To this I might answer in general by saying, that those, who cannot apprehend the reason of these Enquiries, are unfit to trouble themselves to ask them.
2. I might answer by asking; Why so many have spent their times, and
estates about the Art of making Gold? which, if it were much known, would onely
exalt Silver into the place, which Gold now possesseth; and if it were known but
to some one Person, the same single Adeptus could not, nay, durst
not enjoy it, but must be either Prisoner to some Prince, and Slave to some
Voluptuary, or else skulk obscurely up and down for his privacie, and
3. I might Answer; That there is much pleasure in deducing so many abstruse, and unexpected inferences out of these poor despised Bills of Mortality; and in building upon that ground, which hath lain waste these eight years. And there is pleasure in doing something new, though never so little, without pestering the World with voluminous Transcriptions.
4. But, I Answer more seriously; by complaining, That whereas the Art of Governing, and the true Politiques, is how to preserve the Subject in Peace, and Plenty, that men study onely that part of it, which teacheth how to supplant, and over-reach one another, and how, not by fair out-running, but by tripping up each other's heels, to win the Prize.
Now, the Foundation, or Elements of this honest harmless Policy is to understand the Land, and the hands of the Territory to be governed, according to all their intrinsick, and accidental differences: as for example; It were good to know the Geometrical Content, Figure, and Scituation of all
the Lands of a Kingdom, especially, according to its most natural,
permanent, and conspicuous Bounds. It were good to know, how much Hay an
Acre of every sort of Meadow will bear? how many Cattel the same weight
of each sort of Hay will feed, and fatten? what quantity of Grain, and
other Commodities the same Acre will bear in one, three, or seven years
communibus Annis? unto what use each soil is most proper? All
which particulars I call the intrinsick value: for there is also another
value meerly accidental, or extrinsick, consisting of the Causes, why a
parcel of Land, lying near a good Market, may be worth double to another
parcel, though but of the same intrinsick goodness; which answer the
Queries, why Lands in the North of England are worth but
sixteen years purchase, and those of the West above eight and twenty. It
is no less necessary to know how many People there be of each Sex, State,
Age, Religion, Trade, Rank, or Degree &c. by the knowledg
whereof Trade, and Government may be made more certain, and Regular; for,
if men knew the People as aforesaid, they might know the consumption they
would make, so as Trade might not be hoped for where it is impossible. As
for instance, I have heard much complaint, that Trade is not set up in
some of the South-western, and North-western Parts
of Ireland, there being so many excellent Harbours for that
purpose, whereas in several of those Places I have also heard, that there
are few other Inhabitants, but such as live ex sponte creatis,
and are unfit Subjects of Trade, as neither
employing others, nor working themselves.|
Moreover, if all these things were clearly, and truly known (which I have but guessed at) it would appear, how small a part of the People work upon necessary Labours, and Callings, viz. how many Women, and Children do just nothing, onely learning to spend what others get? how many are meer Voluptuaries, and as it were meer Gamesters by Trade? how many live by puzling poor people with unintelligible Notions in Divinity, and Philosophie? how many by perswading credulous, delicate, and Litigious Persons, that their Bodies, or Estates are out of Tune, and in danger? how many by fighting as Souldiers? how many by Ministeries of Vice, and Sin? how many by Trades of meer Pleasure, or Ornaments? and how many in a way of lazie attendance, &c. upon others? And on the other side, how few are employed in raising, and working necessary food, and covering? and of the speculative men, how few do truly studie Nature, and Things? The more ingenious not advancing much further then to write, and speak wittily about these matters.
I conclude, That a clear knowledge of all these particulars, and many more, whereat I have shot but at rovers, is necessary in order to good, certain, and easie Government, and even to balance Parties, and factions both in Church and State. But whether the knowledge thereof be necessary to many, or fit for others, then the Sovereign, and his chief Ministers, I leave to consideration.