Much Should You Risk On Each Trade

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Trade between the two countries was, from time to time, banned, but the English government acted generously towards the merchants, still permitting them to hawk their monogrammed coasters and other wares.Some English merchants sent from a town of Andalusia called Xeres de la Frontera at least 40,000 butts of wine annually besides eight or ten tons of fruit, which wine and fruit they are not able to consume themselves, whereby they are furnished of above 200,000 ducats annually to provide them for other necessaries, without which they could not live. The situation worsened.The continuous loss of men and treasure, captured on the filibustering expeditions of Hawkins and Drake, infuriated the Spaniards. By 1585, feelings had run so high that English merchants trading in Sanlucar were arrested and their goods and drink glasses sold.

One of them, William Melson, took refuge in the church of St George for six or seven months. A dispatch of that date tells us that an officer was appointed to make inquiry throughout the country for Englishmen and their goods. But the people were less hostile than their government: when the officer approached, they hid their English friends and as soon as he had gone away, the merchants went about their business just as before.They continued shipping wine to England in spite of all adversities, but they could not do it directly: it had to be sent in foreign ships or in English ships officially sailing for foreign ports, and it often entailed great risk.