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The Rise of the English Shipping Industry in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries$
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Ralph Davis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497384

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497384.001.0001

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The Government and the Shipping Industry

The Government and the Shipping Industry

(p.289) Chapter 14 The Government and the Shipping Industry
The Rise of the English Shipping Industry in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Ralph Davis

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the level of involvement of the British government in mercantile shipping during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It provides the history behind the 1651 Navigation Act and the previous instances of British trade being restricted to British vessels, which date as far back as the fourteenth century and were also present during the reign of Elizabeth I. It then analyses the competition between British and Dutch shipping and the escalating tensions that caused the passing of the 1651 Navigation Act and the outbreak of the Dutch wars. It lists the Navigation Act provisions that applied to shipping, and attempts to answer what scope foreign ships had to trade with England as a result of its implementation. Though the bulk of the chapter discusses the Navigation Acts and their fallout, it also considers the increase of government intervention in maritime activity during the eighteenth century which included law-making efforts concerning the Navy, and investment in docks and ports. It concludes that government intervention, when present, was often beneficial to the industry, particularly when it came to employment issues and working conditions.

Keywords:   Maritime Politics, British Maritime Laws, British Navigation Acts, Dutch Wars, Shipping Competition, Maritime Labour Conditions

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