A Proposal for IMPROVEMENT of HUSBANDRY and TRADE.

I Have formerly for the good of my Country, made Enquiries, and publish'd two Volumes of a Collection of Letters for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, which I hope have been useful, and no way unacceptable to the Curious.

My private Occasions then call'd me from that Work, which I have been very often solicited to revive, and am willing enough to undertake the trouble thereof, in a much higher degree than ever, provided I may have the Assistance and Encouragement hereafter proposed.

The Matters intended to be insisted upon being very various, and not the Work of one or few hands, will oblige me to lay out for as large a Correspondence as may be procured; and it is hoped I may obtain, every Week, one Letter at least out of each County of the Kingdom; to which purpose, all Lovers of this Work are invited.

It is likewise intended,

To stop the Mouth of the Tenant that causlesly complains, and to open the Eyes and Heart of the over-hard Landlord, when the Tenant justly does so.

To inform the Corn-Merchant, Meal-man, Baker, Brewer, Feeders of Cattel, &c. when 'tis best to buy; and the Farmer or Maultster when best to sell.

To teach a Rule of selling Beasts in one County, according to the Prizes of Hay in all the rest.

To inform, not only those that live in Port, but such who live at distance, the best time of laying in their Coals.

To do the like for Hop-Merchants, Soap-Boylers, Tallow-Chandlers, Wool-Merchants, and their Customers.

I say for these, and such like Purposes, it is intended weekly to give an Account from most of the principal Places of the Kingdom, of the Prizes of Wheat, Rye, Mault, Oats, Pease, Hay, Coals, Hops, Tallow, and Wool.

It is further design'd, for Incouragement of those at distance to turn Merchants, and to inform them how their Stock goes, that they may thereby see when best to buy or sell: To give weekly from hence an Account of the Value of the Actions of the East-India, Guinea, Hudsons Bay, Linnen, and Paper-Companies.

And farther for the benefit of Physicians, Apothecaries, and others that are de­sirous to know the state of Health at London; as also for the Political Arithmeticians that desire to know the Increase and Decrease of Places; 'Tis still designed to give weekly an account of the several Parts of the Bills of Mortality of London.

And also for the benefit of all who are concerned in Shipping, either by their E­states or Friends, or are willing to know the Number of Ships trading to and from London; 'tis design'd to give an account Weekly of the Shipping into and out of the Port of London, with the Place whither bound and from whence.

And besides these,

There shall be for their Entertainment, one or more Accounts or Discourses upon some of the following Heads, being of undoubted Utility and publick Advantage; such as are,

A full Catalogue of all sorts of Earths that may be procured, to anatomize and di­stinguish them into their Classes, and to discover what is the proper Product of each; what the best sort of Compost or Manure for each, and how to be cultivated; as also the Arts of Dreining and Flooding Lands, and such like.

Ample and exact Histories of Trades, as Maulting, Brewing, Baking, Tanning, Dying, Potting, Glass-making, and many others.

An account of Goods imported and exported from the Custom-House of London, to draw the particulars into gross Sums, in order to examin the Expence and foreign Vent of each Commodity.

The Description and Structure of all Instruments for Husbandry and of Carriages, with the Deficiencies of the same, and Proposals for their Amendment; together with the Arts of Conserving and Amending the Roads or Highways.

The Arts of Fishing, Fowling, Hunting, and Destroying of Vermin.

An Account of the Rivers of England, of their Fountains, Bridges, Tides and Exits, how far they are Navigable, and with what Vessels.

An exact Comparison of all sorts of Weights and Measures used at this time in all parts of the World.

The comparative Strength and Weight of Woods, Cordage, Mettals, and other Materials in order to Building and Stowage.

Experiments on the Vegetation of Plants, to examine what Mixtures do promote or hinder it.

Epitomes of Books of Husbandry and Trade, and Collections of what else is to be met withall useful for the Advancement of Husbandry.

As good an Account as may be had of the Trade, Strength and Policy of other Nations.

In short, all useful things fit for the Ʋnderstanding of a plain Man.

And in Consideration of the Charge and Pains requisite to so great and difficult an Ʋndertaking, all those that are willing to encourage the same, are desired to send me a Guinea before the first Quarter, and Ten Shillings before each Quarter afterwards, for which, they (paying the Postage) shall weekly receive from me a Letter, wherein they shall have certain and constant Advice, as abovesaid.

And all the aforesaid Collections (a part of which only can be imagin'd to come within the compass of a Letter) shall be entred into Books, under their proper Heads, where every thing may be seen in as short a compass as the Nature of it will bear, by such whose Interest or Curiosity shall encourage to come unto me, at my House in S. Bartholomew Lane behind the Royal Exchange in London, where they shall find as much Diligence and Faithfulness as they can reasonably desire.

I presume none will question it to be my Interest to make it tempting; and I leave it to consideration, that this will be of publick Benefit, and that I am to every one that de­sires it, his Servant, to make these Collections for 40 s. per ann. However, I desire none to be at Charge unless they be chearfully willing; only if they like the Design, that they will recommend it, and if they have any Knowledg, Books, or Papers tending this way, they will either lend or give them.

The next Letter after Quarter Day, and so for four times, shall mention that the Quarter is out, and whoever shall not send his Mony by that time, I shall conclude he desires to have the Letters no longer; and if any shall think the Charge too great, seve­ral may club, making it as easie as they will, and have it sent to any publick place of their meeting.

I first intend to settle my Correspondents, and to begin my Letters at Lady-Day next.

John Houghton, Fellow of the Royal Society.

November 11. 1691.

These are to testify our Knowledge of the approv'd Abilities and Industry of Mr. JOHN HOUGHTON Citizen of London and Fellow of the ROYAL SOCIETY there, in the Discovery and Collection of Matters worthy Observation, and more particularly such as relate to the Improvement of husbandry and Trade. Towards his furtherance wherein, and in his laudable Inclination already experienc'd, and now further design'd, to the communi­cating the Effects thereof to the Publick; We do hereby most willingly give him this Testimony of our Knowledge and Esteem, in order to the recommending him [Page 3]to the Notice, Assistance, and Encouragement of all Gentlemen and others, de­sirous of promoting the Endeavours of a Person so qualify'd and dispos'd to the ser­vice of his Country.

  • Robt Southwell.
  • Thomas Meres.
  • John Hoskins.
  • Peter Pett.
  • Anth. Deane.
  • John Evelin.
  • Tho. Henshaw.
  • Abraham Hill.
  • Samuel Pepys.
  • John Creed.
  • Thomas Gale.
  • John Scott.
  • Robert Plot.
  • Daniel Coxe.
  • Nehem. Grew.
  • Edward Tyson.
  • Frederick Slare.
  • Robert Pitt.
  • Hans Sloane.
  • H. Chamberlen.
  • William Hewer.
  • Henry Whistler.
  • Alex. Pitfield.
  • Richard Waller.
  • Edw. Haynes.
  • Tho. Langham.
  • Franc. Lodwick.
  • Edm. Halley.

If this be carefully preserv'd, 'twill witness against the Proposer, if he keeps not his Promise.

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