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A treatise divided into three parts, touching the inconveniences, that the Importation of Tobacco out of Spain, hath brought into this land.

Edward Bennett, circa 1620

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Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed in March 1999 by Risa S. Bear, University of Oregon Library, from the original (1620? n.d.) edition, STC 1883. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 1999 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher.

A treatise divided into three parts,
touching the inconveniences, that the 
Importation of Tobacco out of Spain, 
hath brought into this land. viz.
1   In the first is shewed how treasure was usually brought into this Land.

2    In the second, what hath and doth hinder the bringing of it, with other inconveniences.

3    In the third, how to remedie the one, and the other.
THe chiefe Spring from whence the mayne Current of Treasure flowing into all Christendome, hath his originall, is in the Indies, and by the Spanish gouernrment is forced to set first into Spaine, and thence is diuided into all other Countries, according to the quantitie of goods, which out of their aboundance they furnish to supply their wants: hence it followes that the Commodities of this Land, are the Mynes from whench Treasure is drawne into this Kingdome. And the meanes from whench wee vsually draw it from Spaine are these.
    First, (our goods being conuerted into Money) We prouided, so many necessarie Commodities of this Land, as were sufficient to supply the wants of that Kingdome, and all the rest wee brought home in Bullion, Witnesse the Ship taken at Cales. Anno 1615. in which was supposed to be 15000 pounds in Money. It should therefore ensue that almost twentie yeares of peaceable commerce, which wee haue had since his Maiesties Reigne, should haue replenished this Land aboundantly with Siluer, had there not beene some especiall cause to haue hindred it, but what hath stopped the entrance of it, Ile discouer.
    The maine decay of Trade, and the chiefe cause that hindreth the importation of Bullion out of Spaine is Tobacco, for there is consumed by all computation, yearely in this Land, three hundred thousand weight, and I deuide all the Tobaccoes wee buy for this Kingdome, into three sorts and values. The best at vi. shillings the pound, the second at iii.s.vi.d. the third at ii.s.vi.d. for neere about these prizes they cost, and almost xii. pence the pound for the custome there, which is v. shillings per pound, but to speake with the least Ile say iiii. shillings per pound, so then it doth cost there, first penny Sixtie thousand pound, and the disorderly saile of our goods to buy it, hath abased the price of our commodities through all Spaine, Bisky, and Portingale, 20. per Cent. So what it doth cost, and what is lost yearely, amounteth to a hundred thousand Pounds, all which would bee brought into this Kingdome if that were not.
    But who will hazzard to send home Siluer now when he may put it of by exchange, there to the Tobacconists at as much profit as it is worth heere at the Mynt, for so I haue done this yeare.
    Now if this Weede were prohibbited, all men would stand vpon the orderly saile of their goods, & not sell vnder 10 or 12. Per Cent. outward, as formerly they haue done, when little Tobacco came out of Spaine, and the most part of our returnes would be in Bullion, for on that we get 12. Per Cent. and on no other Commoditie, (Tobacco accepted) is any man certaine to get so much. Then who would not rather bring home ready money then goods, for which hee is vncertaine when to haue Money. This is the vse of the French and Dutch-men, which maketh their Countries so aboundant in Siluer, for no Country is so smoakt as ours. In so much, that both Spaniards & all other Nations say tauntingly to vs, when they see al our goods landed (to vie their owne words) Que todo esso sepagta a con humo; that al that wil be paid in smoak; Now our gracious Soueraigne, knowing it to be a vitious and most pernitious weede laid great impositions on it, thereby to hinder the importation; But that brings the more damage to this State, for (except it be prohibited) our people will buy it what soeuer it cost, and the more it doth cost the more is our losse; for no sooner did his Maiestie lay an imposition on it heere, but the King of Spaine laid two there, the one vpon his owne Subiects, the other on vs; But wee pay all, for they must raise it on vs; And no sooner had his Highnesse granted a Patent for it heere, but forthwith the King of Spaine, made it his owne Comoditie there, to no other end but to keepe vp and raise the price of it still more and more, for if they get all our goods for smoake, we neede no more misery as I thinke. To conclude this then, say our Kings Maiestie receiues Sixteene thousand pounds per annum. for the Patent of it ( I doe not say he gets it) but receaues it, and of his owne goods already in the Land, and not of any thing brought in by the Patentees. But I say the K. of Spaine getteth a hundred thousand pounds per an. thereby, for the goods he hath from vs for Tobacco would cost him yearely so much if that were not. All which would bee brought into this Kingdome. And now hauing thus plainely shewed how it hinders yearely the importation of a hundred thousand pounds, it of force followeth that it hath kept backe neere twelue hundred thousand pounds, or at least a Million since his Maiesties reigne, which were it in the Land, what inestimable benefite would it bring yearely to his Maiestie, and the whole Kingdome by encrease of trade, who can rightly imagine, for money is the soule and sinewes of trade, and a well gouerned trade, the true fountaine of tresure. But this is not all the good it hath done to Spaine, nor the preiudice it hath brought to England, which remaines to be spoken of in the next point.
    3   The good then that we haue done Spaine by buying our Tobacco from them, hath caused them since the yeare 98. to inhabite the territories of Caracacs Curnana Curmanagetta Trinidado Oroque & now at least all Maracaibe, for in those daies ( I was an eye witnesse to it) their people went thither more vnwilling then ours now goe to Virginia and the Summer Islands, (yet the King gaue them leaue to carry & recarry all things Custome-free:) but now the Case is altered, for if they would giue leaue to as many to goe as would, they would soone leaue few enough in Spaine. But whosoeuer goeth now, attaines vnto it by great suit and especiall licence, which will cost at least fifty pounds for each person ere he obtaine it. So sodaine did the gaine by bringing Tobacco draw so many thither. And although that were the chiefe hopes, that drew them thither, yet now they bring not Tobacco onely but many other beneficiall and necessary Commodities, as Ginger, Hides, Sugar, Sarsaparilla, Balsam, Peeta Carana, Gumme, Allome and Wood. Insomuch that the King reapeth already yearely benefit by it at least 50000.li. and yearely it encreaseth.
    Now the hurt it hath done to this Land more then formerly mentioned is, that it hath altogether hindered that Plantation in Virginia, which in short time might yeeld his Maiestie as much or more profit, then the afore said places do to the King of Spaine besides the generall good it would bring to all this Common wealth, cannot be imagined, for if his Magestie graunt this one Priuiledge to them, the lucre of gaine by Tobacco, will draw thither more inhabitants in one yeere then the Company haue done with all their care and charge euer since the plantation; and let them once be drawne thither, they will quickely finde better Commodities then Tobacco, as the Spaniards haue done in the foresaid places, so thatthe only meanes were to cause importation of a hundred thousand pounds per annum of Treasure, & suddenly to inhabite Virginia, and to draw from thence greate benefit into this Land, is nothing but prohibiting the bringing in of Spanish Tobacco; and suffer it only to be brought from Virginia & Summer-Islands, which I presume our Soueraigne Lord the Kings Maiestie may as lawfully doe as the King of Spaine may forbid vs the importation of Pepper and silke into his Kingdome, which he hath done vnder penaltie, of losse of life and goods. Againe, Tobacco is no commoditie of the groweth of Spaine, but of the Indies, with whom we haue no commerce.
    If any alledge that those Countries yeeldes not so good Tobacco as the Spa: Indies, I answere, there is some as good Tobacco brought from Virginia and the Summer Ilands, as the first Tobaccos were that we had out of Spaine. And no doubt, but as they discouering further into the Land, found no better grounds for Tobacco: So will our people doe also as they goe further. But say they doe not altogether finde so good grounds as the Spa: Indies are for that purpose: must we of force therefore haue Spanish Tobacco, to our so great prejudice. We see their Spanish Wines are better then English Beere, shall we vtterly forsake that, and vse the other. Also we see Gascoine wines are better then Rochell wines, yet the gouernment of Rochell will not suffer their people to spend any but the grouth of their owne Vines, and the labours of their owne people. And these Countries of Spaine that haue Wines of their owne growing, will not suffer any other to come in, be theirs neuer so bad and the other neuer so good, till their owne prouision be spent: and be they so carefull for their owne Conseruation, and shall we be so carelesse of ours: Nay, God forbid, I hope better Order will be taken by his Maiestie, and this most honourable assembly. It may be some man seeing this, will thinke, I am interressed in the Virginia Company: But the Worshipfull of the Company know the contrary. Its the zeale I beare to the good of the State in generall that makes me speake. If so what I point at take effect, I shal be most glad, although to my own preiudice, for till it be forbidden I will trade in it, and make no question but to get by it as well as any other man, But I defy the perticular gaines that brings a generall hurt. And thus haue I shewed what hinders the importation of Treasure. To conclude this point, Shut the gates of entrance of Tobacco, and you open the gate for the entry of Treasure: but open the gate for the entry of Tobacco, and you shut the gate of the entrance of Treasure.
Ed. Bennett.

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