The Profile of the Internal Trades
THE contrast between the foreign and the domestic trades is as sharp in terms of surviving data as in the amount of academic interest the two have generated. Internal trade was largely untaxed in the period 1500–1700, or bore only moderate dues, such as the brokage tolls of Southampton . The central government had, therefore, no incentive to record domestic trade in normal times. Neither the central government’s system of Port Books, nor the local customs of ports like Chester or Southampton, can yield a body of information equivalent to that available for the foreign trades. But of all the internal trades, coastal shipping is the best-documented, and the deficiencies in our knowledge of even this sector underline the problems.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Commodity Trade Early Eighteenth Century Interregional Trade
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