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3.18. Of faires and markets. Chap. 18.

Of faires and markets. Chap. 18.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _THere are (as I take it) few great townes in England, that haue not their wéekelie markets, one or more gran|ted from the prince, in which all maner of prouision for houshold is to be bought and sold, for ease and benefit of the countrie round about. Wherby as it cõmeth to passe that no buier shall make anie great iourneie in the purueiance of his necessities: so no occupier shall haue occasion to trauell far off with his commodi|ties, except it be to séeke for the highest prices, which commonlie are néere vnto great cities, where round and spéediest vtterance is alwaies to be had. And as these haue béene in times past erected for the benefit of the realme, so are they in many places too too much abused: for the reliefe and ease of the buier is not so much intended in them, as the benefit of the seller. Neither are the magistrats for the most part (as men loth to displease their neighbours for their one yeares dignitie) so carefull in their offices, as of right and dutie they should bée. For in most of these markets neither assises of bread nor orders for good|nesse and swéetnesse of graine, and other commodi|ties that are brought thither to be sold, are anie whit looked vnto; but ech one suffered to sell or set vp what and how himselfe listeth: & this is one euident cause of dearth and scarsitie in time of great abundance.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 I could (if I would) exemplifie in manie, but I will touch no one particularlie, sith it is rare to sée in anie countrie towne (as I said) the assise of bread well kept according to the statute. And yet if anie countrie baker happen to come in among them on the market daie with bread of better quantitie, they find fault by and by with one thing or another in his stuffe; whereby the honest poore man, whome the law of nations doo commend, for that he indeuoureth to liue by anie lawfull meanes, is driuen awaie, and no more to come there vpon some round penaltie, by vertue of their priuileges. Howbeit though they are so nice in the proportion of their bread, yet in lieu of the same, there is such headie ale & béere in most of them, as for the mightinesse thereof among such as séeke it out, is commonlie called huffecap, the mad dog, father whoresonne, angels food, dragons milke, go by the wall, stride wide, and list leg, &c. And this is more to be noted, that when one of late fell by Gods prouidence into a troubled cõscience, after he had considered well of his reachlesse life, and dange|rous estate: another thinking belike to change his colour and not his mind, caried him straightwaie to the strongest ale, as to the next physician. It is incre|dible to saie how our maltbugs lug at this liquor, e|uen as pigs should lie in a row, lugging at their dames teats, till they lie still againe, and be not able to wag. Neither did Romulus and Remus sucke their shee woolfe or shéepheards wife Lupa, with such eger and sharpe deuotion, as these men hale at hufcap, till they be red as cockes, & litle wiser than their combs. But how am I fallen from the market into the ale|house? In returning therefore vnto my purpose, I find that in corne great abuse is dailie suffered, to the great preiudice of the towne and countrie, espe|ciallie the poore artificer and householder, which tilleth no land, but laboring all the wéeke to buie a bushell or two of graine on the market daie, can there haue none for his monie: bicause bodgers, loders, and common carriers of corne doo not onlie buie vp all, but giue aboue the price, to be serued of great quan|tities. Shall I go anie further? Well I will saie yet a little more, and somewhat by mine owne experience.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 At Michaelmasse time poore men must make mo|nie of their graine, that they may paie their rents. So long then as the poore man hath to sell, rich men will bring out none, but rather buie vp that which the poore bring, vnder pretense of seed corne, or alterati|on of graine, although they bring none of their owne, bicause one wheat often sowen without change of séed, will soone decaie and be conuerted into darnell. For this cause therefore they must needs buie in the markets, though they be twentie miles off and where they be not knowne, promising there if they happen to be espied (which God wot is verie seldome) to send so much to their next market, to be performed I wot not when.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 If this shift serue not (neither dooth the fox vse al|waies one tracke for feare of a snare) they will com|pound with some one of the towne where the market is holder, who for a pot of hufcap or merie go downe, will not let to buie it for them, and that in his owne name. Or else they wage one poore man or other,Suborned bodgers. to become a bodger, and thereto get him a licence vpon some forged surmise, which being doone, they will féed him with monie, to buie for them till he hath filled their lofts, and then if he can doo any good for himselfe so it is, if not, they will giue him somewhat for his paines at this time, & reserue him for an other [...]eare. How manie of the like prouiders stumble vponBodgers li|cenced. blind créekes at the sea coast, I wote not well, but that some haue so doone and yet doo vnder other mens wings, the case is too too plaine. But who dare find fault with them, when they haue once a licence? yea though it be but to serue a meane gentlemans house with corne, who hath cast vp all his tillage, bicause he boasteth how he can buie his graine in the market better cheape, than he can sow his land, as the rich grasier often dooth also vpon the like deuise, bicause grasing requireth a smaller household and lesse at|tendance and charge. If anie man come to buie a bushell or two for his expenses vnto the market crosse, answer is made; Forsooth here was one euen now that bad me monie for it, and I hope he will haue it. And to saie the truth, these bodgers are faire chapmen, for there are no more words with them, but Let me see it, what shall I giue you, knit it vp, I will haue it, go carie it to such a chamber, and if you bring in twentie seme more in the weeke daie to such an Inne or sollar where I laie my corne, I will haue it and giue you pence or more in euerie bushell for six wéekes day of paiment than an other will. Thus the bodgers beare awaie all, so that the poore artificer and labourer cannot make his prouision in the mar|kets, sith they will hardlie now adaies sell by the bushell, nor breake their measure; and so much the ra|ther, for that the buier will looke (as they sai [...]) for so much ouer measure in a bushell as the bodger will doo in a quarter. Naie the poore man cannot off get a|nie of the farmer at home, bicause he prouideth alto|gither to serue the bodger, or hath an hope grounded vpon a greedie and insatiable desire of gaine, that the sale will be better in the market: so that he must EEBO page image 203 giue two pence or a groate more in a bushell at his house than the last market craued, or else go without it, and sléepe with an hungrie bellie. Of the common carriage of corne ouer vnto the parts beyond the seas I speake not; or at the leastwise if I should, I could not touch it alone but néeds must ioine other prouision withall, whereby not onelie our fréends a|broad, but also manie of our aduersaries and coun|triemen the papists are abundantlie relieued (as the report goeth) but sith I sée it not, I will not so trust mine eares as to write it for a truth. But to returne to our markets againe.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 By this time the poore occupier hath all sold his crop for néed of monie, being readie peraduenture to buie againe yer long. And now is the whole sale of corne in the great occupiers hands, who hitherto haue thre|shed little or none of their owne, but bought vp of o|ther men, so much as they could come by. Hencefoorth also they begin to sell, not by the quarter or load at the first, for marring the market, but by the bushell or two, or an horsseload at the most, therby to be séene to keepe the crosse, either for a shew, or to make men eger to buie, and so as they may haue it for monie, not to regard what they paie. And thus corne waxeth doere, but it will be déerer the next market daie. It is possible also that they mislike the price in the begin|ning for the whole yeare insuing, as men supposing that corne will be litle worth for this, & of better price in the next yeare. For they haue certeine superstiti|ous obseruations, where by they will giue a gesse at the sale of corne for the yeare following. And our countriemen doo vse commonlie for barleie where I dwell, to iudge after the price at Baldocke vpon S. Matthewes daie, and for wheat as it is sold in séed time. They take in like sort experiment by sight of the first flockes of cranes that flée southward in winter, the age of the moone in the beginning of Ianuarie, & such other apish toies, as by laieng twelue cornes vp|on the hot hearth for the twelue moneths, &c: where|by they shew themselues to be scant good christians, but what care they so they may come by monie? Herevpon also will they thresh out thrée parts of the old corne, toward the latter end of the summer, when new commeth apace to hand, and cast the same in the fourth vnthreshed, where it shall lie vntill the next spring, or peraduenture till it must and putrifie. Certes it is not d [...]intie to sée mustie corne in manie of our great markets of England, which these great occupiers bring foorth when they can kéepe it no lon|ger. But as they are inforced offentimes vpon this one occasion somwhat to abate the price, so a plague is not seldome ingendred thereby among the poorer sort that of necessitie must buie the same, wherby ma|nie thousands of all degrees are consumed, of whose deaths (in mine opinion) these farmers are not vn|guiltie. But to proceed. If they laie not vp their graine or wheat in this maner, they haue yet another policie, whereby they will séeme to haue but small store left in their barnes: for else they will gird their sheues by the band, and stacke it vp of new in lesse roome, to the end it may not onlie séeme lesse in quan|titie, but also giue place to the corne that is yet to come into the barne, or growing in the field. If there happen to be such plentie in the market on anie mar|ket daie, that they cannot sell at their own price, then will they set it vp in some fréends house, against an o|ther or the third daie, & not bring it foorth till they like of the sale. If they sell anie at home, beside harder measure, it shall be déerer to the poore man that bieth it by two pence or a groat in a bushell than they may sell it in the market. But as these things are worthie redresse, so I wish that God would once open their eies that deale thus, to sée their owne errours: for as yet some of them little care how manie poore men suffer extremitie, so that they may fill their pur|ses, and carie awaie the gaine.

It is a world also to sée how most places of the realme are pestered with purueiours, who take vp egs, butter, chéese, pigs, capons, hens, chickens, hogs, bakon, &c: in one market, vnder pretense of their commissions, & suffer their wiues to sell the same in another, or to pulters of London. If these chapmen be absent but two or thrée market daies, then we may perfectlie sée these wares to be more reasona|blie sold, and therevnto the crosses sufficientlie fur|nished of all things. In like sort, since the number of bu [...]termen haue so much increased, and since they trauell in such wife, that they come to mens houses for their butter faster than they can make it; it is al|most incredible to see how the price of butter is augmented: whereas when the owners were infor|ced to bring it to the market townes, & fewer of these butter buiers were stirring, our butter was scarslie woorth eighteene pence the gallon, that now is worth thrée shillings foure pence, & perhaps fiue shillings. Wherby also I gather that the maintenance of a su|perfluous number of dealers in most trades, [...]illage alwaies excepted, is one of the greatest causes why the prices of things become excessiue: for one of them doo cõmonlie vse to out bid another. And whilest our countrie commodities are commonlie bought and sold at our priuate houses, I neuer looke to see this e|normitie redressed; or the markets well furnished.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 I could saie more but this is euen inough, & more peraduenture than I shall be well thanked for: yet true it is though some thinke it no trespasse. This moreouer is to be lamented, that one generall mea|sure is not in vse throughout all England, but euerie market towne hath in maner a seuerall bushell, and the lesser it be, the more sellers it draweth to resort vnto the same. Such also is the couetousnesse of ma|nie clearkes of the market, that in taking view of measures, they will alwaie so prouide, that one and the same bushell shall be either too big or too little at their next comming, and yet not depart without a fee at the first: so that what by their mending at one time and empairing the same at another, the countrie is greatlie charged, and few iust measures to be had in anie stéed. It is oft found likewise, that diuerse vn|conscionable dealers haue one measure to sell by, & another to buie withall, the like is also in weights and yet all sealed and bronded. Wherefore it were verie good that these two were reduced vnto one standard, that is, one bushell, one pound, one quarter, one hundred, one tale, one number: so should things in time fall into better order, and fewer causes of contention be mooued in this land. Of the complaint of such poore tenants as paie rent corne vnto their landlords, I speake not, who are often dealt withall very hardlie. For beside that in the measuring of ten quarters, for the most part they lose one through the iniquitie of the bushell (such is the gréedinesse of the appointed receiuers thereof) fault is found also with the goodnesse and cleannesse of the graine. Wherby some péece of monie must néeds passe vnto their pur|ses to stop their mouths withall, or else my lord will not like of the corne; Thou art worthie to loose thy lease, &c. Or if it be cheaper in the market, than the rate allowed for it is in their rents, then must they paie monie and no corne, which is no small extremi|tie. And thereby we may see how each one of vs inde|uoureth to fléece and eat vp another.

Another thing there is in our markets worthie to be looked vnto, and that is the recariage of graine from the same into losts and sollars, of which before I gaue some intimation: wherefore if it were orde|red, that euerie seller should make his market by an houre, or else the bailie or clearke of the said market EEBO page image 204 to make sale therof according to his discretion, with|out libertie to the farmer to fet vp their corne in houses and chambers, I am persuaded that the prices of our graine would soone be abated. Againe, if it were enacted that each one should kéepe his next market with his graine, and not to run six, eight, ten, fouretéene, or twentie miles from home to sell his corne, where he dooth find the highest price, and therby leaueth his neighbours vnfurnished, I doo not thinke but that our markets would be farre better serued than at this present they are. Finallie if mens barns might be indifferentlie viewed immediatlie after haruest, and a note gethered by estimat, and kept by some appointed & trustie person for that purpose, we should haue much more plentie of corne in our towne crosses than as yet is commonlie seene: bi|cause each one hideth and hoordeth what he may vpon purpose either that it will be déerer, or that he shall haue some priuie veine by bodgers, who doo accustom|ablie so deale, that the sea dooth load awaie no small part thereof into other countries & our enimies, to the great hinderance of our common-wealth at home, and more likelie yet to be, except some reme|die be found. But what doo I talke of these things, or desire the suppression of bodgers being a minister? Certes I may speake of them right well, as séeling the harme in that I am a buier, neuerthelesse I speake generallie in ech of them.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 To conclude therefore, in our markets all things are to be sold necessarie for mans vse, and there is our prouision made commonlie for all the wéeke in|suing. Therefore as there are no great townes with|out one weekelie market at the least, so there are ve|rie few of them that haue not one or two faires or more within the compasse of the yeare assigned vnto them by the prince. And albeit that some of them are not much better than Lowse faire or the common kirkemesses beyond the sea, yet there are diuerse not inferiour to the greatest marts in Europe, as Stur|bridge faire neere to Cambridge, Bristow faire, Bartholomew faire at London, Lin mart, Cold faire at Newport pond for cattell, and diuerse other, all which or at leastwise the greatest part of them (to the end I may with the more ease to the reader and lesse trauell to my slefe fulfill my taske in their reci|tall) I haue set downe, according to the names of the moneths wherein they are holden, at the end of this booke, where you shall find them at large, as I bo|rowed the same from I. Stow, and the reports of o|thers.

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