« ForrigeFortsett »
carts, hath caused me many times to make reflexion on the covetousness of the citizens, and connivency of magistrates, who have suffered them from time to time to incroach upon the streets, and to jet the tops of their houses, so as from one side of the street to touch the other; which, as it doth facilitate a conflagration, so doth it also hinder the remedy, and besides taketh away the liberty of the air, making it unwholesome, and disfigureth the beauty and symmetry of the city. I hope that, for the future, his majesty, his council, and that of the city, will take care that such disorder happen no more, and will cause this city to be as commodious in its buildings, as it is happy in its situation.
IV. Now followeth the weakness of the buildings, which were almost all of wood, which by age was grown as dry as a chip: This inconvenience will easily be remedied, in building the houses with stone or brick, according to the statutes and ordinances of parliament, provided and enacted long ago in that behalf, though for the most part ill observed.
V. The quantity of combustible and bituminous matter hath given the greatest encouragement to this detouring fire ; for, as the place where the fire begun was not far from the Thames, and from those wharfs where most merchandises are landed, so Thames. street, and others thereabouts, were almost nothing else but magazines of combustible and sulphureous merchandises : Thereabouts were a prodigious quantity of oil, butter, brandy, pitch, brimstone, saltpetre, cables, &c. and by the Thames side were almost all wharfs full of coals and wood. Now as tire of itself is nothing but light which corporifieth itself in the matter, and acteth more or less according to the disposition of it, as we see that a fire of straw is less violent than that of coals; it followeth that this fire, having lighted upon these sulphureous and bituminous matters, did feed upon them as in its proper element, and not only devoured them with ease, bnt imparted to the next combustible matters a disposition more fitting and apt to receive it. The nature of this sulphureous fire was evidently seen in the melting of bells, iron, pots, glasses, and other metallick things, and in the calcining of stones and bricks, which no other single fire of wood, coals, or other vulgar matter could have done. I remember that, some four or five years ago, the lightning fell in Herefordshire without doing any harm in the coun. try, but, being extinguished of itself, the exhalation of it did mix itself with a strong westerly wind, that came as far as London, beating down houses, plucking up trees by the roots, and, to shew its.nitrous and sulphureons nature, did, as it were, neglect to touch wood, but did chiefly stick upon metal, and either broke or bent it; the tokens of it are seen to this day upou the steeples of Bowchurch, St. Andrew, St. Giles Cripplegate, the May Pole, and other places.
These sulphureous matters were also the cause of another inconveniency, which is, that the fire, being corporified in them, did extend the sphere of its activity at a further distance than ordinary, and cast its burning beams furthest off, mixing
more exactly its atoms in the air, which it turneth almost into its own nature ; which was the cause, that nobody could come nearer that fire than a hundred or two-hundred paces.
VI. The foregoing summer, that was extraordinarily hot and dry, had also disposed the matter of the buildings to admit the fire more quickly and easily, by sucking not only the intrinsecal mois. ture that was in them, but also that of the air which might have moistened them; for, though there be no rain falling, nevertheless there is a certain vapourish moisture in the air, which, if it be not dried up, doth moisten all porous things intrinsecally, and doth condense itself upon the solid ones, in the form of an oleaginous moisture, as doth appear upon marbles and glasses.
VII. In cometh now the east-wind to play its part in this tragedy. That unfortunate wind, of which it is commonly said, that it is neither good for man nor beast, did blow with such a wonderful fierceness all the time of the contlagration, that it did not only quicken the fire, as bellows do the furnaces, but also, getting into the streets, and among the houses, when it found any let or hinderance that did recoil it back, it blew equally both to the right and to the left, and caused the fire to burn on all sides, which hath persuaded many that this fire was miraculous. I myself remember, that going into some streets at that time, and having the wind impetuously in my face, I was in hope that at my return I should. hare it in my back, but it was all one, for the reason aforesaid. It would be here tvo tedious to speak of the nature of winds, and to shew many reasons why this wind is so dry in England, as to burn the flowers and leaves of the trees, more than the hottest sun can do ; one, which, I think satisfactory, will serve for all : It is therefore to be observed, that winds do not only participate of the nature of the places where they are begot, but also of that of the countries through which they pass. Now all the southern, western, and northern winds must pass through the great Ocean to come into England, in which passage there mixes with them abun. dance of vapours, which cause their moisture, except the northe wind, wherein the moisture is condensed by the cold; but the eastwind to come to us must pass over the greatest continent in the world, France, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Persia, &c. even to China; so that, in pursuing such a tract of land, it not only droppeth down by the way its moist efiluviums, the earth, as it were, sucking them for its irroration, but also carrieth along all the hot and dry exhalations that perpetually arise out of the earth, which is the cause of its dry and burning quality. I had, formerly, a little garden, where I did bestow as much pains and care as I could, to bring up some young fruit-trees that were in it, having the advantage of a very good mould; but being seated castward, and closed narrowly by a brick wall on either side; this wind, that reigneth constantly here in England, in the months of March, April, and beginning of May, did, in their budding, so burn the leaves and the tiowers, that the hottest sun could not do the like; so that I was fain to give it over, having been two or three years, before I could understand that mystery, and the nature of that wind in this country, for there are some other countries where this wind is salubrious and fruitful enough.
VIII. It was also a great contributing to this misfortune, that the Thames water-house was out of order, so that the conduits and pipes were almost all dry; as also, that the engines had no liberty to play, for the narrowness of the place, and crowd of the people, but some of them were tumbled down in the river, and among the rest, that of Clerkenwell, esteemed one of the best.
And thus, courteous reader, thou seest an admirable concur. rence of several causes, for the putting of God's will in execution: in other cities, that are not subject to confiagrations, as Paris, which is all built of free-stone, the ioundations have several times played their pranks; other towns, as in Italy, that think them-elves ex. empted from fire and water, come to their periods by fearful earth. quakes; others, that escape fire, water, and earth, do perish by the meteors of the air, and are calcined by the lightning; so that God Almighty never wanteth instruments to compass his will; and it seemeth that the four elements, of which this world is compounded, do conspire against the happiness and quietness of man, when, by their daily prevarications, they go about to confirm the disobedience of our first parents.
SECT. V. Here it is that we must wholly stoop and humble ourselves alle der the mighty hand of God, and answer with the Apostle, O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how un. searchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his couna sellor? Rom, si. 33. Let it suffice thee, O man, to know, that whether he hath done it to punish thee for thy sins, or to try thy faith, and exercise thy patience; if thou canst inake benefit of this affliction, and sanctify it to thy use; we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God.
Wuen we were newly come out of a civil war of twenty years
standing, where it is thought above one-hundred-thousand people did perish.
When the plague had the year before swept away above one. hundred-thousand people, and was still raging.
When the kingdom was exhausted of money, and trade lost.
When we had wars with France, Denmark, and Holland, and pot without fear of divisions among ourselves.
Then, even then, came this dreadful fire, after the aggregation of so many judgments before, (like Job's comforter, after his un. welcome messengers) but then, even then, did our seeming utter destruction appear; but, by our heavenly Father's paternal corrections, and by his mercy, we are secured from our fears by peace and quietness, both at home and abroad, and restored to the hopes of a flourishing nation, and the most glorious city of the world.
Crescit sub pondere virtus.
How The King may have money to pay and maintain his Fleets, with ease to his
people; London may be rebuilt, and all proprietors satisfied ; Money to be lent al Six per Cent. on Pawns; and the Fishing-Trade set up, which alone is able and sure to inrich us all
. And all this without altering, straining, or thwarting any of our Laws or Customs now in use.
By Sir EDWARD FORDE.
Licensed, Nov. 2, 1666. Roger L'Estrange.
London : Printed by William Godbid, 1666. Quarto, containing one sheet.
THE end of our money is to adjust contracts and accounts 1.
between ourselves; for it is not coined to be melted or transported.
2. These, and all tokens of account, are valued according to their portableness, which prefers gold before silver, jewels before gold, bills and bonds before all.
3. These bills, bonds, book accounts, and even verbal pro. mises, we transfer from one to the other, which our law approves of and corroborates.
4. Satisfying security, therefore, clearly supplies and contents us as well as money, for who would not rather have a straw, or a piece of paper, than an liundred pounds, if he were sure it would at all times yield him as much as he took it for? Our practice evinceth this, for we purchase bills of exchange at two or more per cent. The money-master parts with his coin for a sheet of
• This is the 164th number in the catalogue of pamphlets in the Harleian Library.
paper or parchment. Nay, it gets our money into our enemies, esteemed, but, in truth, failable money banks, though they give but three per cent, use, and we six, nay, Ireland ten and more per cent. For it is satisfactory security, not great use, that at. tracts money
5. Land security is evidently, of all, the surest and most satis. fying, where the title is clear, and no danger of counterfeits or foreign conquest.
6. No money can be surer than taxes by act of parliament, though ten or more years day of payment were allowed the people, which this way may be done; and yet the king, by making current bills thereon, may have it all presently, without any de. ductions. And, by the people's yearly anil easy payments, these bills may be certainly paid and taken in.
7. By such-like distinct bills, London may be rebuilt, and all proprietors satisfied for enlarging the streets, the fines and rents of all so built being engaged to satisfy and take in all these bills.
8. The like may be done for banks of loan upon pawns, truly called Mounts of Piety, where, the stock thus coming gratis, the poor (whó now pay above forty, fifty, nay sixty per cent. use, to their ruin, and casting them and theirs on their parishes charge) may bave money at six per cent. The clothiers on their cloth the like, till the merchant or draper can take it off, and the clothier, mean time, have money to go on with his trade, and keep his workmen still employed. The landvd man, at four per cent use, whereby he may improve his land, or lend his money to such as can well pay him six per cent. and gain enough. Half this use will soon pay and take in these bills, the other half will defray all char. ges, and augment this Mount to a vast advantage of all.
9. By the like way, the Herring Trade may be established, to the breeding up and maintaining plenty of mariners, enough for the king, merchant, and fishery; and employ our poor from their childhood, and the profit hereof will soon pay and take in these bills also; for John Keymor's books clearly show, how the Dutch, and foreigners, by our fishi, make more money in one year, than the king of Spain doth in four years of his Indies; and how these Dutch herely will certainly eat us out of all trade, and be clear masters of the sea, to the terror of all kings and states.
10. Credit thus raised is honest, because all bills are sure to be paid. It prejudiceth no man, because he hath as inuch use of this bill money, as if he had the silver; and it compasseth all these particulars, to the good of us all. Nor is the way hazardous or untrodden, but such as hath been long, and is still used by our neighbours, to the advancing their little country (not so big nor fruitful as one English county) from poor distressed states, to be Hogans Mogans, and all by a real chsat; for no considerate man can believe that they have so much money in their banks, as they give out bills for. What do they get? But lose the use they pay, and their charge in guarding and keeping accounts.