REASONS Against Wearing of India Wrought Silks, Bengals, and Callicoes, In England, and the Plantations.

The WEAVERS of London do humbly offer to the seri­ous Consideration of both Houses of Parliament;

That this Kingdom of England will sustain great Evils and Damage by enjoyning the Wear of Woollen Manufactures and Leather, both by Men, Women, and Children, by a Law; and so consequently restraining the Wear of Silks and Hair Stuffs manufactured in England; And that great benefit may ensue to the English Nation, by prohibiting the Use and Wear of Silks and Stuffs Foreign manufactur'd, appears by these following Particulars, viz.

THE Restraint of wearing Silks, and Stuffs made of Mohair Yarn manufactured in England, will necessarily impoverish and depopulate the Nation, there being no Trades in England that imploy so many People as those relating to the Manufa­cturing of Silk and Hair; for upon the most modest computation they are judg­ed to be above. Three hundred thousand Souls Weavers, Throwsters, Windsters, Dyers, and other Dependents thereupon, that do subsist thereby, and that have no other way of Livelyhood; and a great part of these have served seven years Apprentiship to their several Trades, according to the Laws of this Nation, (which makes their Trades a Freehold and Inheritance) and have Families depend upon them. Now if by Law there should be any Restraint of wearing English made Silks and Hair Stuffs for any part of the Year, they would be deprived of their said Freehold and Inheritance, and must of necessity not only be impove­rished, but want bread in one year, nay the greatest part of them in one Months time, they having nothing but from hand to mouth, and what they get by their daily Labour to supply their daily Wants; and consequently the greatest part of them must be necessitated in a short time either to take rude and desperate courses, or transport themselves into Foreign Parts to get their Bread; there being no other Imployment (either Handicraft or others) that can receive one fourth part of so great a Number, considering that the Old and Young are hereby imployed, and cannot otherwise, but be chargable to the places of their Abode.

If it be objected, that this Restraint is intended but for five Months in the Year, and therefore cannot have such dismal Effects as are before mentioned: For Answer it is said, That these five Months Restraint of wearing them will take off the Imployment of the Ma­nufacturers thereof eight Months in the Year, and in little time amount to little less than a total Prohibition of them; for that the persons that wear English made Silks and Hair Stuffs are generally of the best Quality, and all of them either Leaders or Followers of the newest Modes and Fashions, and therefore it cannot be supposed that they will buy Silk Garments to lay by them all the Winter to wear in Spring, for that then newer Modes and Fashions will come in, and there cannot be allowed less (one with another) than three or four Months for them to wear out a Silk Garment: So that take the five Months in the Year wherein they are not to be worn at all, and the three or four Months before, which must be allowed for the wearing of those they have already bought, there will not remain above three or four Months at most for the Manufacturers to sell their Silks and Stuffs; which amounts to little less than a total Prohibition, for this reason, for that the Merchants either cannot, or at least will not, give credit to the Weaver or Throwster the Year round; and if they should, yet is there not one Weaver or Throwster in a thousand, that is able to supply their Workmen and Windsters with Money so long time, without Returns of Money for their Commodities, So that it is manifest notwithstanding this Objection, the forementioned mischiefs of Poverty and Depopulation must ensue upon it.

And if it be objected, That it is not intended to restrain the wear of Stuffs made of Mohair Yarn, commonly called Chamlets, or other Stuffs, whereof the Woof or Warp shall be of Mohair Yarn; This must be acknowledged to be so, but withall, these Chamlets and Stuffs are limitted to be used for Cloaks and Coats for Men only, which do not work up the fourth Part of the Mohair Yarns imported, nor do they imploy one sixth Part of the Hands that Mohair Yarns would imploy; for it is to be noted, that the several Commodities here­after named, viz.

  • Barratines
  • Prunella's
  • Crispiana's
  • Tamaleta's
  • Calamantoes
  • Mohairs
  • Farrendines
  • Morella's

and divers other Stuffs are made up of three Parts of Mohair Yarn, and but one Part of Silk; and these are cheifly for the use of Women and Children in the Winter season who [...] not allowed to wear the same.

That as this will impoverish the Manufacturers of Silk and Hair Stuffs, so it will also dimi­nish the consumption of Wooll, and impoverish the Manufacturers thereof, and consequent­ly cause yet a greater Depopulation of the Nation.

Because the greatest part of our Cloths and Stuffs made here of English Wooll are trans­ported beyond the Seas, and chiefly to Turky; in exchange whereof the Merchants bring raw Silks and Mohair Yarn, which sets so many thousand people to work again; and if the Consumption of Silk and Hair be abated in England, as it must needs be by the Restraint of the Wear thereof, the Exportation of Cloth must needs abate proportionably thereunto, for that there is little other Commodities proper for England to be had there in exchange for our Cloths; so that whereas the Turky Company in particular have of late exported twenty five or thirty thousand Cloths in a Year, they may be reduced to ten or twelve thousand, and by degrees to little or nothing; and consequently there will be eighteen or twenty thousand Cloths lie on the Clothiers hands in one Year more than they can vend; and that there will be such an Abatement in the Exportation of English Cloths, if English made Silks and Hair Stuffs be not allowed to be worn five Moneths in the Year, will appear not onely from the former Argument, that there are little other Commodities to exchange in Turky for them but Silk and Hair; but also because the Winter Season, wherein these Silks and Stuffs are prohibited to be worn, is the chief time for the Consumption of Silk and Hair Stuffs, for that the richest Silks and Stuffs are worn in that season, and is the principal time for the Consump­tion of them. And if this be true, (as most certain it is) that this will cause so great an Abate­ment in the Exportation of our Cloths made of English Wooll, what miserable Poverty and Desolation will it bring upon the Manufacturers of the Staple Commodity of this Nation, and in little time force them also to transport themselves to Forein Parts, to the great Depo­pulation, Dishonour, and Danger of the Nation; for hereby there will not be People suffici­ent to eat up the Corn, nor strength to defend the Nation.

If it be objected, That the enjoyning the wearing of Woollen Manufacture five Months in the Year, will answer the Consumption of Wooll that is abated in the Exportations: It is answered, That it had need exceed it three times over; for that the making 60000 Cloths in a Year more than now is, will not set so many people at work, as the other will throw out of work; and if it could be supposed that there would be vent for so many more, it is presumed there would not be found Wooll enough to make them, it being now somewhat a scarce Commodity, and raised in price a third part to what it was some years past. So that indeed at this time there is no just cause to complain of the want of Consumption of Wooll, it being a good scarce and ready money Commodity; but that the Restraint of Silk and Hair Stuffs, and the enjoyning the Wear of Woollen, will neither increase the Consumption of it to such a degree, nor yet answerable to the Abatement of the Exportation of it by 15 or 20000 Clothes per annum, is proved thus; because the Nobility, Gentry, and better sort of Trades­men, will not wear our course Cloths made of English Wooll onely, but fine Dutch Cloth, and Cloth made of Spanish Wooll, which in some of the finest Cloths have not above five or six pounds of English Wooll in a whole Cloth, as the Makers of fine Cloths will acknow­ledge; so that little English Wooll will be consumed by them that use to wear Silks and Stuffs, and on the other hand the poor Manufacturers both of Woollen, Silk, and Hair, they general­ly wear our course Cloths and Stuffs made all of English Wooll, and these being either impo­verished hereby that they cannot cloath themselves but with Rags, or be forc'd beyond the Seas, must necessarily cause a far less Consumption of our English Wooll. For it cannot be supposed that the expence of English Wooll in fine Cloths, can answer to the loss of that expence which is now worn by these poor Creatures. So that indeed the expence of English Wooll will by this means be abated in England not onely so much, but much more than what the Abatements of the Exportations of our Woollen Manufactures amount unto, by means of such a Restraint of the one, and enjoyning the other.

That by Restraint of the Wear of any part of Silk, the Consumption of Wooll must needs be lessen'd, for that the several Stuffs hereafter mentioned, viz.

  • Bombazines
  • Anthorines
  • Silk Sayes
  • Crape
  • Silk Masquerades
  • Stript Cheneys
  • Virgins Beauty
  • Drafts of all sorts
  • Druggets of all sorts
  • Silk Calamantoes
  • Silk Gloriosa's of all sorts
  • Silk Shades
  • Worsted Barratines
  • Glassamines
  • Katherina's
  • Tameenes
  • Estameenes
  • Effegenes

and all or most of Norwich Stuffs, with great numbers of other Stuffs, too many to be here inserted, having but one part of Silk in them, and nine parts of Worsted, which is our Eng­lish Sheeps Wooll, which through the Ingenuity of the Weavers and other concern'd therein, are made very acceptable for the use and wearing of divers persons in the Winter Season; yet because of that little part of Silk in them, cannot then be worn in Apparel, to the lessening [Page 3]the Consumption of Wooll, and to the taking away the chief part of the Trade and Imploy­ment of many thousand persons.

This Injunction of the one, and Restraint of the other, will much depress the Protestant, and advance the Papal Interest, not only in England, but throughout Europe; and were it not but that by the unanimous Votes of this present Protestant Parliament, wherein (to the chearing of English Hearts) they have manifested so much zeal for the Protestant Interest, and the Rights and Privileges of Englishmen, it would cause great suspicion of ill designs; for there is nothing more conducing to the destruction of the Protestant Religion, and the ad­vancement of Popery, than the disuniting of the Hearts and Affections of the English people, who are generally Protestants, and the best sort of Protestants. And this the Jesuits have not been wanting by all means to effect, and there is nothing more proper thereunto, than to bring off the Affections of the People from the Love of Parliaments by any means whatso­ever, which they know are the greatest Anticipation and Obstruction of their damnable de­signs; but through the mercy of God they have in a great measure been hitherto prevented, and it's hoped yet will, by a timely prospect of those things that may cause it. And though it cannot be thought, that any true Englishman would knowingly countenance, but detest such designs; yet it is feared if such an Act should pass, it would not only alienate the Affections of many thousand Protestants, by exposing them to Want and Penury, and to beg their Bread, and seek it in other Countries; but also would make this great and populous Nation, (which at present under God is the Fortress of the Protestant Religion) indefensible against the Papal designs, by scattering up and down in other parts of the World, those that are ready at all times, and best adapted to defend it, and put them upon a temptation by their necessities and dwelling amongst them to turn Papists. And this also in a short time will carry away the Trade of the Nation (which is now increasing and flourishing) to other parts of the World that are generally our Enemies; to the utter ruine of the whole Nation, both in Trade and Navigation, and the sacred Religion thereof. And of what evil conse­quence this will be to the Nobility and Gentry, by bringing down the price of their Lands, may easily be conceived by an ordinary Capacity.

Again, If this Injunction of the one, and Restraint of the other, do pass into a Law, it will not only destroy the most chief and principal Manufacture of the Nation, whereby so many Thousand Native Protestants get their livelihood and subsistance, but (which is conside­rable) it may truly be called the Protestant Trade, for it sets to work and employs most of the Strangers and Foreign Protestants that fly from the tyrannical Persecutions of the Papist [...] other Countries, and They must be forced also to return again; for it is judged that [...] Parts of ten of the Protestant Strangers that comes over into England, are employ [...] [...] Trade of Silk and Hair, to their great comfort both of Soul and Body: And the [...] London do freely receive them, and that in so great numbers, that a very great [...] Silk and Hair-weaving Trade is managed by them and their Dependants. And [...] Silk and Hair Trade encouraged, as it's hoped it will by this Parliament, there might y [...] received 100000 more into the Trade, so beneficial is it to England, and so considerable to the strength of the Protestant Interest.

But now if it shall please the Parliament instead of restraining the wear of our own Manu­factures, to prohibit the wearing of Silks and Stuffs Manufactured in Foreign Parts, this would certainly inrich and people the Nation, and cause a greater Consumption of Wool, as also advance and strengthen the Interest of the Protestant Religion.

It will inrich and people the Nation, for that a great deal of the Money that is sent out of the Nation to purchase the Silks and Stuffs Foreign Manufactured, will be kept among us; as also all that Money that is paid to Workmen abroad for the Manufucturing of these Silks and Stuffs, will be earned by the Natives and Strangers in England, and so make way for the Employment of many Thousands more than is in the Nation.

It will also increase the Consumption of English Wool abundantly, for that there being more expence of Silk, because of the Manufacturing of those Silks here that use to come from other Parts, there will be also far greater quantities of Cloths made of English Wool exported in exchange for Silk; and besides the expence of English Wool will not only be increased by the exportation of more Cloths, but a great deal more than is will be worn in England, and the Plantations belonging thereunto, by this means; for that Foreign Silks that come ready wrought from other Parts, especially from Holland, France, and East-India, with their painted Calicoes, are generally slight and very cheap, and set up the meaner sort of People (as Maid-Servants, and others) in the garbs of Gentry, which otherwise would wear the decent, useful, and profitable wear of Cloth, Kersies, and other Stuffs made of Wool, as they would also do in the Plantations, for that our English Silks being generally rich and well made Silks, they cannot so well go to the price of them, and that this prohibition of Foreign-wrought Silks will certainly promote the Consumption of Wool, is manifest by Experience; for since the late good Act was made for the prohibiting of French Silks, [Page 4](which it's hoped this Parliament will renew) there has been greater quantities of raw Silk imported, as also greater quantities of Woollen Cloths exported, than was in former years; besides, greater numbers of People employed, both Native and Foreign Protestants, to the great benefit of the Nation; which expence of English Wool has been chiefly occasioned from this cause, that more Silks has been made here in that time than before; which is an unde­niable Argument to prove, that the more Silks are worn in England if Manufactured here, [...]he greater is the Consumption of English Wool, for such person as wears a Silk Garment, doth certainly expend more English Wool (that being the return of Woollen Cloth) than twenty Gentlemen that wears Cloth made of Spanish Wool, and fine Dutch Cloths: And in all probability, if Silks Manufactured here were encouraged, and Silks Foreign, made pro­hibited to be worn, it would reduce and bring back the whole Trade of the Woollen Manu­facture into England in, a little time, by preventing the exportation of Wool, for if Wool yeild as good or better price here than it doth in other Parts, as it will do if there be more occasion for it, it will not be transported as now it is to France and Holland, by which means they gain a considerable share of our Woollen Trade, to their great benefit both at home and abroad, and to our great loss and detriment.

This must needs corroborate and strengthen the Interest of the Protestant Religion, for that this Nation being the chief of all the Protestant Countries, [...]he Riches and Populousness of it must needs strengthen it, as well as the Unity of them one unto the other, and this will certainly cause the Nation to flourish both in Riches and People, and through the Mercy and Blessing of God, make us yet more formidable and strong against our implacable Enemies, by enabling of us not only to defend our selves against them, but to root Popery out of this Nation, and the rest of His Majesties Dominions.

Fo [...] these Reasons, and many others that may be given, it is humbly prayed, That the Parlia­ment would be pleased to lay aside that Bill which would restrain the wearing of Silks, and Stuffs Manufactured in England, which are so beneficial, and instead thereof, order a Bill to be brought in for the prohibiting the importation and wearing of Silks and Stuffs Manufactured in Foreign Parts, which are so plainly detrimental to the Interest of England: And the English Artists shall continue to pray, That as this Parliament have begun, so God would honour them so far, as to finish the deliverance of this Nation from Popery, and Slavery the effect of it.


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