A Supplication for the Beggars

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The English Scholar's Library of

Old and Modern Works.


[SIMON FISH,

of Gray's Inn, Gentleman.]


A Supplication for the Beggars.

[Spring of 1529.]


Edited by EDWARD ARBER, F.S.A., etc.,

LECTURER IN ENGLISH LITERATURE ETC.,
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON.


SOUTHGATE, LONDON, N.

15 August 1878.
No. 4.
(All rights reserved.)

CONTENTS.




PAGE
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vi
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vii–xviii
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1
1.
The yearly exactions from the people taken by this greedy sort of sturdy idle thieves.
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3
They have a Tenth part of all produce, wages and profits
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4
What money pull they in by probates of testaments, privy tithes, men's offerings to their pilgrimages and at their first masses; by masses and diriges, by mortuaries, hearing of confessions (yet keeping thereof no secrecy), hallowing of churches, by cursing of men and absolving them for money; by extortion &c.; and by the quarterage from every household to each of the Five Orders of begging Friars, which equals £43,333 6s. 8d. [= over £500,000 in present value] a year
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4
400 years ago, of all this they had not a penny
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4
These locusts own also one Third of the land
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Or in all more than half of the substance of the realm
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5
Yet they are not in number, one to every hundred men, or one in every four hundred men women and children
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5
Neither could the Danes or Saxons haue conquered this land, if they had left such a sort [company] of idle gluttons behind them; nor noble King Arthur have resisted the Emperor Lucius, if such yearly exactions had been taken of his people; nor the Greeks so long continued the siege of Troy, if they had had to find for such an idle sort of cormorants at home; nor the Romans conquered the world, if their people had been thus yearly oppressed; nor the Turk haue now so gained on Christendom, if he had in his empire such locusts to devour his substance
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2.
What do they with these exactions?
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6
Nothing but to translate all rule, power &c. from your Grace to themselves, and to incite to disobedience and rebellion
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3.
Yea, and what do they more?
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Truly nothing but to have to do with every man's wife, every man's daughter &c.
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4.
Yea, who is able to number the great and broad bottomless ocean sea full of evils, that this michievous and sinful generation is able to bring upon us? unpunished!
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7
5.
What remedy? Make laws against them? I am in doubt whether ye are able. Are they not stronger in your own parliament house than yourself
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8
So captive are your laws unto them, that no man that they list to excommunicate may be admitted to sue any action in any of your Courts
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9
Neither have they any coulour [pretence] to gather these yearly exactions but they say they pray to GOD to deliver our souls from purgatory. If that were true we should give a hundred times as much. But many men of great literature say there is no purgatory: and that if there were and that the Pope may deliver one soul for money, he may deliver him as well without money; if one, a thousand; if a thousand, all; and so destroy purgatory.
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6.
But what remedy? To make many hospitals for the relief of the poor people? Nay, truly! The more the worse. For ever the fat of the whole foundation hangeth on the priests' beards
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12
7.
Set these sturdy loobies abroad in the world to get themselves wives, to get their living with their labour in the sweat of their faces, according to the commandment of GOD
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This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.