Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Preface. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1
The Preface. - Sir William Petty, The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1 
The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, together with The Observations upon Bills of Mortality, more probably by Captain John Graunt, ed. Charles Henry Hull (Cambridge University Press, 1899), 2 vols.
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- Note On the “treatise of Taxes.”
- The Preface.
- Chap. I.: Of the Several Sorts of Publick Charges.
- Chap. II.: Of the Causes Which Encrease and Aggravate the Several Sorts of Publick Charges.
- Chap. III.: How the Causes of the Unquiet Bearing of Taxes May Be Lessened.
- Chap. IV.: Of the Several Wayes of Taxe, and First, of Setting a Part, a Proportion of the Whole Territory For Publick Uses, In the Nature of Crown Lands; and Secondly, By Way of Assessement, Or Land-taxe.
- Chap. V.: Of Usury.
- Chap. VI.: Of Customs and Free Ports.
- Chap. VII.: Of Poll-money.
- Chap. VIII.: Of Lotteries.
- Chap. IX.: Of Benevolence.
- Chap. X.: Of Penalties.
- Chap. XI.: Of Monopolies and Offices.
- Chap. XII.: Of Tythes.
- Chap. XIII.: Of Several Smaller Wayes of Levying Money.
- Chap. XIV.: Of Raising, Depressing, Or Embasing of Money.
- Chap. XV.: Of Excize.
- Verbum Sapienti.
- Note On the Verbum Sapienti.
- The Introduction.
- Chap. I.: Containing Several Computations of the Wealth of the Kingdom.
- Chap. II.: Of the Value of the People
- Chap. III.: Of the Several Expences of the Kingdom, and Its Revenues.
- Chap. IV.: Of the Method of Apportioning Taxes.
- Chap. V.: Of Money, and How Much Is Necessary to Drive the Trade of the Nation.
- Chap. VI.: The Causes of Irregular Taxing.
- Chap. VII.: The Collateral Advantages of These Taxes.
- Chap. VIII.: Of the Expence of the Navy, Army, and Garisons.
- Chap. IX.: Motives to the Quiet Bearing of Extraordinary Taxes.
- Chap. X.: How to Employ the People, and the End Thereof.
- Note On the “political Anatomy of Ireland.”
- To His Grace the Duke of Ormand 1 .
- To the Right Honourable Thomas, Lord Parker 1 , Baron of Macclesfield In the County of Chester. Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.
- The Author's Preface.
- Advertisement 1
- The Contents of the Political Anatomy of Ireland 1 .
- The Political Anatomy of Ireland. 1672 1 .
- [chapter I.] 2: Of the Lands of Ireland.
- [chapter II.]: Of People, Houses, and Smoaks; Their Number, Differences, and Values.
- [chapter Iii]: of the Church and Benefices.
- [chapter Iv]: Concerning the Late Rebellion.
- [chapter V]: of the Future Settlement of Ireland, Prorogation of Rebellions, and Its Union With England.
- [chapter Vi]: of the Government of Ireland.
- [chapter Vii]: of the Militia and Defence of Ireland.
- [chapter Viii]: of the Cœlum and Solum of Ireland.
- [chapter Ix]: of the Proportion In Value, Which the Several Counties In Ireland Do Bear to Each Other , Viz.
- [chapter X]: of the Money of Ireland.
- [chapter Xi]: of the Trade of Ireland.
- [chapter Xii]: of the Religion, Diet, Cloaths, Language, Manners, and Interest of the Several Present Inhabitants of Ireland.
- [chapter XIII.]: Several Miscellany Remarks and Intimations Concerning Ireland, and the Several Matters Aforementioned.
- Report From the Council of Trade 1676.
- Political Arithmetick, Or a Discourse Concerning,
- Note On the “political Arithmetick.”
- To the King's Most Excellent Majesty 1 .
- Preface 1 .
- The Principal Conclusions 1 of This Treatise Are,
- Chap. I.: That a Small Country and Few People, By Its Situation, Trade, and Policy, May Be Equivalent In Wealth and Strength, to a Far Greater People and Territory: and Particularly That Conveniencies For Shipping and Water-carriage, Do Most E
- Chap. II.: That Some Kind of Taxes and Publick Levies, May Rather Increase Than Diminish the Wealth of the Kingdom .
- Chap. III.: That France Cannot By Reason of Natural, and Perpetual Impediments, Be More Powerful At Sea, Than the English, Or Hollanders 1 Now Are, Or May Be .
- Chap. IV.: That the People and Territories of the King of England, Are Naturally Near 1 As Considerable For Wealth and Strength, As Those of France.
- Chap. V.: That the Impediments of Englands Greatness, Are But Contingent and Removable .
- Chap. VI.: That the Power and Wealth of England Hath Increased This Last Forty Years .
- Chap. VII.: That One Tenth Part of the Whole Expence, of the King of England's Subjects, Is Sufficient to Maintain Ten Thousand 1 Foot, Forty Thousand Horse, and Forty Thousand Men At Sea; and Defray All Other Charges of the Government Both Ordina
- Chap. VIII.: That There Are Spare Hands Enough Among the King of England 's Subjects, to Earn Two Millions Per Annum More Than They Now Do; and That There Are Also Employments, Ready, Prope, and Sufficient, For That Purpose .
- Chap. IX.: That There Is Mony Sufficient to Drive the Trade of the Nation.
- Chap. X.: That the King of England's Subjects, Have Stock Competent and Convenient, to Drive the Trade of the Whole Commercial World.
YOung and vain persons, though perhaps they marry not primarily and onely on purpose to get Children, much less to get such as may be fit for some one particular vocation; yet having Children, they dispose of them as well as they can according to their respective inclinations: Even so, although I wrote these sheets but to rid my head of so many troublesome conceits, and not to apply them to the use of any one particular People or Concernment; yet now they are born, and that their Birth happened to be about the time of the Duke of Ormond's going Lord Lieutenant into Ireland, I thought they might be as proper for the consideration of that place, as of any other, though perhaps of effect little enough in any.
Ireland is a place which must have so great an Army kept up in it, as may make the Irish desist from doing themselves or the English harm by their future Rebellions. And this great Army ‖ must occasion great and heavy Leavies upon a poor people and wasted Countrey; it is therefore not amiss that Ireland should understand the nature and measure of Taxes and Contributions.
2. The Parishes of Ireland do much want Regulation, by uniting and dividing them ; so as to make them fit Enclosures wherein to plant the Gospel: wherefore what I have said as to the danger of supernumerary Ministers, may also be seasonable there, when the new Geograpy we expect of that Island shall have afforded means for the Regulation abovementioned.
3. The great plenty of Ireland will but undo it, unless a way be found for advantageous Exportations, the which will depend upon the due measure of Custom and Excize here treated on.
4. Since Ireland is under-peopled in the whole, and since the Government there can never be safe without chargeable Armies, until the major part of the Inhabitants be English, whether by carrying over these, or withdrawing the other ; I think there can be no better encouragement to draw English thither, then to let them know, that the Kings Revenue being above part of the whole Wealth, Rent, and Proceed of the Nation; that the Publick Charge ‖ in the next Age will be no more felt there then that of Tythes is here; and that as the Kings Revenue encreases, so the causes of his Expence will decrease proportionably, which is a double advantage.
6. The employing the Beggars in England about mending the High-wayes, and making Rivers Navigable will make the Wool and Cattle of Ireland vend the better.
7. The full understanding of the nature of Money, the effects of the various species of Coins, and of their uncertain values, as also of raising or embasing them, is a learning most proper for Ireland, which hath been lately much and often abused for the want of it
8. Since Lands are worth but six or seven years purchase, and yet twenty years just cross the Channel, ‘twere good the people of Ireland knew the reasons of it at a time when there is means of help.
Lastly, if any man hath any Notions which probably may be good for Ireland, he may with most advantage expose them to publick examination now, when the Duke of Ormond is the Cheif Governour: for,
- 1 His Grace knows that Countrey perfectly well ‖ as well in times and matters of Peace as War, and understands the Interests as well of particular persons, as of all and every factions and parties struggling with each other in that Kingdom; understanding withall the state of England, and also of several Forreign Nations, with reference to Ireland.
- 2 His Grace hath given fresh demonstration of his care of an English Interest in Ireland, and of his wisdom in reconciling the several cross concernments there so far as the same is possible.
- 3 His Grace Estate in Lands there is the greatest that ever was in Ireland, and consequently he is out of the danger incident to those Proreges against whom Cambden sayes, Hibernia est semper querula; there being no reason for ones getting more Land, who hath already the most of any.
- 4 Whereas some chief Governours who have gone into Ireland, chiefly to repair or raise fortunes, have withdrawn themselves again when their work hath been done, not abiding the clamours and complaints of the people afterwards: But his Grace hath given Hostages to that Nation for his good Government, and yet hath taken away aforehand all fears of the contrary.
- 5 His Grace dares do whatever he understand ‖ to be fitting, even to the doing of a single Subject Justice against a Confederate multitude; being above the sinister interpretations of the jealous and querulous; for his known Liberality and Magnificence shall ever keep him free from the clamor of the people, and his through-tried fidelity shall frustrate the force of any subdolous whisperings in the Ears of His Majesty.
- 6 His good acceptance of all ingenious endeavours, shall make the wise men of this Eastern England be led by his Star into Ireland, and there present him with their choicest advices, who can most judiciously select and apply them.
Lastly, this great Person takes the great Settlement in hand, when Ireland is as a white paper, when there sits a Parliament most affectionate to his Person, and capable of his Counsel, under a King curious as well as careful of Reformation; and when there is opportunity, to pass into Positive Laws whatsoever is right reason and the Law of Nature.
Wherefore by applying those Notions unto Ireland, I think I have harped upon the right string, and have struck whilest the Iron is hot; by publishing them now, when, if ever at all, they be useful. I would now advertise the ‖ world, that I do not think I can mend it, and that I hold it best for every mans particular quiet, to let it vadere sicut vult; I know well, that res nolunt male administrari , and that (say I what I will or can) things will have their course, nor will nature be couzened: Wherefore what I have written, (as I said before) was done but to ease and deliver my self, my head having been impregnated with these things by the daily talk I hear about advancing and regulating Trade, and by the murmurs about Taxes, &c. Now whether what I have said be contemned or cavilled at, I care not, being of the same minde about this, as some thriving men are concerning the profuseness of their Children; for as they take pleasure to get even what they believe will be afterwards pissed against the wall, so do I to write, what I suspect will signifie nothing: Wherefore the race being not to the swift, &c. but time and chance happening to all men, I leave the Judgement of the whole to the Candid, of whose correction I shall never be impatient.‖
- AN Enumeration and description of the several Branches of the Publick Charge. Page 1 
- The Maintenance of Governours ought to be in greater splendour than private Callings can reach to. Ibidem 
- The honour of being trusted, and the pleasure of being feared, is reward enough for some Offices. p. 2 
- The Pastorage of Souls ought to be a Publick Charge even upon a Civil Account. Ibid. 
- The use of Schools and Universities, as they are a publick charge. 3 
- The common and general Causes, which encrease and aggravate the burthen of paying Taxes. 4 
- The Causes that excite Forreign and Offensive Wars. Ibid. 
- The Causes of Defensive and Civil Wars. 5 
- A Cause of unnecessary Ecclesiastical Charge, is the not sizing of Parishes according to the Alterations which have been in Religion and Trade. 6 
- That five thousand Parishes are enough for England and Wales, so as to give unto each but a thousand Parishioners, and so as that none need go two miles to Church. 7 
- Antiquated Offices and overgrown Fees a Cause of unnecessary Charge in the Government, and administration of Justice. 8 
- Registers for Conveyances of Lands and Depositories for moveable Pawns, as also Banks of Money will lessen the Charge of Lawsuits and Writings. 9 
- How the number of such as relate to the Faculty of Medicine may be adjusted. 10 
- How the number of Students in the Universities intending to make Learning the way of their livelihood may be adjusted. Ibid.  ‖
- An Use propounded for the choice Parish-Children and Foundlings, to force on an useful Work, which hath hitherto been but perfunctorily pursued. Ibid 
- That the number of unnecessary Merchants and Retailers be retrenched. 11 
- The careful Maintenance and Education of exposed Children, and concealing their names and Families, is a matter of great consequence. Ibid. 
- A Proposal of several Employments, for Beggars, and such as have now no Work. 12 
- Great Works of Labour though in themselves unnecessary, are nevertheless of advantage to the Publick. 13 
- The mending of Highwayes, building Bridges and Causeys, and the making of Rivers Navigable in England, would make English Horses an exportable Commodity, and help to vend the Commodities of Ireland. Ibid. 
- The Causes of unquiet bearing of Taxes, viz. 14 
- First, That the Sovereign exacts too much. 15 
- Secondly, That Assessments are unequally laid. Ibid. 
- Thirdly, That the Moneys levied are vainly expended. Ibid. 
- Fourthly, Or given to Favourites. Ibid. 
- Fifthly, Ignorance of the Number, Trade, and Wealth of the People. 16 
- Sixthly, Obscurity about the right of imposing. Ibid. 
- Seventhly, Fewness of People. Ibid. 
- Eighthly, Scarcity of Money, and confusion of Coins. 17 
- Ninthly, That scarce an hundredth part of the Riches of this Nation is Coined Bullion. Ibid.
- Tenthly, The non-acceptance of Some Commodities in specie in discharge of Taxes. Ibid.
- The Consequences of a Tax too heavy if there be too much Money in the Nation, which may be; or if there be too little, and that either in a State well or ill governed. 17, 18, 19 [35–37]
- The first way of providing for the Publick Charge, is the excinding or setting apart of a proportion of the Territory, in the nature of Crown-Lands. 20 
- The second is taking away the same proportion of the Rents of all ‖ Lands. 21 
- The Nation is happy where either of the said two wayes is practised ab antiquo, and upon original agreement, and not exacted as a sudden contingent Surcharge upon the People. 21 
- The Owners of settled Rents bear the burthen of a Land-Tax, or Assessment, others probably gaining thereby. Ibid.
- A Land-Tax upon free Estates resolves into an Excize upon Consumptions. 22 
- Assessment upon Housing more uncertain then that of Land, Housing being of a double nature, viz. either an instrument of gain, or way of expence. Ibid.
- The heavy taxing of Housing no discouragement to new Buildings; nor is the discouragement of new Buildings any means to prevent the populousness of a City. Ibid.
- Prohibition to build upon new Foundations serves onely to fix the Ground-plot of a City. 23 
- The reason why the City of London removes its Ground-plot Westward. Ibid.
- That ‘tis probable the King of Englands Palace will in process of time be towards Chelsey. Ibid. [41–42]
- That the present Seat of London will be the greatest Cohabitation of People ever whilst this Island is inhabited. 24 
- The nature and natural Measures of the Rent of Land, computed in Commodities of the growth of the said Land. Ibid.[42–43]
- The Par between food or other proceed of Land, and Bullion or Coin. 25 
- The Par between Gold and Silver. Ibid.
- Gold and Silver are not natural Standards of the Values of τὰ χ ρήσα. 26 
- The prime Denominations of the τὰ χρήσα are but two, viz. Land and Labour, as the Denominations of Money in England are Pounds, Shillings, Pence. Ibid.
- Of the Par between Land and Labour. Ibid.[44–45]
- The reason of the number of years Purchase that Land is worth in several Countreys. 27 
- Why Land in Ireland is worth fewer years Purchase then in England. 27, 28 [46–47]‖
- The Description and Ratio formalis of Usury. 29 
- The same of Exchange. Ibid.[47–48]
- The Measures of both. 29, 30 
- Why Usury hath been limited more then Exchange. 30 
- A Parallel between the Changes of the Price of Money, and that of Land. Ibid.[48–49]
- How to compute and compare the Rents of Lands, in order to a just Land-Tax or Assessment. 31 
- The intrinsick value of Land is found by Surveys of the Quantity, Figure, and Scituation. Ibid.
- And by the Survey of the Quality, viz. its aptitude to bear; first, precious Commodities; secondly, the best of the kinde; thirdly, most in quantity. Ibid.
- The extrinsick or accidental value depends upon the plenty of Money, luxurious or frugal living; the Opinions Civil, Natural, and Religious of the People. Ibid.
- It is necessary to these Enquiries to know how to tell the Gold and Silver Coins of this present Age, and compare the same with that of former times. 32 
- How to compare not onely the Money of this present Age with that of the former, but the entire Riches of the present with the former People. Ibid.
- By the numbers of People, and the proportion of Money amongst them, the accidental values of Lands are to be computed. 33 
- How to proportion the Rates of a Commodity in one place, unto the Rates of the same in another place. Ibid.
- That the Day-wages of Labourers and several other of the most vulgar Tradesmen ought to be ascertain'd, and well adapted to the changes of time. Ibid.
- That though the difficulty of computing the contingent values of Land be great, yet there be greater reasons for undergoing it. 34 
- The nature of Credit, as the said word is commonly used among Tradesmen, and otherwise. Ibid.
- That the Sovereigns exact knowledge of the Subjects Estates would do them no harm. Ibid.
- A description of the Duty of Customs. 35 ‖
- A Conjecture that Customs at first were a kinde of præmium for ensurance against Pyrates. Ibid.
- The measures of the said Duty upon exported Goods. 36 
- The inconvenience of too heavy Customs. Ibid.
- What Commodities may be forced to pay Customs. 37 
- The measures of Customs upon imported Goods. Ibid. [55–56]
- The inconveniences of raising money, by the way of Customs. Ibid. 
- A Proposal, that instead of Tunnage and Poundage upon shipped Goods, a Tunnage were paid out of the ships Fraight. 38 
- Or that the Customs were taken as an Ensurance-præmium. Ibid. 
- Of prohibited Commodities in general. Ibid.
- Of prohibiting the exportation of Money and Bullion. 39 
- The said prohibition of Money serves as a sumptuary Law. Ibid.
- About the exportation of Wool. Ibid.[58–59]
- The lessening of our Sheep-trade, and encrease of Corn-tillage is an expedient in this case for many reasons. 40 
- Other considerations tending to shew, that the too vehement prohibitions of Wool may be ineffectual, or to do more harm then good. 41 [59–60]
- Of prohibiting Importations. Ibid.
- It were better to make and raise Commodities, though to burn them, then not to make them, or let the makers lose their Faculty, and be idle. Ibid.
- Of Free Ports, and in what cases they may do good or harm.42 [60–61]
- Of Poll-money, and the sorts of it. Ibid.
- The faults of the late Poll-moneys.43 
- Of the most simple Poll-money, where all pay alike, its conveniences and inconveniences. Ibid.
- Of Poll-money upon Titles, Offices, and Faculties.44 
- Harth-money is of the same nature with simple Poll-money, but both are rather Accumulative Excizes.45 
- Grants for publick Lotteries are Taxes upon the people. Ibid.
- Why Lotteries ought not to be allowed but by good authority. Ibid.[64–65]
- Raising of Money by Benevolence is a real Tax. 46 
- Three cases where the way of a Benevolence may be made good. Ibid.[65–66]
- Several reasons against it. 46, 47 
- The several species of Penalties. 47 ‖
- A doubt whether the Penalties set down in Moses Law ought to be inflicted now. 47 
- The proper use and reason of every sort of Penalty. 48 
- Perpetual Imprisonment is a kinde of slow death. 49 
- In what case death, mutilation, imprisonment, disgrace, &c. ought to be commuted for pecuniary mulcts. Ibid.[68–69]
- The meaning of the double and multiple Restitutions mentioned in the Law of Moses. Ibid. 
- Of the wayes for punishing or permitting Heterodox Believers in Religion. 50 
- That the Sovereign may do either. 51 
- That all Pseudodoxies whatsoever may be safely muzzled from doing harm by pecuniary mulcts. 51, 52 
- That the Sovereign by punishing them with death, mutilations, or imprisonments, doth therein punish himself, and that too re infecta, very often. 51 
- That the Pastours ought in some measure to be punished for the errours and defections of their Flocks. 52 
- The true use of the Clergy is rather to be patterns of Holiness then to teach men variety of Opinions de rebus divinis. 53 
- The substance of all that hath been said in this whole discourse about the Church. Ibid.
- The abuse of Penal Laws. 54 
- Of Monopolies. Ibid.
- The use and reason of instituting Monopolies. 55 [74–75]
- A Digression about new Inventions, and the vexations incident to the Projectors of new practices. Ibid.[74–75]
- Offices instituted by the State, with Fees of their own appointment, are of a parallel nature to Monopolies. 56 [75–76]
- Why the Fees of Offices were great heretofore. Ibid.
- How Offices are become as a saleable Commodity. 57 
- Why many superfluous Offices are not abolished. Ibid.
- A description of Tythes in several particulars. 58 [77–78]
- The causes why Tythes encrease. Ibid.
- The Rent of the Lands of England is but a quarter of the Expence of the people. 59 
- The Tythes in England are six times as much as they were four ‖ hundred years ago. Ibid.
- The Clergy are far richer now then they were in ancient times, and yet have less work to do. Ibid.
- The danger of too many Church men. 60 
- How to adjust the number of Church-men and Students in Divinity. Ibid.
- Tythes is now no Tax or burthen upon the people. 61 
- The way of Tythes is a good pattern for a Tax. Ibid.
- The way of paying Tythes in the City and Countrey is very disproportionable. 61 
- The inconveniences of contributing to the Publick Charge after the manner of Tythes Ibid.
- A reason why the wayes of Taxing the people are often shifted. 62 
- The State gains in several Countreys by being the common Cashier, Usurer, Ensurer, Monopolist, &c. 63 [82–83]
- The case of the Jews (every where subject to great Taxes) briefly stated. 64 [83–84]
- The way of leavying an aliquot part of mens Estates very dangerous. Ibid.
- Alterations in the values of Coins is a Tax upon such as live by determined Rents, Pensions, Fees, &c. 65 [84–85]
- What is embasing of Moneys, and what is not. Ibid.
- Of Tin and Copper money, as well curiously as coursly wrought. Ibid.
- Of the Tokens coined by retailing Shop-keepers. Ibid.
- What is Gold and Silver embased. 66 
- The reasons for embasing of money. Ibid.
- Reasons against the same. Ibid.
- What is properly raising of Money. 67 [86–87]
- The effect of raising both domestick and forreign Coins. Ibid.
- Raising of money changes the species of moneys, but lessens the Bullion. Ibid.
- Why many wise States have raised their moneys. 68 
- Raising of Forreign money to a double value, or abating the price of our Native commodities to half, is not all one, but the former is better. 69 
- The way of computing and comparing the prices of Commodities upon natural grounds. 69, 70 [89–90] ‖
- Men are really and actually rich according to what they spend and enjoy in their own persons. 71 
- Excize being a Tax upon such riches, is a just way by which to defray the Publick Charge. Ibid.
- That a proportion ought to be pitched between the Expence or Consumption of the whole Nation, and the Publick Charge thereof. Ibid.
- Commodities ought not to be taxed until they be just ripe for Consumption. 72 
- Commodities of equal value may be unequally excized with justice. ibidem. 
- Of accumulating the Excize of many things upon some one thing. Ibid.
- Whether Native Commodities exported ought to pay Excize. Ibid.
- The explication of Accumulative Excize 73 
- Reasons for accumulating the Excize of all things upon some one thing. Ibid.
- Why Beer ought not to be that one thing. 74 
- Harth or Smoak-money is an Accumulative Excize, with the reasons for and against it. Ibid.
- Reasons in behalf of the Excize. 75 
- Of framing persons to be fit for great Trusts, as to be Cashiers, Store-keepers, Checques, &c. Ibid.