A Case for Subsidies? Adam Smith and the Eighteenth Century Scottish Herring Fishery
Article first published online: 13 MAR 2013
© 2013 Phi Alpha Theta
Volume 75, Issue 1, pages 47–68, Spring 2013
How to Cite
Leazer, J. (2013), A Case for Subsidies? Adam Smith and the Eighteenth Century Scottish Herring Fishery. Historian, 75: 47–68. doi: 10.1111/hisn.12001
- Issue published online: 13 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 13 MAR 2013
- 1An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, New York: The Modern Library, 1937, 472–490.,
- 2Ibid., 486.
- 3Studies of the Scottish fisheries have been sporadic and incomplete. For an excellent, older (and short) account of the eighteenth-century herring industry, see An Economic History of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1963. For recent work on the Scottish herring industry, see , The Sea Fisheries of Scotland: A Historical Geography, Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1996; , “Free Trade and State Formation: The Political Economy of Fisheries Policy in Britain and the United Kingdom circa 1780–1850,” Journal of British Studies 3, 2000, 288–316;Scotland's Herring Fisheries and the Prosperity of the Nation, c. 1660–1760,” Scottish Historical Review 1, 2000, 39–60.,
- 4The First Modern Economy: Success, Failure and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500–1815, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997, 251.and ,
- 5Sir Unpublished Manuscript Dedicated to Lord Basil Hamilton” (1698), National Library of Scotland [hereafter cited as NLS], Advocates’ Manuscripts Series, ADV MSS 33.5.16., “
- 6An Accompt Current betwixt Scotland and England Balanced Together with an Essay of a Scheme of the Product of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1705, 25, NLS, Rare Book Collection, 1.112(2); , Scottish Trade on the Eve of Union: 1660–1707, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1963, 222.,
- 7The Royal Fishery Companies of the Seventeenth Century, Glasgow: J. Maclehose and Sons, 1912, 85–86.,
- 8Both contemporaries and modern historians point out the problem of the lack of capital. See for example Scotland before the Industrial Revolution: An Economic and Social History, c1050-c1750, London: Longman, 1995, 278–279. However, there were, of course, other reasons such as the use of inferior domestic salt and failure to enforce quality standards.,
- 9“Estimate of the Expense of Building and Fitting Out a Sloop of 45 Tons and 6 Oared Boat for the Cod and Herring Fishery,” NLS, Fletcher of Saltoun Papers, MS 17565 f240; Great Britain, House of Commons, “Reports from the Select Committee on the State of the British Fisheries,” Reports from Committees of the House of Commons vol. x Miscellaneous Subjects, 1785–1801, London, 1803, 263. The cost was estimated as £18 for a six-oared-boat with mast and sail and £60 for its nets and gear.
- 10Ibid., 25, 103.
- 11Preserving herring suitable for export used sophisticated technology requiring support from numerous other trades such as coopers and curers. This technique was first pioneered by the Dutch. For an excellent description of the process during its early development, see The History of Dutch Sea Fisheries: Progress, Decline and Revival, London: William Clowes and Sons, 1884, 12.,
- 12The Herring and the Herring Fishery, London: Hamilton, Adams and Co., 1881, 101.,
- 13For a description of the Dutch buss see The Ship in the Medieval Economy 600–1600, London: Croom Helm, 1980, 206–208.,
- 14Observations on the Herring Fisheries upon the North and East Coasts of Scotland, London, 1788, 9.,
- 15Economic History, 111.,
- 16Sir History of the Union of Scotland and England, ed. D. Duncan , Edinburgh: Scottish Historical Society, 1993, 144–145.of Penicuik,
- 17Famine in Scotland: The “Ill Years” of the 1690s, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2010, 1.,
- 18For a description of Scotland's economy on the eve of the 1707 Union, see Taking Stock: Scotland at the End of the Seventeenth Century,” in Anglo-Scottish Relations from 1603–1900, ed. T.C. Smout , Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005, 103–125; , The Scottish Nation: A History 1700–2000, London: Viking, 1999; , Industrial Revolution; , “The Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707: The Economic Background,” Economic History Review 3, 1964, 455–467., “
- 19A Letter Concerning the Union with Relation to Trade from Several Scots Gentlemen, Merchants in England to Their Countrymen That Are Merchants in Scotland, London-Edinburgh: n.p., 1706.,
- 20Great Britain, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on the Laing Manuscripts, vol. II, London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1925, 138.
- 21For an excellent explanation of the Anglo-Scottish Treaty of Union see The Scots and the Union, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2006. For an earlier yet still useful view, seeThe Union of England and Scotland, Manchester: Manchester UP, 1978.,
- 22See Parliamentary Act 5 Anne chapter 8 (1705) [from here, following standard practice, abbreviated as: 5 Anne c.8]; and 5 Geo I. c. 18 (1718).
- 2323 Geo. II. c. 24.
- 2430 Geo. II. c. 30.
- 2526 Geo. III. c. 81.
- 2635 Geo. III. c. 56.
- 27Scottish Trade in the Wake of the Union (1700–1760): The Rise of a Warehouse Economy, Stuttgart: Steiner, 2008, 19.,
- 28“Fish Debentures for the Years 1708/9,” Exchequer Records, National Archives of Scotland [hereafter cited as NAS], E508/2/6.
- 29“Fish Debentures for the Year 1714,” Exchequer Records, NAS, E508/8/6.
- 30“Fish Debentures for the Years 1719/20,” Exchequer Records, NAS, E508/13/6.
- 31Great Britain, House of Commons, “Reports from the Select Committee,” 58.
- 34Ibid., 59.
- 35Ibid., 294–295, 374–5.
- 36Ibid., 382.
- 37Ibid., 298–299, 375.
- 38Records for the years 1755–59 do exist for overall herring exports, but do not include separate buss information (see Scottish Trade, 191, 338).,
- 39Great Britain, House of Commons, “Reports from Committees,” 294–295, 374.
- 40Ibid., 294.
- 41Wealth of Nations, 485–486.,
- 42For general price increases see A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727–1783, Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989, 443, 447–52.,
- 43John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003, 118–119; , John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography, Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1959, 141–142.,
- 44Sea Fisheries, 105.,
- 45Wealth of Nations, 486–487.,
- 46Great Britain, House of Commons, “Reports from Committees,” 104.
- 47Scottish Nation, 56.,
- 48Ibid., 58.
- 49Alastair J. Durie , ed., The British Linen Company 1745–1775, Edinburgh: Phillans & Wilson, 1996, 9–10
- 50The Industrial Revolution in Scotland, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997, 47.,