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An Humble Proposal To The People Of England
by [?]

But it is an application proper to the method of business which is wanting among us, and in this we shall find room for reproof on one hand, and direction on the other; and our reader, I dare say, will acknowledge there is reason for both.

It must in the first place be acknowledged, that England has indeed the greatest encouragement for their industry of any nation in Europe; and as therefore their want of improving those advantages and encouragements, lays them more open to our just reproof, than other nation’s would be, or can be who want them, so it moves me with the more importunity to press home the argument, which reason and the nature of the thing furnishes, to persuade them. Reason dictates that no occasion should be let slip by which England above all nations in the world should improve the advantages they have in their hands; not only because they have them, but because their people so universally depend upon them. The manufactures are their bread, the life, the comfort of their poor, and the soul of their trade; nature dictates, that as they are given them to improve, and that by industry and application they are capable of being improved; so they ought to starve if they do not improve them to the utmost.

Let us see in a few words what nature and providence has done for us; nay, what they have done for us exclusive of the rest of the world. The bounty of Heaven has stored us with the principles of commerce, fruitful of a vast variety of things essential to trade, and which call upon us as it were in the voice of nature, bidding us work, and with annexed encouragement to do so from the visible apparent success of industry. Here the voice of the world is plain, like the answer of an oracle; thus, dig and find, plough and reap, fish and take, spin and live; in a word, trade and thrive; and this with such extraordinary circumstances, that it is as if there was a bar upon the neighbouring nations, and it had been spoken from Heaven thus: These are for you only, and not for any other nation; you, my favourites, of England; you, singled out to be great, opulent, powerful, above all your neighbours, and to be made so by your own industry and my bounty.

To explain this, allow me a small digression, to run over the detail of Heaven’s bounty, and see what God and nature has done for us beyond what it has done for other nations; nature, as I have said, will dictate to us what Heaven expects from us, for the improving the blessings bestowed, and for making ourselves that rich and powerful people which he has determined us to be.

Our country is furnished, I say, with the principles of commerce in a very extraordinary manner; that is to say, so as no other country in Europe, or perhaps in the world, is supplied with.

I. With the product of the earth. This is of two kinds: 1. That of the inside or bowels of the earth, the same of which, as above, the voice of Heaven to us, is, dig and find, under which article is principally our lead, and tin-coal; I name these only, because of these this island seems to have an exclusive grant; there being none, or but very small quantities of them, found in any other nation; and it is upon exclusive benefits that I am chiefly speaking. 2. We have besides these, iron, copper, lapis calaminaris, vulgarly called callamy, with several other minerals, which may be said to be in common to us and the rest of the world, of which the particulars at large, and the places where they are found, may be fully seen in a late tract, of which I shall have frequently occasion to speak in this work, entitled, A Plan of the Commerce of Great Britain, to which I refer, as indeed to a general index of the trade and produce of this whole island.