to him, he
VOL. LXIII.-NO. 1
is to receive double the value of the corn besides full damages."
Frauds were also practiced in other businesses. We read, among much else, of old clothes dubbed and varnished up to be sold as new; of shoes made of dressed sheep-skin, and charged for at the price of tanned ox-leather; of sacks of coal sold under weight; and of rings made of common metal, which, being gilt, or silvered over, were palmed off as solid gold or silver. And of course there was knavery in large no less than in small transactions. Even Chaucer's "Merchant with the forked beard," one of the company assembled at the Tabard Inn, at Southwark, to go on the memorable pilgrimage to Canterbury, good fellow though he was, was not altogether to be trusted.
"In motley suit, and high on horse he sat, And on his head a Flandrish beaver hat, His boots were claspèd fair and daintily; His reasons spake he with full gravity.'
But there was policy in this gay and grave appearance.
"This worthy man full with his wit beset,
So that no wight could think he was in debt;
that is, with his schemes for borrowing money. And there were many merchants who not only borrowed money for speculating purposes, but secured to themselves more than was their due, by defrauding both the customers and the exchequer. It was doubtless with the view of protecting themselves against the impositions of their fellows, as well as to maintain their interests in dealings with foreigners, and to withstand the aggressions of the crown, that honest merchants and tradesmen clubbed together in guilds and societies. The oldest guilds were very old indeed. In Anglo-Saxon times there were at least two in Exeter alone, the partners in which pledged themselves to pay a certain sum a year for the maintenance of their associations and for the assistance of any of their members who might fall into distress. We know not whether these had any thing to do with commerce, or were simply friendly leagues for mutual help and the encouragement of good feeling; but Domesday Book records the existence of a gihalla, or guild-hall, at Dover, established for the
benefit of merchants, and there were first chosen, was abandoned, and several doubtless many such. The Cinque Ports towns within the kingdom were made must originally have formed a like asso- staples instead, the chief being Cardiff, ciation of towns for the protection of the property of Hugh Despencer, and each other's interests at sea, although therefore a most desirable place to be entheir incorporation by royal charter riched by the coming together of mersoon altered the character of the league, chants from all lands. In 1328, soon after and the need of keeping up a naval force the accession of Edward III., all staples for the service of the crown subordi- were, in a fit of liberality, abolished; but nated trade to war. The Hanse Towns in 1332 several new ones were appointed. made a somewhat similar league for for- In 1334 all were abolished again, and in eign trade, and from an early date the 1341 the staple was once more established Hanse merchants had the special privilege on the Continent, Bruges being the first of warehousing their corn in London, city selected, to be followed, in 1348-the were allowed to build granaries for the year of its coming into the hands of the purpose, and were governed by an alder- English-by Calais, when thirty-six Lonman of their own, presiding at the Steel- don merchants were sent over to profit by yard, often called the Guildhall of the the monopoly. In 1353 fourteen EngTeutonic merchants. With them appear lish and Irish towns were made staples, to have been united a society of Cologne and in 1363 the staple was restored to merchants, who are said to have founded Calais. In 1369 several English towns the Guildhall proper-a building set up were again favored, and in 1376 Calais some fifty yards further back than the again took their place. The staple flucsite of the present Guildhall-somewhere tuated between the French town and near the year 1200. They were soon those in England until 1398, when it was turned out of it, however, as it had be- fixed at Calais, not to be removed till come the recognized meeting-place of the 1538, and then, with modifications that sheriff's and citizens of London certainly indicated the dying out of the old restrictnot later than 1244. Long before this ive institution, it was transferred to Brutime, some of the great English companies ges, and forgotten. had been formed. The guild of weavers was incorporated by Henry II. in 1185, and most of the others received their charters not later than the close of the following century.
Much more important than any of these was the Society of Merchants of the Staple, or wholesale dealers in the three staple commodities of Englandwool, woolfels or sheep-skins, and leather -to which lead, tin, and other articles were afterward added. The society was founded some time before 1313. In that year Edward II. issued a charter to its mayor and council, empowering them to choose a city of Brabant, Flanders, or Artois, to be called the staple, whither all wools and leathers exported from England were to be taken for sale to such foreign dealers as chose to come for them. The idea of establishing a central market for the exchange of commodities had much to commend it, and had the Society of Merchants, wisely constituted, been allowed to retain its power, much good might have resulted. But the staple was made a royal plaything and a means of royal extortion, and, therefore, a source of mischief. In 1326, Antwerp, the port
Other restrictions to the full development of trade sprang from the lawlessness and spite of private individuals. In 1294, one Walter Hobbe, a great and greedy merchant of Bristol, seized the ship of a merchant from Holland, and detained its cargo. After much litigation, he was forced to restore the ship and its goods, and to pay the heavy sum of sixty-five pounds for the damage done by him; so that, in this case, the evil was righted, "it being a thing of great danger at those times," says the old chroni cler," and such as might occasion a war, to suffer alien merchants, particularly those of Holland and Brabant, to depart without having justice granted to them."
But in most cases justice was very far from being done. In 1321, we find Edward II. complaining of the great dissension and discord that existed between the people of the Cinque Ports and the men and mariners of the western towns of Poole, Weymouth, Melcombe, Lyme, Southampton, and other adjacent towns, and of the homicide, depredation, shipburning, and many other evil acts resulting therefrom. He caused to be publicly proclaimed in each of the offending towns
that all such violent acts were done without his sanction, and against his will; but that mild protest, of course, had not much effect. The Cinque Ports, encouraged to keep up an efficient naval force for the service of the state, when required, used their power at other times in oppressing and robbing the more exclusively merchant shipping of other ports; and these other ports, jealous of the special privileges accorded in return for the naval service, were glad enough to retaliate to the utmost of their ability. Between the Cinque Ports and Yarmouth, near enough to feel specially aggrieved, and strong enough to take frequent reprisals, a petty warfare was waged through some centu ries, and numberless are the acts of par liament and royal mandates seeking, but seeking in vain, to remedy the evil. Then there were constant feuds between the merchants of England and those of other countries, Scotland and France especially. In 1335-to give one or two out of many instances-a vessel of Southampton, stocked with wool and other merchandise, was captured at the mouth of the Thames by a little fleet of Scotch and Norman privateers; and in 1336, Jersey and Guernsey were attacked and plundered by several Scotch pirates, who also seized a number of English ships lying of the Isle of Wight. In 1857, three Scotch galleys did immense damage to the shipping of the eastern coast, until they were seized by the men of Yarmouth.
stopped, and at once, thought John Philpot, the mayor of London, and one of its wealthiest merchants and noblest citizens. Therefore, at his own cost, he promptly collected a number of vessels, put in them a thousand armed men, and sailed for the north. Within a few weeks he had retaken the captured vessels, had effectually beaten their impudent captors, and, in his turn, had seized fifteen Spanish ships, laden with wine, that came in his way. Returning to London, he was called before the king's council, and reproved for his illegal conduct in taking an armament to sea without first obtaining the royal consent ! His answer was characteristic. "I did not expose myself, my money, and my men to the dangers of the sea," he said, with cutting irony, to the Earl of Stafford, loudest in his reproaches, 66 that I might deprive you and your colleagues of your knightly fame, or that I might win any for myself; but in pity for the misery of the people and the country, which, from being a noble realin with dominion over other nations, has, through your supineness, become exposed to the ravages of the vilest race and, since you would not lift a hand in its defense, I exposed myself and my property for the safety and deliverance of our country."
More memorable than all was the strife between John Mercer, a bold merchant of Perth, and John Philpot, of London, in 1378. Mercer's father had for some time given assistance to the French by harassing the merchant ships of England; and in 1377, being driven by foul weather on to the Yorkshire coast, he was caught and imprisoned in Scarborough Castle. Thereupon the son carried on the strife. Collecting a little fleet of Scottish, French, and Spanish ships, he captured several English merchantmen off Scarborough, slaying their commanders, putting their crews in chains, and appropriating or destroying their cargoes. This mischief must be
With such merchant patriots as this to defend the realm from foreign attacks, and to strengthen a love of liberty and independence at home, as well as to enrich it with wealth and all the fair possessions that wealth and industry bring to a nation, England could not help becoming great. John Philpot was but one out of thousands who deserve our veneration alike for the nobility of their own characters, and for the good work done by them on behalf of their country. The lives of many can be but vaguely traced in the dim records of history, and are shown to us only in a few disconne ted events. But of others we know enough to follow their careers and understand their influence upon both commercial and political history. H. R. F. B,
From Chambers's Journal.
HABITS AND HAUNTS OF THE
EXTRAORDINARY errors are still in cir- | culation respecting the character, and even the structure of the camel, notwithstanding it has been the companion of man from the earliest ages of his existence. The large, heavy, lumbering animal that bears burdens is supposed to constitute a species apart from the light and agile dromedary, which, in the language of the Chinese, possesses feet of wind, and in traversing the desert, often performs journeys of from ninety to a hundred miles a day. This was proved on a remarkable occasion in Egypt. The pacha, on his way to the Hejaz, having learned at Suez that a mutiny had broken out among the troops in Cairo, turned westward the head of his dromedary, and in less than eight hours cleared the ninety miles of desert, and appeared suddenly among the rebels, who were instantly awed into submission by his daring presence. A few heads, however, were struck off, by way of precaution, after which his highness resumed his pilgrimage toward the Holy City. Any one who contemplates the sumpter animal of the trading caravans, shuffling along the sandy tracts of the desert at the rate of two miles and a half an hour, with twelve hundred weight of merchandise on his back, may be easily pardoned for coming to the conclusion that this drowsy beast must be of a different species from the bold and fleet creature, which on the plains of Northern India, moves at the rate of eighteen miles an hour, with a light piece of artillery at his heels. Yet there is no more difference between the sumpter camel and the fleet dromedary, than between the dray horse and Childers' steed, which flew over the turf of Newmarket at the rate of a mile a minute. The speed and lightness of the dromedary originate in accident, and are developed by training and education; but the saddle animal will cross with the beast of burden, and produce a new variety, more useful in many respects than either parent.
Still it seems necessary to admit that the Bactrian camel, with two hunches, which traverses the wilds and vast elevated plateaux of Central Asia, differs specifically from the Arabian camel with one hunch. Of these we have sometimes beheld a string, exceeding a thousand in number, intermingled with dromedariesthe latter mounted, the former ladentied to each other, and proceeding in single-file athwart the wastes of Libya toward the Black Countries. The march. in such cases seems tedious, and would really be so to an impatient traveler; but to persons who, like the Arab merchants, pass the greater part of their lives with camels amid the sands, the slowness of progression is no more irksome than the ordinary course of business to a man in the city. They know by experience how far they can advance in a day, in what places they shall find water, date-palms, and coarse pasturage for their beasts, and creep from station to station without the least excitement or impatience. The small incidents of the way suffice to amuse them, though occasionally they are of such a nature as to put their manhood to the proof, and violently stimulate their circulation. A lion, perhaps, in search of a meal, starts up from amid the sand-hills, or emerges from an unnoticed ravine, and bounds fearlessly toward the caravan, resolved to gratify his appetite, or perish-nothing scares him or arrests his progress-despising both dromedary and rider, he springs with a roar toward his prey, and in spite of spears and the contents of rifles, often succeeds in bringing to the ground the individual he has marked out for his breakfast. But soldier or trader, the Arab is always brave, and never deserts a friend in need. With such weapons as are at hand, therefore, the merchants rush upon their assailant, firing, shouting, vociferating, and almost invariably end by leaving his lifeless body upon the sands; insulting him, meanwhile, with the epithets of "dog" and "son of