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PROPOSITIONS FOR ERECTING A COLLEGE OF HUSBANDRY.
MASTER SAMUEL HARTLIB, the friend of Milton and co-laborer with him and Petty, and Cowley, in endeavors to promote learning and the public good in their day, thus introduces “An Essay for advancement of Husbandry-Learning : or Propositions for the erecting a college of Husbandry: and in order thereunto, for the taking in of Pupills or apprentices ; and also Friends or Fellows of the same COLLEDGE or Society."*
TO THE READER.
COURTEOUS READER, -I find by experience, that it is nothing but the narrownes of our spirits that makes us miserable ; for if our hearts were enlarged beyond ourselves, and opened to lay hold of the advantages which God doth offer, whereby we may become joyntly serviceable unto one another in publicke Concernments; we could not be without Lucriferous employments for ourselves; nor unfruitfull to our neighbors, as now for the most part we are, only because we mind not the objects of that Industriousness, which without a mutuall concurrance can not be advanced. For mine owne part, although I can contribute but little; yet being carried forth to watch for the opportunities of provoking others, who can do more, to improve their talents, I have found experimentally that my endeavors have not been without effect as to their undertaking; for God hath brought beyond what I could imagine unto my hand from time to time, Objects of Service, answerable to the enlargement of my spirit: So that I must conclude, that it is nothing but the narrownesse of all mens spirits that makes their miseries to lye heavily upon them: for there are infinite meanes of reliefe and comfort, for all sorts of Calamities to be found in Nature, and well ordered Societies, if men were not enviously, or covetously, or peevishly, or ambitiously, or drousily Straitened within themselves, in the use of that which God hath given them to serve the Glory of his goodness withall; towards the reliefe of themselves and others. And to waken such as are upright in heart, but yet lazie and drowsie under their Distractions, I have thought good to offer these hints to the Publique, which have a long time lain by me; that in this Hopefull appearance of Your settlement, those that droope might see a possibility (if they will not be wanting to themselves) to make themselves and others in this Nation, and juncture of time, more happie and plentifull in outward Professions than their Forefathers have been; by a Colledge or Corporation of Husbandry. For if in all other trades and Sciences, Colledges and Corporations have been and are exceedingly advantagious (if rightly ordered) for the improvement of the talents of those that betake themselves thereunto; Why may we not conclude that in the Science and Trade of Husbandry, which is the mother of all other trades and Scientificall Industries, a collegiall way of Teaching the Art thereof will be of infinite usefulness? I shall leave the thing to thy rationall concideration, that if the least part of Indus
* In this and the following paper we shall follow the orthography of the original.-ED.
trie is highly improved by Collegiall institution and Education, how much more may the chief part and as it were the very root of all Wealth, be advanced to perfection by this means ? This Essay therefore is but an Overture, and a hint of this matter, that it may be further in due time ripened, and with more mature considerations brought to perfection, for the good of the Common-wealth, and the relief of the poor therein, which is the very earnest desire of
Thine and the Publiques Faithful Servant, (1651)
PROPOSITIONS FOR ADVANCEMENT OF HUSBANDRY-LEARNING.
In humane affairs, and which relate not immediately unto God; nothing doth more tend unto the wel-being of a Nation (God giving his blessing thereunto in an humble and right use of it) than plenty of food and raiment, and of all other merchantable commodities to send abroad; which will not faile to returne the prosperity and happinesse of other nations again in exchange. And surely a Nation thus blessed can want no earthly comfort; but will doubtlesse be hated of some, feared of others, and sought to of all. But neither the one, nor the other of these are any other, then the fruits of or in the Earth: and those are not to be obtained but by the helpe of Ingenuity and Industry. The first wisely teaching, what is to be done; the second acting according to those good and right instructions diligently and carefully. By these two (instrumentally) we enjoy all outward things; and without them nothing. These are the first movers to all trades and professions under Heaven; and particularly, to that most auncient, most noble, and most necessary trade of all others, (viz.) good Husbandry, consisting of abundance of parts, of which these are some.
1. Tillage, or Setting, or Sowing of several sorts of corne and graine, for the reliefe and sustenance of Man and Beast.
2. The Breeding of Cattell, (in which the breeding of Sheepe may seem particular.)
3. The feeding of Cattle.
12. The breeding, preserving or taking of wilde Fowle, particularly of Duckeg in and by a decoy.
13. The Making and Managing of Rivers, Moats, Ponds, &c., for the preserv. ing and taking fish of all sorts for the use and sustenance of Man.
14. The planting of Woad, and all outlandish rare or extraordinary Roots, fruits or plants.
15. The dreining, fencing, mowing, and making of grasse in meadowes into Hey.
16. The Making of Malt.
17. And (that now so exceeding necessary endeavor) the planting all sorts of Wood for timber or fire.
Besides, very many others which I forbeare to name, as either not so easily practicable in this Nation, or included in or subordinate to the former, as shearing of Sheepe, Thrashing of Corne, &c., or not vulgarly taken for the parts of Husbandry, (though indeed they are so) as the Digging of Coal-Pits, and production of all Minerals, Quarries of Stone, or useful earths, &c. As these are encouraged and enabled, so is a Nation more or lesse prosperous, or outwardly happy; both these in their distinct natures or uses are most excellent; and are also (at least ought to be) inseparable companions: of which if either precede it is Ingenuity; for that Industry as it is distinct from Ingenuity, can do nothing till the other have contrived what and how. Men take him for a fool or a mad man, that having store of wealth in his trunck, doth yet complain of want What though the key be rusty for want of use ? 'tis easier to get that Scoured, than to obtaine such another treasure. And surely I may upon most sure grounds say, that our Native Countrey, hath in its bowels an (even almost) infinite, and inexhaustible treasure; much of which hath long laine hid, and is but new begun to be discovered. It may seem a large boast or meer Hyperbole to say, We enjoy it not, know not, use not, the one-tenth part of that plenty or wealth and happinesse, that our earth can, and (Ingenuity and Industry well encouraged) will (by God's blessing) yield.
Now whereas there hath been earnestly desired (in the mean time, till the Publique Magistrate shall be at leasure, to give a more strong and ample encouragement and assistance to a designe so exceedingly for the Honour and ad'vancement of the whole nation) the erection of a private Colledge or Society of good Husbandry; wherein some may teach, some learne, and all practise the whole and every part of this so honourable an art, so deep a mystery, and that not onely in the more customary and common way, but according to the most excellent rules, that Ingenuity and Experience gained by rational trials and real experiments have or can attaine to; that so the honour, wealth, and happines of this State may be multiplied, even before itself is aware, and the duller members thereof worne by emulation or example to such practises for their own private and publique good, as no persueasion nor force could ever have effectually led them to. And in respect that there are already divers propositions made, and some engagements also in order thereto; so as the worke hath begun to move, and is dayly advanced, and endeavored to be advanced by some such faithfull branches; as first and chiefly seek the prosperity of the whole stock, but have not sufficient power in their owne hands to go through with, and bring to perfection this great and good work; It is therefore propounded. First, to those, whose great wealth is joired with as great vertue and love to their Countrey; And will as well as Power to advance the Publique good, without seeking their own private benefit.
That whereas it is manifest, that such a colledge or society can not be erected without the building or buying (at least a long lease at an easie rent, if not the inheritance) of some large and convenient house, with some good quantity of land adjoyning, and belonging to it, (though that is not all the land which must be had for this purpose ;) and it is as manifest that such a purchase can not be made without good sums of money.
It is therefore desired, that all such well-wishers to their countrey's wealth and prosperity; be pleased to contribute such sums to this good and laudable worke, as in their own wisdomes and bounties appear necessary, and deliver the same into the hands of Mr. Samuel Hartlib, whose abundant zeale for the publique good, renders him most worthy to be intrusted therewith, till there shall be a competent stock obtained for the setting forward of this great and good worke before mentioned: and to subscribe their names and sums; that so the whole Society (when erected) and the whole nation (when in due time they shall have tasted the sweet effects from hence proceeding,) may know to whome to render all due thanks through all ages, as to the bountiful promoters of, by con. tributing to a designe so much conducing to the good of the present and prosperity of all ages to come: a plentifull reward to every noble spirit.
It is therefore also propounded, secondly:
To those whose good wills possibly are great, but their powers lesser then the former; and are therefore necessarily withheld from such free and voluntary contributing.
That whereas the knowledge and good influence of the actings of this society and its members, can not without a good large, and considerable stock encrease in its number and power, nor cast itselfe into all the formes of practise in the several parts of this art before mentioned, or that may be mentioned: and for want of which, the maine end of the erection of this Colledge or Society would not be obtained, viz., the infusing into the more sturdy Husbandmen of the nation in generall (now too much wedded to their more customary and lesser profitable working) the more perfect principles of their own art, and such additional uses and instruments, as shall make their practises more national, easie, and really effectual, and beneficial, as to themselves: so to the advancement and encrease of publique plenty and wellfare. It is therefore offered, that whosoever shall disburse and engage any sum, for the encrease of that stock, and consequently the imployment of the Society: Shall by an unerring, unaltering rule, receive yearly; while his money remaines in the hands of the Said Colledge, for every 100. pound, 20. pound, and so for a greater or lesser sum proportionably. And if any particular person shall desire to have his sum disbursed, to be imployed in any one particular single part of this copious art here before mentioned; he shall have his desire fulfill'd: provided that his stock be sufficient to drive on that way; and that he be contented to forbeare his revenue till Nature hath produced the returne. And whosoever shall thus engage, shall at any time (upon six moneths warning given) call in and again receive his sum formerly disbursed. And all those that shall thus engage, are desired to enter their names and Sums, by subscribing and delivering the money into the hands of Mr. Samuel Hartlib. And for security they shall have; As to law, the Propounders bond; as to Love, the word of him that desires to prove himselfe a just and honest Man, to God and man, (to his utmost power) and to all engagers a faithful Steward.
PROPOSITIONS, for the erecting a Colledge of Husbandry: and in order thereto for the taking in of Pupills or apprentices: and also Friends or Fellowes of the Same Colledge or Society.
I PROPOUND, that there may be a Colledge or School of all the sorts and parts of good-Husbandry erected; that so the knowledge and practise may be come more universal, and men may have more sweet invitations and stronger allurements, to seek the knowledge of this deep and excellent mystery; and practise it to the advancement of a more general and Publique good; Not as now in a sordid clownish way for meer selfe profit; nor as now according to unsound and rather customary than rational rules and grounds; Nor as now in a dishonorable drudging way; which indeed is the grand cause that binders or takes off the most ingenious spirits (which yet are most fit to be engaged.) For it is plain, that the chief reason, why this so excellent an art, hath hitherto arrived at no greater perfection, is; that no publique course of incouragement and high prizing the same hath been thought of; and so the best wits shut out, that should have searched it out, and discovered this art more perfectly; which once generally known, together with the vast advantages thereby arising, as to the whole Nation; so to every particular practitioner; we need not fear to want disciples. It is most evident, that those few ingenious persons, that have looked into the wayes of improvement (having some thing also to work upon) of lato years have advanced their particular interests to a double or trebble proportion. I am very confident, that those very improvements may again be doubled by yet better wayes.
That therefore Ingenuity may be ransomed from her too tedious captivity; and Industry awaked from a kind of lethargie; occasioned through wonted discontent; I PROPOUND more particularly, (to lay a little foundation for such a Colledge or Society, which I doubt not, time, emulation, and my own profit, will agree to finish,) That If any person of quality have a son or kins-man 15 years old or upwards, with whom he will give (besides well suiting him with all necessary wearing apparel, and more, to the value of twenty marks; in such other necessaries, as the undertaker shall appoint) 601. 18. in ready (£ I suppose) money at bis first entrance, and bind him apprentice for seven years; he shall be in that time faithfully instructed in both the Theorick and Practick parts of this (of all others) most auncient, noble, and honestly gainfull art, Trade, or Mystery. And at the end of that time, he shall receive at one entire payment to set up withal, 300 pound. And shall for foure years next ensuing the end of the said seven years, receive at the end of every year 100. pound more; the better to support bim till he have taken sufficient root.
Note, That none are to be actually entertained till there be at least 10. entered; at which entrance, they are to pay onely 10. pound apiece, and for farther performances reciprocal Subscriptions. And when there are 10. entered, they are all to be ready upon a moneths warning to appear, pay down the other 50. pound apiece.
NOTE, That not above 36l. will be entertained at first, neither afterwards; but as by death, expiration of time, &c., there shall happen to be some wanting of that Number.
Into this Colledge also any man may enter himselfe as a free-man, or friend to, and Member of the Society; upon the following conditions.
1. He must pay down at his entrance 50. pound, as given to the Society for the encouragement of Ingenuity in the practise of Experiments, for the obtaining of yet more and more perfection in this (almost) infinite Science.
2. He must bring with him some skill, at least Ingenuity; and testifie himself to be a well-willer to the profession and professors of Good-Husbandry; and particularly to the Master and Fellowes of this Society.
3. He must produce at least 250. pound as a Stock to set up for Himselfe, to be driven by himselfe, according to the best direction and assistance to be given by the Master and Fellowes of the Colledge.
4. He shall (not Swear, but) Subscribe himself under hand and Seale. a faithful seeker of the advancement of the Mystery and Society; and to be aiding and assisting, to the Master and the Fellowes to his power, at all times, and in all cases, (his own interest alwayes preserved) and to consent and submit to all such orders, as shall be from time to time made, by the agreement of the Master and