Project ID: COALESCE/2017/117 (Irish Research Council)
AN ESSAY ON THE STATE OF ENGLAND, In Relation to its TRADE, Its Poor, and its Taxes For carrying on the present War against FRANCE.
By JOHN CARY, Merchant in Bristoll.
Printed by W. Bonny, for the Author, and are to be sold in London by Sam. Crouch, at the Corner of Popes Head-Alley in Cornhill, and Tim. Goodwin, at the Queen's Head, near the Temple; also by Tho. Wall, and Rich. Gravett, near the Tolzey, in Bristoll, Novem. 1695.
TO THE KING's Most Excellent MAJESTY.
May it please Your Majesty,
IT is not a Desire to appear in Print hath made me to write, or a fond Opinion of what I have written, to affix Your Great Name to these Papers, but a true Affection to my _Native Country_, and the Cause Your Majesty is now engag'd in; A War, on whose good Success depends the Security of Religion, Liberty, and Property, both to Your own Subjects, and likewise to all the _Protestant_ Interest in _Europe_; A War, as it is absolutely necessary, and must be carried on with Vigour, so it is like to be long and chargeable, and so much longer, as we abate in Our Vigorous Prosecution; A War, which may strain the _Nerves_ and _Sinews_ of our Treasure before it be ended, and therefore as in _Martial Discipline_ great Wisdom must be used to secure those Posts where the Enemy bends most of his Forces, so here 'tis Prudence to strengthen our Treasure, by advancing and securing our _Trade_ which must bring it in; If this was done, Taxes would be easily paid, and little felt, and without it this _Nation_ will at last become Bankrupt, when its Expences exceed its Profits.
The Foundations of the Wealth of this Kingdom are, _Land_, _Manufactures_, and _Foreign Trade_, these are its Pillars, which ought not to be overshaken, they have hitherto borne the Burthen, and felt the Smart of the War, and 'tis time now they should slide their _Necks_ out of the _Collar_, other ways may be found out to raise a greater Summ annually than Your Majesty's Occasions will require, without Four Shillings _per_ Pound on the first, Excises on the second, or a Tunnage Bill on Ships on the last, an Act which lighted heavy on the Merchant, and left no room to consider whither he gained or lost by the Voyage, or whither the Ship returned home full or empty.
The Methods for Raising Money must be easie, when the annual necessary Summs are to be so great, therefore it would be Policy in our Law-makers to make use of those which may least hurt any part of our Vitals, such as _Land_ and _Trade_ are; I mean that part of _Trade_ which is useful to the Publick God, not that which is managed only for private Men's Advantage; it may be possible to rate the Trader, and yet to spare the _Trade_.
There are two things which seem to be of great Importance to this _Nation_, and very necessary to be look'd into.
First, The better securing our _Plantation Trade_, so as it may more absolutely depend on this Kingdom than it hath hitherto done; this will not only encourage our _Navigation_, when all their Product shall be imported hither, but also much advance Your Majesty's Revenues, when such quantities of Tobacco shall not be carried thence directly to foreign Markets; to prevent which, and secure Your Majesty's Duties when Imported, plain and practicable Methods may be proposed; and the Consequence thereof would be, that this Kingdom being the Mistress of that Commodity, Your Majesty's Coffers would be filled, not only from its Home Expence, but also by a Tribute raised from Foreign Nations, where it would very much lie in Your Majesty's Power to set its Price; I do not think new Imposts upon the Importer will so much advance Your Majesty's Revenue as they will discourage the Merchant, 'twould be better to take away those already laid, and instead thereof to raise a far greater Summ on the Consumer, which may be done without the Clog or Oppression of Officers, in such a manner, that it shall scarce be felt, either by the Retailer or Spender.
The next thing is the securing our Wool at Home, and making this a Market for all the Wool of _Christendom_, whereby _England_ would soon become the Queen of _Europe_, and flourishing in its _Manufactures_ grow Rich by the Labour of its People, and consequently might better afford to import Commodities to be spent on _Luxury_; I take it to be one great Reason why the Kingdom of _Spain_ still continues poor notwithstanding its _Indies_, because all that the Inhabitants buy is purchased for its full Value in _Treasure_ or _Product_, their Labour adding nothing to its Wealth, for want of _Manufactures_; I am apt to think greater Steps may be made in this than have hitherto been done, and our Wool may be kept at home, not by punishing the Exporter with Death, but by apt Methods to prevent his doing it; and when a Lock is put on _Ireland_ and _Rumny-Marsh_, Foreign Countrys will more easily be prevailed on to send us theirs.
These things seem worth the Consideration of the ensuing _Parliament_, a great many Members of the last to my certain Knowledge began to be much in Love with _Trade_, and have often lamented the dark Notions That _House_ had of it, for want of being put into a better Light by those who ought to have represented it truly to them.
Which hath been a great Inducement to me in the writing this _Tract_, that I might set forth the Interest of _England_ in Relation to its Domestick and Foreign Traffick, and how both may be better improved to the Advantage of the Nation.
King _Solomon_, who was pleased to encourage _Trade_ in his Dominions by his Royal Example, soon found it to be the weightiest Jewel in his Dyadem, bringing him in more Treasure from abroad, than all the Tribute he received from _Judea_; The _Trade_ of this Kingdom hath always been a profitable Ornament to the Crowns of Your Royal Predecessors, Kings and Queens of this Realm, and it may be still so to Your Majesty's, if the Causes of its languishing were inquired into, and apt Methods applyed for its Recovery.
That it may please God to make this Nation happy, by giving Your Majesty a long Life, crown'd with Victories over the Enemies of its Peace and Tranquility, is the Prayer of
Your Majesty's most Faithful, And most Obedient Subject, John Cary.
TO THE HONOURABLE THE Commons of England IN Parliament Assembled.
May it please Your Honours,
IT is the greatest Happiness of the People of _England_ that the Laws by which they are govern'd cannot be made without the Consent of their _Representatives_, who as they obtain good Ones from the Favour of their Prince, so 'tis their own fault if they pass such as are bad.
Amongst all our Laws none tend more to the promoting the Wealth of this Nation than those which advance its _Trade_ and _Manufactures_, by the latter we not only imploy our Poor, and so take off that Burthen which must otherwise lie heavy on our _Lands_, but also grow Rich in our Commerce with Foreign Nations, to whom we thereby sell our _Product_ at greater Prices than it would otherwise yield, and return them their own Materials when wrought up here, and encreased in their Value by the Labour of our People.
This little _Tract_ I humbly offer to this _Honourable House_, not to direct, but with all Humility to lay before Your Honours an Anatomy of the _Trade_ of _England_, dissected and laid open so as to discover its Vitals, which have seemed to be struck through by some late Acts.
Whatever doth Prejudice to our _Manufactures_, or burthens our Foreign _Trade_ above what it is well able to bear, stabs them to the Heart, and where _Taxes_ are thus laid, they disable the _Subject_, and consequently are so much more burthensome as they make him less able to pay them; But when our _Manufactures_ are encouraged, and our Foreign _Trade_ made easie, and well secured, the Lands of _England_ will be advanced, and _Taxes_ paid without Discontent, because they will scarce be felt, especially when equally laid; and in such a Manner, that every Man shall pay his Proportion in a Regular way.
If what I have written may be serviceable to this _Honourable House_, I shall think my Time and Labour well imployed.
That God will direct your Councels, to the Advancement of his Glory, and the Welfare of this Nation, shall ever be the Prayer of
Your Honours most truly Devoted Servant, John Cary.
THE PREFACE TO THE READER.
THE following Treatise was the Imployment of some leisure Hours which I thought could not be better spent, than in digesting so copious a Subject as Trade is, I am sure could be no way more advantageously imployed to the Nation's Interest, than by proposing Methods for its Improvement; I have herein considered the State of England in respect to its Trade, its Poor, and its Taxes for carrying on the present War: The first I have divided into the Inland and Outland Trade; the Inland into three parts, viz. Buying and Selling, Husbandry, and Manufactures; Under the former Head I have comprehended all those Imployments whereby Men get by one another, without making any Addition to the Wealth of the Nation in general: Husbandry I have divided into Pasture and Tillage, and have been the longer thereon to shew from how small Foundations the Primums or Principles of all our Trade are derived; which indeed is wonderful, when we consider that the Lands of England according to the Act of Four Shillings in the Pound cannot come to above Eight Millions Five Hundred Thousand Pounds sterling per annum, that whole Tax with Personal Estates amounting to Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Thousand Pounds, whereof I compute about Two Hundred and Seventy Thousand Pounds to be raised on Personal Estates, so the Remainer is Seventeen Hundred thousand Pounds, which being the fifth part of the whole (if that Tax were equally and justly laid) the Computation is rightly made; but suppose they are worth Thirteen Millions per annum, 'tis a very small Summ if compared with the vast Expences of this Nation, which, with the Charges of carrying on the War, maintaining the Civil List, and the Profits laid up by particular Men, cannot be less than One Hundred Millions per annum, the rest is raised by Manufactures, Trade, and Labour; the first of which (though the third in my Division) is the most profitable part of our Inland Trade, being That whereby our Product is advanced in its value, and made fit both for our own use, and also for Foreign Markets; from whence are again Imported hither sundry other Materials, the Foundations of Manufactures different in their Natures from our own; these I have handled under several Heads, and likewise shew'd by what Methods they may be improved, and so have closed the Inland Trade: Before I enter'd on the Outland, I have consider'd Navigation as the Medium between both, and given my Thoughts how some Evils that attend and discourage it may be removed; I have then proceeded to our Foreign Traffick, or the Trade we drive with other Nations, which I have spoken to under several Heads, viz. East-Indies, West-Indies and Africa, Maderas, Ireland, Scotland, Canaries, Spain, Portugal, Turky, Italy, Holland, Hamburgh, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and France, and have endeavour'd to shew how we get or lose by each, and by what Methods they may be improved, and made more advantageous to this Kingdom.
As to the second part of this Discourse, the Poor, I have shewed how this Habit of Laziness and Begging first crept in amongst us, how it may be prevented from spreading farther, how Imployments may be provided for those who are willing to work, and a force put on those that are able, and how the Impotent Poor may be maintained, and those whose Labour will not support their Charge assisted.
In the last place, I have proposed general Rules for raising of Taxes to carry on the present War, and better Husbanding the Money when raised, wherein I have rather aimed to shew that these things may be done, than published Methods for doing them, which (because they would swell this Discourse above it designed Brevity) are omitted here, as being more proper to be laid before a Committee of Parliament.
AN ESSAY ON TRADE, &c.
[Sidenote: Trade in general.]
THE general Notions of a _National Trade_ whereby it may be Discovered whither a Kingdom Gets or Looses by its Managment are things well worth our Consideration. It being possible for a Nation to grow Poor in the Main whilst private Persons encrease their Fortunes: For as in the Body Natural, if you draw out Blood faster then the Sangufying parts can suply, it must necessarily wast and decay. So where the Exports of a Nation in Product and Manufactures are outballanced by Imports fit only to be consumed at home, though one Man may get by the Luxury of another; the Wealth of that Nation must decay, all one as a private Person whose Expences exceeds his Incomes, though he may for some time live on the Main, yet in the end he must fall to ruin.
The Profits of _England_ arise Originally from its Product and Manufactures at home, and from the grouths of those several _Plantations_ it hath setled Abroad, and from the _Fish_ taken on the _Coasts_, all which being Raised by the Industry of its _Inhabitants_ are both its true Riches, and likewise the Tools whereon it Trades to other Nations, the Products coming from the Earth, and the Manufacturing them being an Addition to their value by the Labour of the People. Now where we Barter these Abroad only for things to be Eat and Drank, or wasted among our selves, this doth not Increase our Wealth, but it is otherwise where we change them for _Bulloin_, or _Commodities_ fit to be Mannufactured again.
[Sidenote: Its Original.]
The first Original of _Trade_ both _Domestick_ and _Forreign_ was _Barter_; when one private Person having an Overplus of what his Neighbour wanted, furnished him for its Value in such Commodities the other had, and he stood in need of. The same when one Nation abounding in those Products another wanted supply'd it therewith, and received thence things equally necessary in their Roomes, and by how much those Products exceeded the Expence, so much both the one and the other grew Richer, the remainder being sold for _Bulloin_, or some _Staple Commodities_ allowed by all to have the same Intrinsick Value. And as People increased so did Commerce, this caused many to go off from _Husbandry_ to _Manufactures_ and other ways of living, for Convenience whereof they began Communities, this was the Original of Towns, which being found necessary for _Trade_, their _Inhabitants_ were increased by expectation of Profit; this introduced _Forreign Trade_, or _Traffick_ with Neighbouring Nations; this _Navigation_, and this a desire to settle rather on some _Navigable Rivers_, then in remote Inland Places, whereby they might be more easily supply'd with Commodities from the _Country_, and disperse those they Imported from abroad.
[Sidenote: The Trade of England.]
I shall now take the _Trade_ of _England_ as 'tis divided into _Domestick_ and _Forreign_, and consider each, and how they are Advantagious to the _Nation_, and may be made more so.
[Sidenote: Inland Trade.] [Sidenote: Buying & Selling.]
The _Inland Trade_ of _England_ consists either in Husbandry, Manufactures, or Buying and Selling, the last of which is of least Advantage to the Nation, and rather to be allowed for Conveniency then encouraged, whereby one Man lives on the Profits he makes by another without any Improvement to the Publick, Peoples Occasions requiring Commodities to be Retailed to them by such small parcels as would fit their Necessities, they were willing to give a profit to him who bought them in greater. And as this way of _Trade_ came more in use, so the first Buyer not only sold his Commodities to the Consumer at home, but also dispersed them amongst those who were seated in the Country at a distance in order to supply the Inhabitants there, who allowed them a profit on what they bought; this begat the Ingrosing of Commodities, and thence came in skill and cunning to foresee their Rise and Falls according to their Consumption and prospect of supply; hence came the vitiating our Manufactures, every one endeavouring to under buy that he might under sell his Neighbour; which way of living being found in time to have less of Labour and more of Profit than Husbandry and Manufactures, was the occasion so many fell into it. From these Bargains Differences arising encreased another sort of People which were thought useful, whose business was either by their Wisdoms to persuade, or by their Knowledge in the Laws to force the unjust Person to do right to his fellow Trader, an Honourable imployment at first, and is still so in those who keep to the strict Rules of its Institution, which Differencies being to be Decided in the _Courts_ of _Justice_ (at first setled in _Westminster-Hall_, and afterwards for the Subjects ease carried into the _Country_ by Itinerent _Judges_) these _Orators_ were desired by the Complainants to present their Suites to the King in those _Courts_, to be heard and determined by his _Judges_, and to set forth the Case of the _Plantiff_, and Produce Evidence to prove the Truth thereof against the _Defendant_, who also appeared by another to make his Defence. But as Suites increased, it was thought necessary to confine all to one Method of Proceeding, which was called _The Practice of the Court_, therefore another sort of People called _Attorneys_ were appointed to observe that Mechanical part of the _Law_, and see that all was Regularly and Formally managed; hence arose _Sollicitors_, who were to attend both, as well to represent the Matter rightly to the _Orator_ or _Council_, as to see the _Attorney_ fit things for a hearing, and also to Reward them for their pains, so that this Produced another way of living seperate from Husbandry and Manufactures: And as Trade increased so _Courts_ of _Justice_ were Appointed in several great _Towns_ and _Cities_, which being of different Natures, Multitudes of People gave Attendance, expecting to get livelihoods by them.
Trade brought Riches, and Riches Luxury, Luxury Sickness, Sickness wanted Physick, and Physick required some to seperate themselves to Study the Natures of _Plants_ and _Simples_, as also those several Diseases which bring Men to their ends, who in requital for their Advise and Medicines received Gratuities from their _Patients_: These brought in _Apothecaries_ and _Chirurgeons_ as necessary Attendants to their Imployments, all which were maintained by preserving People in their Healths; many also of ripe Parts were fitted for the Service of the Church, others of the State; great numbers were Imployed in providing Necessaries of Meat Drink and Apparel both for themselves and other People, such as _Butchers_, _Bakers_, _Brewers_, _Taylors_, &c. Others to fit things for their Pleasures and Delights, and by this means leaving Husbandry and Manufactures flockt off daily to Livelihoods which may seem to come under the third Head, who though useful and convenient in their respective Stations, yet these Men cannot be said to Augment the Riches of the Nation, only live by getting from one another, those two being the profitable Imployments out of whose Product and Improvement it gathers its Wealth.
The next part of the _Inland Trade_ of this Kingdom is Husbandry, which Anteceded Buying and Selling in point of time, though the other hath the Precedence in this Discourse, and this consists either in _Feeding_ or _Tillage_, by both which we raise great Store of Cattle, Corn, and Fruits, fit for the Food, Service, and Trade of the Inhabitants.
To begin with _Feeding_; and here it would be endless to enumerate the various sorts of Cattle raised and bred by the care of the _Husbandman_, but those of most Note as they have relation to our Trade, are
I. The _Beef_; which as it Transcends the whole World in the goodness of its Flesh, so it affords many Necessaries for our use and Trade, besides its Service in _Tillage_, with this we both nourish our Inhabitants at home, Victual our Ships for Forreign Voyages, and load them with the several Manufactures wherewith it doth supply us, from the Milk we make Butter and Cheese, from the Flesh Beef, from the Skin Leather, from the Fat Tallow, and of the Horns several usefull Necessaries, of all which the overplus above our home Consumption we Transport and sell in Forreign Markets.
II. The _Sheep_; whose Golden Fleece being the _Primum_ of our Wollen Manufactures does thereby Imploy Multitudes of our People, which being of different lengths and finenesses, makes them of different sorts, whereof they afford us a yearly Crop whilst living, and at their Deaths Bequeath us their Flesh and Skins, the first serves for our Food, and the latter we make fit to be used at home, and Traded with Abroad.
III. _Horses_; whose Labour is so necessary that we could neither carry on our Husbandry or Trade without them, besides their fitness for War, being the boldest in the World, and for all these uses are Transported abroad, for the former to our _Plantations_ in the _West Indies_, for the latter to some of our Neighbouring Nations; but their Flesh is of no use, their Skins of little, the Leather made thereof is very ordinary, only the longest of their Hair is used in _Weaving_.
There are many other sorts of Beasts, some whereof require no care in raising, others little, others are more tender, such are the _Stag_, the _Dear_, the _Rabbit_, the _Hare_, the _Fox_, the _Badger_, the _Goat_, whose Skins are necessary for our Trade, and assist in our Manufactures.
_Agriculture_ is that whereby we raise our Corn by turning up the Earth, the several sorts whereof are _Wheat_, _Rye_, _Barly_, _Pease_, _Beans_, _Fetches_, _Oats_, which not only afford nourishment to our selves and the Beasts we use in labour, but serve for Trade, as they give Imployment to our People at home, and are Transported abroad more or less according to the overplus of onr expence, and the want of our Neighbours, besides the great Quantities used in our Navigation.
These Products of both sorts are clear profit to the Nation as they are raised from Earth and Labour, whose Advantages arise chiefly from their being Exported either in their own kind or when Manufactered, the Remainder spent at Home tending only to supplying the use, not advancing the Wealth of the Nation; now these Exports being according to the Rates and Prizes they bear in other Countries, and those Rates arising from the Proportion their Lands hold with ours in their Yearly Rents, are not so great in specie as when workt up, Butter is the greatest, wherewith we supply many Forreign Markets, and did formerly more, till by making it bad and using Tricks to increase its weight, we have much lost that Trade, and are now almost beat out of it by _Ireland_, which every day makes better as we make worse, besides they undersell us in the Price, as they do also in _Beef_, occasioned by the low Rents of their Lands, and more especially by the _Act of Prohibition_, which put that Nation on finding out a Trade in Forreign Markets for what they were denyed to bring hither, which being Exported thence direct yeilds them greater profit, the sweetness whereof hath encouraged them to take more care, and this hath raised them from a Sloathful to be an Industrious People. As for Corn, Forreign Markets are supplyed therewith both from thence and other places in the Sound, also from the Western _Islands_, cheaper then the price of our Lands will admit. But our _Plantations_ have still some Dependance on us for our Product, and would more if that _Act_ was removed, and _Ireland_ made a _Colony_ on the same Terms with them.
The other _Fruits_ of the Earth, as _Apples_, _Pears_, _Cherries_, _Plumbs_, together with the _Herbs_ and _Plants_, also the _Fowls_ and _Fish_ taken in this Land, serve rather for our Delight and Food than Trade. Some _Cider_ we do Export, also Spirits raised by the _Distiller_ both from some of these, and also from many other things.
On the _Sea Coasts_ we catch great Quantities of _Herrings_ and _Pilchards_, which we save, and sell in Forreign Markets.
Nor is this all the Product of our Earth, whose Womb being big with Treasure longs to be Delivered, and after many Throws brings forth _Lead_, _Tin_, _Copper_, _Calamy_, _Coal_, _Culm_, _Iron_, _Allom_, _Copperas_, and sundry other _Minerals_, which return us great Treasure from Forreign Markets whither they are Exported; besides the several _Shrubs_ and _Trees_ that adorn our Fields, among which the _Oak_, the _Ash_, and the _Elm_, are the chiefest, these not only serve in Building our Sips, but do also furnish us with Materials wherewith our _Arificers_ make many things fit for Forregn Commerce, and it were much to be wisht better care were taken for preserving Timber, lest out Posterities want what we so Prodigally squander away.
The next thing is our Manufactures, whereby we Improve the value of our Products by the Labour of our Inhabitants, and make them useful in sundry manners both for our selves and others, fitting them for such Services as of their own Natures without the help of Art they would not have been proper, and those to suit the Necessities and Humours both of our own and Foreign Countries to which we Export them, where they yield a price not only according to the true value of the Materials and Labour, but an overplus likewise suitable to the Necessity and Fancy of the Buyer, and this adds to the profit of the Nation, and increases its Wealth.
These Manufactures as they Imploy Multitudes of People in their making, so also in Transporting them, and fetching several Forreign Materials used with our own, such as _Oyl_, _Dye-stuffe_, _Silk_, _Wool_, _Cotten_, _Barrilia_, and many others, which are either Manufactured here of themselves, or wrought up with our Product.
[Sidenote: Sheeps Wool.]
And first to begin with _Sheeps Wool_, whereof either by it self or mixt with _Silk_ or _Linnen_ we make various sorts of pretty things fit for all Climates, and proper for the wearing of both Sexes, wherein the Invention and Imitation of our Workmen is so great that they have no _Idea_ represented or _Pattern_ set before them that is not soon out done; from a strong heavy Cloath fit to keep out cold in Winter they turn their Hands to a fine thin sort which will scarse keep warm in Summer, _Ladies_ may now wear Gowns thereof so light that they can hardly know they have them on; from hence they fell on _Perpets_, _Serges_, _Crapes_, _Stuffs_, _Says_, _Rattoons_, _Gauzes_, _Anthrines_, and many other sorts fit both for outward Garments and inward Linings, of various Colors Stripes and Flowers, some of them so fine and pleasant scarse to be known from _Silk_; besides those multitudes of courser Clothes for the Poor, also _Rugs_, _Blankets_, and all Furniture for Houses, and such a Progress have they made in this sort of Manufactures, that a Man may have his Picture wrought in _Tapestry_ with the same exactness both for Life and Colors as if drawn with a curious Pencil; for this I refer the Reader to those _Hangings_ at the _Custom-House_ in _London_, where he may see the several Officers so lively represented in their Stations, that want of Motion seems to be the only thing which differs them from their Originals; One Workman endeavouring to exceed another they make things to answer all the ends of _Silks_, _Calicoes_, and _Linnen_, of bare Sheeps Wool, which if they were by Fashion brought into wearing would then be thought as handsom; fine _Flannel_ for Shirts; white _Crape_ for Neckclothes, Cuffs, and Head-Dresses; besides the pretty Laces, whereof we see various sorts used about the Dead; and _Caduce_ of several Colours in imitation of _Ribbons_; also Hats, Stockings, and many such things are made of _Wool_ and other Mixtures, both worn at home and Exported abroad.
[Sidenote: Cotton Wool.]
The next Material for our Manufactures is _Cotton-Wool_, which is now become a great Imployment for the Poor, and so adds to the Wealth of the Nation; this being curiously pickt and spun makes _Dimities_, _Tapes_, _Stockings_, _Gloves_, besides several things wove fit for use, as _Petticoats_, _wastcoats_, and _Drawers_, of different Fancies and Stripes, and I doubt not our Workmen would exceed the _East Indies_ for _Calicoes_ had they Incouragment; with all which we supply Forreign Markets besides the Consumption at home.
[Sidenote: Hemp and Flax.]
_Hemp_ and _Flax_ are the Grounds for another Manufacture, for though Weaving of _Linnen_ is not so much used here as of _Woollen_, yet several _Counties_ are maintained thereby, who not only supply themselves, but furnish those Bordering on them with such Cloth as answers the ends of _French Linnens_, besides which great Quantities of _Ticking_ of all finenesses, _Incle_, _Tapes_, _Sacking_, _Girtwhip_, are daily made thereof, also _Cordage_, _Twine_, _Nets_, with multitudes of other Manufactures which Imploy the Poor, and bring by their Exports Profit to the Nation.
_Glass_ is a Manufacture, lately fallen on here, and in a short time brought to a great Perfection, which keeps many at work, the _Materials_ whereof its made being generally our own and in themselves of small value costs the Nation little in Comparison of what it formerly did when fetcht from _Venice_; those noble _Plate Glases_ of all sizes both for Coaches and Houses are things of great Ornament, and much used, which also shew forth the _Genius_ of the _English_ People; and for common uses what various sorts of Utensils are made of Flint fit for all the occasions of a Family, which look as well as _Silver_, and 'twould be better for the Nation they were more used in its stead; besides the ordinary _Glass_ for Windows, and also _Glass Bottles_; all which find a greater expence both at home and abroad by their cheapness.
[Sidenote: Earthen Wares.]
And as for Earthen Ware, though the Progress we have made therein is not suitable to the other, yet it hath been such as may give us cause to hope that time and Industry will bring it to a perfection equal if not to exceed the _Dutch_.
_Silk_ is another Material for a great Manufacture, which being brought from abroad Raw we here twist, dye, and weave into different goodness, both plain, stript, and flowered, either by it self, or mix'd with Gold and Silver, so richly brocadoed that we exceed those from whom at first we had the Art; besides great Quantities of _Ribbons_, _Silk Stockings_, and other things daily made not only to serve our selves but also to Export.
_Distilling_ is an _Art_ so exceedingly Improved in a few Years that had it not met with Discouraging _Laws_ 'twould by this time have attained to a great height; this brings great profit to the Nation, for next to that of making something out of nothing is the making somthing of what is worth nothing, therefore this Art ought to have been Handled very chearily, to have been trained up with a great deal of gentleness, and not loaden with _Taxes_ in its Infancy, like the _Hen_ in the _Fable_, we had not Patience to expect its Treasure as Time and Nature could produce it, but by our Avarice were like to discourage it in the beginning, however it hath still bore up under all the weight laid upon it. 'Twas a great mistake to appoint Measures by _Act of Parliament_ to the _Distillers_ in their workings, Mens knowledge increases by Observation, and this is the reason why one Age exceeds another in any sort of _Mistery_, because they improve the Notions of their Predecessors, therefore confining _Distilling_ only to Corn was an Error, 'tis true other things were allowed to be used, but on such Terms and Restrictions as were next to a Prohibition, had the makers of that _Law_ then Prohibited _Coffee_ and _Tea_ to be drank in _Publick_ _Houses_ it might more probably have answered their ends in advancing the price of _Barly_ by a greater consumption of _Ale_, and by degrees the _Distillers_ would have fallen on that Commodity themselves, using it with other mixtures, and thereby drawing from it a cleaner Spirit then it doth afford of it self, which they might in time have Rectified to such a fineness as to have increased very much its use. No Nation can give more incouragement to the Mistery of _Distilling_ then _England_, whose Plantations being many and well Peopled where those Spirits are so necessary and useful for the Inhabitants, and these depending wholly on us for all things, might have been supplied with them hence only, besides the great Quantities used in our Navigation, therefore a total Prohibition of their Importation from other Nations (who make them generally of such things which are else of little value) would be very convenient: We have many Materials of our own Product to work on, such as are _Melasses_, _Cyder_, _Perry_, Barly, &c. all which in time they would have used, for as the _Distillers_ found their sales increased they would have made new _Essays_: It was a great discouragement both to them, and also to the _Sugar Bakers_ and _Brewers_, to hinder Distilling on _Mellasses_, _Scum_, _Tilts_, and _Wash_, a fault the _Dutch_ nor no Trading Nation besides our selves would have been guilty of, and proceeded from ill Advice given that _Parliament_ by those who under pretence of advancing Corn designed to discourage _Distilling_, only took it by that handle they thought would be best received in the House, which being generally made up of _Gentlemen_ unskilful in Trade lookt no deeper into it than as it answered that plausible pretence; whereas were Trading _Cities_ and _Towns_ more careful in chusing Men well Verst in _Trade_ in 'twould be much better for the Nation: I cannot omit what a worthy _Member_ of the _House_ once told me in private Discourse, says he, I have always observed that when we have meddled with Trade we have left it worse than we found it, which proceeds from want of more Traders in the House, the places we depend on for them sending such Members as are able to give us but little Information, and so partial that we can take no true measures of them; The truth is great Cities are to blame in this, who ought to think none so fit to represent them in Parliament as those who have their Heads fill'd with good Notions of Trade, such who can speak well to it, and be heard when they speak; Trade and Land go Hand in Hand as to their Interest, if one flourish, so will the other, encourage _Distilling_, and it will spend Hundreds of things now thrown away.
Refining of _Sugars_ hath given Employment to our People, and added to their value in Foreign Parts, where we found great Sales, till the _Dutch_ and _French_ beat us out, and this was much to be attributed to the Duty of Two Shillings and Four Pence _per Cent_ lately laid on _Muscovado_ Sugars, whereby they were wrought up abroad above Twelve _per Cent_ cheaper than at home, and though that Law is now expired, yet 'tis harder to regain a Trade when lost, than keep it when we have it.
_Tobacco_ also hath employed our Poor by Cutting and Rowling it, both for a home Consumption, and also for Exportation, the latter we decay in every Year, but Methods may be offered in Parliament to render those two Manufactures of _Sugar_ and _Tobacco_ more advantageous to the Nation than ever hitherto they have been.
_Tanning_ of _Leather_ is an Employment which ought to be encouraged, as it furnishes us with a Commodity fit to be manufactured at home, and also to be transported into Foreign Countrys; I know the Exportation of _Leather_ hath been much opposed by the _Shooe-makers_ and others who cut it at home, and represented as attended with ill Consequences, one whereof is the making it dear here, but would it not be of much worse to confine and limit that Employment to an _Inland_ Expence, on the other side would it not naturally follow that when _Leather_ rises to a great Price the Exportation must cease because _Ireland_ would under-sell us, and would it not seem an unreasonable Discouragement to Trade if _Tobacco_, _Sugar_, and Woollen Manufactures were debarred from Exportation only because they should be sold cheaper here; for suppose the occasions of the Nation could not consume all the _Leather_ that is made, to what a low price must _Hides_ be reduced, for no other reason but that the _Shooemakers_ may get more by their _Shooes_? 'Tis true, if they could make out that those Countrys must then have their _Shooes_ from us who now have their _Leather_, I should be of their Minds, but it must needs have a quite contrary effect, especially whilst Ireland is able to supply them: This proceeds from a very narrow Spirit, and such as ought not to be encouraged in a Trading Nation; _Ireland_ hath already made great Progress in this Mistery, occasioned by our Imprudence, and should we give Encouragement to other Countrys we might too late repent it. A good Export for _Leather_ would cause a great Import of _Raw Hides_, which would be more Advantage to the Nation than if they were tann'd in _Ireland_, and sent abroad thence.
Nor can I omit _Iron_, which is the great foundation of sundry Manufactures, not only used at home, but wherewith we supply our Plantations and other Places abroad, as _Howes_, _Bills_, _Axes_, _Cases_, _Locks_, _Nailes_, and a thousand such Necessaries, the Workmanship whereof adds much to their Value.
There are many other things which may be and are daily improved amongst us; as _Clockwork_, wherein we sell nothing but Art and Labour, the Materials thereof being of small value; I have seen _Watches_ and _Clocks_ of great Prizes made for the Courts of Foreign Princes.
[Sidenote: Paper-Mills.] [Sidenote: Powder-Mills.] [Sidenote: Artificers.] [Sidenote: Methods to improve our Manufactures.]
_Paper-Mills_ are a Benefit to the Nation, as they make that Commodity from things of themselves worth little; so are are _Powder-Mills_; also Artificers, who bring advantage to the Nation by supplying it with things which must otherwise be had from abroad for its own use, as also with others proper to be sent thither for Sales, and when Exported are more or less profitable as the labour of the Subject adds to their value; In like manner things are cheaper to us when we pay only for the first Materials whereof they are made, the rest being work done at home is divided amongst our selves, so that on the whole it appears to be the great Interest of _England_ to advance its Manufactures, and this I humbly conceive may be done these several ways.
[Sidenote: By imploying the Poor.]
1. By providing Work-houses for the Poor, and making good Laws both to force and encourage them to work; but designing to speak larger to this before I close this Tract shall referr the Reader to it.
[Sidenote: By freeing the Manufactures from Customs.]
2. By discharging all Customs payable on them at their Exportation, and also on the Materials used in making them at their Importation; for as the one would encourage the Merchant to send more abroad, so the other would enable the Manufacturers to afford them cheaper at home, and 'tis strange that a Nation whose Wealth depends on Manufactures, and whose Interest it is to outdo all others (especially in the Woollen) by underselling them in Foreign Markets, should load either with Taxes.
[Sidenote: Logwood.] [Sidenote: Dying and dressing our Woollen Manufactures at home.]
Here I cannot but mention that of _Logwood_, a Commodity much used in _Dying_, which pays Five Pounds _per Tun_ Custom in, and draws back Three Pounds Fifteen Shillings when shipt out, by which means the _Dyers_ in _Holland_ use it so much cheaper than ours; now if it was Imported Custom Free, and paid Twenty five Shillings _per Tun_ at its Export, the _Dyers_ there would use it so much dearer than ours here, and I think it would be well worth Inquiry, whither a Prohibition either total or in part of Shipping out our Manufactures thither and to the Northern Kingdoms undyed or undrest might not be made, I am sure it would be of great Advantage to this Kingdom if it might be done without running into greater Inconveniencies, which for my part I do not foresee, the _Dutch_ discourage their being brought in dyed or drest, that they may thereby give Employments to their own People, and increase their Navigation by the consumption of great quantities of Dye-stuff, and the same reasons should prevail with us to dye and dress them here, But this deserves the consideration of a Committee of Parliament to hear what may be said both for and against it.
[Sidenote: By not importing things manufactur'd.]
3. By discouraging the Importation of Commodities already manufactured either from our own Plantations or other Places, such as clay'd and refined _Sugars_, wrought _Silks_, _Calicoes_, _Brandy_, _Glass_, _Earthen Ware_, _Irish Frizes_, _Tann'd Leather_, _Gloves_, _Lace_, &c. and instead thereof we should encourage bringing in the Materials whereof they are made, to be wrought up here; this may be done by Laws, and also by being in love with our Home Manufactures, and bringing their Wearing into Fashion.
[Sidenote: By freeing the Manufactures from Excises.]
4. By freeing the Manufactures from burthensome Excises, which do much discourage small Stocks, who are not able to carry on their Trades and make Provision for such great Payments; the _Distillers_ have long groaned under them, and I fear the _Glass-makers_ now will, especially those in and about _London_, who have another load by the Duty of Coals, besides the Swarms of Officers to which we lay open the Houses of those Men who deserve all the Encouragement we can give them, and ought to have things made as easie to them as may be; had the like Methods been used to our Wollen and Leather (as was intended) we might have repented it at Leisure; Taxes when laid on our Manufactures ought to be raised by such easie Methods as shall give least trouble to the Makers: Trade ought to be handled gently, and he that considers the Expences of this Nation at Five Pounds _per Head_ comes to Forty Millions, and the Lands of _England_ but to Twelve, will imagine easie Methods may be found out to raise a greater Tax annually then we pay, without loading either Land or Trade as now we do, a Scheme whereof may be easily drawn up.
[Sidenote: By not exporting Materials till Manufactured.]
5. By prohibiting as much as may be the Exportation of things to the Plantations fit to be manufactured there till they are first done here, thus 'tvvas better _Shooes_ vvere Transported to the Plantations than _Leather_, so things made of _Iron_, than _Iron_ it self, this vvould employ our People, and add to the value of vvhat vve ship out.
[Sidenote: By securing the Foreign Trade.] [Sidenote: Counrts of Merchants.]
6. By defending the Merchants in their Trades who export the Manufactures, and making it as easie to them as may be; To this end good Conveys should be allowed, and good Cruisers maintain'd to preserve their Ships, it being certain that what-ever is diminish'd out of the Merchants Stock doth so far disable him in Trade, and then consequently lessen his Exports and Imports; _Courts_ of _Merchants_ should be also erected for the speedy deciding all differences relating to Sea Affairs, which are better ended by those who understand them, than they are in _Westminster-Hall_, where all things are tried by the Nice Rules of Law, to whom after much Attendance and Expence they are often referred by the Judges, by this means they would see short ends to their differences, and not be detained at home to attend long Issues; but there can be no general Rules given for these _Courts_, which must be settled according as they best suit the convenience of every Trading City.
I am of opinion that the Trade of this Kingdom might be secured with no greater Expence to the Government than now 'tis at, but then better Methods must be taken, and Men employed whose Interests it is to see them put in Execution: When we first began this War the Nation had many Difficulties to cope with, the _French_ seemed to vye with us at Sea, whilst their Armies outnumber'd ours at Land, but now blessed be God the Scale is turned, we force their Garrisons and storm their Castles whilst they look on unable to relieve, and at the same time our _Navy-Royal_ blocks up theirs, whilst our smaller Fleets Bombard their Sea-Port Towns, we not only ride Admirals in the _British_ Seas but also in the _Mediterranean_, and yet do now suffer more Loss in our Navigation than formerly we did; The _French_ are come to a new way of fighting, they set out no Fleet, but their Privateers swarm and cover the Sea like Locusts, they hang on our Trade like Horse-Leeches, and draw from it more Blood than it is well able to spare, whilst we still go on as we did, without new Methods to countermine them; The _French_ King breeds up a Nursery of _Seamen_ at our Charge, whilst his Subjects are made Rich by our Losses; the Act for Cruisers was well design'd had it been as well put in Execution, the Parliament thereby shewed what might secure our Trade, but left things so discretionary to the Managers, that the Merchant knows not when he receives the Benefit thereof, or how to complain if he doth not, and by this means is in a worse Condition than he was before the making that Law, adventuring larger because he thinks he Trades securer; I confess for my own part I value nothing that cannot be reduced to a certainty in its practice, things seem difficult to those who do not understand them, if we are to Besiege a Town we make use of Soldiers, if to storm a Castle, Engineers, if to build a Ship, _Carpenters_, and so in lesser things, and yet Gentlemen are thought fit to sit at Helm, and steer the Ship wherein is Embarqu'd the Treasure of our Trade, who are altogether unskill'd therein, on whose good Conduct the Nation's Weale or Woe depends; Thus things do fall into Confusion, whilst Men undertake what they do not understand and set the Nation in a flame, whilst they injudiciously guide the Chariot of the Sun; This makes Foreign Commodities dear, and advances the Prizes of Materials used in our Manufactures, so that as Trade grows worse Expences grow greater, and at the same time no Body is a Gainer, The Merchant pays such high Fraights and Insurances, that he gets little by Trade tho' he sells his Imports for great Prizes; and yet the Insurers complain they lose by underwriting, and therefore advance their _Premios_, which is a new advance on Trade; and the Owners of Ships get nothing by their Fraights, because they pay great Wages to the _Saylors_, and meet with such Delays both at home and abroad that the length of time eats up all their Profits, so that Fraights must rather rise than fall; nor do the _Saylors_ get, who generally brought home more Money to their Families in the time of Peace at three Years end when they served for Twenty-four Shillings _per Month_ than they now do at Fifty, one lost Voyage bringing them more behind-hand than two good ones put them forward; Now if Heads well verst in Trade were set at work, Methods might be thought on to secure all with little Charge to the Government, and hereby the Kingdom might flourish, and be supplyed by the Merchant with Commodities cheaper, whilst the Insurers underwrote for less _Premio_, Fraights let on lower terms, the Wages of Mariners fallen, and All got more than now they do; our Numbers of Seamen might then be increased, and every Ship that goes abroad be a Nursery for the Fleet at home; Privateering, which is now become a Trade amongst the _French_, must then necessarily sink all concerned therein, its own Weight and Charge would crush it did we prevent their taking Prizes; and no doubt the Merchants of _England_ would not oppose such Regulations in their Trades as they saw were to their Advantage, or refuse to be at some Charge when they saw those Payments saved Money in their Pockets, and that the management of things was put into the Hands of Persons engaged in the common Interest of Trade with themselves: This seems to me of great Importance in our Manufactures, when the foreign Materials shall be furnished cheaper to the Maker; besides if Trade were well secured the War would scarce be felt, Losses by Sea discourage the City, and the ill Consequences thereof reach the Country, whereby both suffer more than by all the Taxes they pay towards carrying it on.
[Sidenote: By lowering the Interest of Money.] [Sidenote: Banks & Lombards.]
7. By falling the Interest of Money; this would very much quicken Trade, and indeed is the true Measure of it, the Merchant would be better able to cope with Competitors abroad in the Manufactures when his Interest did not eat so deep as now it doth, and the Maker would be enabled to sell them cheaper at Home; if Interest were fallen 'twould make all Trades flourish, for whilst we stand not on the same Terms with our Neighbours herein we must expect to be undersold every where by them; the _Dutch_ pay but Three _per Cent_, and are thereby enabled to Trade so much lower than we can; the truth is 'tis a shame Money should yield more by being put to Interest than 'twould do if laid out either in Land or Trade; the first doth not clear Four _per Cent_, the latter will not bring the Borrower Five for all his Pains and Industry when the Userer is paid, whilst the other runs little Risque, and is a Drone in the _Common-Wealth_; as for Orphans and Widdows, (which is the main Objection against it) let their Expences be lessened suitable to its Fall, and for all other People, let them employ their Money in Trade if they think 'twill yield more; And here I judge it not amiss to mention Banks and Lumbards, which I take to be so many Shops to let out Money, for which they receive such Security, and for such time, as stands most for the conveniency of Trade, and therefore the more the better, because every one will endeavour to underdo another.
[Sidenote: By rectifying the Currant Coin.]
8. By rectifying the Currant Coin of this Kingdom, which is now so debased that Men rather truck than sell for Money, not knowing whither the next Man they deal with will take what they just before received for their Goods; this makes Payments precarious, and _Trade_ uneasie, mony rising and falling on Men's Hands daily, so that now nothing is more uncertain than that which should be the Rule of certainty in the value of all other things.
I do not think it convenient to advance our Coyn, but let Bullion be of the same value when coined as it was before, else we have not the true worth of the Commodity we sell for it, but are deceived by the Stamp, which may be counterfeited by the _Dutch_ and other Nations for the profit of the Overplus, besides it will seem ridiculous for a Man to give Twenty Shillings worth of Silver for Eighteen Shillings of the same specie, only because it is medall'd; this will necessarily be followed by the advance of Silver suitable, the consequence whereof will be the selling our Manufactures abroad cheaper, as we receive less Bullion for them, and the whole Profit redound to the King of _Spain_, whose _Indies_ by the advance of his Bullion will be worth more than they were before; nor will this hinder its being carry'd abroad, perhaps it may keep our Coin at home, but not our Silver, which will be still carried out in Specie; not that I am of their Opinions who think the advance of Money would raise the price of Foreign Commodities among us, our own Experience shews it will not, we buy and sell as much for Twenty Shillings in Farthings as for so much Silver Coin; nor will their comparison with the _Portugal Trade_ hold here, for when that King advanced the value both of Peeces of _Eights_, and also of his own Coin, the Importer was obliged to advance the Price of his Goods, because Silver was the Specie wherein he was to make Returns, which he received not as it was worth in Coin but in value by the Ounce, whereas had he laid it out in Commodities the Case had been otherwise, I make a great difference between Money as it is the Medium of _Trade_, and as it is the Commodity we make returns in; there are better Reasons than this why Coin should be kept up to its true value.
And for the more easie calling it in when the Parliament shall see fit, I think 'twere best to cry down all clipt Money at once, only to be received for six Months by the King in his Taxes, who may send it into the _Mint_, and if the Computation be allowed that we have about six Millions of Coined Silver Money in the Kingdom, suppose four of it to be clipt, the Taxes of _Customs_, _Excise_, _Aids_, &c. which we pay in six Months will require near that Summ; and if there remain Two Millions unclipt, it will serve the ordinary Expence till so much new Money can come abroad, at the end of which time let all the rest be called in by the same Method; This will bring forth the Broad Money, which is now hoarded up, and during this Scarcity both the King's occasions and those of _Trade_ will be very much answer'd by _Gold_ and _Bank_ Notes; and for better preserving our new-coined Money, let none for the future exceed Shillings, or at most Half Crowns, and those be made broad and thin, with the Ring on the Extent of the Circumference, which will prevent both Clipping and Drilling, and if the Stamp be not deep 'twill prevent casting.
As for the _Iron_ and _Counterfeit-Money_, (which is supposed to be about a Million) it must be lost to those who have it; and I suppose a Tax of about Fifteen Hundred Thousand Pounds will make good the other.
[Sidenote: By discouraging Stockjobbing.]
9. By discouraging _Stockjobbing_; This hath been the Bane of many good Manufacturies, which began well, and might have been carry'd on to Advantage if the Promoters had not fallen off to selling Parts, and slighted the first Design, winding themselves out at Advantage, and leaving the Management to those they decoyed in, who understood nothing of the thing, whereby all fell to the Ground; This may be prevented (I mean so far as concerns Corporations) by Laws framed for that end, or by Clauses in their Charters.
[Sidenote: By taking away Priviledged Places.]
10. By taking away all Priviledged Places, and making it easier for Creditors to recover of their Debtors; Men now betake themselves to Sanctuary, and spend what they have at defiance with those to whom they owe it; on the other side if Laws were made for the more equal Distribution of the Estates of those who fall to decay, with a Reserve of some part thereof to themselves on a fair Discovery, and a force on the minor part of the Credits to agree with what Composition should be made by the major, so many People would not then be necessitated to such Methods, or be ruined by lying in Goals, as now there are, but be enabled to put themselves again into ways for a future Maintenance; Misfortunes may and often do befal industrious Men, whose _Trades_ have been very beneficial to the Nation, and to such a due Regard ought to be had; but for those who design under the shelter of a Protection or Priviledge to spend all they have, and thereby cheat their Creditors, no Law can be too severe.
[Sidenote: By preventing Exportation of Wool.]
11. By strengthening the Laws against Exportation of Wool by such practicable Methods as may prevent its being done; and such may be thought on; for when a Nation's Interest doth so much depend thereon, no Care can be too great, or Methods laid too deep; Laws concerning _Trade_ whose sole Strength are Penalties (and especially such as end in Death) rarely reach the thing aimed at; but practicable Methods, whereby one thing answers another, and all conspire to carry on the same Design, hanging like so many Links in a Chain, that you cannot reach the one without stepping over the other, these are more likely to prevent Mischiefs; Its one thing to punish People when a Fact is done, and another to prevent the doing it by putting them as it were under an impossibility; now where the Welfare of the Kingdom lies so much at Stake, certainly it cannot be thought grievous to compel a submission to good Methods, though they may seem troublesom at first.
Thus there have been severe Laws made against carrying the Plantation Commodities directly thence to Foreign _Markets_, and stealing the _Customs_ when brought home, and what effect these have had we all know, thousands of Hogsheads of _Tobacco_ being yearly Ship'd to _Spain_, _Scotland_, and _Ireland_, both from _New-England_, and other Places; whereas Sound and Practicable Methods may and are ready to be laid down to prevent both, with few Officers, and fewer Penalties.
[Sidenote: The ill consequences of sending our Wool.]
And that we may better see the Mischiefs which attend the carrying abroad our _Wool_ unwrought to other Nations, let us consider the Consequences thereof in what is Shipp'd to _France_, whose _Wool_ being very course of its self, and fit only for _Ruggs_ and ordinary _Cloth_, is by mixture with ours and Irish used in the making of many sorts of pretty _Stuffs_ and _Druggats_, whereby the Sales of our _Woollen_ Manufactures are lessened both there and in other places whither we export them, and by this means every Pack of _Wool_ sent thither works up two besides it self, being chiefly combed and combing _Wool_, which makes Woofe for the _French Wool_, and the Pinions thereof serve with their _Linnen_ to make course _Druggats_ like our _Linsey-Woolsey_, but the _Linnen_ being spun fine and coloured is not easily discerned, also the finest short _English Wool_ being mix'd with the lowest _Spanish_ makes a middling sort of _Broad Cloth_, and being woven on _Worsted Chains_ makes their best _Druggats_, neither of which could be done with the _French Wool_ only, unless in Conjunction with ours or _Irish_, _Spanish Wool_ is too fine and too short for _Worsted Stuffs_, and unfit for Combing, so that without one of those two sorts there cannot be a piece of fine _Worsted Stuff_ or middle _Broad Cloth_ made, no other _Wool_ but _English_ or _Irish_ will mix well with _Spanish_ for _Cloth_, being originally of the same kind, raised from a Stock of _English Sheep_, the difference in fineness coming from the nature of the Land whereon they feed; of this we have Examples in our own Nation, where we find that _Lemster Wool_ is the finest, next, part of _Shropshire_ and _Staffordshire_, part of _Glocester-shire_, _Wilts_, _Dorset_, and _Hampshire_, part of _Sussex_, and part of _Kent_, _Somerset_, _Devon_, and _Cornwall_, these are most proper for _Cloth_, some small part for _Worsted_; _Sussex_, _Surry_, _Middlesex_, _Hartfordshire_, and some other Counties produce _Wool_ much courser and cheaper; But then _Barkshire_, _Buckingham_, _Warwick_, _Oxon_, _Leicester_, _Nottingham_, _Northampton_, _Lincoln_, and part of _Kent_ called _Rumny-Marsh_, the _Wool_ in most of these Connties is so proper for _Worsted_, that all the World except _Ireland_ cannot compare with it, therefore requires our greater Care to prevent its Exportation, and more especially from _Ireland_, whence it is often Exported to our Neighbouring Nations, and sold as cheap as in _England_.
[Sidenote: By making Bonds and Bills Assignable.]
12. By making _Bonds_ and _Bills_ assignable, and being Assigned and Transferred from one to another, the Assignee to be capable in his own Name to Prosecute the Debtor whose _Bond_ or _Bill_ it is, without using the Name of the Assignor, or any _Letter of Attorney_ from him to require or recover the same; by this means young Men of small Stocks and Credits may on sale of their Goods and taking _Bills_ for Payment return to Market again, and purchase with those _Bills_ such Commodities as they want to carry on their _Trades_; this also will produce a great Punctuality amongst Traders, for all Men to keep up the Reputation of their _Bills_ will endeavour to be exact in their Payments, that so they may be currant, and freely accepted in Commerce, every One's Credit will then be esteemed according as he is punctual in the payment of his _Bills_; Besides, this Punctuality will produce another good effect, those _Bills_ will be bought up by mony'd Men for the Advantage of their discount, and it will by degrees lessen the Extortion of Usurers.
[Sidenote: By confining to a method in Trade.]
13. By prohibiting Persons from following several Trades at once, _viz._ The Merchant from being a Shopkeeper or Retailer, and the Shopkeeper from being a Merchant or Adventurer at the same time; hereby each Trade would be better managed, and with more Advantage to both, for whilst the Merchant employs his Stock abroad in Exporting the Commodities of the Kingdom, and supplying it with others, the Retailer would keep his at home, ready to buy up those Imports, and disperse them into the Country, and both would go on unanimously in their Trades, because neither would interfere in the others Business.
[Sidenote: My managing Treaties of Peace to the Advantage of Trade.]
14. By taking Care that in all Treaties of Peace and other Negotiations with Foreign Princes a due Regard be had to our Trade and Manufactures; that our Merchants be respected, and not affronted by the Governments among whom they reside; that all things be made easie to them, and both their Liberties and Properties secured; that our Manufactures be not prohibited, or burthened with unreasonable Taxes, which is the same in effect; that speedy Justice be done in recovering Debts contracted amongst the Natives, and punishing Abuses put on our Factories by them; These are pressures our Trade hath long groaned under, whereby the Merchants abroad and Manufacturers at home have been much discouraged, and the _English_ Nation hath been forced to truckle under the _French_ in Foreign Parts (especially in _Portugal_, and the Islands belonging to it) only because that King sooner resented Injuries done to his Traders, and took more Care to demand Reparation, than our last Reigns have done; but blessed be God we have now both Power and Opportunity to do the same, and there is no cause to doubt His Majesty's Royal Inclinations to make use of both for the Good of his Merchants when things are duely represented to him.
[Sidenote: Liberty of Conscience.] [Sidenote: The Quakers in respect to Oaths.]
I should in the last place have added _Liberty of Conscience_, but that being already settled by Law I need not mention it, only this, that it were to be wisht some way might be found out to make Methods of Trade more easie to the _Quakers_ than now they are; I am apt to think that he who appears in the Face of a Court to give Evidence on his word if he be a Man of Couscience looks on himself equally obliged to speak the Truth as if he was sworn, and nothing will deter a dishonest Man like she fear of punishment.
[Sidenote: The Importation of Materials to be manufactured will encourage Trade.]
Nor will the prohibiting things already manufactured be any way a hindrance to Foreign Trade, but rather an Incouragement; more Ships will be fraighted, and more _Saylors_ imployed by the Importation of Materials, besides the great Advantage to the Nation in the ballance of its Trade, which must then be returned in _Bullion_ by so much more as they cost less abroad than the others; and this will enable us to afford a greater Consumption of Foreign Commodities spent on our Palates, such as _Wines_, _Fruit_, and the like, all which fill our Ships, and are fit Subjects for _Trade_ when the Profits of a Nation enable it to bear their Expence.
[Sidenote: Navigation.] [Sidenote: Manning our Ships of War.] [Sidenote: Pressing Saylors.] [Sidenote: Embargoes.]
And thus I have run through the several Parts of our _Inland Trade_, the Profit whereof depends on our Product and Manufactures; Before I proceed to our _Outland_ or _Foreign Trade_ I shall speak something of Navigation, which is the _Medium_ between both; This is carried on by Ships and _Saylors_, the former are the Sea Waggons, whereby we transport and carry Commodities from one Market to another, and the latter are the Waggoners which drive or manage them; these are a sort of merry unthinking People, who make all Men rich save themselves, have often more Money than is their own, but seldom so much as they know how to spend, generally brave in their Undertakings, they go through any kind of Labour in their own way with a great deal of chearfulness, are undaunted by Storms and Tempests, the Sea being as it were their Element, and are allowed by all to be the best Navigators in the World; they are our Wealth in Peace, and our Defence in War, and ought to be more encouraged than they are in both, but especially in the latter, which might be done if better Methods were used to engage them in that Service, and better Treatment when there; Now I should think if a List were taken of all the _Saylers_ in _England_, and a Law made for every Person who enters himself on that Imploy at the Age of Years to have his Name registred, with the place of his Abode, and be obliged to appear on Summons left at his House, and no Man to be forced into the King's Service till he had been at Sea three Years, nor to stay therein above three Years without his free consent, and then to be permitted to take a Merchant's Imploy for so much longer, and during his being in the King's Service good Provision to be made for his Family at home, and a Maintenance for them in case of his death or being disabled, This would encourage them to come willingly into the Service, which they look on now to be a Slavery whereto they are bound for their Lives, whilst their Families starve at home; This and the manner of pressing them discourages many, and hinders very much the making of _Saylors_, People not caring to put their Hands to an Oar lest the next day they should be halled away to the Fleet, though they understand nothing of the Sea; I do not think too much Care can be taken for the well manning our Men of War, but I would have it also done with able Seamen, and not with such who will only stand in the way, and are useless when most wanted, and this must not be done by pressing, but by practicable Methods which shall draw every Man to take his turn at Helm; I take _Embargoes_ to be no helps towards it, for many _Saylors_ do then lie hid, who would appear to serve in Merchant's Ships, and might be easily met with at return of their Voyages; by this means in a short time there would be a double set of Mariners, enough both for the Service of the Fleet and Trade, the latter would every year breed more; let the Commanders of Merchants Ships on Arrival give in Lists of the _Saylors_ they have brought home, for whose appearance their Wages should be Bail, and then those whose turn it is to serve in the Fleet should after due time allowed for finishing their Voyages be sent thither, and a penalty on every Master of a Ship who carry'd a Saylor to Sea after his three Years Prodict was expired; such Laws and Time would bring things into regular Methods.
[Sidenote: Inconvenience of pressing Saylors from Ships on their Voyages.]
This would also prevent great Mischiefs and Inconveniencies which arise from pressing Saylors our of Merchants Ships whilst on their Voyages, many of them being thereby lost at Sea, and others detained in the _West-Indies_, to the great Discouragement of Trade; whereas better ways might be found out of supply the Men of War abroad, all Merchants Ships bound to the places where they are might have a proportionable Number of Sailors deliver'd them by the Admiralty to be carried out _Gratis_ for their Use and Service; and this would prevent another Mischief too often practised abroad, where Captains of Men of War press Saylors from one Merchants Ship only that they may make profit by selling them to another.
[Sidenote: Short Voyages breed Saylors.]
It's supposed that no Trade raises more Seamen than that of Coals from _Newcastle_, which imploys many Hundreds of Ships to supply the City of _London_ and other Ports of _England_, and being a home Trade doth thereby breed and encourage Saylors more than long Voyages would do.
[Sidenote: Oytland Trade.]
To come now to the Trade which _England_ drives with Foreign Countrys; here 'tis necessary to enquire how each doth encourage our Product and Manufactures, how our Navigation, what Commodities we receive in Returns, and how the Ballance of Trade stands in either; among which I esteem none to be so profitable to to us as that we manage to _Africa_ and our own Plantations in _America_, and none so detrimental as that to the _East-Indies_.
To begin therefore with the _East-India_ Trade, which for many Reasons I take to be mischievous to the Kingdom.
To clear this we are to consider how a Trade may be advantageous or detrimental to a Nation, and then to draw Inferences thence applicable to the above Proposition; I shall therefore lay down such general Notions as may without dispute be allowed by all unbyassed Persons, which are these:
1. That that Trade is advantageous to the Kingdom of _England_ which Exports our Product and Manufactures.
2. Which Imports to us such Commodities as may be manufactured here, or be used in making our Manufactures.
3. Which supplies us with such things, without which we cannot carry on our Foreign Trade.
4. Which encourages our Navigation, and increases our Seamen.
And consequently that Trade which exports little or none of our Product or Manufactures, nor supplies us with things necessary to promote Manufactures at home, or carry on our Trade abroad, nor encourages Navigation, cannot be supposed to be advantageous to this Kingdom; especially when its Imports hinder the consumption of our own Manufactures, and more especially when those Imports are chiefly the purchase of our _Bullion_ or _Treasure_.
And because I would be rightly understood in my third Proposition, I mean those Commodities without which we are not able to fit out our Ships for a Foreign _Trade_, such as are _Pitch_, _Tar_, _Hemp_, _Sail-Cloth_, _Masts_, _Timber_, and such like; These are so absolutely necessary, that we must have them though purchased for _Bullion_, as being the chief Hinges whereon Trade turns, and the Tools by which we Mechannically navigate our Ships, those Bulky _Mediums_ of Foreign _Trade_; but for those things which are Imported only in order to be Exported again as Commodities to trade on, these cannot be so advantageous to this Kingdom as they may be to the _Dutch_, who having little Land are maintained rather by Buying and Selling than Manufacturing, whereas _England_ being a large spot of Ground, and having a great Product of its own, (besides what comes from our Plantations) capable to be wrought up or manufactured here, gets by the Imployment of its People, therefore it would be the great Wisdom of our Government to regulate all Foreign _Trades_ by such Methods as may best make then useful in the promoting our Manufactures.
[Sidenote: How England may be said to be enrich't by Trade.]
Here it will not be amiss to consider again how and in what manner a Nation may be said to be enrich'd by _Trade_; for there must be a difference made between a Nations growing rich and particular Mens doing so by it, and I humbly propose that it may be possible for private Men to be vastly improved in their Estates, and yet at the Years end the Wealth of the Nation not to be a whit greater than at the beginning, and this both in an _Inland_ and an _Outland_ Trade; for whilst the thrifty Shopkeeper buys at one Price, and sells at another to the prodigal _Beaux_, and the industrious Artificer vents his Labour to the idle Drone, and the politick Contriver outwits the unthinking Bully, one raises his Fortunes on the other's decay; the same for our _Outland Trade_, if we Export the true Riches of the Nation for that which we consume on our Luxury, tho' private Men may get by each other, yet the Wealth of the Nation is not any way encreased: For suppose by one Hundred Butts of Wines the Importer gets Five Hundred Pounds, yet when drank among our selves, the Nation is not thereby Richer but Poorer, and so much poorer as those Wines cost at first; for if Imported by _English_ Men in _English_ Ships we loose but the first Purchase, the rest being Freights, Customs, and Profits, are divided amongst our selves, but if they are brought in by Foreigners, the Nation loses all but the Customs; I take the true Profits of this Kingdom to consist in that which is produced from Earth, Sea, and Labour, and such are all our Growth and Manufactures.
To apply this now to the _East-India Trade_, we will first consider what are its Exports and Imports, and then inquire _Cui Bono_? whither the Contest for this Trade doth proceed from a design to serve the Nation, or from Principles of Self-Interest? or whither the Members of that Company who strive so much about it, would if in other Circumstances still be of the same Mind? for Principles that are in themselves true are always so, we may change our Opinions, but they do not change their Certainty; I confess as the state of a Nation alters so must our measures in _Trade_, but then it must appear that the State of the Nation and not our private Interests makes us to alter them; Now when I find that it is not the true Interest of this Nation to advance the Product and Manufactures thereof I shall change my Opinion.
First then to begin with their Exports; and here I need not say much, it's generally allowed by the Traders themselves that our Product and Manufactures are the least part thereof, consisting chiefly in Gold and Silver.
But it's alledged that in Returns they Import such Goods which being again Exported do bring from Foreign parts much more Treasure in specie; which leads me secondly to consider what those Imports are, and what becomes of them; They chiefly are, _Saltpeter_, _Pepper_, _Callicoes_, _Druggs_, _Indigo_, and _Silks_ both wrought and raw, many of which Commodities are very necessary as well for our Home Expence as to export again, others vastly prejudicial to us, as they hinder the consumption of our own Manufactures both Abroad and at Home, and this latter outweighs the former; _Calicoes_ and wrought Silks are the things I chiefly aim at, and hope to make it plainly appear that those two Commodities do us more prejudice in our Manufactures than all the Advantage they bring either to private Purses or to the Nation in general, and it were to be wisht the Wisdom of our Parliament would prohibit their being worn in _England_, else like the ill-favoured lean Kine they will destroy the use of our Manufactures, which might be fitted to answer all the ends they serve for; Nor is the lessening the wearing our own Manufactures at home all the Mischief _Callicoes_ have done us, their Importation having thrown out the wearing of _Silesia_, and other _German_ Linnens hath been attended with as bad a Consequence from thence, where those Looms which were formerly imployed on weaving them were thereon turned to the Woollen Manufactures, wherewith they not only furnish themselves but _Poland_, which hath made those Countrys very careful to increase and improve their breed of Sheep, whose Wool was generally brought hither before, and used in making Hatts, but is now much of it wrought up there; for when we slighted their Manufactures they fell on ours, whereas if we had encouraged the Wearing their Linnen they would have still depended on us for Woollen; This hath been a means to abate the Exportation of many thousand Peeces of Cloth, which would have brought more Advantage to the Nation than all the Trade we have driven to the _East-Indies_, and will never be retrieved till we return again to the use of their Linnens.
He that considers how wonderfully Fashions prevail on this Nation may soon satisfie himself how things of little value come to be prized, and to justle out those of greater worth; Fashion is Fancy, which as it hath of late Years brought in a disuse of our native Commodities by Imitation, so if our Nobility and Gentry would turn their Fancies to them again I doubt not it would have the same effect, and if our Workmen could receive Encouragement, no question the Genius of this Kingdom would soon reach to such a pitch as to answer all the Uses of both those Commodities, even with a Thread spun out of Sheeps Wool; It was scarce thought about twenty Years since that we should ever see _Calicoes_ the Ornaments of our greatest Gallants (for such they are, whither we call them _Muslins_, _Shades_, or any thing else) when they were then rarely used save in Shrouds for the Dead, and that chiefly among the Poor, who could not go to the Price of finer Linnen, and yet were willing to imitate the Rich, but now few think themselves well drest till they are made up in _Callicoes_, both Men and Women, _Callicoe Shirts_, _Neckcloths_, _Cuffs_, _Pocket-Hankerchiefs_, for the former, _Head-Dresses_, _Night-royls_, _Hoods_, _Sleeves_, _Aprons_, _Gowns_, _Petticoats_, and what not, for the latter, besides _India-Stockings_ for both Sexes; and indeed it will be a hard matter to put them out of this Fancy, nothing but an _Act of Parliament_ or humour of the _Court_ can do it, the latter is the most natural means, and would easier make way to introduce the former, for besides that 'twould bring with it the Prayers of the Poor for those who have cut them out new Imployments, it would likewise wonderfully tend to advance the Gentlemen's Estates, first by expending their _Wool_, and next by keeping the Poor at work, who would consume more _Wheat_ and _Barly_, _Beef_ and _Mutton_ in their Houses, and yet they need not fear having Labourers enough in their Harvests, though perhaps at a little higher Rates, which would be abundantly made up by an Advance on the Product of their Lands, besides what would be saved in the Poor's Rates, and it hath been a constant Observation grounded on reason that this Nation never thrives more than when the Labour of the Poor is at such Prises as they may live comfortably by it.
We will next consider:
1. How far the Manufactures of this Kingdom have been already made to answer the uses of _Indian Silks_ and _Callicoes_, and what did encourage it.
2. What farther Improvement may be made thereon, and the means to bring it about.
3. Why the People of _England_ are so much against their Native Manufactures as to be more in love with _Calicoes_ and _Indian Silks_.
1. As to the first, I will go no farther than the _Act for Burrying in Woollen_; how averse were the People of _England_ to it at first? as if the Dead could not rest easie in their Graves if wrapt in our Native Commodities, or that it would trouble them _inter Hades_ that they had occasionally given Imployment to their poor surviving Country-men; no, the fault was not there, Experience hath taught us that it's all one to them, and Time hath more reconciled us to that Statute when we saw the good effects it produced by putting our People on making so many pretty sorts of Woollen Vestments, as Ornamental to the Dead as the others formerly were thought to be, and of such different Finenesses and Prizes, that Qualities are as easily distinguished by them; and since our dead Friends were to be drest in our native Wool, we thought it most seemly to imitate them by wearing the same at their Funerals, hence it came to pass that our Mourning Attire was made of White Crape, a Garb not only Decent and Profitable, but Honourable to the Nation, as it both shew'd our Esteem for our Woollen Manufactres, and also how soon those imployed therein could turn their Hands to any sort of Work.
2. Let us consider what farther Improvements may be made on the Manufactures of this Kingdom to answer the ends of _Indian_ Silks and Calicoes, and the means to bring them about; Here let us see what Progresses have already been made step after step by our Manufactures to imitate, and in many things to exceed all they have seen from abroad; witness those noble rich Silks, wherein they have attained to so great a height; Our brave noble _Arras_ or _Tapestry_ of all Prises, not to be out-done by those very Nations from whom we at first learned the Art; And this is allow'd by all, that the _English_ Workmen in great things outdo their Patterns, and no doubt they may soon turn their Hands to a slight Manufacture, which People do now chiefly desire, and I take to be as profitable to the Nation; How are we come from a strong and stubborn to a slight thin Broad Cloth, from thence to _Stuffs_, _Perpets_, _Sayes_, _Rashes_, _Shalloones_, _Gauzes_, and lately to _Antherines_, which last look as handsome as _Indian Silks_, and serve as well in Linings for our Cloaths, also _Crapes_ of such different sorts both of _Silk_ and _Wool_, that not only Cloaths for Men and Women are made thereof, but also _Hatbands_, _Cuffs_, _Neckcloths_, _Hoods_, _Head Dresses_, &c. Now was there a Law to encourage, or would the Nobility and Gentry of this Kingdom by their Examples promote the wearing our own Manufactures, no doubt they might be soon brought to answer all the ends of _Indian Silks_ and _Calicoes_, and I cannot see what reason may be given against a total Prohibition of their being worn in _England_, which will be the quickest way to have them disused.
3. The third is to enquire why the People of _England_ are so much against their Native Manufactures as to be more in love with _Calicoes_ and _Indian Silks_? The chief reason is Fashion and Imitation of One another, though many others are alledged, as the Ruffness and Ill Colour of Woollen, which keeps it from answering the ends of _Calicoes_, Its weight and thickness, which renders it improper for the ends of slight Silks in Linings; These are not substantial but pretended Reasons, and would as well serve against _Calicoes_ and _Indian Silks_ were we more used to our Native Manufactures, and they now to be introduced; for as to the Ruffness of Woollen, may not that be helpt by its fineness? and are not course _Calicoes_ altogether as Ruff? A fine Flannen-Shirt feels soft and pleasant to him that hath been used to wear it, so strange Impressions do Custom and Fashion make on us; and as for Colour, it is only Fancy, when Yellow is in Fashion it looks as decent as White, and as much Art is needful to strike it well as there is Curiosity about the other, witness when Women wore Yellow Hoods, both Men and Women Yellow Vestments, besides, no doubt ways might be found out to add to the Native Whiteness of our Woollen Manufactures, which do not therein fall shorter of Calicoes than they do of _Hollands_ and _Cambricks_ and as to the ends of Silks, Thinness and Lightness, I think our Workmen have given very great Instances in their _Crapes_, _Gauzes_ and _Antherines_ what they could do had they Encouragement.
But if a Manufacture of _Wool_ will not please, why may not one of _Cotton_, the _Primum_ of which _Calicoes_ are made, whereof we have great quantities imported every Year from our own Plantations in _America_, and no doubt we might in a short time attain to an excellency therein, not only to supply our selves, but also Foreign Markets; He that considers how far we have gone in this already will have no cause to doubt a Progress, and if Encouragements were proposed to that Person who should spin the finest Thread either in Cotton or Wool, to be adjudged and paid in each County, 'twould excite Industry and Ingenuity, and no doubt we might in time make Calicoes equal in their sorts with those Imported from _India_, and afford them as cheap as that Company now sells them, enough not only for our home Expenee, but also for Exportation.
We will next see what Employment this Trade gives to Ships as it's now managed in a Company, and how far it promotes Navigation by making Saylors; The Number of the first is but small, and I think far from making Seamen, long Voyages being usually their Bane, those Ships seldom bringing home so many Saylors as they carry'd forth, whereas shorter Voyages do more, made out of Land-Men, both the Imployers and the Imployed being desirous to make their first Tryals on such Voyages; besides, longer require better Saylors to provide for the Casualties which attend them, and may be said rather to use Seamen than to make them; and this is one great Reason why the _Dutch_ raise them so easily, most of their Imployments being a home Trade.
If then it appears this Trade is no more profitable to the Nation in general we will next see how it is to that Company in parricular; I do not say to the particular Members thereof, who by ill Practices have raised their private Fortunes, many of which have been lately laid open, but to the Company as such; and here we find that a former failed; the last is thought to have gotten little, considering the long time they have been a Monopoly; and what Advantage the new _Fund_ will make Time must shew, the Tricks used to engage Men therein causes me to doubt whither 'twill answer the Expectations of the Subscribers.
On the whole let us consider what Arguments can be offered to the Wisdom of the Nation to limit this Trade to an exclusive Company as was desired, or (as in truth it is) to turn it into a Monopoly by Law, a thing very contrary to the Genius of the People of _England_, and seems to barr the Freedom and Liberty of the Subject.
Were Monopolies to be allowed it must certainly be in One of these three Respects.
1. That we might put off our own Commodities to other Nations in Barter for those we received from them.
2. That we might keep down the Prices of their Commodities, whilst we advanced our own.
3. That as the Consequence of these two we might encourage our Manufacturers at home, and furnish Foreign Commodities cheap.
But when a Monopoly shall cause quite different Effects it's not to be allow'd on any Terms.
As for the first; the _East-India_ Company takes off little of our Manufactures, nor do I think the Trade will admit it, for I cannot see how that Nation can be supplied with Manufactures hence fit for their Wearing answerable in Price to their own, except they were a Luxurious People who cared not what they gave to please their Fancies, which I do not take them to be, but generally very Provident; for if we consider that when the _East-India_ Company hath brought their Calicoes and Silks hither with great Charges, and sold them at an extraordinary advance, they find vent by their cheapness, how can we believe that any of our Manufactures can afford them a profit in _India_, where they must be sold suitable in price to the others first cost; and therefore 'twould not be amiss if the Government were put on making a narrow Inquiry whither the Company do _boná fide_ export so much of the Product and Manufactures of rhis Kingdom and land them in _India_ as they are obliged to do by their Charter, elfe many ways may be found out to evade it, and the Nation be deprived of the only Advantage expected from that Monopoly.
The _Dutch_ and we deal not thither on the same Terms, their Manufactures are small, and so no Matter what they Trade on, besides their Settlements in the _East-Indies_ are so great, that what they bring thence may almost be called their own Product, whereof by monopolizing that Trade they make greater Prices in _Europe_, which being chiefly spent either in Foreign Markets or by Temporary Residents brings them more Profit; They have also great Advantages above us in their _East-India_ Trade, being possest of the whole Traffick to _Japan_, whither they carry _Cloth_, _Lead_, and other Commodities from _Holland_, _Calicoes_, _Spices_, &c. from _India_, which they sell for _Gold_ and _Silver_, increasing thereby their Bullion as we diminish ours; Besides their _East-India_ Company is not settled on such a narrow Foundation as ours, which being limited to one City exclusive of all others sells their Commodities for greater Advance than any other Traders, whither we consider their Risque, or the time they are out of their Money, which should be the standing Rules in Trade; Nor can it be otherwise whilst they remain a Company, the Charges both abroad and at home being much more than when manag'd by private Stocks, besides the affected Grandeur in all which must be paid by the Nation, whereon I take that Monopoly to be a Tax so far as it might be supply'd with them on cheaper Terms if the Trade were laid more open by a Regulation; I know there is much talk'd by the Company about Forts Castles and Soldiers to defend their Interests in _India_, but I cannot see the use of them, for either they are thereby defended against the Natives, or the _Dutch_ their Competitors; the former have no reason to quarrel with them, for bringing them a Trade so highly their Advantage as the purchasing their Product and Manufactures with Money, especially if they pay for what they buy; And as for their Competitors the _Dutch_, if they were not better defended against them by our Fleets at home, and the Protection of the Princes they trade with, than by all the Force they have there, the Trade had been but ill-secured, and must have sunk long ago; Only those great Words serve to hold us amused, whilst their _Guineas_ in the two last Reigns were the Support of their Charter.
One thing which I aim at in this Discourse is to perswade the Gentry of _England_ to be more in Love with our own Manufactures, and to encourage the wearing them by their Examples, and not of Choice to give Imployment to the Poor of another Nation whilst ours starve at home.
We will next proceed to the _West-India_ and _African_ Trades; which I esteem the most profitable of any we drive, and do joyn them together because of their dependance on each other.
But before we enter farther I will consider of one Objection, it having been a great question among many thoughtful Men whither our Foreign Plantations have been an advantage to this Nation; the reasons they give against them are, that they have drained us of Multitudes of our People who might have been serviceable at home, and advanced Improvements in Husbandry and Manufactures; That the Kingdom of _England_ is worse Peopled by so much as they are increased; and that Inhabitants being the Wealth of a Nation, by how much they are lessened, by so much we are poorer than when we first began to settle our Foreign Colonies; Though I allow the last Proposition to be true, that People are or may be made the Wealth of a Nation, yet it must be where you find Imployment for them, else they are a Burthen to it, as the Idle Drone is maintained by the Industry of the labourious Bee, so are all those who live by their Dependance on others, as Players, Ale-Houses-keepers, Common-Fidlers, and such like, but more particularly Beggars, who never set themselves to work; Its my Opinion that our Plantations are an Advantage to this Kingdom, and I doubt not but 'twill appear to be so by the consequence of this Discourse, though not all alike, but every one more or less, as they take off our Product and Manufactures, supply us with Commodities which may be either wrought up here, or Exported again, or prevent fetching things of the same Nature from other Princes for our home Consumption, imploy our Poor, and encourage our Navigation; for I take _England_ and all its Plantations to be one great Body, those being so many Limbs or Counties belonging to it, therefore when we consume their Growth we do as it were spend the Fruits of our own Land, and what thereof we sell to our Neighbours for Bullion, or such Commodities as we must pay for therein, brings a second Profit to the Nation.
These Plantations are either the great Continent from _Hudson's Bay_ Northward to _Florida_ Southward, containing _Newfound-land_, _New-England_, _Virginia_, _Mary-land_, _New-York_, _Pensilvania_, _Carolina_, &c. and also our several Islands, the chief whereof are _Barbadoes_, _Antigua_, _Nevis_, _St. Christophers_, _Montserat_, and _Jamaica_; the Commodities they afford us are more especially Sugars, Indigo, Ginger, Cotten, Tobacco, Piamento, and Fustick, of their own growth, also Logwood, which we bring from _Jamaica_, (though first brought thither from the _Bay_ of _Campeacha_ on the Continent of _Mexico_ belonging to the _Spaniard_, but cut by a loose sort of People, Subjects to this Kingdom, Men of desperate Fortunes, but of wonderful Courage, who by force have made small Settlements there and defend themselves by the same Means) besides great quantities of Fish taken the Coasts of _Newfound-land_ and _New-England_; These being the Product of Earth Sea and Labour are clear Profit to the Kingdom, and give a double Imployment to the People of _England_, first to those who raise them there, next to those who prepare Manufactures here wherewith they are supplied, besides the Advantage to Navigation, for the Commodities Exported and Imported being generally bulky do thereby imploy more Ships, and consequently more Saylors, which leaves more room for other labouring People to be kept at work in Husbandry and Manufactures, whilst they consume the Product of the one and the Effects of the other in an Imployment of a distinct Nature from either.
This was the first Design of settling Plantations abroad, that the People of _England_ might better maintain a Commerce and Trade among themselves, the chief Profit whereof was to redound to the Center; and therefore Laws were made to prevent the carrying their Product to other places, or their being supply'd with Necessaries save from hence, and both to be done in our own Ships, navigated by _English_ Saylors, except in some cases permitted by the Acts of Navigation, and so much as the Reins of those Laws are let lose, so much less profitable are the Plantations to us; The Interest therefore of this Kingdom being to prevent any practices contrary to the first Design, it would be the great Wisdom of the Parliament to frame such Laws as may more effectually do it than any yet made; I do not mean Laws whose chief Strength shall be their Penalties, but such whose plain Methods being capable to be reduced to Practice may do it without Oppression of Officers, for I esteem them so far weak as they need the Support of either the one or the other; and it were to be wisht that both our Customs and all other Taxes might be raised with less Charge and Burthen than now they are, for which ways might be sound out if it were well considered of, and then Multitudes of useless People might be sent into the Vineyards of Husbandry and Manufactures.
Among these Plantations I look on that of _New-England_ to bring least Advantage to this Kingdom, for being setled by an industrious People, and affording few Commodities proper to be transported hither, the Inhabitants imploy themselves by trading to the rest of the Plantations, whom they supply with Provisions and other their Products, and from thence fetch their respective Growths, which they after send to Foreign Markets, and thereby injure the Trade of _England_; Now as to the first part, it's neither convenient for them nor the Plantations that they should be debarr'd it, what they carry thither being for the most part Fish, Deal-Boards, Pipe-staves, Horfes, and such like, which the others cannot be well supplyed with hence, also Bread, Flower, and Pease; but then they should be obliged to make their Imports hither, I mean to bring all the Good; they load at those Plantations to this Market, and from hence let them be supply'd again with what thereof shall be necessary for their Home Expence, as they are with all _European_ Commodites; by which means _England_ would become the Centre of Trade, and standing like the Sun in the midst of its Plantations would not only refresh them, but also draw Profits from them; and indeed it's a matter of exact Justice it should be so, for from hence it is Fleets of Ships and Regiments of Soldiers are frequently sent for their Defence, at the Charge of the Inhabitants of this Kingdom, besides the equal Benefit the Inhabitants there receive with us from the Advantages expected by the Issue of this War, the Security of Religion, Liberty, and Property, towards the Charge whereof they contribute little, though a way may and ought to be found out to make them pay more, by such insensible Methods as are both rational and practicable.
[Sidenote: Methods to render the Plantations more profitable to England.]
Now the means to render these Plantations more profitable to this Kingdom are by making Laws.
1. To prevent (as much as conveniently may be) the Product of either to be transported from the place of its Growth to any other place save _England_.
2. To prevent its being Imported hither after manufactured there.
3. To prevent (as much as may be with Conveniency) the Exporting hence any simple thing in order to be manufactured there, such as Iron, Leather, &c. which 'twere better for this Kingdom were first wrought up here.
4. In Lieu of all to lay open the _African_ Trade, that the Inhabitants may be supply'd with _Negroes_ on easie Terms.
These are general Rules, but not without some Exceptions; for when I say the Commodities of one Plantation should not be carried to another, I mean those only which are fit for Trade, and may be brought hither, and be hence disperst again, as Sugars, Cotton, Indigoe, Tobacco, Ginger, and such like; but for Provisions, Timber, Horses, and things of like natures, they may and ought to be permitted, because this Nation cannot so conveniently supply them hence; and therefore the _Act of Trade_ gave leave to transport the former from _Ireland_, which hath laid open a Gapp to that Peoyle, who carry the first Beef to those Markets, wherein they anticipate us, and get the best Prises, besides the Charges we are at in sending our Ships thither to load, which they save; Nor is this all, for going to the Plantations without giving Bonds to discharge in _England_ what they take in there as the Law doth require, they frequently unload either all or part of their Loadings elsewhere, in opposition to the the _Act of Navigation_, therefore if a new Law was made that all Ships Trading to the Plantations from _Europe_ should first give Bonds in _England_, and for default thereof be seized on their Arrival there, it would be a great Step towards preventing this abuse, and then plain and easie ways may be offered to hinder Landing any part of their Cargoes elsewhere; And when things are brought to this State, that the Product of our Plantations shall necessarily be center'd here, we may put almost what Rates we will on them to our Neighbours; it's true 'tis the Interest of _England_ that what is consumed among our selves should be sold at reasonable Prises, but the higher they yield abroad the more Treasure they bring to the Nation, provided we strain not the Staple so as to be undersold from other Markets; But there must be a Regard had to our Fisheries, that the Liberty of carrying that Commodity direct to Foreign Parts be not restrained.
Next by their being brought home unmanufactured they would give great Imployments here; _Cotten Wool_ by being spun up and made into several sorts of pretty things; _Tobacco_ by Cutting and Rowling; and _Sugar_ by refining; for I would have no _Tobacco_ brought home save in Leaf, nor _Sugar_ above _Muscovado_; the last would imploy abundance of Sugar-Houses in _England_ to clay and refine it, not only for a home Expence, but to be transported to Foreign Markets; a Trade we have been lately beat out of by the Industry of the _Dutch_ helpt on by our own Imprudence, for no wise Nation would have given such an advantage to a Rival Trader as by Law to put their Refiners on terms of working _Sugars_ Three Shillings _per Cent_ cheaper than our own, therefore when the thing comes to be well weighed, I believe 'twill be found the Interest of this Nation to suffer all those Commodities to be Imported Custom Free, and to lay a Duty on what is Exported again unwrought, (I mean all _West-India_ Commodities) and to raise an Excise on what is spent at Home, for which easie and practicable Methods may be proposed; and this would salve all those Disputes about running _Tobacco_, or drawing back Debentures after relanded; which Duty might be collected with few Officers, and little Charge, and the King might have an Account of every particular Parcel how it was transferred from Man to Man till 'twas paid.
But if the _Planter_ should complain at his being denied to Import wrought _Sugars_, it would be abundantly made up to him by opening the _African_ Trade, that so he might be supplied with _Negroes_ both in greater Numbers and at cheaper Rates than now he is; a Trade of the most Advantage to this Kingdom of any we drive, and as it were all Profit, the first Cost being little more than small Matters of our own Manufactures, for which we have in Return, _Gold_, _Teeth_, _Wax_, and _Negroes_, the last whereof is much better than the first, being indeed the best Trassick the Kingdom hath, as it doth occasionally give so vast an Imployment to our People both by Sea and Land; These are the Hands whereby our Plantations are improved, and 'tis by their Labours such great Quantities of _Sugar_, _Tobacco_, _Cotten_, _Ginger_, and _Indigo_, are raised, which being bulky Commodities imploy great Numbers of our Ships for their transporting hither, and the greater number of Ships imploys the greater number of Handecraft Trades at home, spends more of our Product and Manufactures, and makes more Saylors, who are maintained by a separate Imploy; for if every One raised the Provisions he eat, or made the Manufactures he wore, Trade would cease, Traffique being a variety of Imployments Men have set themselves on adapted to their particular Genius's, whereby one is serviceable to another without invading each others Province; thus the Husbandman raises Corn, the Millard grinds it, the Baker makes it into Bread, and the Citizen eats it; Thus the Grazier fats Cattle, and the Butcher kills them for the Market; Thus the Shepherd shears his Wool, the Spinster makes it into Yarn, the Weavet into Cloth, and the Merchant exports it, and every one lives by each other: Thus the Country supplies the City with Provisions, and that the Country with Manufactures; Now to advise a Government to monopolize, and consequently to lessen this Trade, by confining it to a limited Stock, is the same as to advise the People of _Egypt_ to raise high Banks to confine the River _Nilus_ from overflowing, lest it should thereby fertilize their Lands, or the King of _Spain_ to shut up his Mines, lest he should fill his Kingdom too full of Silver; This Trade indeed is our Silver Mines, for by the Overplus of _Negroes_ above what will serve our Plantations we draw great Quantities thereof from the _Spaniard_; a Trade we are lately fallen into by a Compact of the two Natious, for which a Factory or _Assiento_ is settled by them at _Jamaica_, where what their Agent buys is paid for in Pieces of _Eight_, besides oftentimes Thirty _per Cent_ Cambio for running the risque to the Continent, all discharged in the same specie with great Punctuality.
Nor is this all the advantage the Nation reaps thereby, it hath introduced another sort of Commerce, and given us Opportunities of selling our Manufactures to that People, with whom we now grow into some sort of Familiarity, and may be a means in time to make way for a larger Acquaintance, whereby we may reap the best part of the Treasure of those Mines, _Jamaica_ being now become a Magazine of Trade to _New-Spain_ and the _Terra Firma_, from whence we have yearly vast Quantities of Bullion imported to this Kingdom both for the _Negroes_ and Manufactures we send them, which as it was opened for the sake of their having the former, so when that supply ceases, it will be removed to some other place, and our industrious Neighbours are ready to receive it, who would perhaps take more care to encourage it than we have done; for by the slow steps of the _African_ Company, and the Hardships they have put on the Interlopers or private Traders, the number of _Negroes_ imported thither hath been so small, and so much below our promises and the _Spaniards_ Expectations, that this profitable _Assiento_ or Factory hath for some time stood on Tiptoe, ready to waft it self to another Island, as it certainly had done long since if the Interlopers had not given a better Supply than the Company.
We will now inquire what Reasons should perswade any Government to monopolize or limit this Trade, and what have been the Consequences thereof?
As for the first; the necessity of having Forts Castles and Soldiers to defend the Trade, which could not be carried on without great Charge and a joynt Stock, these and such like Arguments attended with a Cloud of Guineas had force enough to prevail on an easie Prince, who though of a temper not inclined to Mischief, and had natural parts capable to understand both his own and the Nation's Interest, yet being perswaded by those _Harpyes_, who like so many Horse Leaches constantly hung upon him, and required more Treasure than his Income could afford, he was many times allured to do things which his own Judgment would not allow, so mischievous are evil Councellors (especially of the fair Sex) to the good-natur'd Prince.
But let us consider what these Fort Castles and Soldiers now settled by the Company are, their Use, and whither good Securities for the Trade may not be made by a regulated Company, out of Stock to be raised on its Members, to those to be admitted for small Fines, and to pay a Duty on the Goods they Export, such as the _Court of Assistants_ shall think fit to settle; which Stock to be imployed for Buying or Building Forts where thought necessary, and defraying all publick Charges for carrying on the Trade.
I do not remember that the greatest number of Soldiers proved at the Committee appointed by the Honourable _House of Commons_, to enquire into that Affair did exceed one Hundred and Twenty on the whole Coast; nor did their Forts and Castles appear to be any thing else save Settlements for their Factors, which (to secure their Goods from the Natives, and the sudden Insults of other Nations) they guarded both with Men and Guns, all which was proposed to be done by a regulated Company; Besides, when more Factories are settled, consequently there will be more People, which will soon exceed their number of Soldiers, and be more formidable, whilst every Man fights for his own Interest, whereas those Soldiers (as it was there proved) were ill provided for, worse paid, and kept only by Constraint.
It was never made out (or indeed pretended) before that Honourable Committee that those Forts and Castles were to wage a National War, or to secure against a National Invasion, the defence of their Guns could not exceed their reach, which was not above a Mile at most; nor were there any Magazines of Provisions laid up to expect a Siege from the Natives; neither could they hinder Interlopers who traded on the Coasts of what Nation soever; but for that end the Company had obtained Frigats from the Government, who by illegal Commissions destroyed our own Merchants Ships (unless permitted on the payment of Forty or Fifty _per Cent_ at home on the Goods they carried out) whilst they let others alone; This being seconded by their Factors in the several Plantations, who seized them and their Cargoes there if they escaped the former, discouraged our private Traders, who else found no Difficulties, the Natives receiving them as Friends, and choosing rather to deal with them than the Company; whose Factories also being at remote distances from each other, great part of that Coast was unguarded, and untraded too by them.
Nor do I see what need there was to fight our way into a Trade altogether as advantageous to the Natives as to us, for whilst we supply'd them with things they wanted, and were of value amongst them, we took in exchange Slaves, which were else of little worth to the Proprietors; and it cannot be thought that the People of _England_ who have setled such large Colonies on the Continent of _America_ (besides its several Islands) where there was no reasonable Prospect of Encouragement, and have increased their Numbers so as to be able to defend their first Footings without the help of a Company, not only against the Natives where they found any, but likewise against all other Nations, should fall short in carrying on this Trade, which doth at the first view offer the Prospect of so great a Profit.
Let us now consider the Inconveniences that have attended this Monopoly, and consequently the Conveniencies which would come to the Nation by digesting it into an open and free, tho' a regulated Company; sure if confining the working in a Golden Mine to one day in a week which would afford the like Treasure every day to the Nation cannot be its advantage, no more can the limiting this Trade; for if we send more Ships we fetch more _Negroes_, and vend more Commodities for their Purchase; besides every _Negro_ in the Plantations gives a second Imploy to the Manufacturers of this Kingdom, and had we many more to spare the _Spaniard_ would buy them, so there can be no Ground for putting this Trade into few Men's Hands, except 'tis designed those few shall grow Rich, whilst for their sakes the Nation suffers in its Trade and Navigation; The Company have made this detrimental advantage of their Charter, that they have thereby been enabled to buy up our Manufactures cheaper at home, and to make the _Planters_ pay dearer Rates for _Negroes_ abroad, than could have been done if there had been more Buyers for the former, and Sellers of the latter; besides the ill Supply they gave the Plantations, and the partiality in their Lots and Dividends there, the effect whereof was that one Planter who was befriended grew Rich by having good _Negroes_, whilst another was ruined by having none but bad; and this drew with it another ill Consequence, their Factors as it were Monopolized Trade to themselves, by obliging the Planters to deal with them for other things if they expected favour when the _Negro_ Ships arrived, so that the rest of the Merchants were forced to look on whilst the others had any thing to sell, and all because they were restrained by a Monopoly from supplying the Planter with the same Commodity, for which likewise the Company expected ready Pay, whilst the others gave long time.
This was sully proved before the Honourable Committee at one of their Meetings, to whom I heard an eminent Merchant of _London_ of an undoubted Reputation and well acquainted with the Trade to _Africa_ affirm, That on a former little relaxation of the severity of their Charter, which was then called in question by the Honourable _House of Commons_, some of our Woolen Manufactures fit for that Trade rose instantly Fifty _per Cent_ to his certain knowledge, occasioned by the Multitudes of Buyers, whereof he was one; and indeed it is not to be wondered at, for whilst that Company was in power many of the _English_ Interlopers were forced to fit in _Holland_, where they also furnished their Cargoes, it being thought cause sufficient to stop a Ship here if any part of the Goods entered out gave Suspicion she was bound for the Coast of _Guinea_, which would have made a Stander-by to have thought that the _Dutch_ had given Pensions in that Court as well as the _French_.
It is not to be doubted but that the Vendding our Product and Manufactures and promoting our Navigation on advantageous terms is the true Interest of this Nation, and all Foreign Commerce as it advances either is more or less profitable, now the Confinement of the _African_ Trade to a limited Stock promotes the ends of neither, and I believe 'tis one reason why we know so little of that large Continent, because the Company finding ways enough to employ their Fund among those few Factories they had setled on the Sea Coast never endeavoured a farther _Inland_ Discovery, whereas if it was laid open, the busie Merchant that Industrious Bee of the Nation would not leave one River or Creek untraded to, from whence he might hope to make Advantage.
It's to Trade and Commerce we are beholding for what Knowledge we have of Foreign Parts, and it is observable that the more remote People dwell from the Sea the less they are acquainted with Affairs abroad; _Africa_ is a large Country, and doubtless the Trade to it might be much enlarged to our Advantage, and better Settlements made and secured if good Methods were taken; Use and Experience make us at last Masters of every thing; and tho' the first Undertakers of a Design fall short of answering their private Ends, yet they may not the Ends of the Nation, by laying open a beaten Path for Posterity to tread in with Success where they miscarry'd; when all places in _England_ may freely send Ships, and be permitted to the management of their own Affairs, this encourages Industry, and sets Peoples Heads at work how they may outdo each other by getting first into a new Place of Trade; besides, the more Traders the more Buyers at Home and Sellers Abroad, and by this means our Plantations on that large Continent of _America_ would be better furnished with _Negroes_, for want of which the Inhabitants there could never arrive to those Improvements they have done in the Islands, the Company having given them little or no Supply, who rather chose to send them to the latter, because they were able to make better Pay; But the Interlopers have done it, tho' under great discouragements from the Company and their Factors, who like the Dog in the Fable, would neither supply those Plantations themselves, nor suffer others to do it.
As for the other Commodities brought in Returns from _Africa_, Wax and Teeth, one serves for a Foreign Trade without lessening the Expence of our own Product, the other imploys our Manufacturers at home, and is afterwards Exported to other Markets; and as for the Gold brought thence, I need not mention how much it doth advance our Wealth, all agree it to be a good Barter.
On the whole I take the _African_ Trade both for its Exports and Imports, and also as it supplies our Plantations, and advances Navigation, to be very beneficial to this Kingdom, and would be made much more so, and better secured, were it laid open by being formed into a Regulated Company.
The next thing we will enter on is the Trade driven to _Maderas_; and here tho' I must confess I am in my own Judgment no Friend to Monopolies, and have not yet seen any reason to alter my Opinion, yet as that destructive Element of Fire may and often is used to Advantage in its proper place, and Poyson with Correction makes good Physick, so the ends of a Monopoly being truly answered, it may sometimes be very serviceable, such as are the vending our own Manufactures at good Rates in Foreign Markets, whilst for them we receive in Barter the Product of another Nation at reasonable Prices; And this effect cannot be produced by incorporating any Trade into a joynt stock so naturally as that of _Maderas_, where by the late ill management of our Factors things are come to such a Pass, that nothing less than this can recover it into a good Method, the Inhabitants of that Island by the others Imprudence have gotten so much Advantage of us that they take off little of our Woollen Manufactures, whilst on the other side we buy their Wines for Money, which heretofore we purchased in Truck; a Commodity loaden off thence chiefly by the _English_ Nation, for the _Dutch_ ship little, the _French_ less, the remainer (except what is spent on the Island, or sent to Brazile) is drank in our Plantations; and yet we are treated by them, not as though they depended on us, but rather as if they thought we could not live without their Wines, prohibiting sometimes one part sometimes another of our Manufactures, instead whereof they supply themselves from _Lisbon_, with things tho' not so good, yet such as they content themselves with to promote Manufactures of their own, so wise are other Nations to choose rather to wear what is made amongst themselves than what is brought by Strangers, tho' better in its kind; whilst we preferr any thing that comes from abroad, only because it does so.
But then great care must be taken that the Profit of this Monopoly doth redound to the Nation, and not only to the enriching private Persons, and that it be continued no longer than it appears to be for the public Good, and a fair Account must be given that the quantity of Manufactures carried hence do in some measure equalize the Wines loaden thence, also that the Plantations abroad be supply'd at reasonable Rates; By this means the _English_ being the only Buyers, and they having put the Trade into one Hand, may sell their Manufactures for better Prices, and set the Rates of the others Wines, and consequently afford them cheaper in our Islands; Thus whereas those two Monopolies of the _East-India_ and _African_ Companies prey only on their fellow-Subjects, this would make its Profits on a Foreign People; besides it would as it were create a new Market in a place where our Manufactures are almost disused.
I confess could it be done any other way I should not advise this, but I know none, unless those Wines were for some time prohibited to be carry'd to the Plantations, which would be very inconvenient for the Inhabitants, who cannot well subsist without them; the heat of the _Climate_ spends Nature apace, which must be supported, and nothing hath been found so agreeable to their Constitutions as the Wines brought from that Island.
We come now to speak of _Ireland_; which of all the Plantations setled by the _English_ hath proved most injurious to the Trade of this Kingdom, and so far from answering the ends of a Colony, that it doth wholly violate them; for if People be the Wealth of a Nation, then 'tis certain that a bare parting with any of them cannot be its Advantage, unless accompanied with Circumstances whereby they may be rendred more useful both to themselves, and also to those they left behind them, else so far as you deprive it of such who should consume its Product and improve its Manufactures you leffen its true Interest, especially when that Colony sets up a Separate, and not only provides sufficient of both for its self, but by the Overplus supplys other Markets, and thereby lessens its Sales abroad; This to a Kingdom so much made up of Manufactures as _England_ is must needs be attended with great Disadvantages, and yet to maintain a good Correspondence with _Ireland_ is very convenient, I shall therefore consider what Topicks may be laid down as general Rules for the Advantage of the former, and best agreeable with the true Interest of the latter.
It was a Question once put by _Pilate_, what is Truth? And when he had said this he went out again unto the _Jews_, &c. which Question seems to me rather to arise from a Perturbation in his own Mind occasioned by the fluctuating of several Interests, than from any Desire he had to receive an answer, for we do not find he staid to expect it; and the Consequence shew'd 'twas so, for his being willing to do the _Jews_ a pleasure, and fearing lest he should not be accounted a Friend to _Cæsar_, made him pass Sentence against his Judgment on an innocent Person, of whom he confest, he found no fault in him; Interest doth generally biass our Judgments in such a manner that the very supposing a thing to be so makes us uneasie under any Discourse that perswades only to enquire into it; but Truth is the same still, and the easiest way to discover it is by walking in the Paths of Plainness; Falshood wants Sophistry to lacker and set it off, therefore Men usually represent their private Interests under the name of a public Good, and thereby endeavour to guild the Pill they would have go down.
The Heads I shall proceed on are these Two.
1. To shew that _Ireland_ as things now stand is very destructive to the Interest of _England_.
2. That the Methods which may be used to render it more serviceable to the Interest of this Nation will also render it more serviceable to its own.
These are plain Propositions, understood by every Man, and I hope to make them out with the same plainness.
1. As to the first, that _Ireland_ is now destructive to the Interest of _England_, I think it will admit of little Dispute; for as long as that People enjoy so free and open a Trade to Foreign Parts, and thereby are encouraged to advance in their Woollen Manufactures, they must consequently lessen ours, than which they cannot do us a greater Mischief, being the Tools whereon we Trade, when they sink our Navigation sinks with them.
Now the Advantage _Ireland_ hath above _England_ in making the Woollen Manufactures will soon give them opportunities of outdoing us therein, first as it produces as good or rather better Wool, and next as it furnishes all Provisions cheaper to the Workmen, which renders them able to live on easier terms than ours can here, and this will in short time give Invitation for many more to remove thither.
2. But 'tis the second Proposition which will not be so easily allowed; how the true Interest of _Ireland_ will be advanced by such means as shall be used to promote that of _England_.
Here we must consider, what is the true Interest of _Ireland_, and wherein it doth consist? Whither in Trade and Manufactures, or in Improvement of its Lands by a good Settlement? And I doubt not but on a strict Scrutiny it will appear to be the latter; for indeed till that is made, no Trade can be serviceable to any People farther than it doth help towards it; Nor is it the Advantage of an ill-peopled Colony whose Riches are to be the Fruits of the Earth to divert any number of the Inhabitants from its Cultivation, whilst they can find Vent for their Product, and be supply'd with conveniencies another way; had our _American_ Plantations done so, they had never been well setled, but much more of their Lands at this time unimproved; and this I take to be one great Reason why the _English_ in _Ireland_ have always lain open to the Insults of the Natives there, the Country being slenderly peopled in the more Inland Parts; if so, then certainly whatever hinders the Peopling, and consequently the cultivating and improving the Lands of _Ireland_, doth so far hinder the advancing its true Interest.
Now nothing doth this more than Trade Abroad, and Manufactures at Home.
1. As they divert great Numbers of People which cannot be spared from Husbandry.
2. As they so far lessen the Strength and Security of that Island.
The true Interest then of _Ireland_ being Husbandry, Trade and Manufactures stand diametrically opposite thereto; for Trade being of it self less laborious, and the Poor maintained thereby living more easie than such as are employed in the Field, doth invite them rather to settle in that way than the other; this is the reason why such Multitudes of People daily flock into Cities from the Country, if they have either Encouragement themselves, or can foresee any for their Children, whereas few withdraw from Trade to the Labour of a Country Life; of this we have an eminent Example in _New England_, which tho' it was the first peopled, and by its Trade hath drawn thither great Numbers of Inhabitants, yet that large Colony hath not cultivated so much Ground as far less Numbers have in other Plantations much later setled; for whereas in them the Product was thought to be their Wealth, and therefore the Setlers disperst themselves, and with all the Assistance they could get endeavoured to clear and fit the Ground for breaking up, these took another Course, and by keeping together chose rather to live on Buying and Selling, by which means their Improvements are very small, and their Product of no value suitable to their Numbers, so that it seems at present rather a Magazine of Trade, their chief Imployment being to supply the other _American_ Plantations with Fish catch'd on the Coasts, and some other things raised near the Seaside, and in Returns bring thence the Commodities of their Growth, which they again barter with us, or Ship to Markets themselves, and here it is to be noted that the great Ballance of their Ttade is Ships, which (having plenty of Timber) they build on reasonable Rates, either for Sale, or to be imployed for transporting their own Commodities, which being generally bulky, such as Timber, Mackrill, Bread, Horses, for the Plantations, and Codfish for _Europe_, great part of their value arises from their Freights; This was indeed their oversight at first, and now scarce to be retrieved; for had they then began with Planting, and followed that closely for some time, they might in all probability long since have made themselves Masters of a greater Product, which would have laid the foundations of a much larger Trade both to _Europe_ and other places in _America_; they are indeed a thrifty sort of People, but want Commodities of their own Product, and the Profits of a Nations Trade being very much limited according to that, if the Parliament should think fit by new Laws to hinder the Freedom they now enjoy in our _American_ Plantations (which I judge absolutely necessary, because so much abused by their carrying those Commodities to Foreign Markets without touching first in _England_, to the lessening our Customs, and discouraging our Merchants here) their Trade must sink, and they see their error too late.
2. And as Foreign Trade and Manufactures lessen the Number of Husbandmen in _Ireland_, so secondly it lessens the Strength and Security of that Island, which lies in a good Number of hardy People, enured to Labour, who with it defend their own Interests, and cannot depart thence without leaving their All; whereas Merchants and Traders being but Temporary Residents may and often do leave a place when it most requires their Stay for its Defence; an Instance of this we had lately, when the trading Part of the Inhabitants thereof who could remove their Effects left it soonest, whilst the Men of Land came more uneasily away, because they left their Estates behind them, and had no Methods of maintaining themselves in _England_ but by living on what they brought with them, whereas the others soon fell into Trade here, and tho' they changed the place were still in their Employments; now the Security of the Freeholders of _Ireland_ is to engage as many as they can in the same Interest with themselves, which may be done by dividing the Lands into particular Farmes, in bigness suitable to the Stocks of such as undertake them; by this means they fix their Roots in the Ground, and bind them with a Band of Iron; nor would many of their People (if Trade were discouraged) return to _England_ again, but imploy themselves and their Stocks in improving such Farms as they should purchase either for Lives or Years at easie Rents, or making themselves Freeholders.
And as the security of _Ireland_ is lessen'd at Land by Trade, so likewise at Sea, for which they depend on the Kingdom of _England_; now can it be thought this Nation will be at continual charges only to raise a People which shall vye with them in their Trade? Or that we can be able to do it when our Navigation decays? which it must do as the others increases, who afford us few Saylers towards Manning our Fleet, whilst our own are harrast by continual Presses; for let them be sure if the _French_ King could have marched an Army thither as easie as he could to _Flanders_, the Lands of _Ireland_ might long since have had other Landlords, maugre all the defence they could have made.
Nor does the Profit of this Trade and Manufacture redound to the Free-holders, but only to the Traders, who as I hinted before are a separate Interest, and remove at their Pleasures.
But if the People of _Ireland_ think _England_ is bound to defend them against a Foreign Invasion an Account of its own Interest and Security, they must be allow'd to be in the right, yer let them consider also that we have power to limit their Trade so as it may be least prejudicial to our own, which in my Judgment cannot better be done than by reducing that Kingdom to the State of our other Plantations, confining the Exportation of their Product only hither, and that also unmanufactured, and preventing their being supplied with Necessaries from other Nations; this will make _Ireland_ profitable to _England_, and in some measure recompence the vast Charges we have been at for its Reduction and Delivery out of the Hands of Foreign Powers and _Popish_ Cut-throats, and that not less than twice in forty Years, all paid by the People of _England_, a Guess whereat may be made by this, that the last cost above Three Hundred and Forty Thousand Pounds only in Transport Ships, for which we now pay Interest; and if the Charge of Transporting our Army thither with their Provisions and Ammunition cost so much, what did the pay of the first and Purchase of the latter amount unto? Now 'tis very reasonable the Nation should some way or other receive Satisfaction for its Expences, and none seems more just and equal than this, which would only limit the Profits of a few Merchants, who carry on a Trade to the Prejudice of _England_; As for the Freeholders, they would be supply'd with Necessaries on as cheap terms as now, and find Chapmen for their Product, which would be bought up by Factories setled from _England_, or they might send them hither themselves if they thought fit, and by this means all would be manufactured here, and Foreign Markets must be supply'd hence as they are now thence.
This is the way to prevent transporting their Wool for other Places to the Prejudice of our Manufactures, and Importing Tobacco with other of our Plantation Commodities directly thence to the prejudice of our Customs and Merchants; this also would imploy our Navigation, and by its short Voyages make Multitudes of Seamen; In short, we cannot imagine the Advantages it would bring to this Kingdom till Experience hath shew'd us.
[Sidenote: Act of Prohibition.]
But then the _Act of Prohibition_ must be repealed, there must be free Liberty to bring in Cattle both alive and dead, and all things else which that Land produces; and here I must again renew the Question, _What is Truth_? 'Twill be as difficult to perswade the Gentlemen of _England_ that this is their true Interest, as it is those of _Ireland_ that theirs does not consist in Trade and Manufactures, one being byassed by the breeding part of this Nation, as the others are by their Merchants, who represent their private Profits as the Nations; and it is not to be wondred they have Success therein when it carries so much the face of a present advantage; but that the Gentlemen of _England_ should be still fond of that Act after so many Years smarting under it seems to me very strange, than which I know no Law in my time hath been more pernicious to the Traffique of this Kingdom; 'twas this first put those of _Ireland_ on that Trade which hath since almost eat out ours; 'twas this set them on Manufactures, which were so far advanced before the late troubles, that the sales of one Market as I have been informed came to a Thousand Pounds _per_ Week; for so long as they had Liberty of Importing their Product hither, and found a constant Sale when Imported, they were contented therewith, but being put on a necessity of finding out Foreign Markets for their Provisions, this made their Merchants (who were before generally Factors to those of _England_, and are to give them their due an ingenious prying People) dive deeper, and since we refused to take the Flesh, they chose to keep the Fleece, and either to Ship it to Foreign Countrys where 'twould yield a greater Price, or by a Manufacture to render it fit for those Markets wherein they vended the other; 'Twas this that hath produced such great Quantities of Wool in _Ireland_ as have at least equalled if not exceeded _England_, for the greatest part of the Lands of that Kingdom by reason of the thinness of its Inhabitants being turned rather to pasture than Tillage, and this Prohibition discouraging the raising black Cattle, put the People on stocking them with Sheep; which Overplus would again decrease if _Ireland_ becoming better peopled in its _Inland_ Parts by laying aside Trade fell more on Tillage, or by repealing this Act the Inhabitants received Encouragement to betake themselves again to breeding black Cattle; now if it be true that not the quantity of a Commodity at Market but the Demand when there makes it bear a Price, it will appear that the Makers of that Law were out in their Politiques, by not considering that the Product of _Ireland_ must be consumed somewhere, and if sent to Foreign parts formerly supplied hence 'twould abate the Exportation of ours, the Consequence whereof would be the lessening their Expence abroad more than it was increased at home; nor did they at the same time take care to put us on any footing equal with the others by abatement in the Customs on Exportation, and thereby enabling the Merchants of _England_ to sell suitably with those of _Ireland_, but still continued Three Shillings _per_ Barrel on Beef, and Four on Pork, whilst the others paid much less there, the same on Butter, Bread, Flower, and other Provisions, so that a Stander by would have thought this Law had been contrived for the Advantage of _Ireland_; all which proceeded from the mistaken Interest of one part of the Kingdom, which (were it true) ought not to prevail to the Detriment of a National Trade, and the true Interest of the Remainer.
Nor will it be reasonable unless this Liberty be given to bind up _Ireland_ from a Foreign Trade, and consequently to confine the consumption of its Product to a Home Expence, except what we shall occasionally fetch from them to carry Abroad; This as it will discourage the Freeholders there, so will it Industry here, and the Trade must be managed by great _Funds_, small Stocks not being able to engage in transporting the Commodities they receive in Barter to Foreign Markets, which they might in bringing them to _England_, being a shorter Voyage; and so consequently the Product of _Ireland_ would have more Buyers, and the Inhabitants be supplyed with Necessaries on cheaper Terms by this free Trade, than when their whole Dependance should be on those Monopolizers.
The next Question will be what effect the taking off this Prohibition will have on our native Product? Whither it will lessen its Consumption? I am of opinion it will not, because our Exports must be increased as theirs from _Ireland_ are lessened, unless we do imagine Foreign Markets will not consume the same quantities they did before, or will find out new ways to be supplied with them from other places; besides, by how much more charges are added to the Products of _Ireland_ (as those of Freight and other petty Expences on such bulky Commodities will be if brought hither) so much will ours be put on the same Footing with them, and bear a better price.
It's well known that the Exporting our Wool to Foreign Markets hath by the ill Consequences thereof abated its Price at Home; This hath been observed by Calculations made by considering Men, and the reason was, because those Countrys were thereby enabled to work up much larger Quantities of their own into various sorts of Manufactures, which both fitted their occasions at Home, and supplied Markets abroad where we generally vended ours; by this means our Sales growing slack, and finding new Competitors in our Trade, we were forced to sell our Manufactures cheap, and this was done by making them slighter, and by lessening the Prices both of Wool and Labour; whereas had we kept our Wool at Home these Mischiefs had been prevented, and the _French_ and other Nations could not have made such a Progress in Manufactures as they have done; their Wool being unfit to be wrought up by its self (unless mixt with _English_ or _Irish_) must have sought a Market here, and been returned again to them in Manufactures, which is the true way to enrich this Kingdom; This would have drawn over great Numbers of People to be employed in the Cloathing Trade, who would likewise have consumed our Product; and as these had increased so also had their Imployment, which would have kept up the Price of _Wool_, things being of value in Markets according as they are supply'd by Nation's standing in competition for Trade, and it must be allowed that it was not the Interest of _England_ to fall its Manufactures abroad had we been the only Sellers, for according as they yielded there, so much is the Wealth of this Nation advanced; This our Fore-fathers knew when they made Laws not only to prohibit the Exportation of _Wool_ hence, but also from _Ireland_, which Laws cannot be too strong, on whose due observation depends our Wealth or Ruin; now if the Trade of _Ireland_ was reduced to that of our other Colonies, and the same Care taken about the Commodities of its growth, our danger from that Kingdom in Relation to this would be at an end, when Methods may also be used to prevent its being Exported hence.
Nor is there any reason to be offered why _Ireland_ should have greater Liberty than our other Plantations, the Inhabitants whereof have an equal Desire to a free Trade, forgetting that the first design of their Settlement was to advance the Interest of _England_, against whom no Arguments can be used which will not equally hold good against _Ireland_.
1. As it was settled by Colonies spared from _England_.
2. As it hath been still supported and defended at the Charge of _England_.
3. As it hath received equal Advantages with the other Plantations from the Expence _England_ hath been at in carrying on Wars Abroad and Revolutions at Home; And on this last there is greater Reason against _Ireland_ than any of the rest, we having lately paid more Money for the Purchase of that Trade than the Profits thereof may bring to us and our Posterities for many Generations; so that 'twould be a piece of great Ingratitude for the Free-holders of _Ireland_ unwillingly to submit to any thing whereby the Interest of _England_ may be advanced, to the Inhabitants whereof they are indebted for their Lands, who have laid down their Lives and spent their Treasures to reinstate them in their Possessions.
As for Corn, Fish, and Horses, whither a Liberty may not be allowed to transport them thence direct for other Markets on Ships first entring here in _England_ is a point worth serious Consideration.
But the main objection as to _England_ is yet behind, a great part of the Gentlemen of this Kingdom thinking it will sink the Rents of their Lands if _Irish_ Cattle are admitted to be brought over alive, others that the Importation of Provisions thence will fall the Price of our own; and though in the former they do not so generally agree, differing according as their Lands are Scituated, and proper for Breeding or Feeding, yet in the latter they more unanimously consent, and cry out, _This is the great Diana of the Ephesians_, the less Provisions are brought in, the more our own will be expended, whereas if they did impartially consider, they would find it an empty _Idol_; Nothing will advance their Lands like Trade and Manufactures, therefore what-ever turns the Stream of these elsewhere lessens the Number of Inhabitants who should consume their Provisions, and when those increase so do the others, which (besides a home consumption by People engaged in Imployments distinct from Husbandry) doth always invite many Foreigners hither, who being Temporary Residents spend our Product, it being a sure Maxim that _where the Carcass is there will the Eagles be gathered together_.
Besides, when the _Irish_ Provisions are broughr hither, those Markets which were supply'd with them thence before will then have them hence, tho' perhaps at dearer Rates, and with them great Quantities of our own; No Man can imagine what Expence there would be of _English_ Cattle were we once fallen into the Trade of making Provisions here, _England_ as well in its Beef as Manufactures exceeding all other Countrys, with this farther Advantage, that the former for Goodness and Price cannot be supplied from any other place save _Ireland_; nor do I suppose it so much the Interest of this Kingdom when Provisions are advanced only by a Home Expence, as when 'tis done by a Foreign Export, the first makes particular Men grow Rich by preying on their Neighbours, but the Nation grows Rich by the latter, when we vend them abroad at good Prices; nor would our Plantations which now take off the greatest part of the Cattle slaughter'd in _Ireland_ spend one Barrel less if kill'd here.
All Trade had a beginning, occasioned by some lucky Accident which put People on new Projects, and why _England_ which hath so many Plantations depending on it should suspect a consumption for its Cattle I cannot imagine; we might then set the Rates of Provisions there, and the Merchants afford to give better Prices for them here, when they shall load them at Home, and save the Charges of going to _Ireland_, without fear of having their early Markets forestall'd thence; and the Planters being now grown rich are likewise able to give greater Rates for them than they could at their first Settlement; _England_ had never a fairer Opportunity of making an Entry on this Trade than now it hath, which would soon consume great Numbers of Cattle, and consequently give Encouragement to our Breeding Countrys as well as the Feeding.
But if a Manufactury is thought fit for _Ireland_, and its Circumstances will admit thereof, let that of Linnen be encouraged, this may draw over Multitudes of _French_ Refuges, and put them upon an Imployment wherewith they were formerly acquainted, which we must assist by the benefit of Importation Custom free, and the Advantage of Fashion; and then these two Kingdoms encouraging different Manufactures will be serviceable to each other, for which Stocks would not be wanting even from the People of _England_, who would delight to see _Ireland_ thrive when their Manufactures crost not ours; This would in time alter the Ballance of our Trade with _France_, when we shall send thither more Woollen, and receive thence less Linnen.
If the wisdom of the Parliament shall think fit by these or any other Methods to make _Ireland_ more serviceable to the Trade of _England_ it will advance both the Lands and Traffick of this Kingdom, and so make us all better able to pay the Charge of this long and expensive War.
I shall next say something to the Trade of _Scotland_, which hath formerly consumed more of our Woollen Manufactures than now it doth, since that Nation is fallen on making them there, which they do out of their own Wool, with the help of what they get from us, also of _Spanish_, both from hence and from _Holland_.
But their chief Manufactures are Linnen, Butter, and Herrings; 'twere to be wish'd the former was more encouraged by this Government, with Liberty to bring it hither Custom free, provided they would send us also their Wool, and then our Manufactures would not justle with each other; King _James_ the II. limited their Trade to his Pleasure by Act of Parliament, which I take to be a great reason why that People were so much at his Devotion, but the Liberty of a free Trade was made one of the Terms whereon his present Majesty received the Crown, who hath since given them Encouragement to settle Plantations abroad, such as they shall either plant, or buy from Foreign Princes, which he hath promised to enfranchise with the same Rights and Priviledges he doth grant in like Cases to the Subjects of his other Dominions.
They have also fallen lately on the thoughts of Codd-Fishing, whereof they have great shoals about their Coasts, which formerly they used to pickle and send away in Casks, but now intend to cure after the manner 'tis done in _Newfoundland_.
And doubtless these three things would much encourage Trade had they Stocks to manage them, but those they want; I have heard it discours'd that the Cash of that Kingdom amounted to One Million of Pounds Sterling, but I scarce believe it does to One Half, perhaps not one Third which properly belongs to its Inhabitants; therefore they propose to carry on the Woollen Manufactures Plantations and Fishery by _English_ Stocks, the two last by Companies, which will consist chiefly of _Londoners_, who first promoted the Designs, and will furnish Monies for managing them; Now I cannot think any Nation can settle Plantations abroad to advantage which wants Stock and Manufactures of its own to supply them, the great Profit of Plantations being to encourage Manufactures at Home, and the means to settle them is by giving long Credits to the Planters abroad, and when this is done by Money taken up at Interest from another Nation the whole Profit will redound to the Lenders, so that the _Scotch_ may make Settlements abroad, but if neither the Stock nor Manufactures are their own, they will have only the name of being Proprietors whilst others carry away the Profits, like a Gentleman who pays as much for Interest yearly as the Rents of his Lands bring in, he may have the Possession, but the Userer has the Income of his Estate; so for their Fishing, which being managed on _English_ Stocks will bring them only so much as shall pay for the labour of those imployed about it; The same for their Woollen Manufactures.
On the other side if the Trade to these Plantations is driven by an _English_ Corporation, the _Scotch_ indeed will get Imployments for their Saylors, but all the Product will be other Men's, who will take care for their own advantage to keep the Planters poor abroad, and the Inhabitants from inspecting into it at home.
Besides, that Kingdom being now supplied from _England_ with _West-India_ Commodities at cheaper Rates than they can expect to raise them, will want vent for their new Product when brought Home, unless absolutely prohibited to be imported thither from hence, which will be a new Tax on the Spender, paid only to a Foreign Monopoly; neither can they Export them to sell on equal Terms with the English; so that on the whole I cannot see what advantage the _Scotch_ can make at this time of day by setling Plantations, which if they do attempt, we must besure to take care of _Ireland_, and by reducing it to the terms of a Colony prevent their selling the Product there, which I am apt to think is the main thing they aim at.
The _Canary_ Trade brings us nothing but what we consume, and takes from us little of our Product or Manufactures, we chiefly purchase those Wines for Money therefore if it was reduced to the same Terms I have proposed for _Maderas_ it would do very well: By this means we should at least buy _Wines_ cheaper there, and then their Prices must be limited at Home, both on the Importer and Retailer; 'twill be convenient to regulate this Trade, but not to discourage it, for since we must drink Wines, 'twere better we had them from the _Spaniard_ than the _French_, the first takes off much of our Manufactures, the other little, and tho' perhaps the _Canary_ Islands may not, yet I am apt to think those Wines are paid for out of what we send to the Continent of _Spain_.
This brings me to the _Spanish_ Trade, which I take to be very profitable to this Kingdom, as it vents much of our Product and Manufactures, and supplies us with many things necessary to be used in making the latter; I shall divide it into three parts, _Spain_, _Biscay_, and _Flanders_.
To begin with _Spain_; by which I mean that part from the _Bay of Cadiz_ Eastward into the Streights of _Gibralter_; whither we send all sorts of Woollen Manufactures, Lead, Fish, Tin, Silk and Worsted Stockings, Butter, Tobacco, Ginger, Leather, Bees-Wax; and in Returns we have some things fit only for Consumption, such as are Fruit and Wines; others for our Manufactures, such as are Oyl, Cochineal, Indigo, Anato, Barilia; with some Salt; but the greatest part is made in Bullion, both Gold and Silver, with which this part of the Kingdom abounds, being supplied therewith from their large Empires on the Main of _America_, whither they again Export much of the Goods we carry thither.
The _Spaniards_ are a Stately People, not much given to Trade or Manufactures themselves, therefore the first they drive on such Chargeable and Dilatory terms both for their Ships and Ways of Navigation, that other trading Nations, such as the _English_, _French_, _Dutch_, and _Genoese_, take advantage thereby, only that to the _West-Indies_ is on strict Penalties reserved to themselves, but having no Manufactures of their own, the Profit thereof Returns very much to those who furnish them; indeed of late they have made a small beginning on _Bayes_, but will not be able to hold it when the War is ended; Nor have they so well secured the _West-Indies_ but that it is very plentifully supply'd by us with Manufactures, and many other things from _Jamaica_, which is accompanied with greater Advantage than when sent first to _Cadiz_; for whereas we generally sold them there at Twenty _per Cent_ advance, we do by this Means make at least _Cent per Cent_, all paid for in Bullion, which adds to the Wealth of the Nation; this I take to be the true Reason why our Vent for them at _Cadiz_ is lessened, because we supply _New-Spain_ direct with those things they used to have thence before.
By _Biscay_ I mean all that part under the _Spanish_ Government which lies in the _Bay_ of that Name; the Commodities we send thither are generally the same; likewise formerly great Quantities of Refined Sugars, till we gave the _French_ and _Dutch_ leave to undermine us, partly by the Advantages they had by the late Imposition on _Muscovadoes_, and partly by the Imprudence and ill Management of our _Sugar-Bakers_, who would not take Pains to comply with the humours of that People as the others did; but I hope if due care be taken, that profitable Trade may be recovered again.
The Commodities we have thence are very advantageous, such as Sheeps Wool, Iron, and Bullion, whereof the first is the best, as being the subject Matter of a great Manufacture, which could we secure wholly to our selves (tho' it cost all Bullion) 'twould be of great Advantage to the Nation, but both the _Dutch_ and _French_ come in for their Shares.
The third part of our _Spanish_ Trade is that to _Flanders_, whereby I mean all that part of the low Countrys now under its Government; whither we send Commodities much of the same nature with those we send to the other Parts, tho' not in so great Quantities; and among our Woollen Manufactures more course Medlys; also Coals from _Newcastle_; but not so much Leather, being supplied freely with raw Hides from _Ireland_, which are tann'd there; This might be prevented were that Kingdom reduced to the State of a Colony, and the Profit thereof would then return hither; We have thence Linnens, Thread, and other things, which are used at home, and shipp'd off to the Plantations.
The next is the Trade we drive to the Kingdom of _Portugal_; where we vend much of our Product and Manufactures, little different in their Kinds from what is sent to _Spain_; and from thence we have in Returns Bullion, Salt, Oyl, Woad and Wines; of the latter we have lately imported great Quantities, which as they take well with the People of _England_, so its more our Interest than to have them from _France_, whence our Imports are more than our Exports, and to this Kingdom our Exports are greater than the Product thereof can make us Returns, especially since we have desisted from bringing home their Sugars, a Commodity wherewith we are more advantageously supplyed from our own Plantations, and did before the War furnish Foreign Markets cheaper than they could.
This People were formerly the great Navigators of the World, to whom we are indebted for their many Discoveries both in the _East_ and _West-Indies_, besides the several Islands of the _Azores_, _Cape de Verde_, and also _Maderas_; to these Islands they admit us a free Trade, but their remoter Settlements on the Continent of _America_ they reserve more strictly to themselves, whither they Export many of the Commodities we send them, and in Returns have, Sugars, Tobacco, with some other things, which are again Transported to the _European_ Markets, tho' little of them hither; Their Islands we supply direct from _England_ with our Manufactures, and from the _Azores_ load Corn, Woad, some Sugars, Wines and Bullion, all received in Barter for them, but chiefly the first, which we carry to _Maderas_, where 'tis again Barter'd for Wines, shipp'd thence to our Plantations in _America_; in all these the Inhabitants live well, and are very rich, but those residing on the _Cape de Verd_ Islands are generally a poor despicable People, made up of _Negroes_, _Molattoes_, and such like, who having but little Product to give in Returns are therefore but meanly supplyed with Commodities, and those very ordinary, so that they have scarce wherewith to cover themselves, much less for Luxury; Asses Bieves and Salt being all we have from them, which we generally carry to our Plantations in _America_; Beife might be made very cheap there could it be saved, being purchased for little, and Salt for less, but the Climate will not admit it; the chief of which Islands is St. _Jago_, very rich, well governed, and a Bishops Sea, where they are well supplied, because they have Money to pay for what they buy.
The _Portugueze_ as they are now become bad Navigators, so they are not great Manufacturers; some sorts of course Cloth they do make, and did once attempt _Bayes_, for which they drew over some of our Workmen, but it soon came to an end, and they returned home again by Encouragements given them hence, so prudent a thing it is to stop an Evil in the beginning.
Since this War they have had great Advantages in their Navigation, for being engaged on neither side they have by that means drawn Imployments from all; _Lisbon_ hath also been as it were a free Port for several Commodities to be thence Transported to _France_, whence among other things it hath been supply'd with Lead, which occasioned once an Order of Council here for stopping all Ships bound thither with that Commodity, esteem'd so useful to them in carrying on the War, but on second Thoughts it was recall'd, for which Order there seem'd to be no good Ground at first, as if the _French_ King, who doubtless would not refrain taking the Plate out of his Churches to support the Charge of his War, should out of Reverence spare the Lead that covered them if he wanted it, and could not elsewhere be supplyed with it, which was not probable, since 'twas so plenty in every part of his Kingdom, one Tun whereof according to a moderate Computation making above Thirty Thousand Bullets; I wish he were better furnish'd with our Product and Manufactures, and we had his Money for them, which would much more weaken him, than the other would enable him to carry on the War; _Ireland_ supplies _Portugal_ with tann'd Leather and Woollen Manufactures, which would be sent hence if the Trade of that Kingdom was well regulated.
The Trade driven to _Turkey_ is very profitable, which affords us Markets for great Quantities of our Woollen Manufactures and Lead, shipt hence to _Constantinople_, _Scandaroon_ and _Smyrna_, and from thence disperst over all the _Turkish_ Dominions, also to _Persia_: The Commodities we have thence in Returns are Raw Silk, Cotten Wool and Yarn, Goats-Wool, Grogram-Yarn, Cordivants, Gaules, Potashes, and some other things, which are the foundations of several Manufactures different from our own, by the variety whereof we better suit Cargoes to Export again; and though it must be allowed that the _Turky_ Merchants carry thither Bullion, and 'twas to be wish'd the Trade could be driven without it, being better for this Nation if we bought all things in Barter for our Product and Manufactures, (which above the Foreign Materials they are made off are all Profit) yet if we rightly consider, we shall find great difference between Buying for Mony Commodities already manufactured, which hinder the use of our own, such as those brought from the _East-Indies_, or things to be spent on our Luxury, such as Wines and Fruit, and buying therewith Commodities to keep our Poor at work, these must be had though purchased with all Bullion, and therefore we ought highly to esteem that Trade wherein we receive so great a part of them in Barter for the other.
To the several Ports of _Italy_ we ship great Quantities of Lead and other our Product, and many sorts of Woollen Manufactures, but chiefly those made of Worsted, also Fish, and Sugars both White and Brown, the last principally to _Venice_, but more thereof in times of Peace than we do in this time of War, Freights being high, and the Commoditie dear at home; we bring thence Raw and Thrown Silk, and Red Wool, which are wrought up here; also Oyl and Soap, used in working our Wool; some Paper and Currants.
Both _Venice_ and _Genoua_ have made some Progress in a Woollen Manufacture, being furnished with Wool from _Alicant_ and those Eastern parts of _Spain_; wrought Silks and Glass are not so much Imported thence as they were, since we have fallen on making them at home.
The _Dutch_ do likewise buy many of our Manufactures, and some of our Product, as Coals, Butter, Lead, Tin, besides things of smaller value, such as Clay, Redding, &c. which are all Exported to _Holland_, not only for their own use, but being a Mart of Trade for _Germany_ they disperse them for the Expence of those Countrys, among whom also they vent our _West-India_ Commodities, as Sugars, Tobacco, Indigo, Logwood, Fustick, Ginger, Cotten Wool, besides what they use themselves; These are an industrious People, but having little Land do want Product of their own to trade on, except what they raise by their Fisheries, and bring from the _East-Indies_, whereof Spices and Salt-Peter are many times admitted to be brought hither, though contrary to the _Act of Navigation_; Indeed the Trade of the _Dutch_ consists rather in Buying and Selling than Manufactures, most of their Profits arising from that and the Freights they make of their Ships, which (being built for Burthen) are imployed generally in a Home Trade for Bulky Commodities, such as Salt from St. _Ubes_ to the _Sound_, Timber, Hemp, Corn, Pitch, and such things thence to their own Country, which Ships are Sailed with few Hands, and this together with the lowness of Interest enables them to afford those Commodities at such Rates that many times they are fetch'd thence by other Nations cheaper than they could do it from the Places of their Growth, all Charges considered; 'tis strange to observe how those People buz up and down among themselves, the vastness of whose Numbers causes a vast Expence, and that Expence must be supply'd from abroad, so one Man gets by another, and they find by Experience that as a Multitude of People brings Profit to the Government, so it creates Imployment to each other; besides, they invent new ways of Trade, by selling not only things they have, but those they have not, great quantities of Brandy being disposed of every Year, which are never intended to be delivered, only the Buyer and Seller get or lose according to the Rates it bears at the time agreed on to make good the Bargains; such a Commerce to _England_ would be of little Advantage, no more than jobbing for _Guineas_, this Nation would no way advance its Wealth thereby, whose Profits depend on our Product and Manufactures; But that Government raising its Incomes by the Inhabitants, (who pay on all they eat, drink, or wear) cares not so much by what means each Person gets, as that they have People to pay, which are never wanting from all Nations, for as one goes away another comes, and every Temporary Resident advances their Revenue; therefore to increase their Numbers they make the Terms of Trade easie; contrary to the Customs of Cities and private Corporations with us, the narrowness of whose Charters discourages Industry and Improvements both in Handecrafts and Manufactures, because they exclude better Artists from their Societies, unless they purchase their Freedoms at unreasonable Rates.
Another great Market for our Manufactures in _Hamburgh_: This City vents great Quantities of our Cloth, Sugar, Tobacco, and other Plantation Commodities, which are thence sent into _Germany_; from whence we have Linnens, Linnen Yarn, and other Commodities, very necessary both for the use of our selves and our Plantations, and no way thwarting with our own Manufactures.
_Poland_ also takes off many of our Manufactures, wherewith it is supply'd chiefly from _Dantzick_ within the _Sound_, whither they are first carry'd, and thence disperst into all parts of that Kingdom, which hath but little Wool of its own, and that chiefly in _Ukrania_; but the Expence of our Cloth hath been lessened there, since _Silesia_ and the adjoyning parts of _Germany_ have turned their Looms to that Commodity, occasioned by our disusing their Linnens, and wearing Calicoes in their room; We have thence some Linnens, also Potashes.
_Russia_ is likewise supplyed both from _Dantzick_, and also by way of St. _Angelo_ with our Woollen Manufactures, and in Returns we have Linnen, Potashes, Hemp, Leather, and many other Commodities, both useful at Home, and fit to be carry'd Abroad.
_Sweden_ and its Territories take off great quantities of our Manufactures both fine and course, besides Tobacco and Sugars; but the Sale of our Broad Cloth hath been much lessened there of late, occasioned by their loading it with great Duties, on purpose to encourage a Manufacture of their own, their Wool is course, but _Scotland_ sends them finer to mix with it, so consequently the Cloth made thereof must be ordinary, however the King encourages its wearing by his own Example, and thinks it his Interest so to do, as it advances his Revenue by better enabling his People to pay it, yet this Manufacture must fall, especially if _Scotland_ sets up any themselves, however all sorts of Serges, Stuffs, and Perpets, are carry'd thither as freely as before; whither we formerly sent also great Quantities of Calamy, till by a late Act its Exportation was loaden with a Duty above its value, occasioned by a wrong Information given the _House of Commons_, that it could not be supplyed from any other place, the smart whereof those concerned in the raising and calcining that Commodity have felt, none being Shipt off ever since, _Sweden_ being furnished therewith from other Countrys, who formerly sent it thither, tho' they could not do it on such reasonable Terms as we did, whereby we beat them out of the Trade, but by this means having the Market wholly to themselves will thereby receive such Encouragement as to put an end to ours, unless that Act be soon repealed.
[Sidenote: Denmark and Norway.]
_Denmark_ hath no Supply of Woollen Manufactures but from us, yet takes no great Quantities, and _Norway_ less, the People of the latter being generally very poor are content with any thing they can get to cover themselves; some Tobacco and Sugar is also Shipt hence, and spent amongst them.
From these Northern Kingdoms we are supply'd with Pitch, Tar, Hemp, Masts, Timber, Iron, all very useful in our Navigation, and without which we cannot carry it on, Commodities which we must have though purchased with Money; I look on any thing which saves our Timber at Home to be advantageous to this Nation, which the great quantities of Baulks and Boards imported thence do.
The _French_ Trade hath every age grown less and less profitable to our Woollen Manufactures, not only as the Inhabitants make wherewith to supply themselves, but also other Nations, which they could not do were they not furnished with Wool from hence and _Ireland_, their own being unfit to work by it self; if the latter were reduced to the Terms of a Colony it would put a stop to it there, and then ways might be found out to prevent it here; nor doth _France_ spend much of our other Manufactures, or of the growth of this Kingdom, or Product of our Plantations, some Tobacco it doth, also Coals, Butter, Calve-Skins, Bottles, and a few other things; it also furnishes us with nothing to be manufactured here; so that the Trade we drive thither turns rather to their Advantage than ours, which being generally for things consumed amongst us, and our Imports exceeding our Exports, must needs be loss to this Kingdom; But if Linnen Manufactures can be setled in _Scotland_ and _Ireland_, Distilling, Paper, and Silk Manufactures, encouraged here, the Ballance will soon be altered, especially if the _Portuguese_ make Improvements in their Wines, for which they now receive great Encouragement, the People of _England_ being not so fond of the _French_ as they were.
[Sidenote: What Foreign Trades are profitable, and what are not to our Manufactures.]
And thus I have run thro' most of the Trades driven from this Kingdom, and shew'd how they advance its Interest by taking off our Product and Manufactures, and supplying us with Materials to be manufactured again, wherein `tis a certain Rule that so far as any Nation furnishes us with things already manufactured, or only to be spent among our selves, so much less is our Advantage by the Trade we drive thither, especially if those Manufactures interfere with our own; therefore I think the _East-India_ Trade to be unprofitable to us, hindring by its Silks and Calicoes the Consumption of more of our Manufactures in _Europe_ than it doth take from us; the _Spanish_, _Turky_, and _Portugal_ Trades are very advantageous, as they vend great Quantities of our Product and Manufactures, and furnish us with Materials to be wrought up here, and disperse our Commodities to other places where we could not so conveniently send them our selves; This _Spain_ doth to all parts of its Settlements in _America_, _Turkey_ to the _Black Sea_, _Persia_, and all its Territories both in _Europe_ and _Asia_; _Portugal_ doth the same to _Brazile_; the _Dutch_, _Hamburgh_, and _Dantzick_ Trades are very useful, as they supply _Germany_, _Poland_ and _Russia_, with our Manufactures, and little interfere with us therein; _Sweden_ and _Denmark_ are profitable, both in what they take from us, and what they supply us with again; _Ireland_ as now managed is destructive to us; _Scotland_, for want of Stock is not capable of making any Advance either in Manufactures or Plantations to our Prejudice; _Italy_ takes off great Quantities of our Worsted Manufactures, and sends us little of its own save wrought Silks, whereof we shall every Year Import less as we encrease that Manufacture here; but above all I esteem the _African_ and _West-India_ Trades most profitable to the Nation, as they imploy more People at home, and encourage Navigation abroad, all their Product is our Wealth, and hath been a means to ballance our Losses this War, and yet they might be better improved to our Advantage; but the _French_ Trade is certainly our Loss, _France_ being like a Tavern, with whom we spend what we get by other Nations; 'tis strange we should be so bewitch'd to that People, as to take off their Growth which consists chiefly of things for Luxury, and receive a value only from the Esteem we put on them, whilst at the same time they prohibit our Manufactures, in order to set up the like amongst themselves, which we encourage by supplying them with Materials; and not only so, but they lay a Tax on our Ships for fetching away their Product, which must else perish on their Hands.
[Sidenote: The Ballances of Foreign Trades.]
The Ballance of that Trade is always against us, from whom we have in Goods more than we Ship them; The Ballance of _Spain_ and _Portugal_ is always in our Favour; as for the _Dutch_, _Germany_, and _Hamburgh_, their Ballances in Trade are not yet agreed on, some think we ship them most, others that we receive most from them, I encline to the former, the Exchange at all times seems to confirm me therein, and tho' a Pound in _Holland_ is now worth above a Pound sterling, yet I judge it to proceed from the great Remittances we are forced to make for our Armies, which the Exchangers know how to improve to their own Advantage; the Northern Crowns supply us with more than they take from us, but the Commodities we have from them are better than Money; _Turky_ takes Money from us, yet is very beneficial; _Italy_ will grow more and more in its Ballance on our side every year, as the Importation of Wrought Silks is lessened and turned into Raw and Thrown; Now considering that almost the whole World is supplyed by our labour, and that our Plantations do daily bring us such Incomes, 'tis strange if this Nation should not grow Rich, which doubtless it would do above all its Neighbours were things well managed.
[Sidenote: What Nations do chiefly cope with us in our Manufactures.]
Those who cope with us in our Manufactures are chiefly, the _French_, _Dutch_, and _Ireland_; as to the latter, it lies in our Power to give Rules to them; and for the _French_, let due care be taken to prevent their being supply'd with Wool from hence and _Ireland_, and we shall soon see an alteration therein; 'tis true they are of more danger than the _Dutch_, because they have more Wool of their own, but this they cannot work without ours or Irish; The Commodities they make are generally pretty slight Stuffs, wherein they use a great deal of Combing Wool, and these they not only wear themselves, but send to _Portugal_ and other Places with good Success, to countermine which we have fallen on the same by Assistance of the _French_ Refugees; I wonder at the fancy of those who are always finding fault that we do not make our Manufactures as good and as strong as formerly we did, wherein I think they are to blame, for we must fit them to the humours of the Buyers, and slight Cloth brings an equal Profit to the Nation with strong, and gives the same Imployment to our People; yet where Seals and other Marks are set I would have them be certain Evidences to the truth of what they certifie, either to the length of the Peece, or that the inside is suitable to the outside, or that 'tis truly wove, and without Flaws; the same in respect to the Colour, that 'tis woaded, or madder'd, or the like; and I take it to be a great deal of difference between this and obliging the Manufacturer to make his Cloth or Stuff to a certain weight and thickness, without any respect to the humour of the Buyer, or the Climate of the Country to which it is sent; As for the _Dutch_, as I take them to be no good Planters, so no good Manufacturers, their Heads are not turned that way, but rather to Navigation and Traffick, they were once famous in the Art of Cloth-making, which was maintained by the Wool they fetch'd hence, but King _Edward_ the III. considering the Advantage they made by imploying their People with our Growth whilst our own stood still, prohibited the Exportation of Wool, and the Importation of Foreign Cloth, and cunningly perswaded the _Dutch_ Manufacturers by Priviledges granted them to settle here; if then the prohibiting Wool to be carried out had so good an effect at a time when cloathing was the great Support of that People, why should not our greater Care to prevent it now have a far better, when the whole Trade of that Nation seems to be in the _United Provinces_, and they chiefly set on Buying and Selling? We cannot hinder them from _Spanish_ Wool, but we may from our own and _Irish_: As for _Scotland_ and _Sweeden_, their Manufactures will come to nothing, and it would be the great Wisdom of this Nation to encourage them to bring all their Wool hither, though at some charge to the Publick; as for _Germany_, the Woollen Manufacture is not so natural to them as the Linnen, which they would soon turn to, if we gave them Encouragement by wearing it here and in our Plantations; this would be more advantageous to _England_ than by the use of Calicoes to force a Neighbouring Nation to fence with us at our own Weapons, which they very unwillingly undertake; the Woollen Manufactures in _Italy_ are but small, and those chiefly among the _Venetians_, something among the _Genouese_, these we cannot hinder, being supply'd with Wool from those parts of _Spain_ which are near to them, except we could promote a Contract with the _Spaniard_ for all he hath, to which we never had a fairer Opportunity, and I do not believe the _Dutch_ would much oppose it if we gave them liberty to bring it in as Merchandize, I should be glad to see such a Barter made, tho' by relinquishing to them our part of the _East-India_ Trade; Had we once the Command of all the Wool of _Europe_, we might then set what Prices we would on our Manufactures in Foreign Markets, which now we cannot do, but must sell them cheap, lest we be undersold by other Nations who vye with us therein, and our Manufactures selling well abroad, Wool would yield a good Price at home; But if it be doubted that too much Wool will be Imported, 'twould be better to burn the Overplus at the charge of the Pub¦lick (as the _Dutch_ do their Spices) than to have it wrought up abroad, which there is no reason to fear, seeing all the Wool of _Christendom_ is manufactured some where or other; and if the _Act_ for _Burying in Woollen_ did extend to our Plantations, 'twould be of great use towards the Consumption of our Wool: Thus when the Nation comes to see that the Labour of its People is its Wealth, 'twill put us on finding out Methods to make every one work that is able, which must be done either by hindring such swarms from going off to Idle or Useless Imployments, or by preventing such Multitudes of lazy People from being maintained by Begging.
[Sidenote: Difference between imploying our own Ships, and those of other Nations.]
And this is farther to be noted, that where a Nation doth fetch from us our Manufactures themselves, and Imports to us Materials, we get less by that Trade than if we did it in our own Bottoms, because that doth also encourage our Navigation; thus we get more by the _Spanish_ Trade, because we both supply them with the former, and fetch their Wool, Oyl, &c. in our own Ships; and we lose more by the _French_ when they bring us their Wines and Brandy than when we fetch them our selves, and accordingly we must take our Measures in judging of all other Trades.
[Sidenote: Whither the Ballance of Foreign Trade may be truly judged.]
It hath been a great Debate how the Ballance of our Foreign Trade shall be computed, and what Methods must be taken to know whither we get or lose thereby; some have thought that if we Export more than we Import we lose by Trade, others that if we Export of substantial Commodities more in value than we Import in such we then lose by it, and this seems to be the most rational Computation, but I do not think there is any certainty in the Account we can have of either; our Exports indeed are better known than our Imports by the _Custom-House_ Books, the Bullion and such things being not entered there, and seldom presented, besides many Commodities both outward and inward are run, and never come under the Cognizance of those Officers; but suppose a more exact Account could be kept, since so great a part of the Trade of _England_ is driven by Exchange, and such vast quantities of Commodities are imported from the _West-Indies_ and others exported thither for Account of the Inhabitants of those Plantations, the Ballances whereof they design to lie here as foundations of a secure Settlement for themselves at home, which Commodities are Exported to Foreign Nations on the Accounts of its Inhabitants, who pay for them here by Bills of Exchange, I cannot see how any moderate Computation can be made thereby of our general Trade, much less of that we drive with any particular Nation, the Commodities which we receive at one place being often carried to another; Thus we transport to _Italy_ the Sugars we receive for our Manufactures in _Portugal_, and bring thence Silks and other things to be manufactured here; thus we carry to _Turky_ the Money we receive at _Cadiz_, which helps us there in the selling our Manufactures, and purchasing Materials more protable to this Nation than the Money would be if Imported in Specie; and yet we must not conclude we lose by the _Portugal_ or _Spanish_ Trades because the Returns fall short by the _Custom-House_ Books, or that we get more by the _Italian_ Trade because it doth not appear by them how we exported Commodities to pay for those we Import, so the thing must still remain doubtful.
[Sidenote: A Committee of Trade would be of great advantage to the Kingdom.]
I think it would be a consideration becoming the wisdom of the Nation if a standing Committee of Trade were appointed at the charge thereof, made up of Men both honest and discreet, and I doubt not such may be found, whose only business should be to consider the State thereof as to its Trade; to find out ways how it may be improved both in its Husbandry, Manufactures, and Navigation; to see how the Trade with Foreign Kingdoms grows more or less profitable to us; how and by what Methods we are outdone by others in the Trades we drive, or hindred from enlarging them; what is necessary to be prohibited both in Imports and Exports, and for how long time; to hear Complaints from our Factories setled in Foreign Kingdoms; to correspond with our Ministers abroad about Trade, and to represent all things rightly to the Government, with their advice what Courses are proper to be taken for its Encouragement; and generally to study by what Means and Methods the Trade of this Nation may be improved both abroad and at home; if this was well setled, the good Effects thereof would soon be seen; but then great care must be taken that these Places be not fill'd up with Courtiers, who know nothing of the Business, and so this excellent Constitution become only a Matter of Form and Expence; and herein I would propose for Pattern the Members of the Bank of _England_, who wisely foresaw if that project should fall into such Hands, 'twould soon come to decay; therefore the first thing they did was by fundamental Rules to shut out all from having a share in the management, who had not a good Interest in its Profits or Losses, and next to choose out of that number such for their Officers, who being bred up in Business knew how to improve it to the best advantage: The _French_ King found this Method very useful in the Management of his War, and his Opponents soon saw that Monsieur _Colberts_ Head did them more Mischief than an Army in the Field, because the latter only put in Execution abroad what he advised at home; and I think there is not more need of Policy in War than in Trade, the curious Fibres by which it moves are so fine and thin that if strained by injudicious Hands they are soon broken, and yet our Parliaments generally handle it very coursely, and usually do more Hurt than Good when they meddle with it, not foreseeing the ill consequences of what they do will overballance the Good they intend, and that the Methods they use will not answer their ends, the reason whereof is because the Conceptions they have of it are too gross for a thing so full of Spirit as Trade is; He that will but consider the _Irish_ Prohibition Act, the Clogg put on _Distilling_ by the Barly Act, and on Navigation by the Tunnage Act, will soon see they are in Truth Hindrances to what that Honourable Assembly intended by them, the Advancement of Land.
I cannot close this Discourse without saying something of Insurance, the first design whereof was to encourage the Merchant to export more of our Product and Manufactures, when he knew how to ease himself in his Adventure, and to bear only such a proportion thereof as he was willing, but by the irregular Practices of some Men (especially since this War) the first Intention is wholly obviated, who without any Interest have put in early Policies, and gotten large Subscriptions on Ships, only to make advantage by selling them to others, and therefore have industriously promoted false Reports, and spread Rumours on the _Exchange_ to the Prejudice of the Ship or Master, filling all Mens Minds with Doubts, whereby the fair Trading Merchant when he comes to insure his Interest either can get no one to underwrite, or at such high Rates that he finds it better to buy the others Policies at great advance; by this means these _Stockjobbers of Insurance_ have as it were turned it into a Wager, to the great Prejudice of Trade; likewise many ill-designing Men their Policies being over-valued have it's to be feared to the Disparagement of honest Traders contrived the loss of their Ships; on the other side the Underwriters when a Loss is ever so fairly proved boggle in their Payments, and force the Insured to be content with less than their Agreements, only for fear of engaging themselves in long and chargeable Sutes.
Now if the Parliament would please to take these things into consideration, they might reduce Insurance to its first Intention, by obliging the Insured to run a proportionable part of his Adventure the _Premio_ included, and the Insurers to pay their full Subscriptions without abatement, and if any differences arise, to direct easie ways for adjusting them, without attending long Issues at Law, or being bound up to such nice Rules in their Proofs as the Affairs of Foreign Trade will not admit; and for the better security of the Insured it will be worth consideration whither the Subscriptions of the Insurers should not be of equal force in Law with their Bonds.
[Sidenote: Whither the Price of Labour discourages our Manufactures, or hinders Improvements in our Product.]
Here I intended to have made an end; but being lately present where among other Discourses the question was put by an Ingenious and Worthy Gentleman, (a true Lover of his Country) whither the labour of our Poor in _England_ being so high does not hinder the Improvement of our Product and Manufactures? Which having some Relation to the Subject Matter of this Discourse, I humbly make bold to offer my Thoughts thereon, _viz._ That both our Product and Manufactures may be carried on to advantage without running down the labour of the Poor.
As for the first, our Product, I am of opinion that the running down the Labour of the Poor is no advantage to it, nor is it the Interest of _England_ to do it, nor can the People of _England_ live on such low Wages as they do in other Countrys; for we must consider that Wages must bear a Rate in all Nations according to the prices of Provisions, where Wheat is sold for One Shilling _per_ Bushel, and all things suitably, a labouring Man may work for Three Pence _per diem_, as well as he can for Twelve Pence where it is sold for Four Shillings; and this price of Wheat must arise from the Rates of Land; it cannot be imagined that the Farmer whose annual Rent is Twenty Shillings _per_ Acre can afford it as low as he who pays but Half a Crown, and hath the same Cropp, nor can he then expect labour so cheap as the other; This is the case of _England_, whose Lands yielding great Rents require good Prices for their Product; and this is the Freeholders advantage, for suppose Necessaries were the currant Payment for Labour, in such case whither we call a Bushel of Wheat One Shilling or Four Shillings it is all one to him for so much as he pays, but not for the Overplus of his Cropp, which makes a great difference into his Pocket; you cannot fall Wages unless you fall Product, and if you fall Product you must necessarily fall Land.
And as for the second, our Manufactures, I am opinion that they may be carried on to advantage without running down the labour of the Poor; for which I offer,
1. Observation, or Experience of what hath been done, we have and daily do see that it is so; the Refiners of Sugars lately sold for Six Pence _per_ Pound what yieled twenty Years since Twelve Pence; The _Distillers_ sell their Spirits for one third part of what they formerly did; Glass-Bottles, Silk-Stockings, and other Manufactures, (too many to be enumerated) are sold for half the Prices they were a few Years since, without falling the labour of the Poor, or so little as not to stand in Competion with the other.
But then the question will be, how this is done? I answer, It proceeds from the Ingenuity of the Manufacturer, and the Improvements he makes in his ways of working thus the Refiner of Sugars goes thro' that operation in a Month, which our Forefathers required four Months to effect; thus the _Distillers_ draw more Spirits, and in less time, from the Simples they work on, than those formerly did who taught them the Art; the _Glass-maker_ hath found a quicker way of making it out of things which cost him little or nothing; Silk-Stockings are wove instead of knit; Tobacco is cut by Engines instead of Knives; Books are printed instead of written; Deal-Boards are sawn with a Mill instead of Men's Labour; Lead is smelted by Wind-Furnaces, instead of blowing with Bellows; all which save the labour of many Hands, so the Wages of those imployed need not be lessened.
Besides this, there is a Cunning crept into Trades; the _Clockmaker_ hath improved his Art so high, that Labour and Materials are the least part the Buyer pays for; The variety of our Woollen Manufactures is so pretty, that Fashion makes a thing worth both at Home and Abroad twice the Price it is sold for after, the humour of the Buyer carrying a great sway in the value of a Commodity; Artificers by Tools and Laves fitted for different Uses make such things as would puzzle a Stander by to set a price on according to the worth of Mens Labour; The _Plummer_ by new Inventions casts a Tun of Shott for Ten Shillings, which an indifferent Person could not guess worth less than Fifty.
The same Art is crept into Navigation; A Tun of Sugars which cost a few Years since from Six to Eight Pounds Freight from the Plantations, was commonly brought home before the War for Four Pounds Ten Shillings, and whereas it then weighed but Twenty-five Hundred, 'taws increased to Forty-five, and yet Saylors Wages were still the same; Ships are built more for Stowage, and made strong enough to carry between Decks; Wool is steeved into them by Skrews, so that three or four Baggs are put where formerly one would scarce lie; Cranes and Blocks draw up more for One Shilling than Men's Labour could do for Five.
New Projections are every day set on foot to render the making our Manufactures easie, which are made cheap by the Heads of the Manufacturers, not by falling the Price of poor Peoples Labour; cheapness creates Expence, and Expence gives fresh Imployments, so the Poor need not stand idle if they could be perswaded to work.
The same for our Product; Pits are drained and Land made Healthy by Engines and Aquaeducts instead of Hands; the Husband-man turns up his Soil with the Sullow, not digs it with his Spade; fowes his Grain, not plants it; covers it with the Harrow, not with the Rake; brings home his Harvest with Carts, not on Horse-backs; and many other easie Methods are used both for improving of Land, and raising its Product, which are obvious to the Eyes of Men verst therein, though do not come within the Compass of my present Thoughts; all which lessen the number of Labourers, and make room for better Wages to be given those who are imploy'd.
[Sidenote: Cheapness of our Product no Advantage to our Inland Trade.]
Nor am I of opinion with those People who think the running down the Prises of our Growth and Product (that so they may buy Provisions cheap) is an advantage to the _Inland_ Trade of this Kingdom, but on the contrary I think 'twould be beter for it if they were sold higher than they are, which may seem a Paradox at first, till the thing be rightly stated; suppose then the common and usual price of Beef to be Two Pence half-penny _per_ Pound, and Wheat Three Shillings and Six Pence _per_ Bushel, and all Flesh and Grain suitable, 'twould be better for our _Inland_ Trade if the former yielded Four Pence, and the latter Five Shillings, and other things in Proportion.
To prove this, let us begin with the Shop-keeper or Buyer and Seller, who is the Wheel whereon the _Inland_ Trade turns, as he buys of the Importer and Manufacturer, and sells again to the Country; suppose such a Man spends Two Hundred Pounds _per Annum_ in all things necessary for his Family, both Provisions, Cloaths, House-Rent, and other Expences, the Question will be what proportion of this is laid out in Flesh, Corn, Butter, Cheese, &c. barely considered according to their first cost in the Market? I presume we shall find Fifty or Sixty Pounds _per Annum_ to be the most, and suitably the advance thereon will be about Twenty-five to Thirty Pounds _per annum_, but the Consequence thereof in the Profits of his Trade will be much more; for by this Means the Farmer may give a better Rent to his Landlord, who will be enabled to keep a more Plentiful Table, spend more Wines, Fruit, Sugars, Spices, and other things wherewith he is furnished from the City, wear better Cloaths, suit himself and his Family oftner, and carry on a greater Splendor in every thing: The Farmer according to his condition may do the same, and give higher Wages to the Labourers imployed in Husbandry, who might then live more plentifully, and buy new Cloaths oftner, instead of patching up old; by this means the Manufacturer would be encouraged to give a better price for Wool, when he should find a Vent as fast as he could make; and a Flux of Wealth causing variety of Fashions would add Wings to Mens Inventions, when they shall see their Manufactures advanced in their Values by the Buyer's Fancy; this likewise would encourage the Merchant to increase his Exports, when he shall have a quick Vent for his Imports; by which regular Circulation Payments would be short, and all would grow rich; but when Trade stops in the Fountain, when the Gentleman and Farmer are kept poor, every one in his order partakes of the same fate; and this hath been a certain Rule grounded on the Observation of all Men who have spent time to look into it, that in those Countrys where Provisions are low the People are generally poor, both proceeding from the want of Trade: So that he who would give a right judgment must not always consider things _primâ facie_, as they offer themselves to us at first sight, but as they appear to be in their Consequences.
[Sidenote: The Poor.]
Having thus gone through the State of this Nation in respect to its Trade, we will next consider it with respect to the Poor.
And here it cannot but seem strange that _England_ which so much abounds in Product and Manufactures, besides the Imployment given in Navigation, should want work for any of its People; the _Dutch_ (who have little of the two former if compar'd with us, and do not exceed us in the latter) suffer no Beggars; whereas we whose Wealth consists in the labour of our Inhabitants seem to encourage them in an idle way of living, contrary both to their own and the Nation's Interest: Idleness though it cannot be called the Image of the Devil, who is a busie active Spirit, yet fits for any Impression, for whilst People neglect by some honest Labour to serve the publick Good, they too often fall on such Courses as render them publick Evils: _Livy_ (that famous Historiographer) observed it was the greatest Sedition that ever was in _Rome_, when the Citizens went about with their Hands in their Pockets, and would do nothing: Hence it is that so many die Spectacles at _Tyburn_, and offer themselves up Victims to Vice, no councels could perswade nor Examples fright them from those evil Habits they had contracted by Idleness: The Curse under which Man first fell was Labour, _That by the Sweat of his Brows he should eat his Bread_; this is a State of Happiness if compared to that which attends Idleness; he that walks the Streets of _London_, and observes the Fatigues used by the Beggars to make themselves seem Objects of Charity, must conclude that they take more pains than an honest Man doth at his Trade, and yet seem to me not to get Bread to eat; and I wish that was all the Encouragement they met with, I fear it is not, such swarms of idle Drones would not then fill the Streets, who are a Nursery of Vice: Beggary is now become an Art or Mystery, to which Children are educated from their Cradles; any thing which may move Compassion seems a livelihood, a sore Leg or Arm, or (for want thereof) a pretended one; the Tricks and Devices I have observed therein have often made me think that those parts if better imployed might be more useful to the _Common-Wealth_.
In handling this subject let us consider,
1. What hath been the cause of this Mischief of Idleness, and how it hath crept in on the Nation.
2. What must be done to restrain it from growing farther.
3. What Methods may be used to provide for those who are past their Labours.
As to the first; we shall find that Sloath and a Desire of Ease is the principal Cause; which appears by People's setting themselves on such ways of Living as our Fore-fathers would have been ashamed of; nothing but this could induce young Men in their full Strengths slavishly to attend on selling a Cup of Ale, or depreciate themselves to be Pimps to Vice, they think by these ways to be maintained in Sloth; Hereby Religion is despised, and Vice promoted, Men thinking if they should profess the first or discountenance the last they could not live on such lazy Terms; and whence doth this proceed? Truly partly from the abuse of those Laws we have, and partly from want of better: Licenses for Ale-houses were heretofore granted for good Ends, not to draw Men aside from their Labour by Games and Sports, but to support and refresh them under it; And as they were then a Maintenance to the aged, so poor Families had opportunities of being supplyed with a Cup of Ale from Abroad, who could not keep it at Home; great observation was also made to prevent idle Tipling, our Forefathers considered that time so spent was a loss to the Nation, whose Interest was improved by the work of its Inhabitants; whereas now Ale-houses are encouraged principally to promote the Income of Excise, on whom there must be no Restraint, lest the King's Revenue be lessened; thus we live by Sence, and look only to things we see, without revolving what the Issue will be, not considering that the Labour of each Man if well imployed whilst he sits in an Ale-house would be worth more both to the King and Nation than all the Excise he pays; Industry usually brings Wealth as its Concomitant, and though Success may not always accompany private Men's Labours, yet the Publick gets thereby.
Nor did we fall into this Habit of Sloath at once, but by degrees; when Luxury first crept in this was in the Embrio, but hath been cocker'd up under it to the Pitch 'tis now arrived; much proceeds from Imitation, our Gentry who have Estates betaking themselves to an useless way of Living, those who had them not soon fell in love therewith, and to this much of the Misery of the Nation is owing, Men affect to be thought what they are not, and leaving honest Labour spend their Patrimonies in fine Cloaths, and keeping Company, till being put to their shifts they are forced to betake themselves to play or begging.
Another thing which hath increased our useless People is the Nobility and Gentrys leaving the Country, and choosing to reside in _London_, whither they bring up with them Multitudes of lusty young Fellows, who might have done good Service at the Plough had they continued there, but having now no other Imployments than to hang on their Masters Coaches forget to work, and rarely or never return again to Labour.
Add to this the great Numbers who are employed in Offices about the Revenue, Men who might have been serviceable either in Husbandry or Manufactures, but now they and their Families are wholly taken off from both, the Fathers chief Aim being to get the Son into the same way of Living.
What Multitudes of Coffee-houses are there in _London_ and other places, who keep lusty Servants, and breed them up to nothing whereby they may be profitable to the Kingdom?
What swarms of Youth go off to the Law, who being the Sons of Yeomen and Handecrafts Trades had been more useful to the Nation if bred up in their Father's Imployments?
Besides those who live only by Buying and Selling, wherein wanting Success they have no way to maintain themselves or their Families.
But above all, our Laws to put the Poor at work are short and defective, tending rather to maintain them so, then to raise them to a better way of Living; 'tis true those Laws design well, but consisting only in generals, and not reducing things to practicable Methods, they fall short of answering their Ends, and thereby render the Poor more bold, when they know the Parish Officers are bound either to provide them Work, or give them Maintenance.
Now if _England_ delighted more in improving its Manufactures, ways might be found out to imploy all its Poor, and then 'twould be a shame for any Person capable of Labour to live idle; which leads me to the second consideration, what must be done to restrain this habit of Idleness from growing farther; Here I find that nothing but good Laws can do it, such as will provide work for those who are willing, and force them to work that are able.
To begin with Manufactures; Here I should think Work-houses very expedient, but then they must be founded on such Principles as may employ the Poor, which can never be done on any thing I have hitherto seen; nor will such Work-houses take effect till the Poor can every Week make Returns of their Stock, which might be contrived did the Genius of the Nation set in earnest about it; they must be fitted for the Poor and the Poor for them; Imployments must be provided in them for all sorts of People, who must also be compelled to go thither when sent, and the Work-houses to receive them; the Stocks whereby they are maintained must likewise turn often, for to put the Poor on ways of Traffick is too dilatory for the Ends intended, they must be rather Assistants to the Manufacturers than such themselves.
Now the Materials which seem most proper for these Work-houses are Simples, such as Wool, Hemp, Cotten, and many others, which might either be sent in by the Manufacturers on such equal Shares as the Justices should think fit, or be bought up on a stock raised for that end, in both cases to be taken off and paid for when brought to such a perfection as the Rules of the House should direct, and that every week, or so often as the Stock should require to let the Poor have their Wages to serve their Occasions; these things would employ great Numbers of People, of both Sexes, and all Ages, either by beating and fitting the Hemp for the _Ropemaker_, or dressing the Flax for the Shops, or more especially by Carding and Spinning the Wool and Cotten, of different finenesses, which would be used in the various sorts of Manufactures we make; and if a reward were given to that Person who should spin the finest Thread of either, to be adjudged yearly, and paid by the County, 'twould very much promote Industry and Ingenuity, whilst every one being prickt on by Ambition and Hopes of Profit, would endeavour to exceed the rest, by which means we should grow more excellent in our Manufactures.
Nor should these Houses hinder any who desire to work at home, or the Manufacturers from imploying them in their own, the design is to provide places for those who care not to work any where, and to make the Officers of Parishes industrious to find out such Vermin, when they shall know where to send them, by which means they would be better able to maintain the Impotent.
It seems also convenient that these Work-Houses when setled in Cities and great Towns should not be Parochial only, but one or more in each place as will best suit it, which would prevent the Poor's being sent from Parish to Parish as now they are, and provided for no where.
_Oakham_ also is a fit Material for them, which might be beat there, and for that end _Old Junk_ be bought up, and those who caulk Ships be obliged to take it off at a certain Price.
Tobacco also would imploy multitudes of People, in picking, stripping, cutting, and rowling it, which might be wrought up either in Publick or Private Work-houses, where Boys might be imploy'd till they came to Years fit for the Sea; and when once the Poor shall come by use to be in Love with Labour, 'twill be strange to see an idle Person; then they will be so far from being a Burthen to the Nation, that they will be its Wealth, and their Lives also will become more comfortable to themselves.
There are other things which will employ the Poor besides our Manufactures, and more proper for Men, which are also equally beneficial to the Nation, such as are Navigation, Husbandry, and Handecrafts, Here if these or such like Rules were observed, they might be made more Advantageous to all.
As first let every Gentleman who takes a Footboy be obliged to put him into some way for his future Livelihood, to whom he should be bound for a certain number of Years, and no Person should be permitted to continue so after such an Age.
Let every Merchant or Trader who keeps a Foot-boy be also obliged to breed him up in Business, and at a certain Age to set him to some Trade, or imploy him in Navigation, wherein he should cause him to be instructed; by this Means that which now makes lazy Beggars would then be the Nation's Advantage; I think it a comely sight when I see Commanders of Ships attended on by such Boys, because 'tis rarely seen but that they breed them up to be useful Men, and when the Pride of Living tends to the Common Good 'tis very well directed.
Another way to provide for our Youth would be by giving a Power to Justices of the Peace to assign them to Artificers, Husbandmen, Manufacturers, and Marriners, at such Ages as they shall think them fit to go on those Imployments, who should also be obliged to receive them; and tho' at first this may seem hard, as hindring their Masters from taking Servants who might bring them Money, yet after some time it would not, when those who were so bound out shall only do for others what was done for them before; and this also may now be made good to them by such an Overplus of Years in their Apprentiships as may countervail the Money.
I allow that these Methods are more proper for younger People than for those of elder Years; As for such (who will rather choose to beg than work) let them be forced to serve the King in his Fleet, or Merchants on board their Ships; the Sea is very good to cure sore Legs and Arms, especially such as are counterfeit through Sloath, against which the Capster accompanied with the Taunts of the Saylors is a certain Remedy.
Next for Ale-Houses, Coffee-Houses, and such like Imployments, let them be kept only by aged People, or such who have numerous Families, and tended by Youth, before they are fit to be put abroad.
And as for Maid-Servants, let them be restrained from Excess in Apparrel, and not permitted to leave their Services without Consent, nor be entertained by others without Testimonials; this will make them more orderly and governable than now they are.
No Servant should be permitted to wear a Sword, except when Travelling; and if all People of mean Qualities were prohibited the same 'twould be of good consequence, for when once they come to this, they think themselves above Labour.
'Twould likewise be of great use to the Nation if Masters of Ships were obliged to carry with them some Land-men every Voyage, which would much increase our Seamen, therefore the Justices should have power to force them to enter such as were willing, and to settle the Rates of their Wages; I mean by Land-men those who have not been above three Voyages at Sea.
Young People should be prohibited from Hawking about the Streets, and from selling Ballads; if these things must be allowed they are fitter for the Aged.
Stage-Plays, Lotteries, and Gaming, should be more strictly look'd after, Youth in this Age of Idleness and Luxury being not only drawn aside by them, but more willing to put themselves on such easie ways of living than Labour.
These and such like Methods being improved by the Wisdom of a Parliament may tend not only to the introducing a habit of Vertue amongst us, but also to the making Multitudes of People serviceable who are now useless to the Nation, there being scarce any one who is not capable of doing something towards his Maintenance, and what his Labour doth fall short must be made up by Charity, but as things now are, no Man knows where 'tis rightly placed, by which means those who are truly Objects do not partake thereof; And let it be also considered, that if every Person did by his Labour get one Half Penny _per diem_ to the Publick, 'twould bring in Six Millions Eighty Three Thousand Three Hundred Thirty Three Pounds Six Shillings and Eight Pence _per Annum_, (accounting Eight Millions of People to be in the Kingdom) which would pay the Charge of the War, so vast a Summ may be raised from the Labours of a Multitude, if every one paid a little.
Nor is the sending lazy People to our Plantations abroad (who can neither by good Laws be forced, or by Rewards encouraged to work at Home) so Prejudicial to the Nation as some do dream, they still serve it in one of its Limbs, where they must expect another sort of Treatment if they will not labour; 'tis true they give no help to the Manufactures here, but that is made up in the Product they raise there, which is also Profit to the Nation; besides, the Humours and other Circumstances of People are to be inquired into, some have been very useful there, who would never have been so here, and if the People of _England_ are imployed to the advantage of the Community, no matter in what part of the King's Dominions it is; many Hundreds by going to those Plantations have become profitable Members to the _Common-Wealth_, who had they continued here had still remained idle Drones; now they raise Sugar, Cotten, Tobacco, and other things, which imploy Saylors abroad, and Manufacturers at Home, all which being the Product of Earth and Labour I take to be the Wealth of the Nation.
The Imployment of Watermen on the _River Thames_ breeds many Saylors, and it were good to keep them still fill'd with Apprentices; also the Imployment of Bargemen, Lighter-men, and Trow-men, both on that and other Rivers does the same, who should be encouraged to breed up Landmen, and fit them for the Sea.
Confining the Importation of Sugars from the Plantations to _Muscovadoes_ would give Life to our Refining Houses at Home, so would prohibiting (as much as may be) the Shipping thither things unwrought give Encouragement to our Manufactures, both which would imploy the Poor.
Idleness is the Foundation of all those Vices which prevail amongst us, People aiming to be maintained any way rather than by Labour betake themselves to all sorts of Villanies, the ill Consequences whereof cannot be prevented but by encouraging Youth in an early Delight of Living by Industry, which would keep up a true _English_ Spirit in them, and create a Desire to secure a Property in what they have; whereas a sloathful Dependance on another's Bounty makes Men slavishly give up all at the Will of their Benefactors, and having no Properties of their own to secure, are easily perswaded to part with their Liberties; this a former Reign knew well, when the Ministers of that Court found an Inclination in the People to sell their Priviledges for Luxury and ease.
And certainly nothing hath so much supported the Rights and Priviledges of the _Commons_ of _England_ as making so many of them Free-holders, whereby they are encouraged to make Improvements where they have Properties, and to defend them when made, Estates raised by their own Industry and Labours; which likewise stirrs up Tenants to endeavour by the same means to attain the same ends; a Spirit great where-ever it is, tho' in the meanest Peasants, when they rather desire to live of their own than by Dependance on others; this puts them on honest Endeavours, these get them Credit and Reputation, which gives Opportunities of advancing their Fortunes, and if this Emulation went through the Kingdom we should not have so many lazy Beggars or Licentious Livers as now there are; nor is God more honoured among any than He is among these industrious People, who abhor Vice on equal Principles of Religion and good Husbandry, Labour being usually a Barrier against Sin, which doth generally come in at the Doors of Idleness.
[Sidenote: Mr Edw. Colson, near Bristoll.]
The third Consideration is what Methods may be used to provide for those who either are not able to work, or whose Labours cannot support their Charge. Here I take Alms-Houses to be good Gifts, where they are designed to relieve Impotent old Age, or educate Youth; not to maintain idle Beggars, or ease rich Parishes, but to provide for those who have been bred up in careful Imployments, though notable to stem the Current of a cross Fortune; Such a one is magnificently built, and suitably endowed by a certain Gentleman near a great City, for which he deserves to be truly honoured, though perhaps he may scarce be imitated.
Another way to provide for those who are true Objects of Charity is by taking care that the Poor's Rates be made with more equality in Cities and Trading Towns than now they are, especially in the former, where the greatest number of Poor usually residing together in the Suburbs or Out-Parishes are very serviceable by their Labours to the Rich in carrying on their Trades, yet when Age Sickness or a numerous Family makes them desire Relief, their chief Dependance must be on People but one step above their own Conditions, by which means those Out-Parishes are more burthened in their Payments than the In-Parishes are, tho' much Richer, and is one reason why they are so ill inhabited, no one careing to come to a certain Charge; And this is attended with another ill Consequence, the want of better Inhabitants makes way for those Disorders which easily grow among the Poor; whereas if Cities and Towns were made but one Poor's Rate, or equally divided into more, these Inconveniencies might be removed, and the Poor maintained by a more impartial Contribution.
And that a better Provision may be made for the Relief of Saylors, (who having spent their Labours in the Service of the Nation, and through Age or Disasters no longer fit for the fatigue of the Sea, ought to be taken care for at home,) let a small Deduction be made from Seamen's Wages, and Freights of Ships, to be collected by a Society of honest Men in every Sea Port; This, with what addition might be made by the Gifts of worthy Benefactors, would be sufficient to raise a Fund capable to maintain them in their old Age, who in their Youth were our Walls and Bulwarks; but it must be setled by Law, and no Man left at his Liberty whither he will pay or no; These are generally the most Laborious People we have, I do not mean those Scoundrel Rascals who often creep in amongst them, but the true old Saylor, who can turn his Hand to any thing rather than Begging, and I am troubled to see the miserable Conditions they and their Families are many times reduced to when their Labours are done; Alms-Houses raised for them are as great Acts of Piety as building of Churches; Age requires Relief, especially where Youth hath been spent in Labour so profitable to the Publique as that of a Saylor, and not only themselves, but their Widows and young Children ought to be provided for; In this the Worshipful Society of the Merchants Adventurers within the City of _Bristoll_ are a Worthy Pattern.
And as for those who lose their Lives or Limbsfighting against the _Enemy_, themselves or Families ought to be rewarded with a bountiful Stipend, which if raised by a Tax would be chearfully paid; 'tis attended with sad Thoughts when a Woman sees her Husband prest into the Service, and knows if he miscarrys her Family is undone, and she and they must come on the Parish; whereas if this Provition were made, the Fleet would be more easily mann'd, our Merchant-Ships better defended, Saylors more ready to serve in both, and their Wives to let them go; but great care must be taken that this Charity of the Nation be not abused, nor put into the Pockets of those appointed to dispose of it, Confiscation of their Estates should be made a Penalty to detert them from such ill Practices.
[Sidenote: Taxes to carry on the War.]
We will next consider the State of the Nation with regard to its Taxes.
When I consider the necessity of the War we are now engaged in, and the Consequences of its Event, (the Liberties of _Christendom_, and the Security of the _Protestant_ Religion depending on the Success thereof) I think it the Duty of every good Subject to offer his advice in a matter of this Importance.
Money we know to be the Sinews of War, it is that which doth strengthen the carrying it on, and I believe there are few Men who do not by this time see, that not the longest Sword but the strongest. Purse is most likely to come off Victor; we are too far engaged to look back, and if we do not go on with Vigour it will encourage our Enemy, and make him think better of his own Strength; we cannot preserve at too high a Rate those inestimable Jewels of Liberty and Property, which (if we miscarry in this War) we are very likely to lose; therefore how unpleasant soever Taxes may seem, Money must be raised, till the _French_ King can be brought to such Terms whereon a safe and lasting Peace may be concluded; but great Prudence ought to be used in the Methods of raising it, lest the People be thereby disgusted against that happy part of our Constitution, Parliaments, when they see their only work is to find out new Methods for raising Taxes; to whom every such Act seems a new Arrow levied at them, by these it is they are discontented, and think themselves shot thro' and thro', because that under different names they hit the same Persons again and again; besides the great charge• the Crown is at in those small Collections, as any Man will see who considers particularly that of the Hackny-Coaches, whereof near one quarter part goes away for its management; and indeed few of the Projects I have yet seen seem to be the effects of a considering Head, or to be so weighed as to support themselves against common Objections, their greatest Foundation was Necessity; besides, many of them cannot be renewed, their Income being anticipated for many Years; so that for the future new Projects must be thought on, and what this will at last tend to no Man can foresee.
I am apt to think most Men would agree with me in this, that if a Method could be found out whereby Four or Five Millions might be raised Yearly with little Charge and great Ease and Equality it must be much better than now it is, and this to be a Fund out of which the Parliament to appropriate what Summs they see necessary for every use, so that then they would have Leisure to spend much of their time on other Affairs, which is now wholly taken up about Ways and Means; besides, when the People knew there was no new Tax to be raised, they would more chearfully look upon the opening of a Sessions; and the _French_ King must be exceedingly discouraged, when he shall see that after so great Expences we come on with new Vigour, and have provided a Fund for carrying on the War till he can be brought to such Terms as will establish a safe and lasting Peace, which by the Means hitherto used we cannot expect, every Tax we have given being like the Gasps of a Man labouring for Life, whereby he concluded we could not subsist a Year longer, and doubtless his Emissaries in _England_ have not failed to represent things to him in their worst Colours; but I hope both He and They will find that the People of _England_, to defend their Religion, Liberties, and Properties, neither want Money, nor a Will to give it.
The Taxes of this Kingdom are chiefly to be raised on Land or Trade, the first must be eased, and what is laid on the latter must be done with great Caution and Consideration, things must be well weighed, and the Principles whereon we proceed must be sure and solid, and then a thinking Man may improve them by well-digested Notions; Trade like the Camel will stoop to take up its Burthen, but the weight thereof must not be greater than it can chearfully rise under, otherwise we destroy it, and shall by our inconsiderate Covetousness lose those Golden Eggs it every day would bring us.
Another thing to be consider'd in the laying a Tax is, that the Poor bear little or none of the Burthen, their Province being more properly to labour and fight than pay; He that gets his Money by the Sweat of his Brows parts not from it without much Remorse and Discontent, and when all is done, 'tis but a little they pay, therefore Taxes that light heavy on them (such as Chimney-Money, and oftentimes a Poll) tend rather to unhinge than assist the Government, by disgusting such a number of robust and hardy Men as carry a great personal Ballance in the Kingdom, and may be apt when they think themselves opprest to joyn with any for a present Relief, not being well able to foresee the Consequences of things at a distance.
Great Care should also be taken of our Manufactures and Manufacturers, that they be not opprest.
A general Excise cannot do well, for besides the great Charge and Oppression of Officers, it shews no Respect to the Poor, but they pay more than the Wealthiest of their Neighbours suitable to what they have; for though a rich Man spends more in excisable things than a poor Man doth, yet it is not his All, whereas the other's Poverty gives him leave to lay up nothing, but 'tis as much as he can do to provide Necessaries for his Family, out of all which he pays his Proportion.
Much like this is a general Poll, where 'tis very difficult to tax People equally.
But out of all these something may be taken which may be both easie and practicable, and a Project may be fram'd which may raise annually enough to carry on the Charge of the War, on equal and easie Terms, with little or no Anticipation.
In the well laying whereof these following Rules seem fit to be considered.
1. That what is laid on Trade be so weighed, that where the Trader pays he may see an apparent Advantage.
2. That the charge of Collecting be on such easie Terms as not to eat up a great part of what is raised.
3. That the Poor bear little or none of the Burthen.
4. That the Manufacturers be not discouraged.
5. That that Summ be not raised by many Acts which may be raised by One.
6. That the Consequence of a Tax be, either to remove a Publique Grieviance, or to make it pay towards the Charge of the War.
7. That it be chiefly laid on those who have hitherto least felt former Taxes, have least suffer'd by the War, and whose Imployments tend more to their own Private Advantages than the Support of the Government.
8. That ways be found out to make all People pay their Shares for carrying on the Expence of the War who are protected by it, whither they live in _England_ or elsewhere.
9. That the Lands of _England_ be eased.
10. That the Revenue suffer not by Anticipations.
But after all is done, when Money is raised with Ease and Equality to the Subject, yet if great Care be not taken to see it well laid out, 'twill fall short of answering the end designed; good Methods are as necessary in this as the former, and the Nation will be more willing to give chearfully, when it shall see the Publick Treasure managed to Advantage; 'twill be no difficult Task to make its Credit equal with private Merchants, and its Penny pass as far, this will be done when its Payments are as punctual; but then things must not be begun in the middle, but at the right end; we quarrel in vain with a Collonel for not paying an Hundred Pounds to his Regiment, when perhaps he receives but Seventy to do it with; nor can the Captains pay their Soldiers to the full, when the Money grows less in every Hand through which it passes; Labour is spent to no purpose about the Conduit Pipes, when the Water stops in the Spring; Errors in the Foundation are most fatal; when things are set right at the Fountain Head, then 'twill be time to enquire into the defects of the several Currents; Payments punctually made according to agreement would encourage all Men to sell their Commodities cheap, and put an end to the Abuses of Agents, Cloathiers of the Army, and Ticket-Buyers, who do now prey on the Publick; the King would then have his Money well laid out, and those who serve him be paid without dilatory and chargeable Attendances; and when the Nation comes to be satisfied that what Money is raised for carrying on the War is justly applyed to its use, and managed with good Husbandry, the Parliament will give more readily, and the People pay more chearfully; this will render his Majesty the Terror of his Enemies, and the delight of his Friends, who will then strive to outdo each other in their forwardness to serve him with their Lives and Fortunes; especially when they shall see that due Care is also taken to secure their Trade, which must enable them to pay their Taxes.
And thus I have given my thoughts of these three Subjects; I shall only add, that what I have done hath not proceeded from an Itch of Writing, but purely from the Love I bear to my Native Country, whose Good and Welfare I delight in, and should be glad to see it flourish and though perhaps I may be thought mistaken in some particulars of this Discourse, yet I believe few will disagree with me in the Foundation, that the Interest of _England_ doth consist in Improving its _Trade_, _Product_, and _Manufactures_; What I have imperfectly treated on I should be well pleased to see a better Pen undertake, great things have often risen from small Beginnings, perhaps this may stir up some abler Head (without Reflections) to handle the Subject fuller, which, as it may be useful to the Nation, so I should read it with great Delight for if the _Trade_ of _England_ thrives, it answers my end, and I care not who proposes the Methods.