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COMMERCE, like the arts and sciences, increases gradually from a small beginning, and most flourishes where least restrained by law. In this country it was subject to a most singular regulation, which prevailed to the middle or latter end of the seventeenth century. That my relation of the practice may not to any one appear chimerical, I shall merely transcribe the words of my authority. “There are four merchants which are ever chosen by the country; which choice is usually made at the Tynwald court, and sworn by the deemsters to deal truly, and most for the country's profit: these, for the present, are Mr. John Stanley and Mr. Philip Moor, for the south side; and Mr. Thomas Crelling and Mr. David Christian, for the north side. These, when any ship of salt, wines, pitch, iron, or other commodities good for the use of the country comes into the island, the Governor, having first consulted with the mer
chant-stranger about the rates and prices of the commodities, he, sends then for these four merchants of the country, to appear before him and the merchant-stranger, and drives a bargain, if he can, betwixt them: if he cannot agree with them, he commands the four merchants to spend another day with the merchant-stranger, to deal with him if they can. And whatsoever bargain is made by the said four merchants, the country is to stand to it, and take the commodities of the merchant-stranger, and pay for them according to the rates agreed upon : which most commonly is, that the country are to bring in their commodities of wool, hides, tallow, and such like; and for the same have their equal commodities of salt, wine, iron, pitch, &c. so brought in and compounded for as aforesaid, And if the commodities brought in by the country will not extend to the value of the stranger's commodities, then the four merchants are to assess the rest of the commodities upon the country, every one his equal proportion ; for which they are to pay ready money, as the four merchants had agreed for them. So by this means the merchant-stranger is much encouraged to bring in necessary things for the island ; and the people have, by the faithfulness of the four merchants, the full benefit of the commodity brought in; which otherwise some private man of the country might and would have taken for his own profit: and this is an especial benefit for the enriching of the people, and for the general good *.”
The present exports of this island are strong linens and sail-cloth, their annual value being from 50001. to 10,0001. ; herrings, varying in quantity with the success of the fishery; lead, or lead ore, fowls, butter, a few eggs, and some other trifling articles.
The report of the commissioners, appointed by his majesty to inquire into the state of Man, furnishes the following list of exports for the year 1790:
To Great Britain. 1743 bushels potatoes, 1313 crocks butter,
201 boxes and baskets of eggs, * See King's Description of ths Isle of Man, published with his Vale Royal, London, 1656, fol. p. 30. This short treatise is the work of James Chaloner, who, with Robert Dynely and Joshua Witton, were appointed by Thomas Lord Fairfax, Lord of Man, commissioners to inquire into the revenue, government, religion, and learning of this island. The dedication to his Lordship is dated Dec. 1, 1653.
7 barrels pork,
1 ditto, beef, 195 cow and ox hides in hair, 57 dozen calf-skins,
4 cwt. leather, 1400 cow and ox horns,
26 cwt. cow and ox hair,
4 cwt, honey, 1335 cwt. kelp,
2 cwt. wax, 17 cwt. wool and woollen yarn, 159 cwt. linen yarn, 69 tons lead ore, 258 dozen rabbit-skins.
103 doz. rabbit-skins,
2 tons cotton twist, 143 tons limestone, 282 tons marble and paving stones, 102 tons slate, 1807 reams coarse paper, 17 cwt. fern ashes, 1 cwt. hair powder,
130 hanks candle wieks,
In the same year were exported to Great Britain,
1878 barrels white herrings,
To other parts.
6866 barrels red herrings. In ten years, beginning with 1781, and ending with 1790, the year first alluded to, were exported to Great Britain,
506,385 yards linen,
: 727 horses,
. . To Ireland.
4 black cattle,