Sir Thomas Urquhart (1653) Logopandecteision. Book VI: Philoponauxesis, or Furtherance of Industry. Pages 29-50.

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The Sixth BOOK

Of the


intituled, Philoponauxesis,

Or, Furtherance of Industry.

Wherein is evidenced, that the grant of the Authors demands will prove (besides that of the Universal Language, and other kindes of Literature) conducible to all manner of other vertuous undertakings whatsoever.

1. IF there happen to be any, who for the better repelling of my demands, would alleadge (all other reasons failing them) that the grant thereof might prove very damageable to trades in Merchandise, whose fortune wholly consists in the frugal managing of their money ; it may very fitly be answered (if they be Scottish Merchants who move the doubt) that by casting in such a scruple, they most unjustly impute that fault to others, whereof themselves are very hainously guilty ; seeing under the title of Merchant, and mask of the honesty thereof, they do that, which (of anything) is to Merchandizing most destructive.

2. They lend money upon Usury to none,1 but such as have estates in land, without any regard to traffique ; for whether the intention of the Lender be considered, or use that the Borrower commonly puts it to, all Mercantil negotiation is exceedingly eclipsed by it.

3. There being nothing surer, then that for the most part such-like borrowers, in Hawks, Hounds, Wenching, Gaming, tipling, Swaggering,Fidling, Rioting, Revelling, and other such-like profligate courses of a most effusive and vast expence, squander away the money so lent, without casting an eye to any thing tending to the furtherance of the exchange of Ware, towards the necessary use of man.

4. And that likewise, the Lenders of money unto such men,2 minding chiefly their own ingreatning, when they think a competent time hath expired, for engendering upon the emitted Coin a progenie numerous enough for their enrichment, require from their respective debtors the sum at first so lent, with its usurious attendants ; which, if obtained, they, possibly at the hands of some other no less debosh'd then the former debtors, make purchase of some Land : if not, then are they sure, by Decrees of Apprising, according to the harsh Law of Scotland, to take possession of the land of the debtor.

5. So that however the matter go, being certainly assured of Land, which was the thing they aimed at, assoon as they finde themselves invested therewith, they cast off the Vizard of Merchant, wherewith they cheated the world, and turning once landed men, they altogether scorn to traffique any longer.

6. But the best is, that the sons of those, because of their fathers having acquired land,3 (though the said fathers, by vertue of their long-accustomed parsimony, snudge out their own time, without any danger of thraldome by debt) strive usually to be renowned (the better to appear Gentleman-like) for such extravagant actions as carrying along with them profuseness of charge, occasioned the sale of those lands which by their fathers were purchased.

6. And as from the same causes with all their concomitances, proceed always the same effects4 ; so doth such a course of life as was kept by those that did dilapidate the foresaid lands at first, produce an inevitable necessity of redisposing them, and that oftentimes to the first abalienators sons, who, bitten with penury,5 for the lavishness of their fathers, become miserable scrape-goods for their childrens subsistence.

8.6 After which manner,7 the generation of one livelihood being the corruption of another, the son of the Covetous spending what the father of the Prodigal had gained ; and the son of the Prodigal re-acquiring what the father of the Covetous had put away : Prodigality and Covetousness, in this alternative vicissitude,8 were the two master-wheels that hurried Scotland into Confusion ; and Hypocrisie, the Jehu, that drove the Chariot with such velocity, that since the National subscribing of the first Covenant, one and the same estate in lands hath been observed, according to the manner of the fore-mentioned circulation of covetous men, and prodigals,9 succeeding in the veece of one another, to have interchangeably been possest by four several owners, hinc inde, the seller being still (as it were) the buyers predecessor, in a diametral line, as in a direct one, the Prodigal : and this not onely in one, or two,10 but in above five hundred several parts of the Country ; wherein what the covetous father of one family had bought from the prodigal-father of another, the covetous son of that other did recover from the prodigal-son of the first, and that with so little vertue in either, that oftentimes the purchase flowed from the greater vice.11

9. By such a vicious flux and reflux (within these ninety yeers) upon the channel of Land-rents, so great prejudice hath redounded, and daily redoundeth to the worth profession of Merchandizing,12 the disponer not being accustomed with traffique, and he purchaser disdaigning any longer to exercise it ; that all Manual Trades in that Nation are now almost totally failed, and have fallen of late into such a palpable decadence, that hardly shall a man be found, where these men have being that can make a air of Boots aright, or Taylor skilful enough to apparel one in the Fashion, although he see the pattern before him.

10. Other Trades of weaving Silver Lace, knitting silk Stockins, sowing of Cut-work, with five hundred more depending on the hammer, needle, or pencil (in other countries as commonly practised, as Cookery with us) may in Scotland now, where-ever the Usurer lives, be as well put amongst the antiqua deperdita, as the malleability of glass, liquability of stone, or incombustibility of linen.13

11. And the reason is, Though they had the dexterity to make the ware, there is no Merchant to buy it ; all such being turned by Usury to Mongrel-Gentlemen, and all Gentlemen thought unthrifty, that turn not Usurers ; whose both inclinations being to convert all into money, (save so much victual and clothes as barely may preserve their bodies from starving, which a corner of their own Country-farm will sufficiently afford) all gallantry of Invention is ruined, exquisite Artificers discouraged, and Civility it self trod under foot, for want of Commerce.

12. Thus it being clear, that promiscuous Usury (the gentleman being no more ashamed of it, then the Burger) hath been the overthrow of Merchandise in Scotland, which is so commendable a profession, and so agreeable to Learning and true Wisdom, that as by Literature we are justly called Microcosms; for being able to comprehend all manner of things under specieses in the predicament of quality: so may we be as well termed the same, for our ability by Merchandising (were we so inclined) to bring within the compass of our possession whatever is in the category of habere.

13. There is no doubt but to have antipathy against such opposers of honest Negotiation, is to sympathize with good men ; and not to abhor them with a perfect hatred, (in so far as Christian charity will allow us) is to be enemies to both Civility and Discretion.14

14. What great harm they have done to the whole Isle of Britain by their violence against me15 (not mentioning their obstructing my intellectual faculties, which, to the opprobry of Mankinde it self,they oftentimes have most inhumanely laboured to suppress) I will instruct how, in my person, these men16 have hindered Navigation, Commerce, by the export, and transport of Commodities Manufactares, Fodinary employments for Coal and Minerals, Agriculture for Tillage, Pasturage, and Planting, and many other such feasible projects of industry, tending altogether to the promoval of both wealth and civility in a Land.

15. I have (or at least had, before I was sequestered) a certain Harbour or Bay, in goodness equal to the best in the world, adjacent to a place, which is the head-Town of the Shire ; whereby I am intituled both Sherif, and Proprietary ; the Shire and Town being of one and the same name with the Harbour, or Bay ; whose promontories on each side, vulgarly called Souters, from the Greek word swthreJ, that is to say, Salvatores, or Savers, from the safety that ships have, when once they are entred within them, had that name imposed on them by Nicobulus the Druyd, who came along with my predecessor Alypos in the dayes of Eborak, that founded York, some 698 years before Ferguse the first ; at which time, that whole Country, never before discovered by the Greeks, was named Olbion by the said Alypos, whose description in the Pantoxrono/xanon17 doth specifie it more at large.

16. This Harbour, in all the Latine Maps of Scotland, is called portus salutis ; by reason that ten thousand Ships together, may within it ride, in the greatest tempest that is, as in a calm ; by vertue of which conveniency, some exceeding rich men, of five or six several Nations, Masters of Ships, and Merchant-Adventurers, promised to bring their best Vessels, and stocks for trading along with them, and dwell in that my little Town with me, who should have been a sharer with them in their hazard, and (by subordinating factors to accompany them in their negotiation) admitted likewise for a partner in their profit, and advantages.

17. By which means, the foresaid town of Cromarty (for so it is called) in a very short space would easily become the richest of any within threescore miles thereof : in the prosecuting of which designe, I needed not to question the hearty concurrence of Aberdeen ; which for honesty, good fashions, and learning, surpasseth as far all other Cities and Towns in Scotland, as London doth for greatness, wealth, and magnificence, the smallest Hamlet or Village in England.

18. Nor was I suspicious of any considerable opposition in that my project from any Town save, Innernasse alone, whose Magistrates (to the great dishonour of our whole Nation) did most foully evidence their own baseness, in going about to rob my Town of its liberties and priviledges.

19. Yet was that plague of Flagitators, wherewith my house was infected, so pernicious to that purpose of mine, that some of them lying in wait (as a thief in the night18) both for my person and means, Cannibal-like, to swallow me up at a breakfast ; they did, by impediting the safety of my travelling abroad, arresting whatever they imagined I had right unto, and inhibiting others from bargaining most barbarously and maliciously cut off all the directory preparatives I had orderly digested, for the advantage of a business of such main concernment, and so conducible to the weal of the whole Island, to the great discouragement of those gallant Forreners, of which that ever-renowned Gentleman for Wit and excellencie in many good parts, Sir Philibert Vernati by name, was one ; who, being of Italian parents, by birth a Dutch-man, and by education expert in all the good Languages of the Christian world, besides the Arabick and Sclavonian tongues, wherein he surpas'd, had a great ascendent in counsel over all the Adventrous Merchants of what Nation soever : whereof (without the foresaid lets of those barbarous obstructers) some by all appearance had so concurred with me, that by their assistance I would ere now have banished all idleness from the commons, maintained several thousands of persons of both sexes, from the infant to the decrepit age, found employments proportionable to their abilities, bastant to afford them both entertainment, and apparel in a competent measure ; by various multitudes of squarneary flocks of several sizes, colours, and natures, educed out of the bowels of the Ocean both far and neer, and current of fresh-water streams, more abundance of wealth then that whole Country had obtained by such a commodity these many yeers past ; erected Ergastularies for keeping at work many hundreds of persons, in divers kindes of Manufactures ; brought from beyond sea the skilfull'st Artificers could be hired for money, to instruct the natives in all manner of honest wades ; perswaded the most ingenious hammer-men to stay with me, assuring them of ready coin for whatever they should be able to put forth to sale ; addicted the abjectest of the people to the servitritiary duty of digging for Coals and Metals, of both which in my ground there is great appearance, and of the hitting on which I doubt as little, as of the Lime and Free-stone Quarries hard at my house of late found out, which have not been these two hundred yeers remarked ; induced masters of Husbandry to reside amongst my tenants, for teaching them the most profitable ways, both for the manner and season, of tilling, digging, ditching, hedging, dunging, sowing, harrowing, grubbing, reaping, threshing, killing, milling, baking, brewing, battling of pasture-ground, mowing, feeding of herds, flocks, horse, and cattel ; making good use of the excrescence of all these ; improving their Herbages, Dayries, Mellificaries, Fruitages ; setting up the most expedient Agricolary instruments of Wains, Carts, Slades, with their several devices of Wheels and Axle-trees, Plows and Harrows of divers sorts, Feezes, Winders, Pullies, and all other manner of Engines, fit for easing the toyl, and furthering the work ; whereby one weak man, with skill, may effectuate more, than fourty strong ones without it ; and leaving nothing undone, that by either sex, of all ages, might tend to the benefit of the labourer, or rather in applying most industriously the outmost of their vertue, too all the emoluments of a country-farm, or manual trade.

20. I would have encouraged likewise men of Literature, and exquisite spirits for invention, to converse with us, for the better civilizing of the Country, and accommodating it with variety of goods, whether honest, pleasant, or profitable ; by vertue whereof, the professors of all sciences, liberal disciplines, arts active and factive, mechanick trades, and whatever concernes either vertue or learning, practical or theoretick, had been cherished, for fixing their abode in it.

21. I had also procured the residence of men of prime faculties for bodily exercises, such as riding, fencing, dancing, military feats of mustering, imbattleing, handling the pike and musket, the art of Gunnery, fortifications, or any thing that in the Wars belongeth either to defence or assault ; volting, swimming, running, leaping, throwing the bar, playing at tennis, singing, and fingring of all manner of musical instruments, hawking, hunting, fowling, angling, shooting, and what else might any way conduce to the accomplishment of either body or minde, enriching of men in their fortunes, or promoving them to deserved honours.

22. All these things, and many more, for export of the commodities of this Island to the remotest regions of the earth, import from thence of other goods, or transport from one forraign Nation to another, and all for the conveniency of our British inhabitants, whether for their integrity and uprightness of conversation, gain and utility in their meanes, or delight and recreation in their disports, I would undoubtedly have ere now provided to the full, in being (as by a friend of mine19 was written of me in an Epistle of his premised to a book intituled The Genealogie of the family of the Urquharts) a Mecænas to the Scholar, a pattern to the Souldier, a favorer of the Merchant, a protector of the Trades-man, and upholder of the Yeoman, had not the impetuosity of the usurer overthrown my resolutions, and blasted my aims in the bud.

23. Now if you would know what it is that the Usurer bestoweth on the Country,20 in compensation of so large a benefit whereof he hath deprived it ; I will tell you, it is laziness, greed, obstinacy, pride, beggarliness, hatred, envy, treachery, contempt of betters, oppression, hypocrisie, cruelty, contention, cowardliness, continual heart-burning, vilifying of vertue, and disdain of learning, with many other such like perturbations of a most odiously wicked, and grievously troubled spirit.21

24. Amongst such,22 he is accounted a thrifty Gentleman, who bestirreth himself the space of two daies in the whole year, about the ingetting of his interests, although all the rest of the time, he be more lither then a dormouse ; and when he hath got this money, covetousness will not permit him, howbeit, to the debtor it prove destructive, to make any other use thereof, then by joyning it to the parent, which did procreate it, to beget thereon an incestuous brat of the same kinde, enixible at another term.

25. They will not be perswaded to forgo this fashion of living,23 because it is easie, although it be often told, that goods so acquired can never prosper ; for that their gaine is grounded on the visible loss of another.

26. The Trades-man gets no imployment ; for though he makes some curious work fit for sale, the Merchant will not buy it, because his money beforehand is designed to bet interest & nor yet the Gentleman ; because the monster of the Merchants interest hath devoured his land-rents ; thus the Merchant is idle, the Gentleman begger'd, and the Artificer starved for want, and all by the gallant vertue of Usury, so much cryed up in Scotland.24

27. Fear of Piracy and Shipwrack, will not permit those men to adventure the launching forth in the depth : and uncertainty how the prices may rule, deters them from the hazard of bargains by land ; thus the Seas are not sailed, nor the ground half tilled, nor doth that parcel thereof which is laboured, for lack of apt materials wherewith to manure it, yeeld half the increase, which otherwise it would ; and yet they would be rich : whereby it is manifest, that their ignorance is great, their laziness far greater, but their covetousness and avarice is far the greatest of all.25

28. Their chief felicity consists in wealth, that wealth is money ; which money, when they have obtained, they know not how to use it26 ; yet rather then not have it, they will do whatever is not good, although what is good they will not do, for the purchasing thereof ; they will not labour for riches, by prosecuting of industrious exercises ; yet would prove treacherous for it ; they will take no frugal course to attain to means, yet will they rob, pillage, filch, pilfer, and purloyn, ere they want money.

29. They will not with us Metallurgize it, or dig one fathom deep into the ground to search for a Mine, or Mineral, although the surface give apparent signes thereof (being like the Prostapheresicians of late times, who could not see the invention of Logarithms, which they had lying before their eyes) and yet their thoughts are so immersed in the earth, that the sublimest of them seldome reach a fathom above it27 ; nor would they for the most part reach that hight, but to derogate from their superiors, whom in duty they are bound to bear respect to, and to denude them in all they can of their rights, whereby the better to grasp at somewhat, for the fatning of themselves.

30. Another way they have no less detestable than this, whereupon they very ordinarily walk, to get themselves approved men of high spirit, and that is biviated into two paths, one whereof they tread in for oppressing of the poor, and men of meaner chevisance then themselves, and in the other for contemning the worth, valour, learning, or whatever else is most commendable in him, whose means they aim at.

31. Nay, they go so far on in this their sordid and abominable humour, that slighting all manner of learning, and inrichment of the minde, they account sciences and liberal arts but conceits, and toys, compared to money, which by these clusterfists is held in so great estimation, that though they will chuse to be hanged, before they trouble themselves with taking any kinde of vertuous course, for the obtaining of it, they do nevertheless repute honesty it self to consist therein, and will commonly say, that such a one is honester then another, by so many hundred pounds a year.28

32. Notwithstanding all these unworthy, and base endeavours of theirs, I have constantly observed them to remain still poor and needy ; the reason whereof is, that their laziness and pusillanimity not permitting them to search for wealth, in the azure bosom of Thetis, or secessive regions of the earth, where the title primi occupantis would prove right sufficient enough for the possessor ; they aim only at what belongeth to their neighbour, one or other.29

33. Who possibly being of the same disposition of avarice towards them, if the tenaciousness of the one, interchangably encounter with the covetous humour of the other, with an equal number of degrees of intensive greed, darted and received to and from each on either side : both parties, because of the parity of reaction, will remain in the same condition, as before, without bettering or impairing their fortune.30

34. But if there be any difference in the aforesaid qualities, betwixt the two contesters for each others means, he, in whom the degrees thereof are most remiss, will, (as by a Cannibal) be devoured by the other ; which other perhaps, being so served by a third, and he againe by another, there will follow a perpetual consecutive course of intergulping one another, till the devil, by snatching up the last in him, have quite swallowed them all, and so rid the world of those ignominious rakehels, by whom it had been so long impestred.31

35. Such men (as is said already in the 27 Article of this same book) will not apply themselves to navigation, because it is hazardous ; nor to trading by land because it is painful ; nor yet to the ripping up of the bowels of the earth for wealth,32 because it is uncertain ; and yet they would be rich, and have store of money ; which to attain unto, they take this course for the most part. Such as have Land, make use of some ascriptitiary varlets, for the manuring of it, who in their agricolary work, follow not the prescript rules of husbandry as they are most approvable by reason, but as they were most in use in the daies of their fore-Fathers ; for whensoever the Land-Lords are desired, for improving of the Land, to do other wayes, their answer is, that they will not alter the fashion of their Grandfathers, who were honest men, and the times then were good.

36. Nevertheless, when the Wife or Children gape for new provisions, then it is that the peevish shifts are set abroach, of incroaching upon their neighbours pasture-ground or corn-land, by removing of the march-stones, or as aforesaid : or if they have a little money, they pack it up in a clout, then upon good security concredit it to some one or other, who after the expiring of a prefixed time mutually condescended on, shall be bound to restore the said clout-birth, with an additional increase ; which when obtained by its coalescencie with the former heap, is produced a new parent, with parturiencie for most store.

37. This is called vertue, and hath been of all other the commonest way of thrift, since usury in Scotland hath been in any request ; yet by the means thereof, the whole country is impoverished, and no man rich : for those that, in the estimation of the vulgar, are accounted most wealthy, have nothing else but money, which not being wealth, but the measure of appreciating it, they can no more (to speak the truth of them) be reputed rich, then Straffords (my Lord Leiutenant of Ireland's) ape, which had a thousand pound sterling his in a hole.33

38. I'll not deny, but that a vertuous man, with less money, would quickly become rich ; because with it he would purchase those commodities, which are the true riches that fortune bestoweth on us : but that mony maketh these men such, I utterly disavow it, for in their cloaths they are poor, in their attendance mean, their fare course, and in their houses so bare and naked, that unless it be the wife, or the daughter (and that peradventure not much worth neither) you shall not perceive a moveable that merits the looking on : and why ? there is no Trades-man in the Country to make it, nor Merchant to bring it home ; and though both these were (whom, as in the 26 Article of this same Book I said already, they banished from the Land) they have not the heart to buy it.34

39. Whereby it is evident, that either the Usurer storeth up nought but money, or if he exchange it for ware, the chaffer that he buyeth with it, is that which in many civil Countries, to appreciate at the rate of any Coin, hath been accounted Sacriledge, to wit, the inheritance of Land, the proportion whereof with money is more irrational, then that of the Diagonal to the side, or Diameter to the circumference.

40. The poor from the rich, of this kinde of men, differ but little in their meat, drink, cloathes, and lodging ; and all these a Fox hath in and about his terrier : so that truely who purveyeth but what is meerly necessary for the life of man, may be said to have but the providence of a beast : Doth not the Pismire, and the Bee every whit as much and almost every fowl of the air ?35

41. To what end our Knowledge, if it make not all things vendible conduce to our behalf, and wealth suppeditative of whatever exceedeth not that extent : I would have cloth from the Draper, silks from the Mercer, lace from the Millener, hangings from the Upholster, trinkets from the Trigler, jewels from the Lapidary, books from the Stationer, marmalads from the Confectioner, course dulciaries from the Grocer, essences from the Perfumer, and any thing else either of Merchant or Artificer, belonging to that Macrocosme, whereof I am the little world.

42. Do those men I have been speaking of so, I doubt if they understand the names of the trades I have related : nor are such professions to subsist by them, whose thoughts being fixed on money, as the Load-stone on the Pole-star, consider not of what is convenient either for their minde or body.36

43. I have heard of one with us of the cattel aforesaid, worth a thousand pound sterling a year, who had no other book in his house, but the Bible, and that onely to have a chapter in readiness after meat, when the Minister should come to see him : all the paper he had was full of sneesing-powder, nor had he other pen, but that wherewith he took it ; so careful he was of materials for the exercise of the mind.37

44. As for the preservation of the health of the body, prevention of diseases, or remedies against them, they are so well versed in the terms of art concerning them, that the word Apothecary may signifie somewhat to eat for any thing they know ; Surgeons and Physicians coming along like the Burgers of some Towns to their Land-meers, but once in the five years.

45. Thus hath the Usurer in less then fourscore and ten years space that he hath domineered din the Land, made some of us no less savage, and barbarous, then the wildest beast that is ; and if he roam at such random, but for twenty years more, the Satyr, and the Centaure, will in their lower parts have more humanity than many of us shall in our brains.38

46. For he resteth not in the destruction of the Merchant and Artificer, but likewise layeth his heavy hand upon the Scholar, who, by reason of not allowing him competencie of maintenance at the Schools, doth not (one amongst fourty bred amidst them, even when they have past their whole course of learning) know how to spell the english tongue aright.

47. By means of which gross imperfection, I now and then have sustained my self no smal prejudice, in the expence of time ; for although I compose no Treatises (whether in prose or verse) without some considerable deliberation, yet for the most part, for couching them in a hand not very legible (for truly I am no good Scribe) and not being able to finde (neither in my owne family, nor within a great many miles about me) one skilful enough in vernacular Orthography I have oftentimes been at a great deal of more paines, in enditing of them to the writers, and amending their errata's, then at first I was in the framing and writing of them both.

48. Nor is there any hope in haste of amending this fault ; for the most of the parents of that Country, ever since the dayes of our Grandfathers, have by the triumphancie of Usury, had the inclinations of their mindes so mechanically protruded upon the contempt of Letters, that their children have with their very Mothers milk, imbued an aversness from learning, and all the Utenda's conducible thereto, fearing they should hinder the advancement of their private fortunes, according to the trivial saying, Ubi multum de intellectu, ibi parum de fortuna ; whereof (to speak nothing of the manifold great discouragements which in the progress of Literature I have from my infancy had through the whole tract of my time, till this very present minute) the late course taken for sequestrating whatever belonged to me, gave no smal experiment.

49. For I have found at home, even in those that loved me better then they did any body else, and in the eyes of the world most entirely, a very heavy and deplorable omission, in taking a course (like Martha, who was onely busied about external things) for the preservation of corn, cattel, plate, with other goods and utensils, whilst they were altogether neglective of securing what they themselves knew I preferred to all these moveables ; as appeared even when they so slighted my Library, that not a book thereof escaped the touch of Dundasse's fingers ; although there were not three therein, which were not of mine owne purchase, and all of them together (in the order wherein I had ranked them) compiled (like to a compleat nose-gay of flowers, which in my travels I had gathered out of the gardens of above sixteen several Kingdoms) by having their thoughts plunged, and totally immersed, in an extraordinary care for these things, which with little expence, and less labour, were obtainable about our owne doors : all which books (had not that worthy and most consciencious Gentleman Col. Tho. Fetch (to whom I was then unknown) contremanded the sequestrators purpose of sending them to Leith in a Ship, then ready to launch forth from Cromarty) had assuredly been thrown into the bottom of the sea (for the Vessel within two days thereafter, was taken by the Hollander) or tossed amongst the Flemish Stationers in their Shops at Amsterdam, never any more to be thumb'd in this Isle.

50. But Providence (which doth not always go along in its dispensation of events according to the expectation of the forecasters) permitted not what they would have most concealed, to slip out of the reach of Dundasses hands ; unwilling (as it were) for their preposterous election, that any thing should be saved, though the loss of both was mine ; with this difference neverthelesse, that upon giving of Bonds and good security, they were repossess'd with the other moveables ; but as for my Books, although I obtained an Order from the Commissioners for the Sequestration at Leith to Captain Dundass, requiring him to let me have the refusal of them, yet he not pleasing to come to Cromartie, where they were fast locked into Trunks, whereof himself had the keys, I was not able, for all the favour I could make till this hour, to obtain either the getting or buying of any of them, save a few of those which under pretext of the Sequestrators having medled with them, being stollen, and afterwards dispersed thorow the Country, were through good intelligence by me happily recovered.

51. The little care had of my Papers and Books, by those to whom they were intrusted, being a branch springing from the epidemical tree of Ignorance, which, together with Hypocrisie, Usury, Oppression, and Iniquity, took root in these parts, when Uprightness, Plain-dealing, and Charity, with Astræa, took their flight with Queen Mary of Scotland into England, where, not without the incitement of those her subjects who from her own Dominions had expelled her, she lost her life : since which time, what devastation hath by Usury been made amongst the most ancient families of that Country, he that runs may read it upon all the prime Castles of the Land.39

52. The Usurer thus (as is obvious to the eyes of any) being the chiefest occasion of the ignorance of Scotland, and of a huge deal of wickedness besides, as in my own particular may be instanced : for as of any knowledge that (by the favour of God) is in me, he would rob the whole world ; so goeth he about to despoil me of all my means and inheritance against all reason ; therefore could I say no less : but who would have more, I remit him to my Aportectical intervals, in the Manipæan Satyrs, whereof he may see five hundred times as much, when the Order obtained for recovering those my Manuscripts which Dundass the Sequestrator medled with at Cromartie, shall prove more effectual.

53. What I have spoke of this sort of untoward men, is in some measure to incite the State, to whom in all humility I make my address, to consider of the many wrongs I have most unjustly sustained by them ; for reparation whereof, I heartily desire my inheritance may be made free unto me, and the priviledges of my ancient House kept entire, after the above-written proposed way ; which engaging me to the exposing of some moveables in exchange, of a sufficient stamp, and currant pass, I must acknowledge my self obliged (in the strictest manner can be conceived) towards the discharge of that duty.

54. However, in stead of too hastie publishing my intent therein, which for some reasons mentioned in the fourth and fiftieth of the second Book, and other Articles to that sense, is most expedient for the time to forbear ; I humbly propose to take this course, for the satisfaction of the Publike, That in case I perform not, at a competent time to be prefixed for the purpose, whatever I have promised, I shall be willing to forfeit both life and lands ; the latter whereof will, even in the estimation of those craving men, double the worth of all the money that they can, with any kinde of pretext of reason, demand from me. This is adhibere cantionem Mutianam, and to prescribe the readiest way how to avoid deluding.

55 Onely thus far, I would have the judges of my offer to be learned and judicious men, and not such as will prefer a fishes eye to a Diamant, a Bable to a Scepter, and Tilling, harrowing, Sowing, Reaping, Mowing, Planting, and feeding of the flocks and cattel, to all the seven Liberal Arts ; their Encyclopedia being Agriculture : for men of that nature, being meerly led by the Sense, will never discern of things aright.40

56. It was by such amongst the Turks, that Famagusta in the Isle of Cyprus (none of them at that time carrying any respect to the inward worth of a Christian) that the Earl of Paphos (though the compleatest Courtier, and gallantest man of that Age) was made to carry on his shoulders a packet full of mortar, for the repairing of a breach.

57. A horse fit for the wars, is oftentimes, by the indiscretion of his master, appointed to go round in a Mill, and perhaps esteemed less worth then a blinde Jade, that in the discharge of that circumambulatory office shall be found to surpass him.

58. A Country-hoydon, in carrying loads, will excel a Gentleman of fashion : and I have known a young handsom woman prefer a man, for building of a Peat-stack in a comely proportion, to be her husband, before a Gentleman, who, for his valour, very shortly after, became a Colonel of both Horse and Foot.

59. Silly mindes have abject thoughts ; and though Eagles catch not Flyes, Cameleons do. With such therefore whose spirits soar not a Grashoppers leap above the ground, we are not to meddle, lest, as Midas twixt Pan and Apollo, and the Ass between the Cuckow and the Nightingale, they pronounce an erroneous sentence, to the disgrace of themselves, and opprobrie of Learning.

60. It is onely the generous spirit indued with knowledge, to whose judicious arbitrement I do heartily submit my self, and all my endeavours ; because such a cost will not deny, but that a private Gentleman may enter in paction with the potentest State that is, for matters touching the furtherance of the good fame thereof : That though (as Protestants avouch) in our service towards Almighty God we merit nothing, yet if in the performance of good offices to the Publike, we transcend the bounds of the ordinary duty of a subject, we may justly be said to supererogat at the hands of any Soveraign Authority in the world : And that Learning, even in time of war, is to be held in estimation : for that he who is the God of glory and peace, is likewise the Lord of hosts.

61. Nor is there any doubt, but that he will acknowledge the profound Literature of a Native, to bring great reputation to his Country, That such a reputation is there far more worth then riches, and consequently riches to be amply disposed on for the promoval of that Learning, whether it be by donatives or largesse, positively to give encouragements to him that is so qualified ; or by a negative assistance, to remove (whatever it cost) the obstructions of those, whether Creditors or others, that meschantly stand in the gap, to hinder the progress of the effects thereof.

62. He will also avouch, that in all well-policed Commonweals there are remedies appointed for helping of the debtor (much more the Aquopet41) who is in case to do his Country service, as well as (if not rather then) the creditor, that doth nought but for his own ends, without regard of the Publike : and likewise, that such Creditors as are but Flagitators, craving money from those to whom they never lent any, should (will they, nill they) be forced to confer courtesies (in abating of their sums) upon them that never were their debtors, but onely enthralled to them for the debts of others.42

63. Nor will such gallant man fail to assever, but that it is more honourable for Britain, that my Family,43 which had stood therein for the space of ninety and four generations, be established for my doing unto that my foresaid Country service, then permitted, through the rigour of a dangerous law, by the covetousness of those, whose money neither I nor any of my progenitors ever saw, to be ruined and overthrown, for setting up of I know not what, which shall not, nor ever yet hath been seen, in the like occasion, to stand ill the third heir,44 or a full age : and that the fall of an ancient House, which mutilates the Country, is more deplorable, than the defalking of some interests, which doth but, as it were, shave off the hair of some greedy wretch.45

64. I am also confident, that in the opinion of such a man, antiquity of Race (cæteris paribus) is to be preferred ; and that to rescind private covetousness for a publike good, is to do no wrong at all.

65. The verity of all these things being asserted, (as in reason it ought) I offer to the Publike to make good my Parole, provided they liberate my estate from the bondage of the Flagitator.

66. By dis-inthralling me thus from the slavery of the importunate Riposcones,46 I accomplishing my part, the Publike will gain the reputation of re-establishing into its pristine integrity a family of great antiquity, of furthering the course of Learning and good Letters, of relieving the innocent from unjust oppressions ; and to do this, will obtain the unanimous consent and approbation of all the Souldiers, Gentlemen, Commons, and People of either sex, within the whole Land, the Flagitators only excepted.

67. For which cause, seeing I am drawing to a closure, if any happen to imagine, this my suit to be the more unobtainable ; that the preparative thereof, may endanger the disquieting of the State with showers of Petitions, to have publick charges allocated for the payment of private debts ;

68. My answer is, that my case in this particular, being quite different from that of any other within the dominion of Scotland, whether regard be had to me, to my Fathers creditors, or the land in debate betwixt us there is none who by vertue of any favour by me demanded from the supream power of the Land, can for his interest in the like suit, pretend a right to the same courtesie to be performed on his behalf.

69. For if we consider the Land which I claim title to, as the undoubted inheritance of my predecessors, it is al and which never was bought nor sold, nor otherways derived to my progenitors from any Soveraign power, then by bare confirmations of their former rights ; (the like whereof cannot with truth be avouched of any Land in the Isle of Britain) and therefore the more heedfully to be preserved from being a prey to the unclean Harpyes of Usury.

70. If again I be looked upon as one who for any personal courtesie done to my self, was never obliged to any one of them who call themselves Creditors : how I have obliged every one of them by having given to each a hundred times more then ever I had received from them all together : how withal I am willing to renounce my right to any thing that ever was acquired by my father : and how lastly I am content not onely to pass by the laying of any title to those many several lands of my progenitors within the Shires of Cromartie and Aberdeen, which in his own time he heritably disponed away and abalienated ; but also to discharge them of the vast sums of money many of them unmercifully pilled out of my rents ever since my fathers decease ; I am certainly perswaded no compatriot of mine by such reasons will pretend to the like ; or if it happen he should, (which I believe he cannot) that offer which I make to the Publike, beyond the reach of common imitation, will quell the ambition of that suit, the obtaining whereof totally dependeth upon examples he is not able I suppose to follow.

71. To these I furthermore adjoyn this other circumstance, That in all the Isle of Britain there shall not be found a crew of such rigorous and merciless Creditors. (William Robertson onely excepted) who without respect to any thing else then their own meer enrichment, care not what misery their debtor and his posterity be brought into by their procurement ; which procedure (considering how of eight or nine times I was surety for Country-men of mine, I was always forced to pay the debt ; how likewise, of a hundred times at least, that money by others of them had been borrowed from me, I would ever have been well pleased to forgo all interests for the bare sum which I lent ; and how nevertheless I do not plead immunity or exemption from any debt due by my self, my condition (I thank God for it) being such, with all manner of people I have had to deal with, of what Country soever, that upon three hours warning I shall pay all I owe in the world, and to the utmost farthing give satisfaction to all those that properly can be called my creditors) may very well be thought to furnish ground sufficient for what I have deduced, by way of grievance against the aforesaid flagitators.

72. Wherefore I likewise answer, if ever there shall fall forth a contingencie of the like occasion, in all its specialties and circumstances, the lack of any one whereof will undoubtedly alter the case ; that is to say, if (besides what I have already said) a good deal of contiguous rent (priviledged with the title of a Shire within it self, and worthily possessed for the space of two thousand thirty and nine years, by threescore and twelve several generations of heritable Sheriffs, and sole owners of the whole Shire, descended (for the most part) of one another in a direct consecutive, and uninterrupted line from father to son, accordingly served and retoured heirs to their immediately-foregoing predecessors in the same family) happen to undergo the lamentable disaster of being legally threatned to be taken away by creditors, for vast sums of money, from the righteous heir, who never was bound, nor any of his ancestors (save his father alone) to them, or any of theirs in so much as the value of one bare groat, and himself nevertheless able, out of the nimble reach and perspicacity of his wit, to afford stuff equivalent to both land and money joyned in one.

73. If ever, I say it chance, that all these prenotated restrictions, and limited designations, occur in any Country-man of mine (which I trust will first cost the revolution of the great Platonick year) the State should have my advice, were there twenty of them, to instal them (other means failing) upon the publick charge, in the place of their fore-Fathers, with all emoluments and profits thereupon depending ; that like so many radiant stars in one constellation, they might dart an influence propitious to the furtherance of the glory of this Island.47

74. And in truth (for my owne part) before that in the person of such a one, should be seen the overthrow of the house of his progenitors, I would allow him the adminiculary succour of half my meanes, when at best, for his aid of support, and think in so doing to gaine by the bargain ; being certaine (besides that it is a deed of vertue, whose recompence, for being held by all moralists to be in the action it self, makes the very doing thereof to pass for a sufficient reward) that for a gratuity of that importance, so seasonably administred, from a spark of such a nature, would never be wanting a most thankful acquital to the utmost of his power.

75. After which manner, without striving for examples, the publick may be throughly and fully assured of me, and of the infallibility of my grateful return, which shall be alwaies ready ; for that my inclination leadeth me, not to receive any thing in that kind, unless it be as willingly erogated, as it shall be accepted of.

76. Therefore to conclude, seeing there is not any Scotish man breathing, who is not as much, if not rather more beholding to me, then I am to him ; and that my humour serves me rather to apply my self to the good of many in general, then to be wedded to any particular interest : I humbly desire, for that neither my self, nor any of my predecessors have at any time been subject to any other then the supream Authority, that by the sacred influence thereof, I may be freed from the bondage of the supposed creditor, whose discretion being as the broken rod of Egypt to repose upon, let me adjure the publick by all their sacred, and most endeared tyes to patriotisme, antiquity, honour, vertue, learning, and what else may be reputed most laudable in the behalf of one totally addicted to their command, seriously to consider of the premises, to homologate what I demand, vouchsafe the pratrociny of my offer, and Mecenatize the request of him, who in rearing up monuments of his engagement to them for so splendid a favour, and for memory thereof, erecting trophies of thankfulness to their fame, shall withall research all other occasions, wherein he may most deservingly approve himself their eternally-devoted servant,

Thomas Urquhart.


1. Quis metus aut pudor est, unquam properantis avari.

2. Hi incubant & excubant, ut auro insidientur. Diu tamen vivant avari, nam se diutius torquebunt.

3. Quanta dementia est, sui hæredis res procurare, & sibi negare omnia ! O egregiam phrenesin, egenus vivere, ut dives moriare !

4. Prodigus est natus, de parco patre creatus.

5. Pecunia avaro supplicium est.

6. There is no section 7.

7. Non sibi, sed alii aries sua vellera portas; sic aliis cumulat dives avarus opes.

8. Est luxor haud dubius, etc.

9. Quod pacus quæres etc.

10. Dives es ut Croesus, sed eius pauper ut Irus.

11. Cui plus licet quam par est plus vult quam licet.

12. Ea cupiditas habendi istos invasit homines ut possideri, magis quam possidere videantur.

13. See for instance Valley of Variety, chapters 17 and 14 on these questions.

14. Nec a mortuo sermonem, nec ab avaro gratiam expectes.

15. Avaritia ad injuriam usque grassatur.

16. In omne nefas præcipites hoc adigunt nummi.

17. Or "A Peculiar Promptuary of Time; wherein (not one instant being omitted since the beginning of motion) is displayed A most exact Directory for all particular Chronologies, in what Family soever", and particularly (of course) of the Urquharts. Urquhart's 1652 oddity does for genealogy what Logopandecteision does for linguistics.

18. Avari (says Cinysolom) sunt fures & latrones, etc. ["thief in the night": Mark 24:42-44. I suppose that comparing "flagitators" to the coming of the Lord is no stranger than much else in this book, but perhaps it's as well to point out the occasional oddity to keep the reader on his toes.]

19. A friend of mine: G[eorge] P[aton], in Pantochronicon.

20. Ad quid prodest multa quidem possidere, & nihil agere?

21. Nulli potest secura contingere vita, qui de reproducenda nimium cogitat.

22. Modum non habet avaritia, nec capiendo expletur, sed incitatur ; hoc egentior, quo plura quæsivit. Avaritia desideratis rebus non extinguitur, sed augetur ; nam more ignis, cum ligna quæ consumit asceperit excrescit, & unde videtur ad momentum flamma comprimi, paulo post cernitur dilatari.

23. Spes mali lucri initium est jacturæ.

24. Avaros Diogenes Hydropicis comparat ; quia illi argento pleni : hi aqua referti amplius desiderant, idq; utrique in sui perniciem.

25. Fidelis terra, infidele mare, insatiabile lucrum.

26. Hæc vera est causa ne cives quidquam honestum, bonumve curent : ccum insatiabili auri & aregenti cupiditate, honesta pariter & inhonesta officia complectantur ; & quicquid agunt, sivis fas sive nefas, id habeatur, ut pecunias cumulent, quibus subministrautibus, veluti pecora, ventri & veneri serviunt. Plat. 8 de Legibus.

27. Aurum omnes vitia jam pictate colunt.

28. Cum ilorum affluensis crescit simul inopia¬†: insanus medio flumine quævit aquas.

Divitem esse non est honestum, sed ex honestis divitem esse.

29. Avarorum doctrina est tami teipsum putato, quantum batueris.

Dominum potius quam turpe lucrum eligendum.

30. Semper avarus eget, congesto pauper in auro, inter opes medictus opum.

31. Avarus dum colligit, colligitur : & dum vult esse prædo, fit præda. Gula primo parenti abstulit paradisum, avaritia diviti aperuit infernum.

32. Illi morbo qui permanet invenis, & inhæret in visceribus, nec inveteratus evelli potest, nomen est avaritia.

33. Pecunia non satiat avaritiam, sed irritat. Cui nihil est quod habet, nihil illum constat habere.

34. Avarus est tanquam balneatoris asinus, qui cum ligna sarmentaq; deportet, tamen sempr sumo ac favillis oppletus est : nec unquam fit particeps, neque balnei, neque teporis, nec munditici. Toto mundo eget, cujus non capit mundus cupiditatem.

35. Nonne morbus insaniæ similis, ac miserandus videtur ? siquis ob id non utatur veste, quod algeat, neq; pane quod esuriat, neque divitiis quod divitiarum sit avidus.

36. Peccarum avaritiæ mentem, quod affecerit, ita gravem reddit, ut ad appetenda sublimia tolli non posset.

37. Pauperiorem se judicat omne abundans, quod sibi deesse arbitratur quicquid ab aliis possidetur.

38. Quæ est aviditas concupiscentiæ, cum & ipsæ belluæ habeant modum : tunc enim rapiunt, quando usuriunt ; vero prædæ, cum senserint satietatem ; sed insatiabilis est avaritia divitum.

39. Avari omnem ordinem turbant, estq; avaritia arx omnium malorum.

40. Vide Book 2: Art. 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52.

41. The Aquopet is he from whom debts are sought, although he owe them not.

42. Qui sint aliena, volunt adjicere.

43. Hi sæpius victi sua spe frustramur.

44. De male pariis non gaudebit tertius hæres.

45. Neque enim divitiæ injustæ nunquam constantes sunt.

46. Voraiores puerpura & dolia inexplebilia.

47. Vide art. 42, 44, 53, 54, 59, &c. of the second Book and others, for vindicating the Author for Philotisme.

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