Mercantilism in England



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Restrictions on Imports
In 1663 Parliament passed the Staples Act, which forbade the colonists from buying any products grown or manufactured in Africa, Europe, or Asia. Unlike the enumerated list of export restrictions, the Staples Act prohibited the importing of almost every article that was either not produced in England or was not shipped there first. Thus, if a colonist wished to buy French silks, Dutch linens, or Indian tea, he would buy these goods from an English importer. The Englishman in this example would have bought these goods from France, India, or Holland. Neither the Englishman nor the colonial merchant was allowed to bring these products directly to the colonies. Instead, all had to pay for the added expense and inconvenience of all non-English products taking a far longer route to the colonies which included the loading and unloading, storing, and taxing of all the goods involved. The exceptions to the provisions of this bothersome Staples Act, like wine from the Madeira Islands, were few and relatively unimportant.
Restrictions on manufacturing
According to mercantile theory, colonies were to supply their mother nation with raw materials and buy their manufactured goods. Therefore, colonies should not have been encouraged to develop their own industries. England, however, made few attempts to restrict colonial manufacturing. She merely prevented the colonists from shipping certain products from one colony to another. For example, colonists were not permitted to sell either wooden goods or beaver hats to other colonies. After 1750, a far more serious restriction was placed on the manufacturer of such iron goods as rifles, axes, and pots.



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