Accounts of State Interference With Trade, 1242-1244
While Henry III was engaged in war with Louis IX in Aquitaine, trade between England
and France was greatly hampered. The Cistercians refused contributions to the royal
revenue, and therefore Henry prohibited their profitable woolen trade with the continent.
The Florentine and Flemish merchants were at this time those most interested in buying
wool from England.
1242. About the same time, as the laborious season of autumn drew on, the French
king, in a very unbecoming manner, gave orders to seize the bodies of English merchants
who were trafficking with their wares throughout his kingdom; thus inflicting an enormous
injury on the ancient dignity of Gaul, which formerly afforfed a safe asylum and
protection to all exiles and proscribed men, especially the peaceable ones; from which
circumstance it originally obtained the name of France in its own language. This
dishonourable and cruel proceeding soon reached the ears as well as the feelings of the
king of England, on which he also gave orders that the French traders found in any part of
England should undergo a just retaliation....
1244. In this same year the king of England prohibited the wool of the
Cistercian monks from being conveyed to the continent to be sold for their benefit,
endeavoring by these means to oppress and injure them, because they would not, indeed they
were not able to, give him pecuniary assistance when he was in Gascony.
From: Matthew of Paris, English History, trans. J. A. Giles, (London, 1852),
Vol. I, p. 410, 511, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book
for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint
ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 107-108.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, September 1998