Englands Treasure by Forraign Trade.
or The Ballance of our Forraign Trade is The Rule of our Treasure
Written by Thomas Mun of London. Merchant, and now published for the Common good
 by his son John Mun of Bearsted in the County of Kent, Esquire.
Printed by J.G. for Thomas Clark, and are to be sold at his Shop
 at the South entrance of the Royal Exchange, 1664
Chapter II
The Means to enrich this Kingdom,
 and to encrease our Treasure.
    Although a Kindom may be enriched by gifts received, or by purchase taken from some other Nations, yet these are things 
uncertaim and of small consideration when they happen. The
ordinary means therefore to encrease our wealth and treasure is
by Forraign Trade, wherein wee must ever observe this rule; to
sell more to strangers yearly than wee consume of theirs in
value. For suppose that whe theis Kingdom is pletifully served
with the Cloth, Lead, Tinn, Iron, Fish and other native
commodities, we doe yearly export the overplus to forraign
Countries to the value of twenty two hundred thousand pounds; by
which means we are enabled beyond the Seas to buy and bring in
forraign wares for our use and Consumption, to the value of
twenty hundred thousand pounds; By this order duly kept in our
trading, we may rest assured that this order duly kept in our
trading, we may rest assured that the Kingdom shall be enriched
yearly two hundred thousand pounds, which must be brought to us
in so much Treasure; because that part of our stock which is not
returned to us in wares must necessarily be brought home in
    For in this case it cometh to pass in the stock of a Kingdom,
as in the estate of a private man; who is supposed to have one
thousand pounds yearly revenue and two thousand pounds of ready
money in his Chest: If such a man through excess shall spend one
thousand five hundred pounds per annum, all his ready mony will
be gone in four years; and in the like time his said money will
be doubled if he take a Frugal course to spend but five hundred
pounds per annum; which rule never faileth likewise in the
Commonwealth, but in some cases (of no great moment) which I will
hereafter declare, when I shall shew by whom and in what manner
this ballance of the Kingdoms account ought to be drawn up
yearly, or so often as it shall please the State to discover how
much we gain or lose by trade with forraign Nations. But first I
will say something concerning those ways and means which will
encrease our exportations and diminish our importations of wares;
which being done, I will then set down some other arguments both
affirmative and negative to strengthen that which is here
declared, and thereby to shew that all the other means which are
commonly supposed to enrich the Kingdom with Treasure are
altogether insufficient and meer fallacies.
Chap. III.
The particular ways and means to encrease the exportation of our
commodities, and to decrease our Consumption of forraign wares.
The revenue or stock of a Kingdom by which it is provided of
forraign wares is either Natural or Artificial. The Natural
wealth is so much only as can be spared from our own use and
necessities to be exported unto strangers. The Artificial
consists in our manufactures and industrious trading with
forraign commodities, concerning which I will set down such
particulars as may serve for the cause we have in hand.
    1. First, although this Realm be already exceeding rich by
nature, yet might it be much encreased by laying the waste
grounds (which are infinite) into such employments as should no
way hinder the present revenues of other manufactured lands, but
hereby to supply our selves and prevent the importations of Hemp,
Flax, Cordage, Tobacco, and divers other things which now we
fetch from strangers to our great impoverishing.
    2. We may likewise diminish our importations, if we would
soberly refrain from excessive consumption of forraign wares in
our diet and rayment, with such often change of fashions as is
used, so much the more to encrease the waste and charge; which
vices at this present are more notorious amongst us than in
former ages. Yet might they easily be amended by enforcing the
observation of such good laws as are strictly practised in other
Countries against the said excesses; where likewise by commanding
their own manufactures to be used, they prevent the coming in of
others, without prohibition, or offence to strangers in their
mutual commerce.
    3. In our exportations we must not only regard our own
superfluities, but also we must consider our neighbours
necessities, that so upon the wares which they cannot want, nor
yet be furnished thereof elsewhere, we may (besides the vent of
the Materials) gain so much of the manufacture as we can, and
also endeavour to sell them dear, so far forth as the high price
cause not a less vent in the quantity. But the superfluity of our
commodities which strangers use, and may also have the same from
other Nations, or may abate their vent by the use of some such
like wares from other places, and with little inconvenience; we
must in this case strive to sell as cheap as possible we can,
rather than to lose the utterance of such wares. For we have
found of late years by good experience, that being able to sell
our Cloth cheap in Turkey, we have greatly encreased the vent
thereof, and the Venetians have lost as much in the utterance of
theirs in those Countreys, because it is dearer. And on the other
side a few years past, when by excessive price of Wools our Cloth
was exceeding dear, we lost at the least half our clothing for
forraign parts, which since is no otherwise (well neer) recovered
again than by the great fallof price for Wools and Cloth. We find
that twenty five in the hundred less in the price of these and
some other Wares, to the loss of private mens revenues, may raise
above fifty upon the hundred in the quantity vented to the
benefit of the publique. For when Cloth is dear, other Nations
doe presently practise clothing, and we know they want neither
art nor materials to this performance. But when by cheapness we
drive them from this employment, and so in time obtain our dear
price again, then do they also use their former remedy. So that
by these alterations we learn, that it is in vain to expect a
greater revenue of our wares than their condition will afford,
but rather it concerns us to apply our endeavours to the times
with care and diligence to help our selves the best we may, by
making our cloth and other manufactures without deceit, which
will encrease their estimation and use.
    4. The value of our exportations likewise may be much
advanced when we perform it our selves in our own Ships, for then
we get only not the price of our wares as they are worth here,
but also the Merchants gains, the changes of ensurance, and
fraight to carry them beyond the seas. As for example, if the
Italian Merchants should come hither in their own shipping to
fetch our Corn, our red Herrings or the like, in the case the
Kingdom should have ordinarily but 25s for a quarter of Wheat,
and 20s for a barrel of red herrings, whereas if we carry these
wares our selves into Italy upon the said rates, it is likely
that wee shall obtain fifty shillings for the first, and forty
shillings for the last, which is a great difference in the
utterance or vent of the Kingdoms stock. And although it is true
that the commerce ought to be free to strangers to bring in and
carry out at their pleasure, yet nevertheless in many places the
exportation of victuals and munition are either prohibited, or at
least limited to be done onely by the people and Shipping of
those places where they abound.
    5. The frugal expending likewise of our own natural wealth
might advance much yearly to be exported unto strangers; and if
in our rayment we will be prodigal, yet let this be done with our
own materials and manufactures, as Cloth, Lace, Imbroderies,
Cutworks and the like, where the excess of the rich may be the
employment of the poor, whose labours notwithstanding of this
kind, would be more profitable for the Commonwealth, if they were
done to the use of strangers.
    6. The Fishing in his Majesties seas of England, Scotland and
Ireland is our natural wealth, and would cost nothing but labour,
which the Dutch bestow willingly, and thereby draw yearly a very
great profit to themselves by serving many places of Christendom
with our Fish, for which they return and supply their wants both
of forraign Wares and Mony, besides the multitude of Mariners and
Shipping, which hereby are maintain'd, whereof a long discourse
might be made to shew the particular manage of this important
business. Our Fishing plantation likewise in New England,
Virginia, Groenland, the Summer Islands and the New-found-land,
are of the like nature, affording much wealth and employments to
maintain a great number of poor, and to encrease our decaying
    7. A Staple or Magazin for forraign Corn, Indico, Spices,
Raw-silks, Cotton wool or any other commodity whatsoever, to be
imported will encrease Shipping, Trade, Treasure, and the Kings
customes, by exporting them again where need shall require, which
course of Trading, hath been the chief means to raise Venice,
Genoa, the low-Countreys, with some others; and for such a
purpose England stands most commodiously, wanting nothing to this
performance but our own diligence and endeavour.
    8. Also wee ought to esteem and cherish those trades which we
have in remote or far Countreys, for besides the encrease of
Shipping and Mariners thereby, the wares also sent thither and
receiv'd from thence are far more profitable unto the kingdom
than by our trades neer at hand: As for example; suppose Pepper
to be worth here two Shillings the pound constantly, if then it
be brought from the Dutch at Amsterdam, the Merchant may give
there twenty pence the pound, and gain well by the bargain; but
if he fetch this Pepper from the East-indies, he must not give
above three pence the pound at the most, which is a mighty
advantage, not only in that part which serveth for our own use,
but also for that great quantity which (from hence) we transport
yearly unto divers other Nations to be sold at a higher price:
whereby it is plain, that we make a far greater stock by gain
upon these Indian Commodities, than those Nations doe where they
grow, and to whom they properly appertain, being the natural
wealth of their Countries. But for the better understanding of
this particular, we must ever distinguish between the gain of the
Kingdom, and the profit of the Merchant; for although the Kingdom
payeth no more for this Pepper than is before supposed, nor for
any other commodity bought in forraign parts more than the
stranger receiveth from us for the same,yet the Merchant payeth
not only that price, but also the fraight, ensurance, customes
and other charges which are exceeding great in these long
voyages; but yet all these in the Kingdoms accompt are but
commutations among our selves, and no Privation of the Kingdoms
stock, which being duly considered, together with the support
also of our other trades in our best Shipping to Italy, France,
Turkey, and East Countreys and other places, by transporting and
venting the wares which we bring yearly from the East Indies; It
may well stir up our utmost endeavours to maintain and enlarge
this great and noble business, so much importing the Publique
wealth, Strength, and Happiness. Neither is there less honour and
judgment by growing rich (in this manner) upon the stock of other
Nations, than by an industrious encrease of our own means,
especially when this later is advanced by the benefit of the
former, as we have found in the East Indies by sale of much of
our Tin, Cloth, Lead and other Commodities, the vent whereof doth
daily encrease in those Countreys which formerly had no use of
our wares.
    9. It would be very beneficial to export money as well as
wares, being done in trade only, it would encrease our Treasure;
but of this I write more largely in the next Chapter to prove it
    10. It were policie and profit for the State to suffer
manufactures made of forraign Materials to be exported
custome-free, as Velvets and all other wrought Silks, Fustians,
thrown Silks and the like, it would emply very many poor people,
and much encrease the value of our stock yearly issued into other
Countreys, and it would (for this purpose) cause themore foraign
Materials to be brought in, to the improvement of His Majesties
Customes. I will here remember a notable increase in our
manufacture of winding and twisting only of forraign raw Silk,
which within 35 years to my knowledge did not employ more than
300 people in the City and suburbs of London, where at this
present time it doth set on work above fourteen thousand souls,
as upon diligent enquiry hath been credibly reported unto His
Majesties Commissioners for Trade. and it is certain, that if the
raid forraign Commodities might be exported from hence, free of
custome, this manufacture would yet encrease very much, and
decrease as fast in Italy and in the Netherlands. But if any man
allege the Dutch proverb, Live and let others live; I answer,
that the Dutchmen notwithstanding their own Proverb, doe not
onely in these Kingdoms, encroach upon our livings, but also in
other forraign parts of our trade (where they have power) they do
hinder and destroy us in our lawful course of living, hereby
taking the bread out of our mouth, which we shall never prevent
by plucking the pot from their nose, as of late years too many of
us do practise to the great hurt and dishonour of this famour
Nation; We ought rather to imitate former times in taking sober
and worthy courses more pleasing to God and suitable to our
ancient reputation.
    11. It is needful also not to charge the native commodities
with too great customes, lest by indearing them to the strangers
use, it hinder their vent. And especially forraign wares brought
in to be transported again should be favoured, for otherwise that
manner of trading (so much importing the good of the
Commonwealth) cannot prosper nor subsist. But the Consumption of
such forraign wares in the Realm may be the more charged, which
will turn to the profit of the kingdom in the Ballance of the
Trade, and thereby also enable the King to lay up the more
Treasure out of his yearly incomes, as of this particular I
intend to write more fully in his proper place, where I shall
shew how much money a Prince may conveniently lay up without the
hurt of his subjects.
    12. Lastly, in all things we must endeavour to make the most
we can of our own, whether it be Natural or Artificial, And
forasmuch as the people which live by the Arts are far more in
number than they who are masters of the fruits, we ought the more
carefully to maintain those endeavours of the multitude, in whom
doth consist the greatest strength and riches both of the King
and Kingdom: for where the people are many, and the arts good,
there the traffique must be great, and the Countrey rich. The
Italians employ a greater number of people; and get more money by
their industry and manufactures of the raw Silks of the Kingdom
of Cicilia, than the King of Spain and his Subjects have by the
revenue of this rich commodity. But what need we fetch the
example so far, when we know that our own natural wares doe not
yeild us so much profit as our industry? For Iron oar in the
Mines is of no great worth, when it is compared with the
employment and advantage it yields being digged, tried,
transported, brought, sold, cast into Ordnance, Muskets, and many
other instruments of war for offence and defence, wrought into
Anchors, bolts, spikes, nayles and the like, for the use of
Ships, Houses, Carts, Coaches, Ploughs, and other instruments for
Tillage. Compare our Fleece-wools with our Cloth, which requires
shearing, washing, carding, spinning, Weaving, fulling, dying,
dressing and other trimmings, and we shall find these Arts more
profitable than the natural wealth, whereof I might instance
other examples, but I will not be more tedious, for if I would
amplify upon this and the other particulars before written, I
might find matter sufficient to make a large volume, but my
desire in all is only to prove what I propound with breviity and