A Discoverie of Certaine English Wants

taine English wants, which are roy-
ally supplyed in this treatise
by H. PLATT of Lincolnes
Inne Esquier.
Nunc Tuba nunc lituus cecinit Taratantararaucus
Taurus & infesto, iam pede pulsat humum.
Printed at London by P. s. for William Posonby. 1895

PUBLISHED FOR William Posonby



1.1. A supplie of certaine english wantes.

WHeras in my late Apologie published Anno 93. as also sithence in my booke entituled the Iewell house of Art and nature printed Anno 94. I haue amongst many other conceipted experimentes tending to seueral aswel profitable as delightful vses, made likewise a publicke offer of sundry new & rare inue~tions, such as if they were brought into some generall, and common vse, would procure great loue and securitie to the rich, sufficient maintenaunce and reliefe to the poore, some credit to the Author, and no small benefite to the whole realme of England: I am now forced euen by the bond of charity as a christian, and in the tender loue, and affection, which I owe vnto my natiue countrey as a trew, and naturall Englishman (seeing in these vnthankeful and wretched times, I see it is not sufficient to propound the best, and most royall offers howsoeuer exemplified, and made autentique euen by often & manifold experience her selfe, ye true, and vndoubted mother of all credit in this kind, vnlesse by a manuell demonstration likewise the meanes of execution, which is the life of al inuentions, be associated, & ioyned thereunto) I saie I am enforced both as a scholer first to deuise, and then as a Polititian to bring into publicke vse, that which hetherto hath so [Page] long attended vppon dewe deserued fauors, vntill it is trampled vnder the proud foot of euery base mechanicall workeman, whose absurd eare can endure no other musick, then that which is forced from the Anuill with the grosse hand, and hammer of an ordinarie vulcanist.

Now therefore I see it is time, and high time to let the world, and all posterity to vnderstand, that if our english Artists (whereof sundrie in my knowledge are of such rare and singular conceipt, as they were able, yea, and would also be found willing if the stipend of honor, and merit were now propounded, fully to discouer a world of new inuentions, whereof no Polidore hath as yet taken any note or notise) were sufficiently emploied in the fulnes, and height of their spirits, that they would bring foorth so many, so rich, and so inestimable buds, and blossomes of skill, as neither any ciuill pollicy that hath bin hitherto shut vp in printed bookes, nor any religious charity that hath bin so often, and so diuinely sounded in at our deafe eares, could yet produce or shew any comparable effects vnto them.

And that I (being the boldest, though the meanest of many thousands to take so waighty a taske in hand) may in some measure maintaine so hard a Paradox, and discharge the credit of the rest in this point, I will yet once againe acquaint you with some few, and those ancient inuentions of mine, which if you will at this time heare with patience, and censure with equity, & further with your fauors, I hope to giue you such a true, & liuely tast of the fruits of art, that I shal make your stomacks euen long, &mourne to be better satisfied with that secret foode which these silent Philosophers & Inginers haue reserued vnto themselues, & will hardly offer vnto their country, vntil their first ambassadors returne with the reward of vertue in their hands.


And because I will herein proceede in the most acceptable maner that I may, I wil seeke to wring nothing out of your cofers, for I know they haue too many bolts, bars, and lockes vpon them: It is but your countenance, your commendable labours, and examples which are in authority that I require, it is but that which now you loose, & without me you ca~not saue, nay they are but the very crums that fall from Diues table wherwith I wil vndertake to relieue poore Lazarus, who neither as yet with the saltish drops of his body, is able by his labour, nor yet by the bleeding teares of his soule is able by his misery to procure sufficient maintenaunce the one way, or compassion the other way, to relieue himselfe, and his distressed family.

Suppose then that whatsoeuer might be saued in fewel, and fire by some such art as I would discouer make manifest in most plaine and naked tearmes, were speedily, and cheerefully gathered, and brought into a common treasury, which cannot be lesse then the one halfe of all that which now is spe~t in brewing throughout the whole realme of England: suppose also that hereunto were added the one third of al other fires which may al+so be saued in al such shires where any seacoale is vsually burnt, at the rate of 8. s. the chawdren or vpwarde, what a yearly summe, and masse of treasure would this amount vnto throughout this populous Island? Naie what an infinite number of poore, and sillie wretches might be profitably employed in the composition of so manie colebals, as would be necessarie in so great an expence of fevvell as cannot otherwise bee auoided? Hereunto I may also further adde the full halfe or moity of all such fewell, as is dayly, and grosselie spent in all the petervvorkes of this Realme, vvhich by a third inuention (allowing the petermen their vsual coales, [Page] vessels, and furnasses) might well be saued, and is now most vainly, & absurdly wasted and consumed. Where in me thinks such a sottish and stifnecked people might be forced by some authority to compound, bycause this violence should concerne their owne good, and now their stubbornes worketh a wilfull wasting both of great store of wood, & seacoale that might be seruiceable for as good or better use?

All this being presupposed, and warranted to be true, and that these secrets when they shalbe put in practise, shalbe found reall, and substantiall in all their proofes, & trials, then let vs consider aduisedly of all those questions or obiections, that do presently arise concerning the same.

The first and principall (as I suppose) will be concerning the Authoritie of such as shalbe thought fit assessors of so new, and weightie a charge. Herein I must needs confesse that I can shew no president, but I thinke in steede of authoritie to commaund, these few reasons may serue to perswade al such as shalbe vnwilling to con+tribute in so great a worke of charitie. First their owne safetie, and security which in these late yeares of dearth hath bene a little touched, & more feared, and we haue an old prouerbe that hunger breaketh through stone walles. Secondly a sufficient employment of all such poore as are willing to worke, and all excuse of idlenes remoued from lazie and loytering rogues. Thirdly the easines of the charge or rather the gaine that shall hereby growe vnto the ritch, for my purpose is that euery contributor should onely giue the moity of that which he shal saue, and to retaine the other moitie to himselfe, so that he shall giue with the one hand, and yet receiue with the other. Fourthly the auoiding of many pettie charges, which shalbe royally supplied in this. Fiftly the [Page] manifestation of a trewe and a charitable faith in relieuing the extreame wants, and miseries of their poore, & needie neighbors. Sixtly, & lastly the great encouragement of the Author who meanes as a principall Actor to come in for an enitia pars as the Lawyer termeth it, and by his good successe in this kind wilbe readie both himselfe to propound and discouer, some farther matter of skill then as yet he thinketh meet to publish, and also draw in others of his owne consort, that shall most royally both enrich and beautifie this little Iland with their admirable, and most profitable inuentions.

Then we are to consider how this charge shall be equally imposed, who shall be exempted in this charg. I thinke herein we shall not neede to vse any exact Geometricall or Arithmeticall proportion, but the same discretion that hath bene alwaies vsed in other taxes may likewise serue in this: only my desire is that all the poorer sort should scape skotfree. But here will also arise an other doubt how all these persons shalbe assessed that be of good abilitie, and dvvell either in such shires vvhere they haue no vse of seacoale, and thereby canne make no benefite of my fire, or dvvell in corporate tovvnes or els vvhere, and so being serued of a common Brevver, haue no need of my sauing vessell.

Hereby it doth manifestly appeare that vvorldly vvise men do call their purses to a more strict accompt then they do their consciences, & though they care not how many sins they dailie commit, yet they keepe a perfect booke of Debitor and Creditor for euery penny which they spend. Well yet to giue these frugal men also some contentment. As co~cerning the first they cannot chuse but reape thus much benefite by the fire, that the more wood that shall bee spared in other shires by reason of this new kind of fiering they are also like to haue their [Page]vsuall woode, or coale the cheaper, and likewise their own store to last the longer. And this may also be some reason to satisfie all those, who (either vpon some pretence for a time, or vpon a wilful stomack perhaps longer) will contribute nothing to this fier, because they happilie will alleadge that they meane not at any time to vse the same in their own houses. But there is yet another reason, and that is the freeing of al such shires from al their idle vagabonds, who then insteede of sending them to the place where they were borne according to the statute, may now conuey them (bee it spoken vnder correction, and with all reuerence to al good lawes, and magistrats) into these exercising shires, where they shal finde sufficient employment for them.

Touching the second sort of Recusantes, it maie be, yea and it is very probable and likely, that these vessels may also serue for diuers other necessary vses, besides brewing, whereof some are not as yet meet to be disclosed. But suppose there were no other, yet some reasonable contribution on their parts, (either in respect of the fire, or in respect of some of the former reasons, which do also fall into the same mood and figure, or in respect of the best reasons whereof these present times affoord to too many though in good discretion I forbeare to vrge them) is both to be wished, and expected.

Yet if this publike good cannot bee wrought in this publike manner, without bringing in of a daungerous president to the ouerboldning of all good wittes that woulde from time to time shewe themselues pregnant in this kind, then I submit my selfe to the direction of those who beeing in higher place, of riper iudgement and greater experience then my selfe, wil happily finde [...] some better course therein then either my shallow conceiue, or my slender penne is able [Page] to describe.

And because these Eagles egges be long in hatching, and seeing daily experience hath now assured me, that though many hands make light worke, yet manie wits for the most part conclude nothing, I am resolued (as neither expecting, nor refusing any good course that shal be offered me herein) to entertain the present time not with a theorical wit any longer, but with a practical hand, and free spirit being ready to maintaine the credit of my former labors, as wel by discouery of diuers secret and gentlemanly skils vnto such as shall repaire vnto me for the same, as also by furnishing of all trauailers with light and comely garmentes, not as a Taylor or a Shomaker in the fashion, but as an artist in giuing a defensatiue vnto them against al wet and stormy weather, so as euen in a slender hat, cloake, cassocke, or basses of taffata, satten, or grogeram, and other mercery stufs, & in a sweet, and cleanly boot, or shoe of spanish, or bonauenter or any other drie leather and vncorried, each Gentleman may be sufficiently armed at all pointes either on foote or horsebacke in the greatest shower of raine, that can happen.

And lastly because I haue alwaies founde it in mine owne experience an easier matter to deuise many, and very profitable inuentions, then to dispose of one of them to the good of the author himselfe, and because I know that there be many gentlemen in good fauor that be alwaies ready, and willing to entertaine good suites, I haue thought it not amisse to let them vnderstande, that I am also as yet well furnished for them if they come in time, and whilest my small store lasteth. For I haue referred them all vnto my title of priority, and posteriority. All which suites as they are for the most part new, & fresh from the mint, so they are by their natures [Page] and quality either fit for a priuiledge, or for some newe officers that may vndertake such seruices of charge, as are greatly wanting though daily wished for in this realme, & in these times. And had the author himselfe found any fauour in his first suites, he would then haue conferred those secrets freely vpon his country, vvhich now (by reason of his further charge, and greater losse of time that is irrecouerable) he is forced to offer in this kinde, neither pleasing himselfe, nor satisfying others, nor answering the worth of those skils which he purposeth to disclose.

1.2. An abstract of some few of the particulars entended in this treatise.

  1. 1 A means to prepare beefe, veale, or mutton without any salt, and fit to bee laide up in storehouses for many yeares, or to furnish long voyages withall.
  2. 2 A defensative in the highest kind of all armor, and artillery whatsoever from rusting in seven yeares after one preparation. This is a fit secret for all hir Majesties armories, and all the artillery of her ships, wherein the beauty of the armor is still preserved notwithstanding his defensative upon it, it suffreth no dampe either of fresh, or brackish water to prevaile against it, this is an inestimable secret for the sea in the opinion of sir Fr. Drake.
  3. 3 An excellent caliver, or musket shot exceeding all bullets that are yet had in ordinary use of these the author wil be ready to make such store as shalbe required.
  4. 4 Some english secrets wherby we may be lesse beholding either unto Spaine, or France in some of their best commodities.
  5. 5 A candle of much lesse price then our ordinary candles, [Page] each of them lasting 120 howers at the least. It is sodainly made.
  6. 6 A new kinde of malting, wherein the one halfe of our usuall fier will be saved.
  7. 7 A cheape, and multiplied pitch serviceable onlie for ships and other vessels.
  8. 8 A certaine & speedy way for thuning of any breach.
  9. 10The art Spagiricall which shall bee delivered in a most familiar, and speedy maner for the drawing of all oiles out of gums, seedes, flowers, and aromaticall bodies, and of all waters, spirits and salts out of vegetables with all necessary circumstances belonging thereunto.
  10. 10 An excellent oily composition defending all iron workes from rust, and canker, wherewith I did furnish sir Francis Drake in this last voiage.
  11. 11 A pump not weighing twenty pound in weight, & yet sufficient to deliver five tuns of water in one hower. It is an excellent engin to water all those houses that are neere the river of Thames, or any other river in England, as also for all ships of warre.
  12. 12 A licour to keepe either boot, shoe or buskin made of drie leather, both blacke in wearing, and defensible against all raine, dew, or moisture, whereof there hath bin already a sufficient triall had by divers gentlemen, and others, this is to be had of the Author in severall kindes.

Temporizare optimum.

All those that are desirous to have any conference with the publisher hereof may bee advertised of his abode by William Ponsonby stationer in Paules churchyard.


This is the full version of the original text


authority, beef, famine, food, fuel, sufficient, war

Source text

Title: A Discoverie of Certaine English Wants

Author: Hugh Platt

Publisher: Peter Short

Publication date: 1595

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.) / 19988 Physical description: [12] p. Reel position: STC / 1181:14

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

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