Misselden, Edward (fl. 1608–1654)
Edward Misselden, merchant-economist, held a number of appointments, including that of Deputy Governor of the Merchant Adventurers’ Company at Delft, 1623–33, and representative of the Merchant Adventurers and the East India Company in various trade negotiations. His economic writings stem from his testimony before the Standing Commission on Trade appointed in 1622. His Free Trade, or the means to make trade flourish (1622) attributes the ‘decay of trade’ to the ‘undervaluation of His Majesty’s coin’, ‘the want of money’, ‘the excess of … consuming the commodities of foreign countries’, particularly luxury goods (against which he proposed sumptuary laws), the export of bullion by the East India Company, and the decay and inadequate enforcement of regulation of the cloth trades. His proposal to remedy the shortage of money by increasing the denomination of the coin would, he acknowledged, raise general commodity prices, but this would be offset by the ‘quickening of trade in every man’s hand’ that would result from the ‘plenty of money’. Landlords and creditors could be protected by requiring that ‘contracts made before the raising of monies shall be paid at the value the money went at when the contracts were made’.