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do, to take smaller wages, and by that means they are something helped in being able to under-sell us : And befides the Masters of Trade do themselves live much more frugally than we do in point of Dyet and Apparel, . and other heights of living, and stu. diously avoid many unnecessary ways of Expence, which we are (perhaps too apt) to be fond of. And what. ever is expended must needs take off fo much from Improvement ; which Consideration prevails with them to be very sparing till they are very Rich , and not to pretend to any of the wayes of Vanity , till they have brought themselves into a condition to carry on their material Concerns with the best advantage. Now is it any wonder , if there were nothing more in the Case than this, that in Trade chey should much out-do us? And there is little doubt to be made of it, that he who is better acquainted with that people than I am, will be able to reckon many other particular things wherein they differ from us in order to this great Design, which
have no manner of relation to Liberty of Conscience, and which would have the same effect without it, as they can possibly have by it.
Ás to our felves and our preseat Case, there are but three Things (which I can learn pretended,by reacon of which it is possible to be suppofed, that the putting the Act against Conventicles in Execution can draw any prejudice upon Trade : First, that Merchants who are not willing to conform, will not come over and settle in England: Secondly, that the molt eminent Traders being Nonconformists, they will either forbear Trading to the utter undoing of all such Workmen (as Weavers, &c.) who do depend upon them, or leave the Kingdom and carry their profitable Trades along with them ; which will bring a great decay of Trade here, and carry away that benefit, which England might have received, to that, whatever Country they shall please to settle in.
Thirdly, That Merchants beyond Sea (as Roman Catholicks, &c.) will
not be easily perswaded to trust their Estates in the hands of those who are not of their own Religion, and they who are, being lyable to such Prose. cutions as by our Laws they are liable unto, will be fearful of having any Estates in their own hands, and look upon it as more adviseable to forbear Trading, rather than to be liable to so many Difficulties ; These are the three most considerable Objections which I have hitherto been able to meet with, and to each of these I have this to offer by way of return.
As to the first, that this severity will discourage Forraign Merchants from comming over to us: It is a mistake to think that the Church of England is such a Bug bear to the rest of the Reformation, as that the Reli. gion of that is looked upon as fufficient Cause to hinder any great Num. bers of valuable Persons from coming over to dwell in the Nation. It is by no means clear that any store of them do at this time desire to transplant hither, and if they did, it is more than possible that some other of
our our Civil Constitutions may be greater bars in their way, than the Act against Conventicles, and particularly i he want of a Register : And that Person must have more than ordinary Intelligence, who can be able to see cure us, that there are such Numbers of considerable Merchants at this time designing to come over, and are diverted only by the News of the Bill against Conventicles going to be put into Execution ; as that, the ade vantage and addition of those Pere fons, and that Trade to the Nation fhould be so great, as to overbalance those many and únavoidable Inconveniencies which I have already shewed, that Religion and Government must be exposed to, by the grant of Liberty of Conscience. It doth not remain in our Memories that in Cromwel's time, when there was Liberty given to all except Papists and Prelatists, that any were by that Liberty encouraged to come over, at least not any such number as to be considerable. But suppose it should so happen, that some Eminent Mer
chants should design to come over ; I could never yet hear, nor am I wise enough to think upon any reason why the Act against Conventicles should more fright them from England, than the Inquisition doth from other Countries, as Spain, Italy, and Portugal; and yet in those Countries Merchants have their Factories and drive their greatest Trade:Besides strangers Merchants have as much encouragement in this particular, as can reasonably be desired ; the French have their Church, the Dutch theirs ; nay, even the Jews have theirs, and all Aliens of the Reformation have even by the very A& of U. niformity an express provision made for them, as to the enjoyment of their own way of Worship at the pleasure of His Majesty; and if they do meet and keep to their own Language,they need fear no more in this Country than in any other. · As to the second Thing alledged, that if the Act against Conventicles be put in Execution, the most Emi. neni Traders being Non-Conformists, they will leave off Trading, and by