The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 1h: The Hamburgh Company
Chapter 1h: The Hamburgh Company98
The terms of admission into the Hamburgh Company are now quite easy.
- The directors have not yet subjected the trade to any burdensome regulations.
- It was not always so.
- In the mid-17th century, the fine for admission was £50.
- At one time it was £100.
- The company's conduct was extremely oppressive.
- In 1643, 1645, and 1661, the clothiers and free traders west of England complained them to parliament as monopolists who:
- confined the trade and
- oppressed the country's manufactures.
- Those complaints produced an act of parliament.
- They probably intimidated the company so far to oblige them to reform their conduct.
- Since that time, there were no more complaints against them.
- By the 10th and 11th of William III. c. 6, the fine for admission into the Russia Company was reduced to £5.
- By the 25th of Charles II. c. 7, the fine for admission into the Eastland Company was reduced to 40 shillings.
- At the same time, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were exempted from their exclusive charter.
- The conduct of those companies probably created those two acts of parliament.
Sir Josiah Child
- Before that time, Sir Josiah Child complained the following companies as extremely oppressive:
- The Hamburgh Company
- The Russia Company
- The Eastland Company
- He imputed to their bad management the low state of the trade with the countries in their charters.
- Presently, those companies are not very oppressive.
- However, they are certainly altogether useless.
- "To be merely useless is perhaps the highest eulogy which can ever justly be bestowed upon a regulated company."
- All those three companies presently deserve this eulogy.
Next: Chapter 1i: The Turkey Company