The Poore Mans Case:
An Expedient to make Provision for all
poore People in the Kingdome.
Humbly presented to the higher Powers:
Begging some Angelicall Ordinance, for the speedy
abating of the prises of Corne, without which, the ruine
of many thousands (in humane judg-
ment) is inevitable.
In all humility propounding, that the readiest way is a suppression or regulation of Innes and Ale-houses, where halfe the Barley is wasted in excesse: Proving them by Law to be all in a Praemunire, and the grand concernment, that none which have been notoriously disaffected, and enemies to common honesty and civility, should sell any Wine, strong Ale, or Beere, but others to be licensed by a Committee in every County, upon recommendation of the Minister, and such of the Inhabitants in every Parish, where need requires, that have been faithfull to the Publike.
Wherein there is a Hue-and-Cry against Drunkards, as the most dangerous Antinomians: And against Ingrossers, to make a dearth, and cruell Misers, which are the Caterpillars and Bane of this Kingdome.
By John Cooke, of Graies Inne, Barrester.
He that withholdeth corne, the people shall curse him, but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
He that withholdeth corne, the people shall curse him, but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
Printed for Matthew Walbancke at Grayes Inne Gate. 1648.⟨7⟩
PUBLISHED FOR Matthew Walbancke
1. The Matters briefly touched are,
- THat God suffers some to be poore, that rich men may have occasion to do good.
- That it is lawfull to hoard up corne to prevent a dearth, but not to make it.
- Ingrossers of Corne to make a dearth, seldome die unpunished.
- That it is treason against the Kingdome; and the Ingrosser to be punished as a Patricide.
- The scarcity of corne is such, that it is better to restraine maulting, then inforce men to sell at a reasonable rate.
- Yet we need not fear a dearth, but for the hardnesse of some mens hearts, and intemperance of others.
- Alehouses the great Nusance to poore people, like stubborn children, are grown almost masterlesse.
- What punishment a Drunkard deserves this deer yeare; and that the Statutes ought to be strictly executed against Vintners and Victuallers, which permit excessive drinking.
- How Mault would make good English Sack, if Barley were cheape.
- That the Magistrate ought to provide bread for every honest poore man; for subjection drawes provision with it.
- How things were said to be in common among the Primitive Christians
- To hold a community is a proditorious position; and to drive at a parity, is a senslesse opinion.
- What are the true causes of all contracts.
- That charity consists as much in lending and selling to the poor at a moderate price, as in giving.
- In what sense a famine may be said to follow the sword.
- A sad consideration, that Protestants are greater Drinkers then Papists; yet not so libidinous; and Germane Drunkards chaster then others.
- Why the Hollanders call strong beere great Pharoah, middle [Page 2] beere little Pharoah, and small beere Israel.
- The severall ends of meat and drink, and the commendations of bread above all other things edible.
- Better Beef should be at ten shillings a stone, then Barley at ten shillings a bushell.
- In bargaining the smallest beer ever best for honest men.
- Penurious customes, unworthy of Gentlemen, unlesse the poor be thereby relieved.
- The cursednesse of that Proverb, Every man for himselfe, and God for us all.
- That Almes this deere yeare are the best Sermon-notes, and he that is not now charitable, cannot be a Christian.
- The mercifull man does good to himselfe, and loses no more, then the Sun by shining.
- That this is a speciall time for rich men to honour the Gospell.
- That it is not lawfull to get great estates in time of calamities; and whether it be lawfull at any time.
- No wise Christian will desire more then a competency, for many reasons.
- A Law, that no man shall gaine above so much by any Profession, or Trade, is both Angelicall and politike.
- That Brewers and Bakers, that have gained well when Corn and Mault was cheap, ought not to increase their estates this deere yeare.
- A Caveat to such Cormorants, that resemble the ancient Jewes, by ingrossing all; the poor will not be famished, if they can by any meanes prevent it.
- No man to be poyson'd or famisht for the greatest offence being against the Law of Nations.
- The dismall cries at Newgate, Ludgate, &c. a great dishonour to the City.
- More cruelty in English prisons, then in all the world.
- English poore rather languish then live, and Farthings made more beggars then ever they relieved.
- That they may have the Forfeitures of all just penall Lawes, as the Statutes of 13. Eliz. 8. 39. Eliz. 18. whereby he that [Page 3] takes lesse then 8. per cent. forfeits the interest onely: the Statutes against drinking and tipling, swearing and cursing: the Statutes for charitable uses to be speedily executed, and maintenance for the poore out of Impropriations, by 15. Rich. 2. 6. and 4. H. 4. 12.
- That poore people that bring a pledge, may pay no interest.
- That all earnest-money is Gods money, and to be given to the poore.
- That men of estates, who make but one set meale a day, would bestow the other upon the poore.
- No health-drinkings this deer yeare, indifferent things to be disused for a generall abuser, concerning the holy kisse, and kisse of curtesie.
- All money won at play to be given to the poore.
- Things lost and casually found, and Mines, which are Natures presents, to come into the poore mans Box.
- What is unnecessarily spent in mourning, might comfortably relieve the poore.
- That poore men might have their Grists Toll-free, and the great abuse of the devouring Engine of corne, called a boulting Mill.
- That Ministers would be hospitable, and thunder out Gods judgments against all oppression, covetousnesse, and delayes of justice.
- That Physitians, Chyrurgions and Apothecaries might be assigned in forma pauperis, aswell as Lawyers, Atturneyes, & c.
- That Lawyers would give every Tenth Fee to the poore.
- Lastly, concerning good husbandry, and how to make a vertue of necessity.
2. The Poor Mans Plea:
An expedient to make provision for all
poor People in the Kingdome.
IF all men were rich, Charity would be but little exercised, therefore Christ saies, The poor yee have alwaies with you that rich men may have occasion to doe good; what a sad thing is it, that in a plentifull Kingdome, any man, woman, or child, should be ready to famish for want of bread: that hunger should kill whom the Sword hath left alive! Of all judgments, Famine is the sorest; to prove which, there need no other argument, but that the Pestilence is more desireable: that which is worse then the Plague, must needs be a most heavie affliction: and this is very considerable, that all evills may be overcome by patience, except Famine; for a hungry man cannot by patience overcome that: For, it still increases, and makes him more and more impatient. There is a Famine of Gods sending, and a scarcity of some mens making. He that stores and hoards up Corne in a plentifull yeare to prevent a dearth, is a good Common-wealths-man; and he that will sell it in a deer yeare at a reasonable rate, so as the poore may live by him, is a charitable man: For, when Barley is at 18. pence, or 20. pence a Strike, there is commonly too much havock and spoile made of it, not eating up our crusts, as we use to say; and brewing Ale and Beere excessive strong, which occasions drunkennesse, and many enormities; as if God gave abundance of his good creatures to abuse them; as some that will lie in bed till nine or [Page 5] ten a clock, because they have nothing to do when they are up, which if their hearts were bent heaven-wards, they would find imployment. Others, when things are cheap, think they may eat and drink their fill, because God sends plenty: But, as heavenly Doctor Sibbs was wont to say, ‘When thou canst not sleep in the night, that's a speciall time appointed by God to make thy peace with heaven, for no worldly businesse can then hinder:’ So when God sends plenty of graine in this Kingdome, we should consider, that God would have some of it spent another yeare: The husbandman fills his barnes but once a yeare, and he's all the yeare long in emptying them; and this yeare corn goes very close together, as they say, it lies in a little room. But if they complain that have some, what shall the poore do that have none? But now to hoard up corne, or to reserve old stores to make a dearth, as some cruell Hucksters have done in this Kingdome, is like the sin of murder, that is very seldome unpunisht in this world: He that fills his coffers and barnes, and will not relieve the poore, for whom nothing is prepared, and such it may be for whom Christ died, goes seldome unpunisht to his grave: For, it is a double iniquity, the sin of robbery and stealth: as if a man be robbed and bound hand and foot, and cast into a wood by the robbers, if an honest man that passes by, will not play the good Samaritan, but suffer the man to perish, whose life he might easily have saved, this man is guilty both of theft and murder.
There was never more need to make some provision for the poore then this yeare; for there is lesse work for them then ever; a Labourer will thrash as much corn in a day, as the last yeare in two; and corn being deere, those that kept three servants the last yeare, will keep but two the next; those that had two but one, and those that had one, will do their work themselves; and every one projects for himselfe, to spend as little as may be, but who takes care for the poore, how shall they be provided for? If a poor man have work all this winter, and get six pence a day; what will three shillings a week do to maintain himselfe, his wife, and three or foure children? For English families commonly consist of six or seven.
Butter and cheese are excessive deare, by reason of the dry Summer; the earth having not yeelded her increase so kindly as other yeares; and if the poore have not bread to eat, what will become of them? He that will not feast till his neighbours have sufficient to eat, is the most tender-conscienc'd man; and he that desires it should raine as well in his neighbours garden as his own, is the best neighbour.
I know it has been attempted in deer yeares, to set a rate upon corne, that no man should exceed: every man will agree that this is likely to be an extreme hard yeare for the poore; for bread is the staffe of their life; and he that defrauds them of it, is a man of bloud; and it is a truth as cleer as Christall, that as obedience is due to the Magistrate for conscience sake; so it lies upon him in point of conscience to provide for the sustentation of all that are subject to the civill government: for subjection drawes protection and provision with it: but the question is, what is the most proper expedient, and speedy way, to abate and bring down the prices of corne, especially Barley: I confesse I am out of my proper element, it being a matter rather of discretion and State-policy then of Law: therefore my needle having not been toucht in corne matters, if I varie a little in the compasse, or meet with a rock, & present any thing crude or undigested to mature and deep judgments: If the strength of my affection towards the poore, whose good I hope every honest man will desire, shall discover any weaknesse in judgment, I hope it will easily find favour with all charitable men; and for others, I know little use of them, especially this deer yeare: he that will not be liberall this yeare, does not deserve the name of a Christian.
Christ was moved with compassion when the people were hungry, and he wrought a miracle to feed their bodies; let every man studie this point as the onely necessary thing, and be humble suitors to the Parliament all as one man, to ordaine some effectuall meanes and present remedy to bring down the price of corne, for poor people must not be famisht. I have ridden some miles, to talk with those that are honest and judicious in such matters; and I shall humbly presume to expresse the result of what I have heard, with all dutifull submission to Authority.
Some are very zealous that men should be enforced to sell Barley at 10. groats, or 3. shillings 6. pence a Bushell, which in Leicestershire, is our Strike, as thinking there is great store of old Corne in the Kingdome: but herein I rather commend their zeale then discretion, for I do not see how men can be constrained to sell their Corne at a certaine rate, they may easily pretend want of it themselves, and who can tell how much of it they may have occasion to use? besides, I suppose the stock of corne would quickly be spent; for if the poore might have as much corne as they would spend, for 3. shillings or 10. groats a Bushell, they would spend more by halfe then now they do: they are forced to make a Bushell go as farre now, as a Bushell and halfe the last yeare: I heare many say, that they which allowed themselves 12. pence bread in a week, make shift with two six penny loaves as formerly, though they be farre lesser; therefore it was a good policy in Caesar, when corne was deare, to command that they should not raise the price of loaves, but make them lesse, which is well observed still to make halfe penny and penny loaves, though lesse then before: I know in other Countreyes the price of corne is appointed by the Magistrate, the great Baker at Rome has all the Corne brought into his Granary, Non Pontifex sed potifex, non potifex sed panifex, non panifex sed carnifex, est Papa pater Pontifex. and he sells it out as he lists, and so it is in the most free States where there is the least shew of Tyranny; but I suppose it was long before things were brought to so good order, and alteration in States are not easily to be admitted, unlesse in case of pregnant necessity: England is a Kingdom very populous, and people very querimonious, how faine would this Kingdome have made themselves slaves, and fought themselves into a perfect bondage? What saies the husbandmen, if Corne be dear but one yeare in seven, then every one labours to abate the price, but in plentifull years, when the husbandmen can scarce sell for 2. shillings a Bushell, who labours to make it dearer, taxes have been multiplied and much free-quarter upon the Yeomanry, and how shall they pay their rents and defray extraordinary charges, unlesse corne beare a good price? and every man that hath Corne to sell saies, let me sell as deare as the Market goes, though I buy againe and pay dearer for it; as Sir John Needham [Page 8] alwaies about Michaelmas time goes with his sack to the Market, and must sell what Corne he hath, and buyes again about seeds time, so impatient are men of the least restraint and regulation, though it be for the best.
Others are of opinion, that the best way is to restraine maulting, or to ordaine that no man shall sell any Mault this deare time above 4. shillings a Bushell, by which meanes much Barley will not be maulted, and so they think it a better policy to restraine maulting, or the selling of Mault above such a rate, then to injoyne the selling of Barley at a certaine moderate price, as being generally conceived, that above half the Barley in the Kingdome is maulted, and above half that spent in Innes and Ale-houses.
But it will be difficult to prove what is paid for every Bushell of Mault, Ale-men and Tipplers will have it whatever it cost: therefore that which I humbly conceive to be the most effectuall remedy pleasing to God and all good men, will be the present suppression and putting downe of all Ale-houses, and the reforming of Innes, which have beene guilty of more enormities, and occasioned more mischiefs and discommodities to this Kingdome, then the Starre-Chamber, High Commission Court, Councell Table, Court of Wards, and all the Arbitrary Courts have done: And new Licences to be granted in every Parish where there is need to such only as know not how to subsist otherwaies, and are well-affected to the Parliament.
Some conceive it would be sufficient to reduce and abate the number of Ale-houses, as where there is foure in a Town to permit but one or two; but this is but pairing the nailes or rather drawing the bloud into one veine: for, if there be any strong Ale in a County, all the good fellowes will flock thither, and good Wine needs no Bush, men naturally run upon things prohibited, one Ale-house will spend as much as those foure: rather then so, it were better for the Kingdome that every man that would might brew to sell, for then they would out-vie one another, and strive who should make the best drink to gain the confluence of customers: where the most shops are, there is alwaies best choice of commodities;[Page 9] but the first thing absolutely necessarie for the safety of this Kingdome in point of reforming generall abuses, is a provident care that no debaucht, dissolute, or licentious persons, which are notoriously dis-affected to the Parliament, should be permitted to vend any strong Beer or Ale, because it is but putting a sword into a mad mans hand, he that takes away a knife or a sword from a foole or a mad-man, offends no just Law, to prevent the mischiefe is not to deprive him of his property; is it fit for mad-men to keep Gunpowder-houses? In Sicily no man of a loose behaviour is permitted to weare a sword for feare of doing mischief, preventing justice, like Physick at the Spring taken for prevention, is more noble then executing, because there is neither offence nor punishment.
Vintners, Inne-keepers, Ale-men and Hostesses had need to be the most abstemious, temperate and sober men and women in the Kingdome, because they are most familiar and conversant with persons of contrary dispositions, what the wind is to the waters to make them rage, and the evill Spirit to a wicked man by working upon his corrupt humours, such are licentious and disorderly Inne-keepers and Ale-men to their daily customers and associates; they say every man is free to call for what he pleases, but they are displeased if a man depart sober and there be not the Drunkards foure outs as they call it, all the money out of the purse, all the wit out of the head, all the grace out of the heart, and all the Ale out of the pot, and then the Host reckons as he list, 2. shillings to pay and you are welcome, and one having so much wit left by the help of his buttons to say, that he had drunke but six pots, sayes the Host you have six in your belly and six in your head. For as the case stands, any man that will may be drunk when he lists, if he have no company, he knowes where the Host is a bonius socius and no starter, it is a sad observation that Drunkards came not into this Kingdome till the Reformation of Religion, and a sadder observation which I have found true, that Protestants generally are greater Drinkers then Papists, who are farre more libidinous and unchast, what a mercie is it, that in Italy, Spaine and those hot Countreyes, Wine should better agree with the constitution of their bodies [Page 10] then beere, and that with us and in Northerne Clymates Beere should best agree with our bodies, I verily believe that our English Mault would make such strong beere, being well boiled, hopped and kept its full time, that it might serve instead of sack, and be as pleasing and cordiall English sack as the best Canary, to the great encouragement of husbandmen, and improvement of Hop-grounds: but this must be when Barley is about two shillings the Bushell, so as a poore man may get a Bushell of Corne weekly for his Family, and twelve pence for other necessaries; I wish it were high Treason to ingrosse any Corne to make a Dearth, such men deserve the punishment of a Patricide, which was in this cruell but proper manner: He that killed his Father was to be put into a great barrell made of leather, with a Dog, a Jackanapes, a Cock and a Viper, and cast into the Sea, that he might be deprived of all the elements, fire, water, earth and ayre, (for the leather kept out the water, and no more aire came in then to live) whereof all creatures are made, who had killed him that gave him his being, the Dog an uncleane yet faithfull creature to his Master, to vex him for his unthankfulnesse, and after for hunger to teare him in pieces, the Ape to shew that he that would imbrew his hands in his Fathers bloud, had nothing of man in him, but a humane figure like an Ape; the Cocke that he might never sleep, but be perpetually vexed, and the Cock is an enemy to the Viper, and that Saylors hearing the Cock might know the man, the Viper a thing fearefull to men, and obnoxious to the same offence, coming to light by the Parents death: what greater ingratitude can there be that poore people should take all the pains to plough the ground and bring in the harvest, and then miserable Hucksters should suffer them to be famished for want of bread? a few Ingrossers may undo a whole Towne or Countrey: but may not I doe with my owne what I list? (sayes the old Cormudgin,) No, that thou maist not thou Devill in the the shape of a man, a man may not be drunke with his own wine, nor play the Glutton at his own table, but it is none of thine, thou art a Lyar, thou miserable wretch, [Page 11] truly miserable in soule and bodie, thou hast no money, the money hath thee, it is none of thine, it is the poore mans bread which thou lockest up in thy barnes, when thou takest six shillings for a Bushell of Barley from him which thou maist well afford for three shillings, thou squeezest too much bloud out of his veines, and God will call thee to an account for it, however the law of man may be defective: if thou escape punishment here, thy reservation is but a preservation to a greater miserie; how many Ingrossers have had their Barns burnt and Corn consumed that would not sell at reasonable rates? we have good bookes printed of Gods judgements against swearers, and drunkards, and Gods revenge against Murders, I wish some able man would take the pains to make a collection of Gods revenge against Ingrossers and Usurers of Corn, and covetous cruell men of all sorts, who deserve to be kicked out of all honest mens companies, for God abhorres them, as being most contrary to his diffusive nature.
But, what Law is there to punish such men? all the reason in the world for it, for the health of a sick man is the Physitians supreme Law, Law must give place to necessity, if there be such an inundation of waters that a man cannot passe in the ordinary road, a man may justifie to go through the next Lands, for the division of Lands was made with this condition, reserving a liberty for everie man to passe in such a case of necessity, and so every man must have a way through his neighbours ground to goe to his own Land, for by the grant of the ground all things are granted to make it profitable, and when the Magistrate inforces men to sell their Corne at reasonable rates, so as the poore may live by the rich, this is not in judgement of Law, an unvoluntary and inforced sale, but an accommodation of ones neighbour in charity, naturall equity and humanity, Non est involuntaria venditio sed accommodatio proximi. according to the condition of the fields and nature of the place and society of men with whom we live. And God saw every thing that he made, and it was very good, the Caldeans Valde bonum, accommodum Gen. 1.31. read, very profitable for man.
At Naples the great treasurer of corn being intrusted with many thousand quarters at 3. s. the bushell for the common-good, [Page 12] finding an opportunity to sell it for 5. shillings the Bushell to forraigne Merchants, inriched himselfe exceedingly thereby, and Corne growing suddenly deare, the Counsell called him to account for it, who proffered to allow 3. shillings for it as it was delivered into his custody, and hoped thereby to escape, but for so great a breach of trust nothing would content the people but to have him hanged, and though there was no positive Law for it to make it Treason, yet it was resolved by the best Politicians, that it was Treason to breake so great a trust, by the fundamentall Constitution of the Kingdome, which by all intrinsicall Rules of Government ought to preserve it selfe, and that for so great an offence he ought to die, that durst presume to inrich himselfe by that which might indanger the lives of so many Citizens; for as society is naturall, so Governours must of necessity and in all reason provide for the preservation and sustenance of the meanest member, he that is but as the little toe of the Bodie Politique.
To speake a word how farre the Magistrate is to regulate and give a Law to the prizes of Commodities for the publike good, I agree with Aristotle and all the Roman Authours against that erroneous opinion of Plato, that Property and Divisions of Lands and Goods is by the Law of God and nature, yet so as one man is not to feast and another be famish'd: Contracts are by a naturall Law and right of all Nations, yet so as Gods divine Law is the efficient cause of Contracts amongst men, for we are bound to sell to one another by Gods Law, else mankind could not continue, for all things are made and created for mans sake, as that Propheticall Psalmist David saies, thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet; Omnia subjecisti sub pedibus ejus. the materiall cause of contracts are all things necessary for mans sustentation: for if there were no meanes to buy those things we want, or to exchange other things for them, as formerly, men when there was a little money, exchanged Corne for Cattell, we should teare and destroy one another like brute beasts. Now the formall cause is the form and manner of buying and selling, for money, or by way of exchange, if the owner will not sell, then he may lend or pledge, or hire the use of it as he pleaseth; and the finall cause of every contract is that we [Page 13] may use and enjoy Gods good creatures honestly and profitably, that one man be not grievous to another, that so a commutative equality may keep the peace, and peace may make the Kingdome happie, wherein we are all, as in the same ship, therefore all Contracts must benefit our neighbours, every wise man looks at the end, when I sell a Bushell of Corne, the Law saies I do thereby do good to my neighbour, yet so as that he wants my Corne, so I stand in need of his money, which is a lesse principall end and consideration in the eye of Law; for money is but artificiall, a thing that is turned Trump by policy, not by any naturall inherent vertue that there is in it in comparison of living creatures, or the naturall fruits of the earth created for mans sustenance; therefore I may take a moderate gaine for my Corn, but not excessive, let no man weakly object that, for the Magistrate to set a price upon Corne or Cattell, is against the Freedome and Liberty of the Subject, as if the harmony of health should endanger the body naturall, when the spleen swells the body pines; if a cruell miser have 100. quarters of Corne to spare, and 100. of his poor neighbours are ready to famish for want of bread, who have not money to pay him an extraordinary rate, if the Magistrate inforce him to sell it at a reasonable rate, it is but just by the Law of God and nature: we have been so long accustomed to the yoke, that most in this Kingdome had rather be in subjection to their old Task-masters, then to be set at Liberty by our noble Reformers, if there were 100. Marriners in a ship, and one should keep bread sufficient for 20. and the rest have nothing to eat, does not that Pilote deserve blame who will not force him to contribute of his superfluity to his brethrens necessity? the rule of charity is, that one mans superfluity should give place to another mans conveniency, his conveniency to anothers necessity, his lesser necessities to anothers extreamer necessities, and so the mechanicall poore to relieve the mendicant poor in their extreamer need, and this is but the Dictate of the Law of Nature: and can any man question but that the Magistrate is impowred by God to command every man to live according to the rule of nature and right reason? The Romans were never more free then when [Page 14] they had a certaine price set, and taxed upon all manner of commodities and things which were bought and sold; and so it is for many commodities in that well governed State of Venice, the Magistrate sets the price of all flesh that no man can be deceived in buying in the best ground in Spaine: neer Granata, the Land-lords may not plant Olives, nor make Vineyards as they desire, that so there may be more store of Corne for the poor, and more plentifull pasture for cattell, which are brought to that City: by Gods Law a man might refresh his horse upon his neighbours ground, and himselfe in the Vineyard, though it was not in a case of necessity, as the Disciples pluckt the eares of Corne and the gleanings are reserved for the poore; Deut. 23. Mark. 12. how much more then may and ought the Magistrate to take speciall care that corne be sold at such a rate as the poor be not famished, for to offer him a Bushell of Barley for 5. shillings, who hath but 3. shillings to give for it, is to deny him bread to eat, or to set the loafe upon an high place and bid the little child eat, who cannot reach it: every man is bound to love his neighbour more then his owne goods, we are commanded to give our goods to save another mans life, much more to sel our goods at a reasonable rate, it is a common errour that all charity is in giving, not in selling; if I give I shall be thanked for it, but let me sell as deare as I can, is the language of such as will give away but little.
He that will sell so much Barley as he can reasonably spare this deare yeare, to poore men for two shillings or halfe a Crowne a bushell, is a more charitable man then he that now and then gives an Almes to a beggar at his door; no man ought to defraud, or go beyond his brother in bargaining, we say in Law that a thing is worth so much, as it can be sold for, but in conscience no more then the buyer is able to give: there are three prizes of things, supreme when things are dear, moderate when things are at an ordinarie rate, and inferiour when things are at a low rate; Precium Supremum, medium & infimum. within which latitude buyers and sellers may deceive one another, because an exact and Mathematicall equality of price would hinder contracts: but there is a difference (as we say proverbially) between staring and stark blind, if the thing that is sold for 20. pound be not [Page 15] really worth ten pound, this bargaine ought not to stand, for the hurt is above halfe the just price, I know the price of a thing is perpended by the common estimation of men, not from the nature of the thing, for then every living creature should be dearer then things inanimate, a Pigeon should cost more then a Diamond, but if a man shall sell a Jewell for 100. pound which is not worth 50. pound, this ought not to be suffered in a Kingdome well governed; for the buyer must either be deceived, or was in great necessity, and being against the end of Contracts (which is the good of the party with whom you contract) it is a meer nullity and not binding: that old saying, let the buyer beware, Caveat Emptor. takes all care from the Magistrate, as if men might cozen or surprize one another, and the Judge was not to rectifie all abuses and extremities in that kind, whereas it is a sin to offend my brother in bargaining, or to contristate his spirit against commutative Justice, that of Paul to the Thessalonians is, let no man overcome his neighbour; 1 Thes. 4. Nemo superveniat. & Lev. 25. Non fratrem tuum. truly, it is a great shame to consider how men (for the most part) abuse their callings, as I have often said.
The Civilians, who are the best moderatours of naturall equity, say, that a Magistrate may inforce a man to sell his Patrimony for publique necessity, not for the Princes pleasure, but then a reasonable price must be given for it, Est necessitas quoad rem non quoad precium. Necessitatem non utilitate, pro constructione non ampliatione. for the State must not want money in that case: as if any man have a large house which is conceived necessary to make a Court of Justice, the owner ought by the Law of God and nature, to sell it at a reasonable price for that purpose, and so a piece of ground for Martiall Discipline, or to erect fortifications for the publike service, and the reason is evident, because the right which he hath to his house or land is by the Law of that Kingdome, which cannot be maintained but by doing justice, therefore that which is most conducible to publike Justice must be preferred, and every man is to preferre the publike good before his own private; a man is bound to do good to his Countrey and acquaintance when he may do it without his owne destruction. Is it not a sad thing that the poore people which plow the ground, manure it, and sow it, weed it, and get in the harvest, and take all the paines, should bring it into a [Page 16] Misers Barne and then be famished themselves for want of bread? in a time of warre corne was so deare that the souldiers had scarce bread: saies the Emperour, shall the poor men defend your City, and keep your corne in your Barns, and will you not feed them? and constrained them to relieve the poore.
Let no man pretend that he may want the next yeare for his owne family, and therefore will not sell to the poor at a moderate price, for this is a manifest distrusting of Gods providence, as if he could not send plenty next yeare, and putting too much confidence in an arme of flesh; how different is this from that excellent Petition of Give us this day our daily bread? not so much corne in my barnes this yeare as may serve me seven years, suppose a man did certainely know, which cannot be imagined, that there were seven years of scarcity approaching, may any man therefore ingrosse all the Corne in the Kingdome to sell it as they please, and suffer the poore to famish in the mean time? nothing lesse: the Holy Ghost in Deuteronomie most convictingly meets with such Objectors, Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, the seventh yeare, the yeare of release is at hand, Dent. 15. 9, 10. 11. and thy eye be evill against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought, and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sinne unto thee, thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall blesse thee in all thy workes, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto, for the poore shall never cease out of the Land; therefore I command thee, saying, thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poore and to thy needy in thy Land.
The Argument is unanswerable, if I must lend to my poor brother when I am sure to lose it, much more am I bound to sell my corn unto him at reasonable rates, though hard time; should come, which yet are not likely; for God that provided for us in times of warre, when we had more cause to feare a famine, will undoubtedly blesse this Kingdome with increase in times of peace, if our ingratitude and uncharitablenesse to the poor do not set bounds to his mercies. [Page 17] If any man object, that this generall suppression of Ale-houses is like Lycurgus his Law, to stock up all the vines and suffer no more wine to grow to prevent drunkennesse, as if the use of meat should be prohibited, because many Gluttons surfeit upon it, and no use of candles, because some negligent people have thereby set houses on fire: these are as weak Argumentations as that the Poisoner ought not to die, because not he but the poison was the immediate cause of death: to reforme abuses is not to extinguish or diminish the use of the creature, there is a necessitie to drink, but a greater necessity not to be drunke; Sola necessitas est non peccandi. as the faithfull Messenger, who being imployed about the safety of a Kingdome, was disswaded from imbarking in a great storme, sayes he, it is necessary that I goe not that I live; a man must suffer the greatest evill of paine rather then commit the least evill of sin, Peccatum est Semper mavis malum. of two evills we must choose the least, but the least sin is the greatest evill: this giving liberty to none, but such as are well-affected to the Parliament, to sell Ale or Beer is to prevent sinfull disorders; Obstare principiis. for they are generally such as doe not allow drinking of precursory healths, which is like giving the first blow; it hath ever been observed that the first health hath been like opening the floud-gates, I have in my thoughts compared it to S. Bartholomewes Island in Rome, which began by one corne that arrested at a tree, sticks and other things came to it which obdurated; and in processe of time became an Island, or as the King of Sweden was wont to say, the losse of a naile may be the losse of an Army; for the losse of a naile may be the losse of the shooe, the losse of a shooe may lame the horse, and so indanger the rider, and the fall of the rider may disorder the Troup till at last all be routed.
I wish the application were not too true, I am confidently perswaded that the disorders in Taverns, Innes and Tipling-houses, have been chiefe motives and occasions of this Kingdomes miseries; what mischiefes almost are at any time brought to light, but have been hatched and conceived in some of those wombes, to the great dishonour of Almighty God, and the insufferable abuse of his good creatures? and [Page 18] when the goods are ill spent, the master must needs be angry: what a monstrous thing is it for a man to make himselfe a beast, to unman himselfe and become a Lion for fiercenesse, a Hog or a Dog for beastlinesse, as the boy that waited upon a great Drinker, who gloried in making others drunk, intreated his Master to make him a sheep, how can I doe that saies the Master, yes Sir, saies he, as well as you made Mr. such a one a Lion, and another a Beare, and a third a Hog, why may not you make me a sheep?
A Drunkard breaks all Gods Commandements, he acknowledges no God but his belly, he commits Idolatry, drinking healths alwaies uncovered, many times standing and somtimes upon his knees, a gesture fit for a prayer, unlesse sitting may better elevate the affections, what fearfull Oathes and horrid Execrations are daily belcht out in Tippling-houses, no wonder that the plague invades them, how shamefully are Sabbaths prophaned, notwithstanding good Lawes and Ordinances to the contrary, which are contemned and broken like Spiders webs, for because the doores are kept shut in Sermon time, that good fellowes cannot enter, therefore they make a perambulation in Moorefields, Islington and other places, till Sermon be done, and then swallow it downe with better appetite, and so make good Lawes as good sawces to drink Ale without an Orenge.
These places principally are the corrupters of youth, and the first rise of disobedience to Parents is commonly from a Tavern or a Tipling-house; youth is like a faire built house, an Ale-house is the bad Tenant that lets it raine in: is there any quarrelling? it begins there; as there was seldome or never any Treason in times of Popery, but there was a Priest or a Jesuite in it, so is it in point of murder, the quarrell commences or is fomented in some drinking-house, the veriest coward is pot-valiant, and never was any English Drunkard chast: Nunquam Ebrium putabo castum. however the Germanes and Dutch from whom this Nation hath unhappily contracted the guilt of this bestiall sinne of drunkennesse, are yet accounted chaste, either because their drinking procures speedy sleep and evaporations, [Page 19] as some ground is made fruitfull by that raine which gluts other land and hinders it from producing naturall operations, or it proceeds from some occult quality in nature, but a particular instance against a generall observation is sophisticall.
A Drunkard is the greatest Felon, he robs himselfe of all that is worth owning, a most odious creature to every honest man, how many Rascalls drink the very bloud of their poor wives and tender Infants in a Tippling-house, and spending that riotously that would refresh a wearied family? Drunkennesse by the Turks Law is punished with death for the second offence, and whether he that steales a strike of Corne this deer yeare, or he that shall consume 20. strike more then he needs, which is but in effect robbing of the poore, better deserves death, let every sober man seriously consider.
For my owne part, I thinke it would be a most excellent Law, as the case stands, to make drunkennesse for the first offence imprisonment three daies, and to live with bread and water; for when a poor man is drunk to make him pay 5. shillings is but to punish and adde affliction to the innocent and afflicted wife and children for the guilty husband, I wish such penall Lawes were reformed, and more proper punishments inflicted: for the second offence a fine to the poore, to the full value of so much as according to the discretion of a good Judge and Jury he hath consumed and wasted in excessive drinking; as for example, if a man have been a common frequenter of Tavernes or Ale-houses, or a great drinker in private houses, for the space of twenty yeares, it is probable he hath spent in that space a Crowne a week at the least in excessive drinking, more then would have preserved health and increased strength, the only lawfull ends of eating and drinking, which amounts to above 200. l. it is justice to make him pay it if he be able, if not let him be whipped or burnt in the hand: The third offence to be Fellony, yet so as onely to beare the shame [Page 20] and reproach of it by holding up his hand and tried for his life, but to be saved by somthing equivalent to Clergie as a matter of form, and for the fourth offence to sustaine the paine of death, as unworthy to live in a well-governed Kingdome, a Drunkard being the greatest robber of poore people which are readie to famish for want of bread, a rebell against divine and humane authority, and a sworne enemy to all humanity, what lies and inventions are daily hatched and contrived in these ungodly Seminaries? how are honest men disgraced and scandalized, godlinesse scoffed at, and honesty traduced by these vermin and Catterpillars of the Common-wealth? All the lies, calumnies, and falsities that have been contrived, invented, and fabricated against the Parliament, Army, and all the godly honest men in the Kingdome, what have they been but the ebullitions of some tipsey Taverne, or frothy Ale-bench? and if the most godly men are exceeding privy to their daily failings and infirmities which breake forth in the first motions and risings of the heart against the deliberate bent of their wills, and yet are sins against the last Commandement, how guilty is the Drunkard that is a Masse of himselfe, and makes it his daily trade to break the whole Law of God, which is holy, just and good? so that the Drunkard is the grand Antinomian, against whom the Parliament, Army, and all honest men are by the Lawes of God and Nature, to shoot all the arrowes of their deepest displeasures. If Sack were but at six pence a quart, and Barley but at twelve pence a bushell; but now that Barley is at five shillings, and in probability will be ten if this drinking continue: but I trust our noble Worthies in Parliament will speedily take a severe course to restraine it: when one is drunke they use to say he hath got a Fox, and so make but a jest of it, but he deserves to be hunted as a Fox, these are the Foxes that spoile the vines, that drinke the poor mans bloud, and are guilty of the death of every poore man, woman, and child [Page 21] that shall be famished to death for want of bread, as it is greatly to be feared many will be: there was a Law of Wolfehead in this Kingdome, he that had killed a Wolfe had so much for his pains, and we reward him who kills Moles, Hedge-hogs, or such noxious creatures; I remember that a late Favorite in Dublin had a project to get a Patent for all the foxed groats in that City, that every one that was drunk over night should pay him a groat in the morning, conceiving upon good grounds it would have been worth many hundreds a yeare, though that succeeded not: yet really, I would now have a Law of Foxhead, every man that can find out a Drunkard to be well rewarded, not to kill him, because the Magistrate must have a care of his soule in such a case, and if he should die drunk then one great Drunkard was afraid that he should rise drunk at the Resurrection, but to bring him into the gates of the City, the Courts of publike Justice, that the poor people may throw dirt in his face, and say, this is that monster in nature that drinks as much in a week in wine and strong drinks, as would relieve many of our hungry souls, he surfeits and vomits it up again and our little cruse is almost spent, we must this night sit downe and eat the last bread and die, for there is no more corn to be had, this Rascall that hath a Devill in his belly, that devoures as much strong drink as the Idoll Bell did, for he had but 6. pots of wine every day; which sufficed Bells Priests being 70. in number, besides their wives and children, which was not two barrels a day, is there not as much spent in many drinking-houses in this Kingdom? let us have justice upon him or we will stone him, or rather hang him upon a Gallows, [Page 22] and starve him to death, a proper end for all Cormorants and devouring Gluttons; the Eagle that King of birds dies for hunger, the upper beake so inclasping the other, that it cannot eat: Oh that these mysticall Foxes, five times more dangerous then Wolves, which prey upon sheep, might be hunted into the Sea, that delight so much in liquid elements, that they might be abjured the Realm and sent beyond sea whence they first came, and goe chin deep in water every day, untill they find a convenient passage: these Serpents sting poor people to death, I hope there will be a present Hue-and-Cry after all these excessive drinkers, let them be inquired after with Eagles eyes some honest sober men in every Parish appointed to bring them to condigne punishment.
Quest. But the doubt is, who shall be said to be drunk, which makes the Statutes against drunkennesse to be of little use, because it is so hard a thing to prove a man drunk, for penall Lawes are to be construed strictly.
Resp. Tradition saies that he is not drunke that can creep out of the cart way from the danger of the cartwheel, like that of killing a Swan, that it must be hanged up by the head, and the killer or stealer must cover it over with wheat, which must goe to the owner. I find no such case in Law, but something to that purpose of a hog rooting in another mans ground, Dominus porcitenetur verrificationes frumento implere. the holes must be filled up with corn; David seemes to compare a drunken man to a ship at sea, they reel to & fro like a drunken man and are at their wits ends; we say commonly the man is drunk or mad that does not understand himself, He that staggers is drunk. and so make drunkennesse to be a privation of sence and understanding: but for my owne part I love to adhere to the Scripture, and judge that man to be drunk who hath taken more then his body requires for health or strength inordinately: no drunkard like the old Drunkard that can sit all day from morning to night, & by the help of that witch Tobacco (against the moderate or unlustful use whereof I except not,) as K. James calls it, which wil make a drunken man sober, & a sober man drunk, wil be as fresh at night as at the first cup; oh that ever such destroyers of the poor [Page 23] should be suffered to live in a deere year, I know a man may rejoyce more freely in a lawfull use of the creature sometime then others, but never immoderately, for there is no degree beyond moderation; a man may drink to refresh himselfe, but not to oppresse nature; ut vires reficiant non ut opprimantur. Ebriosus non solum peccat sed ipse totum est peccatum. and the Cannonists hold that if the Physitians shall prescribe a pinte or quart of White-wine, to a weake braine, to make a vommit for healthes sake, it may be done with much caution, so as health be only intended; because the end of meat and drinke is health, and strength, and the creature is not abused to any unworthy end; but, a man may not commit Fornication by any advise for healths sake, because coppulation was appointed for other ends: but a man must nor overcharge and oppresse nature, as pot companions do, for such a man does not only sin, but is himselfe wholy sin.
Therefore an Ordinance to suppress and restraine excessive drinking, would be most excellent for mens soules, bodies, and estates; what an Angellicall and Divine Ordinance would it be to preserve, by Gods blessing, the Soules, Bodies, and Estates, of many thousands in this Kingdome from Ruine, Consumtion, and Perdition; what an infinit happynesse would hereby accrue to this Kingdome, if the Taverns and Inns were regulated, and Ale-houses Universally suppressed and restrained from selling Ale, and strong Beere, after such a time, and in the mean time, to Licence so many as are well-affected to the Parliament, honest sober men, that should not suffer any disorder in their houses; and to sell no Beere or Ale stronger then what they can afford for a penny a quart, unlesse it be to sick or poore people, or such as they are sure will not abuse themselves with it.
Question. But is it not sufficient to diminish the number of Ale-Houses or to suppresse and restraine unlicensed and more disorderly Houses,
Re. Truly I feare that will not do the deed, that plaister will not be wide enough: It is conceived upon good grounds, that above two parts of all the Barley throughout the Kingdome wil be Maulted this yeare, which if that were restrained then might the poore buy it for about 3 s. a Bushell, which is a resonable price for buyer and Seller: Licentia omnes deteriores sumus. those Ale houses which are licenced do but maintaine Idlenesse, Drunkenesse, and all mannor of Excesse and Riotousnesse by authority; and that conceit of my Lord Bacon may fitly be applied, that for Licences we are al the worse.
But why all Ale-houses to be restrained? Truly because that is soonest done, and never did any disease in the Body Politque since the Gunpowder plot, require a more speedy remedy, for the Malsters are traveling up and down the Country in every place, to buy Barley at any rates, to make sport for Drunkards.
A more dangerous generation of men then the late spyes were, I doe not finde that a Maulster is an addition in Law, Maulting is no legall trade, but a craft and mistery whereby they ingrosse much money, most of them being men of other trades; last yeare they bought Barley for 7 groats and halfe a crowne a bushell, and sell it for 5 shillings and sixteen groates a bushell in malt, and yet gaine a strike in a quarter, which is not worth above a groat a bushell Malting, and some of them sould the same Barley againe for four shillings, and four shilllings and six pence a bushell, and so they grind the faces of the poore, and keep them hungery in spite of their teeth, and these tipling houses will have vent for it if it were at 10 s. a bushell, for Ale, in many places, is sould already for a groat a quart.
But is it justice to deprive men of their callings; what shall these Ale-men and favorites of Bacchus do, they have been fed with the finest of the Wheat, and their joynts annointed with the Oyle of Sir John Barlycorne; how would you have them live.
I confesse it is a weighty question, therefore I would have honest poore men to be Licenced to keepe Victualling houses, such as have no other trades or calings to maintaine them, and some must worke for their livings as others doe, If the Majestrate would be pleased to provide continually corne for the poore at easy rates, they would make a pretty shift to subsist; ah, says many a poore Creature, if I can but get bread for my poore wife and small Children this deare yeare I care not; I would worke almost my heart out, but I can scarce get a dayes work, every thing rises in price, but that which should rise, the day-Labourers wages, many work now for a groat a day which had 6. d. and 8. d. Certainly it lies upon the Magistrate to provide bread for every honest man at such rates as men be not enforced to steale?
I observe a great disproportion between the prices of things, and the poore hirelings wages, most day-Laborers in matters of Husbandry yerne but 6. d. a day, who being 6. or 7. in Family, what will 3. s. a weeke do to maintaine them, It will but halfe buy bread, [Page 25] for they have little else to eat; England is a famous Kingdome for corn, especially for Barley, we exceed all other Countries. Tis marvaile that we have not alwayes 2. or 3 yeares provision before hand, but the least immoderate raine, or unkind and unfruitfull yeare causes a Dearth that the poore people who live from hand to mouth are in danger to be starved, whats the matter in the name of God? Is there not corne ground enough in the Kingdome, why so many inclosures suffered, there is no necessity of having so much Mutton and Beefe in the Kingdom, let it be as dear as it will, poor people can live without it, It would be a happy thing if the Justices of Peace in every County were authorised and enabled to take care and make provision that there might be corn sufficient for every poore man at a reasonable rate, why are not many Forrestes (where the poor people will not suffer in point of fewell) which have been receptacles for wild Beasts and Dens, and Nurseries of Licentious people, where there are many close Ale-houses that are receivers of Rogues, and Theefes, he being as guilty that holds the Bag, as he that fills it) dis-aforested and converted into tillage and many large farmes erected there and made comfortable habitations for Laborious Husbandmen; I know the preservation of wood very necessary for the well-being of this Kingdome; but under pretence of nourishing wood, there is abundance of Depopulation permitted, and the poor people driven into Market-Townes and Corporations, which are so populous, that every unseasonable year for Corne threatens a present dearth, which is sad in the contemplation of it, but will be heavy and fatall to this Kingdome if not timely prevented. See the Stat. 1. Jac 9. 4 Jac 21. Jac. 7. Dal 26.31
But for the matter of Justice, this is the case that all Ale men are in a Praemunire and have all forfeited their Lycences, so visibly, that it needs no further proofe, for the law is positive and plaine, that whosoever shall sell less then a full ale quart of the best and strongest Beere or Ale for 1. d. Is disabled to keepe an ale house for three yeares, after, nay if such a man be licenced againe within 3 yeares such licence is void, and he is to be punisht as victualling without Lycences
I Beleeve there is no Alehouse in this Kingdome but is guilty of the breach of this Law. and therefore it is but just to suppress them all for 3. years, or rather then fail, but for this yeare according to the statute, for they have occasioned this threatned dearth, we have had plenty of late yeares to admiration, and there might [Page 26] have been barley enough in the Kingdome for the releef of poore people, at 2. s. a Bushwell if it had not been superfluously consumed and squandred away in Ale-houses, and though some houses have been more orderly and civill then others, yet all are guilty, and the best way to avoid exceptions, and to prevent a Famine, is to suppresse them all after such a time, and in the interim to lycence so many honest men as are needfull in every place to keepe Ale-houses, observing the statutes, and selling a quart a penny, which they might well affoord if Mault were at easie rates, Besides Ale houses are none of those trades, wherein men have a free-hold for their lives, no man need to serve a Prentiship to learne to sell a quart of Ale or Beere for a penny, and no man ought to live by a sinfull calling, tis a lamentable case that people cannot live unles men be disorderly, and drinke excessively in their houses, tis a cruell courtesie to afford a man his supper, for 6. d. at an Inne, but then he must spend 6. d. or more in drink after supper, and commonly goes foxt to bed, or else the Landlord gets nothing by his guests company, If any man cannot live but by the sins of other men, send him to BrideWell, and he will learn a better trade, for he that will not work if he can let him not eate, tis no charitie to suffer the childrens bread to be eaten up by such ungodly wretches, But it will be objected that there are many good and profitable lawes made to this purpose, which if carefully put in execution might be preventing Phisick to cure a Famine which is so justly feared, I confes the Lawes are very excellent, and by putting of one statute in execution might do the deed; for the Justices of Peace, or the greater part of them may in open quarter-sessions restraine the converting of Barley into Mault. 39 Eliz. 16. But they are not pleased to do it, and laws without execution, are like Bells without Clappers I know not by what unhappy fate many rich men, and men in office, are turned Maulsters, and sell Ale and strong Beere, and these Cormorants wil not suffer any Barley to come into the Market, I know a Mayor of a Towne that now sels Ale for a groat a quart.
The Justices of Peace have absolute authority to authorize or suppresse Alehouses in part, or in all, as they please, and have the correction and regulation of all disorders and Irregularities there committed; all immoderate tipling; and Excessive drinking is punnished by statute, Learned and Reverend Mr. Justice ROLLS, in his Mediterranean Circuit with much Wisdome and Integrity, declared the Lawes in that particular, and gave them charge in a [Page 27] most Excellent manner desiring the worthy Justices and grand Jurors every where to be very vigilant and active in putting those good and wholsome Lawes in Execution. His Lordship pressing the necessity and usefulnes thereof with much life and Judgement, omiting nothing that could be said materially, either to Informe the Cuntrymens understanding, or to worke upon their affections but good charges are but like good Sermons,, If Judges could stay till all things were put in Execution, it would be happy for this Kingdome, the truth is that Alehouses like untoward stubborn children are growne too headstrong and masterlesse for their Parents, they are so numerous, and such abundance of tipling in every Country Towne, that it is a difficult taske to restraine it, every man findes some freinds or other to Ingratiate himselfe for the continuance of his Licence, and before this Epedemicall disease can be cured in an ordinary way, I feare all our Barley will be maulted.
As for some Market Townes I may truely say, as the Ingenious Bishop did; All our houses are become Alehouses, No Galants but in their Gallons; was it so in the dayes of Noah? ah no, to consider which of these are fittest to be suprest, will require much time and deliberation, which this violent disease will not permit, therefore one good Ordinance to batter them all downe, roote, and branch, No more strong beere or ale to be sold by retaile after such a day, but good wholsome drink of a 1 d. a quart, by honest sober men, licensed to keepe victualing houses, and to lodge Travellers where need requires, never was any Law more seasonable and reasonable; the very wind of such an Ordinance would kill half the Maulsters, such an Ordinance of Parliament being like an Ordinance of God, not to be disputed, but obeyed; such a Parliament must needs be blest that has the prayers of so many poore people, If God to save the life of a poore sheep, was pleased to dispence with his Holie Law, at least in the Letter of it, being delighted in works of mercy, how active and zealous should good Magistrates bee, to save the lives of many thousand of poore men and woemen, and Children, who are likely to be famished, and pined to death, before the next harvest, if some speedy course be not instantly taken to prevent it.
For thus it stands, either the poore mans wages must be raised, or the price of Corn abated, or this poore man must make bold with them that have it, or he must be famisht in probability, for [Page 28] mens hearts are as hard as the nether milstone, beleeve it, this argument is made of brasse, and cannot easily be batter'd; the best peace & settlement which we have so long prayed for, and can be imagined will not make us happy, if there be a famine of bread; all the Malignant blood is not as yet drawn out of this Kingdome, there are those that are negotiating to ingage us in a Second and more bloody and destructive Warre, and where bread is wanting, Mens humors are so corrupt, that the least scratch may turne into a Gangraen, the least sparke into a great flame, the poore wil rise upon small occasions if they want bread, which must unavoidably follow for ought I can see to the contrary, unles Alehouses be supprest, and Innes and Victualing houses regulated, and the Statutes for selling a quart 1. d. executed withall vigilance and severity.
We have been beholding to our Neighbours for Dans Rye, which hath something kept downe the prices of Corne, by furnishing Sea Townes, and London, which makes them I feare not so sensible of the poore Countries.
In many places great Farmers have scarce their seed againe, and now that the wayes have been faire, Husbandmen, have little to doe, and Rents, must be paid, some Corn is brought to the Market, & the poor by help of their gleanings have not been much hunger bitten, This first quarter but the rich Farmers that thresh but little, the corn being well inned they expect better Markets, and if they resolve to sell barley for 10. s a bushell they know the Maulster will buy it, and the Aleman may well afford to give 12, s. a bushell for Mault, if he may sell his Ale for a groat a quart as they begin to do, but what shall the poore man do in this Case, that has his Wife and 5. or 6. small Children, that gets but 3. s a week at the most, and some weekes not 12, d, he must beg, steale, or starve, a great strait, something like Davids case, for stealing brings the sword of Justice, and begging does but prolong the Malady, the last deere Yeere, barley was not above 6. s. a Bushell, and yet many were famished in severall places, and dyed for want of bread, yet Flesh and other Provisions were cheaper then now they are, what will become of poore Prisoners? who must Inevitably be starved to death, for three halfe pence will not buy a pound of bread,
But I meet with two Rubbs 1. what saies one, will you work a miracle to feed many with a little Corn, if God send scarcity who can help it, if there be not barley enough, the poor must pinch.
I Agree, that there is generally less Corn this yeere then the last, but were it not for the hardnesse of some mens hearts; and the riotous excesse and Intemperance of others, we need not much fear a Dearth, tis a fond observation that a famine followes the Sword, Unles the Husbandman cannot Labour, and be disabled by the war, for when God gives victory to the truth, as blessed be his Name he hath done, If we be true to our first Principles and do not destroy our selves. it is a sign of his love, and he will accompany it with plenty, if the faithfull Magistrate do not neglect his duty, I am confident Englands glorious dayes are approaching for peace and plenty, the next yeere is likely to be fruit full, Quick and cheape, justice will make this Kingdome happy.
But without all question there is barley enough for all the poor in the Kingdome at reasonable rates, if it be not converted into mault, it were better there should not be one drop of strong beere or ale brewed in the Kingdome this yeare, then that the poore should perish for want of bread; but neither is there any such necessity; men of estates may keepe good beere for there own Families; and when Alehouses are supprest in little villages, what a great matter is it if the Lord of the Town, or the rich men would bee pleased to bestow a quart or two of Strong Beere, or Ale, upon a poore Neighbour, that is sick or weake, many Honourable Gentlemen and rich men have begun a very Laudable custome in their Families, to make but one set meale a day, and some cursorie Collation at night, if need require; which in a great family, saves much expence, but possibly the poore may suffer in point of broken meat, if this Fashion was taken up out of a covetous and pennurious desire to save Charges (as some conceive that not setting beere upon the table, proceeded from covetousnesse to save drink, Strangers being loath to trouble the Servitors, notice being taken what every man drinks) then it is unworthy the name of a Gentile custome, possibly it began and proceeded partly for healthes sake, and partly by the straightnesse of the times, occasioned by taxes, and non payment of Rents, for one fruit of this War will be I hope, to teach men good Husbandry, and frugality at their owne Tables, that they may the better remember them for whom nothing is provided, and if that which is saved by sparing suppers were given to the poore, how many prayers would the rich man have? as the Spanish beggar sayes, give me an almes for your owne sake God will repay you in Paradise; the corn is not the grounds but the sowers, the poor are the best Debtors, what [Page 30] is given to them for Gods sake shall surely be repayed, I professe I cannot tell how to Judge him a Christian that is not a mercifull man, he that has found mercy from Heaven to this poore soule, cannot but be a good Samaritan.
But if there be no strong beere or Ale to be sold in common Alehouses, what shall poore men doe that are not able to brew it for themselves? will you turne our English sack, and our Native wine into Water; our strong beere which breeds good bloud into small beere, that affords little nourishment, and Hop it so, that if it hop one foot further It will hop into the Water, does not good Liquor cherish the vitall Spirits, and prove a restorative to weake mankind, especially such as are oppressed with hard labour all the day to send for a quart of Ale and a white loafe at night, how merry are they with it, as Vitellius with all his Dainties,
God forbid that we should deny or diminish the vertue of any of Gods good Creatures, but rather admire so great a mercy, that the same Corn should make good bread, and such wholsome Liquor for so ungratefull a people, that have abused his good creatures by bestiality, and excesse; and far be it that sober men should be deprived of comfortable refreshment of those good Creatures which some have prodigally wasted in drunknes and excesse. good Liquor is no more to be discommended, then the Candle for burning bright, or a woman for that which is the Priviledg of her Sex Modest beauty, If wine be a mocker, and strong drink raging, or a man thrust his finger into the Candle, the fault was not in the wine or Ale, but in him that abuses it, from which abuse the Creature in its kind groanes to be delivered, nonest culpa vini seci culpa bi bentis. and if it had a tongue to speak would curse the drunkard for so doing.
It is in severall sorts of beer, as in peeces of Gold, of greater and les values, hee that commends a 22, s. peece does not under-value a 20. and he that preferres a Diamond to a peece of Gold, does the Gold no wrong, he that commends one sort of beer, does not disgrace the rest, but certainly middle beere not too strong nor too small is the best for most bodies, for it cooles a hot body, and warmes a cold bodie, I will not argue whether strong Ale or beere be necessary for health or strength, this is observable, that the greatest drinkers are the least eaters, for the drink nourishes, and if they would drinke les, they might eat more, Now as Physitians observe, meat affords a far better and more solid nourishment [Page 31] then drinke does for drink is more properly taken to distribute the meat and helpe concoction, rather then for nourishment, many Germans and Italians which drinke nothing but water have strong appetites, and are generally the strongest men, besides the generall abuse of strong Ale and Beer which hath so long continued in this Kingdom, worse then the sweating sicknesse, hath occasioned the wisdome of state to Enact that no beer or ale should be sold for above a quart a penny, and barley was not then much dearer then a yeeres since, I would faine know why men should drinke better drinke at Faires, and Markets or at Inns and Alehouses, when they lodge abroad, then they doe at home; tis but a vaine custome which occasions much expence of time, and Coyne to make Bargaines over a Cup of strong Liquor, whereby many honest people come to be surprized and defrauded in barganing, though a man canot stand upon his legs when he contracts, yet as the Law stands he must stand to his bargain, though it be to the utter undoing of himselfe, his Wife and Children, and some Crafty strong brained Chapman will abuse 20 honest simple men by the help of an Alehouse, I profess these things ought not to be suffered in a well governed Kingdome, good wholsom drink of a quart for a 1 d. and no better for, there is no degree beyond wholsomness will remedy and prevent one Thousand mischeifes exorbitances and extreamities, which otherwise will fall out in this nation, If strong beere be usefull at any time it is a cup in the morning, to keep out the cold, or at night comming out of the cold for a weak body, but that in Market townes every house should, sel strong drinkes, is but a snare to intrap weake braines, and ministers daily occasions of Riot and excess.
The Hollanders call their Strong beere great Pharoah, their middle beere little Pharaoh, and their smallest beere Israell, finding by experience (which is the best learning) that the Stronger beere men generally drinke, the more they rebell against God, and they that drinke the smallest beere are the most healthfull men, and best Christians, and I beleeve our learned Phisitians for the most part, drinke but little either strong beere or Ale, as being not good freinds to Longa[?] vitio, it were the most innocent thing in the world but if it once come to be a generall greivance to the Kingdome, as Alehouses are at this day, as they are used, are the most greivous nusances, and just offence to the whole kingdome, [Page 32] Destroyers of poore people, Corrupters of good manners the receptacle of all disorderly and Lawles persons: and the nurseries of all sensualties and prophanesse therefore they ought all reason to be reduced and reformed.
For the question is but whether strong drinkes shall be made in abundance is formerly or the poore to be pined for want of bread, oh bread, oh precious bread how much more excellent art thou then strong drinke, for the life and service of man: thou maintainest his beeing; strong drinke at the best is but for his well being one man writes of the Veitile[?] of Noble Ale another of the Vertue of Warme beere, and other things are highly commended, but who writes in commendation of that which is worth all other things in the world that is food for man, bread and faire water, and the Gospell is good cheare for a christian, Venison and fair water, is not so good: a man may live better with bread alone, without any other thing, then with all the flesh and dainties in the World and want bread therefore is Jesus Christ the bread of beleevers, as being absolutely necessary to salvation let us have bread at any rate, and part with it at no rate, it is better for this Kingdom to have Beefe and Mutton at 10 s. a pound[?] hen barley at 10 s. a Bushell, but let us hope the best and feare the worst, for that put upon Action to prevent it.
Heere I must needs take notice of a late printed sheet called a Vindication of strong beere and ale [to be sold in Licenced Alehouses,] written I am perswaded by a sober man, for he declaimes against drunknes, and intemperance, his principall drift being first to vindicate the Company of Brewers, which he call a distressed company whose sad Condition groanes for releife, who are looked upon with an unkind aspect, as if they were guilty of the drunkards sins, because they brew strong beere and Ale, which I conceive is to set up a man of Clout and to shoot at him, or to fight with his owne shaddow for no man that is but halfe sound in his Intelectuall, will blame the Brewer for selling good Liquor to them that are Licenced to buy it, no more then the Cutler can be blamed for making a Sword, wherewith another man is unjustly kill'd, the Brewer must be acqited by the Law of God, and man, as being neither principall, nor accessary to the Prodigalls intemperance, I rather wish that the Brewer be not blame worthy for making his Beere to small, for no pure Element can nourish, I confesse Immediatly upon the Excize which concerned not the [Page 33] Brewer in point of Damage, being paid by the house-keeper, it was generally observed that the brewers made their best[?] Beere smaller then before, though Mault were at the same [...]ate; and I have observed for this 20. yeare that a man might sensibly cast the dearnesse of Mault in 6. s. Beere, but not the cheapnes of it, Good my Masters of the Company of Brewers these things ought not so to be: If you cannot afford to make good beer when mault in very deare, you may make it better then ordinary when Mault is very cheape; I will not be of Counsell against you, for Matter of strong beere, let your customers looke to it; I but I professe in the words of sobriety, that if you do not make your 6. s. beere this yeare as good as possibly you can afford it, for the sustenance of poore people, you must expect to heare of it, you that have gained much in cheape yeares, shew your selves charitable men, and put in the other handfull of Mault for poore mens sake, you, and the Bakers, should now strive this hard yeer who should deale the most honestly and kindly with poore people, you should not thinke to increase your estates in a deere yeer, he that does so abuses his calling, to an unworthy end, we have a cursed Proverb; every man for himselfe, and God for us all, God will not be for that man that uses it, the end of your Trades is not to gain riches to your selves, but to do good to your Neighbours, the maine end of our lives is to serve God in serving of men in the workes of our callings, Col. 3.24. and God allowes us to gaine moderately for our Labours, but not to gaine great estates, for there is neither precept nor example in Scripture that ever any man prayed that he might be rich, and get a great estate, more then what in the Judgement of wise and godly men was sufficient to maintain himselfe, and comfortably provide for those that depended upon him though it be got honestly in regard of mans Law, yet it is against the mind of God, Give us this Day our daily bread, and and give me neither poverty not riches, He that prayes not according to the Lords prayer, saies learned Austin, his prayer is sin, what you may not pray for you may not labour after, Not one Godly man in Scripture that ever got a great estate by his owne industry, Gen. 28. 20. Pro. 30.8. many were left rich by their Ancestors, Abraham, Solomon, and others, were rich by Gods sending. but not by their seekinge, Jacob ask't [...] food and rayment.
He that Imployes his Talent onely to get Honours, pleasures, or profits, prophanes his calling, living to another end then God has [Page 34] appointed, and an action will lye at the day of Judgement, against many rich men of all Trades and professions, for abusing their riches, For God commands them that are rich to be rich in good workes, and releeve the poore, especially in a deare time as this is, A contra formam colationis siossamenti. and many that put out their money to that unnaturall act of Generation for 100. l. to beget another and they will have the Interest, though the Creditor have lost the principall, in these late calamities, a horrible shame that such things should be suffered, honest men plundered of their estates to lye in Goale for Interest, against the Law of God, and the Law of the Land, for all Interest money is forfeited by statute, if but six pence be taken, against all reason and humanity for the Irish Rebells had so much mercy to Ordaine that no Usury should incurre in time of Warre, nor would the late Oxford party I am confident have suffered any of their Adheerents to have rotted in Prison for principall or Interest, that Userers which have no lawfull calling, but a thing permitted for the hardnes of mens hearts, should gaine in a time of Warre? fie upon it; fie for shame, but I trust our most Honorable Worthies will stop that torrent of cruelty, and order a repayment to such from whom it had been extorted. And others lock up their Gold or gather[?] their God in an Yron Chest, and leave their hearts there, as St. Anthony told a Usurer that his heart was in his coffer, and the Legend saies that so it was,
But is not abundance, the gift of God, and a great estate, a blessing and may not every blessing be sought, I answer, A blessing may not be sought, unlesse it be a blessing to every one that hath it, as faith, Patience, Humility, &c. riches in our Saviours time were of the nature of thornes and bryers, they that will be rich fall into many snares, may any man Labour for snares, they have not changed their qualities, I know a rich Saint may doe abundance of good this deare yeere, and I would earnestly entreat all rich Beleevers for the Honour of the Gospell this dear time to do good to all, and especially unto such as be of the houshold of faith Almes are the best Sermon noates in a deare yeere, and when rich men are liberall then the poor receive the Gospell, but yet a man may not pray for a great estate, though he intend therewith to releeve the poore, for he that is of a bountifull affection being poor, possibly being rich may be of a covetous disposition, for one poor man to love another is but Narcissus like to love himselfe, we see the love of money increases as the money [Page 35] comes in, and for any man to thinke if he had a great estate, hee would do much good with it, savors of pride as if a man should brag that he could go upon Mountaines, and rough craggy places and tred upon thornes; how doest thou know but that thou maiest be Covetous if thou wert rich, and no wise Saint will desire more then is sufficient for him in the Judgement of Godly men, for being liberall in affection, and resolution, God accepts the Will for the deed, as in the Widdowes case, and it must needs be so for God workes both the will and the deed, Phil. 2 12 whereas if he were rich in possessions he might be covetous at least he runs a hazard which no wise man will do, when he may go upon certainties, I wish the Saints would weigh this argument and tell me wherein it is light, the case is thus, a Christian that hath for the purpose 100. l, per annum or 2000, l. in personall estate, this man may live comfortably and make provision for posterity, and doe many good charitable offices for the poore, now if this man can get another 1000. l. he resolves to give it away to the poor, for effecting weereof he must ingage himselfe in many troubles, rise early, go to bed late, eate the bread of carefulnesse, and scarce take time for moderate refreshments; much lesse can he afford to allow any time for the Excercises of Godlinesse, to keep Religion alive in the power and purity of it, and nothing is more deceitfull then his owne heart, whether it be wisdome for this man to imbarque into an angery Sea when hee may rest in a secure harbour, in a Condition pleasing to God and good men; Is the question, which I conceive no wise Christian but will dislike it, besides who knows whether it be not Gods will to exercise a Christian impoverty, or a meane condition for the tryall of his Faith, and other glorious ends, best known to his divine Majesty; but then what incouragement shall men have in their honest callings? much every way, if heavenly commodities were more esteemed then earthly; what an excellent thing is it for a man to do good to all men in his generation! I am ashamed to hear men commended forgetting great Estates, there is a noble Gentleman, if all be true that is reported of him, deserves more commendation for his Liberality then many others, a wise man will make his owne hands his Executors, Sir Paul Pindar. and his eyes his overseers for the surplusage of his estate, besides what is convenient for posterity.
But may not men get great estates honestly, I will not argue how great Estates are got in this Kingdome, but this I observe, that the [Page 36] richest men, are not the most liberall to the poore, the more shame for them, there are a Generation of miserable wretches that like the Auncient Jews have ingrossed a great part of the publique treasure, and have vast estates, but do no good to any living creature, many of them are haters of their owne flesh, and will dye Indebted to their backs and bellies, sure t'is that they might be thought to be very poore, but Cardinall Richlieu would have told such a fellow, you spend little in Clothes and dyet, therefore sure you are full of money, tax him soundly, if a rich man did weare good cloths, and fared well, Sir sayes he ti's a signe by your Clothes and dyet that you are full of moneys, I hope these Cormoggians will be met withall, one time or other, I am not a Jugde to name any man in particular, but let them take it for a warneing; If I doe not heere of their good deeds this deer yeare, (I doe not meane their bonds, and specialties which they so dearly love and count their good Deeds sealed and delivered) but if they be not charitable to the poore, I will doe my best to get a catalogue of them, that if they shall persist in their basenesse and cruelties they may be publisht to the world and hooted at as Enemies, of humane society. I would not be mistaken as if I were an enemy to great Estates, the God of order hath appointed severall degrees of men, and set them in their severall stations; the rich to be liberall to the poore, and the poore to be serviceable to the rich, the greatest Prince sometimes or other may have need of the poorest man living, at least of his prayers, therefore he ought not to suffer that man to famish for want of bread.
I am not of their opinion that drive at a parity to have all men a like, ti's but a Utopian fiction, the Scripture holds forth no such thing; the poore ye shall have alwayes with you, but there ought not to be a Beggar in England, for they live raher like beasts then men; Holland is a true Common wealth, where none are so exceeding rich, nor any beggars permitted, yet different degrees amongst them, Lords and others, but in Kingdomes and larger territories, there will be a larger disproportion, corragious Noblemen are the walls of a Kingdome, and a rich bountifull man is like a Sun E [...]ll in the high way, every man is the better for him; and though he [...] give much away, yet in realitie he looses no more by his Charity, then the Sun does by comparting his beames upon the earth, for it is but a sowing, he that casts his bread upon the waters shall finde it againe, And that Kingdome is most flourishing where the best [Page 37] men are the greatest men, and the greatest men, are the best men, at least morrally good, for Justice, liberality, valor, and such noble vertues, unlesse a rich man be liberall and bountifull, there is no more need of him in a Kingdome, then of a Crosse which the silly Papists put off their Hats too, least they should be hurt in their Journey, poore people are faine to reverence many cruell Ingrossers, as the Indians do the Devill least he should get them into his clawes, or like the Basilisk kill them with a frown, as for any hopes to right themselves by Law, tis for a Lamb to contend with a Lyon, but when a rich man in place of authority is curteous to all, and liberall to the poore, the Kingdome is preferred in that mans Honors, and such a man is a beautifull prospect; I am no Advocate, for the poore further then to provide bread & necessaries for them, without which, life cannot be maintained, let rich men feast, and the poore make a hard meale, but let them have bread sufficient.
Kings and Potentates, Noblemen, and Gentlemen, may rejoyce in their great estates, left unto them, and look upon them as tokens of Gods love, if they be bountifully minded, and give their bread to the hungry, and more then ordinarily in such a deere yeere as this is likely to bee, but they may not by the Law of God make it the chiefe end and main study of their lives, to multiply riches, nor so much as to Improve their estates, unles they have a greater charge then their Ancestours had, men of Honourable professions as the law Physick and armes, and of publique Imployments in the Kingdome, may gaine a competence to raise their families, being eminent for vertues and desert, yet there is a meane in such a case to be used; but for Marchants and Trades-man, and Usurers to gaine such vast estates, as many have done It is neither warrantable in religion nor policie, for men in selling their commodities ought not to sell as dear as they can, but as others may live by them and as they can afford it for a moderate gaine. As put case there were 6. ships of severall owners laden with Sugars, Spices, Drugs, or any commodities to be Imported for the service of this Kingdome, which all ariving safe the commodity would be afforded at 20. d. a pound, but it pleases God that 5. of them suffer shipwrack, now the 6th man sels his Comodity for 5. s. a pound, and by 3. or 4. such providences he becomes rich I say this ought not to be permitted, he ought in conscience to have sold his commodity as cheape as if the other ships had arrived, the Kingdome is but one body politique, and every member ought to [Page 38] have a care of the others preservation, this Kingdome Is so populous and there are so manie of a trade, that one man can scarce live by another, In the Infancy of the world there was enough for every man, Gen. 30. therefore that pretty policy which Jacob used to make himselfe rich with Labans loss is no objection for Laban was willing to give him what he pleased, the Scripture is cleare in it, Deut. 17. 16.17, that every man is bound to do good according to his ability, and that the King may not seeke abundance nor accumulate treasure, and if not Kings certainly not Subjects.
I have read that in some places there are Herculean Pillars set to mens estates, that a Marchant shall get but 10000. l. another Tradesman 5000. l. and so for others. and when they are worth so much, they must either trade for the publique good, or else give over their callings and give way to others, betaking themselves to Gods immediate service, or taking paines for Orphans, and Widdowes, that having small personall estates left them, if they should live upon the principall, it would quickly consume and know not how to Improve it themselves, therefore able experienced men bestow their paines freely for them, for all Catholique Councells have ever condemned Usury in point of Conscience, by this meanes men would not be so covetous as now they are, for now mens desires are infinite, the Covetous man is in a dropsie the more he gets, the more he desires, the last thing that dyes in him, is a desire of having more he makes no will till he lyes a dying & then dyes to think he must make his wil, some sayes he, are wiser then others & puts gold in his mouth because he wil not give al away, he would fain keep some for another world, as the old wretch that sent for a Priest to make his will, who bad him pray, not I sayes he do you pray for me, or else why should I pay you tithes, well sayes the Preist shall I Write, do as I bid you sayes Dives, First I bequeath the soule of our Parish Priest to the Devill, what my soule sayes the Scribe, no such matter, yes thy soule sayes he, for thou never reprovest me for my covetousnes, whereas if there were a Law that no man should be worth above so much, then no man would desire more, mens affections would not be so infinitely set upon wealth, but their desires would be finite, and so much sinne would be prevented, now that is ever the most Angelicall Law, which prevents sin, and Politique, it must needs be, for one man cannot possibly be so excessive rich, but it must be upon the ruines of others, you may observe, that where there is one man so exceeding [Page 39] rich, those that live neer him are most of them poore, for hee looks as eagerly after every small purchase to joyne house to house, or rather to pluck down all the houses but his owne, that the poor may not live too neer him, as a Hawke lookes after the Partrige; I like not alterations in government, when a Kingdome is well settlkd, but when we are upon the wing of Reformation, I wish it might be to purpose, but my desire is not to write any thing herein, but what may advance Liberality, and advantage the poore these strait times.
He argues for the continuance of strong Beer and Ale, as being necessary for poore people, a preservative of health, and a restorative in sicknesse, surely the man is extreamly mistaken, for poore people cannot afford to buy any strong Liquor, whil'st bread is so scarce, I meane principally the Country poore; who begin to make lamentable complaints already, many of them being ready to die for feare of being famished to death.
If the poore drink any Ale this yeare, it must be very sparingly, as some Italians use Wine instead of Oyle, or Butter, to get down breap (which ever loves a Companion) in the way of Tosts, now a Tost in Ale hath 7. excellent properties.
- It satisfies hunger.
- It quenches thirst.
- It helps concoction, by removing obstructions.
- It causes sleep.
- It exhilerates the Spirits.
- It gets a good Color, a lover of Tosts has ever a ruddy and a cheerefull countenance.
- It keeps the to the fleame, therefore let no Tost be lost, as there hath been too much abuse in that kinde.
If I may have bread sayes one, I care not though I drink water all the winter.
In the last deare yeare, when Barley was about a Noble a Bushell, Pease, and Oates, Flesh, Butter, Cheese, and other Provisions were plentifull; a poore man might have bought him a paire of shooes for 2. s. which now cost him about 4. s. Oh saies a poore man last night, I would be content to goe barefoot this winter, if I were sure to get bread for my poore Wife and Children; I confesse it melted my heart to heare it: I remember that Sir Knevet being to loose one of his hands for striking in the presence Chamber; he Petitioned King H. 8. to vouchsafe him a pardon [Page 40] for his right hand, and he would willingly loose his left, sayes King H. since he is so ingenuous let him keep both his hands, oh, that the patient humility, and meeke ingenuity of the poore, that would be well contented with bread and Water might move the heart of the Kings most excellent Majesty, the Nobles and Honourable Worthies in Parliament, the Noble Generall Sir Thomas Fairfax, and the Army under his Excellencies Command, the Assembly, and every honest man of abilities in the Kingdome, to resolve as one man acting in their severall sphears of Government, and subjection to find out some timely expedient to prevent this eminent dearth and death of poore people, and to say with that Noble King Henry since the poore will be content with bread and Water without shooes; they shall have both Bread Beere and Clothes, to defend them from hunger, and thirst and from the cold Winter,
But I hear the husbandmen cry out, that taxes and extraordinary charges are so great that he cannot subsist unles corne be deare; mark the consequence, then it seemes the poore labouring man must pay for all, if there be barley enough to be had at 5. or 6, s. a bushell, why may there not be some speedy way thought upon to ease the Farmer, that he may afford to sell it for halfe a crown, and 3. s. so as the poore may live, but whether barley be at 2 s, or 1. s. a bushell it makes neither more nor lesse in the Kingdome, there is a Mystery in it, which I hope the Wisdome of State will unfold, and prevent the sad consequences, which are otherwise likely to ensue before another Harvest.
But it may be said, what need any such supplication since the worthy Justices may in every County if they please, restraine malting, & consequently Alehouses will fall with the weight of their owne Luxuriance; I agree it, and the Lord tirre up their Hearts to bee faithfull and Couragious, but I consider that the worthy Justices, are otherwise burdened with Country affaires, many weighty businesses Incumbent upon them, for the publique good, therefore if they were for the present disburdened, and exonerated of so great a charge, and trouble, and that it were specially recommended to the Committees in every Country or a Committee of moderation Accomodation, or provision, for the poore, appointed in every County to licence such onely in every necessary place to keepe Victualling houses and to sell good wholsome drink for passengers, as are the most sober and best affected persons to the Parliament, [Page 41] I suppose the price of barley, and consequently all other graine and provision would deminish and abate, such victuallers to be presented and commended to the said Committee by the Minister of every parish, where one or more Alehouses are necessary if he be a man well affected to the publique, and such and some of the best affected persons in every Parish to be by the Committee appointed Supervisors of such Victualling houses, to looke diligently and narrowly into all excessive and exorbitant courses, that shall be acted there, and to bring offendors before the said Committee, to receave such condigne punishment, as the wisdome of Parliament shall ordaine drunkenesse and disorders to be punish't five times more severely then formerly, for the necessity of the Kingdome to provide bread for the poore, does necessarily require it.
But sayes one, have not the Vintners given you a Fee to Plead against Alehouses, that so Taverns may be more frequented? For good fellowes will be merry at any rate, and sack will make them madder then strong Ale or beere Nothing les, if it should be so it is besides my intentions, I wish that Sack might be sold againe in Apothecaries shops as formerly, as being an occasion of much sin and wickednesse in this Kingdome, and if men of estates and sober men finde it healthfull for them, let them keepe it; in their owne sellars, for their private refreshments, but to sell it so publiquely as it is, is but to put a sword into a mad mans hand, every man that can borrow but 5. s may go and be drunk with it, and then contemnes both divine and human authority; and scornes to be reproved by any man living, it is not so in other Countryes men dare as well be hanged as be drunke, the Vintners, Drawers, and excessive drinkers are all throwne into a Pond to coole themselves, but pluckt out againe alive like drowned Rats and fined halfe their estates, and if they will not take warning, such men ought not to live, It was but just to make a Law that every Vintner, that suffers a man to drink drunke in his house should be fined 100. l. to the poore, and some corporall punishment, tis a fond objection that some men will be drunke with a little, 3. or 4. Gallants come in and drinke a Gallon or more of Spanish wine at a meeting, and yet Mr. Vintner minces the matter, and sayes they drunke but little in his house, they had it before. A pint of Sack is a moderate refreshment for 3. or 4. men, if they drinke a quart upon businesse it may tollerably passe; but to carrouse healthes and call for quart [Page 42] after quart, this ought to be seveerly punished, if any mans braine be so weak, that a Glasse or two distempers him, this may be given in evidence without much difficulty and in doubtfull cases, let the Vintners be acquitted consult with the best Physitians, and they will tell you that a Pinte of Sack is more then sufficient for any man to drink at one sitting, but I do not yet conceive that the Taverns have any great influence upon the prices of Barley, I beleeve the Taverns have made many poore, but now the Alehouses threaten to destroy them: Nemo Athleta sine sudore coranatar difficile et sed tendit ad arana vi tas[?] I know it is hard to reforme abuses, and exorbitances in every trade and profession, but no wrastler or champion, is crowned without swearing, great Reformations are for the greatest Courts, what mischeifes are not occasioned by drunkennesse, but what may not a Parliament do to prevent it?
A Parliament can do every thing for the publick good of the Kingdome, and certainly a greater good cannot be thought upon, then to prevent drunkennes, & to provide bread for poore people, Quid non cometas[?] &c. sed quid non Parliamentum. without which we shall put the Lord upon a miracle for the preservation of this Kingdome; Therefore I s [...] in the lowest degree of humility, Crave leave In forma pauperis to move our most Honourable Worthies for all the poore people in this Land, whose feares are very great, and their complaints and cryes already in many places most lamentable.
That Bread, Bread, Bread, for the Lord Jesus Christs sake bread, which we heare at New gate, Ludgate, and other Prisons, is but a fancy in comparison, we are a Company of poore Prisoners, almost starved and pined to death, if it be so indeed, the more shame to the Government of the Citty, and others who must answer for the bloud of every man that is famish't in Prison for want of bread, be his offence what it will, for no Offendor may be poisoned or famished to death by the Law of Nations, it being abhorred by the Law of Nature; there needs no other sin to bring the Plague into the Citty, which the Lord in his goodnesse remove, and make the higher powers wise as Angells of light, before the wrath of the Lord break forth upon us, for suffering such unmercifull domineering, over the bodies of poore creatures; possibly one old Usurer has 20. slaves rotting and famishing to death, in severall Dungeons: that he may make Dice of their Bones, as the Custome is when the Prisoner is dead in Execution, the Creditor has Dice delivered him at the Office supposed in a fiction of Law to be made of the Creditors bones, and that is all that he gets by his cruelty, till he be delivered [Page 43] to those Infernall Goalers to be tormented for ever, and if it were possible for ever after, because he had no pittie of his fellow servant: Mat. 8.23. 30.34. If there be so much barbarous cruelty used in all the world, as there is in this Kingdome concerning poore Prisoners, I dare loose my life for it: the Turks and others beat their Galley slaves for their pleasures, but they feed them that they may endure the blowes, but we cast men into a Dungeon; and suffer them to rot and famish, now Physitians will agree with me that a death by Famine, is most cruell and painefull of all other deaths, and the Law saies that they must starve before they come there, for the writ whereby they are imprisoned imports, forasmuch as the Debtor has no estate, therefore take his body for satisfaction.
And here give me leave to put this Case, suppose (which God forbid) that Barley this yeare, should be at 10. s. a bushell, or so excessive deare, that the poore labouring man that hath nothing but what he gets by his day labour, can gaine but 2 s. a week, as many already work hard for no more; every man now striving to get work out of one anothers hands, as rich men contend for a good bargaine, this man having a wife, and 5. or 6. small children to maintaine, tells his Neighbours that he and his Family are ready to starve, and famish, they have not their bellifull of bread once in a week, well saies the Miser, Corne is a precious commodity this yeer, I cannot help you, when corne is cheap, every man will give an Almes to the poore, but now corne will make money, oh this yeallow Earth, how does the Miser love that which has one Letter more in it then the name of God? his beloved Gold.
This poore man to keep his Family alive, finding an opportunity takes away some corne, from one of these misers Rickes, or stackes of corne, for his Barnes will not hold halfe his Provisions, and hee will not build greater Barnes as Gods foole, but the worldlings wise man did, who thereby set the poore on work, the Question is whether this be Felony by the Law of God, Luk 12.20 for which this poore man ought to suffer death by any just positive Law of man.
Certainely Christians ought to be more mercifull then the Jews, and therefore the judgement of the best Christian polititians, ha's ever beene, that no offence ought to be death under the Gospell, which was not death by Moses Law, but many offences which were death by that Law ought not to be death, under the Gospell, because Christians ought to be more mercifull then the Jewes; who being by nature, a cruell people: God gave them Lawes accordingly [Page 46], as the Adulterer, Sabboth breaker, and the disobedient child were to be stoned, certainly our Fore-fathers were either very covetous or cruell. to make it fellony to steale a Lambe, or a Pig, which by the Law of God was onely punisht by restitution, but the Scripture puts a difference between a theef who steales for necessity, men doe not despise him that steales to satisfie his hunger (sayes Solomon) and a presumptious Theefe, who has no neede to steal that does it not for want but for wantonnes, such a one was to dye, our law is exceeding seveere, and never Inquires after the motive and impulsive cause, if a man that is ready to starve or famish, take away from his Neighbour a suit of Clothes, or a strike of Corn this man must dye the death, as if he had killed a man, I know there is a culpable necessity, as my Lord Bacon calls it, if a man shall wast his estate, and then pretend want, he deserves the les pity, and there is alight necessity, a great necessity, and an extreame necessity, If a poore man farre from any Towne, that is almost famisht, for want of foode, meets with a Baker, who will not be intreated to give him a loafe and he takes away by force so much bread from him, as in the Judgement of wise men is necessary to keepe him alive, In this case I conceive he hath not offended the Law of God; and therefore ought not to be punisht by any Law of man; because the Law of property must not derogate from the Law of nature, much lesse abrogate it, I am not of opinion that all things were at any time in Common, by the Law of nature, for then the eighth Commandement would not have been morrall and the very dictates of nature and right reason as Sir Walter Rawley most learnedly evinces them to be, but those Authors which speake of all things being in common are to be un-derstood in the same sense as the Apostles are said to have all things in common viz: 2, Acts 44. they lived so lovingly and contributed so freely to the necessities one of another, as if all things had been in common, howbeit, there was a law of property, yet every man dispenst with his owne right to preserve his brother, the rich mans superfluities gave place to anothers convenience, his conveniences to another mans necessities, his Necessities to another mans extremities, one mans les Extremities to his Neighbours greater Extremities, and so Mecanicall poore must releeve Mendicant poore, rather then they should perish, out the true reason of State is this, In the begining of all Kingdomes, States, and societies, It was mutually agreed that so long as there was sufficient to preserve all men alive [Page 45] in that Kingdome, one man should not feast, and another man fast, and be starved, If thy barnes be full of Corn, and thy neighbour almost starved, and famished, It is his bread which thou unjustly detainest from him in thy barnes, and his cloathes that lye a molding and moth eating in thy Trunkes, we see the disciples being hungry pluckt the eares of Corn, upon the Sabboth day, Math. 13 Math 21. and the question was not about the Corn, which was none of theirs, but beeing upon the Sabboth day, Christ saies I will have mercy and not sacrifice and his sending for the Asse, though that example argues him to be Lord of all yet that reason, For the Lord hath need of him, is Emphaticall, For necessity, passengers might enter into a Vineyard, and refresh themselves, so as they carried none away with them, I would Christians were so mercifull, to part with their superfluities, without question, that which is excessively spent in apparrell and Dyet would comfortably releeve all the poor in the Kingdom.
Consider you that be rich, God might have made you the tayle and the poore the head, when you have feasted at the upper end of the Table tis but good manners to send downe the dishes, that the Master of the Feast may be praised, Now for a good Gains and a Marie to power forth ointments and liberalities, which will not onely cause thankes to be given to Almighty God, but procure blessings upon the Donors and Benefactors for God is the poore mans surety, Proverbs. the 19.17, He that hath Pity on the poore, lendeth, unto the Lord, and that which he hath given, will he pay him again but let not him that is poore say how liberall he would be if he had an estate, we little know the temptation of that condition, we see by wofull experience, that riches are of a dropsie nature but say thus; there is a rich man, how rich might he be in good Works, what meanes has he to do good he might reach out his hands 20 wayes to the poore (he that has made 100. poore, why should not he releeve 20. In humane probability, nothing but Gods blessing upon the sublime wisdome of State can prevent this growing evill, and epidemicall disease, and starving and famishing the poore (which I had rather dye then then live to see, and I hope every mercifull man is of my oppinion) by taking speedily, and instantly some such effectuall opperative Course, as in their peircing Judgments and deepest apprehensions in whom resides the publique Judgement and reason of State, to bring downe the price of Barley, and consequently of all other graine and commodities in the Kingdome, for if Gods good creatures be not abused, and wastfully [Page 46] expended, there will be more plenty, and things must needs be cheaper, for the poore have not much money, to keep up the price of any thing, whereof, there is store.
And because I know, it is the generall desire of all honest men that the poore should be every where provided for, and I think there has been severall meetings in the City to restraine the Beggers, by providing for such as are impotent, and not able to work, and forceing such as can take paines to get their owne bread, by the sweat of their brows, as the Law of God requires; which I marvill why any man should demurre, and stick upon it in a matter so easie, and so much concerning the Honor of the Citty which Gundamor said, was like a continued: Hospital, where he was besieged with Begers, which a Crown laid upon every house in Lond. & Middlesex, to be paid by the Landlord would do it abundantly, a course which was taken in Paris where the Streets were covered with Beggars, and in a weeks space not a Begger to be seene, but because it will require time to settle this Kingdome in a better posture for poore people, for if the Lawes were diligently executed, the poore might rather be said to languish then to live, we give a poore man a peece of bread upon his knees lying by a wall, but we do not set him upon his legs, that he may help himselfe, as they do in other places, I shall in the interim, make some proposals and present some expediences to every true Samaritan, that has the bowells of mercy, and compassion, and that is affectionatly sencible of want and poverty, hoping that such a man will cordially concurre with mee, in all just and reasonable demands, for me thinks no legall thing should be denyed to poore people in a hard time, and my Propositions are 12.
12. motions for the poore. 1. I shall humbly pray, not only that all just penall lawes, where any part of the forfeitures are given to the poore, may be carefully and speedily put in Execution, and the poore imbursed without charge or diminution which is but just, and if it might please the higher powers that the poore might have the whole forfeitures upon all just penall Lawes, some little to be allowed to the Informer, for his incouragement, or rather that some Sollicitors for the poore might be appointed in every County, to inquire after forfeitures and duties as should belong unto them.
But in particular that the poore might but have the benefit of some few Statutes, one whereof lies Dormant, and I marvill, noe man lookes after it, ti's the Statute of 39. Eliz. by which all interest [Page 47] money is forfeited, though the Usurers take but 5.l. or 12.d. in the hundred, ti's a most excellent Law, and in effect the Law of God never to be repealed, the ordinary way to recover this use money, is by information in some Court, but that is too tedious, and circular, ti's for a poore man to go 5. miles for a peece of bread, if there were a Committee for the poore to examine all such forfeitures, that the rich Usurers might quickly untrusse, and fetch out their Baggs, and make restitution, or repayment to any that are in need, or to the poore that have most need of it, this very Law being executed, according to the true and plaine meaning of the Law makers, would make provision for poore people; and what reason can any man assigne why this Proposition, should not take effect the Law in it selfe is most just grounded upon the Law of God, and common honesty, the law of England does not allow usury in point of conscience, 39. E.s. 18. the Stat. of 13. Eliz. and other Statutes do not allow the taking of 10. and 8. but restraine the lender from taking more, but this Statute 39. Eliz. enacts that whatsoever the lender takes above the Principall, it shall be taken from him, and so the Law connives and winks at the Usurer with one Eye, suffering it so to be, for the hardnesse of mens hearts, but yet tells him the danger of it, that if any man will informe against him it must all be forfeited, like him that with a Gun winks at the Bird with one Eye, and shoots it to death with another: the Law of England calls Usury a detestable thing, aginst the Lawes of God, and Charity, and if any man sayes that the old Usurers, will lend no more upon these Tearmes, I answer, let Justice be done, and feare nothing, let them hang themselves in Chaines of Gold: I hope the Magistrate knowes how to order them, I doe not speak against Usury in point of Exchanges, nor in the Case of Orphans, Widdowes, or a Generation of middle people that have but a litle money to live upon, and cannot finde a faithfull freind to imploy it in some honest trade, and if he should spend upon the principall, must quickly beg, not knowing themselves how to make use of it; but I speak against such as make a trade of usury, all their dayes, that have gained thousands by it, that have sufficient to live upon without Usury, that will have money of the Debtors Boves, whether he gaine or loose, whereas a man may better take 15. l. from him that gaines 30.l. in the 100.l. then 5. l. from him that looses 15. l. that will rather let a poore man starve then abate his Interest that accursed thing, what vast estates have many men got by Usury; [Page 48] like him that sold a horse for a penny a naile to double 34. nailes, or the Butlers Box that gaines all incensibly which the Gamsters never think of, this Usury like a Canker eats out many mens estates, 100. l. at 10. in the hundred in 70. years amounts to 100000 pounds. I am sure many poore Creatures have suffered extreamly upon paer all Lawes, the Law is so saies one, who can help it, if in many cases they have been greived, why in this particular, should they not be releived.
1. Jac. 9. 4. Jac 5. 7. Jac. 10. 1.[?] Jac. 7. The next is the statutes against Drunkennesse, and tipling, he that is convicted of Drunkennesse before one Justice of peace, upon the oath of one witnesse forfeits 5. s. to the use of the poor, and if the Officer be negligent he looses 10. s. to the same use.
Brewers that sell any Ale or Beere, to unlicenced Victualling houses, more then for necessary hor shold provisions, forfeits after the rate of 6 s. 8. d. for every Barrell, Alehouse keeper or Innkeeper; suffering any tipling contrary to any Statutes, forfeits 10. s and every such tipler 3. s. 4. d. selling of les then a quart of the best Beere or Ale for 1. d. and 2. quarts of small, the penalty is 10. s. and whosoever tiples in any Inne or Alehouse where his habitation is, forfeits 3. s. 4. d. and the Inne-keeper, Victualler or Alehouse keeper, that suffers any to continue so tipling forfeits 10. s. If these statutes were executed upon Offendors, it were both just and seasonable.
The third is the statute against swearing; He that sweareth or curseth, is for every such offence to forfeit 12. d. How many men are there and some of great estates, that owe more to the poore then they are worth, and I doubt, make little conscience either of the Lawes of God, or man, for a good Law binds in conscience, being the Law of God, put in execution by man, and they are as really and conscionably indebted to the Poore 12. d. for every time that they sweare or curse, as if they had given Bond for it, for a debt by statute Is the highest Bond of record that can bee; the mad Roister that was convicted of 3. oathes, threw down a twentie shillings peece, and said he would sweare it out before he was much elder; I wish heartily that all swearers and Cursers would break of such prodigious sins by repentance, and their past Iniquities, not by shewing mercy but doing Justice to the poore, paying them but what they owe them, for how many profane people, curse, and sweare continually, and being lovingly admonisht of it, Friend what hurt hath God ever done you that you should thus [Page 49] dishonour him, either sweare that they did not sweare, for they void their excrements without taking notice of it, or else they rage at him who askes them when they came from Hell, for one man knowes another by his language, and say their lips are their owne, who is Lord over them, however I would have them pay their Debts to the poore and so satisfie the Law of man, though not the Lawes of God, for they are but the poore mans Pursbearers, and this is the first expedient to bring money into the poore mans Box. Onely I could heartily with that Commissions were freely granted and speedily executed upon the statutes of Charitable uses, for I am confident there is a masse of many thousand pounds due to the poore by gifts and Legacyes most unconscionably detayned from them.
2ly. My second proposition for the benifit of poore people is that some way may be devised to lend poore people small summes of money upon security, without paying any interest, untill this Kingdome shall be so strong in Faith, as to trust God with it's safety, and preservation in his owne way without the help of usury, sending that packing after the Bishops, who suffered it to take such deepe rooting in this Kingdome since the time of Reformation, for in times of Popery it was an odious thing, and a Usurer as much detested, as one that had the French Pocks, or a Leprosie, hee was excommunicated as a Haeretique, and by the Civill Law a notorious Usurer can make no will, in the interim I wish that a poore man that would borrow 5. s. upon any houshold stuffe or pledge, might have it freely without such horrible extortion, as the poore in this Kingdome, specially about London undergoe, for put case a poore labouring man hath got 20. or 30. l. in houshold stuffe, and some small Commodities in his trade, if this man fall sick what a sad condition is he in, he knowes not where to borrow 20. s. without a pledge, and to the Broker hee must goe, the Broker will have 12 d. a moneth for the 20. s. and 6. d. for the Bill which comes to 18. s. a yeare for 20. s. which is 9. l. a yeare for 100. l. a poore Creature for 12 d. must pay 2. d. a week which is 800. l. a yeare for 100. l. to prevent such like cruelties, they have in many places banks of piety, that the poore may bring a pledge or good security, and have 5. or 10. l. to begin a trade, Montes Pietatis. and by that meanes comes to get a stock; for whats the reason that so many young tradsmen in this City and other places miscarry, and are undone before they understand themselves; they take up money at 8 per Cent. and if they come to a bad market, they must sel though if be to losse, or the Interest will eat them out, there is a great error in this Kingdome, that all charity is in giving, and not in lending, he that lends a poore man to follow his trade, does a more charitable deed in the fight of God and good men, then he that gives him 20. Almes to keep him in a consumption of beggery, neither dead nor alive, as Bias said of them that were at Sea; There are three sorts of poore; the Mendicant Beggar; the poore that are maintained by Collections, and receive Almes from the Parish, which sort of poore are intended in all our Statutes, that provide for the poore, for the Law intend no Beggars, and there is a needy labouring mecannicall man, that is oppressed with a great charge, and many times does not make his wants knowne; wrastles with poverty, but it comes like an armed man upon him, he cannot resist it; the truest charity is to releeve such a man, to lend this man money to buy him a Cow, a Sheep, and a Hog, or some such necessaryes, [Page 50] I know if the Kingdome were in a gospell frame every man would quickly be provided for, in conscience and right reason; every man ought to have a Cow and 2. or 3. sheep to give milk for his poore Children and to cloath them. And what a great matter was it, if every poore man had a peece of Beefe every Sabbath day, to rejoyce with his family that poore Creatures tasting how gracious the Lord is to them in temporall blessings, might be thereby incouraged to looke after the Lord Jesus for eternall salvation, and how cordiall would their obedience be to the higher powers, who might easily effect greater matters for honest poore people; How ridiculous is it; that one man should have 3. or 4000. sheep, and sit Rent-free, and his next Neighbour go all tattered, and not a Coat to put on; Is England famous for the Golden Fleece, and must English men goe up and downe naked like beasts, no cloathing but their bare skins? has one man so many Ricks and Stacks and Barnes full of Corne this deere time? and must his Neighbours be pyned for hunger? and all this forsooth for feare of a paritie: Hell is in some Misers certainely; (Pardon the expression) when I speak any thing about releeving the poore, what sayes one; I see your ayme is to have all men a like, because I intreat that man that has 1000 sheep, and sits Rent-free, to give his poore, honest, painefull, thankfull, and serviceable Neighbours as much Wooll as will apparell his Family once a yeare, or to let him have it at an easie rate, and work it out for him by degrees; and because I earnestly desire all those men that have store of corne this yeare, to let their poore Neighbours have it at a reasonable rate, at 2. s. or rather then faile 2. s. 6. d. a Bushell, is this to desire a parity, how does pride and Covetousnesse, fill Bedlam? but till the poore mans cause can be better heard, I wish no poore man might be destroyed by Usury, me thinks every honest man should lend freely that is sure to be repayed, without troubling the supreame Justice, to make any such provision.
3. I propound on the Poores behalfe, that all the earnest money in the Kingdome, upon contracts, may be given to the poore, as it was originally, for earnest money is Gods money, the earnest is that which secures the bargain, and the usage was, that, when the buyer put earnest into the Sellers hand, the Sellar prayes to God to blesse the bargaine to him, which we call strike him good luck, Ariha dicitur Denarius Dei. and the earnest money was to be given to the poore, that God may blesse the bargain to both parties, the money to the sellar, and the Commodity to the buyer, and in some places the Papists make conscience of giving the earnest money to the poore to this day, unlesse the bargaine be under 20. s. and then the Law was otherwise, because it was presumed to be a bargain, made between poore people; now what if such a Law or Custome was revived, such small matters would refresh the poore and not prejudice the rich for few men, specially Tradesmen will sell to losse; If a man for every Commodity that he sold should give 4. d. 6. d. or 12 d. to the Poore according to the value of the thing, I am confident he would dye never the poorer.
There are many poore Market Townes very populous where there are sold at some Faires or Markets, it may be 100. Horse, 200. Beasts, and 500. sheep, with many other bargaines of great value.
Now if every man that has sold his Commodity, would give 2. d. 4. 6. or 12. d. to the poore, how merily would he rejoyce over his browne Loafe, and [Page 51] some hot Broth made of Oat-meal and water, and sleep more securely then his rich Neighbour.
4. My two next Propositions are by way of intreaty, first to all those persons of Honor, quality and estates that in stead of covering twice a day, make but one set meal, & some short refreshment at night, that what they shal really save by such a provident frugility, they would nobly, and freely, give it to the poore till things be Cheaper, possibly by this meanes there are not so many Broken Baskets left for the poore, for Servants must needs have stronger appetites, and make fewer Crusts where they eat but once a day; but I had rather fetch a motive from their noble breasts, and charitable dispositions, It may be there was a vertue mads of necessity in military times, and taxes, but now that there is a mitigation, and no such necessity of parcimoney for them that have this worlds substance, I would nor have them grow richer in a time of scarcity, which yet they may do notwithstanding this happy conversion of turning superfluous eating and drinking, (for their familyes are as healthfull and lusty as when they had large suppers) into a comfortable refreshment for poore people, the French man sayes, hee that is provident at his Table makes money with his teeth, I am sure this course would acquire much honour and esteeme. He that is the most charitable man this yeare, shall be the most Honourable man in my esteeme, let his opinion be what it will, for Charity belongs to men as they are men, not as Christians; Hee that shall give a Cup of cold water to a Desciple in the name of a Disciple, argues himselfe to be a good Christian; And he that will find out the poore this deare yeare in backe Lanes, and deale bountifully with them shall not loose his reward, for Gods blessing shall attend him
5. Next, I would intreat for the preservation of Barley, that there may be no drinking of Healths, and as little drinking to one another as possibly can be, for I observe, that to drink to a man caryes a kind of necessity with it to pledge him, at least it was an Invitation to make him drink when he is not a dry, and consequently there is much more Beer wasted in the Kingdome then need to be, It is but a groundles Ceremony of drinking to one another, for which there can be no reason given, more then ancient custome, for why may not we aswell eat one to another, and say here is a bit to such a one, as well as drink to one another, or to the remembrance of any freind.
If the fashion were taken up in the time of the Daines, or in Civill Warres, that men were afraid to be kild as they were drinking, therefore desired one to be their pledge, and surety to protect them from any hurt as they were drinking, and he to do the like for him when he drank; which is something Improbable that such desperate Enemies should dine together, yet grant it were so, what reason is there, for the continuance of it, a Law is of force in an Instant, and the life of a custome is time Immemoriall, and continuance without Interruption, but neither of them ought to continue longer then the reason lives, for reason is the life of all mortall and civill Actions, without exception; I know Health drinking is now out of Fashion, and of evill report amongst godly sober men, but this drinking to one another yet continues which however it be not abused, by sober persons, yet their lives being exemplary, the contrary is to be wished, for Pot Companions could object that [Page 52] the Puritans would drink no healths, yet they would drink one to another; All things are lawfull, but all things are not expedient; I will not dispute the lawfullnesse of it, but the convenience in point of abuse, the best things are not to be disused for the abuse of them, when they are necessary; but when Indifferent things are generally abused, then in good policy they ought to be removed; I shall Instance in that which is divine and morrall; the Primitive Christians were Commanded to salute one another with a holy kisse, a chast salutation of love, and Charity, which was accordingly practised at their solemne Feast meetings, but afterwards Gods people perceiving a Generall abuse of it, that it gave offence and matter of scandall, to the Heathens, and unbeleevers, that came into the Assemblies, who thought to justifie their uncleanenesse by the Christians saluting each other, for say they, If those that professe Christ and so much strictnesse may salute one another, why not we? and the best men perceaving that they have not their owne hearts under Lock and Key, and that the first motions of the soule are not so in their owne power, but that there may be a titillation of the Concupiscible appetite the highest point of Christian prudence being to avoid the first occasions of sin, and all apperance of evill, they discontinued that injunction in the letter of it, A Christians sincerity being principally discovered in avoyding all temptations to vanity, for that the most holy man caryes about him the spawn and root of all Enormityes, which will have a being in him, so long as he hath a being in this world; Not to condemne him (a beleever must not feare that) but to humble him, and show him the more want of a Saviour; Job that durst talke with the Devill, durst not look upon a Maid; and herein the Churches of Christ do not disobey the mind of God, In forbearing the holy kisse, though in expresse words commanded; because the thing Injoyned is love, and entirenes of affection, which if it be expressed and demonstrated any other way, the Command is satisfied, for the manner of expression of love to one another may alter, but love is the nstinct of the new creature which must alwayes continue; and so it was a practise temporary, or Customary; Consuetudo pro more Loci est observanda. as the Corinthians short haire, and prophesying with the head uncovered, which the French Ministers preach with their Hats on, as conceaving the Minister to be as good a man, as any in the Congregation, and consequently to have as much right to be covered as any of them.
Michael de Montaigne. One of the gallantest men that ever France bred, who resolved never to marry if he might have wisdome herselfe, but used the French Custome of saluting Woemen, as we doe, till at last he was much troubled about it, and said his affection was for it, but his judgement strongly against it, as being a temptation to incontinence, for sayes hee, if the party be hansome, there is a naturall Cupidity that it might continue, if otherwise, ti's don with a reluctancy, and many grave Matrons complained that they were constarined to kisse slubbery fellowes, least they should be counted uncivill and violaters of an ancient custome, his Gentleman who was an Instrument of much good to his Country, and counted it the most Honourable vocation to serve the publique, was so far possessed with the Inequity of that Ceremony as it was by the most abused, that he prevailed with many juditious sober men and woemen to break it off, as being an offence to good men, and an Incentive to [Page 53] Lascivious spirits; and made it his whole Study to Invent Arguments against it: The French Gentry argued stifly for the continuance of it, till hee convinced them of the danger of it from the sweet savor that causes a naturall delectation, or a malevolent odoure that makes a disgustfull relish, that lovers of vertue should not run so great a hazard in turning their lips to one another, it carrying with it a naturall tendencie and uninforced proclivity to wanton coggitations, and hee that loves danger shall perish in it, that the Mounsieurs, had nothing to say for it but this, that they would use it in France, because the Spaniard never used it in Spaine, for a French man is that which a Spaniard is not, and by his wisdome there was an Edict about Burdeaux where he was borne, that men and woemen should not salute by turning the lip to one another, as formerly to prevent the first occasions of lust, which is the true ground why the Italians, and Spaniards detest it, for my owne part, I love all demonstrations of Amity and affection that are not offensive, to grave godly men, and woemen, and against which no solid reason can be proved; but I wish heartily that this presenting of our loves and services to one another by the Cup, unlesse it be for the better handing of the Cup or Glasse, from one to another when there is but one Glasse, and every one ready to drink, was discontinued, as being an unnecessary Complement, that may very well be spared; and though sober and temporate people do not abuse it, yet the continuance of the Custome makes many to drink excessively both in Ale-houses, and in Noblemens, and Gentlemens Sellars, where there is much wast of that, which might be better given to the poore, much Liquor abused and spilt in unnecessary ceremonyes, which if godly sober people would discontinue, it would come at last to be a thing detested, and I am confident that this yeare very much might be saved by it, and therefore I hope those that desire to be accounted temperate, will not any longer use it, unlesse they drink to such, as they are sure will not drink any more, for being drunke unto, then what is convenient, for certainely, If a divine sanction when it comes to be abused may be omitted, much more all human Ceremonyes in Civill Actions, which have no foundation in solid reason, ought to be abandoned, and specially when it is demonstrable that utility and advantage may thereby accrew to the publike, as in this case.
6. My next designe to releeve the poore is an Impeachment drawne up against Gamesters, in love to their poore soules, that they would restore what monyes they have won at play to the looser, if hee have any need of it, or else to the poore, for the winner has no conscionable Evangelicall right, to the money which he wins, however the Law may be defective, in not enjoyning him to make restitution, for I challenge all the wits in the world, to bring a reason why the Law should suffer any man to undoe himselfe by play, as many Familyes have been utterly ruined thereby, Is there any sence why a man should loose that which should buy his Family bread, because his Chance at Dice is, 1. 2. 3. 0. and 4. and the other throwes 4. sixes; As for the others adventure, that he might aswell have lost, thats nothing to the reality of a consideration, because I might have 100. l. from you for nothing, therefore you shall have 100. l. from me for nuthing; this is no reall merit, but a [Page 54] Utopian Imaginary consideration; as if a man should have money because he dreames of it; ti's but a shadow, and a formality, nothing in essence and substance therefore it were very fit that there were a Law made to inforce the redelivery of all such monyes as have been lost at play within 10. yeers last past; where the losse has been great, and where the wager has been but small, and the sport rather for victory then Covetousnesse; I wish the poore might have it, for let me tell that man who ever hee be, that has got another mans money by play which hee could nor well spare, he is in Gods accompt but that mans Pursbearer, and owes him so much money, for howbeit the Commones of it takes away the scandall, as in matters of forfeiture, which is but a kind of double dealing yet the sin is not taken away untill the money be restored; And if it be said that a man may freely give away his Estate, I agree it, if his Wife and Children do not suffer by it; but the winner scornes to take it as a gift, nor is it so Intended by the looser, I have heard much of a faire house and Land lost at a throw at Dice, and the looser stab'd himselfe, and some of his blood falling upon the Chimney peece, will not be wiped off, for my part I think the House ought in Law and conscience to be no lesse the loosers heyre then it was before for a possessor by an evill faith cannot prescribe in Conscience, where continuall claime is made, there was one pretty case in France, a feme sole Merchant promised her Apprentice to make him free if he would lye with her, who did so, and was made free, but the Court understanding what the consideration was, adjudged his freedome void, and him to serve another Apprenteship, upon the reason of our Law, that no man shall take benefit of his owne wrong, and if I give Bond to I. S. in consideration, that he shall beat I. D. this Bond ought not to stand, and so when there is no consideration, A Chancellor is not only to reforme and rectifie matters of fraud and apparant deceit, but all over reaching and circumvention being a sinfull practise, ought also to be redressed, but certainly the best way to quiet the Consciences of Gamesters, that know not of whom they hev won money, is to be liberall to the poore, for Goods ill gotten are like Children ill begotten, a disparagement to their Parents, and if it be not given to the poore; It may be a means to consume the rest of the Estate sensibly, And now all yee by what means or titles soever you be distinguished tho cannot passe your time, without sportive Recreations, [which indeed are rather lost times then past times, and you would think so if your hearts were fully bent towards Heaven, and your soules inflamed with the love of Jesus Christ.]
I am no enemy to those condements and saucies of life which are lawfull or expedient, that have a divine stamp upon them to fit you for Gods service, as Lead will go current if it have the Kings stampe upon it, upon this condition, that what you win, you will faithfully and justly give it to the poore, and abate nothing of your other intended Charity; If this be your resolution, and your recreations be helps and furtherances to your Callings, and lawfull as Bowles, Chests, Shooting, and such gentile exercises, where the mind may have a speciall working, and that more time be not allowed in playing, then in praying, I have nothing to say against it, and why should not this request be granted, for you say that little which you play for is not a mark of Covetousnesse, [Page 55] but of victory, for the prise of your skill and Judgements, therefore if there be no Covetousnesse in that which you pretend to be only matter of recreation, I hope you will put your winnings in your eye, and the money into the poore mans hand who will blesse God for you;
7. I shall earnestly desire all those persons that have found, or hereafter shall casually find any lost goods to bestow them upon the poore, for they have no property by finding, but untill the owner be knowne, which if he never be, then certainly it is the owners desire that the poore should bothe better for what he lost, and therefore I could wish that all estrayes, and Fellons Goods which no body can challenge might come into the poore mans Box, the reason why such priviledges have belonged to the Lords of the soise, where the goods are found, was to make satisfaction for the keeping of the Cattle or hurt which such goods did to the ground, which is but little in Comparison, to the value of the thing lost; we have a rule in Law, that, that which no body can challenge, is the Kings, as presuming the Kings Majesty to be most charitable, and that he will give it away to the poor, by his Majesties Almoner, and so if there be any Mynes discovered in the Kingdome; wee have many learned Arguments in our books to whom such extraordinary profits do of right belong; for my owne part I differ from all my Masters, and conceave that by the Lawes of God, and nature, such emergent profits and casualtyes do of right belong to the poore, for nature provides for all, and would have every man to live, and when any Mine is discovered and found out in the bowells of the earth in some barren place (as most commonly they are where the superficies and outside of the earth affordeth little or no profit for poore people,) that the benefit thereof should wholly redound to a rich man to cast water into the Sea, how impolitique is this in an ancient Kingdome: Is this to send our portions to the needy, and to make provision for them for whom nothing is prepared, that one man should have 1000. bushels, and another nothing, and if God send one Bushell extraordinary this must be given to him that has the 1000. bushells and hee that has nothing may starve and famish. Is not the Law of England grounded upon the Law of God, and nature? If 20. men should be at dinner together, and all the meat should be laid upon one mans Trencher, how Ridiculous would it be? but what the wisedome of our Forefathers did not reach our experience must amend, In the interim what is negligently or casually lost and cannot be restored to the owner, let it be given to the poore.
8. But as the charitable man said in making his will, that had bequeathed bread to every poore man in the Parish, stay sayes hee to the writer, put in something for Drink and for Cloaths, truly I feare the poore must drink but little Beere this yeare, God grant they may have bread inough, I confesse it is of les concernment, for Thirst is an appetite that will die of it selfe; I conceave most men drink more then they need, in moyst weather, and I am of opinion that, that hatred which Christ requires, that his Members should beare to their proper life, consists in this, that they take no more of the Creatures then what is sufficient for their Corporall necessities, Not to live to eat, but eat to live for health and strength? and if men would accustome themselves to drink lesse, they migh be more charitable, and not lesse healthfull; [Page 56] one in Spaine by disusing himselfe from drinking could travaile in the heat of Summer some hundred miles between Lisbone and Madrid and never drink; but give me leave to propound one thing to cover the poore mens backs which is thus.
If that which is yeerely bestowed in mourning in this Kingdome, might be laid out in strong course Cloth and Shooes for the poore; I dare say it would be much more pleasing to God, and farre more Christian like; for there is no solid reason can be given for it, for thus I argue, either the mourners are very sorrowfull for the death of the party, and so mourne naturally, or else they are only sorrowfull in shew, and so mourne artificially.
If the heart be oppressed with griefe, mourning Apparell does but help to aggravate, and continue it, and so makes it Immoderate, which ought not to be, moderate lamentation for the Dead, becomes a Christian, but we may not sorrow as those that have no hope, in Thessalonica, 1 Thes. 4. 13. Navigare non naufragare Lacha[?]mis. and many places which are now under the Turk, they wore black to testifie their mourning for the Dead, which the Spirit of God reproved in the Church of the Thessalonians, and the Heathens generally use it to this day, but a Christian that grieves inwardly for the losse of a friend, should not in reason weare that which is an occasion to keep the losse fresh in his memory, who can put on a mourning Weed for a whole yeare, as it is used, but it must daily renew his grief, and sorrow; but if they that weare black for mourning do not mourne inwardly and in truth, but only in outward appearance, to make the world beleeve so; Then certainly it must needs be grosse dissimulation, and Hypocrysie, to make men beleeve that to be, which is not, and dissimulation to dissemble, that rejoycing, and Joviality; which really is is the heart and spirit; for certainly the chief Mourners as we call them, are not alwayes the most sorrowfull for the death of a party; we use to say that hee mourn like an heyre which come to his Inheritance, and if it be to save charges, it is Hypocryticall and Ignoble.
The Jews indeed made very solemne Mournings, and Lamentations for their friends, but they were a people too frugall to bestow any unncessary Pomp, they had not such cleere apprehentions of the resurrection, only scripture deductions, and consequences, I am the God of Abraham saith the Lord, therefore Abraham must be Immortall as God Is, was all they had for it, for one Relative being granted, the other followes, And they were very curious and exact in their Oyntments, Embalments, and Interments, as the Aegyptians are to this day, but the longest mourning was but 70. dayes, and 7. dayes for others, and their mournings were not so costly, as we make ours; but if any man shall argue for the lawfulnesse and conveniency of mourning Apparrell from the Jews, we may aswell revive other Ceremonyes, and profes our selve to be rather Jews then Christians; I wish we were really such as they are, inproviding for the poore, they suffer not a Beggar amongst them; by their Law, every male is to marry at 23. and Females at 18. if they be poore, the rich provide Mariages, which are most equall, and give them an estate to begin the world withall, and if that faile by Shipwrack: Ill Debtors, or such human casualties, they impute it not to them, but renew their stock, and set them upon their Legs againe, whereas we in such a case count a man infamous for that which is no fault of his, for if others[?] break with him, how [Page 57] can he hold with his Creditors, and when Corne has been at 12. and 16. s. a bushell in an extraordinary deere yeare, at Venice, Rome, or Amsserdam, where Jews are permitted to live quietly, with the freedome of their Consciences, in the excercise of their Religion, the poorest Jew ha's not wanted his bellyfull, and though they are but few of them in comparison, thats not the matter, for where there is sufficient by the Law of God, the poorest Member in a Kingdome ought to be provided for; I confesse this mourning Apparell is used in France and other Civill Countryes, with this difference, that the Chancellor of France and the chief presidents in Juditiall places, must never mourne, no not upon the death or demise of the King, for Justice is a divine thing, which must not resent any humane Infirmity, he that sirs in the seat of Justice ought not to have his mind troubled with the death of his Father, or dearest consort, And that money which is daily expended unnecessarily, and improperly in Wine and sweet-meats at Funeralls, would make the poore leap for joy, and think themselves in Heaven, I say unnecessarily, because it serves neither for Dinner nor Supper; and very improperly for the Friends that come to accompany the Corps to the Grave have more reason, to bring Wine and Cordialls with them to comfort the Widdow, and Children, who have the greatest losse, and stand in most need of refreshing, I am not against wearing a Ribben, or some such significant Ceremonyes, to give notice to others, that such a friend is dead; As in Paris, when any Cittizen, or man of quality is dead, there are 24. Cryers that go about with a Bell, to give notice to all the City that such a man, or woeman is dead, and as the poore are either joyfull or sorrowfull at the Newes, so you may conclude, that the man was either mercifull or miserable, for those are the best Elections into places of authority, when the poor generally rejoyce at such a mans preferment.
9. And now I shall make an humble request to all sorts of persons that desire the prosperity of this Natinn (About which I have spent many serious thoughts, and if God spare health, I intend with all possible speed to cast in a Students Mite, and to publish my Conceptions by the name of Englands happinesse, therein declaring, what I conceive may by Gods blessing make this Kingdome the most happy Kingdome in the world, that every mans moderation might be knowne this deere yeare to help to bring down the dearenesse of Corn, & all other Commodities, that the greatest gallants would be sencible of the poore mens Condition this hard time, and a little strike the topsaile, & top-gallant of al improvident wasting, that they may the more freely distribute to the poore mans necessities, and that all rich men would now more then ever study the Art of winning hearts, which of all Trades and professions is the most Noble, that Land-Lords would strive to excell one another in winning and refreshing the hearts of their poore Tennants, by the cherefull and continuall drops of true liberality, but my 9th. designe is principally a request to Masters of Mills and Millars, which I conceive to bee a matter of great concernment, for poore people; I have heard many sad complaints from poore people, of Millers for taking excessive tole from them, t'is a lamentable case when a poore man hath work't himselfe almost off his legs to get a peck or halfe a strike of Corne to make 2. or 3. Loaves for his poore Children, that cry for bread (the saddest cry that can be in any Kingdome, [Page 58] that a treacherous Miller shal diminish this poore mans grist, & take out of it what pleases him, for he is upon the matter, a Judge in his owne Case, as for feitures make the Usurer his owne Judge, that he may take what he list when the poore Lamb fall's into his clawes, so may the Miller take without controle a dishfull, 2. 3. or 4. as it pleases him, who can tell how much he takes, we call it Toll, from taking away; by the Law of the Land, I conceive that the Miller is to take more or less, according as the party owes suit to the Mill, Toll a Tollendo. from a Tennant at will, the Lord in the beginning of Tennus took what he pleased, if the Corne grew upon his Inheritance afterwards a 16th. part from a free Tennant a 20th. and from strangers a 24th. part; and by the Law if the Tennant buy his Corne hee may have liberty to grind where he pleases, which is the case of most poore men, and yet they are tyed up to grind at the Kings Mills, and Lords Mills, and there is a kind of Monopoly of Mills in this Kingdome, which is a most greivous oppression to the poore people; if all were free to erect Mills, a poore man might have his Corne ground for a song in Comparison, but poore men are inforced to grind at the Kings Mills as they call them, and the Lords Mills from an ancient Custome [I professe I marvaile how the tenure in villinage came to be taken away in this Kingdom, and if a third part be taken away, the poore man dare not complaine, for the remedy will be worse then the disease.
Dealing herein with poore men, as some that keep Victualling houses in hot Countryes, where they make but few Fiers, 20. Neighbours will come to an Host, and bring a peece of flesh of 2. or 3. pound to have them all boyled in a great Caldron, one dishonest rascall, if the poore woemens backs were but turned, used to mince, and paire the severall peeces, and pretended that it shrunk and grew lesse in the boyling, till at length it was discovered by the little peeces which he cut of, and sold them in stewed meat, for which I heare he was executed, and that but justly; I wish all such Millers that are too nimble in poore mens Baggs might have some such severe punishment, for though it be hard to hang a man for stealing a Ship or a Cow, yet domesticall theft is punished with death, by all Lawes, because it is both Fellony and Treason. The poore man trusts the Miller with his bag, and workes merrily in hope of a Cake, and the Miller it may be takes as much as would make a cupple, but I wish some of them were Indicted for example to terrifie others, and that poore men might have their Grists ground Toll free this deare yeare, or else that the owners of Mills might take but very little? I know there are charges and casualities Incident to Mills, but however they deale with the rich mans baggs, I would have all kindnesse and tendernesse exercised towards the poore.
10 My next request is to the Ministers, and specially to Impropriators in this Kingdome, in two particulars; That they would be examples of Charity and Hospitality to others, by the Cannon Lawes, a Minister ought to give away to the poore of the Parish at the least one tenth part of his Tithes, and impropriations are by Statute for maintenance of the poore, wee know the Levites had a tenth from the Priests, and by the equity of that law, those that receive Tithes should allow a Tith of their gaines, as well as others, and who such fit objects of Liberality as the poore, but truly the Avarice [Page 59] and Covetousnesse, of many English Ministers, would make a man think that Religion was but a policy, to keep men in subjection, for how improper is it, for a covetous Earth-worme to tell others of the danger of riches, and the difficulty for a rich man to enter into the Kingdome of Heaven, when this covetous Earth-worme minds nothing but the Fleece and satisfies himselfe with a toothlesse saplesse preaching in a customary formality, not falling out with the richest Parishoners for their handfastednesse, and hard-heartednesse in not releeving the poore, but wrangling and brangling with poore men, about an Egg at Easter, I could find in my heart to publish it to the world, how one of them vexes his poore Neighbours about small Tithes, for Milch Cowes, and sowes Piggs and Poultry, putting 13. poore people into one bill, not charging them all to the value of 5. l. which suit hath or will in probability cost above 100. l. Indeed if the grand Tithes had been detained, and he could not otherwise have subsisted; It had been another matter, but for a man of peace to bring a conserve of Westminster-Hall Wormewood for every petty oblation. Is this to feed men with the sincere Milk of the word; to torment 30. poore men about Tith milk, methinks an Ingenious man should be ashamed of it.
Thou that sayest a man should not be covetous, (for a mans life consisteth not in abundance of riches,) doest thou heap up more then is sufficient for thee, thou that sittest to Judge according to Law dishonourest thou God? Luk 12.15 But secondly, let me intreat all those that are able Ministers of the Gospell in this Juncture of time to shoot out all the Arrowes of Gods indignation against Covetousnesse which is Idolatry, filthy Lucre, Mammon of unrighteousnesse, deceitfull riches, briars, and thornes, and the covetous whom God abhorreth, and to preach nothing else to Covetous men, till they leave their Covetousnesse, what should a Covetous man do with a mercifull Saviour; If he had the graces of the spirit he would lock them up that none should be the better for him.
If you expect to be called the English Clergy, every one of you now become an Advocate for the poore of your Parish, as by example, so by doctrin, Trumpet out that of Saint James, go to now ye rich men, weep, and howle for your misery that shall come upon you, your riches are corrupted, and your Garments Moth-eaten, your Gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witnesse agaist you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire, charge them that be rich in this world, to be rich in good works; but do not only whisper it into their Eares, but fall upon the Covetous and the Dunkards when they come into the Congregation (for they come most commonly the last) when a Covetous wretch comes in, bid the people look as if there was some African Monster; one that can eat 10000. l. of Gold, and 10000. Quarter of Corne, 100. beasts, and 2000. sheep, and sits Rent-free, and no body must have a bit with him, and when a notorious Drunkard comes in, tell them here comes one, that he and his Companions devoure as much every week as Bells Priests did, you must needs know every Covetous wretch in your parish, fall upon him, as you would fall upon the Devill, if he should come into the Congregation, tell him that he is like Hell[?], that is insatiable, and that it is impossible for him to be saved, so living and dying; [Page 40] tell the Covetous and the Drunkard, that God abhors them, all honest sober men will kick them out of their Companies, that unlesse they repent the Devill will provide a place for them in Hell by themselves in the lowest Dungeons (next unto the Jesuits) who yet are better Commonwealths-men) for sayes hee, these men never did good to any men in their lives, the Covetous will hoard up all, and the Drunkard will devour all, let them fight Dog, fight Bear together, they are now asleep in these grosse enormities, thunder out Gods Judgements against them; dart the very flashes of Hell fire from your Pulpits, into their soules and consciences, Oh, that the Lord would teach the Ministers how to preach to purpose to such miscreants, methinks 2. or 3 powerfull Sermons should either by Gods blessing work upon the Covetous miserable wretch to part with his superfluities, or else make him forsake the Congregation, if it were well set on, charge him home to give away so much to the poore the next week, or to sell his Corne at a reasonable rate, and if it be not done tell him hee shall heare of it to his shame the next day, and I warrant you he will either observe it, or come no more there to heare you, and if he go to heare another Minister. I intreat every faithfull watch-man to stand ready for him with a whole peale of Curses at the doore when he comes in, and tell him, Oh, thou Covetous wretch, thou run'st away from such a man, because thou wilt not releive thy hungry Brother, and sell thy Corne at a reasonable rate, which God commands thee to doe; thou art cursed in the City, and cursed in the Feild, cursed shall be thy basket, and thy stoare, the Lord shall smite thee with the Pestilence, Consumption, Fever, Inflamation and extreame burning, with the Botch, the Emrods, the Scabs, and the Itch, thou shalt grope at noone-dayes, and thy Carcase shall be meat to all the Fowles of the Ayre, and no man shall fray them away, thou shalt become an Astonishment, a Proverb and a byword to all people, tell him that this and all the Curses in the Book of God shall come upon him, pursue him and overtake him, till he be destroyed, put him this case, suppose a Prisoner was to stand a whole day together at the barre of Justice, to heare the Judge pronounce Judgement, and several sorts of punishment against him, you must go from hence to the Prison, to lye in Irons, eat moldy bread, and drink puddle water, then be branded, next have thy flesh pluck't of with hot pinsers, then put into a barrell of nailes, drawne in peeces with wild Horses; or the most exquisite torments that cruell Tyrants could imagine, ask him what he thinks of that Prisoners condition, I know hee will say it is very sad, then reply with Authority, and tell him this is thy Case, say as Nathan did to David thou art the man, bid him read his condition in the glasse of the Scripture, and turne to those Curses in the 28. of Deut. and marke I pray you how the spirit of God, having denounced a Catalogue of Curses against such as will not obey his Commandements, in the 29. Chapter tells in particular, who it is that shall be thus cursed; it is the man, that let the Minister say what hee will, blesses himselfe in his heart, and sayes I shall have peace, though I walk in the Immaginations or stubbornnesse of my owne heart, Deut. 29.19. TO ADD DRUNKENNES TO THIRST, of the Drunken to the Thirsty; which in my opinion comprehends both Drunkards, and covetous persons, for they are both Hydroptique, the Drunkard heats himselfe till he be thirsty, and [Page 41] the Covetous man drinks downe all the broth of commodity, as the Fish drinks up water, but tell them likewise that if they will reforme themselves, there are blessings in store for them, in that former part of the 28. of Deut. But me thinks I heare an objection that Covetousnesse is none of those scandalous sins, for which by the Ordinance, any man is to be debarred the Sacrament; We say in Statutes that there are many Cases omitted, which are within the meaning of the Law, and to be taken by equity, certainely to deny the poore bread to eat at reasonable rates; if it bee not neere kin to murder, ti's a horrible sin as visible, as the green grasse, therefore I pray you professe your selves implacable Enemies to all Intemperance, and uncharitable-nesse; for which not only the higher powers, but every honest man in this Kingdome will thank you for it, beleeve it, it is an Angelicall thing to get the love of poore people.
11. A word to the Learned Physitians in this Kingdome (whereof God Increase the number) pray deale kindly with poore people when they are sick, for a poore man to give 10. s. for a visit, is as greivous many times as the Disease it selfe; and yet life is sweet, Physick must be had at any rate; But some may beeter afford to give 100. l. for a cure, then others to give 5. s. Methinks if I had an old usurer in cure, I would advise him to be very Charitable, certainly the poore in this Kingdome suffer very much for want of a Physitian or two, in every Market Towne, at the least.
The Doctors of Padova say that in Fevers and such violent diseases, the Patient is in danger, if the Phisitian do not visit him three times a day, how many people in this Kingdome dye yearely, that can never get any Physitian to visit them in their sicknesse; and how many poore people are there about London that had rather die then see an Appothicaries Bill; the thing I intreat of you is that you would visit the poore without Fees, for why should not Phisitians be as well assigne In forma Pauperis, as Lawyers, and Appothicaries as well as Atturneys, and Chirurgians as well as Clarks.
But if you cannot be at leisure to prescribe to the poore Gratis, pray do not hinder any man that would be the poore mans Doctor; And here give me leave soberly and seriously to intreat you learned Gentlemen of the Corporation, not to molest or interrupt Doctor Trigg [who has been so called to my knowledge this 20. yeares, and three yeares is sufficient in Law, in point of Appellation] in his practise any longer, I can assure you thousands of poore people, in and about the City speak hardly of you for troubling him, and had it not bin for somebody, there had bin before this a Petition with at least 30000. hands humbly presented to the Parliament for his freedome to practise, though he is not incorporated into your Colledge; and so by a penall Law principally intended against some Italian Mountebanks, and for the avoyding of Sorceries and Witchcrafts for suits, 5. l. for every moneth that he practises in this City without your leave, and you have got a judgement, and Execution as [I heare] for 115. l. against him, and for what I beseech you? Why should he pay you so much money? is it, because he hath by Gods blessing cured some, which some of you had left for desperate? as you know it was proved upon Oath at Guild-Hall, where you Indicted and Impeached him of Ignorance, and busing the people, endeavouring to prove [Page 62] that he had given unwholsome Phisick to a Woman about 17. yeares agoe; who said upon her Oath that the Phisick made her sick, and work't strangly with her, but the Woeman hath bin well ever since, and a lusty merry old Woeman who possibly might, but for that Phisick, have bin long since in her Grave; another Evidencer said, that Doctor Trigg confest himselfe that hee was a foole, which rather proved him to be a knowing man. For Saint Paul sayes, yee are wise, I am a foole, that is, the Doctors thought him to be one, and Solomans foole was wise in his owne conceit, 2 Cor. 11.19. but there was pregnant proofe for the Doctor, that since the Great Sicknesse (at which time he first grew famous; for many of the Doctors being out of Towne, he did abundance of cures upon poore people, which are yet living.) He hath cured every yeare many people of all sorts of Feavers, Plague, Palsies, Agues, Gout, Consumptions, Dropcies, Collicks, and all sorts of Diseases, and his manner of practise is, to take little or nothing from the poore, and from the rich, 2. s. or 2. s. 6. d. at the most for his advice and Phisick, for he compounds all his Phisick himselfe which no ignorant man can do, and buyes the best Druggs he can get, as the Drugster a man of credit, testified. Now the Case stands thus; a man lyes desperatly sick, and the Colledge Doctors give him over for a dead man, a friend of his tells him, that Doctor Trigg has cured many in his condition, that have been as neare death as himselfe, the man has a strong conceit that Doctor Trigg may help him, (and truly a good conceit of the Physitian is many times half the Cure) if this man should recover by Gods blessing upon Doctor Triggs Phisick, is it not a hard case, that Doctor Trigg should pay 5. l. to the Colledge for curing this man without their Lycence, will they neither give Phisick themselves nor suffer others to do it?
Worthy Gent. You know what offers, we that were Doctor Triggs Counsell have severall times made you; that if we do not prove that our Clyent hath done good to above 30000. Men, Woemen, and Children; in and about this Citty since the yeare 1624. Hee will quit his practise without more a doe; or if you can prove that ever he did hurt to any man, Woman, of Child by his Phisicks; He will be content to be your Bondslave; I know there were above 100. witnesses more then those that gave evidence, which hearing that Doctor Trigg had a Tryall about his Nonsufficiency flocked in readily, to testifie what Cures he had wrought upon them, but the Honorable Judge thought it needlesse to heare any more, for when a weight can be carryed by foure men to what purpose is it to imploy 10. but why will he not be admitted of the Colledge? It may be he thinks it a Monopoly, for by the Common-Law every man may Administer Phisick that hath any skill therein, and if we hurt any through Ignorance or negligence, an Action upon the Case lyes against him, and why are not Country mens healths and lives as precious to them as Cittizens? or why may not the Butchers, Cookes, Bakers, and Brewers being Free-Tradesmen of the City of London, compell the Citizens to buy all their Victualls of them, and nor to dresse it in their Houses, why will not some men have the lyne of Ordination stretched over them; because they conceive themselves more free without it, He sayes that those old Receits which agreed with English bodyes. 500. years [Page 63] agoe, are not so proper for these times, and therefore would make no further use of the Pharmatopia then he sees reason of it, but he is of Age and Abilities to answer better for himselfe, for my owne part, I take him to be a rationall man, and of Excellent parts, but in Phisick I preferre experience before reason and Authority, that is if there were but two Physitions extant, the one counted an Ignoramus, which yet had cured 1000. men of Fevers, and such dangerous diseases, the other a notable Scholler, and of fluent discourse that never cured 20. of all diseases; I would rather Intrust my selfe with the former; he was a famous Practiser in Aleppo above 25. yeares since, and purchased much skill beyond Sea, and of great practise and experience, with whom Sir Theodore Mayerne, Doctor Moore have joyned in advise, a man Hospitable and charitable to the poore, therefore my subject leads me to commend him, he gives away as much Phisick weekly to the poore people, as costs him 30 or 40. s. and which some Appothycaries would sell it, may be for five times as much; for I know not how it comes to passe, there is more gotten by Drugs, Roots, Weeds and Hearbs in this City yrarely, then the Bakers, Brewers, Butchers, and many others get by their substantiall Commodities, let no man think I write this for my Fee; 'tis the poore mans Case that I plead, should he be suppressed, I professe for any thing I can imagine to the contrary, thousands of poore people must perish for want of meanes to recover them, for where is there a man that will give his advise and Physick for nothing as this man constantly doth: If any Patient tell him that he is poore and wants money, he takes not a penny from him; nor let any man say that it is not usuall for Councell to print their Clyents Causes; for my part I know no hurt in it, but so far as it concerns the poore this hard yeare, I would not gladly omit any thing for their advantage; extraordinary diseases must have extraordinary cures, for my owne part, If I thought or credibly heard that the man did practise upon mens bodies, and abuse poore people; I would be the first that should him, and pluck his flesh in peeces, but so long as that man does good in his practise, every honest man should take his part; for why should not that be judged a good Tree that brings forth (not yearely but daily) good fruit, his case stands thus, The Colledge Doctors have obtained a Judgement of 115. l. against him, and by the Law a writ of Error lyes before rhe Right Honourable the Lords in Parliament, but the King being concerned in it; the course was to procure his Majestyes hand for the writ of Error; and it hath pleased their Good Lordships for a supply thereof as Aequavalent thereunto in Judgement of Law to grant an Order for a writ of Error; which is now obtained, besides he stands Indicted by the name of William Trigg Shoo maker, alias William Trigg Heele maker, alias William Trigg Last maker, alias William Trigg Gent. and one sayes hee will take a Course with him for his short Cures, another sayes this Trigg workes by the Devill or else he could never do such cures, and there are so many Actions against him, and such designes to ruine him, that I feare whether there be not some Ingredient of malice or tincture of Emulation in the violent prosecution of it? for though it be well knowne that the worthy President of the Colledge, and many of the Doctors are Godly judicious and Learned men Mr. Dr. Clarke. [for which I honour and highly esteeme them] yet whether the Prosecutors doe really, sinceerely, and entirely ayme at the health and welfare of poore people, in putting him downe from practise as is pretended; seemes to me very questionable; for I conceive a greater displeasure and prejudice cannot be done to the poore people of this City then by his suppression. But though, by one Statute. He may [Page 64] be greived I hope by another Statute, he will be releeved; [for truly when a Clyent has an honest just cause and delights in doing good we ought to lay his sufferings to heart as if it were in our owne Cases) The Statute of 34. H. 8. is to this effect; 34. H. 88. That it is well knowne that some will doe no cure to any person, but where they are sure to be rewarded with a greater summe or reward then the Cure extendeth unto, for in Case they would minister their cunning to poore people unrewarded, there should not so many rot and perish to death for lack of Surgery as daily doe, for though the most part have small Cunning, yet they will take great summes of money, and do little therefore, and by reason thereof doe often Impaire and hurt their Patients rather then do them good, Therefore for ease, comfort, succour, help releife, and health of the Kings poore Subjects, that shall be pained or diseased, be it ordained and enacted, that every person having knowledge and experience of the nature of Hearbs, Roots, and Waters, or of the opperation of the same by speculation or practise, may lawfully practise Surgerie, or Administer any Drinks for the Stone, Strangerie, or Agues, which by a former Statute they were prohibited to do by certaine persons whom this Statute brands with a noat of Infamy that they minded only their owne Lucres, and nothing the profit or ease of the diseased, or Patient, therefore sued, troubled, and vexed divers honest persons, whom God had endued with the knowledge of the nature, kind, and opperation of Hearbs, Rootes, and Waters; I shall not make any application, but hope that the Learned Doctors will upon mature consultation, surcease all further prosecution against my Clyent, and either undertake the care, and charge of all sick poore people in and about this City, or else quietly permit and suffer others to practise, who as lesser lights may doe much good in their stations and places to poore People; though they be not such good Linguists and great Schollars as themselves; for certainely it was never the intent of any English Parliamentary Worthies to punish any man for doing good to the poore.
And here I would make but some few quaeries.
- What shall poore people do in time of great mortality and sicknes when most of the Colledge Doctors having houses in the Countrey have left the Citty as in the late great sicknesse, if none may be permitted to Practise but themselves, for it pleases God that the Plague most commonly inflicts and visits the poorer sort of people such as live in Close Allyes, and out places of the City.
- The Doctors not making their owne Medicines, but sending poore people to the Apothycaryes, where no penny, no Pater Noster, no money, no Medicine, [though I speak not against the profession, every man must live by his Trade; I beleeve many of them to be very honest and a most necessary Profession] and consequently have no Medicines by them, for the speedy releife of the poore, whether in probability those that compound their owne Medicines, are not more Charitable and helpfull to poore people then such as keep no Medicines by them, it being seldome seene that he that buyeth all his meat at the Cookes, serves many Beggars at the Dore.
- Whether it be for the health and welfare of this Kingdome which is the supreame Law that the Doctors Recepts and Art of Physick should be practised in such an unknowne tongue, that no man knowes what he buyes, or what he payes for it being wholly upon the Doctors and Appothycaries Consciences, what name and price they please to give the Physick, so that at the best it is but a Pig in a Poak as we say proverbially, contrary to the practise of all other Callings where [Page 65] every man knowes what he buyes, and if they pleased, they might as well set down in plaine English words what they prescribe, and what they pay for.
- Lastly, what shall we think of denying to teach ordinary Medicines to poore people, as good Drinks and Possits made of Hearbs, whereby the end for which God made Medicinable Hearbs and Roots is frustrated and made void, and the Common knowne use of Hearbs growne out of use and knowledge of poore people in this Kingdome, specially in this City of London, which if we knew how to make use of Gods good Creatures, we might prevent many diseases, and maintaine our selves in bodily health and strength, much better then now we doe, specially in such places where there are neither Physitians nor Appothicaries.
12. But that I may be just and impartiall, let me speak a word to my owne Profession; I would humbly beseech the Reverend Judges before they condemne any man for stealing a Horse, a Cow, or a Sheep, from him that has 100. or 1000. that they inquire whether the Prisoner was not necessitated to do it, to buy bread for his family, or for milk or Cloaths, for his poore Wife and Children? or whether it were possible for him, by his best Industry and labour to keep himselfe alive, and familie, without stealing; for if so, then hee's a presumptious theefe, that steales not for want, but for wantonnesse, and by the Law of the Land, the Gallowes is his just guerdon, but if the man be extreamely necessitated, and cannot live without a miracle, then that he may not suffer but be put into such away and condition, that if he will take paines he might live, and then if he steale any more, he is to be proceeded against as Incorrigible, this is a sweet temper, both of Justice and mercy, those that have acquired Honours, and great Estates by the Law, should be an Honour to the Law; which cannot better shew it selfe then by dispatching poore mens Causes first, and speedy executing all Lawes and Statutes, which give any provisionall releefe to the poore, in point of penalty; and as I do earnestly intreat every man that has the substance of this world, and see's his brother to be in want; not to shoot his bowells of Compassion, but to releeve his necessities, or else the love of God cannot abide in him, so in a more especiall manner, I would intreat all that have got any considerable Estates, by the Law; to adorne their Professions this deere Yeare, by their good works; for my part I shall count him the Flower, Ornament, and Garland of his profession, that shall most advantage the poore mans Cause, both by his Pen, by his Tongue, and by his Purse, and the rather for that, I think the great Practisers get much monie as easilie as any men do in the Kingdome, but my designe is, that every 10th. Fee, should be given to the poore; I find in some of our Hystorians, that in times of Popery, the Priests challenged every tenth Fee, as a personall Tith, and since some have continued the payment of it, and when men went to Confession they durst not deceive the Priest, nor give him a light peece of Gold, and not long since it was attempted to make us pay personall Tithes.
I wish all men were more fearefull to displease God, then the Papists are to offend their spirituall Fathers, (which have no Wives but many Children;) In France the Advocates have a Palmary Fee in token of Victorie after the Judgement pronounced for their Client, and that is given to the poore; All Fees which have been taken from the poore men that could not spare them, ought in reason to be restored and no more to be taken, and certainly reason is the root of our profession, and whatsoever is against the Law of true reason, let it be disclaimed by all Ingenious men.
My learned Masters, and all yee that live by the Law, whom I may without presumption call Brothers; I have a word concerns us all, pray marke it well, the Kingdome is drawing up an Impeachment against us, for the Errors and corruptions that are in the Law and Lawyers, every man complaines of the horrible delaies in matters of Justice, that we, have an Action to our Clients purses, and spin out Causes to an unreasonable length, as Covetous Surgeons keep the wounds raw for their owne profit, that there is so much expence of Coine, and time, that the remidie is worse then the disease, that a man had better loose his right, then go to Law for it, and that deles in Courts of Justice are the greatest Nusance, and grievance to this Kingdome: They think it the greatest misterie in the world that a man cannot get a Causs ended in two or three yeares, and yet Justice not delayed; that a man must spend above 10. l. to recover 5. l. and yet Justice not sold; they think Magna Carta is extremely violated, you may please to remember what occasioned me to write our Vindication so far forth as Scripture and reason would plead for us, and if we be cast at either of these Barres, I am sure no Court of Equity can releive us; and now I suppose you have met with the Lawyers bane, written by Nicholson who falls upon us with a Scriptury weapon. Woe unto you Lawyers, for yee load men with burdens greivious to be borne, and yee your selves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers; Truly though the man discover a weak Judgement, yet he manifests strong affections to the publick, for all this smoak is not without some fire; he that knowes any thing in politiques may easily foresee that there is a great storme arising in this Kingdome against us; now what must we do to prevent it, the only way is to keep close to the principles of right reason, and we are out of Gun-shot to dispatch poore mens Causes, gratis this hard yeare; In doubtfull matters let us disswade our Clyents from going to Law, and tell them the danger of it, advising them to doe, as they would be done unto; let us contend earnestly for the truth, more then for victorie; and so soone as we discover the injustice of the Cause, let us leave it, and advise our Clyents to make their peace, never speaking any thing but what we beleeve to be true, if they tell us they have no money, let us do their businesse for thanks; and I warrant you we are Parliament proofe, and Kingdome proofe, the people will quickly find the usefullnesse of us; and an honest Lawyer will be a necessary member in a Kingdome, for the wisdome of the Common Law is highly to be admired and honored of all understending men (without some Competent understanding wherein no man can possibly be a Polititianist, being the best Judge, and Arbiter of life and death and all things that are for the maintenance thereof, but if we make the disquiet and trouble of poore people, the basis, and fuondation of our Grandor and Renowne, beleeve it, the Kingdome will be as wearie of us, as ever they were of the Bishops, or any Arbitrary Court, In a word (for I know your Judgements are so mature you love not many, that which can only prevent the ruine of our profession, is, That the Reverend Judges, Learned Lawyers, and experienced Officers and Clarkes of all Courts speedily consult and agree together to propound some proper expedient to the High Court of Parliament, for cheap and summary Justice, throughout the Kingdome; for the best policie is to prevent an accusation; better the Fees of some Courts should be reduced, and regulated, then the Court it selfe to be suppressed; It were better for the 6. Clarkes that poore men might pay but 4. d. a sheet, then 8. d. for moderate gainns last long, we see the moderate estates of Widdowes last longer and prove better, then some vast superfluous Estates, [Page 67] which make them but a prey for some young Gallant; what a shame is it that Irregularities and obstructions in the Administration of publique Justice should not be discovered (and presented to the highest Court for speedy redresse) by the Professors of the Law, who should stand as Sentinells for the security of mens persons and Estates, to discover the least approaching danger, and all delayes or rubs in Justice, but that the Army should be inforced to make it one of their proposalls for the Kingdomes good; And you my worthy Masters that under your good favours are so many Ingrossers of all the Practise within the Statutes of pluralities and Ingrosment of Corne, and Cattell (for the reason of all such Statutes, is, that one man may live by another, that one should not feast, and another fast:) The Harvest of great Causes, (much good may it do you) Is yours, we are content to gleane after you, with a motion now and then, which comming like Summer fruits, should not be rejected for variety sake, pray let us be heard when we have any thing to say, I profes it is an intollerable injury that you daily offer to young Practisers, and heavier then the shoulders of rationall men can long beare 10. or 20. of you to move every morning before or after the causes, and there is no time for us, [though one of your motions spends more time then six of ours] to be heard; If the Custome of the Court were as auncient as Adams time, yet reason must be preferred before it; I assure you, there is all the policy and selfe love in it, as you can imagine to let us be heard when we have any thing to move for, if the practise be do not not distributed into more hands, that every man may live by his profession; if you fal by your own waite; I dare burn my Books, King James said it was a great cheat put upon the Kingdome, for Gentlemen to maintaine their Sons at the Inns of Court at a great rate: And being called to the Barre, may expect 7. 10. or it may be 20. yeares before they be known in a Court of Justice, or can be heard to move above twice or thrice in a Tearme, which will not quit the cost, nor pay for Commons; And by this means the Subject spends at least 50. or 100000. l. a yeare in superfluities, for if the Tearmers, and such Counsell as draw Bills and Answers, and advise in the Countrie, might be heard at the Barre as often as the Cause required, then would not many of the great Practisers be retayned, untill the hearing of the Cause, or upon some speciall difficulty, but now the Clyent is inforced to have one Counsell in the Countrey, in the Vacation, and another in the Tearm to this double Charge, or else may chance to attend all the Tearm before his Counsell can he heard, to his farre greater expences, whereby the Honourable Courts of Justice, come to be dishonoured and hardly thought of.
And here I meet with my deare freind vertuous Mr. Hugh Peters who for his Active serviceablenesse to the publique deserves much from all honest Men. In his three words, I find much marrow and sweetnesse, Mercurius Avangelitus virtus in fictione consistt. and an excellent sperit tending to Unity, between all honest men, and that which I heare hath given much satisfaction to all sober men in the City, and cured many discontents and distempers who now see their Error, and perceive that they were violently plucking a ruinous house upon their owne heads, and pesting into a posture of slavery, whereas now by Gods blessing upon our noble Worthies in Parliament and Army, they are likely to be in true esteeme, the most glorious Citizens in all the world; and therefore I thank him for saving me that labour, having compiled a Students mite which I intended humbly to present by the name of LONDONS HAPPINES, or Counsell given without a Fee to the Right Honorable the Lord Major, the Right Worshipfull the Sherifes, and Aldermen, the worthy Common Counsell men, [Page 68] the honest Common Hall, the hopefull Apprentices, and every Free-man of that famous Incorporation, which shall not now be cast into the Treasury, nor the Presse oppressed with it; I must needs, unles I will betray my owne Judgement acknowledge it to be a most rationall peece, and many of his Cures, welbecoming the great Physitians of state, Magnum in parvo. and I hope the reasons will be weighed in the just ballance of their most sublime wisdome; and what an Angellicall Ordinance would it be that honest men should never fall out, or at least that there might be freind-makers in every Parish for matters of small concernment, that trench not upon mens inheritances and utter undoings, and I would have this Golden sentence written in Capitall Letters over Westminster Doores, QUICK JUSTICE MAKES A QUIET KINGDOME. But Truth is my nearest freind, therefore good Sir, I must be bold to take exceptions, and that without any violation of the divine injunction, of telling my Brother in private for a printed objection requires a printed Answer) to part of your 10th. cure, where your words are I would say the & c.
I take your matter to be erroneous, for multitude of Lawyers, is not so much an Argument of the slavery, as the wealth of a Kingdome; I confesse it is a sad thing, that after 80. yeares preaching the Gospell of peace; there should be so many Suits in Law, but Rich men wil be at variance, & who can help it, I wish poor men that are not worth above 2. or 300. l. might not either be permitted to wage Law, or to have Justice without paying any thing for it, and I wish from my soule, that this Kingdome were in such a Gospell frame, that there were nothing for us to do, but to settle mens Estates, it being better to get one Fee to prevent differences and just quarrells, then 20. Incontentious wranglings; but as matters stand, call us what you please, necessary evills, we are as necessary in a Kingdome, as Women more necessary in a Kingdome, then Ministers or Physitians which are but for the well being of a State, Kingdome, and Common-wealths have and may subsist without them, but Justice is as necessary as the Sun in the Firmament; suspend the Lawes but one day, and the Kingdome is undone, no man but has some Enemy that will kill him, and so long as the Law is necessary, there must be Lawyers to contend for the Clyents right, untill the cure be perfected, that men can plead their owne Causes which I should much rejoyce to see, for the end of the profession of the Law which is peace, and of the professors ought to be the same, but if I were convinced that my wearing of a Gown at Westminster, were any mark of, or tended to continue, or countenance the slavery of this Nation in the least measure, I would hang it up in Long-Lane, and burne all my Books but the Bible, which possibly some out of a strong zeale and weak Judgement would have us to doe; like those curious Artists in the 19th. of the Acts; Acts 19.19. that burnt their Conjuring Books, though I know Mr. Peters is no enemy to learning, I wish the Law being peoples guid and rule to walk by, were more plaine and easie, and in our English Toung that the Normans might not understand them sooner then wee.
But I am for a Reformation in Courts of Justice, and not an exterpation, it must never come to Root and branch in point of Civill Government; this I had not added but for pure necessity for I must either quit the profession or Answer every objection that is made against it, though by my deare Father, and at last I hope truth will get ground of Errors.
For my owne part if any poore man want any assistance, I shall freely give him my best advise as cordially without a Fee as with it.
And now I might conclude, having kept my promise, but being willing to give the poore all possible advantage as I hope the Bakers will in every dozen, one Loafe more then ordinary; I shall advise all honest poore men, without a Fee, and that is to study Christ and good Husbandry, more then ever; truly ti's a deere yeare, poore hearts, you must be content to pinch, it will not loose many words to tell you what inventions the Italians and the good Husbands at Naples had in a deere yeare, to save charges, they were called the Company of Lesinants, intruth rich Marchants, but what was vituperable in them, may be commendable in you, their Motto was, be sober and frugall, and their principalls such as these, never to to take any Physick in hopes to recover by fasting, because every purge weakens the body, Sobrius esto parsimonia magnum Vectigal. as washing does Linnen, to weare but one Glove at a time, and that being lost, another may be had for little, to eat rost meat but once a yeare, not to break bread too small, for it crumbles away, tread nimbly to save Shooe-Leather, to put 3. or 4. Soales on their shooes for duration, to warme themselves in the Sun, never to send their Servants far in a morning for feare of getting too good a stomack, nor to entertaine Cholerick servants, for they are alwayes hungery, but flegmatick that eat little, and to take little Prentices, that spend lesse in Cloathes, and Bedding, not to trouble themselves too much when a freind comes unexpectedly to see them; for if he be a freind he will be content with such ae he finds, if an Enemy ti's too good for him, to make a new Garment of two old ones, for variety pleases, and from severall grafts comes new fruit, alwayes keep an empty Pasty covered upon the Table, Semel in anno ridit Appollo, vis unita fortier Sol et homo generant heminem. to offer a stranger, which if it be accepted, a freind will conceale it, and he that wishes you ill, will not be beleeved, when your servant goes to draw the best drink, make him sing all the while, that so he may have no time to drink, sometimes an Egge must dine a whole family, the Master and Mistris to have the Yelk, the Children the white, and the Servants the shell in powder with Vinegar, spend alwayes pigmey Candells for they least hurt the sight, and make a little hole in thy Neigbours wall to see by his Candell to go to Bed, never be without single money, for that's a good groat that saves a 6. d. take heed when thou art at a Feast, for Phisick may cost more then three meales are worth, with two Faggots in a winter to be continually hot, throw them out at thy Chamber Window into the back yeard, and run downe in thy old shooes, and bring them up againe, and out with them againe till thou be hot, one had a great Jugge with a narrow mouth, whereinto he put a spong, and goes to an Oyle shop for seven or eight pound of Oyle, which being fill'd, he offers counterfeit money, which the Shopkeeper refuses, I have no other sayes hee, then restore my Oyle sayes the other, which he powers out, but leaves a pound or more in the sponge, one divelish principall is, to receive many curtesies, and then speak ill of the party, and so he is requited, drink but thrice at a meale, for need, for pleasure, and for sleep, that the hand is the Instrument of Instruments, which serves for a Glasse, the fingers for a knife, the nailes for a Combe, and the palme for a hankercheife, if a freind come in dinner time, tell him, oh Sir, if you had come a little sooner, you had been most welcome to a Capon, and to make it good there are some Feathers in the roome, and one braggadochio having eaten an Egge, some of it stuck upon his Beard, who used the same Complement; I belveeve it Sir sayes hee, for some of the Feathers stick upon your Mustachoes, lend a poore man money at first, but never take it againe, though he offer it, for that is but a trap to borrow more, Prentices not to count the clock when it strikes a 11 or 12. for it looses too much time, therefore [Page 70] the Duke of Florences Secretary was commended for an invention that the Clock should never strike more then six, his Master having Excise for every suit of Cloathes that was made, the Taylors lost time in counting the stroakes; and striking but to 6. made one suit more in a moneth then before, and ti's an Irrevocable Institution, to cut their hayre at the decrease of the Moone, for that saves charges to the Barber, in that it will not grow so fast, when one is cold and dry, drink Vinegar and water, to quench thirst, heat the body, and so save fire, a Campstrial wild Salat is best, because it consists of pure naturalls, and in a Salat put good store of Salt, and Vinegar, but little Oyle, and if there be any Vineger left, keep it till the next time.
Necessitas dociat Psiticum suum [...] Necessity was at first the mother of all inventions, and hunger taught the Parrat to speak, but we have now too many Cormorants, that are of the Company of the Lesinants, and not all vertuous, because we follow extreames too much, one man is too prodigall, his mouth like a Sepulcher, his throat like a hot Oven, that consumes all; the Drunkard and intemperat person, an other is so extreamly penurious, that he will not afford himselfe food, and rayment, according to his quality, and betweene these two Millstones, the poore labouring man is squeesed to death, when I perceived that the greater part of the Italian and Spanish Gentry studied nothing so much as Parsimonie, and frugality to make a little, go farr, seeing a Neapolitan Cavalier, marching out of his Palace in State, in a morning with his basket on his rist, pretending that hee was going to buy flesh, and fish, observing him first to go into the Hearb market, and lay the foundation and ballast of his Vessell in roots, and hearbs, and comming by the butchery, it may be buyes a pound of Flesh, and smells to the Capons, Feasants, and beccafich possibly may buy a Leg or a wing, but fills it up with a peniworth of figs, and returnes with as much grace, and state, as if he had conquered a City. I inquired a little into the reason of it, and found it to be for necessity, let me expresse it thus, men that travile to inrich their minds are not so exact and curious to behold the stately Architectures, pleasant Gardens, artificiall paintures, and contrivances, which are but the inanimate parts of travaile, but to study the constitution, and frame of the government, and thereby to guesse at the happines or unhappines of that state or Kingdome, in point of duration, and he that hath but halfe an eye in reason of state may easily foresee that Rome is now like a Candell, blazing a little before the extinguishment, the whore is so proud, that she has no more Trinkets to put on and a fatall blow, she will have suddainly, therefore it concerns all Protestants to agree, though of different judgements, and prepare to fight with her, for the Pope will have an Army of 60. or. 70. thousand lusty Monks, that at last Pinch shall fight for him the great battell neare unto Rome, without the City, upon Peters Patrimony, which one way is reconed 1600. furlongs, being 200. miles, and those lustfull Monsters will bleed by a Protestant Army, commanded by saints, such as are holy, faithfull, and chosen; Rev. 14.20 And as easily foresee, that the Spaniard did so universally tax and oppresse the Neopolitans, that they must of necessity take up Armes to redeemde their just liberties, which fire is new kindled, and will not be quenched till the Spaniard be driven out of that Kingdome, a patterne to all Princes to yeeld to the just intreaties of their Subjects, before it be too late, for the Neopolitans said long since that the voice Roy, and the Church took above halfe their Estates from them, but if hee did not [Page 71] give over taxing, they would give over paying, a just Guerdon for all cruell Princes, and such as act by Tyrannicall principles, of taxing the people so excessively, that having work inough to do to live and maintaine a being, they may never think of a well being, and that it is a great favour that they enjoy their lives, and keep out of prisons, as if it were a great Favour for a Theefe that steales a Goose, to leave some Feathers behind him; I find subjects in many places beyond Sea, are faine to make a vertue of necessity, being like those that saile between Scilla and Caribdis in danger to be spilt upon one of those Rocks, which are immoderate taxations, and maintenance of many Thousand Monks an unprofitable Generation of Abby Lubbers that eat up the very fat and Creame of the Kingdome, that the Bees must work to maintain such droanes is a most abominable thing, to make poore people give their goods to preists, Monastries, and Nunneries, (for they dare do no otherwise for feare of damnation) 4. 5. or 600. of the Divells Ministers to be maintained in some one convent; and have often in my thoughts resembled them to the Drunkards, Gluttons, and Prodigalls of this Kingdome, that spend that in Luxurie, Rioting, Surfeiting, and excesse, which would make poore people leap for joy, and the other extremity in this Kingdome, is the cruelty and miserable basenesse, and nigardlinesse of many Avaritions, evill minded men, that get the poore into their Dens, and grind their very backs and belly, base earth-wormes, that count gaine, godlinesse, that care not what become of the poore, so as they may fill the other Bagge, or buy the other purchase, that will hold with the hound, and run with the Hare, and be of any opinion to get money, they laugh who ever cryes, and get money which side soever prevailes, these are the Mysticall Wolves and Monks that destroy poore English Lambs, and these men I count to be the Generation of Lesinants, that love none but such miserable Hucksters, and Ingrossers as themselves, they will be sure to help one another; abusing Scripture, that to him that hath shall be given, and he that hath little shall have lesse, an old Usurer of the Fraternity, making his will, the Counsell finding him inclined to give all his Estate to a rich Nephew, that had no Issue, knowing that he had many poore kindred, intreated him to be mindfull of his owne flesh and blood that were neerer allied unto him, then that rich Cosen, no sayes hee, I must doe as I was don unto, my Estate came unto me by fortune, and good luck, in barganing, and this Cosen is a fortunate man, I must favour them whom fortune favours, Concell replyed he ha's no child to leave it unto, and is [Page 72] old, what would you have him to do with it; sayes hee, let him find out some rich man to make his heyre that will improve it; but what shall become then of the poore sayes hee? sayes the old Usurer (that was going I will not say whither, but I can never advance Gods mercy, nor free grace more then when I think of a Pope, and a byting USURER) What doe you tell mee of the poore, I never cared for a poore man in my life, Conscience sometimes speakes out, there is not a greater Antipathie betweene a Spaniard and a French-man, or the Hound and the Hare, then between a rich miserable, greedy Cormorant, and a poor man; such cruell natures are no more moved with the cry of a poore man, who tells them he is ready to be starved, then the Rocks are moved by the waters, you shall see him flee from a poore man, as if he had the plague, as if poverty were infectious. Like the old Churle that came twice a yeare for his Rent, an Old woman pray'd him for a Penny, away you Old Witch sayes he, I come to receive money, not to give.
If a poore man petitions him, Oh, times are straite, he has no money, Stulte bac nocte is the misers case. if a rich man desire 2. 3. 4. or 5000. l. he shall have all possible assistance to helpe him to it, speake aloud, thou covetous wretch hadst not rather lend a rich man (that has no need of money then the sea has of waters unles it bee for the other purchase) 1000. l. then a poor man 10. l. to buy bread for his family, and darst thou profes thy selfe to be a Christian, before thou art a Morrall Man.
The Lord make our Nobles, and Worthies in Parliament, (those that be truly Noble) whose Veines are full of Generous bloud, that are mercifull to the poor, and contribute liberally to their Necessities, that hate this abominable project of covetousnesse and oppression, worse 10000. times to the poor then that of Ship-money or Brasse money) wise as Angels of light, to discover these bloody wolves, and crafty Foxes, which are yet many of them in Sheepe-skins, not uncased, but hug themselves, in the contemplation of their riches; and being found out to be divested and denuded of all publique Imployment in the Kingdome, it being most unfit that they should be honored by the Kingdome who are the greatest reproach and dishonor of it, though I rather pity, then envy them, there case is, Thou foole this night &c. some of them which have compounded, and quietly enjoy their estates; ah, what a sad thing is it to think, that poore men should pay their Compositions; now poor Tennants, and others are arrested, by scores for Old Debts, and [Page 32] Rents upon extremities, when they could keepe no Cattell in the grounds, for feare of plundring, but saies the Old miser, I must pay many thousand pounds to the Parliament, and must get it up again; I profes it melt's my very heart to think upon it, how happy a thing had it been, if Old Usurers and griping Landlords, which have been Delinquents had been Ordered upon their compositions, to have released and discharged all poor men, which were not able to pay them, at least to have provided that they should not presently cast such poore wretches imprison, specially If a poor man have been well affected to the Parliament, and stands any wayes ingaged to a Compounder, oh, sayes he Il'e be sure to be revenged on that Round head, just like the Devill, that because he cannot hurt the Divine Majesty, he vents his malice against Gods people, because the Parliament is out of his reach. Therefore the poore man that honors, and prayes for them, shall be sure to feele the smart of his displeasure how Cordial will poor mens obedience be, to the supreame Justice of the Kingdome, and every other Court, when they see that their miserable condition is taken into their speedy and most serious consultation tell not me, the Kingdome is not yet setled to make provision for all poore people that none be famished, is the first step to the happines and prosperity of this Kingdome. And the first thing to be done in right reason.
Neither can the King, Parliament, nor any subject be truly happy without this, he that can feast when his Neighbours want bread, is rather a Devill then a man, he is no Politician that sayes there is any thing of such absolute necessity, as to provide bread for the poore, without this we are undone, King, Lords, Commons, Army, Assem-City, Country, Ministers, People, all undone every Mothers Child of us will be undone, for if the poore be famished to Death, God will never blesse the rich in this Kingdome, but I am confident God will blesse this nation, and therefore the poore shall one way or other bee provided for, I hope the worke of reformation will be glorious in this Kingdome, it is now in the hands of the noble reformers, and refiners, and when the reformers are vertuous and religious men; all the Divills and their sollicitors cannot hinder a blessed reformation, the sword is the most usefull servant, that Lady justice hath, without which never was the yoake of oppression broken in any Kingdome, and where the noble senators, Gowne men [Page 74] and sword men, are good men, I meane mercifull men, for that expression in Scripture, that for a good man paradventure one may dye, is ment, a charitable man that sayes what is mine is thine, not the righteous man that sayes what is mine is mine, and what is thine is thine, much lesse the covetous miser that sayes what is thine is mine, and what is mine is my owne, good Christians & eminent for cheap and speedy justice, that Reformation must needes be glorious; In confidence whereof I shal humble aquiesce, beseeching God to blesse and prosper his owne workes (for hitherto he hath done all) in the hands and indeavours of those Noble trustees, that every owne in this Kingdome may have his due, and those that have instrumentally saved the Kingdome, esteemed as elder brothers, with a double portion; and every poore Man, Woman. and Child, to have bread and cloathes to preserve them from hunger, and sterving, in this deare yeare whereof there was never so much danger, which God grant; no period --- better then prayer, therefore here I cast Anchor; and subscribe my selfe my selfe: