Regarding the custom of coal

Regarding the article touching the imposing of 48s of custom upon every tun of coal exported in strangers' ships, the estates, having heard the owners of the coal pits upon both sides of the Firth of Forth concerning that article, they constantly affirmed and declared in presence of the estates that they were at such extraordinary charges in the maintaining of their water-works that the whole country's sale and dispatch of their coal in a year will not maintain their water-works one month and that they are not able to uphold their works without an abundant dispatch of their coal by strangers; and that there is not shipping in this country to transport a very small part of coal, and if this new custom be imposed it will be a deterrence and hindrance to strangers to come here for coal, to which they are allured more by the ease they have in the price than for any necessity they have of our coal; and if the trade fall, without the which the owners are not able to maintain their works and coal pits, the same will perish without any possibility of recovery at any time hereafter, not only to the utter undoing of the owners but to the extreme hurt and prejudice of the country, which by this occasion will be destitute of all the sea coal within the kingdom, besides the miserable downfall of many hundred families of poor people whose only maintenance depends upon these works and without the which they will be all turned beggars. The estates having at length heard the said owners upon this point and the truth of their affirmation being known to sundry of them and the matter being put to voting, it was found that without an obvious and evident hurt to the country this custom could not be imposed upon the coal.

  1. NAS, PC1/31, f.79v-80r. Back