Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VI.: That the Power and Wealth of England hath increased this last forty years . - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1
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CHAP. VI.: That the Power and Wealth of England hath increased this last forty years . - 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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That the Power and Wealth of England hath increased this last forty years.
Many Territories have been added to England within about forty years, and many improvements made.IT is not much to be doubted, but that the Territories under the Kings Dominions have increased; Forasmuch as New-England, Virginia, Barbadoes, and Jamaica, Tangier, and Bumbay, have since that time, been either added to His Majesties Territories, or improved from a Desart condition, to abound with People, Buildings, Shipping, and the Production of many useful Commodities. And as for the Land of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as it is not less in quantity, than it was forty years since; so it is manifest that by reason of the Dreyning of Fens, watering of dry Grounds, improving of Forrests, and Commons, making of Heathy and Barren Grounds, to bear Saint-foyne, and Clover grass; meliorating, and multiplying several sorts of Fruits, ‖ and Garden-Stuffe, making some Rivers Navigable, &c. I say it is manifest, that the Land in its present Condition, is able to bear more Provision, and Commodities, than it was forty years ago.
Secondly, Although the People in England, Scotland, and Ireland, which have extraordinarily perished by the Plague, and Sword, within this last forty years, do amount to about three hundred thousand, above what have dyed in the ordinary way; yet the ordinary increase by Generation of ten Millions, which doubles in two hundred years, as hath been shewn by the Observators1 upon the Bills of Mortality2 , may in forty years (which is a fifth part of the same time) have increased3 ⅕ part of the whole number, or two Millions. Where note by the way, that the accession of Negroes to the American Plantations (being all Men of great Labour and little Expence) is not inconsiderable; besides it is hoped that New-England, where few or no Women are Barren, and most have many Children, and where People live long, and healthfully, hath produced an increase ‖ of as many People, as were destroyed in the late Tumults in Ireland.
As for Housing, the Streets of London it self speaks it, I The Housing of London doubled in value. conceive it is double in value in that City, to what it was forty years since; and for Housing in the Country, they have increased, at4Newcastle, Yarmouth, Norwich, Exeter, Portsmouth, Cowes, Dublin, Kingsaile, Londonderry, and Coleraine in Ireland, far beyond the proportion of what I can learn have been dilapidated in other places. For in Ireland where the ruin was greatest, the Housing (taking all together) is now more valuable than forty years ago, nor is this to be doubted, since Housing is now more splendid, than in those days, and the number of Dwellers is increased, by near ⅕ part; as in the last Paragraph is set forth.
The Shipping very much increased with the Reasons thereof. As for Shipping, his Majesties Navy is now triple, or quadruple, to what it was forty years since, and before the Sovereign was Built1 ; the Shipping Trading2 to Newcastle, which are now about eighty thousand Tuns, could not be then above a quarter of that quantity3 . First, Because the City of London, ‖ is doubled. 2. Because the use of Coals is also at least doubled, because they were heretofore seldom used in Chambers, as now they are, nor were there so many Bricks burned with them as of late, nor did the Country on both sides the Thames, make use of them as now. Besides there are employed in the Guinny and American Trade, above forty thousand Tun of Shipping per annum; which Trade in those days was inconsiderable. The quantity in Wines Imported was not near so much as now; and to be short, the Customs upon Imported, and Exported Commodities, did not then yield a third part of the present value: which shews that not only Shipping, but Trade it self hath increased, somewhat near that proportion.
Interest of Mony abated near half. As to Mony, the Interest thereof was within this fifty years, at 10 l. per Cent. forty years ago, at 8l. and now at 6l. no thanks to any Laws which have been made to that purpose, forasmuch as those who can give good security, may now have it at less: But the natural fall of Interest, is the effect of the increase of Mony. ‖
Moreover if rented Lands, and Houses, have increased; and if Trade hath increased also, it is certain that mony which payeth those Rents, and driveth on Trade, must have increased also.
Lastly, I leave it to the consideration of all Observers, whether the number, and splendor of Coaches, Equipage, and Houshold Furniture, hath not increased, since that time; to say nothing of the Postage of Letters, which have increased from one to twenty, which argues the increase of Business, and Negotiation. I might add that his Majesties Revenue Mony and the Publick Revenue increased. is near tripled, and therefore the means to pay, and bear the same, have increased also. ‖
S, ‘Observater,’ R, ‘observators,’ altered to ‘Observator.’ The variation is significant in the dispute concerning the authorship of the Observations. See Introduction. This is the last of Petty's alterations in S.
The assertion is based, apparently, on chapter VII. of Graunt.
R. ‘neer’ inserted by Petty.
R, ‘Bristoll’ inserted.
In 1636–37. See p. 236.
S, ‘trading shipping,’ R, ‘shipping trade.’
In 1615 the Newcastle coal trade employed some two hundred sail of carvels that served London, besides some two hundred more that served the sea-coast towns throughout England. The Trades Increase [with address to the reader signed ‘I. R.’] London, printed by Nicholas Okes, 1615, 4°. p. 10. In 1649 the coal trade had so increased “that there was more Coales vented in one yeare. than in seven yeares, forty yeares by-past.” [W. Gray.] Chorographia, or a survey of Newcastle upon Type. London, printed for J. B. 1649, 4°. p. 26.