Part 3d of Chapter 1 of Book 5 of The Wealth of Nations Simplified

The Hamburgh, Russian, and Eastland Regulated Companies Icon

August 1, 2021

98 The terms of admission into the Hamburgh Company are now quite easy.

Its executives have not yet subjected the trade to any burdensome regulations.

  • It was not always so.

In the mid-17th century, the fee 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
  • probably intimidated the company as to reform their conduct.

Since that time, there were no more complaints against them.

The conduct of the Russian and Eastland companies probably created the following acts of parliament.

  • The 10th and 11th of William 3rd chapter 6 which reduced the fee for admission into the Russia Company to £5
  • The 25th of Charles 2nd chapter 7 reduced the fee for admission into the Eastland Company to 40 shillings. At the same time, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway were exempted from their exclusive charter.

Before that time, Sir Josiah Child complained that 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.”

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