Sir William Petty
TO clear this Point, we are to find out, what is the middle expence of each Head in the Kings Dominions, between the highest and the lowest; to which I say it is not probably less than the expence of a Labourer, who earneth about 8 d. a day; for the Wages of such a Man is 4s. per week without Victuals, or 2s. with it; wherefore the value of his Victuals is 2s. per week, or 51. 4s. per annum: Now the value of Clothes cannot be less than the Wages given to the poorest Maid-Servant' in the Country, which is 30s. per annum, nor can the charge of all other Necessaries, be less than 6s. per annum more; wherefore the whole charge is 7 l.
It is not likely that this Discourse will fall into the hands of any that live at 7 l. per annum, and therefore such will wonder at this supposition: But if they consider how much the number of the Poor, and their Children, is greater than that of the Rich; although the personal expence of some Rich Men, should be twenty times more than that of a Labourer; yet the expence of the Labourer above mentioned, may well enough stand for the Standard of the Expence, of the whole mass of Mankind.
Now if the expence of each Man, one with another, be 7 l. per annum, and if the number of the Kings Subjects, be ten Millions, then the tenth part of the whole expence, will be seven Millions: but about five Millions, or a very little more, will amount to one years pay for one hundred thousand Foot, forty thousand Horse, and forty thousand Men at Sea, Winter and Summer; which can rarely be necessary. And the ordinary charge of the Government, in times of deep and serene Peace, was not 600000 1. per annum.
Where a People thrive, there the income is greater than the expence, and consequently the tenth part of the expence is not a tenth part of the income; now for Men to pay a tenth of their expence, in a time of the greatest exegency (for such it must be when so great Forces are requisite) can be no hardship, much less a deplorable condition, for to bear the tenth part, a Man needs spend but a twentieth part less, and labour a twentieth part more, or half an hour per diem extraordinary, both which within Common Experience are very tolerable; there being very few in England, who do not eat by a twentieth part more than does them good; and what misery were it, in stead of wearing Cloth of 20s. per Yard, to be contented with that of 19s. few Men having skill enough to discern the difference.
Memorandum, That all this while I suppose, that all of these ten Millions of People, are obedient to their Sovereign, and within the reach of his power; for as things are other- wise, so the Calculation must be varied.