SHIPPING THE FOUNDATION OF ENGLAND’S WEALTH

Observations on the Fifth Article of the Treaty of Union, humbly offered to the Consideration of the Parliament, relating to foreign Ships. [No place or date but

Edinburgh, 1706

Small 4to., pp. 4, drop-head title; slight browning but a very good copy, disbound, lower edge untrimmed.

£950

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Sole edition. Before the Treaty of Union, England, ‘very careful to Encourage her own Shipping, and … Building of Ships, being one of the Principal Foundations of her Wealth’, did not admit foreign-built ships to the freedom of English ports. Foreign owners and foreign bottoms were both excluded. The draft Fifth Article proposed that foreign-built ships wholly owned by Scottish owners were to be deemed ships of the build of Great Britain; if, however, there was a foreign part-owner (and this was common in ‘the Shipping employ’d on the South-East of Scotland’) they were still to be treated as foreign bottoms. Defoe suggests a compromise, that a vessel should qualify as Scottish if the major part (in terms of value) belonged to Scottish owners at the time of the Treaty. It was not adopted.

Furbank and Owens state that ‘it seems reasonable to suppose that this is the document referred to by Defoe in a letter to Harley of [22] November 1706, where he says that he has been asked by several Scottish peers and MPs to write a paper, which he is enclosing, to brief them on the issue of shipping, which has aroused “mighty popular Objection” (Letters, p. 154)’.

Furbank and Owens 85; Moore 125; Hanson 651.

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