A LETTER TO A MEMBER OF THE House of Commons ON A PROPOSAL for Regulating and Advancing the WOOLLEN-MANUFACTORY, &c.

Given to the Members at the Commons Door, the 25th. of January, 1697/8.

LONDON, Printed for Geo. Huddleston; at the Black­a-moore's-Head, near Exeter-Change in the Strand. 1698.

A LETTER TO A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE of COMMONS, ON A Proposal for Regulating and Advancing the Woollen-Manufactory, &c.


I have read, and here give you my Thoughts of the Pro­posal you sent me, relating to the Woollen-Manufactory: First It convinces me, that without the [Page 6] Experience and Information of practical Heads, Men of the best Understanding, cannot form Laws and Methods, for impro­ving our Trade and Navigati­on: If what this honest Clothier, for so I take him to be, hath offered, was improv'd by a Law, I think it would establish and advance the Woollen-Manufactory of England, more than all the Laws made these hundred Years. Thus far I am of the Proposer's Opinion, as it relates to the working Part; but I doubt he is short in his Method for pre­venting the Exports of Wooll.

His Expedients for balancing, as he calls the Exports of Wol­len-Manufactory from England and Ireland, seem such as I [Page 7] should think our Friends in Ire­land will think reasonable.

There is only two Things that want Explanation: First, Whether Six Pence a Pound should be charged on Irish-Frize, that would be equal to a Prohibition, the Commodity not being of Value to bear it?

The other Thing to be ex­plain'd, is, Whether this Duty should be charg'd by our Par­liament here, or by the Parlia­ment of Ireland?

I believe all Nations in the World that have heard of our Constitution, think us the hap­pienst People under Heaven; the way to keep us so, is to se­cure [Page 8] our Brethren in Ireland, the Right they have to the same Constitution.

Now I think the Soul of our Constitution is, that no Eng­lish Man is bound by any Law made, where he hath not a Re­presentative.

Both Kingdoms hold Parlia­ments; let us be careful of Par­liaments: By our supporting theirs, we secure our own; but if either Kingdom makes Laws for the other, we invade the Rights of English Men, by de­nying them their Representa­tives where Laws are made to oblige them.

[Page 9] I have often admir'd the Wis­dom of the Romans, in making the Privilege of a Roman Uni­versal, through their whole Con­quest. The poorest Mechanick, though in a Kingdom governed by their own Laws, not those of Rome, yet a Roman, had the Privilege of being try'd accord­ing to the Roman Constitution; why should not we that have a better Foundation than Heathen Rome, be as good Men, that is, as Careful of the Rights and Li­berties of our Nation?

Let us not then Consent to have any thing imposed on Eng­lish Men, where-ever they are, that we would not indure our selves. I am sure we should not submit to a Law made in Ireland; and [Page 10] we have nothing to justifie our making Laws for them but Force, which though it may be a good Attendent to support Righteous Laws; yet I cannot think it a good Authority to make them so, that are not.

The British of Ireland hold by the same Tenure we do; by supporting the Annuity of our younger Brother, we secure the Inheritance to our selves.

I am afraid advancing the Power of our Parliament to the breaking the Rights of another, may turn upon our selves. I confess my self a Votary to Par­liaments, and would therefore have nothing done that might weaken their Constitution.

[Page 11] I own we have Reason to the last Degree, to look to our Woollen Manufactory; and I should rather part with all the other Trade and Commerce of the Nation than that; yet that should go, and my Life too, ra­ther than my Hand should join in that Act, which breaks in upon the Rights and Liberties of English Men. Whilst we preserve that, it is our own Fault if we secure not our Trade and Navigation; and why should not we, by ju­stifiable Methods, oblige Ireland to serve us in both?

I am humbly of opinion, there are Ways and Room enough to make that Island equally pro­fitable to us with all our Fo­reign Plantations; but then it [Page 12] must not be by driving out the English, in my weak Judgment. It hath been always the Mistake of England, in not giving In­couragement for more of our Nation to plant there; perhaps a thousand Families might have grown to a Strength that would have prevented the frequent Re­bellions, that have cost the Lives of hundred thousands of English Men. We must, for our own sakes, keep Ireland out of Irish and Foreign Hands; and that we cannot do, but by our own People. It would be unnatural to them, and dangerous to our selves, to establish them in Sla­very; and it is so, where Men are governed by Laws they have no hand in making. The Infal­lible Author teacheth us better Doctrine, where he bids us, So [Page 13] speak, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the Law of Liberty, that is our Right may no hand in­vade it. I am,

Your Obliged Servant, F. B.

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