A Colledge of Industry
TRADES and Husbandry,
Profit for the RICH.
A Plentiful Living for the POOR,
A Good Education for YOUTH.
Which will be Advantage to the Government, by the Increase of the People, and their Riches.

Industry brings Plenty.
The Sluggard shall be cloathed with Raggs.
He that will not Work, shall not Eat.
London, Printed and Sold by T. Sowle, in White-Hart-Court in Gracious-Street. 1695.

The Contents.
  1. AN Epistle to the Children of Light.
  2. The Introduction, with Reasons for providing for the Poor.
  3. A Specimen shewing the Way of doing it in a Colledge-Fellowship.
  4. Proposals to the Colledge-Founders.
  5. Some of the Advantages to the Founders and Rich by it.
  6. Some of the Advantages to the Poor Collegians.
  7. Some Rules about Governing the Colledge-Workmen.
  8. Of the Education of Children.
  9. An Answer to several Objections.
  10. A Postscript.



1.1. To the Children of Light,
In Scorn called

IT's the Glorious Title the Great Founder of Christianity hath given You that walk therein, when he said, Whilst ye have the Light, walk in the Light, that ye may become the Children of the Light.

The Consideration of Your great Industry and Diligence in all Affairs of this Life, Your great Charity in Relieving Your own Poor, and Others also, as Occasions offer, Your great Morality acknowledged by All, and Your Religious Sincerity, known to the L'ord; Hath induced me to Dedicate these following Proposals to Your serious Consideration, whilst I think You a very regular Body, willing and capable of such an Undertaking; Your Poor being less Vicious than other Poor are, (Debauchery being the Bane of Industry) it will be the easier to put them into a good Method, as a Pattern and Example to the rest of the Nation, by which you may shew forth the more the Christianity of your Faith, by the Vertuous Works that come from it, of which Love and Charity is the Chief. In which You have been very Exemplary in the Worst of Times, and of greatest Sufferings: How have You Relieved and Succoured the Afflicted, not suffering a Beggar among You! By which Love one to another, Your Master and Great Doctor of the Christian Religion, said, All Men should know such were his Disciples.


Now a Day of Rest, in a good measure, is upon You, and You more at Liberty to provide for Your Families, than in some of the former Days, in which You could not so well provide for Your Poor, the following Method, I think, will open You a Way of a plentiful Provision for them; and not only them, but for many others; for which may hope You will find Encouragement from the Government, if desire it, to set forward so good and profitable a Work for the Publick, as well as to them as shall be immediately concerned.

As a Husbandman hath several sorts of Works, according to the time of the Year and Season; and as you have Variety of Seasons, you have Variety of Works: A Father expects from a Son or Servant, as they grow in strength, they should increase in service; so doth Your God and Father expect from You an Improvement to his Honour, upon every Talent He hath given You, whether visible or invisible; and that You use it to his Honour, according to its kind.

I often having thought of the Misery of the Poor of this Nation, and at the same time have reckoned them the Treasure of it, the Labour of the Poor being the Mines of the Rich, and beyond all that Spain is Master of; and many Thoughts have run through me how then it comes that the Poor should be such a Burthen, and so miserable, and how it might be prevented; whilst I think it as much more Charity to put the Poor in a way to live by honest Labour, than to maintain them Idle, as it would be to set a Mans broken Leg, that he might go himself, rather than always to carry him.

John Bellers.
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1.2. THE

IT's the Interest of the Rich to take Care of the Poor, and their Education, by which they will take Care of their own Heirs: For as Kingdoms and Nations are subject to Revolutions and Changes, much more (and nothing commoner) than for private Families to do so; and who knows how soon it may be his own Lot, or his Posterities, to fall poor? Is there any poor now, that some of their Ancestors have not been rich? Or any rich now, that some of their Ancestors have not been poor?

View the Cities, Towns, and Counties in this Nation, and see what alterations come in two or three Generations in most Families. Were above one in ten of the Men now House-keepers in London, born there? And but few (in comparison of the Multitude) that have gone out with Estates: And what better is it with Gentlemens younger Children, and the Eldest also, many times.

There is Three Things I am at: First, Profit for the Rich, (which will be Life to the rest.) Secondly, A plentiful Living for the Poor, without difficulty. Thirdly, A good Education for Youth, that may tend to prepare their Souls into the Nature of the good Ground.

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However prevalent Arguments of Charity may be to some, when Profit is joyned with it, it will raise most Money, provide for most People, hold longest, and do most good: For what Sap is to a Tree, that Profit is to all Business, by increasing and keeping it alive; so employing the Poor, excells the barren keeping them; in the first, the increase of the Poor is no Burthen, (but Advantage) because their Conveniencies increase with them; but in the latter, there is no strength or relief but what they have from others, who possibly may sometimes think they have little enough for themselves.

As a good and plentiful Living, must be the Poor's Encouragement; so their Increase, the Advantage of the Rich: Without them, they cannot be Rich; for if one had a hundred thousand Acres of Land, and as many Pounds in Money, and as many Cattle, without a Labourer, what would the Rich-Man be, but a Labourer? And as the Labourers make Men rich, so the more Labourers, there will be the more rich Men, (where there is Land to employ and provide for them.) Therefore I think it the Interest of the Rich to encourage the honest Labourers Marrying at full Age; but by the want of it, it seems to me the World is out of Frame, and not understanding its own Interest.

For is it not strange to consider how industrious the World is, to raise Corn and Cattle, which only serves Men, and how negligent of (or rather careful to hinder) the increase of Men, who are a thousand times better (than Beasts) being to serve God? Do not Men greatly reproach their Maker, as if he had chosen the uselessest part of the Creation to serve him, whilst Men think them the least worth their while to raise?

But they that provide Food for the Poor, lend to the Lord, who is the best Pay-Master; and if an industrious raising of Corn and Cattle (mean things) is commendable in a [Page 3] Husband-man, how much more is the putting Mankind into a comfortable way of living, which will be instrumental in Gods hand in finishing his Creation (Man being the Head of it) by providing for the increase of their Posterity, which joyned with a good Education, they may prove in the Ages to come, both Good and Great in this World, and as Angels in the Next: For as Ground that bringeth forth the grossest Weeds, may by good Culture and Seed, bring forth excellent Corn, so we may hope as great a Change may be made by good Instruction and Example among the worst of Men, at least of their Stock.

Therefore how prudent is it to provide a good Education and Employ for the Poor, considering how many, for want of it, comes to be Miserable and Vagabonds, and continue so for many Generations, from Father to Son?

This Colledge-Fellowship will make Labour, and not Money, the Standard to value all Necessaries by; and tho' Money hath its Conveniencies, in the common way of living, it being a Pledge among Men for want of Credit; yet not without its Mischiefs; and call'd by our Saviour The Mammon of Unrighteousness; most Cheats and Robberies would go but slowly on, if it were not for Money: And when People have their whole Dependance of Trading by Money, if that fails, or is corrupted, they are next door to ruine; and the Poor stand still, because the Rich have no Money to employ them, tho' they have the same Land and Hands to provide Victuals and Cloaths, as ever they had; which is the true Riches of a Nation, and not the Money in it; except we may reckon Beads and Pindust so, because we may have Gold at Guiney for them.

Money in the Body Politick, is what a Crutch is to the Natural Body, cripled; but when the Body is sound, the Crutch is but troublesome: So when the particular Interest [Page 4] is made a publick Interest, in such a Colledge Money will be of little Use there.

Tho' it's not so Natural for the Old and Rich to live with a Common Stock, yet more Natural with the Young and Poor, witness the several Hospitals of England and Holland: Old People are like Earthen Vessels, not so easily to be new moulded; yet Children are more like Clay out of the Pit, and easie to take any Form they are put into.

The variety of Tempers, and the idle Expectations of some of the first Workmen, may make the Undertaking difficult; and therefore the more Excellent will be the Accomplishment: And if the Poor at first prove brittle, let the Rich keep Patience; seven or fourteen years may bring up Young Ones that Life will be more Natural to: And if the attaining such a Method, would be a Blessing to the People, certainly it's worth more than a little Labour to Accomplish it. When by the good Rules thereof may be removed, in great measure, the Prophaneness of Swearing, Drunkenness, &c. with the Idleness and Penury of many in the Nation; Which evil Qualities of the Poor, are an Objection with some against this Undertaking, tho' with others a great Reason for it: For the worse they are, the more need of endeavouring to mend them; and why not by this Method till a better is offered.

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1.3. A Specimen shewing how the Rich may gain, the Poor maintain themselves, and Children Educated, by being Incorporated as a Colledge of all Sorts of Useful Trades, that shall work one for another, without other Relief: Suppose Three Hundred in a Colledge, to work the Usual Time or Task as Abroad, and what any doth more, to be paid for it, to encourage Industry.

TWo hundred of all Trades I suppose sufficient to find Necessaries for Three hundred, and therefore what Manufacture, the other hundred make, will be Profit for the Founders.

2 A Governour and Deputy 4 Cooks
2 Shoo-makers 4 Gardiners
3 Taylors 1 Tanner
1 Baker 1 Felmonger
1 Brewer 2 Flax-Dressor & Thred-Maker
1 Butcher
1 Upholster 1 Tallow-Chandler
1 Barber 1 Soap-Maker
1 Physitian 1 Hatter
2 Linnen Weavers 1 Capper
2 Woollen Weavers 2 Carpenter and Joyner
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2 Bricklayer and Labourer 2 Spinners and Carders for Stockins
1 Cooper
2 Smiths
1 Pin-Maker 20 Linnen Spinners and Carders
1 Needle-Maker 20 Woollen Spinners and Carders
2 Butler and Storekeeper 5 Dairy-Maids
44 82
Women and Girls. A Farm of 500 l. per an.
2 Governess and Deputy
6 Bed-Makers 2 A Steward and his Wife
6 Nurses 3 Plowmen
6 Washers 3 Plowboys
4 House-Cleaners 4 Taskers
6 Sempsters to make & mend Cloaths 3 Shepherds
3 Hinds for Cattle
5 Knitters or Weavers of Stockins 6 Hedgers and Labourers
44 Tradesmen, &c.
82 Women and Girles.
24 Men and Boys upon the Farm.
10 Mens work at 15l. each, is 150 l. a year, for Fewel, Iron, &c.
5 Mens Work at 15 l. each, is 75 l. a year for House-Rent.
35 Mens Work at 15 l. each, is 525 l. a year, for Rent of a Farm for Meat, Drink, &c.
100 Peoples Labour, if but 10 l. each, is 1000 l. per annum Profit, but if we value them at 15l. each, is 1500 l. Profit.
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I do not suppose the Computation is exact to a Man, for as some Trades Useful are not set down, so there is some of them set down, who are able to provide for two or three times that Number: But if it should require 220 People to provide Necessaries for 300, it will pay the Undertakers well enough.

And that this Computation is not much out of the way, for 200 providing all Necessaries for 300, may appear.

First, From a View of the Nation, where I suppose not above Two Thirds, if One half of the Nation, are Useful Workers; and yet all have a Living.

Secondly, From the many Advantages the Colledge will have over others, for there will be saved,

  1. Shop-keepers And all their Servants and Dependents.
  2. All Useless Trades And all their Servants and Dependents.
  3. Lawyers And all their Servants and Dependents.
  4. Bad Debts
  5. Dear Bargains
  6. Loss of Time for want of Work.
  7. Many Women and Childrens work.
  8. Beggars.
  9. Much Houseroom.
  10. Much Firing
  11. Much Cooking, Brewing, and Baking.
  12. Much Fetching and Carrying of Work and Provision.
  13. Clothing hurt in the Making, not so fit for Sale, may wear never the worse; and the Colledge will find Customers to wear it, that a Tradesman must lose by.

Thirdly, There will be several Advantages to the Land:

  1. There will be all the Soil of the Tradesmen, besides the Husbandmans, for improving it.
  2. [Page 8]As there will be more Cattel kept, and occasion for more Pasture, than in most Corn-Countries, so the Plowed Ground may be the better kept in heart, by the great quantity of Dung made, and it will be less worn out of heart, by often laying that down and breaking up fresh.
  3. Now much Land is Unimproved, to what it might be, because the Landlord or Tenant are not able, or not willing to do it for the other: The Colledge, I conceive, will have neither of them Difficulties.
  4. All the Mechanicks will be ready at Harvest, to help in with it, in a quarter of the time others do it, which when wet, may be of great Advantage: which change of work, as it will be acceptable to many, so for the health of such as are used to sitting much.


1.4.1. Proposals to the Colledge Founders.

FIrst, Tho' the Example be put of Renting Land and House at 600 l. per annum, the better to shew how the Profit will arise by such an Undertaking, all Charges deducted; yet I propose the raising

10000 l. To buy an Estate in Land of 500 l. per an.
2000 l. To Stock the Land, and
3000 l. To Prepare Necessaries to Set the Several Trades to Work.
In all 15000 pound.

By which means the trouble of raising Money to pay Rent, will be saved, and the Founders may have the more Goods from the Colledge, if desired, and the Undertaking will not be so apt to miscarry in its infancy.

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Secondly, The Stock to be valued every year, and the Profit to be divided; that such as desire to draw their Profit out, may have it yearly; but such as desire to continue it in the Colledge, may have it added as Principal, and that Stockjobbing (which will ruine any good thing) may be prevented. If any have a mind to sell their Interest, the rest of the Proprietors shall have the Liberty to bring in a Purchaser by Majority of Votes, at the Value as last cast up.

Thirdly, The first Founders the more the better; and if some of every Useful Trade, the better; and then every Trade will be the better managed, and every Mans Days Work better understood.

Fourthly, None to Subscribe less then 25 l.

Fifthly, Every 50 l. to have a Vote in making ByLaws and choosing Officers, but no one to have above Five Votes.

Sixthly, Once a Year, Twelve or more of the Proprietors to be chosen a Committee, as Visitors to Inspect, and Counsellors for Advice for the Governours and Workmen to apply to, as there may be occasion.

Seventhly, The Governours nor under Officers not to have any Sallary, but only all the Reasonable Conveniences the Colledge can afford them.

Eighthly, Because the whole Success (under the Providence of God) will lye in a Right Beginning (for though an Acorn doth Naturally produce an Oak, yet how many little Accidents may prevents its ever being one? So any Great Undertaking, however Rational and Natural in its beginning, may easily be spoiled) therefore let the Nation be looked through for the First Workmen, if can find but Three or Four in a County (the rest may be Prentices) of good Lives and Tempers, it will be a leven to Influence their Successors, and it will be such a Pattern of Plentiful Living, that many of the Poor will readily submit to the [Page 10] Rules to partake of it; and to the Children bred Prentices in the Colledge, it will be their Element.

1.4.2. Some Advantages to the Founders, and Rich, by such a Colledge.

FIrst, If the Living in this Affair, will make their own Eyes and Hands their Executors and Overseers, and deposit that now they are Alive, which they intend to give when Dead, it may be that and much more Money saved to themselves and their Heirs.

Secondly, The Founders of the Colledge from thence may have for themselves and Families, (in part of their first Cost) Yearly a certain quantity of Woolen and Linnen Cloth, Shooes, Stockings, &c.

Thirdly, Though the Computation be but 300 in a Colledge; there may be 3000, or more, and such a one may be at
Colchester, where are made Bayes and Perpetuanoes. Taunton, for Serges, Stroud for Cloth, Devonshire for Kersies, and other places for other Goods.

Fourthly, which Manufacture having One Third more than will be used by the Colledge, it may be Employed,

  1. In being Divided among the Founders.
  2. In Providing for more People in the Colledge, which is best Profit.
  3. In Buying and Improving of Land.
  4. In Building.
  5. In fetching Forreign Commodities.
  6. In Selling for Money, which will be of least use in the Colledge.

Fifthly, Any that have Estates in Land or Money, doing [Page 11] the Colledge Business, and Living under the Colledge Rules; may have the Colledge-Allowance, and lay up the Profit of their own Estates.

Sixthly, Any giving 15l. a Year Land, or 300l. in Money, to the Colledge, or what other sum may be thought reasonable according to the County its in; may have the right of keeping one Person in the Colledge (without Work) with Colledge Allowance, and under Colledge Rules, or but half the Money, and do half the Work, or any other proportion; which is a good Expedient for an Indigent Child, for the Father to buy it a Colledge Commons; Reserving liberty to the Colledge, in case of Exorbitancy, to Expel him the house, Returning his Money, or handing him ColledgeAllowance abroad.

Seventhly, An Estate Setled thus in a Colledge, is not so lyable to be Lost or Spent, as most other Estates; for if the Heir be simple there is enough of the rest to look after it, and being joyned with good Company, he will not be so lyable to be a Spend-Thrift; and if he should, the Colledge for his Labour will Entertain him and his Posterity; so that he and his, may reap Benefit from his Fathers Estate, after he hath Spent it; and here a Parent may Entail it upon the Colledge, and then the Heir cannot well Sell it.

Eighthly, Here Peoples Children of Estates may be Boarded and Educated in all Useful Learning, who seeing others Work, at spare times, instead of Playing, would be Learning some Trade, Work not being more Labour than Play; and seeing others Work, to imitate them, would be as much Diversion to the Children as Play, which would the more Inure them to Business when grown up, the want of which hath Ruined many a hopeful Plant, who will be doing, if not of Good, of Evil; an Idle Learning being little better then the Learning of Idleness.

Ninthly, A Hundred Pound a Year in such a Colledge, I [Page 12]suppose will maintain Ten times as many People as a 100 l. a Year in Almshouses, because the Provision and Manufacture raised from a 100 l. a Year Land, is worth Ten times the Rent, as the Farmer raiseth yearly Three times his Rent, and the Mechanicks makes their Work worth Three or Four times what it was in the Farmers Hands.

1.4.3. Some of the Advantages the Poor Collegians will have.

  1. FRom being Poor they will be made Rich, by enjoying all things needful in Health or Sickness, Single or Married, Wife and Children; and if Parents die, their Children well Educated, and preserved from Misery, and their Marrying incourag'd, which is now generally discourag'd.

  2. As the World now lives, every Man is under a double Care, besides his Bodily Labour, First, To provide for himself and Family. Secondly, To guard against the Intrigues of his Neighbours overreaching him, both in Buying of, and Selling to him; which in such a Colledge will be reduced to this single Point, of doing only an easie Days Work, and then instead of every bodies endeavouring to get from him, every body is working for him, and they will have more Conveniences in the Colledge than out.

  3. In the common way of Living and Trade, Men, their Wives or Children often lose half what they get, either by Dear Bargains, Bad Debts, or Law-suits, of which there will be neither in the Colledge; and if the Earth gives but forth its Fruit, and the Workmen do but their parts, they will have plenty; whereas often now the Husbandman and Mechanicks both are ruined, tho' the first have a great Crop, [Page 13]and the second industriously maketh much Manufacture; Money, and not Labour, being made the Standard, the Husbandman paying the same Rent and Wages, as when his Crop yielded double the Price; it being no better with the Mechanicks, where it's not who wants his Commodity, but who can give him Money for it, (will keep him) and so often he must take half the Value in Money another could give him in Labour, that hath no Money.

  4. That as they grow in Years in the Colledge, they shall abate an Hour in a Day of their Work, and when come to Sixty Years old (if Merit prefer them not sooner) they shall be made Overseers, which for ease and pleasant Life, will equal what the Hoards of a private Purse can give; and excel, in so much as it hath less care and danger of Losing.

  5. And if we may compute by the Parable of the Sower, that one third of the People lose Heaven by the Cares of this Life, may not a Collegiate way of Living be the occasion of saving Many by preventing them Cares; and for Bodily Labour, it's a Primitive Constitution of God, it should Earn its Bread in the sweat of its Brows, Labour being as proper for the Bodies Health, as eating is for its living; for what pains a Man saves by Ease, he will find in Disease; and less Labour will provide for a Man in the Colledge than out.

  6. The Regular Life in the Colledge, with abatement of Worldly Cares, with an easie honest Labour, and Religious Instructions, may make it a Nursery, and School of Vertue.

  7. The Poor thus in a Colledge will be a Community something like the Example of Primitive Christianity, that lived in common, and the Power that did attend it, bespeaks its excellency; but considering the Constitution of Mankind that have Estates (but it's not so with the Poor) it was [Page 14] none of the least Miracles of that Age, and so abated as other Miracles did.

  8. A Colledge thus Constituted cannot so easily be undone whatever Changes comes (except the People are destroyed) for if plundred, Twelve Months time will recruit again; like the Grass new Mowed, the next Year supplies again; Labour bringing a supply as the Ground doth, and when together they assist one another, but when scattered are useless, if not preying upon one another.

1.4.4. A few Rules for Governing the Colledge Workmen.

  1. ALL the Colledges and Hospitals of England and Holland should be visited to see what Rules and Orders they have for Governing their Societies, that may be useful in this Colledge.
  2. It should be called a Colledge rather than a Workhouse, because a Name more grateful; and besides all sorts of useful Learning may be taught there.
  3. The Members of the Colledge may be distinguished in Caps and Cloaths, as the Masterworkmen from the Prentices, and Women from Girls.
  4. A certain number of the Boys and Girls should be appointed weekly to wait at Table upon the Men and Women at Meals, that as much as may be, the Men and Women may live better in the Colledge than any where else.
  5. There should be several Wards.
    1. For Young Men and Boys.
    2. For Young Women and Girls.
    3. For Married Persons.
    4. For Sick and Lame.
  6. [Page 15]As the Men and Women have distinct Lodging, so they should have distinct Workrooms; and as much as the Imploys would admit of it, the Men should be in one Room, and the Women in another, that their Governours may the better look over them.
  7. The Men shall be Prentices till Twenty Four Years old, and Women till Twenty One Years, or Marry, (as the Law allows) and then shall have liberty to go out of the Colledge or stay in, and Marry if they will.

1.4.5. Of the Education of Children, and Teaching them Languages.

  1. THo' Rules, as well as Words, must be understood to make a compleat Scholar, yet considering Words lies in the Memory, and Rules in the Understanding, and that Children have first Memory before Understanding; by that Nature shews Memory is to be first used, and that in the Learning of Language, Words should be first Learned, and afterwards Rules to put them together; Children learning the Words of their Mother Tongue, and then Sentences; but to understand what Rules their Language hath, requires a ripeness of Judgment; and the putting of Rules upon Children before, cripples their Understandings; when Boys of Twelve Years old are as long again at School learning a Language by Rules, as a Child of Three Years old without Rules.

    And therefore I think Vocabulary and Dictionary is to be learnt before Accidence and Grammar; and Childrens reading and discoursing one to another, gives a deeper Impression than reading to themselves, we remembring a Man's Voice longer than his Face; a sound upon the Ear penetrating the [Page 16] Spirits, more than a silent Seeing, where the Spirits are not affected with the Subject, as few Children are with their Books.

  2. Four Hours in a Morning, and Four in an Afternoon, is too long to tye a Child to his Book; it's hard for a Man to be tyed upon one Subject so long, much more is it toilsome to Children, whose Natures are weak, and love change; it hurts their Spirits, makes them out of love with their Books, and loseth much time; the Children might be imployed to more profit; a Labouring-man will hold longer at Work, than a Thinkingman in his Study: Men will grow strong with working, but not with thinking; who have stronger Bodies than Labourers, and weaker Bodies than great Students? Labour adds Oyl to the Lamp of Life, when Thinking Inflames it.

  3. Where People of Estates are willing to qualifie their Children, with what Learning they will take; or where others appear of ready and pregnant Understandings, it may be worth incouraging to the furthest degree; yet beyond Reading and Writing, further Learning will not be so useful to most among us as among other People, whilst many of them expect to get their Living by it, as Priests, Lawyers, &c.

  4. Tho' Learning may be useful, yet a Vertuous Education tends more to Happiness here and hereafter; and what is a great Impediment in the common Education, is the letting Children imploy themselves without Directions, which is a loss several ways, First, To their Bodies and present Condition. Secondly, To their Spirits and future Being; for at Four or Five Years old, besides Reading, Boys and Girls might be taught to Knit and Spin, and bigger Boys Turning, &c. and beginning Young they would make the best Artists; and being upon Business, tho' slight, it improves their Reasons by sensible Demonstration, (which is [Page 17]sooner learn'd than any Rational Demonstration without it; as a Child at three years old by Feeling knows Fire will burn, much better than one of Thirteen from the most Rational Discourse without Feeling) whereas a childish silly Employ, leaves their Minds silly. And the Will being the greatest Enemy a Man hath, when it is not subject to the Will of God; How valuable is it then, for a Child's Will to be kept under anothers Direction than its own? It will be the less difficult to submit it to the Will of God, when grown a Man, especially if seasoned with Religious Lessons of Scriptures, &c.

Thus the hand employ'd brings Profit, the Reason used in it makes wise, and the Will subdued makes them good.

For tho' Men should be guided more by Reason than Sense, yet Children are guided more by Sense than Reason; and therefore must be hedged from Evil more by wise Management than Discourse; as we see Colts are tamed more by it than words.

All which considered, there is less wonder any prove Ill; but that any prove good, from such an Idle Education as the common Breeding of Children, where the Mind is at leisure to receive all the evil Impressions their several Ages are capable of.

A good Education, tho' with but a little Estate, makes a happier Man, than a great Estate without it; for the first not only supports the Name of his Family, but raiseth a Name and Family to himself; whereas the latter, many times the more Rich, the more Wicked; and only pleased when at once he is making an End of Body, Estate, and Name together.

Such Parents as have also a sence of a Future State, and the Happiness or Unhappiness their Children are capable of, will think there is no comparison between a Good and an Evil Education.

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And I think such a Colledge-Education, under good Rules, beyond any Private one, having several Advantages the Private will want.
  1. There will be all sorts of Employs and Tools for every Age and Capacity to be employed with.
  2. All Languages and Learning may be learn'd there, by having some of all Nations (Tradesmen) who may teach their Mother Tongue to the Youth, as they teach it their own Children.
  3. Men and Children submit easier to Rules and Laws they see others submit to as well as themselves, than if they were alone; as Children in a School, and Soldiers in an Army, are more regular, and in subjection, than when scattered asunder.
  4. They will be more under the Eyesight of one Master or another, than in a private Family; and consequently prevented of more Folly.
  5. Company being the delight of all Creatures, whether Men or Beast, and the World being so corrupted, makes its Company a great Snare to Youth; but the Colledge having company sufficient, will prevent the Temptation of going abroad; and being well govern'd, will much prevent the Evils that are learn'd abroad.
  6. There may be a Library of Books, a Physick-Garden for understanding of Herbs, and a Laboratory for preparing of Medicines.

And tho' Ships and Boats cann't swim in the Colledge, the Men that manage them may be of the Colledge-Fellowship, and have their Conveniencies thence, as well as return their Profit or Cargoes thither.

In short, As it may be an Epitomy of the World, by a Collection of all the useful Trades in it; so it may afford all the Conveniencies and Comforts a Man can want, and a Christian use.

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1.4.6. Answers to several Objections.

Object. 1. THo' the Work be very Good and Excellent, if it could be Accomplished, yet there will be so much Difficulty, Laebour and Care, in the doing it, there will not be found Men that will undertake the Toil of it.

  1. This Objection would have prevented any good Work, if Difficulty would have prevented the doing it.
  2. If the Act be but good, we may hope God will raise Instruments; for tho' some Men have taken up a Rest in their Estates, and seek only a Provision and Diversions in it for their own Families, yet there is many have a touch of a more Universal Love.
  3. Tho' it would be Toilsome for any one Man, or a few, yet 'tis easily done by a greater Number; as one Man cannot, and ten Men must strain, to lift a Tun weight, yet one hundred Men can do it only by the strength of a Finger of each of them.
  4. As this will be a greater Charity than most Gifts, by the great good it will do to the Poor, so it will be as certain Profit to the Founders as most Trades, and consequently worth some of their time, as well as any other Trade.
  5. If evil men corrupt and debauch their fellow Creatures by the Influence and Opportunities their Estates give them; Is there not the greatest Reason & Prudence for good Men to place their Estates, at least some of it, so as it may influence many to Vertue, especially when it will bring Profit with it.

And whether some may not be raised to an Estate, (as Queen Hester was to a Crown) for to be Instruments in such a work; and then will it not add to the difficulty of making up their account at the last day, if they neglect so great an Opportunity of doing Good, when it was in their hands?

Object. 2. The Times being troublesome, and Trade dull, it's not seasonable to set such a thing a foot; and if we should have the Calamity of War, (or any other) among us, the Undertaking would be Ruined.

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  1. It is the chiefest time when Trading's dull, because now the Poor cannot so easily get work, they will the readier accept of new Masters and Terms; whereas when Trade comes quick, the best Workmen will be fix'd under rheir Old Masters, and only the worser sort want work.
  2. If Calamities should come of any sort, the Poor in a Body would subsist better than if single; because when together, their Labour would provide Conveniencies one for another, which single Persons could do little at.
  3. Whatever Calamities would ruine a Colledge, will much easier ruine single Persons; and therefore if danger of losing all, its best for the Rich to do some good whilst they have it; for if they should lose their Estates, it would be out of their power to do it. And besides if the Poor be put in a good Method, they may be able to help their old Benefactors, when the Rich may have nothing to help themselves, nor cannot work for want of use.

Object. 3. But if there should happen a Scarcity or Famine in the Land, how will the People be provided for then?

  1. If more vertuous than the rest of the Nation, they may hope to scape better, but not else.
  2. But as there is hopes, by good Orders, of a more Vertuous way of living in the Colledge than elsewhere, so by more Wisdom, of better Provision in a Scarcity, by Stores laid up. For the Nation is commonly sick of a great Plenty, that if Corn is cheap, care not where they send it away for Money, tho they may want it next year.
  3. But the Colledge, not wanting Money, will not be under the Temptation of Selling it, nor extravagantly wasting it, but will keep it till they may want it at home. And there hath seldom been any years of Scarcity, but years of Plenty have been first.

Object. 4. Why propose to get by the Poor's Labour, and not let them have all the Profit, and then will need raise less Money, as 1500l. instead of 15000l.?

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  1. Because the Rich have no otherway of living, but by the Labour of others; as the Landlord by the Labour of his Tenants, and the Merchants and Tradesmen by the Labour of the Mechanicks.
  2. A thousand pound is easier raised where there is Profit, than one hundred pound only upon Charity; People readily employing all their Estates where there is Profit, when they will not give a Tenth of it to the Poor.
  3. The more valuable the Fund, and the more Men is concerned in it, the better will it be looked after, and the more People will be provided for.
  4. T'is not proposed only for Relieving the Poor, but also how the Rich may employ their Estates with Profit to themselves, and prevent any from being poor; a comfortable living in the Colledge to the Industrious Labourer, being the Rich Mans Debt, and not their Charity to them; Labour giving the Labourer as good a Right to a living there, as the Rich Mens Estates do them.
  5. This Method is a greater Security to the Poor (than the common way of living) who here must be provided for, according to the constitution of the ColledgeLaws, before the Rich can have any thing; the Rich being only to have what the Colledge don't spend. Whereas the Poor now are at great uncertainty, (at least difficulty) of getting a living, because the Tradesmen are endeavouring to get one from another what they can; so they are all straining the Necessity of the Mechanick, not regarding how little he gets, but to get as much as they can for themselves.
  6. Considering it's either by Losses, or being outwitted and cheated, or the Idleness and Extravagancy of the Poor, that makes most want Charity from others: If by the Colledge-Rules may be removed these four Evils, few will then want the Gift of Charity?

Object. 5. If take not in Aged and Decriped People into this Colledge; what Charity, to take in People that can live out of it?

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Answ. All Living Growing Bodies, whether Natural or Politick, must be Suckled and Nurst before come to their Strength; for how Helpless or Useless is the Body of Man new Born, and how much Tendence do they want, that with good looking after grow in time to be Strong Men, and not only able to serve themselves, but their Parents that Bred them?

So this Body Politick of the Colledge, by the many Difficulties at first it will meet with, must only take in Useful hands to Strengthen and Support it, that in time may grow to be able to bear all the Poor could reasonably be put upon it.

Object. 6. May it be supposed, That any that can get more than will keep them, will come work in the Colledge only for Victuals and Cloaths?

  1. Suppose not; but besides their own keeping, there is laid up in the Colledge Stores, sufficient for their Young Children, as born.
  2. For themselves when Sick or Aged, and better Provided for than most Mechanicks.
  3. If they Dye, and leave Wife and Young Children, they will be kept from Misery, added to the Uncertainty of a Mans Life, whether he may Live to make so good a Provision for his Wife and Children as the Colledge.
  4. But where good Workmen at first are not to be had otherwise, they may be allowed some Wages to Instruct the Youth.
  5. What they get more than their Task, will be their own, and if can get enough, may put it into the Foundation if they will.
  6. The Advantage from the Prentices will be Sufficient to the Founders, if no more.
  7. Though some young men may be in hopes of better preferment, yet not all; and also many that have tried the world, and find the difficulty of living in it, would be glad of so certain a Provision as the Colledge. The vanity of the Spanish [Page 23]Beggar doth not attend all Poor, who when an English Merchant would have taken her Son and provided for him, refused his offer, saying, Her Son might come to be King of Spain for ought she knew, and therefore should not be his Servant: For tho' some Poor get Estates, how many more become miserable?

Object. 7. The People will not bear the Confinement of the Colledge.

  1. Neither would the Poor work, if there were not greater Inconveniencies; that is, Starving, or Robbing, and that's hanging.
  2. The Confinement will not be more, if so much, as the best govern'd Prentices are under in London, and many other places.
  3. It's not intended the Confinement should be more than's absolutely needful for the good Government of the Colledge.
  4. I suppose the Plenty and Conveniencies in the Colledge, will sufficiently allay the hardness of the Colledge-Rules.

Object 8. Why the Name Colledge, and not a Community, or Workhouse?

Answ. A Workhouse bespeaks too much of Servitude, for People of Estates to send their Children for Education; and too much of Bridewel, for honest Tradesmen to like it; and the Name Community implies a greater Unity in Spirit, than Colledge doth; and therefore not so proper to be used to such a mixt multitude of Men and Boys; the word Colledge more relates to an outward Fellowship than an inward Communion, and therefore better suits the Subject.

Object. 9. What Reason is there for a Difference in Apparel?

Answ. The Apparel mentioned in the Proposals, is not meant any Religious or Scholastick Habit, but only such as may keep the Men and Boys from a Level, and to distinguish their different Qualities; as well as good Husbandry: For what Master will cloath his Servant as himself?

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Object. 10. There have been several Manufactures set a Foot at several times, and many of them have not turned to Profit.

  1. If a man have never so much Clothing and no Food, he may dye with hunger, which is the Case of several Manufactures. The Raisers of Food are so far scattered asunder from the Manufactures, that it's endless to seek their Custom.
  2. To sell it to Shop keepers it must be cheap, because they must be kept out of it, if not raise Estates; which will leave little Profit to the Undertakers, if not starve the Workmen.
  3. Stock jobbing hath helped to ruine some of them; for however well laid the first Undertaking might be, and understood by the first Undertakers, yet being bid beyond the real worth, by cunning Brokers for foolish Buyers, the first Beginners sell themselves out, and leave it to the Buyers; and then between the Carelesness of one, and Ignorance of t'other, it must fall; which would spoil the best Undertaking in the World, if it had no other Disadvantage.
J. B.


  1. TO Answer all Objections would be to empty the Sea, whilst Mistake or Prejudice may object against any thing that's offered, the greatest Truth having met with Objections; but if I can be but understood by the Well-inclined, or stir up the Wise to propound a better Method than this, it's sufficient; whilst I had rather put my Money into a good Undertaking of anothers, than a bad one of my own.
  2. To reconcile different Interests, and to answer Objections that are Contradictions will be difficult; as for the Rich Man to say, it will yield no Benefit to the Undertakers, and at the same time for the Poor to object, The Proposals give too much to the Rich, and too little to them: For Answer, I say, As the Proposition seems to have all the Profit the Earth and Mechanicks can raise any where, so it cuts off all Superfluity and Extravagancies used among others, and consequently raise the greatest Stocksbot's both for Founders and Workmen, which is the Point I aim at: Whilst I am not willing to admit of the Supposition, That tho' such Advantages is offered to the Rich and Poor, they will lose it, for want of agreeing how to divide it, hoping ther's but few would make out the Truth of the Story of Covetousness and Envy, who when they were offered, whatever the first asked, only the second should have double to what the first asked, they could not agree which should ask first.

However I have this satisfaction, I intend the advantage of both, whilst I think the Method will afford both Profit to the Rich, as well as Plenty to the Poor. I will not pretend to seek any Method of Living in this World, that hath no inconveniency in it, but only what hath fewest. But till the Rich be satisfied to put it afoot, the Poor cannot, if they would, for want of Materials.

This is the full version of the original text


charity, food, health, husbandry, land, need, penury, plenty, profit, spendthrift, trade, want

Source text

Title: PROPOSALS FOR RAISING A Colledge of Industry OF ALL USEFUL TRADES and Husbandry, WITH Profit for the RICH. A Plentiful Living for the POOR, AND A Good Education for YOUTH. Which will be Advantage to the Government, by the Increase of the People, and their Riches

Author: John Bellers

Publication date: 1695

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: Date: 1695 Bibliographic name / number: Wing / B1829 Physical description: [3], 24 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Wing / 1454:09

Digital edition

Original author(s): John Bellers

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 > manuals and guides

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