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Title: An Essay to the Restoring of our Decayed Trade

Author: Joseph Trevers

Release date: December 1, 2014 [eBook #47509]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Fay Dunn and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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AN ESSAY To the Restoring of our Decayed TRADE

Transcriber’s Note

Variant spelling, irregular punctuation and inconsistent use of italics are retained.

Sidenotes have been moved the start of paragraphs.

The changes that have been made are listed at the end of the book.



To the Restoring of our Decayed


Wherein is Described, the




OFFICERS Frauds, &c.



Printed for Giles Widdowes, at the Green Dragon in St. Pauls Church-Yard, John Sims at the King’s Head at Sweetings Alley end in Cornhil, near the Royal Exchange, and Will. Milward Stationer at Westminster-Hall door in New-Pallace-Yard, 1678

The Contents.

1. That no Nation hath such advantages whereby to inrich themselves, as England hath.

2. That the private Exportation of our wooll and Fullers Earth, doth exceedingly hinder the Trade of this Kingdom, as also doth the private Importation of Forreign Prohibited Goods.

3. The ignorance of our common People of the Law in such cases, and want of incouragement to the discoverers.

4. The great loss our Silk and Ribbon-weavers.

5. That the Trade of Clothing is the cheifest thing in the Nation.

6. The profit gained by working up our wooll by our own poor people, is almost unspeakable, and influential to all degrees of persons in the Kingdome.

7. That there is lost Millions per annum to the King and Kingdome, in Customes, &c. by losing our Trade of Clothing.

8. That no other Country affords wooll to make good cloth without our English wooll and Fullers Earth.

9. A recital of several Statutes concerning wooll, and the Transportation thereof, setling the Aulangers Office, and for the well making of Cloth, and the abuses of our good Lawes.

10. Setting forth the industry of the Dutch, and other Countries, whereby in a great measure they undermine our Trade.

11, How the decay of Trade occasions the Poor to be so numerous, brings Rents low, and consequently Poverty to the Kingdome.

12. Several Quæries Propounded, by way of Remedy.


A true friend to his Countrey,


To the Right Honourable Edward Seymour


To the Right Honourable


Speaker of the Right Honourable House of Commons; Treasurer of His Majesties Royal Navy, and one of His Majesties most Honourable Privy Councel.


For me to speak of the Nobility and Worth of your Ancestors, and the Noble Family (most Honoured Sir) would be but as an Eclipse of the Sun by the Moon, which is the Planet that moves in the lowest Orbe, but laying a side all such thoughts, the Occasion of the Dedication of this ensuing Treatise to your Honour, is,

First, for that you are signally Elected to be the Speaker of the Honourable the House of Commons, the Representative of the Kingdome, wherein such Lawes are framed and setled, as are conducible to the Weal, Honour, and Safety thereof.

2. Because your Honours Abilities are so publiquely manifest, as that you are likewise singled out to be one of his Majesties most Honourable Privy Councel.

3. And that which doth very much move me hereto is, because your converse hath been much in, and about the Counties of Devon. Summerset, and Wilts. where the Trade of Clothing is very much used, and therefore it may in all reason be deemed, that your Honours knowledge of (and acquaintance with) Clothiers and their Imployments is more than ordinary.

Sir the great Ambition I have to manifest my Loyalty to the King, and my zeal to serve the Countrey, puts me upon these endeavours, to discover not only the advantages by our Manufactures, and the disadvantages to the Kingdome by the cessation thereof, but also the great Fraud; and Abuses in the Out-Ports by the Custome-Officers, which when reduced and brought into a better Method, by those cheif Officers that are concerned therein, I hope it may prove a good Balsome to heal our wounds, and a Cordial to our drooping spirits.

It is well known that the improvement of our Manufactures in this Nation hath a communicative influence upon thousand of young and old people; yea many that are now idle and loose people, have been more numerously imploy’d formerly, than now they are, by reason of the decay of Trade, which if it should thus continue, or grow worse, might be a great means to depopulate the Nation, and to draw great burdens upon many Parishes for the maintenance of their Poor, but if not timely prevented, will cause the Trade to be driven by Foreigners, and so exceedingly cause an abatement of Rents among us.

Sir, your publique Imployment, your generous and Courteous Deportment, give me confidence to Dedicate these Rude and Unpolisht lines to your view, because I know, you have Ability to judge, and Charity to pardon the Errata’s that you may find therein.

When I did first set Pen to Paper about this matter, I found my self in a Labyrinth, and there might have suffered, had not my Education as a Clothier given me a glimmering light to extricate my self. And yet when I had purchased my Enlargement, by my strict enquiery into those Mysteries, I had a great dispute with my self, whether I should put my Abortive thoughts into Print or no, but more respecting the common good, than my private Reputation, I resolved rather to make my wishes publique, than to bury them in Oblivion.

Now Sir, it is not only a pleasant study for Statesmen to promote the Publike good, but the only way to true and lasting Honour, and Happiness; and that these poor Endeavours of mine may attain that good effect to the King and Countrey, as I really design; (aiming at no other,) I earnestly beg of God to direct you for the Improvement of them, in your publique imployments, which may (like the Rain from Heaven) break open the Springs of Trade in our dry and thirsty Land, to revive and refresh the same, and by so doing, Sir, you will not only do eminent service to the King, great kindness to your Countrey, but also oblige all people to pray for your happiness both in this world, and that which is to come, for the which also most earnestly praies,

Your Honours most humble,

and most devoted



To his Honoured Friend, Cap. Joseph Trevers, on his Book Entituled
An Essay to the Restoring of our decayed Trade.

If I a Poet were, I’de undertake,
To write some Verses for the Authors sake.
And give him commendation for his pains
For I beleive, no more will be his gains.
For such men as do mind the publique good
Their merits are but slightly understood
Yet unto lasting age their fame shall bud.
The Author of this Book who took the care
Exactly to observe the great affair
Of this our Kingdome, which consists in Trade,
Of Clothes and Stuffes which of our Wooll are made,
Hath here the profit clearly shown to us,
And what advantage yearly cometh thus
If we were wise to be industrious.
Together with the mischiefs that do come
On the whole Kingdome by neglect of some,
And treachery of others which is worse,
(A heavier and more Prodigious curse
Cannot well lighten on the English Nation)
To send away our Wooll by Transportation,
This if not cur’d will bring to desolation.
As much as in them lies for selfish ends
Such bring destruction to their best friends,
First to the Soveraign Majesty of the King,
Then to the Common-wealth, for this doth bring
The Nation to be exceeding poor
And many Clothiers forced to give ore
Their Trading, and follow it no more.
But now I hope for better things to come
By the removal and displaceing some
Of those that were in trust, and put in such
As are upright, and won’t comply with Dutch,
Nor any Forreign Nation to invade
The Ancient Priviledges of our Trade
The want hereof makes England greatly fade.
R. B.
Goe little Book into the world and see
Who thou can’st find therein to welcome thee,
I’m sure thou mean’st as well to every man
Of all degrees and sorts as any can:
From King to meanest, thou dost with them well
And therefore this thy Book doth truly tell
Of wrongs and of Abuses done to all.
Then let them in whose compass it may fall
Soon rectify the same, and bring on Trade
Afresh, this is the end this Book was made.
Incerti Authoris.

An Essay




To the Restoring of our decayed



That I may proceed in as good an Order as I can, (although I cannot pretend to Learning, or Ability to Compose a Book in a Methodical way,) but do wish that such a task as this, had been undertaken by some other, that might have been able abundantly better to have mannaged it, to satisfaction of the Reader; Yet by reason of my former imployment in the Trade of a Cloathier, and afterwards in the Office of Surveyor of one of the Ports of this Kingdom, at the Custom-House, I am experimentally enabled to speak to those things, which shall follow.

[Pg 2]

And if there fall not out such an Harmonious Order, in the ensuing Discourse, by the necessary connection, or orderly introduction of one thing to another, as might be expected, (as before in my Epistle so again,) I do humbly beg the best and most favorable construction, and censure of the matter; for having in my breast, the true heart, and Spirit of an English-Man, for his King and Country; I cannot bear with those dayly abuses, and evil practices, so frequently and notoriously put upon the King and Kingdom, but that I do reckon my self Obliged, in all duty and good conscience to my King and Country, to make them as publiquely known and manifest as I can, and then leave the Remedies, to be provided and answerably applied, by the Ministers of State, which I hope in a short time will be effected.

The Advantage by the Manufacture of Wooll.

And here I shall endeavour, First, to make it to appear, that there is no Nation nor Kingdom in the World, that hath those advantages, whereby to inrich themselves, as this our Kingdom of England, by the Manufacture of our Wooll, and consequently to maintain our strength, and Honor; omitting to speak of many other staple Commodities, of this our Kingdom, though many Rich and Profitable, because I am intended to Treat principally about the Subject of Wooll, and the Manufactures thereof with the dependancies thereupon.

Wooll not improoved

Now that such advantages as might accrue to the Kingdom are not laid hold on, and the Commodities improoved to what it might be, is too too evident to all men, that have any feeling of the case, or that do make any inspection into it; which may also be sufficiently confirmed to all others, by the sad complaints, and frequent moanes, that are dayly made concerning the miserable decay of Trade, to the great loss of many perticuler men, and to the King, and Nation in General, and principally in the Trade of Cloathing.

[Pg 3]

But if the Wooll of England, and Ireland were improoved to the best advantages, and secured from exportation to Forreigners, doubtless England would be the General Market for the whole Universe, for matter of Cloathing, and what would soon be the Riches, greatness, and Splendor thereof, (by the Almighties blessing) is not a thing very difficult to be imagined, by any sober judicious Person, Merchant, or Traveller.

No Wool so good as English.

And that no Nation hath such good Wooll, for the general Trade of Cloathing is evident, elce what makes so many Forreigners of other Nations, so greedy of our English Wooll, if they had as good, or near as good of their own, and how highly was it formerly esteemed, by the Dukes of Burgundy, and what benefit and advantage did that People under his government make of it; when they paid but sixpence the pound for our English Wooll, they returned it to us in Cloath at Ten shillings the Yard; by which may very easily be computed, what profit did redound to that people, in the working up the Wooll, which thing occasioned many English Families, to transport themselves into those parts, for their profitable livelihood and subsistence.

Cloathing set up in England.

But after the Victorious Conquest, made by Edward the third, of Famous Memory, he caused to be ordered and set up the Manufactures of Wooll in this Kingdom, to the great increase of the Riches of his own People; the memory of whom, for his provident care for the wellfare of his People; is worthy to be perpetuated to all succeeding Generations.

Forreigners do covet our Wooll.

And what now a days makes Holland, and France, so covetous of our Wooll, and what large quantities by sinister meanes, do they procure to serve themselves, and their Countries; and what Riches do they acquire to themselves thereby, may in some measure be guessed at, for by having our good English Wooll, they can mix their own course[Pg 4] Wooll with it, and so make good Cloath, or Stuffes, which otherwise they could not do.

To instance perticulerly in the French, it is taken for granted, and sufficiently known, that their Wooll is very course, and of it self fit for little, but to make a sort of Cloath which is worn by Sea-men, and Fisher-men, &c. But by the help of our good Wooll, they make very good work, and send to other parts of the World their druggets, &c.

Much French Wooll wrought up by mixing with ours.

And by having our good English Wooll, they can spend two or three Packs of their own Wooll, mixing it with ours, by which meanes they make their Cloath and Stuffes pass very acceptably, both among themselves, and other Nations. Yea we our selves in England not being so wise, as we should be, for our own advantage, do buy the French druggets, &c. Made of our Wooll, mixed with theirs, and give great Prices for them too, when we do, or at least may make better of our own.

The care then being taken for granted, that English Wooll is the best, and most fit for Cloathing, Stuffes, Stockins, &c.

Poor to be Imploy’d.

How necessary may it be rationally supposed then, for our own People to be imployd in the working up our own Wooll, and how many thousands would be imploy’d of the Poorer sort of people, about such work, who might thereby, gain to themselves a very comfortable living, and free the Kingdom from those great burdens in maintenance of the Poor; they being able by their Labour, (if Imploy’d) comfortably to provide for themselves; for it is not the numerous multitude of people in a Kingdom, or Common Wealth, that makes it to be Poor, that they cannot live one by another, but the contrary, if all were imploy’d, and set at work, as there is imployment enough to be had, they would prove the especial meanes, to make a Kingdom Rich; as may be clearly instanced by the Dutch, how many scores of thousands of their Poor people are imployed about the[Pg 5] Herring Fishing, which makes them very Rich, and brings in yearly, near two Millions of Money, or other commodities necessary for the Land, which are equivalent to Money, besides what they spend in the Land; this may seem to some to be a thing incredible, but I am able to make it cleare to any intelligent Person.

Poverty for want of Imploy.

Thus then by the neglect of our own Manufactures of our Wooll, flowes in like an inundation, the poverty of the Land; and hence arise those sad complaints, that fill every mans Eares, throughout the Kingdom, Alas! What shall we do to live, we have no Imployment; for if the Trade of the world abroad, for Cloath and Stuffes, &c. Be supplied from other Lands, which make their Cloath and Stuffes of our English Wooll, being Clandestinely Transported into Forreign parts; our English Trade for that commodity, must answerably decay; and if the English Merchant hath not vent for that commodity abroad, to other Nations, the Country Cloathier must strike off in a great measure, and consequently many of the Poor work folkes, are answerably taken off from their imployments, which formerly for many years, they had been exercised in, and so having no work, they get no Money, and so are reduced to a begging condition, or worse: these things are to be discerned clearly, without the help of a Perspective-Glass, by those that are in any measure intelligent in Politique affaires.

Profit lost.

Thus the profit of the Poor, that they should get to themselves for a maintenance is lost, and the profit gotten by their labour to the Kingdom is also lost, in the General, and this is brought to pass by the quicksightedness, and diligence of our Neighbour Nations; who finding dayly the sweetness of the Trade, and so exceedingly enriching themselves, by our commodity, Viz. Wooll; doe endeavour more and more, to carry it on to their own advantage, whiles we in England, in the mean time neglect our own opportunities, and advantages, which do so clearely lie before us.

[Pg 6]

Loss to the Kingdom.

From what hath been before hinted, doth necessarily follow the vast dammage, and prejudice done to this our own Nation, and Kingdom, by the exportation of our Wooll; for the dammage doth evidently appear, thus.

Had not the French our English Wooll to work withall, they could not work up their own Wooll, into any Manufactures that should be acceptable, or saleable in other Countries, no nor in their own Land, but they would be ready as formerly to buy our English commodities; but now having our English Wooll so frequently among them, privately gotten from England, or Ireland; they mix their own Wooll with it, and work up two or three Packs of their course Wooll, with one pack of ours, so that every Pack of English Wooll exported from us, and carried to France is treble loss, if not more to England, and on the contrary so much profit to France.

Other Countries grow Rich.

Undersel us.

Custom Officers unfaithful.

Thus then any man may perceive, how Rich other Countries grow by our means, by obtaining our commodity to work upon, and there People also do generally live at a lower rate, and work cheaper by the day or otherwise, than our People in England do, by which means they may afford to under-sel us, as usually they do at a Forreign Market, so that hereby they do acquire to themselves, both good credit, as well as great profit: and this Originally as aforesaid is by our commodity; which if it was carefully looked after, by the Officers of the Customes, in the out-ports cheifly; there might be speedily, a good stop put to this their Trade, for if they got not our wool from England, or Ireland; they could not go on with this their Trade of Cloath and Stuffes, but the great negligence, or unfaithfullness of some Officers, belonging to the Customes, is the Principal occasion, of the exportation of our wooll into Forreign parts, and consequently of the loss of the Trade of the Nation, in so great a measure, in this perticuler; from whence followes clearely, and undeniably, the poverty of the Kingdom in general.

[Pg 7]

Cloathing Trade Failing.

Many other Trades fail also.

For one Trade depends upon another, as it is in the body natural, so it is in the body politique, in the body natural, one member depends upon another, and is serviceable to the other, by a natural Harmony and Correspondence, even so doth one Trade, or occupation closely, and necessarily depend upon another, here in England, and such a connection there is in this point, that if one chiefe Trade fail, very many also do fall with it, more or less, according to their proximity, or remotenes from it, in their dependance, and this may be applied cheifly, and principally to the Trade of Cloathing, and the Manufacture of wooll in other respects; how many several Trades are there, that must of necessity depend on the Cloathing Trade, as Card-makers, Spinners, Weavers, Fullers, Dyers, Cloath-workers, Packers, and those Trades which make Tooles, and instruments for these; are not also the Farmers at work, in the mean time, to provide bread for all these People, and their Families, and breeding up his Oxen, Sheep, Hogs, &c. That they may have Meat to eate, are not the Merchants and Sea-men, imploy’d in a great measure by this Trade, and these last mentioned (the Sea-men) are the men, who principally, and cheifly bring in the wealth of the Nation: the Gentry of the Land, and all sorts of Shop-keepers, are the receivers of this profit, which the Sea-men by their adventures, and industry do bring into the Nation; all sorts of Lawyers, Phisitians, and Clergy-men, are receivers, and get their Money by their Tongues, while the Adventurous Merchant, and undaunted Marriner, carries on the Trade of the Nation, exporting our native staple commodities (of the which through Gods abundant goodness,) this land of ours is so well stored, in several perticulers, as might be instanced in Tin, Lead, Cloath, Stuffes, Stockins, Herrings, of which might be an hundred times as many if look’t after, and Sale enough for them too, at Forreign Markers: but the Dutch run away with the profit of these goods, making two Barrels for our one; Pilchards are a very[Pg 8] good commodity, of which we do get good store in the West Country, and they do bring in good profit to the Nation, either in Gold or Silver, or such commodities, as the Kingdom stands in need off.

By what hath been said, it plainly appears how from the highest to the lowest, there is a necessary dependance of one imployment upon another, and the falling off from one general Trade, occasions the ruin of many inferior Tradesmen, who had subsistence for themselves, and Families thereby; and this in our Kingdom of England, is seated principally, and cheifly, in the Trade of Cloathing, and the Manufacture of Wooll.

The King Looseth.

So that upon the failing of this Trade, of which there is too great a cessation and decay, in many parts of this Kingdom, there comes in inevitably such a general loss, to the whole Nation, for first and most principally the King loseth hereby, and that extreamly, not only because his Subjects are not set at work, and so are unabled to live comfortably, and to pay such Taxes, and impositions, as are requisite for his Majesties support, and defence against his powerful Enemies.

Nor in that the Honor, and splendor of the Kingdom, is hereby so much advanced and promoted, as it might be, but also because his Majesty looseth so great a revenue, which would accrue to him in his Customes, if the Cloathing Trade was carried on with Vigor, so that the effectual carrying on, or desisting from the Cloathing Trade, is of very high Concernment, and Importance to the King; in profit or loss, and so it runs through the meaner sort of People also, as hath allready in part been spoken to.

The Kings Customes.

For what Customes come in yearly to his Majesty concerning the Manufactures of Wooll, in its several, and perticular sorts, of the Old and New Drapery, in all the Varieties of Stuffes, made now a days, and Stockins, by being Transported to Forreign parts, and what store of Money,[Pg 9] and other goods, (equivalent to Money) being necessary commodities for the Kingdom, do they bring in again, for our Cloath, Stuffs, &c. so sold or bartered; and what Customs again do all those imported goods bring into His Majesties Coffers, may not be difficult to be computed, besides the imployment of so many Ships and Seamen, and training up young Seamen, than which nothing in this age of ours, is more necessary to be taken care about; for there is (I believe) the greatest want of this sort of men in the Kingdom, for although there may be enough found in the Kingdom, to Man His Majesties Royal Navy, and it may be some to spare, yet it is believed there are not neer enough for His Majesties Service, and for Merchants service too, which may many times be carried on both together, as occasion may require;

The Companies of Merchants.

And if we do but look back a little, to a few Generations past, we may soon find what high Advantages have accrued to His Majesty in His Customs; and to the Kingdom in general, by the Cloathing-trade, being lively managed by the Merchants, and what worthy and noble Companies of Merchants, have been Associated and Incorporated; whose Trading hath for the most part, consisted in Woollen cloaths, as in the Merchant Adventures Trading to the East-lands, and in what esteem their Agents and Factors were in Forreign parts, and how Rich and great their Stock and Treasure hath been, in so much that they have been able to lend a very considerable supply and assistance to the King or Queen upon any Occasion; and Particularly and Eminently (may it be spoken to their Honor) their Assistance of Queen Elizabeth of most happy Memory, in the year Eighty Eight; and since upon any Occasion of the like nature.

East Land Company.

Neither is here to be omitted that company which is called the East-land Company, whose principal Trading also consists in the same commodity of Woollen-Cloaths, by which they do furnish all those Eastern Countries about the Baltick-Sea, and to Russia, by which means also our disco[Pg 10]veries of those Northern parts of the World, have bin made very Evident, and well known to Us, to the great Advancement of our Navigation to the Northward, as far as Green Land; and of late years hath given occasion of that Discovery about Hudson’s Bay, commonly now called the North-west Passage, made by that stout and adventurous Seaman, Captain Zachariah Gillam.

Turkey Company.

But the main and cheif Trades of all, are the Turkey and East-India Trades, and the Riches by those Companies procured, cheifly by Woollen-cloaths, So highly Advantagious to the King in His Customs, to the Companies in particular, and to the whole Kingdom in the general, as is not a thing easily to be known or computed.

East-India Company.

The Dutch have spoiled our trade in the South seas.

How the Turkey Company in particular by their discreet management of the Trade in those parts, with that commodity of Woollen-cloaths chiefly, do bring into England, all the rich Goods from all parts of the Streights, and how the East-India Company, by their Trade in the same commodity, (in a great measure) do purchase the Rich commodities of India, Persia, China, and the South-seas, with the Odoriferous Drugs of Arabia, and all such Goods as those countries afford for necessary Use and Delight, although of late years the Dutch have wrought us out of a great part of the South-Sea Trade, of which more might be largely spoken concerning their usage of our English-men in those parts; but that it hath bin already sufficiently laid out in Print, to the veiw of the English Nation.

Good ships built yearly.

Seamen bred up.

Merchants grow rich.

Can lend the king money.

And to add a little to what was before intimated, what excellent Ships are annually built and prepared for the services of these two Honorable Companies, whose imployment as aforesaid, is principally for the Exportation of our Woollen-cloaths, and if we do look back but to thirty years past, four or five Ships of the Turk’s men of War durst not adventure upon one of our Smirna Ships, and also how worthy is it of Consideration, to take notice how many of our best Seamen, and Artists are bred up in those imployments by the two last[Pg 11] worthy Companies Imployment; So that besides what Revenue is brought to the King in his Customs, by these great Sea-Trades of these worthy Companies mentioned, both for the Exportation of their cloaths, &c, and the Importation of all manner of Goods, by this Stock so purchased abroad in Forreign parts, our Merchants are grown marvellous Rich, in so much that they are able upon any necessary Occasion that His Majesty hath for Money, to furnish him at a weeks warning; and that which is worthy the noting also, our Seamen are grown of late years to be the most famous in the world, to the great glory, honor, and safety of His Majesty and the Kingdom, and all this is evident by what hath bin said, to arise cheifly (next to the blessing of Heaven) from the Manufacture of our Wool in England, by our own people, which how much it ought to be incouraged, and of what high concernment it is to the Honor, Wealth, and Security of the Kingdom, let the Sober and Judicious consider.

And if I should adventure to give my opinion freely, touching the matter in hand, I am very much induced to believe, that were it not for the Cloathing-trade (which imploys so many Ships and Men into several other Countries, and for the value of our Cloaths bring their Goods, by which means the poor also are set on work) that a great part of the Traffick and Commerce of the world would fail; and this Trade as formerly intimated, is, and may be most readily, roundly, and advantagiously driven in England; were we but so pollitique and carefully, as to keep our Wooll to our selves and within the King’s Dominions of England and Ireland, and to set the people closly to their work again.

English Cloath and Stuffs serve all the world.

And before I do leave the Argument I have ingaged in, let there be considered the good quantities of Cloath and Stuffs that did go over continually to Holland and Flanders, and by them there dispersed otherways; the large quantities of Stuffs and Bays that are sent over to Portugall, and thence Transported to Brazilia, &c., with a very considerable number[Pg 12] of Cloaths and Stuffs that go to Spain, and by the Spaniards Transported to the West-Indies all over, the good quantities of Perpetuanies, and such like Stuffs that are carried out for Guinea, together of late days, with the large stores of Broad-cloaths, Kersies, Sarges Cottons, Pennistons, Duffels (or Hogs) Transported to our own Plantations of New-England and Virginia, with what also must supply Barbadoes, Jamaica, and our other Islands in the West-Indies, and forreign Plantations; all which are the manufacture of Wooll.

Clothing more worth to England

than the commodity of any Country whatsoever.

The Premises considered, I hope I may make bold to say, that setting aside all the rest of the Rich and Staple commodities of England, which nevertheless are as good as any Country can parrallel in the world, as Tinn, Lead, Iron, &c. this very commodity produced from our Wooll, is of more worth and value to England, (that is to say) will bring in more profit to the Kingdom of England, than all the Silks or rich commodities of any Country whatsoever; Yea doubtless more than all the Spices of the South-Seas, yea, I do believe, and I have reason enough to lead me so to do, than all the Spaniards Gold and Silver Mines in America; for none of these I am throughly perswaded, can any way equallize that yearly Revenue, that doth, or may come into the Kingdom of England by this one commodity diversly made up of our Wooll.

Encrease of Seamen.

The King’s care for the Security of the Nation.

Neither doth any Nation in the world get so much by any of their Goods, as England doth by this, to the great enriching and advancement of the Merchant, and the Companies Stocks, trading and adventuring in these goods to Sea, the enriching of His Majesty, the encrease of our strength in Shipping, and consequently the breeding and training up of Seamen, and increase of them, wherein as before intimated, a great part of the welfare & safety of the Kingdom doth consist in these our days: and the incouragement of whom is of great concernment to the Kingdom, as the case now stands with England and her neighboring Nations; or as the[Pg 13] case may hereafter fall out to be; for our Land is an Island, as is known well enough, not only to its Inhabitants, but to all Europe, and we have not, nor cannot have Castles and Garrisons round about the whole kingdom by the Sea-side to beat off a forreign Enemy, and to keep him from landing and invading our Nation; for in fair weather in Summer time, there may be landing in hundreds of places about the Kingdom, where there is neither Town nor Castle neer; but such is His Majesties great prudence and care for the safety of his Land and People, that he doth highly esteem and promote the affairs of Shipping, more than ever any of his Royal Predecessors have done, well knowing that his Ships and Seamen are the strength and security (next to the protection of the Almighty) of his whole kingdom.

Profit by working up wooll.

Poor idle.

Poor get Money if Imployed

I shall now endeavor to give some particular account, but very briefly, of the Profits arising to England, by working up our Wooll into Cloth: every two pounds of Wooll which is worth about twenty pence, will make a yard of Karsey, worth five or six shillings; and every four pounds of Wooll, worth about three shillings four pence, will make a yard of broad-cloth, worth eleven or twelve shillings: so that two thirds, is the least profit, that doth arise by putting our Wool into Manufactures; which doth amount to above 230 pounds sterling profit, in every Tun of Wooll so wrought up, accounting twenty hundred English wait to the Tun; so that if we should suppose, but an hundred Tuns of Wooll transported, out of the Kingdome, in a year to France unwrought, it will amount to 22400 ll. sterling, which is so much clear loss to the Kingdome, and trebble so much profit to France, by their working up three times so much of their own, with ours, as hath been formerly intimated: besides, it is worthy of consideration, that so many of our poor lye idle, and lose their imployment, being ready to perish for want of necessary food, notwithstanding the great plenty in the Land; and no Kingdome hath the like advantages, for the imployment of the poor, in any Trade or occupation (within[Pg 14] doors) whatsoever, as we have for the poor in his Majesties dominion of England, about the old and new Drapery: and yet those poor, that had their hands full of work, in one kind or another, according to what they were most accustomed, either by sorting of wooll, mixing, breaking, carding, spinning, spoling, quilling, weaving, making of cards, picking of Tesels, and many other imployments, concerning the working up wooll into cloth, which have kept many thousands of men women and children at work, who knew not how to get a penny another way; but by this way of working, could in some comfortable manner live. When the trade of clothing was driven roundly, one family, that doth not get twelve pence a week now, have then received twelve, fifteen or eighteen shillings a week, which money went round to the Farmer for provision, or to the Shopkeeper for necessaries for their Families, and this again to the Merchant, or to the Landlords, according to each man’s Trade, and correspondence.

So that the profit arising, by the working up of our Wooll into cloth or Stuffs here in England, by our own people is almost unspeakable, and is the great and chief wheel in the Kingdome, to set all others at work, as hath been already in several Trades mentioned, and more do attend upon it, when it is made into cloth, as the Clothworkers, Drawers, Dyers, Fullers, Packers, Merchants and Seamen.

Exporting wooll.

Fall of Rents.

The poors labor profit to the Nation.

But then to enter into the consideration of the contrary, what an unspeakable loss is it to the Kingdome, to have such a Trade fall to decay, and so many thousands of poor must of necessity be multiplyed in the Land, which must beg, steal or starve, for want of imployment. But what think you if three or four hundred Tuns of Wooll in a year be exported out of the Kingdome (for so I have been informed) what a stroke doth that give, to the beating down of our Trade in England, and what a vast loss comes thereby to the Kingdome; and may we not justly be induced to believe, that the decay of our Trade in this respect, doth occasion the fall of the rents[Pg 15] of Lands in the Countrey, and houses in the City of London and else where; so that the Nobility, and Gentry of the Kingdome, have a sensible feeling of the decay of this Trade of clothing, for all that the poor do get for their labour about this Imployment, goes from them again to others, as hath been already intimated, and so the money goeth round according to its figure, and passeth from one to another, according as one trade hath dependance upon another.

Fullers Earth carried out of the Land.

Into Holland.

It may not be here unseasonable, to insert a word or two, concerning our Fullers Earth, for cloth cannot be perfectly finished without our Fullers Earth, to scoure and cleanse the fine clothes, that are milled with Castle sope, and all other midling cloths that are fulled with Sope; so that none but course clothes that are milled with Medicine can be well done, without the assistance of our Fullers earth, except at a greater charge, neither is there any other Countrey, besides our King’s Dominions, that have any Fullers Earth like ours in England; & it is so reported, that the Dutch have gotten enough of it into Holland to serve them for many years to come, which was certainly transported out of the River of Medway, (alias Chatham) for we have none in England, but what is about Maidstone, on the said River of Medway, that ever I could hear of, except at Wooburn in Bedfordshire, which is an Inland-town, and many Miles from the Sea; yet I have been a diligent inquirer into this matter: so that if the Transportation of this commodity, into Forrein Countries, was carefully looked after, it could not possibly be carried out of the Land, without a discovery of it, especially from the River of Medway aforesaid, so that forreigners must of necessity be at the greater charge, in finishing their clothes, which could not be done, without the help of our Fullers Earth. Now that there is a prohibition of Exportation of our Fullers Earth, to Forreign parts, is well enough known to the Officers of the Customehouse, but it is not looked after as it should be, for either some of them are negligent, not regarding their duties, and behaving themselves with that vigilance and circumspection,[Pg 16] as such places of Trust do necessarily call for at their hands; or else they wink at such miscarriages, and suffer our Fullers Earth to be carried away, as the like is commonly done concerning our Wooll.

Wooll carryed to France, &c.

And although most part of our Lawes are binding enough with severe Penalties annexed to them, if they were but duly observed and well put into Execution, yet not one of ten thousand doth know the Lawes of Prohibition throughout the Kingdom, and how to put them into Execution; and although many people do certainly know that Fullers Earth is certainly carried out of the River of Medway, (alias Chatham,) and our Wooll commonly shipped off from Dover-Cliffs by night, from Rumney-Marsh, the Isle of Wight, Purbeck, and about Waymouth, and in several other parts of England; and too much from Southhamton: under the pretence of an Allowance by the Law, for the supply of Jarsey; Yet no body doth, or dareth to prosecute the Offenders for the breach of our good and wholesome Laws, because the very principles of Nature in every man, teach himself Preservation, and he that minds but that, is afraid to meddle with these offenders who are commonly Rich men, and strengthened both with Money and Friends in the Counties where they dwell; so that every man that is willing to preserve himself, his Estate and Family, is afraid of appearing against these Transgressors in the behalf of the King, though it be never so much conducible to the good and welfare of the whole Kingdom; for fear they should be dealt withal as I have been.

Tradesmen undone.

And while I am speaking about the negligence and unfaithfulness of the Officers of the Customs; give me leave in two or three words for a Digression concerning the importation of Forrein prohibited Commodities, to the utter ruine of many poor Tradesmen, with their Families in this our Kingdom; as Ribbon Weavers, and Silk weavers, and other such like Artificers in & about London, and several other parts of the Kingdom, that they are so miserably Impoverished that[Pg 17] they are ready to perish, for want of necessary food, to keep life and soul together; (as our English Proverb is) notwithstanding the great plenty of all sorts of Provision in the Nation, (through the goodness and bounty of God to us.)

Smugglers prosecute honest men.

That discover them.

But all these errours, and miscarriages, might and may easily be prevented, by the care and vigilancy of the Custome Officers, especially in the out-Ports: But some Officers finding a perticular, and present profit, by being invested with a Golden Livery, do rather choose that, than to do their King and Countrey faithful service, although it be also running the hazard of losing their present Imployment, and future Preferment; for things of this Nature, are now grown to that height of perfidiousness, and confidence, (I might say Impudence) that two or three golden Decoys are sufficient to intrap an inclining Surveyor, and if there should chance to be a discovery, or a surprisal, there shall be all present help at hand, if need require, for the carrying off the matter smoothly, and Witnesses in any case shall not be wanting, to counterfeit Truth and Justice, when it is directly contrary; by which malicious, and unnatural courses, those that would be just and honest in their places and Offices, are disheartned, through the leud and deceitful practices, of these Catterpillars; who by such indirect Courses are disobedient to the Lawes, and the Smugglers that imploy them, do multiply great troubles, upon such as at any time discover these Offenders, yea and do violently prosecute them at the Law, to make them Examples and terrors to others, that so they might drive on their cheating trade without controul; and yet such honest well-minded men do nothing but their duty, but for that they have this odium cast upon them, they are called Informing Knaves, &c. notwithstanding the welfare of the whole Kingdome, doth in a great measure depend upon the discovery of such abuses.

Smugglers are befriended

How much necessary may it then be supposed that there should be very good incouragement given to such honest publique spirited men, as should diligently enquire after such sinister[Pg 18] practices: and as it was before touched, those Smuglers are not only well acquainted with some Attorneys and Clerks, who will either use undue practices, or make delaies; but they make good interest with the Under-Sheriffs, in the Countyes where they drive their Trade; and then these Undersheriffs also have strange tricks and delays in their returns, in which some of them will take part with the Offenders, instead of executing the Law against them, so that such Offenders are incouraged; and by this means it is, that our Wooll and Fullers Earth, and other prohibited Goods, are exported so frequently out of the Kingdom, and Forrein prohibited Goods, and Merchandize imported; so that our Manufacture is in a great measure gone to decay: other Countries are greatly enriched, who also live at a lower rate, and work cheaper than our People in England, whereby our Trade is much taken off in Forrein parts, and our poor live idle, with the other inconveniences consequent thereto, as hath been already spoken to.

Treasure is exhausted.

By this means it is, (in good part) that so much of the Treasure of the Kingdom is exhausted and drawn away to other Lands; the general complaint now, being what shall we do, there is no Money stirring; and Lands are reduced to a lower value than formerly they were.

Unfaithful Officers.

Now, though all these Mischeifes do not flow in at one time and place, yet it is like a Pond that is soon filled with many Springs, when as one Spring would do it in length of time: that which may seem to be at first but a small Evil, will in process of time with constant Practice, destroy the happiness of the whole Kingdom; as a little Leak if not taken notice of and amended, will in time sink the greatest Ship or empty the greatest Cistern: even so will Offenders & unfaithful Officers, being the only persons in trust with those affairs, fill the Kingdom with Forrein prohibited goods and commodities, and empty it of our Wooll and Fullers Earth, with other prohibited goods; which evil Practices are now so frequent, that if not timely prevented by our Ministers of[Pg 19] State, our Kingdom will be soon filled with Poverty, and emptied of Wealth and Happiness, by this loss of our Trade and Manufacture, which now is in so great danger of sinking, (and that without all hope) unless those that guide the Helm, do steer the great Concernments thereof into some secure Harbor, and there amend what may by searching be found amiss, by displacing such Officers as have proved in the least unjust, either by conniving at the Offenders or abetting and assisting them, to the great discouragement of those that are faithful in their Imployments; and that care also be taken that all due encouragement and countenance be shewed to such as are found to be just, faithful, and exact observers of the Lawes that are extant against such Smugglers and abusive persons.

Wooll out of Ireland

And without doubt, there is much Wooll Shipped off from Ireland annually, unto forreign parts; which might be as well wrought up in the countrey among themselves, there being no want of people, and such as for the most part live a lazy kind of life, (as I have credibly been informed) or elce their Wooll (if they work it not up) might soon be transported over into England in twenty four hours time, or thereabout with a fair wind, and be wrought up in England, which would turn to a treble account of profit, as hath been already demonstrated; but this I shall refer to others, that are more knowing in the Irish trade; but I am very apt to beleive the reports that I have heard, concerning great quantities of Wooll carryed from thence, both to France and Holland; but to lay aside the informations of others, although very well worthy of belief in all points, I shall according to my promise, in my Epistle, speak to those things of which I have had some large experience.

Clothiers leave off.

I was a Clothier my self, and Apprentice to the Trade, many years, and afterwards set up for my self, and followed my Trade many years, thriving very well thereby, till about nineteen years agoe, that I was burnt out of all, and put upon the adventures of fortune; and taking notice of the occurrances[Pg 20] of affairs, I did find large testimonies of the decay of Trade, with the occasions thereof, but while I did keep the Trade going, I have rode far and near, to get Spinsters, and other work folkes, and gave great Wages, as also did all other Clothiers, and yet could not procure half so many as we would have imploy’d: but suddenly after our disorders, and disregard to our Lawes as aforesaid, the Market fell, and many Clothiers were forced to leave off their Trades, because they could not vend their commodity.

All those poor people formerly so imploy’d, were ready to starve for want of bread, in and about those places, where the Clothiers left off and failed; and every day it grew worse and worse, and those confusions among us increased more & more, that very few men were of one mind, and hardly any at all, that minded the publique good: but now some thoughts are busied of restoring things to their Lustre, and trade to what it was before the decay.

Some wise men have been of the opinion, that the abating the interest of money, would greatly increase and advance trade, and very probable it might be a good lift to it.

Others again, being out of hopes of the recovery of the former trade, think men must imploy their wits, and knowledge, in the invention of some new sorts of Manufacture; and some covetous wretches, have been very ready to declare their opinion, that the increase of the interest of money, and the abatement of Servants and Workmens wages; to which, adding great frugality, and good husbandry, would make the Kingdome to be happy, and flourishing again; and many there are, that make it their business and study, to outwit and destroy other men, and under pretence of honesty, and many by clandestine means, swallow up the good and pious gifts, of our Ancestors, belonging to the Church and to the Poor; for in this our Iron age, men have left off to do good, and lost their obedience to the Lawes of the Land, and have ceased from the exercise of those two unspeakable graces, Faith and Charity.

[Pg 21]

Kingdome flourished under King Charles the first.

And therefore truly I fear we have little hopes of happiness, or being restored to our Pristine flourishing condition, till we do return to our old obedience, and exercise our selves in love and good works, fearing God and honouring the King, and not giving our minds to change, but let every one endeavour to amend one, and strike off from the error of his own waies, and endeavour his utmost to discharge a good conscience, first to God, and then to mind the publique good, calling to mind the happy condition of Trade in the Reign of King Charles the first of blessed memory, when all men dreaded his Lawes, and lived in love one with another, which made the Kingdome flourish, in our trading with great success, and increase of Riches; and indeed we enjoyed so much happiness as made us proud, and forgetful of God’s mercies, and so murdered the best King in the world, by which we stript our selves of all but God’s just judgements upon the Nation, and left our selves certain of nothing but of uncertainties.

Staples appointed.

Many good Lawes made.

I find by our good Lawes, that great care was taken about Wooll, and all other prohibited commodities; as first in the Reign of King Edward the Third, Cap. 1. then wooll was wholly prohibited to be exported, which was the first beginning of the promotion of making Cloth in England, but it seems the Nation at first could not work up all the Wooll, that was of our own growth, till the Trade was dispersed throughout the whole Kingdome, and people instructed in the Art. So that an Act of Parliament was made for the transportation of Wooll into other Countries, to a Staple appointed, at first at Callis, paying their due Custome first in England; so that those which had our Wooll in those daies paid well for it: another Statute was made to this purpose, that if any Forreigner would have any of our Wooll out of England, and found none at the Staple, he was to bring to the King’s Mint, an Ounce of Gold, as a duty for every sack of Wooll; and many other good Laws I find for the prevention of Abuses concerning Wooll and Cloath; and for the prevention[Pg 22] of the Transportation of Wooll, but what did first pay the King’s duty in England; and was to the intent that our People might afford their Cloaths so, as to undersel Strangers; And several Staples were appointed in England where Wooll was to be sold and bought, and not elsewhere; and none to be carried or lodged neer to the Water-side, nor bought nor bargained, but by Cloathiers and such as wrought it up, or by Merchants and their Factors under several Penalties: Many other good Laws have been made since the time of King Edward, for the keeping our Wooll and Fullers-earth in England, to imploy our own poor People, and advance the Manufacture of the old and new Drapery, so happily set on foot by the prudence and diligence of that King, & then there was Obedience from all persons rendred to the good Laws of the Land; which good Laws have been Successively ever since continued, by almost every Parliament, with such Additions or Exemplifications as were found to be necessary, for the prohibition of the Exportation of Wooll and Fullers-earth; by which means we both got, and kept the whole Manufacture of our own Wooll, and a good part of other Countries among our selves in this Kingdom, till the time of our late unhappy Confusions.

And if the Book called the Golden Fleece, with some of Sir Walter Rawleigh’s Works, which do fully demonstrate the great blessings of God on this Kingdom of England above any other, for the imployment of the poor people were well inspected, and answerably improved, it would be a means to make the Kingdom happy and flourishing.

I shall here give a brief Recital of several Statutes more concerning Wooll and Cloath.

Stat. 15. of Ed. 3. ca. 8.

First, that no Cloath made beyond Seas, shall be brought into the King’s Dominions, on pain to forfeit the same, and to be further punished at the King’s will.

Stat. 15. of Ed. 3. ca. 5.

That all Cloath-workers, and Artificers in the trade of[Pg 23] Cloathing, that came out of other Countries into the Kingdom, had the King’s Protection to dwell where they pleased, and convenient Franchizes and great privilidges were at first allowed them for their incouragement; maintained at a publique charge out of the King’s Exchequer.

Stat 18. of Ed. 3. cap. 3.

Stat. 8. Hen. 6. ca. 22.

Stat. 23. H. 8. cap. 17.

Stat. 31. Ed. 3. ca. 8.

Stat. 13. E. 3. cap. 9.

I find there that Strangers as well as Natives, might have bought Wooll as they could agree, and that great care was taken to avoid Deceits, to abate and lessen the prices of wooll, and to avoid false Packing, false Winding, and false Ballances, and to have one just Weight throughout England, proved and tried by the respective Sheriffs of every County, according to the Standard of the Exchequer: and that no buyer of Wooll, (Stat. 13. of Edw. 3. cap. 2.) should make any refuse or wast, but an equal hand should be carried between buyer and seller; and this upon grievous Forfeitures, as Stat. 12. Rich. 2. cap. 9. Also that all Wooll-felles and Leather bought in the Countries, should be brought to the Staples which were appointed on purpose, where Wooll and such commodities were to be sold, and should remain there fifteen days at least, for the supply of our own people who were to have the first choice, or as much as they would work up, and then the remainer which could not be wrought up in England, were to be sent to publique places in the day time, and from thence to the Ports appointed on purpose for the staples to be Transported, after the Buyers had paid their due Customs and Subsidies, (Viz.) for every sack of Wooll, which contained 94 Pounds, 2 pounds 10 shillings: and for every 300 of Wooll-felles two pounds ten shillings, and for every last of Leather, five pounds; and that no wooll vendible should be lodged, shewed or sold, within three miles of the Staple, by any Merchant, Buyer, or Transporter, or any others, but such as had of their own growth, and no other: And the Chancellour, Treasurer, with the advice others of the Kings Councel, had power to defer the Transportation of Wooll, when, and as often as they saw it convenient.

[Pg 24]

Stat. 2. of Hen. 5.

It was then ordered, that no Merchant of the Staple, should Transport Wooll, Woollfells, Lead, or Tin, without the King’s Licence, until they were brought to the Staple, on pain to forfeit the same.

27. Ed. 3. ca. 3.

28. Ed. 3.

8 Hen. 5. cap. 2.

It was then made Fellony to Transport Wooll, by the Statute of the Staples, as you may find it concerning the Transportation of Wooll, by English Merchants, but this Statute for Fellony was repealed, the 38 of Edw. 3. Stat. 1. and 6. and the forfeiture for Lands and Goods, was still continued, and in March the 37. of Edw. 3. the Staple for the sale of Wooll was fixed at Callis.

Stat. 47. E. 3. cap. 1.

Then the Staple aforesaid was removed from Callis, and clearly put down, 43. Edw. 3. Cap. 1. and the Staples appointed and fixed in England, at the places following: Viz. at Newcastle, Kingston upon Hull, St. Buttolphs Boston, Yarmouth, Quinborough, Westminster, Chester, Winchester, Exeter, and Bristol, and the Staples of Ireland and Wales, were to be kept where first they were ordained, and several other good clauses were added concerning the Regulation of the Staples, as may be seen at large, in the Statute of the Staple, 27. Edw. 3.

Sta. 8 Hen. 5. cap. 2

Stat. 8. He. 5. cap. 2.

Stat. 1. Ed. 6. cap. 6.

Stat. 2.

Stat. 3. Ed. 4. cap. 5.

It was there appointed, that all Merchants, Strangers, that bought wooll in England, to conveigh to the West parts, or elsewhere, that did not bring them to some of the Staples to be sold, were to bring to the Master of the Kings Mint, for every sack of Wooll which contained ninety four pounds, an ounce of Gold Bulloin, or the value in silver Bulloin, on pain to forfeit such Wooll, or the value thereof to the King absolutely. I also find that great care was taken that no persons in Norfolke should buy wooll there, and in divers other Countries thereabout, for fear they should Transport it, but only those Merchants which carried it to the Staples, or those which did convert it into Yarn, Hats, Girdles or Cloth: And that such woolls as were bought in Norfolke, and Norwich, and those Countries, were to be sold and retailed in the open Market, if not carryed to the Staples: And that[Pg 33] those in Hallifax, were to sell what Wooll they bought to those poor people in the town, or parts adjacent; who to their knowledge did work up the same into Cloth, or Yarn: and if the Wooll driver did sell his wooll out of Hallifax, or if any of the town bought to sell again, unwrought, into yarn, or cloth, every such Offender did forfeit their double value of the wooll, so sold, or uttered, the one half to the King, and the other half to the Prosecutor, and the Justices of the Peace, in their Sessions, were to determine the same. Many sorts of wares and Merchandises were prohibited to be brought into the Realm, ready wrought, which were wrought and made by Hand-crafts-men.

Stat. 14. cap. 121. 13.

That all forreign Bone lace, cuttings, Embroydery, French Bandstrings, buttons, needle-work, &c. were prohibited to be brought into this Realm.

Stat. 12. cap. 2. 32.

None shall export any sheep, or wooll, wooll felles, Martlings, Yarn, Fullers earth, Fulling clay, nor carry, load, nor convey the same to be transported, upon several penalties, as well upon the owners of the sheep, as the persons that shall convey the same. This Statute at large is worth the perusing, and might do much good to the Kingdome, if it was duly observed, by all the Kings Subjects; but the behaviours of our people in England, are not as they were in former times, for then a Law was no sooner made, but all men took immediate notice of it, and did willingly yield their obedience thereto; but the people have been so accustomed to the breach of Law, and Rebellion, that in reason, it cannot suddenly be forgotten, and desisted from, by many people, for men now adayes are grown so Critically wise to do evil, that let the King, with the advice of the Lords and Commons, make use of their best discretion, and judgements, in framing Laws for the publique good, and wording them according to the most proper sence, by them intended, yet some ordinary fellow, that hath store of confidence, and a little money, (and that it may be gained by Cheating too,) one way or another will find a hole in them, to transgress those Lawes, and if they are called in[Pg 34] question, then they have tricks and evil devices, enough to torment those that do faithfully discharge their Oathes, and Consciences for the publique good, as I my self can speak sufficiently, concerning this and such like cases, by my sad experience.

Stat. 13 E. 3.

It was made Fellony for any English, Welsh or Irish, to transport Wooll, wooll felles, Leather, Lead, &c. and a second clause in the last Act was, that no English, Welsh, or Irish-man shall transport any of the said commodities, in any strangers name, or keep a servant beyond the Seas, to survey the sale thereof, or to receive money therefore; a third clause in the said Act was, that there should be no exchange of wares for Merchandise of the Staple, but Gold or Silver, or English, Welch or Irish Merchandise, neither shall any Merchant make any confederacy, in fraud or deceipt to this Ordinance, upon the paines aforesaid. A fourth Clause in the said Act was, that it should be lawful for every man to carry his own Wooll, Wooll felles, Leather or Lead, to the Staple, warranting the packing of this Wooll.

Stat. 4. H. 4. ca. 15.

Merchants were prohibited the exporting the money, which they received in England, for their Merchandise, and goods imported, but they were to lay out their money again, upon some of the Merchandise of this Realm, except their reasonable Expences.

Stat. 17 E. 4. cap. 1.

All Merchants strangers, were enjoyned to lay out their Money, they received for their Merchandise imported into this Realm again, in some Merchandise of this Realm, and to prove the laying of their money so out, and by whom it was so layd out, before the Officers of the Port, where it was so disposed of, or laid out, upon the penalty of forfeiting all his goods found within the Realm, and to suffer a years Imprisonment.

Stat. 15. Hen. 4. ca.

Stat. 1. Ric. 3. cap. 16. 9.

All Merchants strangers were bound to give security, to the King’s Customer and Controller, to imploy their money upon the commodities of this Realm, their reasonable costs excepted, and Italian Merchants were to sell their Goods[Pg 35] where they did land them in gross, and not by retail, and their money so received, to be laid out again in the Realm, within the space of eight moneths.

These and such like Statutes and Lawes might do very much good, to encrease the Tradeing of the kingdome, if they were enquired into, and revived with such addition as might be necessary, for now we send all our money out of the Kingdome, and vend but small quantities of our Manufactures, but onely our native commodities, which are prohibited, which quite ruines our Trade.

14 cap. 2. Stat. 14.

It shall be Fellony for any that shall transport any Sheep, Wooll, wooll fells, martlings, shorlings, yarn made of wooll, wooll flocks, fullers earth, fulling clay, Tobacco-pipe clay, &c. this Act I do beleive if not repealed, will do much injury now adaies, although it was intended for publique good, for I fear it will hinder many people from discovering the Offenders, and breakers of the Law, though they were sure to have never so great a reward for it, for many men will be very cautelous, how they touch the life of a man, though they do deserve death, more a thousand times than the Theif that robs on the High-way, for a Theif doth but take away part of a particular mans Estate, but these wretches that transgress the Kings Laws in transporting Wooll, &c. to forreigners, destroy as much as in them lyes, the happiness of a whole Kingdome, and are the procuring causes and Instruments, to bring many thousands to great miseries and languishing deaths.

There were many good Laws made, for the setling the Aulingers Office, and preventing frauds and deceipts in work, in all sorts of Drapery, both old and new, which are too tedious to recite, though many of them be very necessary to be observed, for the credit and reputation of our Manufacture, but I shall only set forth, where they are to be found, and refer the ingenious, and judicial, to the perusal of the Statutes themselves, which are the Statutes concerning Wooll and[Pg 36] clothing. 25. of Edw. 3. Cap. 4. 27. Ed. 3. Stat. 4. 50. Ed. 3. Stat. 7. and 8. 3. Ric. 2. cap. 2. Stat. 7. Ric. 29. 13. Ri. 2. Stat. 10. 13. Ric. 2. Stat. 11. 17. Ric. 2. Stat. 2. and 13. 13 Hen. 4. Stat. 24. 9 Hen. 4. Stat. 2. 11 Hen. 4. Stat. 6. 11 Hen. 6. Stat. 9. 4 Ed. 4. Stat. 1. 7 Edw. 4. Stat. 2. 17 Edw. 4. Stat. 3. 7 Edw. 4. Stat. 5. 1 Rich. 3. Stat. 3. and 4. 3 Hen. 7. Stat. 7. and 71. 3 Hen. 8. Stat. 7. and 8. 5 Hen. 2. Stat. 8. 1 Hen. 8. Stat. 11. 6 Hen. 8. Stat. 9. 25 Hen. 8. Stat. 18. 27 Hen. 8. Stat. 11. 6 Hen. 8. Stat. 9. 25 Hen. 8. Stat. 18. 27 Hen. 8. and Stat. 13. 33 He. 8. Stat. 3. 33 Hen. 8. Stat. 19. 4 Eliz. 6. Stat. and 2. and 5. 3 Phil. and Mary 11. 4 and 5 Stat. 3 Phil. and M. Stat. 4 and 5. 5 Phil. and Mary Stat. 5. and 8. 7 Eliz. Stat. 12. 33 Eliz. Stat. 9. 27 Eliz. Stat. 18. 39 Eliz. Stat. 11. 29 Eliz. Stat. 20.

Cards for Wooll, were prohibited to be brought out of other Countries into England or Wales; none were to transport sheep beyond Sea, without the King’s Licence, there was a limitation upon keeping Sheep, and an appointment how many sheep each man should keep, upon the penalty of 3 Shill. 4 pence, for every sheep more than his number.

Loss by the Poor not set at work.

And if it be as the Company of Silk-Weavers, and Ribbon-weavers say, (as doubtless it is,) there are an hundred thousand people small and great, that depends upon that trade in and about the City of London, then how many may be supposed rationally to be in the whole Kingdome, that have their dependance on the trade of clothing, in the old and new Drapery, and other Trades, which have a dependence upon, or relation unto the Trade of Clothing, and which know not how to earn a penny any other way, since that trade is in a great measure lost, and left off; but these poor people live idly, and go a begging for their bread, among which also are many children from 8 years of age to 15, which can very well get a living about the trade of clothing, for that they can sort Wooll, mix it, Spole, Quil, Pick Teasels, prick Card-wiers, &c. and which in the time of good trading, could constantly[Pg 37] earn eighteen pence, twenty pence or two shillings a week, but now very few of them, have any imployment as aforesaid; and if I should suppose but a Million of such poor people, throughout the Kingdome, which should every one get his eighteen pence a week, it would amount to, Three Millions nine hundred thousand pounds in a year, which is so much clear loss to the Kingdome; besides I know that there are many hundred thousands more of such people which live idly, and get nothing. Since we have left off so much of the Clothing trade in England, as hath been already intimated, the evil effects and consequents thereof, I humbly desire to leave and commit to the consideration of those that are more judicious in the Political affairs of the Common-wealth, to have suitable Remedies, as to their grave wisdome and Prudence might seem to be meet and necessary, I endeavouring only to be a layer open of the sore, and refer to the skilful Chyrurgeon for a healing Plaister.

Lawes to be Prosecuted.

Punishment of Offenders.

And if our Parliament men, and Ministers of State should take into their serious consideration, the great troubles, that are multiplyed upon those that endeavour faithfully to prosecute the execution of the King’s Laws, against the Offenders, (cheifly intending thereby, a future prevention of their fraudulent dealings and threatning practices,) and would give incouragement to such publique spirited men, by some especial care taken, for the preservation of their Credits and Reputations, and their persons from troublesome Arrests, and vexatious Suits and molestations, which the Delinquents do multiply against them, by false and feigned Actions, and those coloured over with very specious pretences, but the truth and reality of their intentions and designs is, to ruine and destroy the Reputations, Estates and Families of such as shall discover them, or appear against them. This I say (viz. the countenancing and encouraging of all faithful Officers and others,) would strike a kind of terrour to these transgressors, (Smugglers and others,) that do deceive his Majesty[Pg 38] of his due Customes, and be a great means to keep them in awe, and good order, and encourage all men to be ready to discover such Offenders, as they might any way find them out by their opportunities, being abroad early and late; and to add to this, that there should be very severe Prosecutions against such Offenders, and let them be abated nothing of the Justice of the Law, which is in such cases provided, and established throughout the Nation: for now it is a sufficient crime, (as the case of late hath stood) to be by such branded with the ignomy of an Informer, or an Informing Knave, though he discover nothing, but what doth immediately concern the King’s Interest and publique good. And by these Smugglers and their Companions, he shall be reputed and said to be, a troublesome fellow, an evil neighbour, a disturber of the Peace among friends, &c. because he doth faithful service, according to his Duty, Conscience, and Office, in labouring to prevent their Frauds, and abuses, as frequently by them practised as they can. And if such Officers in the Customes, Atturneys and Clerks, which do connive or comply with such Offenders, were removed from their Places, and Offices, and severely punished, the publique good would be much preserved, Trading greatly advanced, and thereby Gentlemens Estates largely augmented, in their yearly value of Rents.

Injury to the Silk-weavers.

I shall now give a brief description of several Springs, that fill our Kingdome with Prohibited goods, and of several Leaks, that empty the Kingdome of other sorts of our goods, which are prohibited to be Exported out of the Nation: As our Wooll, and Fullers Earth, formerly spoke to, which are by stealth carryed out of the Kingdome, to the great damage and prejudice of the Nation, and many Forreign Prohibited goods, are brought in among us, to the great injury, and undoing of many Tradesmen; as Silk and Ribbon Weavers, and other Artificers in and about London, and several parts of the Kingdome, which occasions the great decay and loss of our own Manufacture, with the loss of the imployment of the[Pg 39] Poor, to the ruine of many thousands, of men women and children, that have had their dependance, cheifly, if not only, on those Merchandises, which are dayly Imported from France, Flanders, and other Sea-ports, secretly into this our Kingdome.

Wooll Shipped off.

There are many of our Sea-Port Towns, and several Creeks, and holes along the South-shore of England, besides Dover, Rumney Fairlee, Hastings, Poleston, Rye, Bredhempston, &c. where these things are practised; and indeed in the Summer time, when it is fair weather, goods may be Landed on the Shoar, and Shipped off from the Shoar, on Vessels all along the Coast, almost from Dover to the Lands end, in Cornwal; and many times there are both brought ashore, and carried off such Goods as are Prohibited both wayes, both for coming into the Land, and carrying out of the Land, and this done in a fair night, and the goods brought in, lye sheltred in Countreymens houses, which can hide and secure them till there be a convenient opportunity to dispose otherwise of them with safety, and these Countreymen help them to Horses, to carry them to London or other Markets.

Neither do I here mention any thing of the North-Coast, because I have hitherto been altogether unacquainted with those parts, although I have reason to beleive, that the same Smuggling Trade is also practised in those quarters, for their Coast lying over against Holland, doubtless the people there are as ready to comply privately, in forbidden tradeing with the Dutch, as along the South-Coast, they are with the French, notwithstanding there is sufficient Provision made, in our Lawes against such sinister and evil Practices: But about Kent and Sussex, are most frequently imported Prohibited goods from France and Flanders, and they are goods of such value, that a single Horseman may carry five, or six hundred pounds worth about him, and yet it shall hardly be known that he hath any thing with him.

Chatham River.

Now if these things were well considered, what quantities of goods are privately imported, and so as that they are seldome[Pg 40] discovered, with what also comes into the River of Medway (alias Chatham) which lies about twenty seven miles from London, by Land; and the most convenient River in England, (I beleive) to Land goods privately: it would easily appear, what loss it is to his Majesty in perticular, in his Customes, which by these and such like Practices are stollen, and in general to the Trade of the whole Kingdome.

Smugglers make many friends.

It is also well known, that those which steal the Duties of the King’s Customes, and do Import and Export Prohibited Goods and Commodities, are none of the meanest persons in the places where they dwell, but such who oftentimes have great interest with the Magistrates about those places, and seeing they get their money so easily, by not paying the Kings due Custome for their goods, as honest Merchants do, and being Purse-proud, do not value what they spend, to ingratiate themselves into the favour of such Gentlemen, as have authority as aforesaid; and then make it their business by the assistance of such Magistrates, and their countenance, to destroy all such as shall discover their fraudulent dealings, or elce by some small Bribes to stop their mouths, that so these Cheats may avoid the penalty of the Law, and prevent others from the future from discovering their doings.

The King’s Customehouses, ought to be so many locks and Keys to the Kingdome, to let what is warrantable and lawful to come in, and to keep out what is forbidden its entrance, and to prevent the great abuses that are so frequently complained of, both in the Exportation of our Prohibited goods, and the Importation of Forreign goods forbidden by Law; and if the Officers were but as vigilant and faithful as they ought to be, they might easily and readily prevent these enormities with their care and diligence, which are so dayly practised.

Blank Certificates a Cheat.

Exchanging the Master of the Vessel.

But it is too well known, how remiss and careless the Officers are, and neglectful of their duties in many of the out-Ports especially, that it is a thing very usual with Smugglers to get blank Certificates, with the Seal of the Customehouse,[Pg 41] to take up their Bonds that are given for the true delivery of their goods at some other Port in England; and moreover there is a great cheat in the shifting Masters of such Vessels, as take in such goods, they will oftentimes exchange the Master, before he goes out of the Liberty of the Port, where the goods were Shipped; and yet if all these things fail, and their coast Bonds come to be forfeited and put into Suit, it is not to be exprest, the delayes, shifts and deceitful tricks that are practised by some undersheriffs and their Deputies, in their returns, and in the Execution of the Law, which ought to be done both with speed and justice, but both these are by such persons omitted, and these kind of doings do highly incourage these offenders, in their sinful practices.

Farming the King’s Customes.

Injury to the Kingdome.

Springs to fill us with Forreign goods.

I have also observed that the Farming the King’s Customes hath been an occasion of great prejudice to the trade of the Kingdome, and the publique good; for when the weal and good of the whole Nation, comes in competition with the present profit of the Farmers, they are apt to resolve the question for their own advantage, permitting Prohibited goods to be Landed, so long as the due Customes, for them come into their Coffers, and the under-Officers, knowing what the Farmers their Masters do, are very apt to learn the trade, to let pass our goods out of the Land that are also prohibited: and those Smuggling Merchants that deal in such kind of wares, can easily find out the blind side of such Officers, & that will be bribed, to wink at such their deceitful practises, such an unfaithful Officer shall be highly commended among these theevish Merchants for a brave fellow, one that knows his business, and for a very civil person, that will do a Merchant a kindness upon occasion. Thus evil is called good, and good is stiled evil, as I said before; those Officers that are faithful to King and Countrey, are called Knaves, Troublesome fellowes, evil Neighbours, &c. these the honest good men, &c. Good Lord! what a pass are we come to in this Nation? people account it no sin to steal from the King,[Pg 42] and now a daies those that practice such things have changed the terme, it is not (by them) called stealing Custome, but saving custome; for my part I am of the opinion, that he that steals Custome from the King to the value of twenty shillings, deserves to be punished as well as he that steals so much from any other man. For as I heard a Scholler once a reasoning, either it is this or that, &c. so I say here, either Custome is the Kings due, or it is not, but no man dares be so impudent as in words to deny it, but they must needs acknowledge it a truth, that it is his due, and if so, why then do they not give to Cæsar the things that are his, according to the Commandement of our Saviour, and the Commandement of the King, and Parliament, it being established by Law, and constituted for the publique good, and the general advancement of the Trade of the Nation, and such Officers as will not comply with these sort of people to cheat the King, are called Fooles, men that do not know their business, but if another had that Office, he would make something of it, &c. but such men minding the faithful and conscionable discharge of their duty to God, to the King and Kingdome; with the blessing of God live better, and do a thousand times more good than others, and may be principal Instruments to make the Kingdome happy and flourishing.

Pattent against Transporting Wooll

do more harm than good.

I have had discourse with some persons who have had the thoughts of getting a Pattent, to put the Laws into Execution, that are against the Transportation of Wooll, and other prohibited commodities; but I can hardly think they would be careful and diligent in that imployment, except they should reap a considerable profit for their labour, how should they expect to ballance their expence. I refer to the censure of the judicious, except it be by conniving at, (or compounding with) the Offenders; so that by such a design as this, the transgressors may be encouraged to sin more, and more; for if such Patentees should too much discourage that sort of people, that carry off the Wooll, &c. to other Nations, (who are the only men that must bring grists to[Pg 43] their Mill) it would be as ridiculous a thing, as for Lawyers to perswade people to peace, and by that means lose their Practice; and it is generally beleived, that there would be more Prohibited goods transported then, than what have been before, if the care for the putting the Lawes into Execution, were once committed to Pattentees, for as in other cases of the same nature, the love of Money is so natural, and money so much hunted after, that it may be acquired, that the minding of putting the Lawes into Execution, and men doing faithfully and uprightly their duty, is not a thing now a dayes at all regarded, or taken into consideration as it ought to be.

But I hope that his Majesty with all the Peers of the Realm, and all others, are made in some good measure sensible of the great concernement of Trade, and the sad effects and consequents of exporting our Wooll, Fullers earth, &c. as also of the idleness of our poor people, occasioned by the loss of forreign Markets, for our woollen Manufactures; that I think it is high time for all Loyal Subjects, to give their utmost assistance to discover all Offenders, and make them manifest in their kind, and for all Superiors to give their just assistance that the Lawes may be put into a speedy and severe execution against all Delinquents as soon as made visible.

In the dayes of King Edward the third (formerly spoken of) and since, to the times of our late unhappy confusions, the Trade of Clothing made the Kingdome flourish for many years together, and doubtless would do so again, if our Lawes were but put into Execution, and every one were obliged to discover, and make manifest the Transgressors, for this is not a business for two or three men to do, let them imploy themselves with all endeavours imaginable, but the eyes of all men must be about this matter, tending to such a Reformation; and the Courts of Judicature must be expeditious and severe in the administration of Justice against such Offenders, when once convicted, and let not one of them be spared, who deserve to be punished without mercy: because[Pg 44] for a little private advantage, they do their utmost to bring ruine on the whole kingdome: I could also declare other things that might be very assistant to the increase of Trade, and the prosperity of the Kingdome, which is not so convenient to be made publique, before it be debated among the Clothiers and Tradesmen.

It hath pleased his Majesty to plant such Commissioners now, for the management of his Customes, that it is hoped they will do much good, especially in the regulation of the Out-Ports, concerning those notorious evil practises, which have been continually done among them, and for the encouraging of those Officers that are honest and faithful, if they should be troubled at any time, or be any wayes damnified about lawful seizures, by reason of Actions brought against them, that they shall be releived by the Commissioners, and the charges that may arise in such cases at the Law, to be born by the common stock.

Concerning Staplers. Quære 1.

I could say something for the Staplers, though not much, because I cannot find by our Lawes, that any such people were in those dayes, when the Trade and Manufacture of Wooll was first brought into England; and yet Wooll was sent to the Staples, and all the Manufacturers thereof, had those sorts that suited best for their trade, and we got and kept the whole trade of our English wooll, and of other Countries to our selves, in this Kingdome, and had the command of the forreign Markets, which was the occasion of the first setling all those Companies, as hath been formerly and briefly set forth; and I doubt not, but that those Staplers will set a gloss upon their business, and without question their money doth speak much for them, lying for the most part in and about London, so near to the Fountain of the Lawes; yet I do verily beleive those people have much to answer for, as to the ruine of many poor people, occasioned by their Exportation of Wooll beyond Sea, by which evil practice, the Trade of the kingdome is in a great measure lost, as hath been set forth already something largely; by reason whereof[Pg 45] many of our poor people in the kingdome are ready to perish for want of Bread, notwithstanding the great plenty in the Land, and this is because they want work.

I should lose time further to complain, seeing all people are experimentally sensible of the loss and decay of Trade, to the great disadvantage of the Nobility, and Gentry in the Land, as also to the great detriment of the Farmer, and Merchant; although indeed the Poor are most pinchingly sensible hereof, throughout the King’s Dominions, and hence ariseth the want of Money, (the thing by all men complained of) and the fall of Rents occasioned thereby.

I shall now proceed by way of Quæry, to propound and insinuate something, that may tend towards a remedy, for these Maladies, formerly complain’d of, and to be a restorative to our decaying Trade, and to help it to life again; for as Physitians having found out the cause of the Distemper, know the readier how to apply what is sutable, in order to the Cure. So here I having I hope discovered the causes, and occasions of our lose of Trade, shall take the boldness to give in tacitly my advice, most humbly begging pardon for such a presumption, and in all submission, presenting my conceptions to better judgements.

Whether it would not be convenient to have a Committee of Clothiers, some of the principal of all Counties, with Merchants of the several Cities, and some other Tradesmen, and Artificers, to be appointed; whose other weighty affairs might not obstruct this great design of reviving and advancing our Trade, to its former height, and luster, and that some of those Gentlemen sit at a certain known place, as their occasions may permit, so that some of them may be ready at all times, to receive Petitions, or Projections from workmen, which may any way tend to the encrease and encouragement of Trade; and for such Committees, to prepare and digest the same, into such a Method and form, as might occasion the Production of such further Lawes (if[Pg 46] so thought necessary) for the future, as might restore and advance the Clothing Trade, and the well making of Cloth, and all sorts of goods, both in the old and new Drapery; and the rectifying such abuses among all other Tradesmen, that are any way imployed about the said Draperies.

Quære 2.

Whether all those Laws against Exportation, and Importation of Prohibited goods, and for the punishment of unfaithful Officers of the Customes, and others intrusted that do connive at such abuses (to the King and Kingdome) and neglect the faithful performance of their duty, ought not to be put into effectual Execution, and whether all other Lawes, tending to the same matter, or have any relation to these things, ought not once in a moneth, upon the market day to be publiquely read and declared, especially in the Sea-Port townes, round about the Land, that by this means all the common people, who have the best and greatest opportunities for discovering Offenders, might know the Law, and so consequently know how, and wherein to do the King and Countrey service, such as might be very acceptable to them, and should not be unprofitable to themselves, if they would be careful and diligent to watch and look out.

Quære 3.

Whether all people ought not to be encouraged, that shall discover such as Transport Prohibited goods, either into the Kingdome or out of it; and that care should be taken for them in a very special manner, that they might be protected from vexatious Suits, and Troubles, which are usually brought upon them that do discover such transgressors, that so others may be terrified from such like discoveries, all-though therein, by making known such Smugglers, that they may receive the justice of the Law, they do the King and Kingdome the highest service that may be; and that care may be taken how their Credits, Families and Fortunes may be preserved against the malice of such Miscreants, whose common practice is to multiply troubles on all such as do any way molest them in their unjust designes.

Quære 4.

Whether the evil presidents, on some faithful Officers (being[Pg 47] vexed and molested by these Smugglers and their Adhærents) for doing their duty and being just in their places, for the publique good both of King and Kingdome, may not give occasion to many other Officers, to take Bribes, and comply with those Smugglers to cheat his Majesty of his due Customes, rather than to run the hazard of such molestations, to the utter ruine of themselves and Families.

Quære 5.

Whether it may not be necessary to put those Laws into Execution, that appointed Staples on purpose to sell Wooll at, and that none should be bought, sold, or bargained for but in the publique Market, by the Clothiers, or the Manufacturers therof, or should be carryed too or from, any place or lodged near the water-side, under any pretence whatsoever, without the Licences of some Officers, appointed on purpose, except only in the day-time, by publique and open carriages from the place of its growth, to the publique Market, so that all those which shall carry Wooll concealed, and others who with force of armed men in the night, transport it to the water side, in order to their private Shipping it off, with as much obscurity as they can, might be discovered by some honest Shepherds, Husbandmen, Porters, or Watermen, whose occasions call them to be abroad both early and late, and so they have more convenient opportunities to find out such evil doers, than other people have; and that such as do give in Information of such transgressors, shall be Protected and well rewarded.

Quære 6.

Whether the wilful transgression of the Laws of the Land, made & setled by the King, Lords & Commons in Parliament, & continued in, & obstinately practised; be not the ready if not the only Introduction to Rebellion, when such evil doers, as have been formerly spoke of, do make it their utmost endeavour, to destroy the publique for a little private advantage, as hath been already so much complained of, having no respect to the Laws of the Land, that Prohibit such evil practices as theirs, and whether this be not a high contempt of the Authority aforesaid, that Enacted those good Lawes.

[Pg 48]

Quære 7.

Whether it would not forward the great work of reviving our Trade, and prevent those abuses complained of, if an Office was appointed in every County, to be kept by some honest upright men, who have a clear respect to the publique good, and advancing the National Trade, that might receive all Informations of such abuses, and transgressions of the Laws of the Land, in the case before mentioned, from any people that should be the discoverers of the same, and that such Officers may have power to examine Witness upon Oath, and if there be found a real guilt, in the Accused person or persons, that such Officer shall give to such discoverer, of his or their good service, and the matter to be Prosecuted at Law by a publique charge; and the persons, though never so mean, that have given the Informations, should be assured to receive his reward, by vertue of his Certificate, without any manner of trouble or charge to himself, as soon as the Suit shall be determined; all which would be carryed on with much ease, and be accomplished in a short time if such an Officer as did Prosecute for the King had the countenance of the Courts of Judicature as they ought to have, and the Cities and Countries made throughly sensible, that this matter is of so great concernment to the publique good, so that all Smugglers might be so much discountenanced, by all people both high and low, that none should dare to presume to transgress the King’s Laws, or for the future, endeavour a publique destruction to the Kingdome, for their private and perticuler advantage.

Quære 8.

Whether it may not be judged to be more convenient, upon the discovery of such Offenders, to Prosecute them in the King’s Court of Exchequer, rather than in any Countrey Court adjacent, where such Fact was committed; or where the Offender dwells, least there should be some special correspondence held thereabouts, or interest more readily made in such Courts.

Quære 9.

In case any publique Officer should be surprized, by the subtil contrivance of such Smugglers, with their Atturnies and[Pg 49] Clerks, (who frequently use foul practices also,) and that such Officer shall be put to great Charges, possibly beyond his Ability, before he can obtain releif according to the rules of the Law: whether it would not be convenient that such Rules should be made and practiced in all Courts of Judicature, that such publique Officers for the King, should not be exposed to so great charges, by Actions brought against them, meerly out of malice, which are done purely out of design to terrify such Officers, (and to prevent if possible, for the future, the due and faithful Execution of their said Office in such cases,) wherein the Kingdomes good is so much concerned, and that a place was appointed where they might be speedily heard without tedious attendance.

Quære 10.

Whether any Officer that formerly did, or now doth belong to the Customes, or was any wayes intrusted in his Majesties Service, who hath proved unjust, and unfaithful in his Office, either by conniving at such Smugglers, or complying with them, or neglecting (upon complaint made to him) to bring them to condigne punishment, according to the Justice of the Law, ought ever to be intrusted in any publique Imployment for the future.

Quære 11.

Whether by our Laws, any Under Sheriff ought to continue in his Office, more than one year, or to act as Under-Sheriff upon any pretence whatsoever; considering they have such opportunities, to be prejudicial to any person, according to their Interests and inclinations; and they may delay and vex one party, and in the mean time unjustly incourage, and heighten the other; and this is such a thing as often proves very prejudicial to His Majesties Affairs in the Prosecution of such Informations, as may be brought, touching the abuses here mentioned.

Quære 12.

Whether these Officers, that are in Commission or Imployment, that do joyn with, or countenance such as do transgress the King’s Laws, and make it their business to defraud the King of his Dues, or are not ready and forward to[Pg 50] do that justice against the Delinquents that so do, ought not to be Displaced, and some way severely Punished?

Quære 13.

Whether those Jurors that will give up their Verdict contrary to Law, and Evidence, ought not to be forced to give satisfaction to the party so greived, and injured; or to be made to suffer one way or another, as examples in such cases; without any tedious trouble to the party greived, as may be judged requisite, and reasonable; for as our Laws stand in that case, it is almost impossible to punish a Jury that doth offend, and act contrary to Law; for it is too much become the custome of many Juries, to act to the dammage of one person, out of favour and respect to the other, so that all people are sensible of the great abuses that are put upon one party, where the Adversary can carry a great interest, either in Cities or Countrey.

Quære 14.

Whether it would not be as great a renown to His Majesty, if the Trade of Clothing was recovered to its height, as it was to King Edward the Third, of Famous Memory, by whose Providence, and Industry it was first brought into England, which hath been so exceedingly advantagious to this Kingdome, for many years, and doubtless might be revived, to as great a strength as ever; if such things were consulted and practiced, which might be the proper and effectual means, conducible thereunto; and the people of the Kingdome brought to a ready observation, of the Lawes of the Land, which would turn to his Majesties great advantage in his Customes, &c. and put all his Subjects in general into a capacity of paying their Taxes willingly, according as his Majesty should have occasion, the Springs of Trade then being open and running, would bring in supplies to all people.

Quære 15.

Whether it would not be necessary that all those Laws not yet Repealed, relating to the furtherance of Trade, and promiscuously scattered in the Law Books, ought not to be revived, and re-Printed in one Volume, that so all people might readily know those Laws, and be by Authority strictly[Pg 51] commanded the observance of the same, with incouragements to the obedient, and punishments to the disobedient.

Quære 17.

In case any Laws be wanting, or are not full enough, against the Transportation of our Prohibited goods, or the Importation of Forreign Prohibited goods, as new sorts of Stuffs, that may be made beyond Sea, or any thing elce, that is not perticularly provided against, whether it may not be very necessary to have such a defect supplyed.

Quære 16.

Whether there ought not to be a Statute for the regulation or well making of such Staffs, &c. which were not used in former times, that so all deceits in work may be avoided, which if done, would doubtless very much advance the credit of the English goods, and greatly further the sale of them at a Forreign Market.

Quære 18.

Whether it is convenient that our Manufactures of Cloth and Stuffs, should be allowed to be transported out of the Land white (or undied) because it is a very common practice of the Dutch and English too, so to do, and then they Dye them and Dress them in Holland, by the which they set many people on work, and all that imployment is lost to England: but this is not all, for the Dutch do so handle the matter, as that they mak our own goods more acceptable and saleable in Forreign Countries, than we usually do, with the same sort of goods which we Dy in England, to the great profit and credit of the Dutch abroad among strangers, and to the great loss and dammage of England, besides the disreputation by that means to England, yea many times the same goods that were carryed over to Holland white, are returned to us again, when the Dutch have Dyed them and dressed them, and then they are esteemed the best Colours, and therefore most vendible among us.

Quære 19.

Whether it would not be very conducible to the publique good, that those perticuler Statutes should be put into effectual Execution, which do positively appoint, that all Merchants Forreigners, Tradeing into England with Commodities of their own Countrey growth, and vending them[Pg 52] here, should lay out their money again in our English Manufactures, and not be permitted to carry money out of the Land, directly nor indirectly; but lay it out in the goods, and wares of England (their necessary expences excepted) according to the true intent and meaning of the said Statute.

Quere 20.

Whether it be not worthy to be taken into consideration, concerning the fineness and weight of our English Coin, above and beyond the Coin of our neighbouring Nations, and whether that be not the cause of its Exportation out of the Land; a broad twenty shillings peice of Gold, being worth in France, Flanders, and Holland, twenty seven shillings, and a Crown piece of silver worth six shillings; so that I suppose we may cease wondring, what is become of the money of the Kingdome, considering it is such profit to the Merchant to transport it beyond Sea.

Quære 21.

Whether it would not very much increase Trading, and be highly advantageous to the King’s Majesty, to have money plentiful in the Land, and greatly benefit the Common-Weale, if money in England was in some measure made sutable or equal, to the weight and fineness of money in other Lands, and whether this would not be a great means of bringing in money from other Lands, and then keep it in the Kingdome being brought in; by such means the King would be sure to have a speedy supply on all demands, for his occasions; and it is granted on all hands, that good Treasures of Money are the principal Sinews of War.

Quere 22.

Whether we in England, ought not in reason, to take the same care, for the preservation and advancement of our Native Commodities, as every other Kingdome and Countrey doth for theirs, as in Spain, the labour of the people is in their Vineyards, for the Production of Wine and Fruit, concerning which they take great care, that they make the utmost, and spend little of these things themselves, that they may make money of them to furnish their needs, with what is sutable, and many times they will not part with these their[Pg 53] goods, for Barter, or Exchange for other goods, but will have ready money, and at dear rates too, as I have heard by those that have traded into those parts; some have given to the Spaniards, at the Canaries 100 peices of Eight, for an ordinary Pipe of Wine, in ready money; which 100 Peices of Eight are well worth twenty two pounds Sterling, with us, and likewise in France concerning their Wines, Salt, Brandy, &c. what care is by them taken to make the best of them, that may be, and what vast quantities of French Wines, Brandy, Vinegar, &c, do come over into England in a year; to pay for which I doubt, there goes a great deal of ready money: and if so in other Countries, why should not the same care be taken in England, for the advancement of our Manufactures, endeavouring thereby to imploy our Poor, and so to inrich the Kingdome, especially considering the far greater advantages of so doing, that we have in England, than any other Nation hath, as hath been already at large set forth.

Quere 23.

Why should the humour of our people in England so far engage them to an old custome of burying the dead in Linnen, as to contradict and disobey so good a Law as was lately made by Act of Parliament, for the burial of our dead in Woollen, doubtless there was reason enoug then produced in Parliament, to sway with the King and those two Honourable Houses for the Enacting the same, and whether it be not as decent to cover the dead Corps in Flannel, as it is with Linnen; beside the burial of the dead in Flannel will greatly advance the Manufacture of the Nation, and in reason advance the prizes of all other Woollen wares, and this Woollen Cloth is of our own production, and when we bury our people in Linnen, that causeth so much expence (for the generality) of the goods of other Countries; and whether it ought not to be considered, that the Law provided in this case, ought to be re-inforced.

Now to draw towards an end, I have met with an Objection to this Treatise, that it may be judged Superflous,[Pg 54] because several Books are extant concerning this Subject; to which I Answer.

Though I have reason to beleive them that told me so, yet I do beleive that the Reader will find a great difference between this and any other, if they be compared together, and that in many respects.

And again I Answer, that the more Complaints are made, of the Abuses and great Losses to the Kingdome, so much the more ought all good men to enquire into the truth of those Complaints, and endeavour for sutable Remedies; in Tendency whereto, I have presented something here by way of Quære, &c.

And now methinks I hear some wise men say, that it is Reason that such abuses should be punished, and that severely, if any should presume to act such things, as are here complained of, or any waies vindicate those that do them; to the which I answer, that I wish that I were called to prove my knowledge of those things, without too much charge or Attendance, before any that should be appointed, to enquire into and to regulate the same, for I do not make it my business to set forth in this discourse the perticuler abuses of those Countrey Atturneys, Under-Clerks, Under-Sheriffs in their returns, and the abuses of their Officers, and the Assistance that some great Smugglers have, from some Magistrates and Justices of the Peace in the Countrey, together with the affronts that have been offered to our good Lawes, of which I have had a large and sad experience: And although our Lawes are good, and our Judges are just, yet the corruption in the practice of the Law, by under-Officers, is so exceeding bad and destructive to the Trade and publique good of the Kingdome, that in case I should perticularly recite those abuses that I my self have met with among the Practicers of the Law, I should fill a Book many times bigger than this.

And now I shall conclude, with the true and hearty wishes of an Englishman, that all our Ministers of State may so agree[Pg 55] especially in this juncture of time, that they may unanimously joyn together, as one intire body, against all Intruders upon our Trade and Priveledges both at Sea and Land; that the Walls of this Kingdome may be built up and preserved, and our Tradeing may encrease and flourish, so that no cunning Usurpers may rob us of our old Prerogatives of the Seas, or the Manufacture of our native Trade upon the Land.




That these things are considerable to be looked into, and that a stock may be raised to employ the poor out of misimployed Charity, I have given a breif account of the abuses of Charity, in the place where I now inhabit, with a short Description of the River of Medway, alias Chatham, and the fraudes practised there and of some notorious abuses put upon me for doing my duty, and endeavouring to prevent those fraudes complained of in this Book, with the foul Practise of some under-Clerks, and cunning devices of some other Lawyers, which I shall Present to his most Sacred Majesty, and to the great Councels of the Kingdome; to the end it may be known what need there is of better encouragement to honest Officers, and those who put the Laws in Execution against such Offenders, being also ready to prove what is alledged in every particular clause before his Majesty in Councel.

England is exceeding happy in a good and gracious King, but extreamly unhappy in some unfaithful Officers, and divided people, we are also happy in good Lawes, but unhappy in that they are so much corrupted, it is nothing with some Councel to make good, bad, and bad good; and in case they abuse a man never so much, this is sufficient, They ought to do what they can for their Client: by this course, our most gracious King, and the Honourable Courts are often misinformed, honest men discouraged, and unjust Stewards preferred, let Attorneys and Clerks use never so unjust practice, honest and just Lawyers will seldome complain, or move against those of the same profession. This Nation is puffed up with Pride, and grown idle with plenty, the meanest vie with the greatest, and will do any unjust thing to maintain it, Playes are more regarded then Prayers, Drunkenness than Study, the Clerks pens, than Trades-mens hands, so that our Trade is lost, our people live idle, Charity Robbed, our Poor starved, our Lawes not regarded, our Consciences fast asleep.

The Scene is so much altered in 25 or 30 years, that then a man thought his Son well provided for, if placed with a Clothier, and now nothing will do but Law, so that they multiply like Catterpillers in a dry Summer, insomuch that the increase of the Land cannot feed them, but they swallow up the earth also, what I write is no Romance, I have had sad experience of the truth of it, and according to the good old Proverbs, The Loser may have leave to speak, And truth may be blamed, though not shamed, that doth make a man as bold as a Lion, and I bless God in all my sad Afflictions, that very thing, and God’s promises hath kept up my spirits, and without reason I still hoped to be delivered from those wolves, as Daniel was delivered out of the Lyons Den, which hath been done, some of my Enemies falling before me, and others have confessed their faults, and I have as freely forgiven them, as I hope God will forgive me, others whose actions are so foul, they blush and hang down their heads when they see me, though they will endeavour behind my back, & where it’s not known, to excuse themselves, I declare I desire to be in peace with all men, though I do endeavour to get my right, vindicate my self, and for publique good punish Offenders.


Transcriber’s Note

There are some inconsistencies with numbering in this book. There are no pages numbered 24 to 32, and Quære 17 appears before Quære 16.

Changes that have been made are:

Near end of the introductory address, closing bracket added in “(aiming at no other,)”.

Page 21, “pulique” changed to “publique” in “and then to mind the publique good,”.

Page 24, repetition of Ed. removed from the sidenote “27. Ed. 3. ca. 3.”.

Page 37, opening bracked added in “(cheifly intending thereby,”.

Page 40, “Practies” changed to “Practices” in “which by these and such like Practices are stollen,”.

Page 41, “these the honest good men ‘&c.” changed to “these the honest good men, &c.”.

Page 49, closing bracket added in “said Office in such cases,)”.

Page 49, “negliectng” changed to “neglecting” in “or complying with them, or neglecting”.