Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/418

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
350
[1329 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

between the Crown and the town, and farmed the rents.[1]

One remarkable feature in the fiscal policy of King Robert's government, inherited from his predecessors on the throne, differed from that of foreign countries and may be held to be the earliest authentic example of the practice of free trade. No duty was permitted to be levied on imported goods, except of course the parva costuma levied by each burgh on all produce, whether foreign or native, coming within its boundary. This was a trifling matter; but the national policy of free trade continued in force until the reign of James VI., when an Act was passed in 1597, imposing a duty on cloth and other merchandise. The object of this new departure was not, as might be supposed, the

  1. The fixed rents paid by the several royal burghs in 1327, when peace was concluded with England, are shown in the following table, in which in spite of her many adversities, Berwick still holds the first place:
      £. s. d.
    Berwick, 266 13 4
    Aberdeen, 213 6 8
    Perth, 160    
    Inverness, 46    
    Stirling, 36    
    Edinburgh, 34 18 8
    Ayr, 30    
    Rutherglen, 30    
    Haddington, 29 6 8
    Peebles, 23 6 8
    Crail, 22 9 4
    Dundee, 22    
    Dunbarton, 22    
    Banff, 21 6 8
    Roxburgh, 20    
    Cullen, 20    
    Forfar, 18 13 4
    Dumfries, 18 13 4
    Wigtown, 18 13 4
    Inverkeithing, 15    
    Montrose, 13 2  
    Lanark, 12    
    Kintore, 12    
    Linlithgow, 10    
    Kirkcudbright, 9    
    Tyvie, 6 3 4
    Mill of Mouskis, 2