Whenever the weavers, in a body, came to me for advice, I gave it freely, that they should contrive some way to bring their goods into reputation; and give up that abominable principle of endeavouring to thrive by imposing bad ware at high prices to their customers, whereby no shopkeeper can reasonably expect to thrive. For, besides the dread of God’s anger, (which is a motive of small force among them,) they may be sure that no buyer of common sense will return to the same shop where he was once or twice defrauded. That gentlemen and ladies, when they found nothing but deceit in the sale of Irish cloths and stuffs, would act as they ought to do, both in prudence and resentment, in going to those very bad citizens the writer mentions, and purchase English goods.
I went farther, and proposed that ten or a dozen of the most substantial woollen-drapers should join in publishing an advertisement, signed with their names to the following purpose:—That for the better encouragement of all gentlemen, &c. the persons undernamed did bind themselves mutually to sell their several cloths and stuffs, (naming each kind) at the lowest rate, right merchantable goods, of such a breadth, which they would warrant to be good according to the several prices; and that if a child of ten years old were sent with money, and directions what cloth or stuff to buy, he should not be wronged in any one article. And that whoever should think himself ill-used in any of the said shops, he should have his money again from the seller, or upon his refusal, from the rest of the said subscribers, who, if they found the buyer discontented with the cloth or stuff, should be obliged to refund the money; and if the seller refused to repay them, and take his goods again, should publicly advertise that they would answer for none of his goods any more. This would be to establish credit, upon which all trade dependeth.
I proposed this scheme several times to the corporation of weavers, as well as to the manufacturers, when they came to apply for my advice at the Deanery-house. I likewise went to the shops of several woollen-drapers upon the same errand, but always in vain; for they perpetually gave me the deaf ear, and avoided entering into discourse upon that proposal: I suppose, because they thought it was in vain, and that the spirit of fraud had gotten too deep and universal a possession to be driven out by any arguments from interest, reason, or conscience.
PRESENT MISERABLE STATE