Imágenes de página

set men

Husbandman. Yes, yee rayse the price of your landes, and yee take fermes also and pastures to your hands (which was wont to bee poor mens lyuings, such as I am), and haue geuen ouer to liue

onely upon your landes. The com- On my soule yee say truth, (quoth the Marchaunte); and the plaint of Capper also sayd no less, adding thereto, that it was neuer merry craftesmen wit

ewith poore craftsmen, since gentlemen became grasiers, for they against gentlemen cannot now adayes (sayd he) tinde theyr prentizes and seruauntes for taking meate and dryncke; but it cost them almost double asmuch as of Farmes. did before time; wherefore, where many of myne occupation and

other like, heretofore ha:re dyed rych men, and bene able to leaue honestly behynde them for theyr wyfe and children; and besides that leaue some notable bequestes, for some good deede, as to the making of brydges, and repayring of highwayes, all which thinges go to wracke now euery where. Also some were wont to buy land,

eyther for to helpe the poore beginners of their occupations : yea, The crafts- some time they had such superfluity as they could ouer such bemans com- questes leaue a nother portion to finde a pryste, or to founde a chaunplaynt that try in some parishe church; and now we are skant' able to liue he cannot

en without debt, or to keepe few seruaunts or none, except it bee one a worke for prentize or two. And, therefore, the journeymen wbat of our octhe dearth cupations, and what of clothyers and all other occupations being of victayle.

forced to be without worke, are the most parte of these rude people that maketh these vprores abrode, to the great disquiet not onely of the Queenes Highnese, but also of hir people. And neede as yee knowe hath no booty."

March. It is true yee knowe likewise what other notable acts men of myne occupation haue done in this City. Before this yee know the Hospitall at the Townes ende, wherein the freemen decaied are releaued, how it was founded not longe agoe by one of our occupation, supposing thereby that the City should be much releaued, which then was in some decay, and yet it decayeth still euery lay

more and more whereof it should be longe, I cannot well tell. The Gen. Knight. Syr, as I knowe it is true that yee complayne not without tlemans complavnt cause, soit is as true that I and my sorte, I meaneall gentlemen haue how he as great yea and farre greater cause to complayne then any of you cannot. haue, for (as I sayd) now that the pryces of thinges are so rysen of keepe lyke

ke all handes, you may better lyue’ after your degree then we, for you naunce as may and do rayse the pryce of your wares, as the prises of vittayles, he was and other your necessaries doe ryse; and so cannot we so niuch,

for though it bee true that of such landes as come to our handes, eyther by purchase, or by determination and ending of such termes of yeares, or other estates, that I or mine auncestors had graunted


wont to


! Scarcer

2 Live.

3 Victuals.

them in time past. I doe either receyue a better fine than of old was vsed, or enhaunse the rent thereof, being forced thereto for the charge of my housholde that is so encreased ouer that it was, yet in all my lyfetyme I looke not that the thyrd parte of my land shall come to my disposition, that I may enhaunce the rent of the same but it shalbe in men's holding either by leases or by copy graunted before my time, and still continuing, and yet lyke to continue in the same state for the most part during my lyfe, and percase' my sonnes : so as we cannot rayse all our wares as you may yours, and as me thinketh it were reason we did, and by reason that we cannot, so many of vs (as yee know) that haue departed out of the countrey of late, haue been driuen to geue ouer our housholds, and to kepe either a chamber in London, or to wayte on the Court

Why Genuncalled, with a man and a lackey after him, where he was tenen doe wonte to keepe halfe a score of cleane men in his house, and twenty geue ouer or twenty-four other persons besides euery day in the weeke; and their hous.

holdes. such of vs as doe abyde in the countrey still, cannot with two hundreth a yeare, keepe that house that we might haue done with 200 markes but 16 yeares past. And, therefore, we are forced either to minishe the third part of our housholde, or to raise the thyrd part of our reuenewes ; and for that we cannot so doe of our owne landes Why Genthat is already in the hands of other men, many of vs are enforced tlemen doe either to keepe peeces of our owne landes, when they fall in our ta,

" into their owne possession, or to purchase some farme of other mens landes, handes. and to store it with sheepe or some other cattell, to help to make yp the decay of our reuenewes, and to mainetayne our olde estate withall, and yet all is litle enough.

Husbandman. Yea, those sheepe is the cause of all these mischieues, for they haue driuen husbandry out of the countrey, by the Complaint which was increased before all kinde of victailes, and now altoge- Sheepe

against ther sheepe, sheepe, sheepe. It was farre better when there were not only sheepe ynough, but also oxen, kine, swyne, pig, goose, and capon, egges, butter, and cheese ; yea, and breade corne, and malte corne ynough besides, reared all together upon the same lande.

Then the Doctor that had leaned on his elbowe all thys whyle musing, sat vp and sayd, (Doctor) “I perceaue by you all three that there is none of you but haue iust cause to complaine."

Capper. No, by my troth, except it be you men of the Church, which trauaile nothing for your lyuinge, and yet haue ynough.

The dialogue is then continued by the Doctor's complaint for men of his calling; the Capper's complaint against learned men, and other discussions between them upon the subject of learning, and the use of it to the Commonweal.

! Perchance.

That euery Tlie Merchant then interrupting the course of argument upon state find eth himself learning :-(March.) I perceive, then, every man findeth himself greeued. greeued at this time, and no man goeth cleare as farre as I can per

ceaue. The Gentleman that he cannot Jyue on his landes onely, as his father did before; the Artifficers cannot set so many a worke, by reason all maner of victayle is so deere; the Husbandman, by reason his lande is deerer rented then before; then wee, that bee Marchaunts, pay much deerer for euery thing that cometh ouer sea; which great derth (I speak in comparison of former times) hath bene alwayes in a maner at a stay euer after that basenesse of our Englishe coyne, which happened in the later yeares of Kyng Henry the Eight.

Doctor. i doubt not, but if any sorte of men haue licked themThat Marchaunts selues whole, yee be the same; for what oddes so euer there happen best saue to bee in exchaunge of things, yee that bee marchaunts can espy themselues it straight. For example : because yee touched somewhat of the in euery alteration. coyne, as soon as euer yee perceiue the price of that evhaunsed, yee

by and by what was to bee wonne therein beyond Sea, raked all the Of our olde coyne for the most parte in the realme, and founde the meanes olde Coyne exhausted. Lo

ne to haue it caryed ouer, so as litle was lefte behinde within this

realme of such olde coyne in a very short space, which, in my opynion, is a great cause of this dearth that hath bene since of all things.

Knight. How can that be? what maketh it to the matter what

sorte of coyne we haue among our selues, so it be currant from one Whether it hand to another, yea, if it were made of leather. make any, Doctor'. Yea, so men commonly say, but the truth is contrary, matter of wilat met. as not only I coulde proue by common reason, but also that proofe tall the and experience bath already declared the same ; but nowe wee doe Coyne bee not reason of the causes of these griefes, but what states of men made of.

bee grieued indeede by this dearth of things; and, albeit I heare euery man finde him selfe grieued by it in one thinge or other; yet, considering that as many of them as haue wares to sell, doe enhaunse as much in the pryce of thinges that they sell, as was enhaunsed before in the prices of things that they must buy: as the Marchaunt, if he buy deere, hee will sell deere againe : so these artificers, as Cappers, Clothiers, Shomakers, and Farmers, haue respect large ynough in sellinge their wares to the price of victayle, woole, and iron which they buy. I have seen a cap for xili pence' as good as I can get now for two shillings, sixe pence: of cloth yee haue lieard how the price is rysen. Now a payre of shooes cost twelue pence; yet, in my time, I baue bought a better for sixe pence. Now I can get neuer a horse shooed under ten pence or twelue pence, where I haue also seene the common pryce was sixe pence. I cannot, iherefore, vnderstande that these men haue greate ·

S common

est griefe by this common and vniuersall dearth, but rather such as haue their lyuinges and stypendes rated at a certaynty, as commion laborers at eight pence a day, journeymen of all occupations, What meu seruing men to forty shyllings a yeare, and gentlemen whose landes are most

es pinched by are set out by them and their auncestors, eyther for lyues, or this comfor terme of yeares, so as they cannot enhaunce the rents there- mon of though they would, and yet haue the pryce enhaunsed to them dearth. of euery thing that they buy. Yea, the Prynce of whom wee,

That the speake nothing of all this while, as she hath most of yearely reue- p. newes, and that certayne, so should she haue inost losse by this hath most dearth, and by the alteration specially of the coyne ; for, like as a losse by man that hath a great number of seruaunts vnder him, if he would graunt that they should paye him pinnes weekly, where before they Dearth. payde him pence, I thinke he should be most looser himself: so wee bee all but gatherers for the Prince; and of that which commeth to vs, wee haue but euery man a poore liuinge, the clear gaynes commeth for the most part to the Prince. Now, if her Highnes doe take of vs the ouerplus of our gettinges in this base coyne, I reporte me to you, wether that will go as farre as good money in the prouision of necessaries for her selfe and the realme. I think plainely no; for though her Grace might within this realme haue thinges at her owne price, as her Grace cannot in deede without great grudge of her Maiesties subjects ; yea since her Maiesty must haue from beyond the Seas many thinges, necessary not onely for her Grace's housholde, and ornaments aswell of her person and family, as of her horses, which percase might bee by her Grace somewhat mo- Whatdaun

yer should derated; but also for the furniture of her warres, wbich by no it be to the meanes can be spared, as armor of all kinds, artillery, ankers, ca- realme if bles, pitch, tarre, iron, steele, (yea, I judge farther) some hand the

should gunnes, gunne powlder, and many other thinges moe than I can want trea. reckon, which her Grace sometimes doth buy from beyonde the sure in Seas, at the prices that the straungers will set them at. I passe ouer time the enhaunsment of the charges of her Graces housholde, which " is common to her Grace withall other noblemen; therefore (I say) her Maiesty should haue most loss by this common dearth of all other : and not onely losse, but daunger to the realme and all : her subiects, if her Grace should want treasure to purchase the sayd prouision and necessaries for warre, or to finde souldiers in time of neede, which passeth all the other priuate losses that wee speake of...

. Capper. Wee heere say, that the Queenes Maiestyes mint maketh up her losses that way, by the gaynes which she hath by the Mint another way; and if that bee to shorte shee supplieth that lacke by subsidies and impositions of her subiects, so as her Grace can haue no lacke, so longe as her subiectes hath it.

[ocr errors]

the Prince

sure when


Doctor. Yee say well there, so long as the subiects haue it; Howe the Queenes

so it is meete the Queene should haue as long as they haue it: but Maiesty what and they haue it not; for they cannot haue it, when there is cannot no treasure left within the realme; and as touchinge the Mint, I baue trea

en coumpt that profit much like as if a man woulde take his woode yp her snb by the rote to make the more profit thereof at one time, and euer jects have after to lose the profit that might growe thereof yearely : or to

pull the wool of his sheepe by the roote, and as for the subsidies, To what howe can they be large when the subiects haue litle to departe with; profit the and yet that way of gathering treasure is not alwayes most saufe for is like. mint the Prynces suerty; and wee see many times the profits of such

subsidies spent in the appeasing of the people, that are moued to sedition, partely by occasion of the same.

The First Dialogue then closes by a recapitulation by the Knight of the common griefs complained of, and a determination between the parties to renew the discourse, for the purpose of finding out the causes of their griefs, with a view to reform and redress them,

pew min

« AnteriorContinuar »