Pedro de Brito
Lisbon and OPorto Factory Houses, British Merchants and Ec. Relations
The Portugal merchants - i.e. the English merchants trading to Portugal in the 17th century - did not benefit from any special rights in relation to this trade, as had the members of earlier chartered companies - the East India or the Levant Companies - but they had nevertheless developed such a corporate sense that they would act together as a lobby as far as the 19th century. In fact, by 1707 the increase of exports to Portugal had reached the point in which this country had become "...the greatest Mart for Vent of our Woolen Manufactures, Corn, Fish, and other British Commodities... ", according to a trade committee of the House of Commons.
Following a suggestion to raise badly needed capital to pursue the war against France, an Act of Parliament was passed in 1694 for taking subscriptions of £1,200,000 and to incorporate subscribers into a company to be called "The Governor and Company of the Bank of England". Initially 19 merchants trading to Portugal subscribed but, in time, many more bought shares.
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