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‘A Very Profitable and Advantageous Trade’: British Smuggling in the Iberian Americas circa 1500–1750

  • G.V. Scammell

Extract

Hardly had the Spaniards and Portuguese established their first footholds in the newly discovered Americas they claimed as their exclusive preserves than their European rivals and enemies were on the scene. In what came to be known as the Spanish Indies they endeavoured to obtain some of the continent's staggering wealth in precious metals. In Brazil they were after the logwood that could be more or less had for the taking. It produced dyes far superior to those then in use in Europe and in great demand in an expanding textile industry, of which that of England was a considerable part. Besides which there was the pleasing prospect that Brazil's great rivers might give access to the silver mining regions of Spanish South America. Such predatory urges were sharpened as Protestantism took root in Western Europe. Convinced that the military strength of Spain, the continent's leading Catholic power, stemmed from American bullion, zealous Protestants believed that could this wealth only be diverted into the right hands the true faith would be saved, its adherents duly rewarded and Spain, deprived of its lifeblood, ruined. But the implementation of this godly strategy was no obstacle to conducting a lucrative commerce with the arch-enemy. Sugar and tobacco, of which the Iberian Americas were soon substantial producers, could be purchased for sale in a growing European market. Equally appealing was the opportunity to sell to Portuguese and Spanish colonists the African slaves their plantation economies demanded. And no less attractive or rewarding was the chance to supply them with those European goods, both luxuries and necessities, which they were forbidden to produce for themselves and which Iberian industries were increasingly unable to provide, or which, through the inadequacies of the Spanish and Portuguese imperial commercial monopoly, were usually in short supply and invariably grossly over-priced.

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Notes

1 For good surveys of recent scholarship see Engerman, Stanley L., Gallman, Robert E. eds, The Cambridge Economic History of the United States I: The Colonial Era (Cambridge 1996); Fisher, John R., The Economic Aspects of Spanish Imperialism in America, 1492–1810 (Liverpool 1997); Canny, Nicholas ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire I (Oxford 1998); Marshall, P.J. ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire II (Oxford 1998).

2 Hakluyt, Richard, The Principal Navigations I–XII (Glasgow 19031905)(hereafter Hakluyt) XI, 23-25; Andrews, Kenneth R., Trade, Plunder and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480–1630 (Cambridge 1984) 5960.

3 Public Record Office, London (PRO), High Court of Admiralty (HCA), 13/4, fos. 274v–276v.

4 PRO, Gairdner, James, Brodie, R.H. eds, Texts and Calendars, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, Addendal-II (London 19291932) no. 1430.

5 Marsden, R.G. ed., ‘Voyage of the Barbara to Brazil, anno 1540’ in: Laughton, Sirjohn Knox ed., The Naval Miscellany II (London 1912) 31, 51.

6 Marsden ed., ‘Voyage of the Barbara’, passim; Scammell, G.V., ‘Shipowning in England c. 1450–1550Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 12 [5th series] (1962) 113.

7 Hakluyt, , Navigations XI, 2325; PRO, Bergenroth, G.A. et al. eds, Calendar of Letters, Des-patches and State Papers, Relating to Negotiations between England and Spain (hereafter Cal. Sp.) 1538–1542 (London 1868) no. 148; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 5960.

8 Hakluyt XI, 25; Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 302, 357; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 137.

9 Hakluyt XI, 26ff; Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 64; Taylor, E.G.R. ed., The Troublesome Voyage of Captain Edward Fenton: Narratives and Documents (Cambridge 1959) L and notes; Freyre, Gilberto, The Masters and the Slaves (London 1956) 198; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 160.

10 Hakluyt XI, 26ff; Cal. Sp. 1587–1603, 186–187; Andrews, Kenneth R., Elizabethan Privateering (Cambridge 1964) chapter 10.

11 HCA 13/24, 16 January 1581/2; Andrews, , Elizabethan Privateering, chapter 10.

12 Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 160.

13 Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 55, 64.

14 Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 3, 64, 302; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 161.

15 Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 20.

16 Hakluyt XI, 33; Taylor, E.G.R. ed., The Original Writings and Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts I (London 1935) 18.

17 HCA 13/24, fo. 218; Hakluyt, XI, 295; Marsden, , ‘Voyage of the Barbara’, 8.

18 HCA 13/24, ult. February 1581/1582, 8 December 1582; Hakluyt, XI, 162; Taylor, ed., Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts I, 18 and note, 146; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 161.

19 HCA 13/24, ult. February 1581/1582 at fo. 226; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 164165.

20 HCA 13/24, ult. February 1581/1582, 2 November 1582, 24 November 1582, 8 December 1582; Hakluyt XI, 34–35; Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 302, 356–357; Andrews, , Elizabethan Privateering, 201202; Idem, Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 164–165.

21 Hakluyt XI, 38; Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 356–357.

22 Taylor, ed., Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts I, 18; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 138, 160–161.

23 Taylor, ed., Troublesome Voyage of Edward Fenton, L, 126, 128, 195; idem, Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts I, 18; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 164165.

24 Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 385, 413–414; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 162163.

25 HCA 13/32, 22 November 1595; Hakluyt VI, 411; Taylor, ed., Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts I, 18; Quinn, David Beers ed., The Voyages and Colonising Enterprises of Humphrey Gilbert II (London 1940) 426427;Donno, Elizabeth Story ed., An Elizabethan in 1582: The Diary of Richard Madox, Fellow of All Souls (London 1976) 109.

26 HCA 13/25, 4 September 1585, 6 and 7 December 1585; PRO, Lemon, Robert et al. eds, Texts and Calendars, Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reigns of Edward VI, Maty 170 G.V. Scammell Elizabeth and James I, 1547–1625 (hereafter CSPD) 1601–1603, with Additions 1547–1565, 102–103; Andrews, , Elizabethan Privateering, 205206.

27 HCA 13/25, 4 September 1585, 6 and 7 December 1585; Purchas, Samuel, Hakluyl Posthumus, or Purchas His Pilgrimes I–XX (Glasgow 19051907)(hereafter Purchas) XVI, 145. Hakluyt XI, 43, 53, 208.

28 CSPD 1581–1590, 640, no. 97; CSPD 1595–1597, 77, no. 32; Cal. Sp. 1587–1603, 572, no. 582; Purchas XVI, 243, 417ff.

29 Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 610; Hakluyt XI, 295.

30 Scammell, G.V., ‘The English in the Atlantic Islands, c. 1450–1650The Mariner's Mirror LXXII (1986) 310.

31 HCA 13/25,6 December 1585; Cal. Sp. 1587–1603, 222; Scammell, G.V., ‘England, Portugal and the Estado da India c. 1500–1635Modern Asian Studies 16/2 (1982) 182185.

32 Hitchcock, R.F., ‘Cavendish's Last Voyage: The Charges against DavisThe Mariner's Mirror 80 (1994) 265266.

33 Taylor, ed., Troublesome Voyage of Edward Fenton, xxxviii; Quinn, ed., Voyages of Sir Humphrey Gilbert II, 415.

34 Hakluyt XI, 208. For Abraham Cocke see: Andrews, , Elizabethan Privateering, 88.

35 Purchas XVI, 144; Quinn, D.B. ed., The Hakluyt Handbook I (London 1974) 123124.

36 Purchas XVI, 244, 290; Pennington, L.E. ed., The Purchas Handbook; Studies of the Life, Times and Writings of Samuel Purchas, 1577–16261 (London 1997) 337339.

37 Purchas XVI, 182, 232, 243–244, 290; Freyre, , The Masters and the Slaves, 199.

38 Rego, A. da Silva, Sanceau, Elaine eds, Documentacdo Ultramarina Portuguesa I (Lisbon 1960) 62; Mauro, Frederic, Le Portugal el L'Allantique au XVIIe Siecle, 1570–1670 (Paris 1960) 140; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 299.

39 HCA 13/51, 5 March, 11 and 18June 1634.

40 HCA 13/45, 8 June 1626; HCA 13/51, 11 and 18 June 1634; HCA 13/56, 1 May 1640.

41 Andrews, Kenneth R., Ships, Money Politics: Seafaring and Naval Enterprise in the Reign of Charles I (Cambridge 1991) 8990.

42 HCA 13/56, 1 May 1640; Boxer, C.R., ‘English Shipping in the Brazil Trade, 1640–1665’The Mariner's Mirrorsai (1951) 199ff.; Andrews, , Ships, Money & Politics, 22; Shaw, L.M.E., The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance and the English Merchants in Portugal, 1654–1810 (Aldershot 1998) chapter 9.

43 Boxer, , ‘English Shipping in the Brazil Trade’ 214215;Mauro, , Le Portugal, 459460.

44 HCA 13/65, 23 March 1651/1652; Andrews, , Ships, Money Politics, 5961;Appleby, John C., ‘A Guinea Venture c. 1657: A Note on the Early English Slave TradeThe Mariner's Mirror 79 (1993) 85.

45 HCA 13/65, 11 March 1651/1652; Anderson, R.C. ed., The Journals of Sir Thomas Allin, 1660–1678 1 (London 19391940) 53; Boxer, , ‘English Shipping in the Brazil Trade’ 204; Powell, J.R., Robert Blake, General-at-Sea (London 1972) 319.

46 Boxer, C.R., Descriptive List of the State Papers, Portugal, 1661–1780 in the Public Record Office, London I: 1661–1723 (Lisbon 1979) 20, nos. 45, 47, 48; Boxer, , ‘English Shipping in the Brazil Trade’ 219220;Shaw, , The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, 117.

47 HCA 13/51, 11, 18 and 20June 1634, 6 July 1634; Exwood, Maurice, Lehmann, H.L. eds, The Journal of William Schellinks Travels in England 1661–1663 [Camden Society, 5th series, volume 1] (London 1993) 9fF; Andrews, , Ships, Money Politics, 52.

48 HCA 13/65, 25 August 1651; 23 March 1651/1652; 20 May, 2July, 15July, 20July 1652; Whitebrook, J.C., Edward andfohn Bushell, Puritans and Merchants (London 1915) passim; Appleby, , ‘A Guinea Venture’ 85; Andrews, , Ships, Money Politics, 5961.

49 Anderson, ed., Journals of Sir Thomas Allin I, 99; Kepler, J.S., ‘Fiscal Aspects of the English Carrying Trade during the Thirty Years WarThe Economic History Review XXV [2nd series] (1972) 261; Boxer, C.R., The English and the Portuguese Brazil Trade, 1660–1780: Some Problems and Personalities (Bundoora 1981) 5.

50 Arruda, José Jobson de Andrade, ‘Colonies as Mercantile Investments; The Luso-Brazilian Empire, 1500–1808’ in: Tracy, James D. ed., The Political Economy of Merchant Empires: State Power and World Trade, 1350–1750 (Cambridge 1991) 388.

51 Rego, A. da Silva ed., As Gavetas da Torre do Tombo I (Lisbon 1960) 550551;Arruda, Andrade, ‘Colonies as Mercantile Investments’ 393; Boxer, , The English and the Portuguese Brazil Trade, 56;Shaw, , Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, 118.

52 Boxer, , Stale Papers, Portugal I, 250, no. 138; idem, The English and the Portuguese Brazil Trade, 3–4.

53 HCA 13/85, fos. 279, 283.

54 Fisher, H.E.S., The Portugal Trade: A Study of Anglo-Portuguese Commerce, 1700–1770 (London 1971) 33; Coleman, D.C., The Economy of England, 1450–1750 (Oxford 1977) 133; Boxer, , The English and the Portuguese Brazil Trade, 5; Liss, Peggy K., Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 1713–1826 (Baltimore/London 1983) 83.

55 Cal. Sp. 1568–1579, 242–243, 264; Cal. Sp. 1580–1586, 585–586; Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 140, 161.

56 Oppenheim, M., A History of the Administration of the Royal Navy and of Merchant Shipping in Relation to the Navy I (London 1896) 398399. For the privateering war see Andrews, Elizabethan Privateering.

57 Glasgow, Tom Jr., ‘The Mystery of Juan de Rute of Asuncion, ParaguayThe Mariner's Mirror 52 (1966) 7879.

58 Hakluyt IX, 347, 421; Cal. Sp. 1568–1579, 526.

59 Hakluyt IX, 360ff; Hakluyt XI, 208; Purchas XVI, 6, 324ff; Kupperman, Karen Ordahl, Providence Island, 1630–1641: The Other Puritan Colony (Cambridge 1993) 280.

60 Purchas XVI, 309ff; Scammell, G.V., The World Encompassed: The First European Maritime Empires, c. 800–1650 (London 1981) 484, 492.

61 Appleby, J.C., ‘An Association for the West Indies? English Plans for a West India Company, 1621–1629The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History XV (1987) 213241;Andrews, , Trade, Plunder and Settlement, 325; Kupperman, , Providence Island, 109.

62 Kupperman, , Providence Island, 9799, 167-169, 280, 335-339, 346.

63 Purchas XVI, 134.

64 Dewar, Alfred ed., The Voyages and Travels of Captain Nathaniel Uring (London 1928) xxiv, 125, 240246;Wilson, Arthur M., ‘The Logwood Trade in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’ in: Socolow, Susan ed., The Atlantic Staple Trade II; The Economics of Trade (Aldershot 1996) 477491.

65 Dampier, William, A New Voyage Round the World [ed. Gray, Sir Albert] (London 1927) 7.

66 Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 26; Wilson, , ‘Logwood Trade’ 480481.

67 HCA 13/85, 13 July 1714; Dewar, ed., Voyages of Captain Uring, xxiii, 165, 169, 246.

68 HCA 13/85, 13 October 1716; 13/88, 26 October 1728, 18 November 1728, 28 March 1729; Dewar, ed., Voyages of Captain Uring, xxivxxv, 179; Tattersfield, Nigel, The Forgotten Trade: Accounts of the Slave Trade from the Minor Ports of England, 1698–1725 (London 1991) 8.

69 Cf. Wilson, ‘Logwood Trade’

70 Dewar, ed., Voyages of Captain Uring, 167, 171, 241242, 246; Wilson, , ‘Logwood Trade’ 482, 487, 490; Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 2829.

71 HCA 13/85, 13 July 1714; Dewar, ed., Voyages of Captain Uring, xxii; Reports and Calendars Issued by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. New series vol. VII, The Manuscripts of the House of Lords, 1706–1708 (London 1921) no. 2402, 316; McNeill, John Robert, ‘American Ports and Imperial Trade’ in: Socolow, ed., The Atlantic Staple Trade II, 683; Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 75; Fisher, , Economic Aspects of Spanish Imperialism, 120121.

72 Boxer, , State Papers, Portugal I, 41, no. 220; Wilson, , ‘Logwood Trade’ 483; The Oxford History of the British Empire II, 22.

73 Dewar, ed., Voyages of Captain Uring, xix–xxii.

74 HCA 13/75, fos. 388ff.

75 Rogers, Woodes, A Cruising Voyage Round the World [ed. Manwaring, G.E.] (London 1928) 187; Steele, Ian K., The English Atlantic 1675–1740: An Exploration of Communication and Community (Oxford 1986) 176177.

76 Dewar, ed., Voyages of Captain Uring, 165; Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 76; Israel, Jonathan I., Dutch Primacy in World Trade 1585–1740 (Oxford 1989) 325, 369–370, 374; Scammell, G.V., The First Imperial Age: European Overseas Expansion c. 1400–1715 (London 1989) 440.

77 HCA 13/56, 6 August 1640; 13/65, 15 January 1651/1652.

78 Reports and Calendars Issued by the Royal Commission: On Historical Manuscripts. New series vol. II, The Manuscripts of the House of Lords, 1695–1697 (London 1903) 440.

79 HCA 13/85, 4 June 1714.

80 Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 26, 28, 257; Cambridge Economic History of the United States I, 234.

81 Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 28; Cambridge Economic History of the United States I, 351.

82 Manuscripts of the House of Lords, 1695–1697, no. 1115, 440fff; Manuscript of the House of Lords, 1699–1702 (London 1908) no. 1634; Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 30.

83 Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 2830.

84 Taylor, ed., Troublesome Voyage of Edward Fenton, 286287; Hakluyt XI, 39ff, 208; Purchas VI, 367; XVI, 231.

85 Cal. Sp. 1568–1579, 242–243, 264; Quinn, , Voyages of Sir Humphrey Gilbert I, 29.

86 Dampier, , A New Voyage, 100.

87 Black, Jeremy, ‘Anglo-Spanish Naval Relations in the Eighteenth CenturyThe Mariner's Mirror 77 (1991) 242; Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 32, 53; Williams, Glyndwr, The Great South Sea: English Voyages and Encounters, 1570–1750 (New Haven/London 1997) 202.

88 HCA 13/88, 18 November 1728, 21 May 1729; McLachlan, Jean O., Trade and Peace with Old Spain, 1667–1750 (Cambridge 1940) 122; Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 31, 7576.

89 Oxford History of the British Empire II, 459.

90 Wilson, , ‘Logwood Trade’ 488; McNeill, , ‘American Ports and Imperial Trade’ 685686;Liss, , Atlantic Empires, 40.

91 Williams, , The Great South Sea, 118, 202.

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‘A Very Profitable and Advantageous Trade’: British Smuggling in the Iberian Americas circa 1500–1750

  • G.V. Scammell

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