Chief among these was that sort of irreverent criticism
12. Mr Benjamin Ward of Yarmouth, in his State of the Woollen Manufactory considered, who seems to have informed himself thoroughly of this important Branch in foreign Nations, says, Page 4. "It's certain no country in Europe manufactures all Kinds of Goods so dear as the People of this Kingdom, which gives other Nations a vast Advantage in carrying their Manufactures to Market, and enabling them to become our Rivals in Trade to almost all Countries; and a little lower he says, 10 Pound and a half of Wool from the Sheeps Back will make a piece of Calimanco weighing eight pounds, which Wool will cost our Manufacturers about 6 s. ; the manufacturing thereof will cost 1 l. 4 s.; So that the Piece will cost us 1 l 10 s. But though Foreigners must be at so great a Charge to get our Wool, that the same Quantity will cost them double, that is 12 s.; yet being able to manufacture the same for 12 s. which is 1 l. 4 s. they can and do undersel us 6 shillings, which is 20 per cent in such a Piece, of which he says, the manufacturing Part is as little as any Stuff we make; wherefore, as he says, Page 9, we are under an absolute Necessity to make our Goods as cheap as possibly we can, if we mean not to lose our foreign Trade." And I say there is no way to do it but to reduce the Necessaries of Life to half their present Price, that we may work as cheap as any Nation that now interferes in any of our Manufactures or Branches of our Trade, which may certainly be done the Way I propose; and this will infallibly remedy all the Evils the foreign or domestick Trade of this Kingdom any ways suffers, and will make Money sufficiently plentiful amongst all Ranks of People, together with it; for these Things shew themselves, or are self evident. Eras. Phillips, Esq: Page 8, says, "Next to lessening the Price of Labour is to bring down the Price of Wool: It hath been in a great Measure owing to the dearness of our Woollen Manufactures, that both Holland and France have thought it worth their Care to set up Looms of their own, to our great if not irreparable Detriment; and France hath so far succeeded, that she seems to have no further Occasion for our Cloaths at all. And Holland hath found out this secret of Trade to buy up our Raw Cloaths, if I may be allowed the Expression, and dye and nap them so much cheaper than we, that they are able to undersel us in Goods of our own Produce."
13. This must not be done by making the Poor fare harder, or consume less than their reasonable Wants in that Station require; for they being the Bulk of Mankind would in this Case affect the Consumption of things in general so mightily, that there would be a want of Trade and Business amongst the other Part of the People, which will affect the Rents so much the more as the People this Way shall be distressed; but this must be done by imploying the Poor the right Way (i.e.) in Tillage and Cultivation of Land, to make the Plenty so great that they may have their Wants properly supplied for that Station of Life, and yet work so cheap as to make our Produce and Manufactures as cheap,as any of our neighbouring Nations make any thing whatsoever, wherewith they any Way interfere in any Branch of our Trade.
14. 'Tis a wrong Notion, that if our Poor who take Alms, were obliged to work at our Manufactures, instead of being assisted, that our Manufactures would thence become cheaper; the Poor wou'd in this Case soon make Labour so little worth as to starve each other, and then they must forsake that Business, be it what it will; and then those Manufactures must again fetch a Price that will pay all Charges, and support the Labourer, or they must cease to be made.
15. That the single Women are very numerous, will I believe be easily allowed; and then that the Number of single Men are greater is certain, since the Male sex are considerably more numerous than the Female, as I will presently shew.
16. To convince us of this, we need only compare the Magnificence and Splendour of a City or Town, whose maritime Trade is considerable, with the Rusticity and Meanness of the Country People; for let them set up Coaches, and build fine Seats, as many Merchants and Tradesmen in such Towns are continually doing, and then I'll acknowledge that Affluence and Power are so immediately connected with the Plow, that no Nation need concern themselves at all about maritime Commerce.
17. The labouring People being so great a Part of the whole as 7/8, for Argument Sake, I take them here for the whole.
18. Benjamin Motte's Philosophical Transactions abridged, Part 4. Page 24, demonstrate England or South Britain to contain 72,000 square Miles, or 46,800,000 Acres; he also says, the Province of Holland is computed to contain about a Million of Acres, which is said to contain 2,400,000 Souls, so that England, to be proportionably populous, must have 110 Millions of People; but he says, to allow Room enough for Persons of all Degrees under our British Monarchy, if England were half as populous as Holland, with only 55 Millions of People, it were a good Proportion, and would be near five times our present Number; so that according to him, we must have about eleven Millions of People in England. He further says, that to people England with this Number, viz. 55 Millions, there are sundry Ways very practicably, by which he hath computed, the present Number may be doubled in 24 or 25 Years, and probably quadrupled in about 26 Years; but I think England is not capable to sustain double its present Number of Inhabitants, because it is undoubtedly at present above half cultivated and improved, yet I think I have made it evident, we have not near Land enough in Use to support its present Inhabitants. Dr John Lawrence in his new System of Agriculture, Page 45, says, 'tis believed that almost one half Part of the Kingdom is Commons.
19. If we take the Rents of good Lands in England, at a Medium, to be about 10 Shillings per Acre, and the Rents of bad Lands, at a Medium, to be about two Shillings and Sixpence per Acre, and that their Quantities are near equal, then the Rents of Lands will be about 6 Shillings per Acre now at a Medium; and as far as I can learn 6 or 7 Shillings per Acre at Medium, is as much as the Lands of England are now worth; and I believe I may be bold to say, the Lands of England, at a Medium, have not let for less than one Shilling and Six-pence per Acre for four hundred Years backwards.