Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. X.: How to employ the People, and the End thereof. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1
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CHAP. X.: How to employ the People, and the End thereof. - 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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How to employ the People, and the End thereof.
WE said, That half the People by a very gentle labour, might much enrich the Kingdom, and advance its Honour, by setting apart largely for publick uses; But the difficulty is, upon what shall they employ themselves.
To which I answer in general, Upon producing Food and Necessaries for the whole People of the Land. by few hands; whether by labouring harder, or by the introducing the Compendium, and Facilitations of Art1 , which is equivalent to what men vainly hoped from Polygamy2 . For as much as he that can do the Work of five men by one, effects the same as the begetting four adult Workmen. Nor is such advantage worth fewer years purchase than that of Lands, or what we esteem likest to perpetual. Now the making Necessaries cheap, by the means aforesaid, and not by raising more of them than can be spent ‖ whilst they are good, will necessitate others to buy them with much labour of other kinds. For if one man could raise Corn enough for the whole, better than any one man; then that man would have the natural Monopoly of Corn, and could exact more labour for it in exchange, than if ten others raised ten times as much Corn as is necessary; which would make other labour so much the dearer, as men were less under the need of engaging upon it.
2. By this way we might recover our lost Cloth-trade1 , which by the same the Dutch got from us. By this way the East-Indians furnish us from the other end of the world with Linnen cheaper than our selves can make them, with what grows at our own Doors. By this means we might fetch Flax from France, and yet furnish them with Linnen (that is) if we make no more than we can vend, but so much with the fewest hands, and cheapest food, which will be when Food also is raised, by fewer hands than elsewhere.
3. I answer generally we should employ our selves by raising such Commodities, as would yield and fetch in money from abroad: For that would supply any wants of ours from the same, or any other place at all times. Which Stores of Domestick ‖ Commodities could not effect, whose value is to call a Temporary (i.e.) which are of value but pro hic & nunc.
4. But when should we rest from this great Industry? I answer, When we have certainly more Money than any of our Neighbour States, (though never so little) both in Arithmetrical and Geometrical proportion (i.e.) when we have more years provision aforehand, and more present effects.
5. What then should we busie our selves about? I answer, in Ratiocinations upon the Works and Will of God, to be supported not only by the indolency, but also by the pleasure of the Body; and not only by the tranquility, but serenity of the mind; and this Exercise is the natural end of man in this world, and that which best disposeth him for his Spiritual happiness in that other which is to come. The motions of the mind being the quickest of all others, afford most variety, wherein is the very form and being of pleasure; and by how much the more we have of this pleasure, by so much the more we are capable of it even ad Infinitum1
NOTE ON THE “POLITICAL ANATOMY OF IRELAND.”
The Political Anatomy of Ireland, together with the Political Arithmetick, are the products of Petty's second prolonged Irish residence, as the Down Survey of Ireland was the product of his first residence in that island. Petty went to Ireland in 1667 and seems to have remained there almost continuously until the summer of 1673. He was, however, in London in April 1671, and it is not improbable that at that time Sir Joseph Williamson gave the impulse to a renewal of his literary activity. The 17 January 1671, Edward Chamberlayne, compiler of The Present State of England, had written Williamson asking his criticism of the book, with a view to a new edition of it which the publisher, Martyn, desired. Williamson probably suggested the addition of some matter concerning Ireland, and Chamberlayne wrote again, 29 January, “To give a brief account of the present state of Ireland I shall, at your request, very willingly undertake.” In an undated letter, endorsed by Williamson, “Apr. 1671,” Chamberlayne wrote further, “I yesterday met with Sir William Petty whom I found very able to promote the Designe of giving an Account in Print of the State of Ireland as you desired. If you would please to speak or write to him and recommend me to him I will most gladly wayte upon him at his leisure1 .” The Calendar of State Papers, domestic series, for 1671 reveals no further mention of the project. The State Papers for 1672 were not calendared in August, 1895. In a necessarily hurried search I found no later letter by Chamberlayne but may have overlooked some memorandum of the matter in Williamson's microscopic notes. However that may be, Chamberlayne did not write a book on Ireland, and Petty did.
The British Museum possesses the best MS. of the Political Anatomy1 . It is written in a neat hand, upon paper carefully ruled in red ink, and bears, in the text, occasional corrections in a different and blacker ink, made by Petty himself. The history of this MS. can be traced with a completeness that places its authenticity beyond question. It was given by Petty to Southwell, of whose scrupulous care for Petty's MSS. there is abundant evidence, and remained in the possession of the Southwell family until the sale of Lord De Clifford's papers in 18342 . At this sale it was purchased by Thomas Thorpe, and promptly appeared in one of his catalogues3 . It passed into the hands of Dr Neligan of Dublin, who probably bought it of Thorpe. At the dispersal of Neligan's library4 the MS. was acquired for the British Museum.
Inserted in this MS. is a letter from Sir Richard Cox, the historian of Ireland, to Southwell, endorsed “Bristol, 15 June, 1687. From Mr Cox On Sr Wm Petty's Anatomy of Ireland.” The letter begins:
My Curiosity was never feasted higher than with Ye reading of the Political Anatomy of Ireland wherein the learned5 Author at once discovers both his great abilityes & his great zeale to serve his6 Country: Nor7 will it in Ye least detract from Ye glory of his pformance, nor I believe disgust him that I communicate to you some difficultyes and remarques on that excellent discourse, wherein I humbly desire to be better informd.” Cox then makes twenty-five detailed comments8 , referring to the MS. by folio, and concludes, “I thought to have transcribd and enlarged this paper, but it happens Yt a client is just now come in, and therefore I hope you will excuse this scroll from
In 1851 this letter, if General Larcom be not mistaken1 , was separated from the MS. to which it refers and inserted in another. It was reunited to the MS., however, before the sale of Dr Neligan's library.
Another MS., of which no further trace has been found, was once in the possession of Sir Peter Pett and by him was offered to Sir Joseph Williamson2 . The offer would argue Pett's ignorance of Williamson's probable connection with the book.
The Political Anatomy was first published in 1691. A second edition appeared in 1719, and the book was reprinted in 1769 and in 18613 . The present reprint follows the first edition. The more significant divergences of the printed text from the Southwell MS. (‘s’) and all Petty's alterations of that MS. are indicated in the foot notes. On the relation of S. to the edition of 1691 see note 3 on page 131.
Perhaps an allusion to Petty's projected epitome of useful books and to his “History of arts illiberal and mechanique.” Petty's Advice to Hartlib and Hartlib's letters to Boyle 16 November, 1647, and 10 August, 1658 (Boyle's Works (1772), VI, 76, 112) give some account of the project, and copies of what appear to be Petty's notes towards its realization are in Sloane MS. 2903 fol. 63 seq., in the British Museum.
See Graunt, ch. viii.
See Treatise of Taxes, p. 30 n.
A Letter from a Gentleman in the Country to his Frsend in the City touching Sir William Petty's posthumous Treatise entituled Verbum Sapienti or, the Method of Raising Taxes in the most equal Manner (subscribed “H. J.”) was printed by G. W. for William Miller, London, 1691, 4°. The author summarizes and in general approves Petty's conclusions but belives that Petty underestumated the amount of money necessary to the nation, and argues that the landlords bear more than their share of taxes. He thinks, therefore, that Petty's plan is defective in not proposing a compensatory tax upon non-owners of land.
I [The Southwell MS. (see p. 123) bears title “The Political Anatomy of Ireland, 1672.” The more elaborate titles of the first and second editions (see Bibliography, 24) were probably composed by the editors in 1691 and 1719. The Verbum Sapienli has been placed before the Anatomy (pp. 99–120), in conformity to the general chronological scheme of arrangement.]
State Papers Dom. Car. II, vol. 287, no. 77, 138, vol. 289, no. 120.
Addl. MS. 21,127.
A Catalogue of MSS., State Papers and Autograph Letters received by Sir R. Southwell, the property of Lord De Clifford, deceased. Sold by Christie, February 11, 1834, no. 599.
State Papers: Catalogus lib. MSS. bibl. Southwelliana (1834), no. 711, p. 409.
A Catalogue of valuable Books and interesting MSS., the property of a well known Collector. Sold by Sotheby 17 August, 1855, no. 305.
‘Learned’ is substituted for ‘ingenious’ erased.
‘To serve his’ substituted for'ingenious’ erased.
‘Nor’ substituted for ‘And tho’ erased.
The comments are reproduced as foot notes to appropriate passages.
Petty, Hist. of the Down Survey, p. v, 334.
Pett to Williamson, 4 Dec., 1678, State Papers Ireland, Car. II., 338.