[From Manx Soc vol 10]
THE Trade of this Island in regard it produceth not any
Commodities of value neither is improved by way of Manufacture; nor
hath Merchants nor Shipping belonging to it hardly deserveth a
Chapter by itself(71)
The Trade for Exportation consisteth in Hides the skins of sheep and Goats, a small quantity of Herrings and Corn when the Island is first assured there is enough to serve itself. The forrain Commodities they want are Wood Iron Salt, Pitch and Tarre; without these they cannot live: as for Wines Spices &c. these poor people make no reckoning of; being contented with such homely accomodations for dyet and clothing as their own Country affordeth. It is traded with 4. Market Towns Castle-Town, Douglas, Peel-Town and Ramsey. A Manufacture of their Wools might here be profitably erected; for we see Jersey, that hath no Wooll within itself, considerable; yet it maintaineth a great Trade with the Woolls there wrought and brought from other Countries.
Further for matter of profit to the Islanders for Trade and Commerce with other Nations, this is the manner. There are four Merchants which are ever chosen by the Country; which choice is usually made at the Tynwald Court and sworn by the Deemsters to deal truly and most for the Countries profit; these for the present are Mr. John Stanley, and Mr. Philip Moor for the South side; and Mr. Thomas Crelling and Mr. David Christian for the North side: These when any Ship of Salt, Wines, Pitch, Iron or other Commodities good for the use of the Country comes into the Island the Governour having first consulted with the Merchant Stranger about the rates and prices of the Commodities he sends then for these four Merchants of the Country to appear before him and the Merchant-Stranger; and drives a bargain if he can betwixt them; if he cannot agree with them he commands the 4. Merchants to spend another day with the Merchant-stranger to deal with him if they can. And whatsoever bargain is made by the said 4. Merchants, the Country is to stand to it, and take the Commodities of the Merchant stranger and pay for them by and according to the rates agreed upon; which most commonly is, that the Country are to bring in their Commodities of Wooll, Hides, Tallow, and such like and for the same have their equall proportions of the Commodities of Salt, Wine, Iron, Pitch &c. so brought in, and compounded for as aforesaid. And if the Commodities brought in by the Country will not extend to the value of the Strangers Commodities, then the 4. Merchants are to assesse the rest of the Commodities upon the Country every one his equall proportion; for which they are to pay ready moneys as the four Merchants had agreed for them. So by this means the Merchant-stranger is much encouraged to bring in necessary things for the Island, and the people have by the faithfulnesse of their 4. Merchants, the full benefit of the commodity brought in; which otherwise some private man of the Country might, and would have taken for his own profit: And this is an especiall benefit for the enriching of the people, and for the generall good