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more deceiving than to propose comfort and security to myself and corporation, when strangers are admitted to possess and enjoy, by law, all that's valuable in the kingdom; for this bill doth enfranchise all strangers that will swear and protest against popery, with the liberties of every Englishman, after the vast expence of treasure and English blood it hath cost this kingdom, in all times and ages
of our fore-fathers, to secure them to themselves and their posterity.
Wherefore, Mr. Speaker, I must beg pardon, if at this time I cannot sit silent, but express a zealous con. cern as well for the kingdom in general, as for the place I represent in particular; and I am more moved there. unto, whilst I see so many members sent here by their country, for the conservation of the Englishmens' liber. ties, so warm as to part with all to strangers with one vote.
The argument of the honourable person near me, to render all the care of our fore-fathers of no esteem amongst us, who are, or who ought to be, the representatives of the kingdom, was to prove that this age and generation are wiser (he did not say honester) than the former.
I remember a west countryman, many years past, undertook to prove the same to me, and my company beyond sea, by declaring his father was a fool to him; I yielded himn that point, by conclucling both to be such; and yet our fore-fathers might be wise men.
I shall not at this time question the wisdom of those who promote the bill, or their fathers'. For myself, I declare in behalf of the wisdom and honesty of our predecessors, nor can I assent to the yielding up of the liberties and laws they derived unto us, only because some gentlemen think better of themselves (and perhaps mistakenly) than of their parents.
Sir, I was early instructed in a principle of deference to the wisdom of our ancestors; and at this time I tremble, when I reflect on the correction given me by
my master, that I might not forget, but imitate and defend in all times this rule : Let them only be accounted good, just, and wise men, who regard and defend the statutes, laws, ordinances, and liberties, which their forefathers' wisdom and experience obtained for themselves and posterity. Now, it is my opinion, Mr. Speaker, that if those gentlemen who approve of this bill, had not only been taught that rule, but as well corrected as myself, they would be of my judgment; and I wish that they who depart from that rule, and sacrifice our English liberties to a number of mercenary foreigners, may not meet with a much more rigorous and exemplary chas. tisement from their enraged and ruined countrymen.
The arguments used for the bill, are in substance these : First, A want of purchasers for our land. Secondly, Of merchants. Thirdly, Manufacturers who can work cheaper than the English. Fourthly, Husbandmen to till the ground.
To all these I shall return short answers; but if I debate not on them with that advantage and reason as our land admirals can (no doubt) with great ingenuity on sea politics; I hope the house will pardon me: for my ob. servations never cost the kingdom such expence of money at home, and losses at sea, as hath the experience of those honourable persons in sea affairs.
First, it's argued by some, that we want purchasers for the lands; this is a melancholy consideration. I therefore desire those gentlemen who approve of this bill, to tell me what it is hath brought us to this condition; that the landed men of England are reduced to so low an ebb, that they must sell, and none are left able to buy, unless foreigners are naturalized. Doth this prove our fore.fathers wanted understanding? Or doth it not rather con. clude itself occasioned by our want of it, and by our not following their examples, who never taxed their country to the ruin both of themselves and their posterity ; nor did they expend the money of the kingdom on such allies as ours; who, as we have been informed by some of
the privy council, are not in our interest, and will spare us none of their men for our pay, without great pensions likewise for themselves. Can any man hope to per. suade me that our fore-fathers would have brought foreign soldiers into England, and pay them, and naturalize them likewise; and at the same time send the English soldiers abroad, to fight in a strange land, without their
? Let us abate our taxes, and, after the wise precedent of our fathers, pay our own seaman and soldiers at home, and send the foreigners back. Then the money will be found circulating at home, in such Englishmen's hands who may buy the lands that are to be sold, without naturalizing strangers.
Secondly, It's said we want more merchants : whom may we thank for bringing so many to poverty ? But I shall forbear grating, and desire the liberty to consider in short, how the trade of England hath hitherto been carried on. Gentlemen have placed their dren to merchants : their masters observing their honesty and diligence, when they have gained some experience in the necessary parts of trade, generally send them abroad to Turkey, all parts of the Levant, to Spain, Portugal, the East and West Indies, and all parts where England holds any considerable commerce. There the young men are employed by, and entrusted with, the stocks and estates of their masters and friends, whereby all parties, both the principals at home, and the factors abroad, are advantaged, and England enriched ; (for there, in the end, all centers ;) and at last, when they are satisfied with gain, they return to their native soil, their friends and relations, for ease and employment, making room for a younger generation to succeed in their profitable employments. Thus, hitherto, this kingdom hath advanced in riches, while foreigners could not with success plant their factories on us, through the advantage we had by our laws: let us but turn the tables, and consider the consequence. Suppose we pass this
younger chilbill, and the Dutch (who no doubt will take the oaths as this bill directs, and protest against popery and paganism, and on occasion christianity too, as at Japan,) send their servants and factors hither, and we naturalize them, and let the capital stock, which gets an employ to these new-made Englishmen, belong to their masters and friends, who never did or ever will live amongst us; will it not then follow, that the profit will be theirs, and not England's? and will not the new-made English (yet Dutchmen still) return to their country and friends, with their gain, as our people hitherto have done? We may observe by our inland trade, that it's seldom they who make the manufactures gain estates, but those who employ their stocks in buying and selling what others make; and it's the same with the merchants: those that export and import are the gainers, the first maker very seldom, the consumer never.
The conclusion then of this experiment must be this: That what hath hitherto been gain to England, by English merchants and factors, will be turned to a foreign land, by the foreign merchants being naturalized for their own, not England's advantage.
But this is not all: for at once the art of navigation will be rendered useless. Whence then will be a nursery for seamen? For foreign merchants will naturalize foreign seamen ; and, when the press-masters find them, they will Dutchen spraken ya minheer, and avoid the service ; but at the Custom-house, Exchange, and in all corporations, they will be found as good Englishmen as any of this house. From whence it followeth, that trade will be only carried on by foreign merchants and seamen, and the English seamen condemned to our men of war; and perhaps live there, as hitherto, without their pay, till another million be owing them for wages; and, in the interim, have this only consolation and reward for service done, and to be done, that their wives and children may be subsisted with the alms of VOL. I.
the parish, whilst foreign soldiers are maintained at home and abroad with their pay.
A third argument for admitting foreigners, is upon a supposed want we have of manufacturers, especially such as will work cheaper than the English. In my opinion, this reasoning is extraordinary, and ought not to take air out of the house, lest the old English spirit should exert itself in defince of its liberties : for at this time, when all provisions are become excessive dear, by the great quantities exported to Holland, which puts the poor English manufacturers on starving in most parts of England, for want of a full employ to enable them to support their families by their honest and painful labour and industry; shall an English parliament let in strangers to undersell our country? which they may easily do, whilst they live in garrets, pay no taxes, and are bound to no duty. How shall we answer this to our country, who sent us here? When, by so doing, instead of making the kingdom more populous, we provide only for the subsistence of foreigners; and put our countrymen to the choice of starving at home, or to turn soldiers, and be sent fo Flanders, and starve there for want of their pay: for it's well known, that at this time more commodities are made in England than can be consumed abroad, or at home; which makes the poor manufacturers so miserable, All country genilemen within this house, have for several sessions laboured what they could to raise the price of the provisions which their lands produce; and some think it not great enough yet, and they would despise that man who should endeavour to lower the rates, by proposing a free importation of Irish cattle and corn, though he had no other design than that charitable and necessary one of relieving the poor; and yet
these very gentlemen are for this bill, because they would have the labour of the poor brought to a lower advantage. In my opinion, this is a very unequal way of reasoning; that whilst we raise the price of the pro