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´╗┐Title: Proposals for Building, In Every County, A Working-Alms-House or Hospital - as the Best Expedient to Perfect the Trade and Manufactory of Linnen - Cloth
Author: Haines, Richard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Proposals for Building, In Every County, A Working-Alms-House or Hospital - as the Best Expedient to Perfect the Trade and Manufactory of Linnen - Cloth" ***

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For Building in every COUNTY


As the Best Expedient to perfect the TRADE and MANUFACTORY OF


Printed by _W.G._ for _R. Harford_, at the Sign of the
_Angel_ in _Cornhil_, 1677.

       *       *       *       *       *

_PROPOSALS for Building in every County a_ WORKING-ALMS-HOUSE _or_
HOSPITAL, _as the best Expedient to perfect the Trade and Manufactory of
Linnen Cloth_.


I. All Poor people and their Children from five or six years old may be
employed and maintained; as also all Beggars, Vagrants, _&c._ restrained
and for ever prevented, and so all Parishes eased of that intolerable

II. Many Hundred Thousand Pounds kept at home, which now every year goes
out of the Kingdom for _Linnen_, whereby our Wealth becomes a prey to other

III. Much Land improved in every County to great advantage of Landlord and

_Humbly Offered to the Consideration of the great Wisdom of
the whole Nation, now Assembled in Parliament_.

Considering the great Complaints of Poverty, the heavy Burdens most
Parishes lie under to maintain their Poor, which daily encrease; the Swarms
of Beggars, Vagrants and Idle People in City and Countrey; the great, and
'tis fear'd, irrecoverable decay of our Ancient Trade for Woollen Cloth;
the vast Charge we are yearly at in purchasing Linnen, _&c._ from other
Nations, whereby our Treasure is exhausted, and our Lands fall for want of
being improved some other way, besides planting Corn, breeding for Wool,
_&c._ Which are become of so low a price, as scarce to turn to Account: And
understanding, that for remedying thereof, the Improving the Manufactory of
Linnen is now under Debate, I have taken the boldness to Offer the
following PROPOSAL, which if thought fit to be put in practice, will (in my
opinion) infallibly conduce to all the good Ends desired and intended; viz.

    _That there may be Erected in every County according to its Extent or
    Populousness, a greater or lesser_ Working-Alms-House, _wherein the
    Poor may be continually employed in the Manufactory of_ Linnen Cloth.

The Advantages whereof are evident; For,

I. This Manufactory is an Employment for the weakest people, not capable of
stronger Work, viz. Women and Children, and decrepit or aged people, now
the most chargeable; as likewise for Beggars and Vagrants, who live idly,
and by the sweat of other mens Labours, and can no way so effectually be
brought to Industry and Order, as when reduced into to narrow a Compass or
Confinement under fitly qualified Rulers, Officers, and Regular Government.

II. These Working-Alm-Houses may raise and supply the Nation yearly with a
sufficient Stock of Linnen Cloth (the finest sort excepted) if true
measures be taken, and the Design effectually prosecuted; As for example,
1352000 pounds worth of Cloth may yearly be spun in them only, besides what
is made in private Families--Thus demonstrated;

1. 'Tis well known by experience, that three quarters of a Pound of Thread
worth 12 d. _per_ Pound spinning, will make one Ell of Cloth worth _2 s._
_per_ Ell; which Three quarters of a Pound two Spinners may spin in one
day; Hence it follows,

2. That 2000 Spinners will spin Thread enough in one day to make 1000 Ells
of Cloth, worth 100 l. And working but 260 days in the year, may spin 26000
Pounds worth of Linnen Cloth in a year.

3. Suppose then there be as many publick Work-houses, as there are
Counties, which are 52, and in every Work-house, one with another, 2000
Spinners (though in some more, some less) then according to the reasonable
measures, there will be the forementioned Sum of 1352000 l. worth of Cloth
spun in one year; which is what we undertook to demonstrate.

This or some such prodigious Sum of Money might yearly be raised to the
Nation, whereby a Treble Benefit would ensue, First, we might save so much
Money now yearly sent out of the Nation for Linnen, which, as computed by
very worthy Intelligent persons, has of late cost us more than a Million
_per Annum_. Secondly, By employing those hands, which for the greatest
part are idle, it being reasonably supposed that there are at least 100000
Beggars or others who want a lawful Employment. Besides, almost all both
Men, Women and Children that can but pull Tire or Tow from the Distaff, or
such easie work, may be speedily employed and removed from being
chargeable; so that there will be no fear of any Parish in the Kingdom
being oppressed, or indeed charged, save only in case of extream Age, or
Children in their Infancy, neither of which continues long. And Thirdly,
Much land throughout _England_ will be greatly improved by sowing Hemp,
Flax, _&c._

_Obj._ It may be objected, _That if the House be stockt with so many weak,
ancient people and Children, this will cross the great Design, because they
will not be capable to spin their quantity of Cloth, nor so fine_.

_Answ._ As to Fineness, it matters not, if but one in five be employed in
it to an exquisite degree; for there is enough occasion for courser, for
Sacking, Sails, Ticking, Common Table-Linnen, Sheets, _&c._ And as to
Quantity, it may not be the less, because the most laborious thing in
Spinning is turning of the Wheel.

Now for the better effecting a Design so profitable and honourable to the
Kingdom, I have improved my small Genius to the utmost, notwithstanding I
above all Projectors, have been most discouraged: And I know whoever will
attempt any thing for publick Benefit, may expect these Three things. (The
first is Necessary, the second Customary, and the third Diabolical) _viz._,
To be the Object of wise mens Censure, other mens Laughter, and if
advantagious to himself, Envies implacable displeasure; of which last, I
have had share to the highest degree that Revenge could express; and this
too from a pretended loving Brother, a person of an honest Profession, and
of as debauched a Conscience; yet I say, notwithstanding such
discouragements, I have spent some time for Publick Advantage, _viz._ To
find out an Expedient both for Ease and quick Dispatch, so as that the weak
may do as much as the strong, and the strong much more than before.

As thus; One man may turn 50 Spinning Wheels, which shall serve 100 persons
to Spin with at once; so that the Spinners shall have nothing to do but
employ both hands to draw Tire from the Distaff. The Demonstration of the
Infallibility of this Invention may be easily made when commanded.

As also, An Engine by which 50 men may, without striking a stroke, beat as
much Hemp in one day, as 100 shall do in two days.

    Besides the Advantage of this Spinning Engine in Ease, Its expedition
    will also be considerable; For if (as we doubt not) by this help
    Spinners can earn 9 d. _per_ day, as easie as 6 d. _per_ day without:
    By that means computing only 1000 Spinners in each of the 52
    Work-houses, in one years time will be gained the Sum of 163968 Pounds
    and upwards, as by Calculation appears; and the Invention for
    Hemp-beating (which is the hardest work of all) will likewise in its
    kind be very considerably advantagious.

_Obj. 2._ But some will be ready to object, and tell us, _That we talk of
brave things, if words would do the Work; but where's the Money for the
Building of such great Hospitals? and providing all Tools and Materials
will cost many Thousand Pounds._

    I confess here's the Knot, which seems knit by Magick Art; but if it
    can be untied without cutting or breaking the Thread, then I hope our
    Proposals will not be rejected.

_Answ._ To this therefore I humbly Answer, That it may be done by a
County-Charge, with as much Satisfaction, Pleasure and Advantage, as to
part with 5 l. to prevent paying 50 s. _per An._, which I think no wise
people will judge to be an hard Bargain; especially if they consider the
other vast profit to the Nation, and that thereby they purchase (in the
Country) 50 s. _per Annum_ more by improvement of their Lands for Hemp or
Flax.--As thus;

    Suppose every Parish, one with another, throughout the Nation, relieves
    as many poor People, Beggars, _&c._ as doth amount to 12 d. in the
    Pound, so that every 100 l. _per Annum_, pays 5l. _per Annum_ to the
    poor; Now if every 100 l. _per Annum_, pay 5 l. towards Building such
    Hospital, then whereas more than half their poor consists of Children,
    Women, and decrepit weak persons, unfit for any other Employment, but
    such as may fitly be removed to this Hospital; it follows, more than
    half their Charge will for the future be abated; yea, many Parishes
    have scarce any poor to provide for.

Wherefore as for raising Money, we will take our measures thus; In
_England_ there are commonly accounted 9725 Parishes, and 52 Counties; so
that one with another, there are 187 Parishes to each County, and each
Parish supposed to be worth 1500 l. _per Annum_ (some more, some less) at
the Rate of 12 d. _per_ Pound, it will amount to the Sum of 14025 l. in
each County, which undoubtedly will compleat the House and Materials.

Obj. 3. _But this Method will not hold, because one County hath not so many
Parishes as another_.

_Answ._ It matters not; Let each County build proportionally to their Money
as it will arise at 12 d. _per_ Pound, we doubt not but it will be

_Obj. 4._ It may further be Objected as impossible, _That the Spinning
Engine should turn to account, because as oft as one Spinner has occasion
to stop, all the rest must be idle; and again, since every Wheel hath its
motion alike, and several Spinners work some faster, some slower, therefore
all considered, this Project will make but a Confusion._

_Answ._ To this I reply; Any one may stop, and the rest work on, and also
may vary the motion of each Spinning Instrument, so as the nimblest and the
slowest may have their desire: Nor may these Instruments be contemned,
since they are as cheap as the other, and so ordered that the Spinners may
sit or stand when they please; which doubtless will be a good conveniency.

    The Invention of these Engines is wholly mine, and if they prove
    effectual, I hope I shall not be deprived of receiving some benefit
    thereof; because I am so free, as in effect to discover it beforehand.
    However, I submit to what the Pleasure of Authority shall allow; And to
    the intent these Hospitals may never fail of encouragement, that the
    Invention may be for ever secured to them, and prohibited to all
    others, so that the same may be improved only for their benefit, and
    private persons not take the advantage thereof to the prejudice of this
    our pious and necessary Design: I doubt not but many will say, Tush!
    this is easie; any body may invent such things as these.--Thus the
    Industry of one is gratified with the contempt of others: Howbeit I
    leave it with all humble submission to the grave Wisdom aforesaid, to

1. Whether these great Hospitals may not become Nurseries for bringing up
all poor peoples Children to Industry, and how by a Methodical Government
every one may be so encouraged, that one striving to excel the rest, in
very short time, the finest Linnen may be made at home upon far better
terms than what comes from beyond the Seas; and whether there be not a
probability, if the Engines take, that we may come to transport Linnen upon
as good terms as other Nations, since Flax and Hemp may here be as
plentifully produced as in any other Countrey.

2. Whether this great and profitable Trade may not be managed for the most
part by those who at present are a burden; so that those which before were
industrious, may follow their former employments, and so no want of People
for Husbandry, _&c._

Obj. 5. _But what shall we do for Weavers_?

_Answ_. I propose it to consideration, whether it might not be a more
Christian and effectual course to suppress notorious Malefactors (except
only in cases of Treason and Murder) to condemn them hither for life or
years, where they may be serviceable to turn Wheels, fit Tier to the
Distaffs, reel Yarn, swingle or hitchel Hemp or Flax, Weave, _&c._ which an
ordinary Ingenuity may learn in few days, rather than to send them out with
a Brand to commit fresh Villanies, or transport them, whence they presently
return: And this the rather to be heeded, for that Foreign Plantations have
now so little occasions for them, that Merchants refuse to take them off
the Sheriffes hands, without being paid for their Passage; so that above 80
Convicts in _Newgate_ lately obtained a General Pardon on that very score,
because they knew not what to do with them: Besides, how many overstockt
Trades are there that complain for want of Trade, _&c._ Those may quickly
learn to weave, and never fear an employ.

_Obj 6._ But as to Convicts brought hither, it will be Objected, _That they
must be kept more secure, lest they escape and do Mischief_.

_Answ._ They may be secured well enough, and those that turn the Wheel,
_&c._ may be separated by an Iron Grate from the rest:--And here by the
way, the pious wisdom of the City of _London_ may find out a means, whereby
all those Impudent Night-walkers, and Nurses of Debauchery may be wholly
removed, which at present are a destruction both to the Estates, Bodies and
Souls of many Hundreds, and cannot be reclaimed by ordinary _Bridewels_,
because their Labour there is only a punishment, and turns not to
advantage, to keep them there all their days, or at least until they marry,
and keep within doors.

_Obj. 7._ Some may imagine an inconvenience in sending so many people from
all parts of the County to one place, and say, _Why were it not better to
build many little Work-Houses rather than one great one_?

_Answ._ I Answer, By no means; for then we shall miss one great and chief
Design, _viz._ the maintenance of good Government; by which the whole
Family may be instructed in good Manners both towards God and Man; only as
some Counties are greater, more populous, _&c._ they may have more or less

_Obj. 8._ There still remains one Objection; and that is, _What shall we do
for Hemp and Flax?_

_Answ._ To which I Answer, That Hemp or Flax (one or the other) may
plentifully be had in every County of _England_: Take _Sussex_ as an
example; any indifferent good Land, Chalky, _&c._ from the foot of the
_Downes_ to the Sea-side, with double Folding or Dunging, and twice
Plowing, will produce Hemp in abundance; yet though their Land be rich
enough, dry, _&c._ it will not produce good Flax: But to supply that, many
Thousand Acres of the _Wild_ of _Sussex_, will produce Crops of Flax, worth
some four, some five, some six Pounds an Acre, and that kind for Hemp, as
aforesaid, worth as much. Besides, for encouraging the Planting the same at
home, it may be convenient to lay an Imposition of Four or Five Shillings
in the Pound, or upwards, upon all Hemp, Thread, Cordage, or Linnen
Imported from Foreign parts; by means whereof, we may raise it at home
cheaper than buy them abroad, and then everybody will Plant Hemp and Flax
abundantly, as a thing of course, enriching those that promote it.

But why 4 or 5 Counties should (as some have proposed) enjoy this great
Wealth and Advantage of promoting the Linnen Manufactory and Improvement of
Lands, and not the rest, I cannot understand; nor for what reason so many
people should be drain'd out of all the Nation into four or five Midland
Counties, since those Counties next adjoyning to the Sea, ought to be kept
most populous.

_But to what purpose should so much Hemp be planted?_

I Answer, Hemp is of greater strength than Flax, therefore of more
excellent use for great advantage, as Cables, Ropes, and all kinds of
Cordage, Sails, Sacking, _&c._ As also Thread for all Nets for Fishery; for
which, and other purposes, we now buy yearly several hundred Thousand
Pounds worth from beyond the Seas; so that without controversie, there's as
much Hemp to be used as Flax, and consequently the Hemp-Mill may be as
useful as the Spinning-Instrument.

    Having, we hope, satisfactorily Answered all Material Objections
    against the main Body of this Design, it remains to consider of the
    Order and Method of Governing these great Families or Corporations; but
    the Particulars thereof we leave to the deeper Wisdom and judicious
    Care of Authority; only in general propose,

1. That for the better encouragement and support of so many poor people
labouring in so profitable a Manufactory, each Alms-house be provided with
and allowed a publick Granary, for stocking themselves with Corn when it is
cheapest, against the time of Dearth; a priviledge we conceive not to be so
properly advisable for other Companies or Handicrafts (as some propose and
desire) because that would always keep Corn too cheap, and consequently
undo the Tenant, or Landlord, or both: For what makes Wheat as often at 4s.
a Bushel (under which it is known the Farmer cannot live) as at 2 s. 6 d.
but because all people in the Nation that have occasion, must buy of the
Land-Occupiers at the same time when it is scarce? But by such general
Granaries the hopes of 4 s. _per_ Bushel will be banisht the Markets; but
in our case painful Husbandry, that ancient Employment may well allow
Granaries, both because this Manufactory and Design eases their Charge to
the poor, and is of more advantage to the Publick, than some 20 Trades
besides; and particularly, because it helps to improve their Lands by Flax
and Hemp, that now they need not so much relie upon Corn for raising their
Rent: Besides, if other other overstockt Trades want Bread, let them quit
their Station, and come to Weaving, and then they may enjoy the benefit of
these Granaries, also.

2. That the Maiden-Children brought up in this Corporation, may after they
attain to the Age of 15 Years, or other fit time, be permitted to go forth
to Service to learn good Huswifry, and the Lads to Husbandry or Trades, if
they think fit; nor will there be need of so great caution to prevent the
Marriages of the meaner sort, since now the Parishes need not so much fear
a Charge, knowing a means how to employ all their Children as fast as they
come to be five or six Years old; nor can a young man have better choice
for a Wife than here, amongst so many, all bred up industriously under
strict Discipline, and in a way to live; And therefore this Method will be
so far from causing any depopulation, that it may encrease our Inhabitants;
and the more, the better, since we know how to dispose of them in such
laudable Employments: Moreover, hereby the distracting cares of poor honest
Parents, oft occasioned by a foresight of their incapacity to provide for
their Children, will be removed; so that they may pass their time in peace,
knowing that a good honest comfortable Employment and Education is provided
for their Children, and their Childrens Children; nor may this less remove
the Temptations both in Parents and Children, which cause them to be guilty
of such Misdemeanors as sometimes bring them to the Gallows; so that the
Expedients offered for the accomplishing this Manufactory, will produce a
happy change in the whole Nation, _viz._ no more want of Work or Bread for
the poor, no more Parishes oppressed, no more Beggars, a great abatement of
Felons, Thieves, Cheats, Nurses of Debauchery, _&c._ many Lives preserved,
and (which is an hundred thousand times more than all the rest) many Souls
saved: Much more might be said in this case, to set forth the excellence of
this Design, but I leave it as a work more deserving the skill of the most
Learned and Godly Divine, and shall only add,

In order to that last mentioned incomparable end, and for the better
Education and Instruction of this great Family, That there may be placed in
each House an Able, Honest, Godly Minister, of a good, peaceable, kind
disposition and exemplary Conversation; that so no means may be wanting for
promoting Gods Glory and their Edification: To which purpose, on Holidays
and other spare times, all or the most docible part of the People train'd
up here, may likewise be taught to read, _&c._

    So may our most Great Prince, and Worthy Senators become further
    Instruments for the Nations Prosperity, and the Salvation of many
    Souls: Thus may the Blessing of Heaven crown all their Honourable
    Enterprizes and Prudent Counsels with most prosperous Success, which
    that it may be so, is the hearty Desire of

_Your most Humble, Obedient and Faithful_

_Subject and Servant_,

R. H.


       *       *       *       *       *


Having received the princely Approbation of that most Judicious and publick
spirited Promoter of _Englands_ Weal and Prosperity, and all such
Ingenuites as tend to general Good, and whole Noble Actions have given
matchless proofs of his great zeal thereunto, _viz._ His Illustrious
Highness Prince _Rupert_ who having condiscended to peruse the preceeding
Proposals, was pleas'd to Honour me with his Approvement, Advice, and
Encouragement therein; Judging it necessary, that I should first offer the
same to His Majesties Consideration; and in order thereunto, did Introduce
me to His Royal Presence, who was Graciously pleas'd to order me to deliver
it to one of His Secretaries of State, to the intent he might peruse it,
and bring in his Report thereof; whereupon I carried it to Mr. Secretary
_Coventry_, who gave his Approbation thereof to His Majesty at the Council
Table, where it pass'd without any obstruction:

Which gave me the greater Encouragement to put the said Proposals in Print,
for the deliberate Perusal, and grave Consideration of both Houses of
Parliament; who, I humbly conceive, are as greatly concern'd to encourage
all such humble Endeavours, tending to such General Wealth and Honour of
the whole Nation.

And for as much as I have the opportunity, by reason of the Adjournments of
Parliament since _Whitsuntide_ last, immediately after which, my Proposals
came out of the Press, I thought it might not be superfluous to add a few
Lines for the Answering some further Objections, but first shall add a few
Words to the Answer already given to the second.

_Obj. pag. 5._ where I say, _That the laying out of_ 5 l. _for the Building
of Working Alms-Houses, will purchase_ 50 s. per Annum _for ever_; Whereas
I now find,

That it will purchase 20 l. _per Annum_ in most Parishes; as may thus

Suppose every Farm worth 100 l. _per Ann._ Plant but Eight
Acres of Flax or Hemp, and that worth 7, 6, or 5 l. _per
Acre_, which last sum is the least that may be expected from
good Land to be worth, as it stands on the Ground; wherefore
to avoid mistakes, we will take our measures from 5 l. _per_
Acre.                                                         05-00-00

For Rent we will Deduct 20 s. for Seed. 20 s. and for
Plowing, Sowing, and Harrowing 10 s. In all--                 02.10.00

Which Deducted out of 5 l. there remains clear Profit for
one Acre of Land--                                            02.10.00

So that eight Acres, at the least value must yield clear
Profit, all Charges Deducted--                                20.00.00

To which add 2 l. 10 s. which will be saved out of the Poors
Book, and it makes--                                          22.10.00

So that a farm which was worth 100 l. _per Ann._ will by this Expedient, be
worth Six score and Two pounds and Ten Shillings _per Ann._; and to be
Sold, will yield 450 l. more than before.

Which is a plain Demonstration, that the laying out of 5 l. towards the
building and furnishing these Hospitals, will purchase above 20l. _per
Ann._ or bring in 450 l. And this is the lowest Calculation that may be
made of the Profits and Advantages that may arise by Planting of Hemp, and
Flax, if well Husbanded.

And most true it is, there's no one Manufactory in _England_ so generally
profitable as this may be made, especially to be raised from Land, with so
little hurt done to the same, as may be Demonstrated thus;

Suppose the Crop of one Acre, as it stands on the Ground to be worth 7 l.
(which is a very moderate supposition.) This Seven Pounds worth being well
Drest fit for Spinners, may be worth 14 l. This Fourteen Pounds worth being
well Spun and made into good Cloth, may be worth from 40 l. to 60 l. Yea I
have been inform'd beyond the Seas, that the Cloth which might be made of
one Acre of Flax well Drest and well Spun, might be worth more than a 100

Let us not forget, that we have idle hands enough in our Nation to perfect
this most profitable Improvement; and also, that little more than half the
Money which in one year goes out of the Nation for Linnen, will pay for
accomplishing the same: Nay, if the thing were rightly considered, it might
be easily Demonstrated, That the Money which goes out of the Nation for
Linnen in one year, will pay for making of all the Cloth that may be made
in 20 years; although in every year of that twenty, there be as much made,
as now we buy a Year of other Nations: As thus;

Money being kept at home within the Body of the Nation, is (as it hath no
less aptly, than frequently been resembled) like the Blood in its
Circulation in the Body of Man, which is not the less for its perpetual
Motion; but the whole Body thereby the better supplyed, strengthened, and
nourished in every Part. So it is with our Money; For, suppose Twelve
hundred Thousand pounds goes out of the Nation in one year (which, some
say, is much more) This never returns again; But if the same sum be paid
for making so much Cloth at home, there's not one Groat the less at the
years end; So that the very Money which pays for one years work, may pay
for two years, and consequently for 20 years, and yet pass through all
necessary Trades, and as well to the land Occupiers, as any.

The _9th_ Obj. _But possibly, your Engins for Expedition may fail, which if
so, then notwithstanding, the Spinners,_ &c. _may earn their own Food, yet
there will be nothing towards the maintainance of good Government, which is
the great thing you aimed at, whereby all persons who are brought into the
Hospital, may be well Educated, and effectually Instructed in a Methodical
way for expedition and advantage; Administering incouraging Rewards to the
Ingenuous and Industrious, and Correction to those that deserve it, without
which 'tis almost impossible to perfect your good design._

_Answ._ 'Tis very true: But first, I am confirm'd in my Judgement, that the
riddance these Engins will make, cannot be less than what I have already
proposed in _pag._ the _5th._

Secondly, Suppose the worst, _viz._ that the Engins fail; What then; If
every 100 l. _per Ann._ in each County contribute 3d. _per_ Week, which
would undoubtedly be sufficient to maintain good Government amongst them?
Nay, what, If for the better Incouragement, and more Comfortable
maintainance of all the whole Family, six pence _per_ Week be paid, it
would amount but to 26 s. _per Ann._, to be allow'd out of the Profits
which each 100 l. _per Ann._ will reap thereby; which according to our
lowest Calculation, is not less than 22 l. 10 s. a year; And I hope the
great wisdom of the Nation will not think it too much to part with 5 l. for
the Building these Hospitals, and after they are built, to allow 26 s. _per
Ann._ for the maintainance of good Government, _&c._ since by so doing, the
whole Nation is enrich'd thereby: The truth is, these Hospitals and
Government is so Essential, that the thing cannot be brought to pass
without them; for whatever we may promise our selves; yet the Work is
otherwise as unlikely to be effected, as a great Multitude of unhappy
Scholars to learn their Books, where there is neither Master nor Tutor, to
Rule, Teach, or Govern.

And who knows, but in very few Ages, each Hospital may have a plentiful
Revenue bestow'd thereon: For what can be a fitter object for the Charity
of such well disposed People, who out of their Abundance, may please to
leave a Legacy behind them for Pious and Charitable uses, seeing here it
will ever be imploy'd to the comfort of distressed Widows; the Maintainance
and good Education of Fatherless Children; The Feeding the Hungry,
Cloathing the Naked, _&c._ yea, the Posterity of the Donor, (according to
the Revolutions of humane things) and the Posterity of his Relations, may
reap such benefit by these deeds of Charity, as that they may be ever
preserved from Extremity.

Or, why should we think it too much out of 100 l. _per Ann._ to cast 5 l. a
year into the Treasury of this House, to be scatter'd amongst the Poor;
since it is but a fourth part of what we gain by them: By this means, I am
confident the Poor of each Parish would be so few, that there would be
scarce enow to eat the spare Meat that comes from other mens Tables:
Howbeit, it were good, that a Law were made, that every person that gives
any Almes to any idle Beggars, or wandring People, (the Poor of their own
Parish only excepted) should forfeit 5 l. to the Treasurer of the Hospital
of that County in which they dwell, which would be no violation of the
Precepts of Charity, but an effectual expedient to restrain all Beggars and
idle people for the future.

If we believe (as I hope we all do) that the happiness of a Nation hath its
dependance on the good Will and Pleasure of God Almighty, and that the more
we please him, the greater Blessings we may receive from him. Let it be
considered, How acceptable an Offering it would be to the most High, when
by so pious an Act of Our Gracious King and Parliament, together with the
free Will Offrings of all able godly disposed people, so many Thousands,
yea Thousands of Thousands, in process of time, may be restrained, and
prevented from living in that broad way of Idleness and Lewdness, in which
is all manner of Debauchery. And now by this Reformation, from Generation
to Generation, may become attentive hearers of his Holy Word, which is the
most Infallible Directory to bring them to Heaven.

Obj: _You talk of great Profits made of Flax in other Countries: But some
are of the Opinion, That to raise the Linnen Manufactory here to that
degree, is utterly Impracticable; as well, because our Domestick Flax is
not so good as that which comes from beyond the Seas; as also, because our
people cannot work it so well._

_Answ._ This Objection, (which some are pleas'd to think very considerable)
consists of two Branches: The first is an Exception to the goodness of our
Flax; The second, to the Skill and Dexterity of our People.

As for the first; _Whether ours be as good as Outlandish Flax?_ It must be
considered, and cannot be denied, but, that the far greatest part of the
Flax which we Import from beyond the Seas, is _East-Country Flax_, I say,
the far _greatest_ part, ten to one in proportion; Now I am credibly
informed by several well experienced Flax-Men (who have dealt in both
Sorts) That _English_ Flax is _full as good_, to all intents, as this
_East-Country_ Flax, and do not doubt, but it will appear so upon
Examination; So that the Objection, as in Comparison with such
_East-Country_ Flax, vanishes; of which yet, (although we have but little
Cloth made in _England_) there is, (as I am inform'd) several Hundred
Thousand Pounds worth yearly Imported.

But then, as to _Dutch_ Flax, indeed the Case is somewhat more difficult:
It being a common opinion, that their Flax, in its nature, is better for
making of Fine Cloth, than ours generally is: But even this is denied by
persons of great Judgement and Experience, who affirm, that much Land in
_England_ may produce as kind Flax, to the full: Besides, the _Dutch_ Flax
Imported, is but little, and comparatively Inconsiderable; as is indeed the
Use and Consumtion of very Fine Cloth, in respect of the vast quantities of
Course and Ordinary Cloth; so that, if the Trade be Encouraged, we need not
fear, but we may find ground enough in _England_, fit to produce as
excellent Flax as any now brought from _Holland_, I mean, _so much_ as we
have occasion for; And consequently, may make as good Linnen; _If we do not
spoil it in working_: Which is the second Charge of the Objection.

To which I Answer, That I have credibly been inform'd by some persons, that
they have, and can now already make as good Cloth here, as that which we
commonly Buy for 5, 6, 7, or 8 s. _per_ Ell: And why should not our people,
when they find the Manufactory Incouraged, and especially by the Emulation
and desires to out-vie each other in good Work-manship in these publick
Working Alms-Houses; Why, I say, May we not arrive at as great Perfection
in the Mystery as any people in the World? The _English_ once had the
Reputation of the only excellent Artificers for Wollen Cloth; other Nations
knew nothing, or very little of it; yet now we find, by unhappy experience,
they equal, if not exceed us therein: Why may we not retaliate, and
out-strip them in another Mystery? Or, Why should we more scandal our
selves with suggestions of Dullness and Indocility, than our Neighbours.

But to give more full satisfaction, That this Manufactory, especially that
part which is most advantagious to the Nation, as being most Consumptive of
our Hemp and Flax, and most promoting Trade and Imployment for the Poor;
which indeed is common and ordinary Cloth, of which there is a Thousand
Ells to one Transported into all His Majesties Plantations.

That this I say is suddainly to be perfected, I cannot but give a signal
Instance, from the laudable practice and experience of that worthy
Gentleman, Mr. _Tho. Firmin_, Citizen of _London_, who at this time Imploys
in his House (built for that purpose) several Flax-men, _Weavers_, _&c._
And also above 600 Spinners abroad. This Judicious person shew'd me more
than 500 l. worth of very good substantial Cloth, of his own working. And
in truth, I have convers'd with many; but never found any man so able and
free to resolve all doubts in this case; who told me for a Truth, that a
Child of 5 or 6 years old, that had its Health, and a moderate
Apprehension, might be taught in 6 Weeks to earn its living in Spinning;
Which, if so, as from the Veracity and Experience of the Relator, I have no
reason to doubt. It is most plain, that the most profitable part of this
Manufactory may be both easily and speedily accomplish'd, and perfected, to
the happy Reformation of many Thousands, who now live by Begging, _&c._
giving scarce any thing for whatever they Eat, Drink, or Wear.

Besides, let it be considered, How greatly this Manufactory will quicken
and revive our decayed Markets and dying Trade, especially, that of
Husbandry; which may easily be domonstrated, thus;

As the Case now stands, every Family in the Nation either directly or
indirectly, send their Money every year to the _Drapers_ for Linnen, the
_Drapers_ they pay it to the Merchants, and away it goes every year beyond
Sea, and never returns; whereby our Wealth is made a Prey to other Nations,
whose Poor are imploy'd and maintain'd thereby, whilst in the mean time our
Nation is in a Consumption, our Poor live by Begging, Poverty increases,
and our Lands lye unimproved, for want of this Manufactory.

But now under this Reformation, every Family that sends their Money to the
_Drapers_, the _Draper_ sends it to the Masters of these _Hospitals_, and
they scatter it amongst all the Trades in the Nation; especially to the
Farmers, and Tillers of Land, ready Money for Hemp and Flax; ready Money
for Corn and Fat Cattle of all sorts; and the like for Butter and Cheese,
or any thing they have to spare: And all this, or the greatest part, from
those who before lay a Begging at their Doors, or were maintained by
Contribution; and now, the more people Increase, the better it will be for
the whole Nation: And doubtless, if an Imposition sufficient were laid on
Foreign Linnen, Hemp and Flax, and Incouragement due to ingenious and
industrious people given, (as in this Case, the Nation might well afford)
then to be sure, our Hospitals would be suddenly stock'd with curious
Artists, by which our new Manufactory would speedily be brought to

'Tis worth consideration also, how great an Ornament, besides the great
Wealth these Hospitals would be to His Majesties Kingdom, and how much they
would add to the Trade, Wealth, and greatness of those Towns near which
they are erected.

13. Obj. _You talk much of Charity, Let Charity begin at home with good
Husbandry; If this course be taken, we shall pay dearer for Linnen, than
now we do, and it must needs be best Husbandry to Buy where we may have it

_Answ._ If we send our Money beyond-Sea for what we want, then the more we
Buy, the less Money we have to pay, which causes Scarcity of Money, and
also, want of Trade, whereby to get more; but if we bestow our Money for
Commodities made at home, our Money and Trade will continually Increase;
and though for a little while we pay somewhat more, yet it is easier to
part with 9 d. when Money and Trade are plenty and increasing, than to part
with 6 d. when Money and Trade is both wanting; especially, seeing the 9 d.
remains at home, and returns again, but the 6 d. is carried into another
Nation, and lost irrecoverably.

14. Obj. In _pag. 5._ you suggest, _That by your Engin, one Spinner may
earn 9_ d. _as easily as 6_ d. _without it; But how can that be? since
every Spinner now, may have a wheel to turn with her foot, and so have both
hands at liberty, as well as with your Engins: And again, its a more usual
fault to over-twist the thred, than to do it too slack; therefore no need
of help to turn the wheel._

_Answ._ To this I Answer, First, That the thing we chiefly design, is to
imploy and maintain such as cannot any other way earn half their living by
any other Imploy, so that more than half the Spinners would be very young,
and of little strength, and consequently to imploy one foot all the time
they Spin, will be very tiresome; nay, the strongest body cannot do it,
without easing the same, neither can they imply both hands so freely, as
when they are discharged of that burthen, or incumbrance.

As for Example: Two men of equal strength, skill, and nimbleness in all
points, were to run a long Race, and one of them must carry such a weight
in his hand, as is more tiresome to him than the motion of his Legs, and
oft-times, must ease the Burthen with his foot: May not the other, who hath
all his Limbs free, be at the end of the Race and half-way back again as
soon, and more easily than this can get to the end of the Race. Possibly
some may say, _This Simile is not parallel, and that I make it better on my
side than it is_. To which I say, for the Resolution of this Question, Do
but inquire of those that Spin, which of the Two is most tiresome, The
turning of the Wheel, (either by the Foot or Hand, no matter which) or the
other part of the Work. I have almost as often ask'd the Question, as I see
any a Spinning (since I invented this Engin) and the Answer has always
been, The turning of the Wheel; although they imploy both hand and foot by
turnes to do it: Besides, it is burthensome, and also injurious to the
body; especially for youth, which are growing, to be from Morning till
Evening, always sitting.

Secondly, Although it be true, _That over-twisting the Thred is commonly a
fault, rather than slack twisting the same_; yet the Cause of this fault
is, that they do not draw the Thred fast enough: But to the better
advantage, this will be easily cured, for now all the aforesaid
inconveniencies being removed, which render the Work most burthensome; they
may for their ease stand or sit, when, and as often as they please, and
freely imploy both hands from morning to evening, much more easily than
they could one hand before; and the faster they draw the Thred from the
Distaff, the more they Spin, with less danger of over-twisting the same; so
that I do not know, but those that are some-time used to this easie way,
may Spin as much in one day, as now in two.

Furthermore, these Spinning Instruments may in like manner be for
Expedition very serviceable for Spinning of Wollen, I mean Serges, Worsted,
Camlets, and Stockings, which being well made, are much more to be
incouraged than Hair and Silk, these being Foreign Commodities, the other
of our own Growth, especially, since it is so, that our home Markets for
Wool, and Foreign Markets for our Cloth grow worse and worse, and in the
opinion of most, scarce ever to be recovered; which, if so, it must needs
be the best Husbandry to promote such Manufactories, as may be for the
Consumption of our own Materials.

Obj. _If you intend these Hospitals for the Imployment of such as have
Families of their own to maintain, the business will be confused and

_Answ._ Possibly so, at least, in some respects and circumstances; but that
was never intended, the main design of these Hospitals being only for the
relief of all oppressed Parents, families, and Parishes, by taking off
their young Children, and single people, who have neither Habitation, nor
Parish willing to receive them, there to be comfortably maintain'd, well
educated and instructed in all good manners towards God and Man; Nor are
any of them to be confin'd to this House longer than untill they can well
earn their Livings by other means; unless it be such as are committed as
persons deserving perpetual or temporary Confinement, which is far better
than to Hang or Transport, except it be for Capital Crimes.

The second Benefit aimed at, is the procuring the most Fine and curious
Cloth, as well as quantities sufficient of Courser, for Domestick and
Foreign Trade, to be obtained with great expedition: For so it is, That
when so many are imploy'd in sight of each other (especially, where
incouragement is given, and good Discipline maintain'd) the strife of all,
both small and great, will be to excell each other, both in quantity and
curiosity of Work.

Obj. _This Manufactory being thus incouraged, a considerable part of His
Majesties Revenue now arising by Custom for Linnen Cloth will be

_Answ._ I humbly Answer, That the same may be easily compensated another
way, it being (with all submission) conceived, That it would be happy for
this Kingdom, if an Imposition of 12 d. _per_ quart more than now is, were
to be paid for all _French_-Wine and Brandy; As also 5 s. in the Pound for
all Hemp, Flax, and Linnen, that is Imported.

'Tis possible some may suppose, that my being thus intent and tedious, is
only an itch of Fame; but I can justly assure the World, I am so far from
any such contemptible Vanity, That I am rather a beggar for the Poor and
Distressed, and for their sakes, would imitate the importunate Widow, in
the 18th of St. _Luke_'s Gospel, who obtain'd her request meerly for the
sake of her Importunity; only this difference there is, Her suit was for
Revenge, Mine for an Act of Charity; she made her suit to such a Judge as
neither feared God, nor regarded man; but my humble, though earnest suit
is, To the Most _Christian King_, a _Defender of the Faith_; as also to the
Great Wisdom of a _Christian Nation_, all which strengthens my hopes, that
I shall not be more unfortunate than was that importunate Widow.

And why should I doubt it, since it is so, that even an unjust and ungodly
Judge will redress the Grievances of the Oppressed, shall not the Best and
Most Christian Government exercise its power, for suppressing and reforming
intollerable Evils, Oppressions, and Disorders, seeing the Wellfare and
Prosperity of the whole Nation is as it were Intail'd to such an Act of
Justice and Mercy. It is said of Faith, Hope, and Charity, That the
greatest of these is Charity; yes, if a Man had all Faith, and all Hope,
(both which are most excellent and necessary) yet it availeth nothing, if
Charity be wanting. And since 'tis a Maxim, _That the best of Men cannot be
Uncharitable_: I chearfully hope, that my humble Proposals for an Act of
Charity, will not be contemn'd by our Greatest Worthies, since now in our
view, the Wealth and Prosperity of the Nation, is in pursuit of the same.

I would not flatter my self or others, but do confidently believe, That
what with the Decrease of Poor People, The happy Reformation, and total
Restriction of Beggers, Vagrants, Nurses of Debauchery, _&c._ The yearly
increase of Ten or Twelve Hundred Thousand Pounds, which now will be kept
at home, that before went beyond the Seas for Linnen; The great Improvement
of Lands; The Exportation of Linnen of our own growth, _&c._ The worth and
advantage of the whole cannot amount to less than Two or three Millions
Sterling, _per Annum_, to the Nation: and over and above many lives
preserved, and (with Gods blessing on the means) many souls saved; which,
if so, certainly it will be the best Bargain and happiest that ever the
Nation made, all circumstances considered; Because where so much Money is
disburs'd as will compass this great Wealth (without which it is almost
impossible to be attain'd,) our Posterity will have it for nothing; yea,
the present Inhabitants have their Purchase Money still amongst themselves,
as it were, _in their own Sacks with their Corn_, seeing we Buy not this
profitable Expedient of other Nations; which, if we were obliged to do, to
be sure they would make us pay _dearly_ for it.

But suppose neither of these Advantages were to be reap'd for our Money,
only the Poor provided for, and Reformation of Vagrants accomplish'd, Must
we do nothing for Charity? Suppose any Opposers of this Design, were worth
5000 l. or 10000 l. _per Ann._ a piece, Can they be certain, that none of
their Posterity may within 200 years come to Poverty? Why then should they
be unwilling now to contribute freely, seeing the Method proposed, may
secure both Rich and Poor from Extremity? And how dishonourable is it to
this Kingdom, that so fruitful a Soil as _England_, which by the Industry
of its most unuseful Inhabitants, might so easily become the Garden of
Europe, should, by their sloth and obstinacy, lie unimproved? How many
Hundred Thousand Beggers, Vagrants, Drones, Nurses of Debauchery, _&c._ who
are not only a Dishonour, but a great Disadvantage to the Nation, living in
continual sinful Practices against the Laws of God and good Government,
depriving themselves of all means of Religious and Civil Education, to the
great danger of their own Souls; Ill Example of others; and destruction of
their Posterity, being neither serviceable to the Publick, nor capable of
raising themselves to any better condition, might by this Method, be wholly
reform'd, or prevented?

Wherefore upon these several _weighty_ considerations, and for that,
besides the _Princely_ Encouragement before-mentioned, I have had the
Approbation of that great lover of Ingenuity, The Right Honourable, the
Lord Viscount _Brouncker_, President of the _Royal Society_, who was
pleas'd to peruse my Proposals, and express his Sentiments very favourably
thereupon; As also having received by letter some considerable and pressing
Incitements, to proceed from an Eminent publick spirited Divine, the
Reverend, Dr. _John Beale_, one of His Majesties Chaplains, and a Member of
the said _Royal Society_. I am therefore embolden'd, particularly to
entreat the _Christian_ consideration of the most _grave and pious
Divines_, and all the Honourable and Ingenious Associates of that _August
Society_ in this matter, and accordingly, to give their Encouragement,
Approbation, and Assistance; or otherwise to discover my mistakes, and
rectifie any false Measures, which through Inadvertency, or over-zeal, to
the design I may have committed, by publishing some more _Feazible Methods_
from their better improved Reason, whereby I shall at once be confuted and
instructed; and though failing in the means, shall not miss of my desired
End, viz. _The Glory of God, the Prosperity of the Nation, and the Happy
Reformation of many thousands, who are a dishonour to Both._


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Proposals for Building, In Every County, A Working-Alms-House or Hospital - as the Best Expedient to Perfect the Trade and Manufactory of Linnen - Cloth" ***

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