A New, Cheape and Delicate Fire of Cole-balles

A new, cheape and
delicate Fire of Cole-balles, wherein
Seacole is by the mixture of other com-
bustible bodies, both sweetened
and multiplied.
Also a speedie way for the winning of any Breach:
with some other new and serviceable In-
ventions answerable to
the time.
Regium est cum feceris bene, audire male.
S. Ha.

Imprinted at London by PETER SHORT dwelling
at the signe of the Starre on Bredstreet-hill.


well disposed Reader.

BEing everie way willing, though no waie able, out of my manie and manifold travels to bring foorth some substantial and commodious invention for the avoiding of idlenesse, and relieving the present misery, which the fortune of warres, together with the want of profitable labors hath brought upon us: I could not (on the sodaine) bethinke my selfe of a better discoverie, then how to imploy the poore and maimed persons of this land, who (having their hands only) might be sufficiently able to worke up these sweet and profitable fireballes, for the benefit and pleasure of the rich. And as I have alreadie in my booke of Remedies against famine, freely and plainly delivered, sundrie new and cheape kinds [Page] both of meate and drinke to bee used in a dearth of victuall; so if now in the scarsitie of fewel I may also prove so happy, as to bring forth a cheape and saving fire to warme and cherish their cold and frozen limmes, with the recompence of their labours, I shall bee greatlie encouraged to devote and consecrate the fruits of some of my intermissive houres upon these and such like charitable and godly uses. But without all question if the rare and excellent spirits of this land, might have their best inventions by some act of Parliament priviledged to the[m]selves for some reasonable time, with some proportionable part of the gaines reserved for the succour of the poore (a matter well moved of late, but crossed and swallowed up, I know not how in the bare and naked word of Monopolies) I would not doubt, but though privatum commodum be the first mover in everie Artists intention (as it is in all manuall and mechanicall trades) yet that bonum publicum would also follow and flow abundantly in the execution and publication of such ingenious devises: out of which maine root manie large and plentifull branches [Page] of gainfull imployments, for idle and vagrant persons, were by all probable consequence likely to arise and spring.

In the meane time whilest these long deserved favours doe yet remaine rather to bee wished of all then hoped of anie, I have thought good to kindle such a fire, as I hope ere long will blaze in his full brightnesse, both in the halles and chambers of divers Noble men and Gentlemen of this land, who finding the great difference betweene their former fires of seacole, and this newe and sweete composition, both themselves, and by their example also manie other persons of inferiour qualitie, will bee readie as well for their owne good, as for the reliefe of their poore and distressed neighbours (which almost in everie place of this land are readie even with teares & prayers to crave either charitie, or employment toward the maintenance of themselves and their poore families) to give all the best furtherance which they may, and that with all speedie and diligent expedition.

And so having satisfied your long and [Page] earnest expectation in this my new conceited fire, I hope you will affoord me the recompence which I am to require at your hands, which is nothing els but veniam promunere posco.

H. Plat Esquier.

1. Seacole sweetened and

BEfore I disclose the matter and maner in this new composition of Cole-balles, I thinke it verie necessarie, first (in the behalfe of those poore and miserable wretches, for whose good I do principally intend this Treatise) to intreat all such Magistrates, unto whom the care and provision of fewell doth any way appertaine, that they so farre forth, as either their authoritie, skill, or travell may give anie furtherance hereunto; would be verie provident and careful not to suffer anie seacoles to be sold or landed at anie wharfe or key, unlesse the same by good experience shall be found to be of the best mines: or at the least of such kind and qualitie as will cake and knit together, and so make a hot and durable fire. For the better performance wherof, I hold it the plainest and most evident triall of all other, first to cause a convenient fire to be made of some parcell of the coles of everie ship, before the owner be suffered to unlade, with a speciall charge given, that if the whole bulke do not fall out to be of the selfe same and equall goodnesse with the sample, that the rest should either be returned or confiscated, if any law or custome of that place will beare it. For herein I my selfe have beene a feelnig witnesse, who at the first (not having any skill in the choice of my coles) have sometimes bought such, as I have beene forced even freely to give to those which could make any use of them, [Page] at which time no doubt many poore & unskilfull men did likewise to their great hinderance, and some of the[m] almost to their utter undoing, make a most miserable provision for the[m]selves & their poore wives and childre[n]. And if happily the Magistrat shal either grow negligent, or deale corruptly herein, then do I advise everie man to make the like triall for himself. And because I will no way be wanting in good will to the furtherance of so generall a commoditie as I have now in hand, I will here set dowe some few examinations of mine owne, which may happily serve for the instruction of all such buyers, as have no better experience then mine to direct them.

First I do hold it an infallible rule to know a good cole by, viz. if the same being held over a candle, or rather over a flaming fire, do melt, & as it were drop or frie: for this is an argument of his fattie and sulphurious nature, which ministreth store of foode for the fire; but if the same grow hard & drie over the flame, it is a signe of a leane and hungrie cole, and such as will not cake or knit in the burning: of which kind are the Sunderland coles, whereof the poores wharfe in London can give a sufficient testimonie; which have lien one winter already without anie great decrease, saving that some parcell thereof hath rather beene translated to another place, to make the bulke seeme lesse, then sold and distributed amongst the poore, for whom that charitable provision was first meant. Here xviii. pence or five grotes in the price of a chaldron was ill saved.

Secondly, the brightnesse and glistering of the cole both within & without, is some argument of his goodnes (although I have heard that some kind of bad seacole [Page] newly digged out of the mine, and brought drie in sommer time, will both show and breake faire) but most commonly if it breake in the colour and lustre of pitch, it proveth a good cole to the buier: but without all question, if the same be of a darke, duskish, and dead earthly colour, it is utterly unprofitable for him that shal spend it.

The last and most assured proofe of all the rest (except the making of a fire with them, wherein no man of any sense can easily be deceived) is the lightnesse of the coles in weight. This weight, as in manie other bodies, so especially in water, doth argue either his purenes, or his impuritie: for the lighter & clearer water, is ever held the better & more wholsom, as least participating with earth or minerals. Now if you have but halfe a peck of the best & lightest coles, finely powdered alwayes remaining by you, with this you may examine the goodnesse of any other cole, and by how manie degrees it differeth from the same (the lightest coles being alwayes the best) the neerer your cole commeth in lightnesse to the patterne (both being equally measured, & brought to fine powder) you may assure your selfe that it is so much the better; and the more that the same measure of any other coles exceedeth the other in weight, so much the more earthie & worse burning cole you shal find it. And thus much concerning the goodnes of the cole, wherein if the buyer happen to faile, then shall he labour in vaine, either to sweeten, or multiply the same; the seacole it selfe being the basis & foundation of the whole work, which must give both strength and substance to the bals. And because it is not impertinent to the subject which wee have in hand, to know the places of our [Page] best mines already discovered, &c. I have thought good heere to name the principall places or mines, from whence the best seacole is brought, viz. Durrham, Blaidon, Stillow, Redhew, and Bourne; the rest being ten or eleven more, are of a worser kind, and the worst of all are those of Sunderland. I would the owners of these pits or mines, would deale simply & truly with us: for by the report of many, that are acquainted with their practises, there is such a medley made of these mines, as no man can tell which is the predominant cole in the whole bulke.

I have here also a fit occasion offered me to move the right Honorable the Lord Maior of the Citie of London, and the right worshipfull the Aldermen his brethren, that if this new fire of mine prove a substantial and profitable invention, according to that shewe and countenance which (prima facie) it seemeth to carie, that they would immediately upon good proofe thereof, gather up all the idle and vagrant persons, & all the maimed & unpensioned souldiers, which (notwithstanding all our new taxations & contributions) do still pester the streets and suburbs of this citie, and imploy them in their profitable labors in that unprofitable pest house. And that which is here spoken for London, I hope wil also serve for all the houses of correction within this realme, where there shal bee found sufficient store of matter to worke upon.

The last petition or request which I do here make in the behalfe of the poore, is that at such time as by the slender provision of the Magistrate, and by an extreme hard, and frostie winter ensuing, whereby great store of seacole is spent (which doth oftentimes happen) that the Magistrats of all places would never suffer [Page] or permit the cole it selfe to be sold above the rate of three shillings gain upon the chaldron to any colemonger, which commonly falleth out (respecting the time of the forbearance of his money) to be at the least 20. or 30. in the hundred, & upward, if you adde hereunto that five in the hundreth, which he gaineth by over measure, when he buyeth a whole ships lading in the poole together.

And if usurie bee so dangerous a trade, as both the word of God and al the ministers therof do daily publish and proclaime unto us, the same for the most part being drawne from men of good estate & credit (for the usurer will seldom trust any other) what shall wee thinke of a double and treble usurie, nay of a doubling the principall it selfe (whereof there hath beene a miserable & wretched experience of late memorie within this honorable citie of London) & that wrung out even from the backs and bellies of the poorest sort of people.

I had thought also to have spoken somwhat for reformation of the cole sacks, which (by the opinion of divers men) do in drie and wet weather differ greatly from themselves, and by that meanes cannot produce so certaine a measure to the buyer as the bushel or fat doth, which is alwayes of one and the selfe same content: but I doubt not (if the allegation be sound) but yt the wisdom of the Magistrate will soon reforme this fault. But now to mine own part: wherein because no Author of any new invention (though having Lincius eyes, or enjoying the piercing spirit of Mercurie himselfe) is able truly to foresee all the future effects & accidents that in time may happen to crosse a matter of innovation or noveltie: I do here (expecting nothing [Page] els but a thankfull acceptation of my painefull and costly labours at your hand, if the secret prove rich and beneficiall to the poore, which is my hope and desire, or els your gentle pardon if it fall out otherwise, which is the least that I can deserve) freely offer and publish the greatest part of my knowledge in this kind, and so I proceede to the composition.

In the winter season after some few frosts, gather so much lome as will serve your house for one whole yeares spending (for then it will crumble and dissolve more easily in water then at other times, although at all times with a little more labour in stirring the same it may be made serviceable enough for this purpose) half a peck, & happily a lesse proportion of this lome, dissolved in a little tub of water, is a sufficient quantitie for the knitting up of a bushel of seacole into balles, and your water and lome incorporated and well laboured together must be like a very thin pap.

Then take a bushel of the best seacole, which beeing strewed upon a stonie or paved floore, you must breake or bruise with a hammer, mallet, or some other apt toole or instrument, or otherwise you may sufficiently powder them under your feete, which I have found the readiest and cheapest way of all other. This is entended of the greater sort of coles; but if your coles be of the smaller kind, then are they sufficiently prepared for this worke to your hand.

Spread these coles abroad some handfull thicke, or thereabouts, equally upon the floore, then sprinkle some of your thinne pap all over the heape: then turne them with a shovell or a spade, and spread the[m] againe as before, throwing more of your lomy liquor upon them. Continue this course till you have made [Page] the whole masse or lumpe of your coles soft enough to be wrought up into balles, betweene your hands, according to the maner and making of snowbals: then place them one by one, so as they touch not ech other til they be thorough drie, which will be in a few dayes. Then may you pile or lay them up in heaps in any convenient place, where they may bee defended from raine, which if it should fall in any great quantitie upon them, they would be in danger to be dissolved againe. And so you have seacoles wrought up into bals simply of themselves, according to the maner of Lukeland in Germanie: which forme of firing hath been in use with them for many yeares past, and doth as yet continue to this day, as I am credibly enformed.

Heere happily the workeman may be taxed of a needles and unprofitable labour, in that a convenient fier may be made of seacoles only according to our usuall manner without any further charge or labor, and it is an auncient and approoved Maxime aswell amongst sound Lawyers as also amongst al good Polititians. Quod frustra fit per plura quod fieri potest per pauciora. But to give some reasonable satisfactio[n] herein, I do first presume that those frugal & thriftie Germans have found some good use of their labours, or els they woulde long since have discontinued the same. Secondly, I have found in mine owne experience, that such fiers as consist of bals be neither so offensive in smel, nor yet in soile, as the ordinary seacole fires are. And if experience the undoubted mother of truth will not serve to satisfie doubtfull wittes in this point, but that they will also call for reason at my hands (quia turpe est philosopho quidquam sine ratione [Page] proferre) I will give you my conceit freely either to be controlled or confirmed at your pleasures. And therefore my opinion is, that the smoke which in our usuall fiers dooth immediatly ascend from the seacoles unprepared, must needs according to the foule and grosse matter of the cole, be also foule and smooty it selfe. But when the smoake doth passe, and become as it were searsed thorough the lome (which is the band that knitteth the coles together) it is then so refined and subtilated before his penetration, as that it either consumeth and swalloweth up, or els leaveth behinde it the grosse residence of his owne nature, whereby that black kind of pepperingor seacole dust (if I be not greatly deceived) is either wholy or for the most part avoided: being a matter of so great offense to al the pleasa[n]t gardeins of Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Marchants of this most honorable Citie and the suburbes therof, besides the discoloring and defacing of al the stately hangings and other rich furniture of their houses, as also of their costlie and gorgeous apparell, as that I presume though these my charitable and well intended labours should only produce a remedie for this long and hitherto inavoideable mischiefe, that yet they would be received with a sufficient applause and liking of all men. Also the stirring up of common seacole fiers after they are once caked and knit together dooth make a hellishe smoke and smoder, dispersing the smootie substance & subtile atomies abroad into the aire, which in a fire of balls doth never happen, because after they are once piled in such artificiall manner as is hereafter expressed, they continue a strong and lasting fier without any touch or removing of them. Besides the beautie [Page] of this fire dooth greately commend it selfe, whose forme and shape in my opinion doth far surpasse all other fiers whatsoever; whose bals being round and all of one equall bignes, when they are all truely placed together, they do much resemble the piles of shot as they ly in a most beautifull manner within the tower of London.

But now to come to our newe and English fiers, such as neither Germany nor any other forrain kingdome or country, did ever to my knowledge as yet either use or injoy, being also more sweete by many degrees (as being wrought up with mixtures of lesse offence) yea some very pleasing and delicate, and fit for Ladies chamber, and also more profitable (their multiplication being of lesse price by a great deale then seacole it selfe) I wil here first begin with the most profitable and lasting composition of all the rest that ever I could find, and secondy I will proceede to the sweetest fire, and after that to some other cheape and worse compositions, yet al being such as in the dearth and scarsitie of other fewell may be commendably used and spent.

  1. 1. The first and principall fire that I will commend unto you, is a composition of seacole, and small cole, or thorne cole eyther in equall proportion (which will make a reasonable good fire) or els taking only a third part of small cole to your seacole (which maketh the best and most durable fire of all the rest) working them into balls and knitting them with lome as is formerlie set down in your seacole bals that have no other mixture: but if your thorne coles be of the biggest sort you must first bruse them a little under your feete, or els they will require some more paines [Page] in balling them. These thorne cole with carefull provision may be had in the summer for three halfepense the bushel, farre under the price of seacole, besides the addition of halfe a pecke of lome which giveth some increase to the bulke. Now least smal coles by this meanes should grow to a higher rate, al me[n] may easily judge how suddenlie by the planting or pricking in of smal twigs of willow, sallow, alder and such other speedy growing plants, in al such places as may best bee spared and are fittest to increase them, what great store and quantitie of this fuel may be had yeerly, without any feare of scarsitie; so as unlesse we wil be wanting unto our selves, we shal not need to want this part of our new firing. Also to ease the charge of your smal coles, you may take one parte of earth, and one part of small-cole, and the rest seacole; but this maketh not altogether so bright a fire as the former.
  2. 2.The second and sweetest fire of al the rest, but not so lasting as the first, is a mixture of the saw dust of deale or firre boords amongst your seacoles, either in a third, or a moitie, as you did in small cole: using stil the first band of lome both in this and al the other compositions following. And the sawdust likewise of elme or oke may bee mixed with seacole and made up into bals, and this maketh a verie good and sweet fire.
  3. 3. Many have thought my fire to consist of seacole and Cowdunge, and one among the rest hath so adventured to publish the same, as beeing assured of my composition: but now you may see that rash pens do soone run riot. Yet I do not utterly dislike this mixture, because it may also have a place amongst my [Page] cole-bals: but the matter thereof not being substantial enough to match with a seacole, cannot bring forth so lasting a fire as my first is, and the same having also some use already in the enriching of grou[n]ds, can hardly be spared in some places to be consumed into firebals. Yet (to speake truly of it) it maketh a sweete and pleasing fire: and if you bestow labor enough therin you may make colebals, with it and seacole, without any other bande.
  4. 4. Some would have my multiplication to consist of chopt strawe and seacole, but that conceit I hold not to be worth a straw: for what doth sooner consume with fire then stubble and straw, which are apt to catch, but unapt to continue the flame which possesseth them.
  5. 5. The Tanners barks broken and incorporated with seacole, are very like to prove a good fire, but this secret will have no great extension for want of matter.
  6. 6. The remainder of an olde fire may be wrought up into new bals, or els piled in the middest of a new fire to kindle the bals the sooner, so that in this kind of firing there is no losse of coles at all.
  7. 7. How turfe in his own nature may be mixed with seacoles, I have made no experience: but if the same be first charcoled, no doubt it will make both a sweet and a lasting fire.
  8. 8. What the oozes will do either for the multiplying or binding of our colebals, I can not certeinly determine, only I have thought good to mention them, and so leave them to other mens labors.

The last circumstance which wee are to observe in this our new fire, is the manner of making the [Page] same; which though a man without direction might easily aime at, yet seeing I have bin liberal in the matter, I will not be niggardly in the forme thereof. And therefore for the better placing or piling of these bals, I do first lay bricks edge wise on my hearth one by one, each bricke distant a full inch from the other, according to the breadth or compasse of the fire which I intend to make (these bricks doe both save the harth from burning, as also are in steed of an iron grate to draw wind to the bals, to make the[m] burn the better:) then do I place a rowe of faucon or saker shot for the neathermost rank (& they which have no iron bullets, may lay colebals in steed of the[m]) and then an other row of these bals upon the neather most, and so I frame my fire to what hight and compas I thinke best; but I have alwaies used to place each ranke in the forme of a semicircle; but within toward the middest of my fire, I convey a few shorte cleft peeces of a faggot stick, and a few charcoles with them, or charcoles alone, and there I begin to kindle my fire. It may bee this fire will beare an artificial core of stone, brick or iron, wherby the fewer bals may serve the turne: heere every man wil please himselfe with his owne fancie, and so I leave him to his best conceite.

These bals may also be mingled among billets and charcole being wisely placed, and though the ashes bee this way lost, yet I doubt not but they wil easily be requited in the saving of the fire.

And thus I have discovered the best part of my skil in this new fire of colebals; whose good entertainement may happily one day drawe matters of greater worth from me, tending as wel to the inriching as the strengthning of this little Iland, whose Lady and virgin Queene the great and mighty Jehovah [Page] long maintaine and blesse, with al his heavenly favors and glorious benedictions, to his honor, hir delight and our comfort.

I hope though the principal scope of this discourse doth only consist in the bettering and altering of seacole, yet that I may also with good leave discover some profitable advise in charcole and other fewel, and that no man wil be offended though I teach him how to raise an extraordinary gaine by planting of fire-wood, farre exceeding the usurers reckoning both in commoditie and lawfulnes: yea I am fully perswaded, and that not by reason only, but by the uncontroulable Mistres of al truth, that every pound laid out in this manner, wil by a natural kind of usurie at the least treble it selfe within the compas of seven yeares; which in the second and third returne (besides the yeerely benefit after the first seven yeers farre exceeding 10. or 20. in the hundreth) is able to give a good contentment to the most miserable peni-father of this land. The tree which I meane is a willow, whereof one plant in seven yeares commonly bringeth forth seven plants, besides other boughes and spray, that may be converted into fagots, charcole and small-cole. This kind of husbandry proveth best in most unprofitable and surrounded groundes, which may best indure a dead rent for seven yeares, such as were of late plentifully to be found in the overflowed fennes of Lincolneshire, wherof Captaine Lovel by his skilful and industrious labours hath newlie won 33000. acres, beeing a most memorable and ingenious worke, and wel deserving hir Majesties most gratious priviledge conferred uppon him. I would that Erith marshes had twentie yeeres since [Page] met with such a workeman. It may be they have bin hitherto reserved for my Inning, whereat you shall see me aime unhappily in some of my last lines. But me thinks I am now so farre entred into water-work, that I have almost quenched the fire which I have in hand. To returne therefore to our first discourse, I say, that although there shal not bee found sufficient store of such moist ground, whereon to plant whole woods of willowes, yet I doubt not but if the bare and naked banks about all the ditches in Rumney marsh, and all the rivers, brookes, ditches, pooles, and marsh grounds of England besides, were wel replenished with Willowes, Sallowes, &c. but that in a fewe yeares space we might in some good measure supply the woodfals that have beene committed in firewood, and so bring downe the price both of billet, charcole and small cole.

And thus much as a cole-maker: I will now alter my trade, and play the Cooper another while.


2. A wooden vessell being as ser-
viceable for the boiling of liquors as
anie copper kettle, or other
metalline vessell

I Have thought good at this time also to touch my wooden vessell, long since mentioned in my Jewell-house; not because I would sort it with a fire of mine owne fancie (as though it could not endure the most usuall and strongest fires that other metalline vessels and kettels are able to beare) but partly for that (being a matter of new invention) it doth wel become this place; but principally, for that within a terme or two, I purpose (God willing) to make a publike shew thereof to all commers, unto whom the secret it selfe shall also be revealed and made good: and therefore I do here labour to prepare their minds to a kind and probable conceit therof, least when it shall be offered to a publike view, it may happily bee taken for the second part of M. Venners Tragedie, lately acted at the Swanne on the banke side, with better profite to himselfe then pleasure to the beholders.

And because several men have conceived several and strange opinions herein, some expecting a miraculous preparation of the wood, some doubting the durabilitie thereof (of the which sort for the most part I find the Coppersmiths, who are unwilling to beleeve anie thing that maketh against their trade and living) others charging the Author, as not having hitherto disclosed anie matter of worth, anie way answerable [Page] to the glorious titles of his bookes, and so (arguing, a re ad personam) do utterly condemne this secret with the rest: & some imagining the same both to be possible and durable, but yet so curious, as that simple wits are never able to repaire it, being once out of frame: al these, I say, are either in some measure to be satisfied, or els they may well conclude, that I have hitherto told but a tale of a tub. All which objections (although I have elswhere sufficiently answered) yet once againe I will cursorily runne them over; that I may cleere both my selfe and the invention of all unjust, malicious, and ignorant calumniations, And here (not only to relie upon the grave censure of the right honorable the Lord high Treasurer of England, my good Lord and master, who vouchsafed me his honourable presence at my house, when both my fire, tub, portable pumpe, and boulting hutch were made readie for his comming; whose good approbation only is able to counterpoise and overwey the shallow and light conceits of all my adversaries) to the first I answer, that my defence is meerely naturall, and not drawne from that chargeable and incombustible oyle of Talcum, fitter to bee thinly laid upon the face of a Ladie, then grosly spent or dawbed upon the sides of a wooden vessel, nor yet from the haire of a Salamander, whose bodies are rare and hard to come by. Yea it is such, as upon the discoverie wil prove so easie and familiar, as that I feare the beholders will rather condemne their owne weaknesse, then wonder at my invention, and yet the same both royally and really performed.

And as for the durabilitie thereof, I will make this warrant to all that shall have cause to use it, that how [Page] long soever anie wooden vessel wil last that is continually employed about cold water, the same shal endure as long, though in the like maner exercised in the heating or boiling of liquor. And so I dare boldly conclude, as sometimes heretofore I have done, that if my wooden Salamander were not more endangered by the element of water, then it is by the element of fire, we should not need new vessels but for new ages.

The third sort of cavillers, because they shew themselves to be only carping Sophisters, & no sound logitians, as arguing from the matter to the person, & syllogizing upon particulars, in hoc & in illo erravit, Ergo in omnibus. I hold them scarcely worth the answering: and yet because I wil have no advantage taken of my silence, though I might answer them, as others have done before me to the like: Carpere vel noli nostra, vel ede tua. Yet least that great and costly Mill in Iremonger lane, where the horses trampling upon a moveable floore, did even with feare and trembling spend and wast their spirits: or that monstrous timber store that should have blown up & dispersed the Spanish squadrons, but now lieth rotting in his own ruins not worth either the time or timber that was consumed in it, together with some other martiall engines, whereof there hath bin a great and long expectation without anie good & serviceable use made of them, (so as hitherto they do nothing els but ludere hiantem coruum) I say, least these & a few other of the like kind and qualitie, should in the gulf of disgrace drowne all the credit & future hope of other Artists; that there are already, both by my selfe and other English-men, manie new, excellent, & most profitable devises both by writing, and otherwise made knowne to the world: [Page] whereof some are not sufficiently as yet understood, most of them not regarded, and in a manner all of them, either not at all, or verie slenderly rewarded: I meane not with pension, for that were chargeable, nor with favours, because they are not usual, but with thanks, which is the basest recompence that Arte may looke for. But you require some instances of particulars at my hands, what say you then to such a cariage for a cannon, whereby the peece with the helpe of two men only may be turned, mastered, and charged at pleasure in as good sort as ten men are able to doe at sea with their usual cariages? What thinke you of a portable boate, which one man may carie with ease, and yet wil hold eight persons? And of a light, strong & sodaine bridge to be made by uniting these boates, and thereby sodainly to convey even a whole armie over a large river? What if an invention bee shewed how a serviceable vessel may chace with ten or twelve great peeces of ordinance as readily, and as aptly, as now any ship doth with two or with foure peeces only? What if such new kind of sailes be devised, as shal verie neere double the way which anie ship now maketh? Nay, what if such a Pinnesse were warranted to be made, as should upon her owne motion, without the helpe of any mariner to direct her, make a speedy way against all wind and weather upon the seas for one halfe mile at the least, and being laden with all kind of shot and fire-worke,upon the first touch of any other vessel, shal presently give fire to a traine, and so spend her selfe, and endanger such ships as are then next unto her? And what would you say to a peece of ordinance which one man may sufficiently manage, and yet twentie of them shal make five hundred Muskettiers [Page] abandon the field? But to conclude these warlike inventions with a shot of the highest execution both for land & sea. What if a bullet bee delivered that shal breake into a thousand parts, each part carying both his fire, powder & shot with it, so as no garrison under the wals of any warlike towne or citie, no band of souldiers lying in the safest trenches they can devise to make, can possibly be free from the furie of this bullet: which because it may be shot compasse at anie reasonable distance, must needes force them to forsake their ground.

Some of these new inventions the Author hath already shewed to divers of his honorable and private friends, and the rest upon reasonable reward shall bee made good for any publike service; I could wish that some profitable use of this Gentlemans wit were presently made whilest God doth spare him on earth amongst us; for I feare, when death hath deprived us of this worthie Inginer, he wil scarcely leave any true successour of his skil behind him.

In this military kind of knowledge, if I should not acknowledge mine own weaknes, it wold easily discover it selfe: & yet I dare boldly say, that omitting many other secrets of good use, faithfully & familiarly described for the benefit of the reader in my books alreadie published, yt my new & late discovery in Peter-works being the true foundation and ground work of the last letters patents granted for the same; as it bringeth in yearly & freely many 100. pounds to the Pate[n]tees (my self not having received one half yeeres profit for the invention) so it, hath also eased the countrey of manie cariages, wherewith (by the ignorance of some Peter-men in former times and yet to this day by the wilfulnesse [Page] of others) it hath beene and is now and then most grievously oppressed, whereof it may be ere long I will find some sufficient reliefe in a strange maner.

But if the new (though natural) grounds of husbandry were first wel understood, and after truly and painfully practised according to my printed directions; (leaving the conceit of digging and setting in a gentle slumber for a while) I would not doubt but that both for plentie of grasse and corne this last age of ours wold far surpasse the dayes of al our ancestors (excepting the golden age of Saturne only) & yeeld sufficient store of corne both for our selves & some of our neighbour countries. And this can two English Gentlemen of my knowledge yet alive sufficiently prove by their owne experience to be true, who have assured me that for divers of these latter yeares, they have in a maner doubled the usual yeeld of an acre, and that by plowing and sowing only; al the inriching thereof not exceeding the charge of three shillings upon an acre, toward which they have also yeerlie saved the third parte of their seede corne, every corne for the most part branching it self into 10.15. & 20. stalks and eares both large & ful of graine: yea the colour and greatnes of the stalke and eare hath bin such, as in harvest time their corne (though one of their parts lay altogether in a common field) was easily discerned from al other mens that environed the same. And where grasse without excessive charge would never exceed twelve inchesin height before, with the charge of foure shillings bestowed uppon an acre, for foure years together there hath grasse grown knee deepe and very plentiful.

I had almoste forgotten the winning of Earith [Page] marshes, whereby also the breach made by a Cannon in the time of my siege though of five or six yardes in height and of twentie or thirtie in breadth, is presently repaired and made sufficiently defensible against the enemie. And had the counsel of some men that I could name taken place in that infortunate voiage of Lisbone, whereby they had caried but the outside of this secret with them, they might have found lining enough to have raised a fort even upon the sands, and suddenly have planted the cannon that shoulde have commanded the towne it selfe. For so was the Golletto won by the Turke: a fort otherwise impregnable, whereby that honorable and glorious victorie of don John de Austria obteined against the Turke by sea, was mightilie eclipsed by a miserable overthrow at the same time given to the Christians by land. Heere wee shal neither have neede of nailes or timber, stones or morter, but linnen cloth & needles to make our strong defence either against the furie of the cannon or the sourges of the sea, the whole art wherof consisteth in bags or sacks of linnen to bee filled uppon any present occasion either with sand or earth; and these to be suddenly layd or sunke upon any cause of service or irruption of waters. And though al the dutch marsh-men have hitherto pusled themselves about the inning and winning of the foresaid breach, and have given it over as impossible to be won at the Thames mouth (because they find it in some parte to be nine or tenne foote in depth underneath the low water-marke, before they come to any firme ground) yet I doubt not but by sinking of sacks of earth the workeman shal soone find or make [Page] a foundation sufficient to beare a strong marsh-wal, which may also consist of sacks of earth worke-manly placed, and after wel backed; which before the sacks be throughlie rotten wil closely couch and knit together, and likewise be so fronted and filled up with ooze, as that in a short time you shal have a firme and substantial marsh-wal against al wind and weather whatsoever. There are also some other new and warlike uses of linnen cloth, which may bee reserved for some better occasions then (thankes bee to God) these times doe as yet require out of which and some others which I have partly seene, and partly heard of, I dare boldly conclude, that the most valiant armie of the best approved soldiers, (yea though consisting of lovers themselves, and that giving battaile in the presence of their Ladies and Mistresses) may easily even with a smal band of ingenious schollers and Artists be utterly overthrown & vanquished. And therefore O happie and thrice happie are those wits, (but most infinitely happie are those kingdoms and countries which injoy them) who have drawne and derived their knowledge from the greate God of nature, from the firmament, from the foure elements, from the great Anatomie and from the little world, and the rest of those unwritten books, whereof Paracelsus in his Labyrinth maketh a large and learned discourse.

The last and least objection, wil be sufficiently refelled upon the bare sight and view of the vessel, and I make no question but that al the Coopers in England wil be my sureties in this behalfe, unto whom I doe freely resigne the gaines of my wooden tub for [Page] their general counterband, & so I do leave both them and the rest of my contrimen in a wooden expectation for a while.

Nec omnes, nec omnia mihi placuere, cur ego omnibus.
H. P.


This is the full version of the original text


boil, fury, poor, scarcity, sufficient, trade

Source text

Title: A New, Cheape and Delicate Fire of Cole-balles

Author: Hugh Platt

Publisher: Peter Short

Publication date: 1603

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 19995 Physical description: [30] p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Reel position: STC / 1328:11

Digital edition

Original author(s): Hugh Platt

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) whole


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > pamphlets

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.