1699, John Haynes petitions for financial compensation for the performance of his duties on behalf of the crown

Transcription from ‘Petitions in the State Papers: 1690s’, in Petitions in the State Papers, 1600-1699, ed. Brodie Waddell, British History Online, John Haynes. SP 32/11 f. 284 (1699).

To the King’s most excellent majesty

The humble petition of John Haynes


That your petitioner having been allways concerned in the woollen manufacture; after your majestys happy accession to the throne, was appointed in an act of Parliament made in the first year of your majestys reign a commissioner to putt in execution the acts made to prevent the exportation of wooll which he has ever since with very great vigour and expences performed

That pursuant to those acts there was seized on the 24 day of January last in the haven of Great Yarmouth a quantity of combd and uncombd wooll on board two vessells then lying in the road, to the value of 780 pounds sterling and upwards, as in a memoriall hereunto annexed is more particularly recited: but in obedience to your majestys pleasure signifyd to your petitioner by Master Secretary Vernon, the said seizure is actually deliverd back to the proprietors, though to your petitioners great and apparent loss

Your petitioner therefore most humbly beseeches your sacred majesty would be graciously pleased to consider his great pains and expences in the execution of his trust, for which he never receivd any satisfaction from the government; and to make him such a compensation for surrendring the seizure at Yarmouth, as to your majestys wisdom shall seem most reasonable

And your petitioner et cetera.

Report by Kathy Westhead

In this petition, John Haynes claims that he was a commissioner to prevent the exportation of raw wool, ‘which he has ever since with very great vigour and expences performed’. Pursuant to those Acts, he orchestrated the seizure of a large quantity of wool on board two ships at Great Yarmouth. The petition was accompanied by a memorial ‘showing that the vessels were the Anna of Leith, bound for Rotterdam, and the Unick of Rouen, bound for Leith’.[1]

The only biographical information we start with for John Haynes is that he had always been involved in woollen manufacture. There were several people of that name involved in the trade in the city of Exeter during the 17th century. For example, in 1606, William Hayne, a tucker, joined the ‘Gild of Weavers Tuckers and Shearmen of Exeter’, and in 1625 became master of the guild.[2] In 1626, John Hayne, a clothier, was merchant Member of Parliament for Exeter.[3] A published history notes that ‘John Haynes, wool merchant of Exeter, before he married Susan Healey in 1635 bought her a copy of Arthur Hildersham’s Lectures upon the 4th of John (1632). He later also bought her “a bible worth xxs” and “2 sermon books 4s 6d”’.[4] This may be the same individual that was Sheriff of Exeter in 1635 and seems very likely to be the John Haine, who, with his wife Susannah, had a son, also called John, baptised at St Mary Arches, Exeter on 8 March 1639.[5] This John, probably born in late February/early March of 1639, could be our petitioner and he would have been 51 at this time.

However, a John Haynes, wool factor, wrote three pamphlets in the first part of the 18th century, The first, in 1706, is ‘a view of the present state of the clothing trade in England’, with remarks on the causes of its decline.[6] The second, in 1715 was a new edition of the first, about ‘the great number of poor employed in the woollen and silk manufacturies’. The third, though, also from 1715, seems very relevant to our petitioner, being ‘Proposals for the more effectual preventing the exportation of wool’. If this were the same John Haine baptised in 1639, he would have been 76 by this time – not impossible, but perhaps improbable.

Haines also appears in the Treasury Papers in a report dated 26 October 1702 from ‘the Comrs of Customs to the Lord High [Treasurer] on the memorial of John Haines to be made a general supervisor in the counties of Hampshire and Dorsetshire, to prevent the transportation of wool; declining to advise the appointment of such an officer, or to recommend a person who had received the censure of the House of Commons on his knees’.[7]

The Petition

The petition states that John Haynes was appointed as a commissioner to enforce an Act of Parliament made to prevent the exportation of wool. His name, as John Haines, can be seen in section VI of the 1688 Act.[8] The purpose of the Act was to prevent raw wool being exported for further processing abroad, and thus encourage the manufacture of woollen cloth and finished goods in England, for export, especially to the colonies.

In January 1698/9, John Haynes seized a large quantity of raw wool under this Act but was ordered to return it to the owners by Master Secretary Vernon. This was James Vernon (1646-1727), a Whig politician who was a Member of Parliament from 1679 to 1710, first for Cambridge University, then Penryn, Westminster, and Penryn again.[9] He held various other political offices and was Under-Secretary of State from 1689-90.[10]

The reason John Haynes suffered financial loss as a result was that he would have been paid by commission on the confiscations, rather than receiving a salary.


[1] ‘William III: June 1699’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: William III, 1699-1700, ed. Edward Bateson (London, 1937), pp. 211-233. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/will-mary/1699-1700/pp211-233.

[2] ‘Masters of the Gild of Weavers tuckers and Shearmen of Exeter’: http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/_people/tuckers-masters.php.

[3] John Hayne: https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/hayne-john-1639; ‘Merchant Members’: https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/survey/appendix-vi-merchant-members.

[4] K. Charlton, Women, Religion and Education in Early Modern England (2002).

[5] ‘Sheriffs of Exeter: http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/sheriffs.php; ‘Ancestry’: https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=78289897&tid=&pid=&queryId=ef56a09227614fd7be75d8b17aa6374c&usePUB=true&_phsrc=PvH7&_phstart=successSource.

[6] Dictionary of Political Economy, volume 2 edited by R H Inglis Palgrave in 1896 (2015): https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781349103584; https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/A_View_of_the_Present_State_of_the_Cloth/lmL6xAEACAAJ?hl=en.

[7] ‘Volume 82: October 13-November 30, 1702’, in Calendar of Treasury Papers, Volume 3, 1702-1707, ed. Joseph Redington (London, 1874), pp. 68-81. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-treasury-papers/vol3/pp68-81.

[8] ‘William and Mary, 1688: An Act for the better preventing the Exportation of Woole and Encourageing the Woollen Manufactures of this Kingdome [Chapter XXXII. Rot. Parl. pt. 4. nu. 12.]’, in Statutes of the Realm: Volume 6, 1685-94, ed. John Raithby (s.l, 1819), pp. 96-98. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/statutes-realm/vol6/pp96-98.

[9] ‘James Vernon’: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Vernon.

[10] VERNON James (1646-1727) of Frith Street, History of Parliament: House of Commons 1660-1690 edited by B D Heming 1983 https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1660-1690/member/vernon-james-1646-1727.

This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reigns of James II, William III and Mary II, 1685-1699’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.