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tions, by the many which become soldiers, and others that cease labouring in their trades and industry, for want of security, insensibly impoverish countries, much more than those slain in such changes do; by reason that those that die, as they add nothing, do consume nothing in the commonwealth; whereas the idle living add nothing, and consume much to its destruction.
I shall say no more therefore on this subject, but hasten to the consideration of which hands are best employed to the advantage of the wealth of this kingdom, as our trade and negotiation now stand.
First, then, the premisses considered, we may lay down as an undeniable verity, that those men who add most by their labour to the increase of the intrinsick wealth of the nation, either real or imagiunary, and consume least, are best employed.
Again, on the contrary, those that consume most, and add least, are worst employed.
Now it will be impossible, in the short method I design, to enumerate and clearly distinguish between every sort of employment; wherefore I shall content myself only to hint at some few ways wherein men seem to do little, and yet are well employed, and others wherein they are very busy and laborious to little or no purpose.
To begin then as nature did in the cultivators of land and conductors of cattle.
The husbandmen's life not only seems but is extremely careful, laborious, and painful: The grasier's and shepherd's on the contrary, both seems and is a very careless, quiet, and easy way of spending time.
Yet, though the first sort are usually paid most wages, and consequently can afford and do consume most upon themselves, the last notwithstanding are of much more value to the commonwealth.
For two-hundred sheep, or twenty cows, require but forty acres of good land, and one man's easy care for a year's pasture, the profit of which by the increase of lambs, calves, wool, butter, cheese, &r. and the meliorating the wool by manufacture, is of four times at least more advantage to the commonwealth, than the same number of acres employed in tillage, which requires the constant drudgery of two men and four horses at least; besides, that the greatest part of what is produced by tillage is consumed in the nation; whereas manufactured wool from sheep, tallow, leather, shoes, butter, cheese, salt, beef, and many other things, arising from pasture, are staple commodities for transportation, which fetch us back silver, gold, and foreign goods, useful to the ornament and pleasure, if not necessities of life: I must affirm, the commodity which is transported is the only true increase of national strength and wealth; and that sort of reformers who would have nothing made, used, or consumed, but what nature absolutely requires, are but short-sighted and narrow thinkers, as well in politicks as religion: And though they may adorn their opinions and argument, with the names of Lycurgus, Cato, and other soure reasoners, yet all their discourses tend to no more but to reduce mankind back to be sheep-skin-weavers, acorn-catcrs, and water-drinkers; again, the bountiful God of nature supplying every conntry of the world, with what is fully sufficient to sustain life.
Therefore to say, as many are apt to do, that England can live of itself, without the assistance of any foreign nation, is to give it not the least commendation beyond any other country; but to say, and that truly, that England, by the industry of its inhabitants employed in shipping, plantations, mines, manufactures pastures, and tillage, doth not only abound in all sorts of commodities, as, native meat, drink, cloaths, houses and coaches, fit for the necessities, ease, and ornaments of life, but can outvy most nations of the world, for the vast plenty in varieties of wines, spices, drugs, fruits, silks, pictures, musick, silver, gold, precious stones, and all other the supports of grandure and delight, that is to speak it, a truly civilised and glorious nation indeed.
And though some men through false and envious opticks look upon these things as baits to vice, and occasions of effeminacy; if they would but impartially examine the truth of matters, they would discern them to be the true spurs to virtue, valour, and the elevation of the mind, as well as the just rewards of industry. For,
It is certain, upon a right scrutiny, a man shall find more pro. faneness, dishonesty, drunkenness, and debauchery, practised in nasty rags, bare walls, and ale-houses, than in rich habits, palaces, or taverns; and as plenty, splendor, and grandure can have no other fountain but wisdom, industry, and good conduct; so shabbiness, indigence, and contempt rarely spring from any thing but folly, idleness, and vice. And where it happens otherwise by unexpected frauds, shipwrecks, fires, inundations, or maims, the shame of suffering it becomes the nation's reproach, since the rarity of these accidents would make the burden which crushes a particular scarce felt, when laid bya right method on the commonwealth, as I shall endeavour to make appear hereafter.
But, before I return again to the consideration, which part of the people are best employed for the publick good, I must, from what is premised, conclude, that, as all, who are not mischievously employed or totally idle, are of some benefit to the commonwealth, and should find due encouragement, so those ought to be most protected and least discouraged, by the laws, who are most usefully busy, for the increasing the value of the real and imaginary wealth of the nation: Thus, as I said before, the shepherd and grazier is to be preferred before the plough-man and thrasher.
So the miner is to be preferred to the shepherd and grazier, because all he produces, for transportation, is clear gains to the publick, whereas but part of the others doth so. The mariner is to bepreferred to the miner, and the like to such who contribute most to foreign trade; but in England the merchant adventurer is to be encouraged and preferred before the mariner, or any other artist, trade, or calling whatsoever: For though his labour seems a recreation rather than a toil, and consists chiefly in a regular methodising of a punctual rotation of credit, and change of commodities from one place to another; yet considering that the whole produce of nature and art would be but dead matter without a proper motion to conveigh it to its true end, which is consumption: all other callings receive their vigour, life, strength, and increase from the merchant, commadities rising in esteem or value, as they are rightly distributed from place to place, and losing their very nature as well as worth, when by overstocking the market they become contemptible, or perish for want of use or consumption. Wherefore our laws should be so contrived as never in the least to discourage or check any conception or endeavour of the venturing merchant, to whose extravagant and hazardous, as well as prudent and cautious undertaking, this nation chiefly owes all its wealth and glory. And it is a mighty pity that all laws for customs and duties, as well as for regulating navigation, erecting companies, judging maritime controversies, granting letters of mart and reprisal, and for encouraging manufactures and societies of handicrafts, should not first be debated, prepared, and begun in a great council of trade, to consist of members elected and deputed by every plantation, maritime city, company, constitution and trade, which would desire to send members to it: And from thence after a free and full examination be represented to both houses of parlia, ment for their approbation or dislike.
For trade is of that nature, that it requires frequent pruning, lopping, and restraining, as well as cultivating and cherishing, and thrivesmuch better under proper and rightly applied restraints, duties, taxes, and excises, than in a general looseness; which being so, it is possible that a positive tonnage and poundage, like ours, should hit all accidents; attend the changes and mutations it receives, both at home by the plenty and scarcity of our native commodities, or abroad by the like ebbs and floods as well as the laws in foreign nations made or changed concerning it?
Or how indeed can the divines, lawyers, nobility, and great gentry of the kingdom be nice judges, and right distinguishers between the clashing and tangling interests of so great a mystery as universal trade, when few or none of them have ever had the least occasion to inspect or experiment any part of it?
The defect therefore of a free and able council of trade in this nation, though it cannot destroy, yet wonderfully retards and hinders the natural and genuine increase of navigation and merchandise, and consequently of rents.
But, for want of that, I will presume to go on in explaining the right and wrong application of men's industry, as they respect in general the wealth and grandure of the nation, or in particular the interest of our American colonies, in many of which I doubt not to demonstrate: One labouring man is of more advantage to England, though out of it, than any thirty of the like kind can be within it.
To explain which, I will take a short view of our sugar plantations, and the nature of that trade, to whose particular advantage and interest, after the kingdom's, I principally sacrifice my present
I therefore, with all submissiveness imaginable, desire our legislators to consider,
1. That the greatest consumption of sugar is made by themselves, and the rest of the rich and opulent people of the nation, though useful to all degrees of men.
2. That the quantity of it, yearly produced within those sugar colonies, is not less than forty-five thousand tons, English tonnage, each comprehending twenty pounds to the ton.
3. That about the moiety of that is consumed in England.
4. That the medium of the value of consumed sugar, at the present price current, is four-pence a pound.
5. That the quantity consumed in the nation, at that price, amounts to eight-hundred thousand pounds sterling, and upwards.
6. That the other moiety sent to foreign markets, after it has employed seamen, and earned freight, is sold for as much, and consequently brings back to the nation in money or useful goods annually eight hundred thousand pounds, which is more than any one other commodity doth.
7. Consider too, that, before sugars were produced in our own colonies, it bore three times the price it doth now: so that, by the same consumption, at the same price, except we made it ourselves, we should be forced to give in money, or money's worth, as, native commodities and labour, two millions four-hundred thousand pounds for the sugar we spend, or be without it to such a degree of disadvantage of wellliving,as that retrenchment would amount to. Wcmust consider, too, that the spirits arising from molosses which is sent from the sugar colonies to the other colonies, and to England, which, if all were sold in England, and turned into spirits, it would amount annually to above five hundred thousand pounds, at half the price the like quantity of brandy from France would cost; and will yearly increase, as brandies are discouraged; and by most are held wholesomer for the body, which is observed by the long living of those in the colonies that are great drinkers of rum, which is the spirits we make of molosses, and the short living of those that are great drinkers of brandy in those parts.
The indico coming thence amounts to fifty-thousand pounds per annum.
The logwood, for which we formerly paid the Spaniards an hundred pounds per ton, now comes under fifteen pounds, and amounts to a thousand ton annually.
The cotton, for which we paid formerly about twelve pence per pound, now comes at five pence half-penny per pound, and amounts to a thousand ton per annum, besides the hands it employs in manufacturing it.
The ginger amounts to four-thousand ton per annum, and is not the sixth part in price of what the nation paid formerly for that commodify, or for pepper instead of it.
Not to speak of the many drugs, woods, cocoa, piemonto, and spices, besides raw hides, &c. which come from those parts, nor of the great quantity of the gold and silver we have of the Spaniards
for Negroes, and the English manufactory carried by our sloops from our colonies to them.
So that it is demonstration, the nation saves and gains by the people employed in those colonies four hundred millions sterling per annum.
Now if it be considered that in all those sugar colonies there are not six hundred thousand white men, women, and children, it necessarily must follow, that one with another, above what they consume each of them earns for the publick above sixty pounds per annum.
Whereas, if the rent be ten millions, And the consumption fifty millions,
Then by reducing labour and consumption to a proper balance with the produce of rents, and supposing the imaginary wealth of the whole kingdom to increase in time of peace, the tenth part annually, that will be but four millions, which does not amount to twelve shillings a head clear increase of wealth, one with another, above necessary and constant expences; from which it follows beyond controversy, that hands, employed in the sugar plantations are, one with another, of one-hundred and thirty times more value to the common-wealth than those which stay at home.
To this I easily foresee will be readily objected, for want of consideration, that those there consume nothing of native commodities, which if they did as these do which stay at home, their consumption would amount to three-hundred and ninety-thousand poundsannually, at six pounds ten shillings per head, as aforesaid, and would consequently increase the rents at least a fourth of that.
But to this I must remind the reader that I have demonstrated, that whatever is consumed by idle men, can never increase either the real or imaginary wealth of the nation, and that nothing but the overplus or consumption can be reckoned additional wealth, which, according to our reasonable computation, cannot be above two shillings a head, one with another; so that, if we would grant that those in the colonies did consume nothing of our home produce, the loss by want of them here could amount only to one million two-hundred thousand shillings annually, which is sixty-thousand pounds.
But, on the contrary, this is so far from being true, that, one with another, each white man, woman, and child, residing in the sugar plantations, occasions the consumption of more of our native commodities, and manufactures, than ten at home do.
This cannot be doubted by those that will consider the great quantity of beef, pork, salt, fish, butter, cheese, corn, and flour, as well as beer, English mum, cyder, and coals, constantly sent thither, of which commodities for the use of themselves or blacks, they have little or none of their own produce. Consider too, that all their powder, cannon, swords, guns, pikes, and other weapons; their cloaths, shoes, stockings, saddles, bridles, coaches, beds, chairs, stools, pictures, clocks, and watches; their pewter, brass, copper, and iron vessels and instruments; their sailcloth and cordage, of