Essays upon several projects: or, effectual ways for advancing the interest of the nation.:
Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731.
Page  118

Of FRIENDLY-SOCIETIES.

ANother Branch of Ensurance, is by Contribution, or (to bor|row the Term from that before-men|tion'd) Friendly-Societies; which, is in short, a Number of People entring into a Mutual Compact to Help one another, in case any Disaster or Di|stress fall upon them.

If Mankind cou'd agree, as these might be Regulated, all things which have Casualty in them, might be Se|cur'd. But one thing is Particularly requir'd in this way of Assurances; None can be admitted, but such whose Circumstances are, at least in some degree, alike, and so Mankind must be sorted into Classes; and as their Contingences differ, every dif|ferent Sort may be a Society upon even Terms; for the Circumstances of Peo|ple, Page  119 as to Life, differ extremely by the Age and Constitution of their Bodies, and difference of Employment; as he that lives on shore, against him that goes to Sea, or a Young Man against an Old Man; or a Shopkeeper against a Soldier, are unequal; I don't pretend to deter|mine the Controverted Point of Pre|destination, the Foreknowledge and De|crees of Providence; perhaps, if a Man be Decreed to be Kill'd in the Trenches, the same Foreknowledge Order'd him to List himself a Soldier that it might come to pass; and the like of a Sea|man; but this I am sure, speaking of Second Causes, a Seaman or a Soldier is subject to more contingent hazards than other Men, and therefore are not upon equal Terms to form such a So|ciety; nor is an Annuity on the Life of such a Man worth so much as it is upon other Men; therefore if a So|ciety shou'd agree together to Pay the Page  120 Executor of every Member so much after the Decease of the said Mem|ber, the Seamens Executors wou'd most certainly have an Advantage, and receive more than they Pay. So that 'tis necessary to sort the World in|to Parcels, Seamen with Seamen, Sol|diers with Soldiers, and the like.

Nor is this a new thing; the Friendly Society must not pretend to assume to themselves the Contrivance of the Me|thod, or think us guilty of borrowing from them, when we draw this into other Branches; for I know nothing is taken from them but the bare word, Friendly-Society, which they cannot pre|tend to be any considerable piece of Invention neither.

I can refer them to the very indivi|dual Practice in other things, which claims prescription beyond the begin|ing of the last Age, and that is in our Marshes and Fens in Essex, Kent,Page  121 and the Isle of Ely; where great Quantities of Land being with much Pains and a vast Charge recovered out of the Seas and Rivers, and maintain'd with Banks (which they call Walls) the Owners of those Lands agree to Contribute to the keeping up those Walls, and keeping out the Sea, which is all one with a Friendly-Society; and if I have a Piece of Land in any Level or Marsh, tho' it bounds no where on the Sea or Ri|ver, yet I pay my Proportion to the Maintenance of the said Wall or Bank; and if at any time the Sea breaks in, the Damage is not laid up|on the Man in whose Land the Breach happened, unless it was by his neglect, but it lies on the whole Land, and is called a Level-Lot.

Again, I have known it practised in Troops of Horse, especially when it was so order'd that the Troopers Page  122 Mounted themselves; where every pri|vate Trooper has agreed to Pay, per|haps, 2 d. per diem out of his Pay into a Publick Stock, which Stock was employed to Remount any of the Troop who by Accident shou'd lose his Horse.

Again, The Sailors Contribution to the Chest at Chatham, is another Friendly-Society; and more might be nam'd.

To argue against the Lawfulness of this, wou'd be to cry down common Equity, as well as Charity; for as 'tis kind that my Neighbour shou'd Re|lieve me if I fall into Distress or De|cay; so 'tis but Equal he shou'd do so if I agreed to have done the same for him; and if God Almighty has Com|manded us to Relieve and Help one another in Distress, sure it must be commendable to bind our selves by Agreement to Obey that Command; Page  123 nay, it seems to be a Project that we are led to by the Divine Rule, and has such a Latitude in it, that, for ought I know, as I said, all the Dis|asters in the World might be prevent|ed by it, and Mankind be secur'd from all the Miseries, Indigences, and Di|stresses that happen in the World. In which I crave leave to be a little Par|ticular.

First, General Peace might be se|cur'd all over the World by it, if all the Powers agreed to suppress him that Usurp'd or Encroach'd upon his Neighbour. All the Contingences of Life might be fenc'd against by this Method, (as Fire is already) as Thieves, Floods by Land, Storms by Sea, Losses of all Sorts, and Death it self, in a manner, by making it up to the Survivor.

I shall begin with the Seamen; for as their Lives are subject to more ha|zards Page  124 than others, they seem to come first in view.

Of Seamen.

Sailors are Les Enfans Perdue, the Forlorn hope of the World; they are Fellows that bid Defiance to Terror, and maintain a constant War with the Elements; who by the Magick of their Art, Trade in the very confines of Death, and are always posted within shot, as I may say, of the Grave: 'Tis true, their familiarity with Danger makes them despise it, for which, I hope, no body will say they are the wiser; and Custom has so harden'd them, that we find them the worst of Men, tho' always in view of their last Mo|ment.

I have observ'd one great Error in the Custom of England, relating Page  125 to these sort of People, and which this way of Friendly-Society wou'd be a Remedy for.

If a Seaman who Enters himself, or is Press'd into the King's Ser|vice, be by any Accident Wound|ed or Disabled, to Recompence him for the Loss, he receives a Pension during Life, which the Sail|ors call Smart-Money, and is pro|portioned to their Hurt, as for the Loss of an Eye, Arm, Leg, or Finger, and the like; and as 'tis a very Honourable thing, so 'tis but reasonable, That a Poor Man who Loses his Limbs (which are his Estate) in the Service of the Government, and is thereby disa|bled from his Labour to get his Bread, shou'd be provided for, and not suffer'd to Beg or Starve for want of those Limbs he lost in the Service of his Country.

Page  126 But if you come to the Sea|men in the Merchants Service, not the least Provision is made; which has been the Loss of many a good Ship, with many a Rich Cargo, which wou'd otherwise have been Sav'd.

And the Sailors are in the Right of it too: For Instance; A Merchant Ship coming home from the Indies, perhaps very Rich, meets with a Privateer (not so Strong but that She might Fight him, and perhaps get off); the Captain calls up his Crew, tells them, Gentlemen, You see how 'tis, I don't question but we may Clear our selves of this Caper, if you will Stand by Me. One of the Crew, as willing to Fight as the rest, and as far from a Coward as the Captain, but endow'd with a little more Wit than his Fellows, Replies, Noble Captain, We are all willing to Fight, and don't question but to Beat himPage  127off; but here is the Case, If we are Taken, we shall be set on Shore, and then sent Home, and Lose, perhaps, our Cloaths, and a little Pay; but if we Fight and Beat the Privateer, perhaps Half a Score of us may be Wounded and Lose our Limbs, and then we are Undone and our Families; if you will Sign an Obligation to us, That the Owners, or Merchants, shall al|low a Pension to such as are Maim'd, that we may not Fight for the Ship, and go a Begging our selves, we will bring off the Ship, or Sink by her side, otherwise I am not willing to Fight, for my part. The Captain cannot do this; so they Strike, and the Ship and Cargo is Lost.

If I shou'd turn this suppos'd Ex|ample into a real History, and Name the Ship and the Captain that did so, it wou'd be too plain to be contradicted.

Page  128 Wherefore, for the Encouragement of Sailors in the Service of the Merchant, I wou'd have a Friendly-Society Erected for Seamen; where|in all Sailors, or Seafaring-men, Entring their Names, Places of Abode, and the Voyages they go upon, at an Office of Ensurance for Seamen, and Paying there a cer|tain small Quarteridge, of 1 s. per Quarter, shou'd have a Seal'd Cer|tificate from the Governors of the said Office, for the Articles hereafter mentioned.

(1.) If any such Seaman, either in Fight, or by any other Accident at Sea, come to be disabled, he shou'd receive from the said Office the fol|lowing Sums of Money, either in Pension for Life, or Ready Money, as he pleas'd.

Page  129
    l.   l.  
For the Loss of An Eye 25 or 2 Per Ann. for Life.
Both Eyes 100 8
One Leg 50 4
Both Legs 80 6
Right Hand 80 6
Left Hand 50 4
Right Arm 100 8
Left Arm 80 6
Both Hands 160 12
Both Arms 200 16
Any Broken Arm, or Leg, or Thigh, towards the Cure 10 l.
If taken by the Turks, 50 l. towards his Ransom.
If he become Infirm and Unable to go to Sea, or Maintain himself, by Age or Sickness, 6 l. per Ann.
To their Wives if they are Kill'd or Drown'd, 50 l.

In Consideration of this, every Sea|man Subscribing to the Society, shall Agree to Pay to the Receipt of the said Office, his Quota of the Sum to be Paid, whenever, and as often as such Claims are made; the Claims to be Enter'd into the Office, and upon sufficient Proof made, the Go|vernors Page  130 to Regulate the Division, and Publish it in Print.

For Example:

Suppose 4000 Seamen Subscribe to this Society, and after Six Months, for no Man shou'd Claim sooner than Six Months, a Merchant's Ship having Engag'd a Privateer, there comes se|veral Claims together: As thus;

  l.
A Was Wounded and Lost one Leg 50
B Blown up with Powder, and has Lost an Eye 25
C Had a Great Shot took off his Arm 100
D With a Splinter had an Eye struck out 25
  200
E Was Kill'd with a Great Shot, to be paid to his Wife 50
  250

The Governors hereupon settle the Claim of these Persons, and make Publication, That whereas such and suchPage  131Seamen, Members of the Society, have in an Engagement with a French Priva|teer, been so and so Hurt, their Claims upon the Office, by the Rules and Agree|ments of the said Office, being adjusted by the Governors, amounts to 250 l. which being equally divided among the Sub|scribers, comes to 1 s. 3 d. each; which all Persons that are Subscribers to the said Office are desired to Pay in, for their re|spective Subscriptions, that the said Wounded Persons may be Reliev'd ac|cordingly, as they expect to be Reliev'd, if the same, or the like Casualty shou'd be|fall them.

'Tis but a small matter for a Man to Contribute, if he gave 1 s. 3 d. out of his Wages to Relieve Five Wounded Men of his own Fraternity, but at the same time to be assur'd that if he is Hurt or Maim'd he shall have the same Relief, it is a thing so ratio|nal, that hardly any thing but a Hare|brain'd Page  132 Fellow that thinks of nothing, wou'd omit Entring himself into such an Office.

I shall not enter further into this Affair, because, perhaps, I may give the Proposal to some Persons who may set it on foot; and then the World may see the Benefit of it by the Exe|cution.

II. For Widows.

The same Method of Friendly-So|ciety I conceive wou'd be a very pro|per Proposal for Widows.

We have abundance of Women who have been Bred well, and Liv'd well, Ruin'd in a few Years, and, perhaps, left Young, with a House full of Chidren, and nothing to Support them; which falls generally upon the Wives of the Inferior Clergy, or of Shopkeepers and Artificers.

Page  133 They Marry Wives with perhaps 300 l. to 1000 l. Portion, and can settle no Jointure upon them; either they are Extravagant and Idle, and Waste it, or Trade Decays, or Losses, or a thousand Contingences happen to bring a Tradesman to Poverty, and he Breaks; the Poor Young Woman, it may be, has Three or Four Children, and is driven to a thousand shifts, while he lies in the Mint or Friars un|der the Dilemma of a Statute of Bank|rupt; but if he Dies, then she is ab|solutely Undone, unless she has Friends to go to.

Suppose an Office to be Erected, to be call'd An Office of Ensurance for Wi|dows, upon the following Condi|tions:

Two thousand Women, or their Husbands for them, Enter their Names into a Register to be kept for that purpose, with the Names, Page  134 Age, and Trade of their Husbands, with the Place of their Abode, Paying at the time of their Entring 5 s. down with 1 s. 4 d. per Quarter, which is to the setting up and support of an Office with Clerks, and all proper Officers for the same; for there is no main|taining such without Charge; they receive every one of them a Certifi|cate, Seal'd by the Secretary of the Office, and Sign'd by the Governors, for the Articles hereafter mentioned.

If any one of the Women become a Widow at any time after Six Months from the Date of her Subscription, upon due Notice given, and Claim made at the Office in form, as shall be directed, she shall receive within Six Months after such Claim made, the Sum of 500 l. in Money, without any Deductions, saving some small Fees to the Officers, which the Tru|stees Page  135 must settle, that they may be known.

In Consideration of this, every Woman so Subscribing, Obliges her self to Pay as often as any Member of the Society becomes a Widow, the due Proportion or Share allotted to her to Pay, towards the 500 l. for the said Widow, provided her Share does not exceed the Sum of 5 s.

No Seaman or Soldiers Wives to be accepted into such a Proposal as this, on the account before-mention'd, because the Contingences of their Lives are not equal to others, unless they will admit this general Exception, supposing they do not Die out of the Kingdom.

It might also be an Exception, That if the Widow, that Claim'd, had really, bona fide, left her by her Hus|band to her own use, clear of all Debts and Legacies, 2000 l. she Page  136 shou'd have no Claim; the Intent be|ing to Aid the Poor, not add to the Rich. But there lies a great many Objections against such an Article: As

  • (1.) It may tempt some to For|swear themselves.
  • (2.) People will Order their Wills so as to Defraud the Exception.

One Exception must be made; and that is, Either very Unequal Matches, as when a Woman of Nineteen Mar|ries an Old Man of Seventy; or Women who have Infirm Husbands, I mean known and publickly so. To remedy which, Two things are to be done.

  • (1.) The Office must have moving Officers without doors, who shall in|form themselves of such matters, and if any such Circumstances appear, the Office shou'd have 14 days time to re|turn their Money, and declare their Subscriptions Void.
  • Page  137 (2.) No Woman whose Husband had any visible Distemper, shou'd claim under a Year after her Sub|scription.

One grand Objection against this Proposal, is, How you will oblige People to Pay either their Subscripti|on, or their Quarteridge.

To this I Answer, By no compul|sion (tho' that might be perform'd too) but altogether voluntary; only with this Argument to move it, that if they do not continue their Pay|ments, they lose the Benefit of their past Contributions.

I know it lies as a fair Objection against such a Project as this, That the number of Claims are so uncertain, That no Body knows what they en|gage in, when they Subscribe, for so many may Die Annually out of Two thousand, as may make my Payment 20 or 25 l. per Ann. and if a Woman Page  138 happen to Pay that for Twenty Years, though she receives the 500 l. at last she is a great Loser; but if she dies before her Husband, she has les|sened his Estate considerably, and brought a great Loss upon him.

First, I say to this, That I wou'd have such a Proposal as this be so fair and so easy, that if any Person who had Subscrib'd, found the Payments too high, and the Claims fall too of|ten, it shou'd be at their liberty at any time, upon Notice given, to be Re|leased, and stand Oblig'd no longer; and if so, Volenti non fit injuria; every one knows best what their own Cir|cumstances will bear.

In the next Place, because Death is a Contingency, no Man can directly calculate, and all that Subscribe must take the hazard; yet that a Prejudice against this Notion may not be built on wrong grounds, let's examine a little the Page  139 probable hazard, and see how many shall die Annually out of 2000 Sub|scribers, accounting by the common proportion of Burials, to the number of the Living.

Sir William Petty in his Political Arithmetick, by a very Ingenious Cal|culation, brings the account of Buri|als in London, to be 1 in 40 Annually, and proves it by all the proper Rules of proportion'd Computation; and I'le take my Scheme from thence.

If then One in Forty of all the People in England Die, that sup|poses Fifty to Die every Year out of our Two Thousand Subscribers; and for a Woman to Contribute 5 s. to every one, wou'd certainly be to Agree to Pay 12 l. 10 s. per Ann. upon her Husband's Life, to receive 500 l. when he Di'd, and lose it if she Di'd first; and yet this wou'd not be a Ha|zard beyond reason too great for the Gain.

Page  140 But I shall offer some Reasons to prove this to be impossible in our Case; First, Sir William Petty allows the City of London to contain about a Million of People, and our Yearly Bill of Mortality never yet amounted to 25000 in the most Sickly Years we have had, Plague Years excepted, sometimes but to 20000, which is but One in Fifty: Now it is to be consi|der'd here, that Children and Ancient People make up, one time with ano|ther, at least one third of our Bills of Mortality; and our Assurances lies upon none but the Midling Age of the People, which is the only Age wherein Life is any thing steady; and if that be allow'd, there cannot Die by his Computation, above One in Eighty of such People every Year; but because I wou'd be sure to leave room for Casualty, I'le allow One in Fifty shall Die out of our Number Sub|scrib'd.

Page  141 Secondly, It must be allow'd, that our Payments falling due only on the Death of Husbands, this One in Fifty must not be reckoned upon the Two thousand; for 'tis to be suppos'd at least as many Women shall Die as Men, and then there is nothing to Pay; so that One in Fifty upon One Thousand, is the most that I can sup|pose shall Claim the Contribution in a Year, which is Twenty Claims a Year, at 5 s. each, and is 5 l. per Ann. and if a Woman Pays this for Twenty Year, and Claims at last, she is Gainer enough, and no extraordinary Loser if she never Claims at all: And I verily believe any Office might Un|dertake to Demand at all Adventures not above 6 l. per Ann. and secure the Subscriber 500 l. in case she come to Claim as a Widow.

I forbear being more particular on this Thought, having occasion to be Page  142 larger in other Prints; the Experiment being resolv'd upon by some Friends, who are pleas'd to think this too useful a Project not to be put in execution; and therefore I refer the Reader to the Publick Practice of it.

I have nam'd these two Cases as spe|cial Experiments of what might be done by Assurances in way of Friend|ly Society; and I believe I might without Arrogance affirm, That the same Thought might be improv'd in|to Methods that shou'd prevent the General Misery and Poverty of Man|kind, and at once secure us against Beggars, Parish-Poor, Alms-Houses, and Hospitals; and by which, not a Creature so Miserable, or so Poor, but should claim Subsistence as their Due, and not ask it of Charity.

I cannot believe any Creature so wretchedly base, as to Beg of mere Page  143 choice, but either it must proceed from Want, or sordid prodigious Covetousness; and thence I affirm, There can be no Beggar, but he ought to be either Reliev'd, or Punish'd, or both. If a man begs for mere Cove|tousness, without Want, 'tis a baseness of Soul so extremely sordid, as ought to be us'd with the utmost Contempt, and punish'd with the Correction due to a Dog. If he begs for Want, that Want is procur'd by Slothfulness and Idleness, or by Accident; if the latter, he ought to be reliev'd; if the for|mer, he ought to be punish'd for the Cause, but at the same time reliev'd also; for no man ought to starve, let his Crime be what it will.

I shall proceed therefore to a Scheme, by which all Mankind, be he never so mean, so poor, so unable, shall gain for himself a Just Claim to a comforta|ble Subsistence, whensoever Age or Page  144 Casualty shall reduce him to a neces|sity of making use of it. There is a Poverty so far from being Despicable, that 'tis Honourable, when a man by direct Casualty, sudden Providence, and without any procuring of his own, is reduc'd to want Relief from others, as by Fire, Shipwreck, Loss of Limbs, and the like.

These are sometimes so apparent, that they command the Charity of others; but there are also many Fa|milies reduc'd to Decay, whose Con|ditions are not so publick, and yet their Necessities as great. Innumera|ble Circumstances reduce men to want; and pressing Poverty oblige some people to make their Cases pub|lick, or starve; and from thence came the Custom of Begging, which Sloth and Idleness has improv'd into a Trade. But the Method I propose, thoroughly put in practice, would remove the Page  145 Cause, and the Effect wou'd cease of course.

Want of Consideration is the great reason why People do not provide in their Youth and Strength for Old Age and Sickness; and the ensuing Proposal is, in short, only this, That all Persons in the time of their Health and Youth, while they are able to Work and spare it, shou'd lay up some small inconsiderable part of their gettings as a deposit in safe hands, to lie as a Store in bank to relieve them, if by Age or Accident they come to be dis|abled, or uncapable to Provide for themselves; and that if God so Bless them, that they nor theirs never come to need it, the overplus may be em|ploy'd to relieve such as shall.

If an Office in the same nature with this, were appointed in every Page  146 County in England, I doubt not but Poverty might easily be prevented, and Begging wholly suppres'd.

The Proposal is for A PENSION-OFFICE.

THAT an Office be erected in some convenient place, where shall be a Secretary, a Clerk, and a Searcher, always attending.

That all Sorts of People, who are Labouring People, and of Honest Re|pute, of what Calling or Condition soever, Men or Women, Beggars and Soldiers excepted, who being sound of their Limbs, and under Fifty Years of Age, shall come to the said Office, and enter their Names, Trades, and Places of Abode, into a Register to be kept for that purpose, and shall Page  147 pay down at the time of the said En|tring, the Sum of Sixpence, and from thence One Shilling per Quarter; shall every one have an Assurance under the Seal of the said Office, for these following Conditions.

  • (1.) Every such Subscriber, if by any Casualty (Drunkenness and Quar|rels excepted) they break their Limbs, dislocate Joints, or are dangerously Maim'd or Bruis'd, able Surgeons appointed for that purpose shall take them into their care, and endeavour their Cure Gratis.
  • (2.) If they are at any time dange|rously Sick, on notice given to the said Office, able Physicians shall be ap|pointed to Visit them, and give their Prescriptions Gratis.
  • (3.) If by Sickness or Accident, as aforesaid, they lose their Limbs or Eyes, so as to be visibly disabled to Page  148 Work, and are otherwise Poor and unable to provide for themselves, they shall either be Cur'd at the Charge of the Office, or be allow'd a Pension for Subsistence during Life.
  • (4.) If they become Lame, Aged, Bedrid, or by real Infirmity of Bo|dy (the Pox excepted) are unable to Work, and otherwise uncapable to pro|vide for themselves, on proof made that it is really and honestly so, they shall be taken into a Colledge or Hospital provided for that purpose, and be decently maintain'd during life.
  • (5.) If they are Seamen, and die abroad on board the Merchants Ships they were employ'd in, or are cast away and drown'd, or taken and die in slavery, their Widows shall receive a Pension during their Widowhood.
  • (6.) If they were Tradesmen, and paid the Parish Rates, if by decay and failure of Trade they Break and Page  149 are put in Prison for Debt, they shall receive a Pension for Subsistence during close Imprisonment.
  • (7.) If by Sickness or Accidents they are reduc'd to extremities of Po|verty for a season, on a true repre|sentation to the Office, they shall be Reliev'd as the Governors shall see cause.

It is to be Noted, That in the 4th. Ar|ticle such as by Sickness and Age are disabled from Work, and Poor, shall be taken into the House and provided for; whereas in the 3d. Article, they who are Blind, or have lost Limbs, &c. shall have Pensions allow'd them.

The reason of this difference is this:

A Poor Man or Woman that has lost his Hand, or Leg, or Sight, is visibly disabled, and we cannot be deceiv'd, whereas other Infirmities are not so easily judg'd of, and every body Page  150 wou'd be claiming a Pension, when but few will demand being taken into an Hospital but such as are really in want.

And that this might be manag'd with such Care and Candor as a De|sign which carries so good a face ought to be, I Propose the following Method for putting it in Practice.

I suppose every Undertaking of such a magnitude must have some princi|pal Agent to push it forward, who must manage and direct every thing always with direction of the Gover|nors.

And First, I'le suppose One Gene|ral Office erected for the great Pa|rishes of Stepney and Whitechappel; and as I'le lay down afterwards some Methods to oblige all People to come in and Subscribe, so I may be allow'd to suppose here, That all the Inhabi|tants Page  151 of those Two large Parishes (the meaner Labouring sort I mean) shou'd Enter their Names, and that the number of them shou'd be a 100000, as I believe they wou'd be at least.

First, There shou'd be Nam'd 50 of the principal Inhabitants of the said Parishes (of which the Church-Wardens for the time being, and all the Justices of the Peace dwelling in the bounds of the said Parish, and the Ministers resident for the time being, to be part) to be Governors of the said Office.

The said 50 to be first Nominated by the Lord-Mayor of London for the time being, and every Vacancy to be suppli'd in 10 days at farthest, by the Majority of Voices of the rest.

The 50 to chuse a Committee of 11, to sit twice a week, of whom 3 to Page  152 be a Quorum; with a Chief Governor, a Deputy-Governor, and a Treasurer.

In the Office, a Secretary with Clerks of his own, a Register, and 2 Clerks, 4 Searchers, a Messenger, one in daily attendance under Salary, a Physician, a Surgeon, and 4 Visitors.

In the Hospital, more or less, accord|ing to the Number of People enter|tain'd, a Housekeeper, a Steward, Nurses, a Porter, and a Chaplain.

For the Support of this Office, and that the deposite Money might go to none but the Persons and Uses for whom it is paid, and that it might not be said Officers and Salaries was the chief end of the Undertaking, as in many a Project it has been; I pro|pose, That the Manager, or Under|taker, who I mention'd before, be the Secretary, who shall have a Clerk allow'd him, whose business it shall be to keep the Register, take the En|tries, Page  153 and give out the Tickets Seal'd by the Governors, and Sign'd by him|self, and to Enter always the Payment of Quarteridge of every Subscriber. And that there may be no Fraud or Con|nivance, and too great Trust be not re|pos'd in the said Secretary, every Sub|scriber who brings his Quarteridge, is to put it into a great Chest, lockt up with 11 Locks, every Member of the Committee to keep a Key, so that it cannot be open'd but in the Presence of them all; and every time a Subscri|ber pays his Quarteridge, the Secre|tary shall give him a Seal'd Ticket, thus Christmas 96 which shall be allow'd as the Receipt of Quarteridge for that Quarter.

Note, The reason why every Subscri|ber shall take a Receipt or Ticket for his Quarteridge, is because this must be the standing Law of thePage  154Office, that if any Subscriber fail to pay their Quarteridge, they shall never Claim after it, until double so much be paid, nor not at all that Quarter, whatever befalls them.

The Secretary shou'd be allow'd to have 2 d. for every Ticket of Entry he gives out, and 1 d. for every Receipt he gives for Quarteridge, to be ac|counted for as follows:

  • One Third to himself in lieu of Salary, he being to Pay Three Clerks out of it.
  • One Third to the Clerks, and other Officers among them.
  • And One Third to defray the inci|dent Charge of the Office.
Thus Calculated. Page  155
  Per Ann.
      l. s. d.
  100000 Subscribers paying 1 d. each every Quarter is   1666 3 4
One Third To the Secretary per Ann. and Three Clerks   555 7 9
    l. Per Ann.      
One Third To a Register 100 550 0 0
To a Clerk 50
To 4 Searchers 100
To a Physician 100
To a Surgeon 100
To Four Visitors 100
One Third To Incident Charges, such as To Ten Committee-Men, 5 s. each sitting twice per Week is 260 560 15 7
To a Clerk of Com|mittees 50
To a Messenger 40
A House for the Office 40
A House for the Hospital 100
Contingencies 70
    15 s. 7 d.      
      1666 3 4

All the Charge being thus paid out of such a Trifle as 1 d. per Quarter, the next Consideration is to examine what the Incomes of this Subscription may be, and in time what may be the Demands upon it.

Page  156
  l. s. d.
If 100 000 persons subscribe, they pay down at their entring, each 6 d. which is 2500 00 00
And the first year's Payment is in Stock at 1 s. per Quarter 20000 00 00
It must be allow'd, that under Three Months the Subscriptions will not be well compleat; so the Payment of Quarteridge shall not begin but from the Day after the Books are full, or shut up; and from thence one year is to pass before any Claim can be made; and the Money coming in at sepa|rate times, I suppose no Improvement upon it for the first year, except of the 2500, which lent to the King on some good Fund, at 7 l. per Cent. Interest, advances the first year, 175 00 00
The Quarteridge of the Second year, abating for 1000 Claims, 19800 00 00
And the Interest of the first year's Mo|ney, at the end of the second year, lent to the King, as aforesaid, at 7 per Cent. Inte|rest, is 1774 10 00
The Quarteridge of the Third year, abating for Claims, 19400 00 00
The Interest of former Cash, to the end of the Third Year, 3284 08 00
Income of Three Years 66933 18 00

Note, Any person may pay 2 s. up to 5 s. Quarterly, if they please, and upon a Claim, will be allow'd in proportion.

Page  157 To assign what shall be the Charge upon this, where Contingency has so great a share, is not to be done; but by way of Political Arithmetick a pro|bable Guess may be made.

'Tis to be noted, That the Pensions I propose to be paid to Persons claim|ing by the Third, Fifth, and Sixth Articles, are thus; Every Person who paid 1 s. Quarterly, shall re|ceive 12 d. Weekly, and so in pro|portion, every 12 d. paid Quarterly by any one Person, to receive so ma|ny Shillings Weekly, if they come to claim a Pension.

The first Year no Claim is allow'd; so the Bank has in Stock compleatly 22500 l. From thence we are to consider the Number of Claims.

Sir William Petty, in his Political A|rithmetick, supposes not above one Page  158 in 40 to dye per Ann. out of the whole number of people; and I can by no means allow, that the Circumstances of our Claims will be as frequent as Death; for these Reasons:

  • (1.) Our Subscriptions respect all persons grown, and in the Prime of their Age; past the first, and provi|ding against the last part of Danger. Sir William's Account including Chil|dren and Old People, which always makes up One Third of the Bills of Mortality.
  • (2.) Our Claims will fall thin at first, for several Years; and let but the Money increase for Ten Years, as it does in the Account for Three Years, 'twould be almost sufficient to maintain the whole Number.
  • (3.) Allow that Casualty and Po|verty are our Debtor-side; Health, Prosperity, and Death, are the Cre|ditor-side of the Account; and in all Page  159 probable Accounts, those Three Arti|cles will carry off Three Fourth Parts of the Number, as follows: If 1 in 40 shall dye Annually, as no doubt they shall, and more, that is 2500 a year, which in 20 Years is 50000 of the Number, I hope I may be allow'd One Third to be out of condition to claim, apparently living wihtout the help of Charity; and One Third in Health of Body, and able to work; which put together, makes 83332; so it leaves 16668 to make Claims of Charity and Pensions in the first 20 years, and One half of them must, according to Sir William Petty, Die on our hands in 20 years; so there remains but 8334.

But to put it out of doubt, beyond the proportion to be guess'd at, I'le allow they shall fall thus;

The First Year, we are to note, none can claim, and the Second Year thePage  160Number must be very few, but in|creasing; wherefore I suppose,

  l.
One in every 500 shall claim the second year, which is 200, The Charge whereof is 500
One in every 100 the third year, is 1000; the Charge, 2500
Together with the former 200, 500
  3000
To carry on the Calculation.
  l. s. d.
We find the Stock at the end of the 3d year, 66933 18 0
The Quarteridge of the 4th year, abating as before, 19000 00 0
Interest of the Stock, 4882 17 6
The Quarteridge of the 5th year, 18600 00 0
Interest of the Stock, 6473 00 0
  115879 15 6
Page  161
  l. s. d.
The Charge 3000 00 0
2000 to fall the 4th Year 5000 00 0
And the Old con|tinued 3000 00 0
2000 the 5th Year 5000 00 0
The Old continued 11000 00 0
  27000 00 0

By this computation the Stock is increased above the Charge in Five years 89379 l. 15 s. 6 d. and yet here are sundry Articles to be considered on both sides of the Account, that will necessarily increase the Stock and diminish the Charge.

Page  162
  l. s. d.
First, In the Five years time 6200 ha|ving claim'd Charity, the Number being a|bated for in the reckon|ing above for Stock, it may be allow'd New Subscriptions will be taken in to keep the Number full, which in Five years amounts to 3400 00 0
Their Sixpences is 155 00 0
  3555 00 0
Which added to 115879 l. 15 s. 6 d. Augments the Stock to 119434 15 6
Page  163
  l. s. d.
Six thousand two hundred persons claim|ing help, which falls to be sure, on the Aged and Infirm, I think, at a modest com|putation, in Five years time 500 of them may be dead, which, without allowing an|nually, we take at an Abatement of 4000 l. out of the Charge 4000 00 0
Which reduces the Charge to 23000 00 0

Besides this, the Interest of the Quarteridge, which is supposed in the former Account to lie dead till the Year is out, which cast up from Page  164 Quarter to Quarter, allowing it to be put out Quarterly, as it may well be, amounts to by computation for Five Year, 5250 l.

From the 5th year, as near as can be computed, the Number of Pensio|ners being so great I make no doubt but they shall Die off of the hands of the Undertaker as fast as they shall fall in, excepting so much difference as the Payment of every Year, which the Interest of the Stock shall supply.

For Example:

  l. s. d.
At the end of the Fifth Year the Stock in hand 94629 15 6
The Payment of the Sixth Year 20000 00 0
Interest of the Stock 5408 04 0
  120037 19 6
Page  165
  l. s. d.
Allow an over|plus Charge for keep|ing in the House, which will be dear|er than Pensions, 10000 l. per Ann. 10000 00 0
Charge of the 6th Year 22500 00 0
Balance in Cash 87537 19 6
  120037 19 6

This also is to be allow'd, That all those Persons who are kept by the Of|fice in the House shall have Employ|ment provided for them, whereby no Persons shall be kept Idle, the Works to be suited to every one's Capacity without Rigour, only some distincti|on to those who are most willing to Page  166 Work; the Profits of the said Work to the Stock of the House.

Besides this there may great and very profitable Methods be found out to improve the Stock beyond the set|led Interest of 7 per Cent. which per|haps may not always be to be had, for the Exchequer is not always bor|rowing Money; but a Bank of 80000 l. employ'd by faithful hands, need not want opportunities of great and very considerable Improvement.

Also it wou'd be a very good Ob|ject for Persons who Die Rich to leave Legacies to, which in time might be very well suppos'd to raise a standing Revenue to it.

I won't say but various Contingen|cies may alter the Charge of this Un|dertaking, and swell the Claims be|yond proportion, further than I ex|tend it; but all that, and much more, is sufficiently answer'd in the Calcula|tions, Page  167 by above 80000 l. in Stock to Provide for it.

As to the Calculation being made on a vast Number of Subscribers, and more than, perhaps, will be allow'd likely to Subscribe, I think the pro|portion may hold good in a few, as well as in a great many; and, per|haps, if 20000 Subscrib'd, it might be as effectual; I am indeed willing to think all Men shou'd have sense enough to see the usefulness of such a Design, and be perswaded by their In|terest to engage in it; but some Men have less Prudence than Brutes, and will make no provision against Age till it comes; and to deal with such, Two ways might be us'd by Authori|ty to Compel them.

  • (1.) The Church-Wardens and Justices of Peace shou'd send the Beadle of the Parish, with an Officer belonging to this Office, about to the Page  168 Poorer Parishioners to tell them, That since such Honourable Provision is made for them to secure themselves in Old Age from Poverty and Distress, they shou'd expect no Relief from the Parish, if they refus'd to Enter them|selves, and by sparing so small a part of their Earnings to prevent future Misery.
  • (2.) The Church-Wardens of every Parish might refuse the removal of Persons and Families into their Parish but upon their having Entred into this Office.
  • (3.) All Persons shou'd be pub|lickly desir'd to forbear giving any thing to Beggars; and all common Beggars suppress'd after a certain time; for this wou'd effectually suppress Beggery at last.

And to oblige the Parishes to do this on behalf of such a Project, the Governor of the House shou'd secure Page  169 the Parish against all Charges coming upon them from any Person who did Subscribe and pay the Quarteridge, and that wou'd most certainly oblige any Parish to endeavour that all the La|bouring Meaner People in the Parish shou'd enter their Names; for in time 'twou'd most certainly take all the Poor in the Parish off of their hands.

I know that by Law no Parish can refuse to Relieve any Person or Fami|ly fallen into Distress, and therefore to send them word they must expect no Relief, wou'd seem a vain threat|ning; but thus far the Parish may do, they shall be esteem'd as Persons who deserve no Relief, and shall be us'd accordingly; For who, indeed, wou'd ever pity that Man in his Distress, who at the expence of Two Pots of Beer a Month, might have prevented it, and wou'd not spare it?

As to my Calculations, on which I Page  170 do not depend neither, I say this, if they are probable, and that in Five years time a Subscription of a Hun|dred thousand Persons wou'd have 87537 l. 19 s. 6 d. in Cash, all Charges paid, I desire any one but to reflect what will not such a Sum do; for instance, were it laid out in the Million Lottery Tickets, which are now Sold at 6 l. each, and bring in 1 l. per Ann. for Fifteen Years, every 1000 l. so laid out, pays back in time 2500 l. and that time wou'd be as fast as it wou'd be wanted, and there|fore be as good as Money; or if laid out in improving Rents, as Ground-Rents with Buildings to devolve in time, there is no question but a Reve|nue wou'd be rais'd in time to Maintain One third part of the Number of Subscribers, if they shou'd come to Claim Charity.

And I desire any Man to con|sider Page  171 the present State of this King|dom, and tell me, if all the People of England, Old and Young, Rich and Poor, were to Pay into one common Bank, 4 s. per Ann. a Head, and that 4 s. duly and honestly ma|nag'd, Whether the overplus paid by those who Die off, and by those who never come to Want, wou'd not in all probability Maintain all that shou'd be Poor, and for ever Banish Beggery and Poverty out of the Kingdom.