The Scottish timber trade, 1680 to 1800
'The Scottish timber trade, 1680 to 1800' examines the structural change in the source, level and form of Scotland's imports of softwood timber between 1680 and 1800. The thesis is divided into geographical and chronological sections which trace change in the trade as Norway's dominant position was undermined by alternative supplies from Sweden, Russia and Prussia. Within each chapter an attempt is made to gauge the true extent of imports through a comparison of the available statistical sources; such as government records, port books and merchants' accounts. These sources are also used to measure the changing level and source of imports, and the level and distribution of timber imports throughout Scotland's ports. Where necessary, detailed tables have been provided within the text, while other statistical tables and graphs have been set apart at the end of the thesis. The various trading methods relative to each area are analysed; in particular, the role of Scottish merchants living overseas, the use of Consular officials, and the growing importance of shipmasters. The changing cost of timber imports is examined, and the relative importance of prime cost in country of origin, transportation costs, and import duties on arrival in Scotland. Comparisons are made between the timber and policies of different countries to explain Scotland's particular preferences at various points in time. The changing form of timber imports is discussed, with particular reference to size, shape and quality as an influence in determining the source of imports. Also, the role of timber as a subsidiary cargo and links with other goods are examined as evidence for the rise or decline of particular geographical regions. The thesis includes an examination of Scotland's own timber resources and the reasons why they failed to compete with imports, in particular, quality, transportation costs and technology. Also, a case-study is presented on a Scottish region, Orkney, where change in form and source did not take place.