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gospel-frame: But, if wetherein cannot come near them immediately, yet weshall endeavour to come as near as we may by the things whereof they are capable; because we are resolved rather to venture the losing of our labour, than to sit still, and not give ourselves this satisfaction that we have discharged a good conscience in performing our duty.
We shall declare then, with that simplicity which becometh a good conscience in the presence of God, that our desire is to serve all men freely in the publick interest so far as God doth inable us; and that by this design we aim at a special advantage to the gospel of Christ rather than at any thing else; and if we can but awake those that are in places of power and authority, to take notice of the means whereby all men's talents may become useful to cach other in this commonwealth, that, for their own temporal ends, they would countenance and promote the same, we shall have our end at this time in this undertaking.
Therefore now we make our application as to all indifferently, that love the prosperity of Sion, and the welfare of this state ; so more particularly to those whom God hath appointed to be our leaders in every good work, and encouragers of those that apply themselves thereunto; that, whether they lay the matter to heart or no, they may not be without a witness before God and the world, that this is a duty belonging to their charge; which, without any charge, trouble, or difficulty, may be most easily brought to pass, by a few words in the way of order, to au• thorise the undertaking of such an office, for the unspeakable benefit of all, and without the least imaginable inconveniency unto any.
And, that the thing itself may manifest the truth of this, we shall come to a more particular discovery of the office in matters of temporal accommodation; which unto the men of this world are sensible inducements towards all enterprises.
Let us then consider, what it is that maketh a commonwealth, and all those that are in it happy, as to the life of nature. The chief end of commonwealths is society, the end of society is mutual help, and the end and use of help is to enjoy from one another comforts; that is, every thing lawfully desirable or wanting to our contentation. Wheresoever then, in a commonwealth, such a constitution may be had, whereby the members thereof may be inabled to enjoy from each other all the helps which nature doth afford unto them for our mutual contentation, there the state, and all those that are in it, may be said to be as happy as this world can make them.
For no man can be more happy in nature, than to have all bis lawful desires supplied so far as they are attainable. But in this commonwealth such a constitution may be had, and that easily, which will do this: Therefore this commonwealth, and all the members thereof, may be as happy as this world can make them, if their rulers will either assist them, or at least suffer them to become so.
Now this constitution whereof wc speak is nothing else, but the designation of a certain place, whereunto.it shall be free for every one to make his address upon all occasions, as well to offer unto others, as to receive from them, the commodities which are desirable, and the informations of things profitable to be taken notice of in å private of a publick way.
In this place an officer is to be appointed, who should have power to direct and order the work of the constitution. He should have certain men under him, so many as he should think fit to keep registers, and make extracts thereof, to give to such as should desire the same for their information.
These registers should be of all things which either may be any way offered by one man to any or to all, and desired by another from from all; or which otherwise may be of publick use, though not at all taken notice of by any to that end.
And the end, wherefore these registers are thus to be kept, is only, that therein may be settled a center of encounters to give information to all of all useful matters; for one of the great causes of our misery in this present life is this: that we are not only in the dark, not knowing what good things are extant in private, or publickly attainable for use, but we are in disorder and confusion, because, when we know what things are attainable, yet we have no way contrived how to encounter readily and certainly with them ourselves, when we have need of them, er, when we have them, to impart them to such as want them.
Now, to remedy both these evils, this office may be an instrument, by being made a common intelligencer for all, not only of things actually offered, or desired by some to be communicated, but also of things by himself and others observable, which may be an occasion to raise matter of commuuication for the information of all.
The multitude of affairs in populous places doth naturally run into a confusion, except some orderly way be found out to settle times and places, wherein those, that are to attend them, may meet together for the transaction thereof. If there were no exchanges, nor set hours thereof for merchants to meet and transact matters, what a disorder and obstruction would there be in all trading! and, if a man, that hath to do in the Exchange with five or six men, doth come to it when it is thronging full, and knoweth not the. ordinary walks of those several men, nor any body that can tell him where their walks are, he may run up and down, bere and there, and weary himself out of breath, and not meet with any of them, except by great chance he light upon them; but, if he doth know their constant walks and hours, when they come upon the Exchange, he may be able to meet with them in an instant. So it is with all other men, in respect of all other conveniencies, in great and populous cities, or kingdoms: they run up and down at random to seek for their accommodations, and, when they have wearied themselves a long time in vain, they sit down oft-times unsatisfied; but, if there were but a place of common resort appointed, like unto the Exchange, where they should be sure to receive information of all that which they would desire to know, they might, without any loss of time, come instantly to the enjoyment of their desires, so far as they are attainable.
This place, then, is that which we call the Office of Address. Here sufficient registers should be kept of all desirable matters of human accommodations, shewing where, with whom, and upon what conditions they may be had; and this would be, as it were, a national ExYOL, VI.
change for all desirable commodities, to know the ready way of encountering with them, and transacting for them.
This, then, is the proper end and use of this office, to set every body in a way, by some direction and address, how to come speedily to have his lawful desires accomplished, of what kind soever they may be.
This constitution will be a means mightily to increase all trade and commerce amongst merchants and all sorts of people, but especially to relieve the necessities of the poor, for whose sake alone it doth deserve to be entertained, although there were no other conveniency in it. But, to shew that by the advantage of such an address, as is intended by this office to be set on foot, all trade will be mainly advanced, consider how, for want of it, occasions of trading and transacting of businesses are hindered between man and man, to their mutual disadvantage, and the detriment of the commonwealth. As for example: I am desirous to let out a parcel of ground and an house upon it to be rented; another is desirous to have some ground with an house upon it to farm; we, for want of knowing each other's desires, do not meet to treat upon the business, and cannot find our accommodations, perhaps, in a year or two, to our content. Here, then, the commerce, which we might have with each other, is stopped; the publick notary is not employed between us; the counsellor, whose advice is to be used in drawing the leases, is not employed; I want money, which I might trade withal another way, to my great profit, and the publick benefit; the farmer is idle, the house not inhabited, and out of repair; the ground either not at all, or uot so well cultivated, as otherwise it would be; the inheri. tance doth go to decay; less fruit is reaped off the ground, less employment for labouring men, less works and manufactures of tradesmen and shopkeepers used; fewer customs and duties paid to the publick; and consequently, in every respect, both to myself, and others to whom I am associated, a disadvantage doth befall, because I cannot encounter with the conveniency, whereof I stand in need, nor the farmer with his accommodation; but, if we could have met with each other, and transacted ou, business to our mutual content, all these inconveniencies would have been prevented, both to us and the publick. It is undeniably true, that the multitude of people doth beget affairs, and the ready transaction of affairs in a state is the only means to make it flourish in the felicity of the inhabitants; and that nothing can advance such a ready transaction so much, as a common center of intelligence for all such matters, is quite out of doubt.
As for the benefit of the poor, and the relief of their necessities (which alone might move us to the prosecuting of this business) there is nothing imaginable that can be more beneficial unto them. For consider, amongst all the causes of human poverty, which are many, this main one; namely, that most men are poor for want of employment, and the cause why they want employment, is, either because they cannot find masters to employ them; or because their abilities and fitness to do service are not known to such as might employ them: or, lastly, because there is perhaps little work stirring in the common-wealth for them. All these causes will be clearly remedied by this constitution; for here not only the master shall be able to encounter with a servant, or a servant with a master, fit for each other, when both have given up their names, and the tenor of their desires, with the places of their abode, to the registers of the office; but, by the collection and observation of all things profitable to be improved for the publick use, much matter of employment will be produced and found out, which now is not at all thought upon. When poor workmen or tradesmen come to a great city, such as London is, in hope of getting employment; if they fail of their expectation, or meet not with the friends upon whom they did rely, they betake themselves to begging, or sometimes to far worse courses, which brings them to a miserable end: but if, instead of their particular expectation and friends, they can betake themselves to one, that can give them address to that employment which in the commonwealth can be found for them; they not only may be preserved from beggary and misery, but become useful unto their neighbour.
Hitherto we have spoken of the office, and the usefulness thereof in respect of the end. Now we shall come to the matters whereof registers should be kept in the office for information and address, to satisfy all men's desires.
The desires of men are infinite, in respect of the circumstances; and therefore it is not to be expected that a particular enumeration thereof should be made. We must reflect upon the principal heads whereunto all may be referred, that when particulars are offered they may be brought into their proper places in the registers, where they may be found in due time for information and addressess of one towards another.
There be two kinds of registers or inventories of address: some are of things which are perpetually the same, and always existent in the society of mankind in general, and in a distinct commonwealth, kingdom, province, and city in particular; and others are not perpetual but changeable registers, containing all matters of daily occurrence between man and man to be imparted.
The matters, whereof the perpetual and unchangeable registers should give information to such as may enquire after the same, are chiefly these:
1. For such as would know concerning any thing extant in the world, what hath been said or written of it, the standing register should contain a catalogue of all catalogues of books, whereunto the inquisitor may be referred to seek out whether or no he can find any thing written of the matter whereof he doth make inquiry in any of those catalogues, and the office should have one or more copies of each of those catalogues, to which the register of catalogues should refer them to make their search.
2. For such as should make inquiry concerning this kingdom, to know the situation of any of the provinces, shires, counties, cities, towns, villages, castles, ports, and such like places; the office should have Speed's Description of this Kingdom, and Mercator, or others, to refer them thereunto. For such as would desire to know, what publick officers and
employments, and what particular trades are of use in this state; the office should shew a register thercof.
4. For such as would know what families and persons of eminent note and quality are in the kingdom, for birth, or for place and employment, or for abilities and singular personal virtues; the office should shew who they are, and what their property is, and where to be met withal.
5. For such as desire to know the standing commodities of the kingdom; what they are in the whole, and what peculiar to every place? How they are transported from place to place? Where and when the markets thereof are kept? And how to get intelligence of the particular prices thereof? The office should have registers for information of all ibis.
6. For such as desire to know what commodities are imported from foreign parts constantly into this kingdom? Where, and at what țimes to be found? With information concerning the prices thereof; the office should be able to give notice hereof.
As for the matters of daily occurrence, which, by reason of circumsiances, are changeably to be taken notice of, and differently to be proposed, as offered from one man to another, or desired by one from another, for mutual accommodation; the registers thereof must be divided into several books, and the books into chapters, to whose heads all matters of that kind should be referred.
The titles of these books should be at least these four; 1. One for the accommodation of the poor. 2. Another for the accommodation of trade, commerce, and bargains for profit. 3. A third for the accommodation of all actions, which proceed from all relations of persons to each other, in all estates and conditions of life. 4. A fourth for ingenuities, and matters of delight unto the mind, in all virtues and rare objects.
These four registers may be distingnished and intituled, from the properties of their subjects, thus: the first should be called the Register of Necessities, or of Charity: the second, of Usefulness, or of Profit: the third, of Performance, or of Duties: and the fourth, of Delights, or of Honour. And to these heads all human occurrences, wherein one man may be helpful to another, may be referred, if not very sie
ctly, yet in some way, which will be without difficulty understood, and fit to avoid confusion in the matters of the registers.
Now we shall come to each of these books in particular, to shew the matters of accommodation which shall be contained therein, for publick and private service.
I. The Register for the Poor. THE heads of chapters, unto which all matters of accommodation for the poor may be referred, are these:
1. Counsels and advices to be given concerning the means, whereby the poor may be relieved, by being set at work, and employed, if they be strong; or, in case of sickness and want of employment, how to facilitate the provision of lodging, cloathing, food, and entertain